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The Myth of Upgrade Inevitability Is Dead 597

Posted by kdawson
from the standing-pat dept.
Several readers pointed out a ComputerWorld UK blog piece on the expanding ripples of the Vista fiasco. Glyn Moody quotes an earlier Inquirer piece about Vista, which he notes "has been memorably described as DRM masquerading as an operating system": "Studies carried out by both Gartner and IDC have found that because older software is often incompatible with Vista, many consumers are opting for used computers with XP installed as a default, rather than buying an expensive new PC with Vista and downgrading. Big business, which typically thinks nothing about splashing out for newer, more up-to-date PCs, is also having trouble with Vista, with even firms like Intel noting XP would remain the dominant OS within the company for the foreseeable future." Moody continues: "What's really important about this is not so much that Vista is manifestly such a dog, but that the myth of upgrade inevitability has been destroyed. Companies have realized that they do have a choice — that they can simply say 'no.' From there, it's but a small step to realizing that they can also walk away from Windows completely, provided the alternatives offer sufficient data compatibility to make that move realistic."
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The Myth of Upgrade Inevitability Is Dead

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  • last sentence (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 01, 2008 @06:19AM (#25941585)

    the last sentence is a load of bollocks. People stick with XP because then they don't have to change their existing software. Walking away from windows would force just that

    • Re:last sentence (Score:5, Interesting)

      by hellion0 (1414989) on Monday December 01, 2008 @07:09AM (#25941829)
      Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the... ah, wait, wrong cliche.

      Still, the fact is that someday, Microsoft will stop supporting XP even when it comes to security. That'll mean all those businesses who try to hang on will be forced to seek another option then, assuming MSFT hasn't learned and made something that would be a logical, worthwhile upgrade from XP. Assuming things stay the same by that point, you might start seeing a frenzied stampede away from Windows.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by DerWulf (782458)
        OR vista might still be more compatible and more of what people actually like then linux and nothing will change. I really hope that someday there will be real(tm) choice(tm) on the desktop but it's not going to happen if linux banks on MS driving linux adoptoion ...
        • by Thansal (999464) on Monday December 01, 2008 @09:22AM (#25942815)

          Or, the next Windows OS (9, right?) will fix the compatibility issues, toss is a bunch of shiny features, and big business will instantly jump all over it. The "myth of upgrade inevitability" isn't busted in any way. Admittedly I wouldn't call it that. I would call it the "business likes to have the biggest E-Wang", or possibly "business is dumb and vendors are scum", or anything nicely jaded will do.

      • Re:last sentence (Score:5, Insightful)

        by that this is not und (1026860) on Monday December 01, 2008 @08:53AM (#25942503)

        That'll mean all those businesses who try to hang on will be forced to seek another option then,

        Yes. But there are considerable other options. Businesses can, for instance, harden the infrastructure around their XP workstations without upgrading them further. My stapler hasn't required an 'upgrade' in over 12 years (since the mandatory red-color upgrade.) The notion that any significant amount of security resides in the desktop PC is ridiculous and so easily proven to be a joke (as Microsoft provides it) that it's time for corporate IT to step past that myth. The boundary for security is outside the PC in the network surrounding it.

        Microsoft is fairly good at providing a soft and cushy 'client' level environment. The key to increased security in a corporate environment is to firewall Microsoft in. Firewalls that block Windows desktops in from both sides. Don't allow their badly designed kludgeware anywhere BUT on the desktop and things can be well managed and secure.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by lytithwyn (1357791)
          Thank you!

          I wish more people would realize this. Microsoft makes it sound like XP availability is going away completely, but the other day I read an article (probably here on ./) that they are just now ending sales of Windows 3.x licenses.

          There is no reason whatsoever NOT to continue using XP after it's support has ended. It has finally stabled out, so further updates are likely to be security only and, as you said, that's not a real issue.
        • Re:last sentence (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Skrynesaver (994435) on Monday December 01, 2008 @09:53AM (#25943189) Homepage

          While your stapler remains locked in your drawer there is no security issue with your stapler, however as soon as you let "Bob" use it it will get lost. He'll give it to Eve, who'll promise to hand it on to you untouched but ...

          Oh sod it I'm not going to draw another pointless Slashdot analogy, your desktop computer needs to communicate with the outside world to get useful work done, it needs to process the results of that communication, no matter how good your filtering technology some smart-arse will find a way to subvert it. Security is about secure systems all the way down, ring-fencing any segment and declaring it as secure because it's behind a firewall is self-delusion.

          Now next question, do any of your staff work from home? Do they have kids? Do sales staff connect to client's networks when they are off site?

        • Luddite (Score:3, Funny)

          by Chrisq (894406)
          Luddite. For £140 you could get a stapler like this [paperstone.co.uk]. Then you need the maintenance contract, secure storage, batteries and so on but you will be the man for stapling.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by jcr (53032)

        Microsoft will stop supporting XP even when it comes to security.

        And that will make things worse in what way, exactly?

        -jcr

    • by hitmark (640295)

      wine?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by digitig (1056110)

        wine?

        Why, thank you. A glass of Chablis, please.

        Or, if you mean Windows emulation, my experience is that it still breaks more than Vista does. But maybe it won't by the time MS withdraw XP support.

    • by PinkyDead (862370) on Monday December 01, 2008 @07:48AM (#25942053) Journal

      Can't agree with that.

      If you're talking about the home user, then they will change as soon as they buy new hardware. They will take what they are given and they will like it. Just go into any computer shop and open your ears: Dad is in there, he's heard bad things about Vista and he's fairly sure he doesn't want it - but he still leaves the shop with it under his arm. When he gets home, he finds he's not happy, but there is nothing he can do - and unless he can get someone to downgrade it (which he's not comfortable about either) he's stuck with it. Whether that means that he will switch really depends on what Mac/Linux can offer to that market segment.

      Small businesses will operate in a similar fashion, but because they have better budgets for hardware upgrades and the availability of technically capable individuals for advice and support, they won't take the crap and will be a lot less resistant to change (except for the accounts "department" - because they use balance sheets to determine software quality).

      As for the medium to large business user - they cannot use unsupported software, so if XP ever ends up in that state they will have to change.

      The problem they have right now is that Vista represents too much of a cost overhead to support internally, for at best no advantage, or more typically severe costs in terms of reduced productivity or hardware upgrades.

      They currently live in an overlap which XP represents, but as that overlap shrinks they will start seriously looking at alternatives.

      On top of this, those involved in making the decisions may be going one step further and projecting a future where every 12-24 months a new version of Windows appears and with it a repeat of the current uncertainty. If they are, then good business sense says that, unless Microsoft put guarantees in place (which must be based on what they have, not what the intend to have), then it is time to start planning for change.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Just go into any computer shop and open your ears: Dad is in there, he's heard bad things about Vista and he's fairly sure he doesn't want it - but he still leaves the shop with it under his arm. When he gets home, he finds he's not happy, but there is nothing he can do

        Or, more likely, he gets it home and finds he is happy. End of problem.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by erroneus (253617)

        I don't think that is entirely the case. I know from personal experience that every last user at my office who has recently purchased a new laptop or a new PC has asked me to downgrade their operating system to Windows XP after trying it... some even after more than a month of trying it.

        People at all levels simply do not like Windows ME... err I mean Windows Vista.

        Microsoft needs to own up to its mistakes.
         

      • by hairyfeet (841228) <{bassbeast1968} {at} {gmail.com}> on Monday December 01, 2008 @10:04AM (#25943307) Journal

        Actually I have a little repair shops, and hear is what I hear from those bring in Vista "I hate this damned thing, it is slower than my 4 year old machine! Fix It!". To which I tell them they are pretty much screwed unless they go for an XP "downgrade" (since the Best Buy special would cost more to upgrade to "Vista capable" than to get XP for) and of course their answer is "Do that! I can't get my camera software to work, or my printer, and this thing is too damned slow! Fix it!"

        On the good side enough folks have brothers/cousins/uncles/friends who have had the "pleasure" of using Vista that I am building plenty of brand new XP machines. You know it is bad when they would rather shell out more money to me than buy one from Dell with Vista. And the article is true, BTW. I have had a lot of folks coming in who couldn't afford to have me build one that would rather take a used XP box than Vista. Folks LIKE XP, they can't stand Vista, and anything you pick up in the cheap section of Wal Mart, Best Buy, or Dell is going to run Vista Basic or Home Premium and it'll run like hammered shit.

        So it is not so much the upgrade myth is broken so much as Vista=WinME II. Although to be fair I didn't have nearly as many folks hating WinME as I have had Vista hate. But if they put out Win7 and it doesn't suck the big wet titty folks will happily go back since Windows runs their stuff and you don't ever need to use a CLI. Linux simply requires to much CLI at this point, especially at the tiniest sign of trouble, to take the average Windows user away from MSFT. They simply don't want to learn CLI.

    • Re:last sentence (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mangu (126918) on Monday December 01, 2008 @08:11AM (#25942223)

      People stick with XP because then they don't have to change their existing software

      Wrong, people stick with XP because they are familiar with it. Otherwise, why would 70% of eeePC sales be XP models? I assume no one buys an eeePC to run Photoshop or AutoCAD.

      I think the eeePC is a good argument to show that Microsoft sales are largely driven by consumer inertia. This is a small computer that, at least in the 9" screen and 20GB SSD model, is well balanced, very practical, and an excellent example of a product where Linux makes perfect sense. The Linux eeePC is a complete system, with all the applications a large majority of consumers want.

      Yet 70% of consumers opt for XP. After getting it with XP, they still need to install the applications they want to use, and need to configure those applications to the hardware. In the end, they had to work more to get a system that's less functional
      and less practical.

      It's not logical reasons that keep people from shifting to Linux now, it's just the fear of the unknown.

      • Re:last sentence (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Tony Hoyle (11698) * <tmh@nodomain.org> on Monday December 01, 2008 @08:51AM (#25942497) Homepage

        It's not logical reasons that keep people from shifting to Linux now, it's just the fear of the unknown.

        That's also killing Vista as much as its bad reputation.

        Microsoft are their own worst enemy at the moment. Windows 95/98/ME and XP had substantially the same interface.. the majority of non-techies will have learned on that interface.. schools are still teaching that interface in 'office' classes. It's extremely likely that everyone in your workplace from the cleaners upwards would know what to do when faced with an XP desktop. Now MS want to throw all that learning away - and people are just saying "screw that, I want my nice familiar interface back" and downgrading to XP.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by blahplusplus (757119) *

        "It's not logical reasons that keep people from shifting to Linux now, it's just the fear of the unknown."

        Personally I don't understand why linux doesn't merely mimic the desktop of XP and windows completely, people don't give a shit about the OS they use. Those kinds of details are beyond them most of the time. If I were adding to linux development, I'd get really serious about copying the user shell of windows completely and then the user would not have to know that he's "Using linux" and worry about th

      • Re:last sentence (Score:5, Interesting)

        by 4im (181450) on Monday December 01, 2008 @09:04AM (#25942623)

        I take issue with this bit:

        why would 70% of eeePC sales be XP models?

        At least where I'm living (in western europe), there's no way to get one of the decent hardware versions (i.e. models 901, 1000) in the Linux version.

        In fact, I've just this morning ordered a couple XP versions, fully intending to not even boot those but to immediately replace them by my favourite Linux version. So, Asus will have sold a couple of XP licenses, but they won't ever get used - how many more like me are there? I don't even know if there's a chance to get my money back on the licenses.

        I'm even happily shelling out Euros to at least get the kind of keyboard that's standard in this country instead of the foreign ones offered locally.

        Asus, your sales model sucks! Unfortunately, the alternatives aren't any more palatable.

  • by KennyMillar (813395) * on Monday December 01, 2008 @06:20AM (#25941591) Homepage Journal
    I really struggle to comprehend companies which upgrade without doing a full cost/benefit analysis first. Surely when upgrading a significant number of machines with a new OS, you must consider a) the benefits b)the cost c)training requirements and d)other options. By other options I mean such things as Other OSes including Linux and Mac OS X - and in order to do that you need to speak to experts in each field, not just a MS Expert who will only tell you the benefits of Vista and the downsides of everything else. I really do not see the benefit of upgrading from XP to Vista for most business users - who, lets face it, are doing web, email, word and excel. Is there really anything they can;t do just now? Or anything they really NEED from Vista? What about Mac OS X - doesn't that provide much the same 'new' features?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Indeed, but the reason is often justifying the jobs and budget of the department doing the upgrading, sadly.
    • by pugdk (697845) on Monday December 01, 2008 @06:49AM (#25941737) Homepage

      Yes, upgrading must be for a reason.

      I recently decided to upgrade to Vista because Microsoft has utterly destroyed the functionality and stability of Windows XP with its recent updates (say in the last 9-12 months or so).

      I'm not sure exactly when this happend, but I'm not alone, plenty of coworkers have the same problem:

      Double clicking on an office file (doc, xls, ppt) will make windows go into a waiting period (hour glass) for several minutes (up to half an hour or until you reboot) before the file is finally opened. This "functionality" is present not only with office files (but mostly these), but also other documents (besides office documents) suffer the same fate.

      This has happend to a range of computers, running a range of different anti virus software, with a range of different office versions (office 2000, XP and 2003).

      Now, you then install a CLEAN version of XP and a clean version of office (with antivirus etc.) this DOES NOT happen!

      You then update your XP and Office (or wait for your computer to get owned... argh) and the problem comes back!

      Hence Microsofts update has FORCED me to upgrade to Vista to get any meaningful work done... at least this problem is gone from Vista, however other problems then pop up, most notably, the lack of obtaining a new IP via DHCP when switching from one location to another... jesus, how hard can it be? but also performance drops (mostly network related) and no, I'm not alone in seeing these things either.

      All in all, I got rid of some showstoppers caused by updating Windows XP, just to be annoyed by simple problems in Vista.

      Considering the price tag this software comes with, I can't say I'm impressed with the problems, neither am I impressed with the observation that Microsoft forced me to upgrade to Vista by utterly messing up XP *after Vista was shipped!*

      *sighs*

      (No, using Linux is unfortunately not an option, as we use software everyday that runs only on Windows... using a Mac would bring forth the same problems, its either Windows or not get any work done!)

      • by dougisfunny (1200171) on Monday December 01, 2008 @06:56AM (#25941783)

        I would guess that is more a problem with Office rather than with XP, as the files mentioned open without problems on a fully updated XP with OpenOffice.org.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by fork_daemon (1122915)
        Out of Paranoia about M$ wanting to cripple XP just to push out VISTA, I had advised my friend to stop updating. Seems like my fears were right.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Tip: Install wireshark and listen to the network interface after clicking the office file. I think you'll quickly find the cause of your problem.
      • Your failure is running M$ Office.

        Go get a copy of OpenOffice. http://www.openoffice.org/ [openoffice.org]

        • by pugdk (697845)

          Sorry, but openoffice does not contain all the features of office yet. Its getting better, but the functionality just isn't there yet.

      • Although i am not an admin here at work (doing development work) I can confirm, that SP3 cannot be rolled out in our company because of such issues. However, this is not the only problem we have encountered with SP3 and all 4500 desktops will stay at SP2 with carefully selected hotfixes.

      • Microsoft sabotaging an older operating system to persuade people to upgrade is nothing new. See: Windows 95. Install IE5 on Win95, and suddenly EXPLORER.EXE eats RAM like crazy and causes more BSODs than ever. Microsoft's solution: Upgrade to Windows 98.

      • by geekmux (1040042) on Monday December 01, 2008 @08:05AM (#25942179)

        ...All in all, I got rid of some showstoppers caused by updating Windows XP, just to be annoyed by simple problems in Vista.

        Considering the price tag this software comes with, I can't say I'm impressed with the problems, neither am I impressed with the observation that Microsoft forced me to upgrade to Vista by utterly messing up XP *after Vista was shipped!*

        *sighs*

        (No, using Linux is unfortunately not an option, as we use software everyday that runs only on Windows... using a Mac would bring forth the same problems, its either Windows or not get any work done!)

        Well, while it sounds like you've definitely done your troubleshooting homework, I fail to understand the "several minutes" issue when opening up docs, as we still purchase new machines with XP, patch them up to SP3, install Office 2003, and have never reported that kind of issue.

        Yes, SP3 and other updates of late have seemingly bogged down the OS a bit, but still not worthy to weather the pains of Vista compatibility, at least for our business.

      • by Bert64 (520050) <bert@noSPam.slashdot.firenzee.com> on Monday December 01, 2008 @08:16AM (#25942257) Homepage

        So your basically screwed...
        MS has you locked in, and they arbitrarily crippled the software you were using to make you buy new stuff...

        For the obligatory car analogy, it would be like Ford coming and smashing up your old car and forcing you to buy a new one.

        MS have you over a barrel, and this will probably only be the start. I would suggest you look seriously at replacing the software keeping you locked in, before MS pulls a few more stunts like this. Your business is in an extremely weak position, utterly beholden to the whims of one company.

        Would you put up with treatment like this from anyone else, or would you ditch them and go elsewhere?

        • MOD PARENT UP (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Bandman (86149)

          This is a great point. If any other company treated you like Microsoft does, you wouldn't take it, you would change. If you couldn't change at the moment, you would position yourself so that you could change sooner rather than later.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by TheRaven64 (641858)
          Software purchases seem to make people forget everything they know about economics. For any other business-critical purchase, the first question asked is 'who is the second source for this product?' For software, people seem to forget to ask this question.
      • by slash.duncan (1103465) on Monday December 01, 2008 @08:38AM (#25942387) Homepage

        Considering the price tag [I am not] impressed with the observation that Microsoft forced me to upgrade to Vista by utterly messing up XP *after Vista was shipped!*
        *sighs*

        OK, I recognize that I'm taking a controversial position with this post, but it's my post and I choose to take it. So be it if people find it radical and it kills my karma. If there's ever an issue I believe it worth losing it on, this is it.

        They didn't force anything.

        If there's one thing I learned as a victim of abuse (emotional and physical, FWIW the wounds are now healed into scars, a decade after the last one), it's that I ALWAYS have a choice. In the ultimate worst case, it may be only the choice to continue to fight even to the death or to surrender, but once I've given in and let them take away my last choice, I've let them win, and been subsumed by victim syndrome. Once that happens, the reality distortion starts, and the victim fails to see ways out even when they do present themselves. That's classic victim syndrome and the reason so many abuse victims continue to fall into the same pattern again and again. Serial victims, they get out of one victimization situation only to find themselves it another. It becomes the default response to challenge. There's only one way out, learning that you ALWAYS have choices, at whatever level they may be. The abusers CANNOT take that from you unless you allow them to.

        Only once I learned that, did I break out of the repeating pattern. Only once I learned to actively look for and assert the choices I had, did I overcome the vicious serial victim cycle. NEVER. EVER. EVER. Let them tell you differently.

        Umm... back to the discussion at hand...

        So it wasn't that they forced you into anything. Rather, you either actively surveyed the range of choices and made what you perceived to be the best option you had (out of several), or you took the default option, the one the people you have allowed to be your masters (see my sig) wanted you to take, not by active choice, but by defaulting, allowing them to make the choice for you.

        (No, using Linux is unfortunately not an option, as we use software everyday that runs only on Windows... using a Mac would bring forth the same problems, its either Windows or not get any work done!)

        It's certainly an option, because you can simply recompile that everyday software to the new interface... Oh, wait... you can't... because you allowed someone else to be your master, taking away your freedom and dictating what you could and couldn't do with software you had chosen to run. Again, see the sig.

        But it's still an option, because you can, starting now, choose not to put yourself in that position again, while digging yourself out of the hole you find yourself in due to your past choices.

        Meanwhile, as you said, a clean install doesn't have the problem. Thus, it's one of the updates. Try applying the updates one at a time (maybe consider the MS Office updates the potential culprit and either test them first or last, given other comments) and checking for the problem, then rolling back (by force of a reinstall if those you have chosen to allow to be your masters decree it) if the problem appears. Or, if there's a lot of updates as there may well be, it may be easier to systematically bisect the problem, installing half the updates, seeing if it's in that half, then either installing half of the remainder or rolling back and installing half of the bad test and checking again.

        Eventually you'll pin it to a single update. Don't do that update, while doing the others. Then check the patch (or have someone else do so if you don't read code, it's like taking a car to a mechanic if you aren't one)... oh... right... your masters don't allow that, do they? Umm... look at the patch/update description and decide whether it's a patch you can safely do without while on the net or not. If not, you'll either need to fin

        • by timepilot (116247) on Monday December 01, 2008 @09:45AM (#25943089)

          Let me illustrate why this is all completely bogus:

          Imagine a that a computer user is actually a hungry person, and that the job this person has to do is eat a bowl of soup to survive.

          Imagine that this hungry person has only three ways to eat the bowl of soup:

          With a spoon (Windows)
          With a fork (Mac)
          With a knife (Linux)

          Imagine further a Free Software proponent named Richard trying to help the poor hungry person.

          Richard: "You have a choice! Use the knife! It's free! It gives you freedom! You can use it to eat any soup you want!"

          Hungry person: "But it doesn't actually help me eat the soup."

          Richard: "The oppressor has taken away your choices! If the soup were a slice of cheese then you would be able to use this knife!"

          Hungry person: "But, I'm hungry and if I don't eat this soup, I'm going to starve and the KNIFE DOESN'T HELP"

          Richard: "If you don't make this choice now, when the cheese comes along, the oppressor will take the cheese away! And besides, once you choose the knife, you'll be able to make it into a spoon and eat the soup with it! You'll own the knife and will be allowed to do anything you WANT to it! Imagine that! This knife CAN help you eat the soup!"

          Hungry person: "By golly, that's great! This knife can be changed into a spoon? I can do whatever I want with it?? I'll take the knife!"

          Richard: "YOU ARE NOW FREE!"

          Hungry person: "THANK YOU..."
          Hungry person tries to use knife to eat soup.
          Hungry person: "Err, this isn't working for me. Can you tell me how to make this knife into a spoon so I can eat now?"

          Richard: "Submit a patch Noob."

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by slash.duncan (1103465)

            Imagine a that a computer user is actually a hungry person, and that the job this person has to do is eat a bowl of soup to survive.

            Well, as all analogies, this one is a rather imperfect fit, but let's examine it, then.

            Imagine that this hungry person has only three ways to eat the bowl of soup:
            With a spoon (Windows)
            With a fork (Mac)
            With a knife (Linux)

            You're ignoring or failing to see the obvious alternative, slurping directly from the bowl. This isn't uncommon, and failure to see what is to everybody outside the circumstances the most obvious and compelling alternative is in fact one of the prime characteristics of victim syndrome. Remember that girl a few years ago who had been kidnapped and lived for years with her kidnapper? Remember how he took her shopping for

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by DrgnDancer (137700)

          Except that in most cases the choice is not the user's to make. If my company has made a decision to use Windows, then my choices are to either quit or stage some sort of elaborate civil disobedience likely to get me fired. Since, in most cases, and specifically in the GPs case, the question is one of using the computer to get specific work done for a specific company; both options seem like cutting off your nose to spite your face. Most of us chose to give up a little freedom (the freedom to chose our o

      • by PsychoSlashDot (207849) on Monday December 01, 2008 @08:52AM (#25942499)

        Sorry but this isn't even almost a universally true scenario. I deal with fully patched and current WinXP/Office2k3 (and 2002 and 2007) systems on a daily basis and have yet to encounter this. There's something in your environment causing this and it's not the OS or Office itself. Look to your 3rd-party software and drivers. Like virtually every show-stopping "Windows sucks" bug.

    • by drsmithy (35869) <drsmithyNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday December 01, 2008 @06:50AM (#25941749)

      I really do not see the benefit of upgrading from XP to Vista for most business users - who, lets face it, are doing web, email, word and excel.

      The benefits of upgrading to Vista (much like those from upgrading to XP) are not for the end users, they are for the IT departments that have to support them.

      And it is this supporting infrastructure that is often the reason why Linux, OS X, et al, are not options.

  • Worms for all! (Score:3, Informative)

    by HungryHobo (1314109) on Monday December 01, 2008 @06:26AM (#25941619)

    all they have to do to get their market back is stop releasing security patches or release lower and lower quality patches.

    • They have already started to release lower quality patches. I get problems that I didn't have before Vista like the inability to properly shutdown my computer because he refuse to shutdown at all (the window open with the 3 choices, I click the shutdown option, the windows disapear but nothing is done). Now when I boot linux, I have to force the opening of my ntfs partitions because they are not properly shut down :(

  • by szundi (946357) on Monday December 01, 2008 @06:27AM (#25941623)
    Hey, don't pretend like you have a choice anyway. Vista is co crap, that you have your choice now. If Windows 7 will be good enough, hw vendors stop writing Xp drivers, and your choice vaporised.
  • by purpledinoz (573045) on Monday December 01, 2008 @06:27AM (#25941625)
    The minimum requirements for Windows XP are 300Mhz CPU and 64MB of RAM. XP was designed for yesterday's hardware. My work laptop is XP and my home laptop is Vista and I found that Vista handles my 2GB of memory a lot better than XP. For example, task switching from Half Life 2 to the desktop is handled a lot better in Vista than XP. If all the bullshit was removed from Vista, it would perform better than XP. Unfortunately, that's not the case.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Endymion (12816)

      Sure, there's some technical improvements, but most people don't care!

      They just want to know if their web browser and Word/Powerpoint will work. And we passed the point where that was an issue a long time ago.

      Remember, a vast majority of XP users are not playing HL2...

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by TBoon (1381891)

      Running XP at 300mhz/64mb RAM might have worked prior to any service packs. However, SP2 in particular increased the requirements quite a bit.

      Besides you need to find software that is enjoyable such low-end hardware. My 900mhz/256mb laptop was faster than my desktop when I got it, weeks after XP was released. (Narrow escape from ME there!). Today, just Firefox alone can be pushing it on that machine.

    • by denzacar (181829) on Monday December 01, 2008 @07:34AM (#25941975) Journal

      Making a logical comment - HERE, on Slashdot?!

      Don't you know by now that when someone mentions Windows or Microsoft you should put on your best "hate-face" and go "GRRRRR"!?
      Likewise, as soon as someone mentions Linux you should put on your best "smart-face" and go "A-Ha"!?
      And should someone mention anything about Apple you should just smile like hell cause you just had a multiple orgasm.

      Don't you know that Windows are made from stolen fetuses of prospective Linux programmers?
      When the mother is asleep during her last trimester, Bill Gates swoops in through the window (hence the name of the OS) on his leathery wings, holding a coathanger and snatches that fetus right out of her womb.
      Fetuses are then thrown into a giant blender, and later boiled below a huge board covered with cat excrement.

      The power of Linux is so strong in those unborn programmers that their life juices condense and wash out the excrement off the board in the form of code, which Bill then steals for the next version of his unholy OS.
      Something is lost in transcription, naturally, plus while all geniuses those babies do lack the experience, ergo - Windows sucks.

      Didn't they teach you anything in school?

  • by Endymion (12816) <slashdot DOT org AT thoughtnoise DOT net> on Monday December 01, 2008 @06:28AM (#25941631) Homepage Journal

    From there, it's but a small step to realizing that they can also walk away from Windows completely

    No way. I'm as huge a unix and Free Software proponent as anyone here, but even I can see that statement is utterly idiotic. The motivation to stay with XP is the desire to not change. Change takes effort, which is generally not worth it if things are working fine at the moment. The "don't fix it if it's not broken" theory.

    The simple fact is that most computers, both hardware and software, are generally "good enough" these days. This means that the most efficient thing for you to be using is often the one you are using at the moment. To suggest otherwise demands a substantial benefit, and Microsoft is (hopefully) figuring out that they are no longer offering such a benefit. Free alternatives may indeed offer substantial benefits, but it's generally in more obscure things like "not being tied to a single vendor" that are not a direct impact on most people's daily computer needs.

    Now, it's still great that people seem to be finally jumping off the Microsoft upgrade-treadmill, but it's going to be a while yet before they decide other upgrades might be a viable option...

    • by zoney_ie (740061) on Monday December 01, 2008 @06:39AM (#25941689)

      Yep, if Windows XP is "good enough", why would people flock to Linux anymore than Vista? It's even less likely than people eventually all adopting Vista. Which to be honest, does not at all look like a foregone conclusion anymore - not sure where that leaves us as it seems unlikely we can stay with XP for very many years more. I guess eventually more people and businesses may migrate to Vista, or else Microsoft will pull a "fixed-up" version of Vista out of the hat with Windows 7... OK so that's not so likely either.

      Personally I will be sticking with my 3.5 y.o. desktop with XP (still just under a year's Dell on-site warranty, thanks to a 3 year offer a few months after my one year CAR ran out), and my 2 y.o. laptop also with XP (a year's Dell on-site warranty left on that too).

      I did admittedly upgrade my graphics card in my desktop a year ago for €150, but I got €50 for my old card too.

      I am inclined to think the days of frequent upgrading are at an end.

      • by EvilIdler (21087)

        I got a GeForce 8800GTS in March last year. It's still fine with everything I play (shooters, strategy..uhm..both things I play). Still getting very nice framerates in everything I'm throwing at it. I think I'll look into upgrading in a year if something major comes out that requires it.

        (I'm using 64-bit Vista. It is, strangely, working.)

      • Yep, if Windows XP is "good enough", why would people flock to Linux anymore than Vista?

        If MS stop supporting it (or, for the paranoid, start sabotaging it) then it will cease to be good enough. If that happens then at that point, users will need to make a choice of what other OS to move to.

    • The expression "NO, I WILL NOT UPGRADE" is showing a disconnection from Redmond. "This hardware is fine, I will not switch to Vista, thank you".And from there, from that point of rebelion, other alternatives sounds plausible.

      If you are feeling that Vista is a scam, and that someone is trying to push you to buy new hardware, when you are told that there is a FREE version of an OS that lets you stay with your hardware and is community based you hear bells from heaven.
  • !smallstep (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kjella (173770) on Monday December 01, 2008 @06:29AM (#25941637) Homepage

    From there, it's but a small step to realizing that they can also walk away from Windows completely, provided the alternatives offer sufficient data compatibility to make that move realistic."

    Sure, the group that says "if it works, don't break it" are going to throw out all their old applications and start using a completely new set of applications, if only the data compatibility is good enough. Maybe you should start at the application front? Because if people won't switch from Windows/Word to Windows/OpenOffice they certainly won't move from Windows/Word to Linux/OpenOffice. Linux/WINE/Word is hardly the answer.

  • by MosesJones (55544) on Monday December 01, 2008 @06:29AM (#25941639) Homepage

    Like most people in IT I spend a certain part of the year helping out those less fortunate than myself. Namely all the friends, friends of the wife, some bloke I met in the pub and the school in getting their computers to work. Most recently I fixed a couple of laptops and an internet connection, one was on XP the other on Vista, the wife asked to have her (XP) PC "look like" her husbands as she like the look of the interface. When I said it was a different operating system she said "Isn't it Windows then?"

    The point is of course that it is Windows and the difference between XP and Vista for most users does just come down to the pretty window manager... until stuff doesn't work. The XP box was back-online in under 10 minutes, the Vista box took me longer due to the wonderful UAC and a driver problem.

    Most of the time however I feel like a Mac salesman, I turn up with my Mac (the trouble shooting box) run all the tests and have them thinking "ooooh that must be hard to use because its so powerful and techy" then let them play around with it for a few minutes. I'd say that around 50% of those people I've supported this year who are looking at replacements are now looking at a Mac.

    Now a Slashdot poll on what is the correct payment for these unofficial support calls (often at a party or other social function) would be good. Right now I'm getting around two bottles of wine and a decent meal out of it.

  • by bdsesq (515351) on Monday December 01, 2008 @06:30AM (#25941651)

    I work for a hospital. Our medical records software does not support vista yet. General Electric is the vendor and they have recently announced vista compatibility will happen some time next year.

    If they had been ready two years ago we might have tried it. With today's economic situation I don't think we can afford to upgrade.

    So no vista for a 5,000 employee organization.
    There are hundreds of other hospitals with the same medical records software.

    XP just works. Why would anyone upgrade?

  • IIRC it was round and abouts of WindowsME that Microsoft got it in their heads to actually restrict some of the network features. Talking about it to a Microsoft employee, their basic "explanation" was that NT and 2k were for businesses and 98 and ME were for the home. I don't have issue with Microsoft having different pricing for businesses, if you're making a profit off their product it makes perfect sense to ask for more.

    I don't remember the issue, perhaps it was logging onto a domain. Perhaps they al

  • Bollocks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drsmithy (35869) <drsmithyNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday December 01, 2008 @06:43AM (#25941705)

    Big business, which typically thinks nothing about splashing out for newer, more up-to-date PCs, is also having trouble with Vista, with even firms like Intel noting XP would remain the dominant OS within the company for the foreseeable future.

    Bollocks. Big businesses (like, say, Intel) run a 3-5 year upgrade cycle (closer to 5 these days), based around both hardware cycles (typically due to leasing arrangements) and software certification. The _earliest_ any intelligent person would expect Vista to start appearing in big business IT (outside of pilot programs, testing and CxO laptops) is the beginning of 2009, and more likely around the beginning of 2010.

    What's really important about this is not so much that Vista is manifestly such a dog, but that the myth of upgrade inevitability has been destroyed. Companies have realised that they do have a choice â" that they can simply say âoenoâ. From there, it's but a small step to realising that they can also walk away from Windows completely, provided the alternatives offer sufficient data compatibility to make that move realistic.

    Bollocks. Those staying with XP are doing so because it is a known quantity. If they're not prepared to move to the mostly-known-quantity of Vista, they sure as hell aren't going to step into the complete unknowns of OS X or Linux.

    That may not have been the case before, but the similar poor uptake of Microsoft's OOXML, taken together with the generally good compatibility of OpenOffice.org with the original Microsoft Office file formats, implies that we may well be near the tipping point for migrations to free software on the desktop..

    So 2009 will be the year of the Linux desktop ? Just like 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000 and 1999 were going to be ?

    I'm obviously not the only one thinking along these lines. Last weekend, Dell was advertising its new Inspiron Mini 9 in at least one national newspaper. This would have been unthinkable even a year ago, when the company's fear of upsetting the mighty Microsoft by mentioning the âoeLâ word would have been too great, and is further evidence that GNU/Linux is indeed becoming a mainstream option.

    Bollocks. Dell have been selling servers, workstations and desktops with Linux installed for *years*.

    In summary, the writer is a clueless fool, although that should had been obvious as soon as the phrase "quotes an earlier Inquirer piece [...]" appeared.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by size8 (1067704)
      "Dell have been selling servers, workstations and desktops with Linux installed for *years*." Yes, but Dell hasn't been *advertising* Linux very heavily. And that was the point made by the post you replied to.
  • by abigsmurf (919188) on Monday December 01, 2008 @06:50AM (#25941747)
    Vista isn't exactly the first big time flop Microsoft have had. Windows ME was unreliable rubbish that offered little benefit over 98 and was a huge flop. XP which followed it up was a huge success and, is a good, solid, reliable OS (despite all the venom directed at it).

    Windows 7 has had glowing reports from everyone I know who's installed the beta and they find it incredibly fast, reliable and easy to use and that's only a beta> Microsoft have gone through every major critisism of Vista and fixed it or taken a better approach to it.

    The only thing that was 'wrong' with Vista that currently remains is the DRM but that was a whole load of FUD to begin with. Don't want DRM? Don't buy DRM protected content that won't play on software without the DRM features Vista has.

    As for no need to upgrade, XP is approaching the end of its lifespan, it's not designed for technologies such as SSDs nor is it really designed for Netbooks (the only reason it runs well on them is because XP was designed to run on 500mhz systems with 512mb ram). software is starting to hit the 4gb ram limit of 32bit OS' and it's not going to be worth spending a lot of time and money 'upgrading' to xp 64 when it would cost them little extra to upgrade to 7.

    Shortened version: When MS last had an OS flop, they followed it up with their most successful OS ever.

  • While it wasn't as fully featured as the latest version of Word, there wasn't a lot that I wanted to do that Works was too limited for. Modern machines have hundreds of times more RAM and a similar increase in processing power and really don't do a whole lot more.
  • by ZP-Blight (827688) on Monday December 01, 2008 @06:57AM (#25941785) Homepage

    Since I'm a software designer and must support the latest standard, I upgraded to Vista so I can make sure that my programs are compatible.

    Its been nothing but pain.

    I'm very fanatic about keeping my system clean and functioning well, I don't install superfluous applications and am very careful about what I do install.

    The problem is, VISTA seems to slowly degrade in stability over time with blue-screens appearing quite often after a few months of regular day to day use. Once it gets to more than 2-3 blue screens a day, I restore the OS from a clean image and then it works well for a while longer until the blue screens appear again.

    The funny thing is, the blue screens seem to be from different system components (usbhost.sys, tcpip.sys, memory faults, etc...). If you may think this has something to do with hardware failure (which was my initial guess seeing references to USB and other hardware drivers crashing), you'd be wrong as a clean install or running XP gets rid of all these problems. And I'm not using any weird USB devices either, only Flash Drives and the occasional SD card reader.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      If you may think this has something to do with hardware failure (which was my initial guess seeing references to USB and other hardware drivers crashing), you'd be wrong as a clean install or running XP gets rid of all these problems.

      More likely, it's (yet another) buggy Vista driver by the manufacturer. First NVidia Vista drivers bluescreened all the time, too. Haven't seen a BSOD from them in a long while now, but I guess some more minor manufacturers might not have bothered fixing their drivers after the

  • The problem is (Score:4, Interesting)

    by El Lobo (994537) on Monday December 01, 2008 @06:59AM (#25941793)
    not Vista. The problem is: why upgrade?. I am running XP and I'm EXTREMELY happy with it. One of my server is running 2003 and I don't see any need to upgrade to 2008 at all. It is a great server system.

    My mac is still running Tiger and I don't see the need to upgrade to some other cat and I'm still running Mandriva 2007.

    The days where I had to have the last are gone. And I consider myself a nerd. Normal users care even less.

    Note, well I lied , I do have one laptop running Vista and it's OK. But I don't see the need to upgrade to W7 when it comes.

  • Oh, I can't. So upgrades are inevitable for most people - just as soon as their machines die.

  • Here we go again (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gadget_Guy (627405) on Monday December 01, 2008 @07:02AM (#25941807)

    This is really something new for Microsoft, isn't it? It's not as if there are people still using Windows 2000 anywhere... Oh, wait.

    Everytime there is a new version of any operating system this same thing happens. People say that there is no compelling reason to upgrade. A bunch of people draw the line and never upgrade. Doom and gloom is predicted for the future.

    This is why there are still people using OS/2, AmigaOS, Windows 9x and even Windows 3.1.

    But life goes on, and eventually the most of the general population does upgrade. New computers are purchased, business cases are made to upgrade entire organisations and software is purchased that requires a newer OS. The upgrade cycle doesn't happened in a huge wave. It is more of a constant flow.

    The reason for this is the generally accepted one: that there are never compelling reasons to do so. However, once you do get used to a new OS, you tend find it hard to go back again. Yes, we have all heard the stories of people immediately downgrading new computers when buying Vista, but so many of those stories fail to take into account the crapware installed by the PC maker that also gets wiped when reinstalling the OS.

    • Previous new versions of Windows offered increased usability or stability (NT -> 2k -> XP, 95 -> 98), while seeing system requirements [wikipedia.org] rise by an average of 177%/122%/282% for processor/memory/hard drive space on NT based operating systems. XP's annoying product activation at least came with instant user switching and the "run as" contextual menu, which made it much less of a pain in the ass to have your user account not be an administrator.

      However, Vista's requirements are a 343%/800%/1000% incre

  • by ZP-Blight (827688) on Monday December 01, 2008 @07:03AM (#25941813) Homepage

    With regards to vista compatibility issues.

    The biggest issue with vista compatibility is that with User Account Control, you can't write into the "Program Files" directory, even as administrator.

    Microsoft now requires that all data written by a software be stored in the "AppData" directory.
    So how do developers react?

    The good developers split their program files between the static files (which go into the "Program Files" directory) and dynamic files (files that need to be written to which go in the "AppData" directory).
    What do the lazy programmers do? Put their entire program into the "AppData" directory and avoid any hassle altogether.

    So now, the "AppData" directory essentially becomes the new "Program Files" directory, but... The users are 99% unaware of this and the "AppData" directory (which there are several of) gets contaminated with more junk which is harder to find.

  • by Morgaine (4316) on Monday December 01, 2008 @07:28AM (#25941925)

    Microsoft's problem isn't really Vista, the bit of software.

    Their major problem is their lack of understanding that good operating systems can't be created overnight and chucked on the shelves like white goods items under pressure of Sales and Marketing ... not even in a 3-year "overnight". Operating systems evolve into being good, and once they're getting close to being usable then you don't chuck them out just because you want new product in the catalog. Not if you're half sane.

    And MS also seems to misunderstand the longevity of operating systems, the attachment that users form with them, people's reluctance to change, and the simple fact that something that works doesn't need to be replaced ... software doesn't wear out, nor obsoleted given incremental upgrades. The "all change" paradigm that seems to hold in MS is in total disregard of commonsense.

    And lastly, MS has a real problem in understanding that people buy operating systems to serve their own needs, not to serve the needs of 3rd party content providers --- that's a severe requirements mismatch.

    Vista also has technical issues of course, but MS has plenty of manpower to fix those. What I'm not sure it does have the ability to fix is its totally backwards perception of what they should be doing in this area.

  • by jkrise (535370) on Monday December 01, 2008 @07:44AM (#25942033) Journal

    At a hospital I consult, we use the E-Film PACS viewer to allow doctors to look at patient's XRays, MRIs, CT Scans etc. The problem with Vista is that even at this date, E-Film does not still work.

    https://www.merge.com/EMEA/estore/content.aspx?pname=eFilm%20Workstation%E2%84%A2&returnUrl=&productID=185&contentTypeID=4 [merge.com]

    I think it could be because of DRM and video stuff, but that is the job of Microsoft to worry.

    And if as per recent reports, Windows 7 is just Windows Vista with rebranding, then XP will be the last version of Windows for a very long time indeed.

  • by master_p (608214) on Monday December 01, 2008 @09:15AM (#25942733)

    The law of diminishing returns is in effect in OSes as well. It is just not possible to see in the future the massive changes in infrastructure and operating systems we have seen in the past. 8 years ago, going from Windows ME to Windows 2K or from Office 6 to Office 2000 meant a massive increase of stability and features. Today, going from Windows XP to Windows Vista or from Office 2000 to Office 2007 does not offer anything substantially important to the average user.

    It is absurd to think that people will keep changing their tools every so often. Once tools are satisfactory enough, they stay. It has happened in programming languages (C, for example, despite all the progress in programming language theory and technology, remains the basis that everything is based on). It is now happening in operating systems. Windows XP will be with us for a long time.

    The only time that we are going to see massive changes is when operating systems will become much easier to use, for example like we see in science fiction or something.

  • Compatibility (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sorak (246725) on Monday December 01, 2008 @10:13AM (#25943403)

    TFA says that people are sticking with XP because of compatibility problems. Now, if businesses are to move away from Windows, you will have to prove to them that their old software is more likely to run on Linux/Wine, than on Windows Vista.

    The question is, how does wine compare to Vista in terms of compatibility with older versions of Windows?

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