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Windows Operating Systems Software Technology

PC Magazine Editor Throws in the Towel on Vista 816

MacNN caught this incredible defection and loss of faith by a former Vista booster, PC Magazine editor-in-chief Jim Louderback, as he steps down from his position. "I've been a big proponent of the new OS over the past few months, even going so far as loading it onto most of my computers and spending hours tweaking and optimizing it. So why, nine months after launch, am I so frustrated? The litany of what doesn't work and what still frustrates me stretches on endlessly. The upshot is that even after nine months, Vista just ain't cutting it. I definitely gave Microsoft too much of a free pass on this operating system: I expected it to get the kinks worked out more quickly. Boy, was I fooled! If Microsoft can't get Vista working, I might just do the unthinkable: I might move to Linux."
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PC Magazine Editor Throws in the Towel on Vista

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 18, 2007 @01:06PM (#20277249)
    ...whatever MS comes up with. We are happily running our apps and games on 2003 server or XP. I support and use Linux in the server room, but in the real world with the apps and games all running on Windows, desktops will stay where they are.

    People keep saying this is the year for the Linux desktop because of Vista's failures, when most people don't care because XP and 2003 run just fine for them. They aren't looking for change from Vista or Lunix or anything else for that matter.
    • by iocat ( 572367 ) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @01:51PM (#20277819) Homepage Journal
      I don't understand why more people aren't personally pissed off at this guy. He's the EIC of one of the leading PC mags, and he backs Vista whole hog -- how many people trusted him and "upgraded" themselves -- and now he changes his mind? After PC Mag devoted countless pages to shilling for Vista?

      I understand people change their minds, but I'd be lying if I said I question whether or not his change of heart on Vista would be public if he wasn't leaving the magazine world (dependent heavily on MS for ad revenue and stories) for another field.

      • by discord5 ( 798235 ) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @02:15PM (#20278105)

        He's the EIC of one of the leading PC mags

        Who? No seriously, who is this guy?

        how many people trusted him and "upgraded" themselves

        I trust magazines 100% as well. Surely, magazines would do nothing so distasteful as promoting products of their corporate sponsors? In fact, I'm 100% sure that products these magazines review are tested to the highest standards, and that these "journalists" are objective and give fair scores to their products.

        Does anyone still read the trash that these magazines produce and believe it? I find it hard to believe that in an age where you can find so much information about any subject (especially technical information), you'd choose to limit yourself to the opinion of magazines that have full page advertisments for said products and expect anything but biased opinions.

        For what it's worth, I've worked with an "IT journalist" in the past. Great guy, good writer, didn't know anything about the more complex things in IT (which is a really bad omen if you'll be reviewing IT products that do "complex" things). One of the rules of "IT journalism" is that you're not allowed to trash something completely, no matter how bad it is. The reason for that is that people stop sending your products to review, and potential advertisers don't send their money in your magazines direction if their product gets a bad review.

        This guy is either going to change his opinion soon, or will be looking for another job. End of the story.

    • by kripkenstein ( 913150 ) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @02:39PM (#20278379) Homepage

      We are happily running our apps and games on 2003 server or XP. I support and use Linux in the server room, but in the real world with the apps and games all running on Windows, desktops will stay where they are.

      People keep saying this is the year for the Linux desktop because of Vista's failures, when most people don't care because XP and 2003 run just fine for them.
      And yet, something has changed, even if this (or last year or next year) isn't the 'year of the Linux desktop'. Let me give you an example.

      I am currently involved in the preparations for founding a new startup company. Since this is a new company, there isn't a currently-existing base of Windows computers to replace. We are making decisions about what to use without regard for migrating from anywhere. So that is one respect in which 'Windows is good enough to not be replaced' fails - at least for new companies.

      Furthermore, when deciding what to use, we see the following. Linux on the server - that is a done deal. No discussion even. Now, what about desktops for the developers writing code for those servers? Well, in the past they would use Windows, since it's a desktop, and to develop for Linux they would use Cygwin, virtualization or (sadly) networking. But nowadays we are very seriously considering giving them Fedora or Ubuntu desktops - why not have them run the same type of OS as the target platform, especially since it can do everything else they need, with Firefox, OpenOffice, etc.? So, you have here a case of success in the server room bleeding over to the desktop (the reverse of Windows' historical battle plan).

      What about other desktops, for secretaries, business development, etc.? Well, it isn't my area, so I haven't argued as strongly for Linux there. Perhaps it does make sense to have Windows PCs for them. But even so, because of the Linux desktops for the developers, we will in all likelihood standardize on Firefox and OpenOffice internally, since they can be run everywhere. (We might end up getting a few licenses of MS Office for people that exchange documents with external entities.)

      So sure, it isn't the 'year of the Linux desktop'. Maybe it never will be. But it still isn't the same as it was before.
    • by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @02:57PM (#20278575) Homepage Journal
      You think a little extra tweaking will save Vista? Microsoft held it back for an extra year to tweak out the major bugs, and they still had a train wreck.

      It seems obvious to me that Vista has reached "critical mass" in bug fixing. This concept is based on the average number of bugs accidentally generated by a bug fix. This value is always greater than zero, but a well-designed product keeps it very low. At all costs, you have to keep it well away from one. Once you're past this point, there's just no point point in fixing any more bugs — yours just making things worse.

      Microsoft products have always been too complex and baroque. That's a good formula for the bug critical mass scenario. I'm only surprised it didn't happen before.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by ProppaT ( 557551 )
        "Microsoft products have always been too complex and baroque. That's a good formula for the bug critical mass scenario. I'm only surprised it didn't happen before."

        Windows ME.
  • by craznar ( 710808 ) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @01:09PM (#20277291) Homepage
    It's forced me to make it my last Microsoft Operating System ever.

    After being forced on to Vista by Sony - after unwittingly buying a VAIO which is stuck with Vista. I am totally fed up with it.

    So far, I have found 3 features which are cool, and hundreds of issues.

    Took me around 2 hours one day to edit the TNSNAMES.ORA file on my Oracle (dev) installation... until I worked out the trick.

    My next Laptop will be OSX, next Workstation will be Linux - and I already run Linux (CentOS) servers.

    • by SimBuddha ( 924737 ) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @01:27PM (#20277533)
      I have been an MS supporter and developer since before Win 3.1 but Vista has me very frustrated.

      I bought a great new machine, an Acer E700 quad core with Vista. I try to use it for various purposes and it just doesn't work or has some subtle compatibility bug that I cannot work around. So I try to install a new $300 XP Pro on the machine... Kaboom, I cannot get around the blue screen even using SCSI disks and other PCI cards. SOOOOO I put Ubuntu on it and VMWare Server with XP in a VM and the machine is now usable.

      If I had been given an option to buy the machine with XP, I would have taken it 100% and what really bugs me is that we are being forced to use Vista when there is no significant end user benefit to upgrading to the new OS. Simbuddha
      • by civilizedINTENSITY ( 45686 ) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @02:23PM (#20278201)
        GNU/Linux/VMWare/WinXP has been my preferred method of running Windows since first I tried it. It boots faster, shuts down faster, and saving images is smooth and easy.
      • by ImaLamer ( 260199 ) <john,lamar&gmail,com> on Saturday August 18, 2007 @03:58PM (#20279119) Homepage Journal
        I ordered a nice dual core laptop that had Vista loaded, and I was excited. I have to admit, one of the draws was Vista - I wouldn't have to pay for it (outright) and it was already installed, and most problems would be covered by HP support. It's good to know that other 'average joe' users would be working on the same system so HP had to work hard to make everything work: and it worked fine. Of course that wasn't the end.

        I had loaded the beta/RC on a PC I had just finished building at that time and while it was on there it worked really well - I even thought of putting on there once the OS was finally released, but I couldn't afford a new Vista box so I waited. Vista Ultimate would have been the greatest thing to meet this PC; it's an HDTV-PVR, I've got an Xbox 360 to stream to, soon I could have had the ultimate home pc-tv setup... I would have only needed a Zune (joking!).

        Then I order this laptop. (My first, I'm a poor geek) Vista was kinda sweet, all that GUIness! But then I found that I wasn't really using the laptop. Why? Because it took too long to get it into a usable state. The security issues with Windows made me load three pieces of software to keep my machine protected, fine. But they had to scan on start-up each time. The machine easily took a minute to get to the welcome screen and after logging in you thought that you could click icons and start programs but they wouldn't show up for minutes (!). I know the strategy is to hibernate or suspend the laptop between uses, but that also made for long load times, and if the laptop was hibernating for more than a day it needed a restart just to get it usable again. Frankly, I didn't want to mess with it. For a top of the line machine, this shouldn't be happening. For $1000+ laptop you shouldn't be waiting this long to browse the web. Granted, I've *only ONE GIGABYTE of RAM* and not TWO - but should the OS need that much?

        Frankly I was sick of it. Maybe it would work on the PVR, but I don't think I'll ever find out. You see, I'm a huge XP and 2000 fan. They are solid kernels and good operating systems, and IMHO, I've not needed to re-install either one of these once placed onto a machine. I had a webserver running Apache on XP that had multi-month uptimes. My PVR never went down, even while I played WoW, recorded a TV show while scanning another to remove the commercials. I've had a XP install running since it was first loaded in *2004*. As I've said here before, over and over, XP and 2000 don't crash if you know what you are doing. (Any problems I've had were faulty or just poor hardware/drivers, ATI this means you! Sure, it could lock up or need a reboot to drop some of my sins, but I find that every OS does on occasion. The trick is patience, a trick I refuse to learn.)

        Alas, I oversaw the wedding of Ubuntu 7 and my HP laptop. A few drivers needed to be wrangled, but there is so much help documentation available online I'm convinced a child could overcome the problems I did (Ubuntu forums... god I love you). Frankly, they won't part until death. The only thing that doesn't work is hibernate and suspend, and I'm not surprised, but they aren't needed. Gnome saves my session, although I never leave anything open, and the boot time is just under one minute. And that is a cold start to a Gnome desktop. Vista couldn't run with a dual core CPU and a gig of RAM, yet Ubuntu seems to barely touch half of the RAM. Compiz, you kill Vista's Aero anyways. I have World of Warcraft working, full speed with the settings basically maxed out while Windows Vista (the OS/API family the game was written for more or less) couldn't run the game over 3fps (I would do a spell while the casting bar was still filling up).

        What a huge rant to say: Switch to linux. Your PC will thank you.

        About the author: ImaLamer is a huge open source zealot who was turned onto the beauty of the Windows 2000 family (2000, XP) while at school. Frankly he hates Microsoft, and is afraid of them more than his own government, but knows that 2000 and XP just plain work
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Tom ( 822 )

          one of the draws was Vista - I wouldn't have to pay for it (outright)
          You really think either HP or MS gave you a free lunch? Of course you paid for it. The price was just hidden in the total price of the machine.
  • me too (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Loconut1389 ( 455297 ) * on Saturday August 18, 2007 @01:14PM (#20277375)
    I've been waiting for stable drivers on a number of fronts and waiting for support from vendors like tivo and kensington. I don't dare upgrade to 64 bit, 32 is headache enough. WMP freezes for any video I load- have to use Nero showtime. iTunes 7 video is broken too. Everything else works great and I love the eye candy, but I give up.
  • by Futurepower(R) ( 558542 ) <MJennings.USA@NOT_any_of_THISgmail.com> on Saturday August 18, 2007 @01:16PM (#20277405) Homepage
    "I expected it to get the kinks worked out more quickly. Boy, was I fooled!"

    Lots of people make the mistake of thinking that Microsoft is a software company. That's wrong. Microsoft is an abuse company that uses software as a method of delivering abuse.

    My opinion. Maybe even partly a joke, maybe not.
  • I feel his pain (Score:5, Informative)

    by langelgjm ( 860756 ) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @01:16PM (#20277407) Journal

    I feel his pain. Vista has been a pretty big headache for me since I first installed it earlier this summer. I still can't get the machine to suspend properly, my Bluetooth dongle sort of works, sometimes the network adapters require a reboot before they will connect...

    However, quite a few problems have been fixed in the past few months, at least for me. The slow file copy/move thing seems to have disappeared; after a few driver updates, no more BSOD or random restarts. Program compatibility is still an issue, and I'm going to need to keep updating drivers, because everything seems like it could use a little more work. Really, though, there isn't much advantage over XP. I'm mainly staying with Vista for the better multiple-monitor support, and the 64-bitness (including finally seeing all 4 GB RAM).

    • Re:I feel his pain (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ruiner13 ( 527499 ) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @03:34PM (#20278923) Homepage
      Do you feel you should have had to suffer those pains for 8 months? Can you concede that MS may have jumped the gun and released Vista too soon? Things such as slow file copying should NOT make it into a retail release. Even after stripping out the new features they kept talking about (WinFS, Nomad come to mind), they still couldn't release it without MAJOR bugs. So many people complain about its problems waking from sleep that they had to have known it was an issue before it was released. If I was working on a project, got a phone call and my computer went to sleep, only to have it not wake up again, I would be royally pissed off. I'm sure Microsoft appreciates all the free beta testing they've gotten from all you early adopters, though. If I were you, I'd call and ask for a paycheck for your time. Thankfully I build my own PCs and have not had Vista forced upon me.
  • by Vellmont ( 569020 ) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @01:17PM (#20277415) Homepage
    Vista has actually become usable for me over the last few months. I got a free evaluation copy a few days before the release, and it started out rather poorly. Sleep mode kinda worked, with the mouse, or networking, etc not coming back after it went to sleep. I got random reboots until ATI finally released a driver that didn't crash my whole system.

    Now it's pretty smooth sailing.

    With that said, I'm still considering just going to Ubuntu. Vista is OK I guess, but there's nothing in it that's terribly compelling. I like the look and feel of it, but I prefer all the software available a click away with Ubuntu. (I'm no newcomer to Linux, the Vista box is my last Windows machine). Whenever the next Ubuntu version comes out I'll try it out on the workstation and see if sleep mode actually works. Then just run vmware for the one or two remaining Windows apps I can't live without.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 18, 2007 @01:21PM (#20277457)
    And I love it. I've never been huge on Microsoft, ran OS/2 for several years, and Vista was just so annoying and slow, it made the decision to switch to a Mac easy. Is OS X perfect? No, but it is much better, and it didn't take more than a couple weeks to get fully comfortable in the new environment, although I still find myself hitting the ctrl key rather than the command key for some shortcuts.
  • by cutecub ( 136606 ) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @01:25PM (#20277509)
    ... and just waited to publish it until he was leaving PCMag.

    As Molly Ivins said: "Ya gotta dance with them what brung you."

    Louderback's job was to keep his advertisers happy and I'm sure that was a big factor in how he chose to color his experience with Vista.

    Not surprising.

  • timing? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nahpets77 ( 866127 ) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @01:25PM (#20277511)

    I've decided to try something new. I've jumped over to become CEO of Revision3, the leading Internet television network focused on developing programming for the on-demand generation.
    Coincidence that he just happens to slam Vista at the same time he's leaving PC Mag? He even admits to giving Vista a "free pass", which basically means he didn't want to piss off MS while he was editor. I used to get PC Mag years ago, but stopped because I felt that the magazine was too biased in favor of MS. Also, his threat to leave Vista for Linux rings hollow to me...
    • by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @01:48PM (#20277789)

      I used to get PC Mag years ago, but stopped because I felt that the magazine was too biased in favor of MS.

      I think all the big paper magazines around these parts have fallen for the same trap there. I gave up PC World, and later PC Pro, because their reviews of new versions of Windows, Office, etc. just seemed like sucking up to MS. That and the fact that in the latter case, they went to cover-DVD-only and more-or-less doubled the price, so I was paying more for a disc mostly full of junk and pretty much all of which I could just download if I wanted it than I was for a magazine that was half ads anyway. Oh, and the fact that most of their news stories were light on details, and those light details had been reported on the Internet weeks earlier.

      The only point of still having magazines like this is if they can supply quality, in-depth reviews of products and industry analysis by people with the connections to find the material and the writing ability to report it well. If all they do is publish fluff reviews and sound-bite news, why on earth would I pay for that when I can read the same for free on-line?

    • Re:timing? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @03:07PM (#20278667) Homepage Journal

      Also, his threat to leave Vista for Linux rings hollow to me...
      Not so much a threat as sarcasm. He and his readers both know that Vista refugees are not going to migrate to Linux, not as long as XP remains available. Linux zealots may not believe this, but it's true. The application lock-in that's kept Microsoft on top all these years hasn't gone away. This will be obvious to PC Magazine readers, less obvious to those who refuse to recognize that lock-in exists.
  • by bushboy ( 112290 ) <lttc@lefthandedmonkeys.org> on Saturday August 18, 2007 @01:33PM (#20277625) Homepage
    All I can say, he deserves what he got.

    If you pander to just one operating system, as a supposed computer professional, your simply not up to the job in the first place.

    A true, passionate PC user (and by that, I mean Personal Computer User, NOT just windows), you owe it to yourself to be up to speed on as much as possible. You should have at your fingertips either virtual or full iterations of Windows, Linux and MacOS.

    The name of this magazine is "PC Magazine", to me, that means "Personal Computer Magazine" - of course, we all know the reality is that it's 90% windows based. (A personal irritation of mine is assuming that a PC is a windows box - akin to calling computer criminals hackers)

    That the ex-editor should declare using Linux unthinkable is unthinkable in itself.

    Lets hope the new editor has a bit more savvy, not that I care, I don't read computer magazines anymore, now I know why... ;)
    • by sakusha ( 441986 ) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @02:55PM (#20278549)

      All I can say, he deserves what he got.

      Yeah right. He deserves the millions of bucks he earned, shilling for Microsoft?

      Let me tell you a little Louderbeck anecdote, I still remember this incident vividly. A few years back, a cable tech channel (ZNet TV? I forget) carried the Macworld Conference Keynote with Steve Jobs live on their channel. A Stevenote is compelling enough a performance on its own to hold the audience, but for some incomprehensible reason, ZNet decided to have Louderbeck do commentary DURING the keynote. I don't even remember what products Jobs was announcing, all I remember is how the audio kept switching to Louderbeck's "commentary," he was continually bitching about how the new product sucked, and how it lacked important features. At one point, he was whining about one missing feature at the very moment that Jobs was describing that exact feature. Louderbeck looked like a complete and utter asshole.
      I note that since that day, Apple has never allowed any TV channel to broadcast their Keynotes and announcements.
  • by overshoot ( 39700 ) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @01:35PM (#20277639)

    I might move to Linux.
    Yeah, or you could hold your breath until you turn blue and die. THAT will make Bill and Steve sorry, won't it?

    Thank you very much, but Linux doesn't need "friends" who use it as a Horrible Fate that they'll threaten to inflict on themselves as a way to get Mommy Microsoft's sympathetic attention.

  • by jayhawk88 ( 160512 ) <jayhawk88@gmail.com> on Saturday August 18, 2007 @01:44PM (#20277729)
    You know we like to joke about signs of the apocalypse, but wow. I would almost look forward to that. Can you just imagine the Louderback articles we'd get with him on Linux?

    vi v. emacs: The exciting new controversy
    How to protect your children from The Gimp
    Why won't anyone explain what GNU stands for?
  • by shdowhawk ( 940841 ) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @01:57PM (#20277887)
    While i have windows XP now installed (and i'm running a gentoo server here in the room and i used OSX for development at work)... I can tell you that the reason i believe that vista is a flop... is because it seems that the general users don't like using it.

    By general users, i'm talking about every day non-computer-techy types ... like my wife, my parents, my in laws, and brother. All of them use computers, but for little more than looking up general info like movies and wikis, email, some gaming and word processing. My mother is the prime example, she is the least computer literate, and when things suddenly "change" on the screen, she freaks out thinking that she broke something. While i've convinced her that a random popups window are OK (for passwords) .. the fact that the whole screen in vista flickers and the background changes (the password overlay) really gets to her. My brother, wife and i can't get out games to play correctly (video drivers for my nvidia 7800gs play games like halo 2 with horrible graphic glitchs, and even some lag in games like oblivion that i didn't have in XP, Medieval II crashed on me at least once an hour...). That's not even mentioning how vista itself seems to take up more memory which slows down the games. My father who is a minister, couldn't get some of his old files to work properly (which he needs for work). The new office (2007) actually messed more things up for him than fixed, and i had to install open office for him just to get some of his old files to OPEN so that he could then use them in 2007.

    In the end... It's not that i hate windows, it's that it looks like vista was not thought out to be easier on/for the user... instead it looks like it was just planned look better on paper (BETTER SECURITY! BETTER NETWORKING! BETTER ETC!). Now add in the fact that we have to pay a TON of money just to get this stuff on our computers and it still doesn't work properly? For my parents, i actually installed (k)ubuntu for them about a month ago (KDE). They went to linux because they told ME they didn't want Vista anymore, but they didn't have money to spend on another set of MS licenses just to go back to XP. Go figure... after showing my mom for an hour how to open a browser, and open up gaim to chat and how to go into her home folder.... i've actually heard her complain LESS than when she had XP.

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @02:02PM (#20277943)
    For a heavy Microsoft supporter, Macs are the unthinkable option - Linux is like the escape pod, cramped but familiar and you won't get as much merciless teasing from your compatriots.

    P.S. - I too am a Linux supporter, and know "cramped" is a poor description of something that really is more free and liberating - but that's the intitial feeling Windows users get.
  • by Reziac ( 43301 ) * on Saturday August 18, 2007 @02:04PM (#20277971) Homepage Journal
    I've noticed something fairly consistent about the people I know who like Vista well enough to make it their primary OS:

    They are the same people who have been M$ beta testers for a number of versions, and have always been "early adopters" all the way back.

    They are also people who tend to get bored with OS-related arguments very easily, and are always ready to move on to something new.

    Nothing here is meant to be for or against such people; it's just what I've observed.

    Myself, I haven't even tried it yet.

  • by ImustDIE ( 689509 ) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @02:06PM (#20277997)

    Let me start by saying that I'm no Microsoft fanboy. I can't think of one good reason to run Windows on my servers (<3 freebsd), but I do prefer it over nix/bsd for desktop use; I'm a gamer, and virtual machines are enough to give me my linux fix. I tried Vista RC2 very briefly and hated it. After my display drivers became so problematic that I literally could not see anything properly enough to even log in, I gave up.

    However, I was building a new rig a few months ago and decided to give it another shot, only for DX10. In months of very heavy use (running games + movies + several virtual machines at the same time), I've been pleasantly surprised how decent it has turned out to be. The only problem I've had is widescreen not working in one game (which was achieved through an unsupported hack in the first place). The UI is significantly better, and I really do miss the improvements when I use my XP laptop for anything productive. Stability has been great, I haven't had any sort of entire-os crash at all. Drivers were exactly as they were in XP: visit site, download, click next a few times, reboot, done.

    Maybe my experience is atypical, but I think the amount of criticism Vista gets is unwarranted; in particular, it really bothers me when people bash it when their experience with Vista comes from nothing but /. comments by users with equal Vista experience. Is it the best thing since sliced bread? No. Could Microsoft have done better? Very much so. Is it better than XP? Definitely.

  • by shdowhawk ( 940841 ) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @02:15PM (#20278095)
    I swear people are stupid...

    Vista is the abusive one to the world. Always causing trouble and hurting the people around them...

    And what about us *nix and osx people? We're the "friends" .. the person you go to when you have troubles or just need to talk. Will we ever be "relationship" material? Will we ever just be USED by the abused one? (oh.. just to be used even once... we could show them how amazing we really are). God forbid they get seen using a mac or a linux box though! OMFGBBQLOLZWTF! What a horrible thought, what would the general society think?!!

    But ... they always go back to the abusive one... *sighs*

  • 12 years earlier (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kludge ( 13653 ) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @02:32PM (#20278307)
    I bailed on MS after windows '95 came out. It sucked. I have used only Linux since.
    I suppose that sooner or later everyone will learn.
  • by acvh ( 120205 ) <geek@m s c i g a r s.com> on Saturday August 18, 2007 @02:36PM (#20278353) Homepage
    I open up the one copy of PC Mag I have sitting by desk, and read Dvorak's column from 1998 in which he predicts that Windows 98 on a Pentium 2 is more power than anyone will ever need, and that WebTV will make home PCs obsolete.
  • by Master of Transhuman ( 597628 ) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @03:36PM (#20278939) Homepage
    This means one or both of the following:

    1) As an editor he HAD to push Microsoft products for the ad revenue. When he couldn't any longer, they dumped him.

    2) Same as the above, except pushing crap products finally got to him and he quit.

    Wonder how many other well-known PC zine employees are getting fed up with being forced to push Microsoft's shit when they know it isn't worth the bandwidth bits or CD pits it came on.

  • by howlingmadhowie ( 943150 ) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @04:05PM (#20279173)

    In this neighborhood, at this moment, the richest and most deeply funded monopoly in the history of the world is beginning to fail. Within another few months, the causes of its failure will be apparent to everybody, as they are now largely apparent to the knowledgeable observers of the industry who expect trouble for Microsoft.
  • by hot soldering iron ( 800102 ) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @04:11PM (#20279213)
    I've spent almost 30 years in tech (started when I was 11 yo with a teletype, keep your friggin jokes to yourselves), and the last decent product MS made was called DOS 5.0 ! Even that was just playing "keep up" with the market. Anyone that says,"Microsoft made this or that great product!" might want to check again. They either bought it from someone else, aped their design, or hired someone else to create it for them. They are serious, old-school, "buy and conquer" business people, not dedicated techies. They would rather get paid a billion $s for raping customers with a pile of crap, than invest the time and effort into making a good product.

    Yea, I know the mantra,"If they didn't have to provide backwards compatability for third-party hard/software, it would be a better system." Wake up. They DON'T provide backward compatability! They're just tacking new crap on top of old, and they break shit all the time! If your app from DOS or Win95 still works you're lucky, that's all. I've had several apps that broke on new OS releases,
    just like they're doing with Vista, and XP before that, and NT before that. If you want backwards compatability, the only good way I can think of to do that is to run the old OS in a VM. That way you get the benefits of the new OS, and can run all your old stuff on the old OS.

    I've talked about Linux with my family and friends, and they all bring up the same points: their games (or Apps) won't play on Linux; who cares about whether it's free or not, they just pirate windows and its' apps anyways. When I point out that Linux has very few (effectively none) virus or spyware weaknesses, they just say that they use (pirated) Norton. Why should they use GIMP when they've got the latest (pirated) Photoshop? Windows has built up an accepted culture of theft in modern society, and conditioned people to think that it's okay.

    I used to pirate. I used to collect software and cracks and trade them with others. Then I found free/shareware programs that were really good, and I started looking for and using more of it. It felt good to not have to be afraid of getting caught with $80K worth of stolen software on my machines. I've gradually moved to using legit and free software, and it feels good. It wasn't quick or comprehensive, there are still apps we use that are proprietary, but they are getting fewer as I find freeware replacements.

    MS has given us a fairly consistent (fairly F*ed up) computer environment for the last 20 yrs, yet it has also made thieves of most everyone I know. Has it been worth it?


  • Short memories (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rickla ( 641376 ) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @04:17PM (#20279253)
    People so much in love and applauding vista forget about xp's beginnings which were fare more rocky. Then it was going from a non nt to nt kernel, a fare more radical step. Things took even longer to iron out drivers and all, from what I recall. Vists ahould take less time since they aren't moving that far up the tech ladder I agree, but this is the way it is. My frustration with vista is not having a good way to report bugs and see they have been reported. I like sun, I report java bugs and can easily find out if they exists already and read comments. I think if ms had an open bug system like sun it would do a world of good, especially if we could see what bugs they are targeting for releases. Maybe it exists somewhere but I don't know about it.
  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan ( 730745 ) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @05:20PM (#20279823)
    Vista 64 is OK. I'm not sure i'm a fan of the new memory management. I have 8 gigs of ram and do 3d animation etc. Vista loves to eat up all of the memory, and then when my apps need it, it slowly gives it to the app however it still triggers swapping as it does so. And it is frustrating and anoying.. not to mention SLOW.

    The new file explorer UI is good, but it hides too much on its tree menu when you open a file explorer. Its hard to explain but it takes a few clicks to get to a drive, or to look through your "favorites".

    The integrated search is very nice.

    I'm not having too much difficulty with Vista. I'm liking it, although i have been feeling that file operations were slow... and now i noticed MS has an update that improves that dramatically. I dont like the DRM features, but none have been an issue for me yet.

    The only real reason i'm running Vista is because XP 64 doesnt get enough driver support. Vista 64 has better driver support Otherwise i'd probably run XP 64 and install MS's desktop search addon...

    The thing i dont like is the complete unstable nature of the PC DESKTOP. Suddenly things are quite messy, and i blaim microsoft.

    Vista on a whole, usage wise... seems to work fine for the most part but... i'm not convinced that it is required.

    If you install it... install VISTA 64.

  • by Mr. Freeman ( 933986 ) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @05:27PM (#20279883)
    "I gave Vista too much free pass".
    I have to ask, "Well why the hell did you do that?"

    You shouldn't give a good review to something that isn't working well simply because you THINK or HOPE it will be fixed in the future. Doing so is selling yourself out and isn't responsible journalism.
  • On that note... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Cprossu ( 736997 ) <<cprossu2> <at> <gmail.com>> on Saturday August 18, 2007 @07:06PM (#20280605)
    I bought 3 laptops for my family, two of them were Turion X2's one by acer, one by gateway, and a basic dual core pentium m system by everex. Anyway, the gateway had vista home premium, and the others had home basic. I upgraded the home premium system from 1GB ram to 2.5GB, and got the home basic systems up to a respectable 1.5GB of ram each.

    Anyway, after hours of tweaking my gateway I still could not get the damn thing under 210MB Idle at startup with no startup programs running and all useless services turned off (and with XPSP2 I generally like it to be somewhere around 77MB usage max on a clean restart on mem usage considering no other programs are launched ar startup), and the interface, even though it resembled windows 2000 after I was done with it, was still very slow and unresponsive. The networking was a nightmare and didn't work 1/2 of the time, and NONE OF THE SYSTEMS WOULD SLEEP RIGHT! heck, 2 of the systems wouldn't even hibernate for me, and this is a preloaded system. Tech support at gateway, acer, and everex all assured me that it was a driver problem and that all of it was resolved in new drivers....which they hadn't been.... I got excuses stemming from microsoft, themselves, their vendors, driver writers, you name it, excuses, but no solutions.
    So I went through updating driver and patch hell, sometimes installing modified xp drivers in attempt to get things working, got called a liar and many other nasty things on some unofficial vista support forums after suggesting I was displeased with the performance and suggesting that this cannot be just the driver's fault alone,

    after about 3 hours of dicking around with things so far buried into the operating system I was beginning to think that it was like trying to get Xfree86 running in Red Hat 5 with a ATI radeon back in the day, and several system recovery's later after I screwed up the OS so badly it wouldn't boot anymore, so I threw in the towel and loaded XP on the two laptops that were going to my family members, and left vista on mine. I finally got it running almost decently, and ran it for two weeks and noticed that it tended to slow down at random times.
    I found vista required the most work out of the box to make it even slightly functional-
    I mean on other OS's, I don't have to surgically remove useless services, ei the windows "nanny", or interfaces which chew up ram to make something look pretty, or find odd versions of drivers which are broken in one regard, but possibly not another, drivers that weren't even made for the device I am using, but perhaps another made by a different vendor with the same chipset. Also it doesn't help that there are stumbling blocks built right into it because they assume that the user is completely useless, or the fact that they re-arranged all the important control panels, and replaced quite a few of them with useless counterparts. I finally gave up on my laptop and loaded XP onto it.
    For those who are curious, I did go through a few headaches tracking down drivers for everything in XP, but i found that more often than not the XP drivers were bundled with the vista drivers, or at least the vista drivers somehow worked under XP. I have already loaded XP on 11 of my customer's laptops which came with one form of vista or another, and I have already run out of my little stockpile of XP Pro OEM liscenses I bought a years back... Perhaps I should snag a few more before they disappear.
  • by DavidD_CA ( 750156 ) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @07:31PM (#20280797) Homepage
    He admits that he "put together" his own machine. Could that be why it does not wake up from sleep mode? Or why he's having so many other troubles?

    I've found that the more someone messes with settings, the more likely they are to cause serious problems down the line. I have no doubt that this self-proclaimed power user has been doing plenty of messing around.

    On the other hand, I have a brand-new Dell system which did not ship with Vista. I loaded Vista on it, and everything works perfectly -- including sleep and hibernate. I also have a two-year old Dell laptop which I loaded Vista onto, and it too works perfectly. The wireless reconnects after a standby in 15-20 seconds. Not great, but not bad enough to drive me to Linux.

    His issues might have more clout if they were experienced by more people. But it seems to me that the only people "suffering" from Vista are the ones who are using unsupported hardware, or are trying to mess with settings to the point they break things. Oh, there's also the group that spreads FUD about Vista without actually trying it, regurgitating the FUD that others have already tried to spread.

    Here's a conspiracy theory: Jim Louderback's new company is a geek-focused video-blog of sorts, professing the greatness of BitTorrent and other open-standard goodness. Could it be that this final editorial was an attempt to give him a little bit of geek street cred? Shame Vista and the geeks will come.
  • by jlouderb ( 460024 ) * on Sunday August 19, 2007 @04:52AM (#20284211) Homepage
    Thanks for all the great comments. I'm even happy that someone remembers something I said on ZDTV five years ago, now that's the memory of an elephant.

    Why care about networking and wireless? Because it's the lifeblood of my computers. I share tons of stuff with my other computers at home, and I like to see them actually working together. Music, video, files, etc, all run off the network. The XP machines are up automatically, while Vista takes forever. And the made for Vista notebook I've been using is the worst of all of them.

    As to the Mac... I didn't have space to get into the sleep problems that our 20" iMac suffers through - like why doesn't it actually go to sleep reliably, and why is the fan so loud. Guess I shouldn't have purchased one of the last PPC iMacs, or maybe I should just buy a new Mac every year...

    FWIW, I didn't leave because I was sick of pandering to Windows, or any of those other suggestions. PCMag has always been, and will continue to be independent. The editors there make the best decisions about products based on their voluminous knowledge and experience, not because of advertisers. Witness the strong Mac-based reviews recently, for example.

    • by cheros ( 223479 ) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @07:11AM (#20284743)
      I bought a new laptop because my existing one needed to go into service. I'm naturally disinclined to use something unproven but I was given no choice (I reckoned that the hardware mattered more to me so I went ahead).

      Anyway, to cut a long story short - I will *never* use Vista again. I had Vista "for business" but it is better named "AGAINST business" for the following reasons:

      It doesn't work. This was on a Sony VAIO SZ4, so-called "Vista ready". Well, it wasn't. Frequent lockups, a gazillion popups ("you have moved your mouse - allow/deny?"), running like a slug, taking forever to boot up, I could go on. If I hadn't used Beryl on Linux I could have suffered under the delusion that Vista is just heavy on the machine because of graphics but Beryl proves it can be FAST and pretty if you code properly.

      It is extremely chatty on the Net. I logged traffic emanating from this machine that I most certainly did not authorise. I spend a good hour or so disabling all the phone-home features that somehow default to the suppliers' preference and there was still plenty going on in the background. Sorry, not in my backyard, not with IT *I* paid for and not with bandwidth that is under *my* contract. If you want to hire my computer, go ahead and sign a contract, otherwise it's simply theft (that's what spam is as well).

      DRM IS A MAJOR, REPEAT, MAJOR THREAT TO BUSINESS STABILITY AND RESILIENCE. Analyse how DRM works: the chain from origin to output has to be 100% functional for you to reach your information (that's why the word "chain" is so appropriate here). That has a few obvious implications and I can't believe that so little is made of it. Tell me where I'm wrong here:

      - if any component in the chain fails, access to any DRM "protected" resource is impossible. I may be wrong here, but AFAIK that means the MTBF of such a chain is the lowest MTBF of the components involved, divided by the number of components. That makes failure not a probability, it makes it a certainty.
      - it puts serious barriers in the way to fast recovery from problems.
      - NONE of the components in this chain is of a long and trusted heritage. I would be very interested to meet the person who is willing to entrust his entire corporate infrastructure to a Microsoft + hardware vendors beta test. As it happens, it appears many are prepared to do so - it's going to be interesting to see anyone claim off insurance when it goes wrong.

      As for that laptop, I solved the problem with installing Ubuntu, VMWare and an as yet unused OEM copy of Windows XP (I don't use unlicensed software). Works for me, stable, and less of a worry re viruses (I have been using Openoffice.org for a year now as it works under Linux AND Windows).

      Vista? No way. From what I hear from others it has proved quite a sales push, but for Windows XP licenses, Macs and Linux. Given the amount of talent MS has hired I take that as the lowest return on investment ever.

      They can keep it.

Air is water with holes in it.