Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Windows Vista: a disaster

Microsoft in the past few years has become the gang that can't shoot straight. For a time I thought they were faking it. Surely this ruthless bunch of cut-throat morals-be-damned competitors couldn't have become ineffective. I remember back when they ran the rags, playing PC Magazine and its ilk like violins. They were pirates then, and unfortunately successful.

Lately it's seemed that they were moving away from being pirates, and also from being effective. (Thank heaven, given the fruits of their success.) Thurott, a former Microsoft-groupie who's become a real journalist over the past few years believes things are very bad indeed.
Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows: Windows Vista February 2006 CTP (Build 5308/5342) Review, Part 5: Where Vista Fails

... For Windows, specifically, the situation is dire. As I've noted in the past, the Windows Division retains, as employees of the software giant have told me, the last vestiges of the bad, old Microsoft. This is the Microsoft that ran roughshod over competitors in order to gain market share at any cost. The Microsoft that forgot about customers in its blind zeal to harm competitors....

... So what went wrong? What didn't go wrong? When Bill Gates revealed in mid-2003 that he was returning to his roots, so to speak, and spending half of his time on what was then still called Longhorn, we should have seen the warning signs. Sadly, Gates, too, is part of the Bad Microsoft, a vestige of the past who should have had the class to either formally step down from the company or at least play just an honorary role, not step up his involvement and get his hands dirty with the next Windows version. If blame is to be assessed, we must start with Gates. He has guided--or, through lack of leadership--failed to guide the development of Microsoft's most prized asset. He has driven it into the ground.

Promises were made. Excitement was generated. None of it, as it turns out, was worth a damn. From a technical standpoint, the version of Windows Vista we will receive is a sad shell of its former self, a shadow. One might still call it a major Windows release. I will, for various reasons. The kernel was rewritten. The graphics subsystem is substantially improved, if a little obviously modeled after that in Mac OS X. Heck, half of the features of Windows Vista seem to have been lifted from Apple's marketing materials.

Shame on you, Microsoft. Shame on you, but not just for not doing better. We expect you to copy Apple, just as Apple (and Linux) in its turn copies you. But we do not and should not expect to be promised the world, only to be given a warmed over copy of Mac OS X Tiger in return. Windows Vista is a disappointment. There is no way to sugarcoat that very real truth.
No great loss. When I replace my last PC with a Mac, I'll run either XP or Win2K in the virtualizer for the few apps I need, including Microsoft Access, Visio and my old version of Quicken. Every week or so I'll boot Windows, otherwise I'll do very well without. Vista is irrelevant and unwanted.

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