The Controversial Vista

The Controversial Vista
   In the past year I am constantly involved in conversations about Windows Vista in chats, forums and live. Today I decided to share my wisdom with my multi-million reader base. In the last year I have argued on both sides of the "Vista Sux" debate. Why Vista is the best desktop OS but a failure at the same time?

   First lets see what I use my computer for. My truth depends on these things and your truth may vary depending on what you use your computer for. The percentage is based on the importance and not on the time I spend doing stuff.

   Games – 50%
   Work(.NET Developer) – 20%
   Stay connected (IRC, ICQ, the Web) - 30%

   Lets look at the other operating systems out there. First there is Mac OS but it only works on Mac. I know it can be installed on PC but that is not only unreasonable but also illegal. The reason why Mac OS works arguably better than any PC OS is because it runs on very limited hardware that Apple fully controls. So Mac OS is out for limiting our hardware AND software. There is less software for Mac than for PC. On Mac I will lose like half the games I play and .NET, so aside from being much more expensive, Mac is just 55% computer for me.

   Linux is another option but its driver support is bad (and will always be bad). I can also argue that it is slower in many cases and that it is uglier and has bad interface but these are somewhat religious arguments so do not count them in. With no games on Linux why does this OS even exist? Absolutely unacceptable.

   This leaves us with two choices – XP and Vista.

   XP problems:
   1. Maximum 3GB RAM. While there is XP 64bit it bares most of Vista's compatibility problems (see below) and unlike Vista they are never gonna be fixed. No one cares about XP 64bit. What is more XP will not be on sale soon although I suspect there will be copies on the market for about a year after Microsoft stops selling it.
   2. No DirectX 10. While this is not really important yet it is something to consider if you love pretty graphics.
   3. No search. No, I am not going to install Google Desktop Search.

   XP pluses:
   1. Drivers and software support. Everything just works on XP.
   2. Lower system requirements.
   3. Familiarity. Everyone knows how to use XP and is used to it.

   Vista problems:
   1. Not so good driver and software support.
   2. Higher system requirements.
   3. Many small changes to the interface that most users are not used to.

   Vista pluses:
   1. Virtually unlimited RAM.
   2. DirectX 10. Will take over the world soon... maybe... eventually... hopefully.
   3. Search. The search changes the way you control your computer. You cannot imagine how useful it is before becoming an addict. I LOVE SEARCH.
   4. Many small improvements to the software that comes with Windows. Windows Media Player, Paint, Picture Viewer, etc. are one idea better. Even the changes in the interface are usually better though they require some time to get used to. The Phonetic Bulgarian keyboard layout is better than the unofficial "standard" but you have to get used to it.
   5. Aero... if you care about pretty desktop.

   Now at first glance it looks like Vista is the loser. Who cares how good search is or how good Aero looks if the system is unusable because of the system requirements and the software does not work? However we have to look farther from our noses. Vista's pluses will become more important as the time passes and the downsides will be less important. On the other hand XP's downsides will never be fixed. Moore's Law is going to fix Vista's system requirements problem. I even think it is fixed already. I doubt anyone will be buying a new PC with less than 2GB RAM and that is where Vista becomes as fast as XP. Drivers and software problems will also be fixed because no hardware or software vendor can afford to ignore the growing Vista market. In fact as time passes we can even see hardware that does not work on XP. There is the Intel Turbo Memory right now and you can consider DirectX 10 cards to be somewhat Vista oriented. On the other hand Moore's Low makes the 3GB XP problem really severe. What are you going to do next year when 4GB RAM will be a must? The same goes for the interface changes. Once you are used to them you will be more productive.

   In the long run Vista is slightly better than XP but even slightly better is still better so obviously Vista is the best desktop OS. However Vista is a failure. It is a failure because the pluses I mentioned are not enough for five years development and are not worth the price of the upgrade. Microsoft also failed on the PR side. Somehow the public opinion on Vista is rather negative. A bunch of Microsoft haters and people who have never tried Vista for more than a day are building its negative image because some stupid program crashed. Vista was much better at launch than XP was when it was released. Now a year and a half later Microsoft's new OS has drivers and software support that almost match these of XP.

   The verdict:
   Buy Vista only if you are getting a new PC. There is no point in buying a new PC because of Vista but if you are getting one anyway Vista is your best bet. Right now all new hardware has good Vista drivers and all new software supports Vista. On machines with 2GB or more RAM Vista is as fast and in some cases faster than XP.

   Of course Vista is far from perfect. There are many things incomprehensible for me. One of the most annoying things is the behavior of the backspace in Windows Explorer. In XP its behavior is "Up one level" while in Vista it is "Back". I guess Microsoft's usability experts tested it and it turned out better but was it so hard to give us an option to change the behavior to the old style? After all I got used to this on their OS.

   What were Microsoft doing all these years? Well as it seems Vista is Microsoft's investment in the future of Windows. While there are not many new things you can see as a user there is a lot happening on the inside. The driver architecture is changed, the security is improved and there are even hints of modularity. One of the reasons so much software breaks on Vista is because Windows programs are used to running as an Administrator. Vista is changing that as well as many more things that need change. When Windows 7 comes out hopefully all the software will be running with reduced privileges as it is supposed to. The hardware vendors will have know-how on how to write drivers with the new driver model. Many people that are familiar with how things work internally in Windows point out that the programs that break on Vista are usually using undocumented API functions or were broken but not punished on XP. Now Vista just prevents these programs from writing unallocated memory and stuff like this but of course to the end user it seems like Vista itself is broken because the very same program used to run on XP. Of course that is another investment because in order to run on Vista the software will have to get better and that way the platform will be better in the future.
Tags:   english tech 
Posted by:   Stilgar
21:07 25.05.2008


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Posted by   . (Unregistered)   on   19:12 26.05.2008

Има игри за лайнукс ;) предполагам ще се сетиш и коя е най-яката - кернело! :D

Posted by   Stilgar   on   19:16 26.05.2008

kernela na Quake VM:)

Posted by   apostol   on   19:48 26.05.2008


За Виста нямаш право да даваш нищожното си мнение, защото си некомпетентен! Никой не се интересува от мнението на анонимни отрепки от задния двор на Европа като теб! Важно е какво казва единствено Н.В. Пазарът! А той говори, че с Виста Майкрософт правят пари, много пари!

Бас държа, че освен порнографски списания през последните 15 години и една книга не си прочел. А аз написах 16 и половината ги преведоха по целия свят. Затова вместо да дращиш глупостите си за Виста, се запиши на моите курсове, купи си моите книги! Ако не ме харесваш, значи нямаш вкус. И не само вкус! Липсват ти първите 7 години, липсва ти подходящо образование и т. н. Статистиката е недвусмислена- съвременните младежи са си чисто и просто идиоти.


Posted by   Guest (Unregistered)   on   00:43 07.06.2008

Евала Апостоле ;)

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