The Little Operating System That Couldn't

Thursday, June 01, 2006 | 11:53 am

Six and a half years in the making, delayed five times, descoped so vehemently that Microsoft employee's are pleading for new leadership and a slimming down of their behemoth company, and now even the dyed-in-the-wool PC pundits are clamouring to bad-mouth it:
poor little Windows Vista is having a tough childhood.

The graphics side of the UI has been upgraded with a transparent OS X look and some better graphical transitions. There's even a functionality like Tiger's widgets called gadgets on the desktop. All good improvements, borrowed from the best.

It's under the hood though that they are struggling, as the proposed new file system was abandoned, and the attempts to beef-up security through permissions based metholodgies (as per Unix/OS X) is experiencing growing pains. Too many programmers, not enough UI designers. Here for example, is how to delete a shortcut from your desktop in only 7 steps

The battle for MS is convincing people to upgrade. Outside of early adopters, home users generally dont spend much on operating systems, they usually wait they buy a new machine with the update thrown in. Graphics and security are the two areas that date XP so severely, so they have to be compelling. In the corporate space, no-one moves at the first version (especially when the home version isn't being released till a few months after, much to the xmas consternation of Dell, Gateway etc), and the inherent cost of upgrading large numbers of machines demands a very good business case to show why it is worthwhile for the Outlook/Excel/Word crowd.

It will sell, market share says so, but will it sell well? Could this be the project that forces the reshaping of Microsoft? With Vista aiming for the end of the year, as well as Sony's late & overpriced PS3, it will be an interesting xmas for the old dinosaurs.

UPDATE: Here's some additional links with heaps of review detail on Vista Beta 2. Scott Finnie's article on Computerworld is comprehensive and an interesting read once you get past the eye-catching title, and Ars Technica's review is a little softer, but with lots of screenshots.


At 1/6/06 5:37 pm, Blogger Kathy said...

Does anyone out there really buy a new operating system upgrade to get prettier transitions or desktop themes? That's insanity. The first thing I do with any new Windows machine is to turn all that crap off. If it were possible to do it in OS X (I don't know, I guess there might be a way to get rid of all that stuff on a Mac too, but my impulse is to say that there isn't) I would do it there too. All that crap is a waste of time and CPU cycles.

Damn, I sound like a curmudgeon.

At 2/6/06 1:31 am, Blogger Shocho said...

Man, that "delete a shortcut" procedure sums up my three-month Windows experience very well. Everything was hard to find and it asked me twenty questions whenever I tried to do something. Add to the noise part of the signal-to-noise ratio the constant messages about how some panda bear saved me from a virus. Sheesh.

Soon, I will have the best of both worlds. I feel like a Shinto-Buddhist that hit the jackpot.

At 3/6/06 6:39 pm, Blogger GiromiDe said...

See, here's the problem with Vista and all its eye candy. It serves no purpose. At least Mac OS X uses its eye candy in a more "organic" fashion. MS is just slapping expensive effects on top of the same architecture, and I'm sure you can turn them all off.

Sure, Mac OS X eats up more CPU and memory because of Aqua, but Apple is about making the OS as much an "experience" as anything else. Plus, hardware is catching up to Mac OS X in both scope and price.

As far as Vista's impact and the upgrade path is concerned, as more gaming pours into the console markets, the need to upgrade Windows PCs will diminish. Granted, there are probably a few PC games around the corner that will require at least an upgrade of the GPU.

And the business market will be very slow to adopt Vista. Smaller, competitive firms don't want to waste precious time dealing with the internal headaches of upgrading right away, and big businesses are very hesitant of touching the OS without a couple of years of stability.

MS sales guys will be very busy next year.

At 5/6/06 12:41 pm, Blogger Aussie-Askew said...

Agreed. In fact, I added a few new links at the bootom of the article, for those who want to see some detail.


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