Why Vista isn’t coming near my computers

I’ve earlier written a norwegian piece on why Vista isn’t coming near my computer over at Nettvint.net, but since the arguments have grown during time and I felt the need for a recap, I’ll do it again.

To sum it up: Vista isn’t coming near any of my computers, and I’ll tell you why right here and now:

  1. It brings nothing new to the table. Windows Vista has no real improvements for most users. The options are shuffled around a bit, there’s this “new” search function that you actually had in earlier versions since Windows 2000 if you just enabled it, there’s DirectX10 which no games take advantage of yet, there’s the same crappy 64-bit support as Windows XP, there’s glossy windows, there’s a sidebar which you can find from 3rd party developers for any Windows version. Where’s the real improvements?
  2. It’s a copycat product. If you look at the list of changes, you’ll see that most of them are shamelessly stolen from their competitors. Would you like the original or a pale copy? Even 3D windows is done much better elsewhere.
  3. The “security measures” actually contributes to more security risks. Have you seen “normal” users surf on dubious sites? They click through all warnings without reading them. And what does this mean for Vista? It means that thanks to the UAC (User Account Control) security warnings people will learn, even more than earlier, to click away warnings without reading them! It’s a waste of peoples time, and most novice users will quickly learn that you need to click “continue” on all warnings in order to get things to work, so that’s what they’ll do. I predict all of my friends who tries out Vista to come to me, begging for a way to turn it off.
  4. Digital Rights Management prohibits you from viewing your own content. Vista’s DRM is a real gem. Let’s say you buy a high quality movie online and want to view it on your flat-screen 40″ TV with DVI input. Get this: Vista will downgrade the image quality to a complete mess (or might even refuse to play it) because the DVI output isn’t secured from copying! It will make the movie you payed for completely unwatchable, effectively assuming you are guitly for piracy until proven otherwise. There are a lot of conditions that might cause Vista to downgrade your experience, including everything from buggy drivers to a ground failure in your house. Is this an environment you want to use for a Home Theater PC? Not me neither.
  5. It’s overpriced. First of all, it’s way more expensive than it’s direct competitors. Second, the new editions has a skew upwards in the features, to nudge more users onto more expensive editions. To actually get all the features I used in Windows XP Professional ($299) I have to buy Windows Vista Ultimate Edition ($399). That’s for the same basic feature set as I use today.

And I’m definitively not the first one to feel like this. As an experiment, Computerworld Windows expert Scot Finnie decided to switch completely to Mac for a three month trial period mainly because of his doubts about Windows Vista. His only real troubles during the migration was moving his mail from the Windows version of Eudora Mail to the Mac version, hardly something you can blame on the OS. And the best thing about it all? Get this: after the three months he is not going back! Ever! Or as he puts it: “When Mac users say, ‘It just works’, what they mean is that you spend more time on your work, and a lot less time working on your computer”.

For anyone that asks me from now on, I recommend OS X or Ubuntu as operating system, depending on use and expertise. I have colleagues that use OS X, and I’m quite impressed by it. However, for broader software availability, Ubuntu is my new choice of primary OS.

Other resources (that aren’t linked from elsewhere in the article):

Edit: Martin Bekkelund does a testdrive of Windows Vista, suggested reading for anyone considering Vista (in norwegian)

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  • Ronny

    1. Actually, the new search in Vista is vastly superior to that in Win2K. (And just like Apple’s Spotlight, it also searches inside documents and emails)
    DX10 games is a reality in the (near) future, wheter or not you want it to be. 64 bit support requires more effort from driver developers, not MS, but I agree that the current support is sorely lacking.

    2. Because Apple and Linux never copies anything? OK, Apple has been pretty inventive at times, but most features in OSS is copied blatantly from Win/Apple.

    3. I agree that UAC is a bit eager, but once your system is up and running, you shouldn’t have to encounter it so very often.

    4. Actually, the only way to view a DRM’ed film from BlueRay or HD DVD on a computer is via Vista’s built in DRM. This isn’t something that MS has made up just for your inconvenience. Sure, you can remove the DRM and watch it in XP, Linux, and OS X. But this also goes for Vista. The DRM is there to make it possible to watch “protected” content, not to stop you from watching unprotected content.

    5. MS is harassed (ie sued) for giving you “to many” features for free in Win XP, and when they decide to make things a little bit more optional by offering several packages with incremental featureset, they get blamed for this too. Actually, I suppose Vista Business is the best edition to compare to Win XP Professional.

  • 1. As I said, the local indexed search functionality has been available since Windows 2000. It’s called Indexing Service and is disabled by default. If you enable it, it works just like the search in Windows Vista (though with the old-school interface). 64-bit XP has been out for years, and noone has bothered to support it, so I can’t see why Vista should be different.

    2. It’s not about never copying anything. But when *everything* “new” in the OS is copied, it just seems like a waste of time.

    4. Completely wrong. The DRM scheme itself is there because the movies comes with them, sure. But the Protected Video Path is Microsofts own invention that lives on top of DRM and that is what’s destroying your out-signal if it doesn’t like your setup. It is not required for playing back DRM protected content. It’s just there for bending over to MPAA and neglecting the users right to choose how to play back their content.

    5. The governments harassed them, not the users. I have never heard a single Windows user (except Linux geeks that occasionally boot into Windows) complain about getting a free browser and mediaplayer with their operating system. Their closest commercial competitor, Apple, prices their OS at under half the price, with *all* features enabled.

  • sadad

    your blog doesnt scroll using the scroll wheel properly. It feels like i am browsing thru molassas. please replace this blog with something better.

  • Uh… The blog uses standard HTML and has nothing to do with how your scrollwheel works. It might be that your browser is one that doesn’t handle fixed background images very well, but that’s not my faul.

    Please replace your browser with something better. :)

  • Jonas Mamre

    Yeah im running vista right now, its ok, but has its downsides.

    It does not have alot of support for programs yet, and all the new visuals, i had in xp from 3rd party programs.

    What concerns me is the required driver signing, which means that no individual can make a driver for a hardware product. It is only allowed for the big corporations and it costs alot of money to do so.

    I think vista is gonna be great, but it has a long way to go. When games run direct x 10 its gonna be awesome, and hopefully the os will support more programs and be more bug-free.