Why Vista isn’t coming near my computers 21.02.07

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)