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We secretly switched their operating system....
July 24, 2008 4:48 PM   Subscribe

Microsoft, browbeaten by criticism over Windows Vista, demoed a new operating system code-named Project Mojave to a group of Windows XP users. An overwhelming majority of the XP users liked what they saw. It was then that Microsoft told them they were drinking Folgers Crystals, er, using Windows Vista. posted by dw (163 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
You're a brave fellow, dw.
posted by WPW at 4:53 PM on July 24, 2008


Well sure, I bet other Windows ***L***users like it. Now try to convert some Ubuntu users.
posted by DU at 4:57 PM on July 24, 2008


If this gets turned into an ad campaign I don't think people will be so impressed by the fact that Microsoft tricked a handful of its own customers into admitting that they like their new product. It actually seems kind of pathetic.
posted by saraswati at 5:02 PM on July 24, 2008 [4 favorites]


I wonder if those XP users are users who had previously tried Vista and didn't like it or, as I suspect, users that are just random pc users off the street who wouldn't know better. If it was me I would have recognised Vista streight away.

Vista's criticism is a little over the top and there is a certain element of bandwagon criticism there. It's certainly cool to slam Vista nowadays and the Mac vs PC adverts play a huge part in that culture. Not to say that it doesn't deserve criticism. It has its (and has had) problems but it is certainly in no way a step back from XP. Its a decent operating system and if you get it free with your Dell then whats the problem? As the study shows the vast majority of people wont know better.
posted by Po0py at 5:06 PM on July 24, 2008


Now try to convert some Ubuntu users.

Pfft, you mean Ubuntu ***L***users. Try and convert someone from using Slackware to that Fisher-Price crap.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 5:07 PM on July 24, 2008 [4 favorites]


Metafilter is a good place to promote Microsoft's new ad campaign.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:07 PM on July 24, 2008 [7 favorites]


@Saraswati

You have to assume that these people were told that they were in test conditions and pretty much anything goes. R&D companies do these kinds of tests on people all the time. There is absolutely nothing unusual here.
posted by Po0py at 5:08 PM on July 24, 2008


Bah, Amiga OS 4 was better.
posted by hellojed at 5:09 PM on July 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


Metafilter is a good place to promote Microsoft's new ad campaign.

I'm one of the few web geeks in Seattle who can say they've never done time at the 'soft. And I hopefully never will.
posted by dw at 5:10 PM on July 24, 2008


My abacus is bug free.
posted by mcstayinskool at 5:11 PM on July 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


I wonder what would have happened if Microsoft had given them OS X and called it Sonora.
posted by imperium at 5:12 PM on July 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


crap, my old mac plus running System 7 is better than any permutation of windows now or 20 years in the future...there, I said it....
posted by HuronBob at 5:12 PM on July 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


I am wondering how they managed this. I skimmed the articles, including the secondary links, but I am still wondering. They claim the test subjects were "using" the software.

Did they send disks of "Windows Mojave" to these folks and tell them to load up all their favorite softwares on any old machine they had laying around? Hmm?

Or did they invite them in to a pristine, well managed environment with carefully selected hardware, stringently vetted software, and no buggy or legacy software of questionable stability?

The issue has never been with what MS has tried to accomplish with Vista, or even what MS has actually accomplished with Vista. The problem has been that the damn thing doesn't work reliably in the real world, and it's expensive and it demands you to upgrade your software.

I am no Linux fanboi, but I can take a new Linux distro and throw it on an old PC and have the damn thing work. Might be slow, but it works.
posted by Xoebe at 5:13 PM on July 24, 2008 [28 favorites]


Now I have a burning desire to see the Chris Farley version of that Folgers commercial.
posted by arcanecrowbar at 5:13 PM on July 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's odd. When I started using vista I hated it (full disclosure: I am a developer / gamer when at home). But after building a new machine recently I gave it a try and it has really grown on me. I actually haven't even installed the copy of XP I picked up with the intention of dual-booting the machine.

The reason is hardware: Vista really needs a quad-core CPU and at least 2 GB of RAM. When it first shipped that requirement would have been insane.

But the fact is Vista on an Athalon 3000+ single core with 1 GB of ram sucks in the same way that XP on a Pentium II 350 MHZ did.

Once you give it the power it needs it is a very nice OS from the users point of view.
posted by Riemann at 5:17 PM on July 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Were they told the hardware specs? Because that's the real dead-giveaway. I mean, yeah you can make Vista look like XP... who cares if it still sucks up twice as many resources and thrashes your hard drive when it's idle?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:18 PM on July 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Not enough meat here. A Wikipedia page and a link to "Ars Technica's journal dedicated to all things Microsoft," with no data about who these oh-wowers are, how long they played with Vista, or much of anything else, really. All we learn is that "the focus groups didn't have to install Vista or hook it up to their existing home network."

Smells like pure marketing.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:20 PM on July 24, 2008


Addendum: What has surprised me most about Vista in home use (as a gamer) is that it plays my really old games as well as XP did. Better in some cases. Compatibility mode + administrator mode and I haven't found any old games that worked on XP that no longer do.

I was just playing Baldur's Gate 1 (original 5 disk release) last night.

Really, the only problems I've had since building the new machine have been a result of NVIDIA no longer supporting textures with dimensions not a power of 2 for DirectX. I want to play some Crimson Skies damnit!
posted by Riemann at 5:20 PM on July 24, 2008


So what was it that the users liked? Did Microsoft actually implement some of the neat features that had been cut from the Vista release, or what?
posted by ryanrs at 5:21 PM on July 24, 2008


Vista blows.

For example: I have Vista on my iMac Intel Core Duo. If I want to put the machine to sleep or shut down, there are nine--that's right, nine--options to choose from. None of these actually turns the machine off. You heard me right, there is no way to turn my computer off.

This is an issue when I want to use my ham radio; the hardware emits excessive RF noise even in the deepest sleep mode, although none when it's actually off. If I'm using Vista (which I rarely do anymore) I have to reboot into Mac OS and then shut down.

There are also other reasons that Vista blows.
posted by neuron at 5:22 PM on July 24, 2008


I love my Vista. I'm no super user, but the whole Mac operating system is better always seemed like what the kool kids liked to say. Its pure marketing.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:22 PM on July 24, 2008


Vista really needs a quad-core CPU and at least 2 GB of RAM.

Vista runs fine on my duel-core laptop.

And for the haters, once I changed all the UI settings, it's pretty much indistinguishable from XP to this enduser. I'll probably install it on my workstation once I upgrade it.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 5:22 PM on July 24, 2008


I dunno, one of these days I think I'm going to have to try Ubuntu once again. I've been a DOS/Windows boy pretty much my entire computering life though, and last time I used Ubuntu, maybe four years back, it just felt so counterintuitive so I got cranky at it.

But I spent nearly three hours downloading and then installing XP SP3 last night and sometimes Windows just does some weird stuff. I'm getting a little tired of it.
posted by turgid dahlia at 5:23 PM on July 24, 2008


Doubtless some clever MeFite is going to explain some way that I can turn off my iMac from Vista. If so, the fact that it has to be explained means that Vista blows.
posted by neuron at 5:23 PM on July 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


There are plenty of valid criticisms of Vista but the hard-drive "thrashing" thing is silly: with default settings it will update it's search index when idle. But it's easy to turn that off if it bothers you. Viola! No more "thrashing".
posted by Riemann at 5:24 PM on July 24, 2008


Dual-core, natch. In my older laptop one of the processors shot the other one at ten paces, so I had to replace it.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 5:24 PM on July 24, 2008


Having said that/that being said, this whole Windows vs. OS X vs. Linux is getting, oh, what's the word? BORING.
posted by turgid dahlia at 5:25 PM on July 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've been using Vista (on an Intel Core 2 Duo, 2.4 GHz, 2G of RAM) since last November and in fact it isn't bad at all. I can't say I like it significantly better than XP but it isn't really worse either.

A lot of the bad reputation Vista has is undeserved. For instance:

If I want to put the machine to sleep or shut down, there are nine--that's right, nine--options to choose from. None of these actually turns the machine off.

That's almost certainly PIBKAC. When I want to turn off my computer, I hit the power button and it shuts down. It isn't particularly complicated.

People who are predetermined to hate anything from Microsoft will hate Vista. But people who have an open mind, and who have enough hardware, won't find it to be all that bad.
posted by Class Goat at 5:27 PM on July 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Rats. What happened to the link I thought I put in there? PIBKAC
posted by Class Goat at 5:28 PM on July 24, 2008


@nueron

The problem must be the hardware. Vista easily and definitively turns off on my Toshiba (it sleeps and hibernates, too, which is nice).
posted by oddman at 5:28 PM on July 24, 2008


How about that people have lower expectations when they know something is in beta? Silly, silly, silly.

Riemann: Do you or does someone you know play thrash viola?!? Awesome! (And are you per chance a descendent of Hugo?
posted by nosila at 5:30 PM on July 24, 2008


But is Vista significantly better than XP (more stable, useful features, hw support, etc)? From what I've seen, responses vary between "no" and "maybe".
posted by ryanrs at 5:33 PM on July 24, 2008


I wonder if they let those focus group participants use the "Mojave" OS for a few weeks on their Vaio laptops, until the hibernate/suspend corrupted the registry and required a reinstall?

And if the focus group got to watch the reinstall hang at 39% 3 times in a row before finally making it through?

Did they try again for another few weeks, only to get registry corruption again?

Did the focus group try to boot the machine, only to wait nearly 5 full mins before they could open outlook?

No?

Pass.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:34 PM on July 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Vista blows.

For example: I have Vista on my iMac Intel Core Duo. If I want to put the machine to sleep or shut down, there are nine--that's right, nine--options to choose from. None of these actually turns the machine off. You heard me right, there is no way to turn my computer off.

This is an issue when I want to use my ham radio; the hardware emits excessive RF noise even in the deepest sleep mode, although none when it's actually off. If I'm using Vista (which I rarely do anymore) I have to reboot into Mac OS and then shut down.

There are also other reasons that Vista blows.


If you are running Vista on a iMac Intel then you must be using Bootcamp to fake a BIOS correct? In that case the problem is in the (Apple supplied) bootcamp code as system functions like sleep or shutdown are handled at that level.
posted by Riemann at 5:36 PM on July 24, 2008


Having heard all the complaints about Vista, I wondered what it'd be like when I got a Dell XPS system that came with it. I was pleasantly surprised. Oh, it's a bit slower than XP, but it's better in a lot of small ways too. All but one piece of software worked fine, and even that one (Acid Pro 6.0) I did eventually get sorta working. It's definitely not a revolutionary leap ahead of XP, more of an evolutionary advance, but I have no probs with Vista anymore.
posted by jamstigator at 5:37 PM on July 24, 2008


That's almost certainly PIBKAC. When I want to turn off my computer, I hit the power button and it shuts down. It isn't particularly complicated.

It is if you've always done it before by going under Start>Shutdown. PIBKAC indeed, feh to you.
posted by JHarris at 5:42 PM on July 24, 2008


My wife's happier with Vista on her laptop now that I made it look more like XP, but it still (despite being dual-core, and even with no apps running) spins the fans and runs hot all the time, and when I tried to plug it into my new television, it started by giving me the option of activating it, and when I said okay -- it sent a signal my television couldn't interpret, and I've never been able to get that wizard back or find any other way for it to recognize the television's being attached. Meanwhile, my MacBook worked just fine, and runs quiet and cool.

Also:

My abacus is bug free.

Yes, but there's a spider in it.
posted by davejay at 5:43 PM on July 24, 2008


Windows Vista? You're soaking in it.
posted by Auden at 5:43 PM on July 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


I have a DELL pre-installed version of Vista, and they borked restart, sleep, and hibernate. My experience after looking at Vista installs of friends and relatives, is that if you throw a lot of hardware at it you wind up with a good experience, but if you throw just the recommended or god forbid the required hardware level you are going to feel like 1995 called to ask for their computer back. My 1 year old dell has frequent audio problems with DVD video because Vista is so slow (w/2GB memory).
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:44 PM on July 24, 2008


I just wanted to chime in that after having used 32-bit Vista for a while, and feeling it was just fine (I didn't pay for it, it is better in some ways than XP) I've really learned to love the x64 version. I don't know what it is, but it's the first OS I've ever used (OS X, Ubuntu, All Windows) that hasn't suffered serious bit rot over the course of a year. I'm six months in on my first install and overall it hasn't slowed down or started acting weird in inexplicable ways. There are some annoying software incompatibility issues, but as far as stability is concerned, it's rather blowing my mind.
posted by Alex404 at 5:51 PM on July 24, 2008


I'm sticking to MS Bob.
posted by porn in the woods at 5:52 PM on July 24, 2008 [5 favorites]


The company hasn't figured out how it will use this to market Vista

No kidding. It's really hard to craft a good ad around the basic message "That thing everyone says sucks? Turns out if we trick people into trying it, they think it doesn't suck after all!"
posted by adamrice at 5:53 PM on July 24, 2008


Almost as good as the thing you already have, and only twice as expensive!
posted by Pyry at 5:55 PM on July 24, 2008 [4 favorites]


I am forced to use Vista. I run it in a VM where it can't break anything. Hooray VirtualBox. And po0py, it's not free with your Dell. You are most certainly paying for it.

On the other hand. Linus Torvalds didn't just drop half a billion to fight smoking.

Strikes and gutters dude.
posted by einer at 5:55 PM on July 24, 2008



I love Vista and always wonder why people complain about it. It's seriously mind-boggling to me.
posted by Zambrano at 6:05 PM on July 24, 2008


It seems strange that Microsoft doesn't just steal their base OS from BSD like Apple does; I don't see how it can be less profitable than redesigning their OS every 3 years. cf. Windows 7 by 2009.
posted by acro at 6:17 PM on July 24, 2008


Sigh. I guess it might be time for me to consider upgrading...

to xp.
posted by Citizen Premier at 6:18 PM on July 24, 2008


Zambrano... how's your Vista's wireless networking? Nothing but trouble here.
posted by acro at 6:18 PM on July 24, 2008


Yeah... I'm kinda the same way, Zambrano. I mean... I'm also a Ubuntu user and whatnot, but on my laptop, it's vista and it's fine. I mean... it's an OS. What is there to get excited about one way or another? I wouldn't necessarily upgrade an existing machine to it but if a box came with it, I sure as heck wouldn't through XP on it instead.
posted by ph00dz at 6:21 PM on July 24, 2008


It seems strange that Microsoft doesn't just steal their base OS from BSD like Apple does

Backwards compatibility. The real advantage of Windows is the amount of software written exclusively for it, and if they migrate to a BSD base, they'll lose their back catalog of software. When users are told "none of your old software will work", why will they choose to upgrade to Windows, when OSX and Linux will then have the largest software libraries?
posted by Pyry at 6:29 PM on July 24, 2008


...it just felt so counterintuitive...

I think you misspelled "unfamiliar". My officemate uses Windows. Whenever she complains about a problem I'm like "it wants you to do WHAT? How counterintuitive."

The main problem I have with corporate/non-free/whateveryouwanttocallit operating systems is that they constantly get in the way. It's like I can only use my computer by dodging a bunch of panhandlers.
posted by DU at 6:33 PM on July 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


If they try to turn this into an ad campaign, they're missing why the Folgers/Palmolive/Pizza Hut Pasta versions worked. Those were all examples of low-cost, mass market products that were unknowingly foisted upon snobs. "Regular people" viewers got a kick of satisfaction out of watching the snobs get tricked into enjoying something they previously thought was beneath them.

In this case, MS is saying: "You're the snob. Get over it and admit you like Vista". That's a hard sell.
posted by the jam at 6:43 PM on July 24, 2008


Several people said Vista "works just fine" for them. Isn't that a pretty low bar to set? If I have to get a new computer and pay for another license from Microsoft, shouldn't I get something better than what I already have? I am genuinely curious, what are the new features in Vista that would make it worth upgrading?
posted by Triplanetary at 6:50 PM on July 24, 2008


If you are running Vista on a iMac Intel then you must be using Bootcamp to fake a BIOS correct? In that case the problem is in the (Apple supplied) bootcamp code as system functions like sleep or shutdown are handled at that level.

sleep and shutdown are the most Vista-critical functions.
posted by quonsar at 6:53 PM on July 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


Well, Windows based PCs are a "low-cost, mass market" product compared to an apple-supplied Mac.
posted by Riemann at 6:54 PM on July 24, 2008


sleep and shutdown are the most Vista-critical functions.

But they only work right when the hardware and bios (or bios emulator) actually work right in supporting them.

The problem described above is almost certainly an issue with either the hardware in that model iMac motherboard or (more likely) in how bootcamp is emulating a BIOS system in order to allow windows to run on iMac hardware.
posted by Riemann at 6:56 PM on July 24, 2008


*whoosh*
posted by quonsar at 6:58 PM on July 24, 2008 [10 favorites]


And for the haters, once I changed all the UI settings, it's pretty much indistinguishable from XP to this enduser.

So the benefit of "upgrading" to Vista is what, exactly? It's prettier?

The simple fact is Vista is a dog and Microsoft knows it. They tied DirectX10 to it in an attempt to shove it down everyone's throats. It's more expensive, slower, and has much higher hardware requirements than XP.

Does it work? Sure. Is it an improvement? Overall, no.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:00 PM on July 24, 2008


My last machine was an OQO 2 running Vista. After turning off all the eye candy and unneeded services, it was pretty stable and responsive, except for the first boot following install, which seemed to take a long time.
posted by zippy at 7:06 PM on July 24, 2008


Neuron, what does your sleeping computer sound like? Can you hear the pulsating PWM that drives the sleep LED? Does it sound like snoring?
posted by ryanrs at 7:07 PM on July 24, 2008


I heard they especially liked WinFS and Monad, saying "It's about fucking time."
posted by mullingitover at 7:12 PM on July 24, 2008


Its a decent operating system and if you get it free with your Dell then whats the problem? As the study shows the vast majority of people wont know better.
posted by Po0py at 7:06 PM on July 24 [+] [!]

I got Vista "free" with my Dell last year and my computer barely functioned. Like freezing when I hit the Start menu. Like crashing when I tried to open the control panel. It took forever to do anything.

So now I resent both Dell and Microsoft. Mission Accomplished, guys.
posted by gc at 7:16 PM on July 24, 2008


I work in an enthusiastic Windows shop and even my CTO says Vista is basically a way to raise money for Windows 7.

I have used every version of Windows from 3.1 to Vista, at home and work, as a marketing guy and in IT, and my conclusion is "meh." Vista looks nice and if you turn off the looks and the extras, what the hell is the point? In the meantime, something better is coming, and while I wait, Windows XP handles everything I throw at it.
posted by BeReasonable at 7:17 PM on July 24, 2008


Pyry: if they migrate to a BSD base, they'll lose their back catalog of software.

Yo mean the way Apple did when they migrated to OS X?
posted by adamrice at 7:25 PM on July 24, 2008


In the meantime, something better is coming

Microsoft: Something better is coming. No, really.
posted by quonsar at 7:29 PM on July 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


something better is coming

No. Microsoft has failed to manage the complexity of the Windows platform. It has become an unwieldy jumble of interdependencies and legacy cruft. The rot has progressed past the point of no return—it is unrecoverable.
posted by ryanrs at 7:29 PM on July 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


So... Vista. Yeah.

I was kinda excited when Longhorn was in beta. There seemed to be energy and excitement. The next version of Windows was gonna be great.

DRM. TPM. SCO shenanigans.

They took their toll.

Anyway, I bought a new Asus F3Jp... Intel Core2Duo T7200, 2GB DDR, ATi X1700 256MB RAM. It was a top notch machine.

The model with Vista Home Premium was $100 cheaper than XP. So I went for it.

The wife and I gave it thirty days. Issues galore. First I had to replace my router because Netgear was no longer producing updated firmware for my old WGR614... sucktastic. So, a Buffalo router... that fact that it was running an embedded Linux and was compatible with open firmwares sealed the deal. Okay, compatible router and a bog standard Intel IPW3945 wireless adapter. Wireless should have been a cinch.

My ass.

The connection would drop within fifteen and thirty minutes. Aero seemed to stutter at times. A 7200 RPM 120GB disk and the "shiny" would stutter. Disabling Aero resulted in higher CPU utilization just for pushing pixels. Game performance was inconsistent. Performance varied from run to run of the same game. The layout of the interface was a break from all previous versions and utilizing the classic view really didn't return Control Panel options back to their familiar categories. Application performance and stability varied. Somethings worked quite well, others refused to run at all.

I re-imaged the machine from the Asus provided recovery DVD.

After three hours... the experience was completely different. All applications worked as expected. Wireless and graphical subsystems performed flawlessly. No more Aero stutter. Finally, the promise delivered.

Then the registry became corrupted.

Another re-image.

Again, the inconsistencies and hardware issues returned.

Vista performance can vary. Drastically. Even on the same damn computer. Vista is just inconsistent, irritable, and immature. Microsoft has lost it's way as an entity... I'll not support it anymore with my contributions.

I never made it to SP1. I got the girl a 20" iMac. She took to OSX in under a week.

The Asus now happily runs Fedora 9... the only thing I don't get is the "shiny" of Compiz Fusion... but I can live without that for the while.

I run XP 64-bit on my primary workstation at the moment. It will run an Linux by year end.

Windows will remain in my life, I support it in my day job. Yay. That's what VirtualBox is for.

I'm not that fond of games anymore... as their is too much to learn and do beyond the Windows world.
posted by PROD_TPSL at 7:29 PM on July 24, 2008


hellojed: Bah, Amiga OS 4 was better.

Fie! T'was the work of Satan! The last truly good OS was Workbench 1.2!
posted by evilcolonel at 7:34 PM on July 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


I like my Vista system.
posted by Nelson at 7:40 PM on July 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I love my Vista. I'm no super user, but the whole Mac operating system is better always seemed like what the kool kids liked to say. Its pure marketing.

Uh-huh. And that's why my 4-year-old Mac laptop running OS X is still better than a brand new PC running Vista. More reliable, more useful, less maintenance just to get the damn thing operational.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 7:53 PM on July 24, 2008


I've been running Vista Business here at home since it went RTM (I got a free copy at some MS conference). I bravely/boldly/foolishly ran an upgrade on my XP and hoped for the best.

The first few months were pretty rocky... much of my audio software & hardware wasn't supported, and yes there was a learning curve. After a few months there were drivers for my audio card so I purchased new versions of Wavelab and Sonar and reformatted & reinstalled. Since then, it's been rock solid and the only time I have to reboot is when updates come out.

It performs just as well as XP did and is definitely more secure when you leave UAC on. This is on a single core P4 3.0 with 3gb ram, 256mb AGP graphics and a Raptor for my c: drive. Definitely not a new system ;)

I just don't get the haters; Vista is a cool OS.

At work I have Vista Business also installed on my Dell Latitude D630 and haven't ever had a single issue. Everything just worked after install; the only thing I had to manually install was a graphics driver. Now, Server 2008 Standard x64 on my 8gb quad core Dell Optiplex 755 is another story. I really do have issues on how they handle 'roles' and 'features,' but that's a topic for another thread. Now that I'm used to 2008 (and have a wim of my base setup), I actually quite like it.
posted by starscream at 8:10 PM on July 24, 2008


If it's any consolation, the drive to pretty-up the window interactions, dumb down the applications, and choose to deliver buggy instead of late has sure made its way to Linux in a big way.

Consider Ubuntu 8.04. It enables jiggly windows by default on my laptop's Intel video chipset. Which breaks all applications that use OpenGL for visualization. You don't get a network connection (wireless at any rate) in text mode, you have to boot to a full desktop. Meanwhile, fundamental user interface bugs -- like an "OK" button not working if it happens to be under your mouse when the window appears -- don't get fixed. I think that bug in the gtk+ bug tracker is going on ten years old for heaven's sake.

I love linux and I used to love Ubuntu (was 6.06 the pinnacle?) but some days I just can't stand it. I guess I'll just have to stop using computers at all, or maybe I'll have to throw in my lot with the really insufferable linux users, like the ones on debian or gentoo.

My favorite OS sucks.
posted by jepler at 8:13 PM on July 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yo mean the way Apple did when they migrated to OS X?

Apple has a type of brand loyalty Microsoft can only dream of. People buy Apple because of its perceived quality, stability, and usability. Outside of its software base, Windows doesn't have many selling points.
posted by Pyry at 8:15 PM on July 24, 2008


Fuck it. Buy a Mac Linux Abacus sundial.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:19 PM on July 24, 2008


perceivedactual quality, stability, and usability.
posted by ryanrs at 8:20 PM on July 24, 2008


They should just release the version of Vista they demoed as Windows XP8, and perhaps their sins will be forgiven.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:26 PM on July 24, 2008


For all the "Apple/Linux/Binary is better than Windows: just because you didn't actually say "MICRO$$$OFT" doesn't mean you're less annoying than people that do.
posted by Cyclopsis Raptor at 8:31 PM on July 24, 2008


perceivedactual quality, stability, and usability.

Sure because no one ever advises you to skip the first gen of any Apple product. And there weren't any reports of the last OS X update bricking Macs or anything. Right.
posted by oddman at 8:34 PM on July 24, 2008


Apple isn't perfect, but they seem to have a better features-to-fuckups ratio.
posted by ryanrs at 8:39 PM on July 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Anyone not using Plan 9 is a worthless, irredeemable failure whose prompt and painful death will actually increase both the aggregate happiness and IQ of the race.

There, will that do? Or are you all just going to keep at it?
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:41 PM on July 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I run Vista on three machines, from a 1.2 GHz Intel Core Solo with 1 GB RAM, to a dual-core with 4 GB RAM, and it runs satisfactorily on all of them. I did turn off Aero Glass on the first machine, but it runs perfectly fine. I wasn't really excited about using Vista, but that's what came on the machines, so I resigned myself to it. And to be perfectly honest, it's no better or worse overall than XP.

The one thing I love about it - especially for my coworkers - is UAC. On XP I wouldn't run as an administrator, but most everyone else does no matter how much I bitch at them for doing that. With Vista and UAC enabled, this becomes a lot less of an issue, so they don't have as many stupid user problems and I don't have to help them out as much.

Practically everyone I know who uses a Mac, ends up running Windows on it either through Boot Camp or Parallels/VMware. Why bother?

And that's why my 4-year-old Mac laptop running OS X is still better than a brand new PC running Vista. More reliable, more useful, less maintenance just to get the damn thing operational.

Here's what I did to get all three of my Vista machines operational:

Step 1. Turn machine on.
Step 2. Install the third-party software I want to use.
Step 3. Use machine.

I haven't had to do any maintenance on any of them. They just work. Meanwhile, getting our Macs to work with a dead-simple L2TP VPN running on a Linux server has been a complete nightmare.
posted by me & my monkey at 8:49 PM on July 24, 2008


Po0py writes "It has its (and has had) problems but it is certainly in no way a step back from XP. Its a decent operating system and if you get it free with your Dell then whats the problem?"
Zambrano writes "I love Vista and always wonder why people complain about it. It's seriously mind-boggling to me."

Vista's explorer can not be set to always, always, always, open folders the same way. Hard drives, flash drives, SD cards, DVDs, absolutely what ever I'm accessing that has a file system I want it to be list view, sorted by name. ALWAYS. This set up is buck simple in XP. It's not doable in Vista. You can kind of hack around it, for a while, but you never can tell when it's going to revert to "Vista knows best" and show that image folder as fricken' thumbnails sorted by size or something. And the "fixes" are something you can hand out to users.

There are a few other interface snafus out there (like needing to give permission 4 times to write to folders under program files) but the explorer thing is the one that continues to annoy the smeg out of me on a regular basis.
posted by Mitheral at 8:49 PM on July 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


How can I crosspost this thread to comp.os.ms-windows.advocacy?
posted by ryanrs at 8:50 PM on July 24, 2008


Mitheral writes "And the 'fixes' are NOT something you can hand out to users."
posted by Mitheral at 8:52 PM on July 24, 2008


I'm a very happy Vista 64 user.

Snappy and completely, flawlessly, 100% rock solid stable. And I've never had any problems with incompatibility - hardware (I haven't had cause to plug in my years-old Canon scanner yet, so don't know if that will have a driver, but everything else - printers, USB sticks, cameras, phone, many external HDDs, Sony video cam on firewire, et al, have all been fine) or software.

My ancient Natural keyboard puts it to sleep perfectly (and touching a key or moving the mouse wakes it up again quickly).

Everything works exactly as expected - which is to say, perfectly well.

This is running on a low end Core2Quad with 4GB RAM and an Nvidia 8800GT. It's a desktop that connects to my router with ethernet - I've never tried it with wireless so haven't seen any problems there. (My laptop is wireless, of course, but that runs Linux - it's an Asus Eee, so came with Xandros installed.)

Uh-huh. And that's why my 4-year-old Mac laptop running OS X is still better than a brand new PC running Vista. More reliable, more useful, less maintenance just to get the damn thing operational.

Maintenance? What? Oh, you mean telling it to go ahead and do whatever it needs when it tells me it has an update to install? Oh yeah, that mouse click is onerous.

I think it's time for the fanboys and haters on both sides to realise that as long as you're not trying to use shitty hardware, all modern operating systems will provide a highly (probably equally) satisfactory experience.
posted by The Monkey at 8:58 PM on July 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think that MS's main problem isn't that Vista isn't a decent operating system, it's that XP isn't bad enough to drive people to upgrade. I'm not a Windows fan, I usually run Ubuntu, but I keep an XP partition and for the most part, it just works. It loads, connects to the network and runs applications with too much hassle. At best, Vista does the same thing, why should anyone care? Especially if you need bigger hardware to accomplish the same tasks.

I'm sure that I'll end up running Vista at some point in the future but I don't see any real hurry.
posted by octothorpe at 9:04 PM on July 24, 2008


Sure because no one ever advises you to skip the first gen of any Apple product. And there weren't any reports of the last OS X update bricking Macs or anything. Right.

I don't think you know what the word "bricked" actually means.
posted by Mikey-San at 9:10 PM on July 24, 2008


Also, this thread sucks.
posted by Mikey-San at 9:10 PM on July 24, 2008


Fie! T'was the work of Satan! The last truly good OS was Workbench 1.2!

I'm sure you meant to say Workbench 1.3...right? That's what I thought.
posted by MikeMc at 9:18 PM on July 24, 2008


a low end Core2Quad with 4GB RAM and an Nvidia 8800GT

I need to have a lifestyle where this is low end. Wow.
posted by yath at 9:24 PM on July 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


I think that MS's main problem isn't that Vista isn't a decent operating system, it's that XP isn't bad enough to drive people to upgrade.

This phenomenon doesn't seem to affect other vendors. Apple users, for instance, seem happy to pay $1XX for each new release of Mac OS.
posted by ryanrs at 9:25 PM on July 24, 2008


ryanrs: Microsoft has failed to manage the complexity of the Windows platform. It has become an unwieldy jumble of interdependencies and legacy cruft. The rot has progressed past the point of no return—it is unrecoverable.

Your post makes me wonder... Microsoft has a market capitalization of $232.8 billion while Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have a combined market capitalization of $17.4 billion. Let's say Microsoft is overcome by their architectural cruft and fails to hold their market dominance of the operating system and application market (see below). Will there be a point where the US government will propose to bailout Microsoft from their troubles because they are an economic engine too important to the US economy to allow to sink under their own weight? (I don't know much about finance or economics, so I might be bandying about with the wrong terms.)

octothorpe: I think that MS's main problem isn't that Vista isn't a decent operating system, it's that XP isn't bad enough to drive people to upgrade.

Have operating systems reached the point of diminishing returns? Are personal computers good enough for now in the value they add to the economy? Are Microsoft, Apple, and Sun fighting to deliver the next version of a highly-polished turd which adds no additional productivity gains? If a bunch of volunteers can give us Slackware, Debian, Ubuntu, and OpenOffice (or GoogleOffice), has the software side of computing reached a wall where the cutting edge is so small that it's not easy to make a profit from selling operating systems or applications? Are the $100 upgrades for some extra eye-candy a net drag on productivity? Are there up-coming technological breakthroughs in computer science, engineering, and human-computer interface which will end the current trend of the marginally improved update.

I dunno, I'm asking you.

Mikey-San: Also, this thread sucks.

Well, thanks for urinating on it.
posted by peeedro at 9:32 PM on July 24, 2008


Will there be a point where the US government will propose to bailout Microsoft from their troubles because they are an economic engine too important to the US economy to allow to sink under their own weight?

No, community blogs will help advertise Microsoft for free. We will keep Microsoft alive. We are the keepers of the flame.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:39 PM on July 24, 2008


a low end Core2Quad with 4GB RAM and an Nvidia 8800GT

I need to have a lifestyle where this is low end. Wow.


I think he means a low-end quad core processor. You can get a Q6600 Quad core for about $180 these days. That's not exactly prohibitively expensive.

But you don't need a quad core to run Vista. I've got Vista running on an AMD X2 4200+, onboard graphics (HD 3200) on the AMD 780G chipset. The total set up including 2 gigs RAM, 500gb HDD, and a quality Antec case came out under 450 Cdn. That's not exactly pricey, especially when you compare it to Apple machines.
posted by reformedjerk at 9:44 PM on July 24, 2008


Peeedro, neither money nor manpower can fix the problems faced by the Windows platform. Development is hobbled by technical difficulties, not funding. A bailout doesn't make sense in this context.
posted by ryanrs at 9:45 PM on July 24, 2008


Bottom line: a lot of Vista's pre-release hype was never delivered in the final product, like a new file system and a complete replacement for the registry. Instead, they "souped up" the interface and really pushed the envelope of hardware requirements, as the hardware industry had been whining for years that Vista's delay meant less upgrade sales. They delivered a bloated version of XP, that sort of looks like it has an Aqua theme that only a MS designer could imagine. Too much, too little, too late.

But, to be fair to MS, a new OS was a very big undertaking, monumental. There have been rumors for a while that their engineering teams have sort of lost the plot, although there is great talent, and it's not hard to do that when no one person really knows the whole, when the whole is so huge. And backwards compatibility has been their albatross. The main incentive for me to upgrade will be the fact that it can handle multiple cores and take advantage of them, as well as more memory and had drive space. I can soup up my music production machine, and Vista will be able to make it work like XP really can't do. However, I may change to a Mac path for music, but haven't decided, yet. I do prefer the open-box philosophy of a white box build, but man those Macs are sweet machines, and, although Vista can do what I need, I have no love for it and sort of don't like using it, mostly due to the kludgy, non-intuitive interface ...
posted by krinklyfig at 9:52 PM on July 24, 2008


Ignore the run-on sentences ... it's late.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:53 PM on July 24, 2008


I run RedHat and Ubuntu as VMWare machines on my Vista laptop, bitches.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:58 PM on July 24, 2008


It's kinda funny, I'm of two minds about Vista right now.

On the one hand, I have absolutely no problems with my home PC, it's upgraded to my standards (Core2 Duo E6700, 3GB ram, ATI HD3870, blah blah blah,) and Vista runs like clockwork on it. I love it, and yes, I DO love the eye candy of Aero. When I was back on XP, I had WindowBlinds on an OSX-type skin. I kept that skin for YEARS, but I haven't felt a need to change from Aero. Yes, I think it looks great and would never turn it off willingly.

On the other hand... at work I'm on a project where I have to support things where people have machines ranging from Windows 2000 to Vista. And let me just say, that Windows 2000 and Vista are on the same level of "WTF, why isn't this shit working?" as Windows 2000.

The one thing that puts supporting Vista a notch lower than Win2k is UAC, and all that extra "security" that was put in. Having the computer ask "allow, deny?" every 5 seconds is a complete pain in the ass, and is almost enough for one to say "fuck it, I prefer viruses to this bullshit."

Of course at home the first thing I did was disable UAC and install some worthwhile antivirus and antispyware stuff. Also I try to not touch Internet Explorer whenever possible, but I do realize that the majority of people aren't like that.

So what I mean to say is that my current opinion of Vista is that it's like having a sexy Windows 2000, but with tons more nagging, and keeping all the WTFs from having an OS that's way behind the times.
posted by agress at 10:06 PM on July 24, 2008


I need to have a lifestyle where this is low end. Wow.

I think he means a low-end quad core processor. You can get a Q6600 Quad core for about $180 these days. That's not exactly prohibitively expensive.


Yep, that's what I meant - I have the slowest & cheapest of the Core2Quad processors. (And as far as I can tell I've never managed to max all of my cores out, which is a bit disappointing. All things in time.)

Instead, they "souped up" the interface

You're right to put it in scare quotes. Aero is really no better than XP - which I find fast & easy to use, so it's not a bit problem for me, but if that's the case what's the use?

I also think they should have gone all 64 bit with Vista.
posted by The Monkey at 10:07 PM on July 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


You're right to put it in scare quotes. Aero is really no better than XP - which I find fast & easy to use, so it's not a bit problem for me, but if that's the case what's the use?

Yeah, fwiw, my everyday install is FreeBSD with xfce on the desktop, which I know and love and hope will always be there. I only use MS for games and music. ... And, well, for my job, which is network services and tech support. Like agress said, it's a PITA to support. Mac OS X support is a lot easier, although I wish they'd stop moving their interface widgets around for mysterious reasons.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:16 PM on July 24, 2008


A bailout doesn't make sense in this context.

Who would vote no to the "Keep America's Software Monopoly Competitive Act"?

Making sense and being politically, economically, and socially important are different things.
posted by peeedro at 10:18 PM on July 24, 2008


From what I read, the complaints about Vista are generally not the look and feel of Vista itself. They're about a lack of hardware compatibility, the "cancel or allow" that comes from third party apps that want high-level access, and the performance disadvantage.

None of those things are going to show up in a demo, where you sit down at a pre-installed computer and run only selected apps.

So, it's not that surprising that people liked what they saw in the demo. But it doesn't tell us much about what their experience will be when they get home and try to plug in their old scanner and install their old apps on it.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 10:20 PM on July 24, 2008


On the other hand... at work I'm on a project where I have to support things where people have machines ranging from Windows 2000 to Vista. And let me just say, that Windows 2000 and Vista are on the same level of "WTF, why isn't this shit working?" as Windows 2000.

I have to admit I miss Win2k for its stability, not really on home machines but more on the server side. Once you have the right hardware and stable software, it's like a rock. Having recently done a tape drive replacement on a 2k server running Veritas and medical billing and records software, I'll only add that that rock-solid stability can really crumble fast when you have to swap out hardware on a long-running server, particularly when it's not exactly identical. Getting it stable again can be a mysterious adventure and exercise in patience.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:26 PM on July 24, 2008


Who would vote no to the "Keep America's Software Monopoly Competitive Act"?

What would this bailout entail? Microsoft failed to deliver a lot of features planned for Vista, but it wasn't because they went broke. The platform is simply too fragile and crufty to integrate new stuff like WinFS.
posted by ryanrs at 10:28 PM on July 24, 2008


Best thing I ever did for myself was throw caution to the winds and buy a Mac laptop. I figured that at worst, I'd lose a couple hundred dollars reselling it. It was a really low-risk experiment.

I've never looked back. I sure as hell will never, ever go back to Windows. It turns out there is a real reason why Mac users are raving fanboys: the product really is that good. I wish I hadn't pooh-poohed them for so many years.

I figure in a couple years it'll be time to buy a cheap-o laptop and give Linux (Ubuntu) a whirl. It's already there in terms of browsers, media players, and other simple stuff. Just needs a bit more polishing.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:35 PM on July 24, 2008


Bug or Feature?

MS says Vista is just misunderstood: "Five Misunderstood Features in Windows Vista" (download the pdf from linked page). This is for sysadmins and/or people that care about this kind of stuff.

The current issue of TechNet Flash has lots of information about MS' strategy with Vista and how they expect people to manage it in a corp. environment.
posted by askmehow at 10:37 PM on July 24, 2008


What would this bailout entail?

I don't know, I'm just playing what-if.

I hope I'm not in over my head, but I was thinking if the sugar producers in the US can be kept afloat despite market realities, why can't a software company?
posted by peeedro at 10:49 PM on July 24, 2008


From the "Five Misunderstood Features in Windows Vista" PDF linked by askmehow: "A key goal of UAC in Windows Vista is to help nudge Independent Software Vendors towards designing applications that function in standard user mode."

Personal Verdict: EPIC FAIL

The truth is that most applications still either default to "install for all users," or just install for all users anyway. This is years after launch.

What this means for a majority of casual computer users is that they either end up having to deal with constant UAC nagging, or they just turn that crap off and pretty much keep on using their machine like they did in the XP days.

Sorry Microsoft, despite what Spybot may have taught you, constant "allow/deny" nagging doesn't make anyone think "thank GOD for warning me about running this!" Try more like "yeah whatever, *click* *click* *click*. @$#% I SAID ALLOW GOD DAMNIT!"
posted by agress at 11:04 PM on July 24, 2008


As a win2k user, I'm not sure what all the fuss is about.
posted by washburn at 11:09 PM on July 24, 2008


For all the love/hate going on in this thread, I can't help but find it ironic that when Apple implemented its hardware compositing it required a 2xAGP, arbitrary texture size and 16MB of VRAM. Microsoft does the same thing and it requires 128MB of VRAM and Pixel Shader 2.0.
posted by Talez at 11:15 PM on July 24, 2008


a low end Core2Quad with 4GB RAM and an Nvidia 8800GT

I need to have a lifestyle where this is low end. Wow.


The Monkey was posting from mid-2009.
posted by Kwine at 11:16 PM on July 24, 2008


The platform is simply too fragile and crufty to integrate new stuff like WinFS.

How did you come to this conclusion? MS has made it known (e.g., here) that they're willing to ship it stand-alone. Given that, and that it hasn't been released, it stands to reason that it's simply not done yet.
posted by JasonSch at 11:47 PM on July 24, 2008


Christ, another stupid Windows/Mac/Linux thread, and I'm again going to defend Microsoft.

What this means for a majority of casual computer users is that they either end up having to deal with constant UAC nagging, or they just turn that crap off and pretty much keep on using their machine like they did in the XP days.

When I upgraded to Firefox 3 on an iMac, I had to enter an administrator password. When I install updates to the OS, I have to enter a password. I do much less installing of programs on the mac than I do on my PC, but how is this any better than that UAC crap? Both are annoying, but on my Vista PC, I just click "Continue."

I am no Linux fanboi, but I can take a new Linux distro and throw it on an old PC and have the damn thing work. Might be slow, but it works.

Maybe this is some rare outlier, but I installed Hardy on an old media server I had sitting around. I like it, and I don't have many problems with it, except that the USB dongle I was using to connect to my wireless network wasn't supported. I did a quick search and found that it would take way more effort to get that to work than it did for me to run an ethernet cable to the machine. Overall, I like Ubuntu, but I have to wonder if people bitching about Windows hardware compatibility issues would be up in arms over similar issues on their favorite Linux distro. Of course, Hardy Heron was free...

So the benefit of "upgrading" to Vista is what, exactly? It's prettier?

This is a valid point, and there really aren't many benefits. If you have an XP machine and have no problems with it, sick with it. However, off the top of my head, there are a few things I do like about Vista. Someone above bitched about Vista "thrashing" the hard drive while it was asleep, and I have to say that the search function in Vista is actually really quick and useful (probably thanks to the "thrashing"). I almost never used in on XP, and I find I'm using it in Vista quite often. I really like the breadcrumbs navigation in explorer windows. I like how when I click-pause-click a file to rename it, it highlights only the name and not the extension. I like the windows-tab flip thing. It seems really stable, though I didn't really have issues with XP ...and yes, it's pretty.

Vista's explorer can not be set to always, always, always, open folders the same way.

This is true... and super annoying.

like needing to give permission 4 times to write to folders under program files

This is not true.


I got Vista "free" with my Dell last year and my computer barely functioned. Like freezing when I hit the Start menu. Like crashing when I tried to open the control panel. It took forever to do anything.

So now I resent both Dell and Microsoft.


Out of curiosity, do you actually know what caused this, or are you fine blaming Microsoft for any computer issues you have, whether or not they are at fault? Because if your computer was as bad as you say it was out of the box, why wouldn't you assume it was a Dell/Hardware problem. Do you really think everyone's Vista PCs are also crashing on opening the control panel or clicking the Start menu? Shit happens, things go wrong. If this really did happen as you say it did, I'm sure they replaced the computer or gave you your money back. Do you really think Apple doesn't have similar problems.

(story time) I used to own a RAZR, and I would always bitch about how when I clicked on the tab thing for contacts, it would take 6+ seconds to open my contacts. I bought the iPhone the day they came out last year, and I was thrilled with it. I love my iPhone, and a big part of that is from how everything would open and scroll quickly and smoothly. After this recent 2.0 update, though, it literally takes 12 seconds to open contacts. Typing has gotten ridiculous, with the phone often more than 5 letters behind. Everyone I know with an iPhone has had similar problems at least a few times. The reason I bring this up is that you don't hear me denouncing Apple as a whole based on this one experience. I didn't go into my iPhone purchase looking for reasons to hate it. I don't believe Apple products are faultless, and I don't see them as evil. They don't "just work", but they do some things very well. I'd really like to know whether or not people who say stupid shit like, "So now I resent both Dell and Microsoft" really hold Apple products to the same standard.
posted by SAC at 12:03 AM on July 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


it stands to reason that [WinFS] is simply not done yet.

WinFS was first demoed in 2003. Your link is from 2004. See 2006 and 2008. Five years of FAIL.
posted by ryanrs at 12:08 AM on July 25, 2008


SAC writes "This is not true."

Sorry, your right, you only get two, a Access denied dialogue and a UAC, from writing a file into program files. It's when you create a new folder that it's four dialogues. Access Denied, UAC, Access Denied, UAC. And it's three to delete it; Confirm Dialogue, Access Denied, and UAC.
posted by Mitheral at 12:21 AM on July 25, 2008


I got 1 to create a folder, and 3 to delete. I'm running Ultimate with SP2, if it matters. Either way, the need to confirm shit is definitely annoying.
posted by SAC at 12:27 AM on July 25, 2008


WinFS was first demoed in 2003. Your link is from 2004. See 2006 and 2008. Five years of FAIL.

The bottom line is that WinFS was either never ready to ship or they decided to do something else with it (like moving it into SQL Server). There was (ostensibly) no point where WinFS was ready to go but they couldn't "integrate" it into Windows. You keep making technical judgements concerning Windows that you haven't bothered to back up (such as, "It has become an unwieldy jumble of interdependencies and legacy cruft"). I'm not trying to attack you, I'd just honestly like to see your reasoning.
posted by JasonSch at 12:29 AM on July 25, 2008


the need to confirm shit is definitely annoying.

And there you have it. If you have to tell your OS that you REALLY DO WANT TO DO WHAT YOU JUST TRIED TO DO every five seconds... it gets a little annoying.
posted by chuckdarwin at 12:34 AM on July 25, 2008


I'm a digital know-not on hand-me-down hardware. I've spent a total of $600 on ALL of my computer hardware, cell phones, anything digital in the last 4 years, and I'm pretty much satisfied operating within the constraints of the hardware. I got me my shit hardwired up, networked, and rockin'.

So I ain't switchin' off XP until somebody gives me a good god damn reason.
posted by saysthis at 12:42 AM on July 25, 2008


SAC, the difference is that Apple will fix it whereas Dell and MS will point fingers at each other until you can figure out for sure who is responsible.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:43 AM on July 25, 2008


And there you have it.

Yeah, I wasn't trying to suggest that Windows was perfect. It can be really annoying. But just to be fair, these examples were when making changes to the Program Files directory. If I were to use my PC like I do the mac (internet, email, some word processing), I wouldn't be getting very many of these confirmation requests. My argument, though, was that when the mac asks me to confirm something, I have to enter an administrator password. The PC only requires a click. Overall, I agree that the sheer number of times I have to confirm what I want to do makes Vista more annoying than OSX on this matter.

SAC, the difference is that Apple will fix it whereas Dell and MS will point fingers at each other until you can figure out for sure who is responsible.

I have never bought from Dell and I would never call Microsoft for help, so I'll take your word on those. My experience with Apple confirms that they do just fix or replace broken hardware. I hate defending Microsoft in these threads because I feel like people will just see me as the opposite side to the fanboy coin. I like Apple. I've long been happy with them. I don't think I've suggested anyone buy a PC or upgrade to Vista in this thread. I'm just trying to "set the record straight" on some misconceptions I read above.
posted by SAC at 1:00 AM on July 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh, I don't have anything as rigorous as logical reason to back up what I said. It just seems like Vista really kicked Microsoft's ass, more than it should have.

MS started work on Longhorn in May 2001, two months after the release of Mac OS 10.0. Since then, Apple has shipped five major OS releases and transitioned to the Intel platform. Vista, on the other hand, is still struggling for market acceptance.

Why is Apple able to develop its OS so much faster than Microsoft, even though they employ far fewer engineers and have far less money? It's not because the MS engineers are stupid. There must be something about Windows that makes development much more difficult, engineering-wise. I'm not sure if it's the compatibility requirement, sloppy code partitioning, or what. But whatever it is, it sure seems to be crippling the evolution of Windows.
posted by ryanrs at 1:23 AM on July 25, 2008


MS has to support a far wider range of hardware, applications, and APIs than Apple. They also have to tweak the OS to improve the performance of SQL server and Office to keep those applications ahead of other DB and office vendors.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:03 AM on July 25, 2008


MS started work on Longhorn in May 2001, two months after the release of Mac OS 10.0. Since then, Apple has shipped five major OS releases and transitioned to the Intel platform. Vista, on the other hand, is still struggling for market acceptance.

There must be something about Windows that makes development much more difficult, engineering-wise. I'm not sure if it's the compatibility requirement, sloppy code partitioning, or what.


Two words: Classic environment.
posted by Talez at 2:07 AM on July 25, 2008


If you are a Vista user and you are having problems then you have to understand that you are a minority. That's the problem here. You end up thinking "Well, if I am unlucky enough to run into problems just like all the other people who have had problems then Vista must be shite."

Then you go on the internet and join all the other trendy people who are shouting and joking about Vista being crap. And thats all people ever hear.
posted by Po0py at 2:09 AM on July 25, 2008


What do you mean, Talez?
posted by ryanrs at 2:23 AM on July 25, 2008


They also have to tweak the OS to improve the performance of SQL server and Office [..]

Yeah, and if they do that without careful planning and design, the code becomes brittle. Each "tweak" becomes a new interconnection between unrelated parts of the system, a new dependency. Over time, these dependencies make it harder and harder to change parts of the system. Eventually the interactions become so complex that fixing one bug creates a new problem somewhere else. At that point you're pretty much fucked.
posted by ryanrs at 2:43 AM on July 25, 2008


But Po0py, why would the dissatisfied minority overshadow the majority of happy users? For Apple and Linux, the giddy fanboys seem more visible than the haters.
posted by ryanrs at 2:55 AM on July 25, 2008


But Po0py, why would the dissatisfied minority overshadow the majority of happy users? For Apple and Linux, the giddy fanboys seem more visible than the haters.

I know a guy who develops and sell a very specific piece of software. He used to have a version for Mac made with Hypercard, another for Windows made with some toolkit. When Apple switched to OS X and later to Intel chips, it killed Hypercard and the guy's Mac product line. His Windows version still works on Vista. When I met him, 1) he was still the typical "giddy fanboy" rooting for Apple and its wonderful products and 2) he kept ranting about the evils of Microsoft even though we had to work on his Window box because his software no longer ran on Macs. Of course, his Macs were in pristine condition while he hadn't bothered to maintain the Windows machine in a workable state (not installing updates etc.). Kudos to Steve Jobs for creating a cult about home appliances.
posted by elgilito at 4:33 AM on July 25, 2008


I just wanted to chime in that after having used 32-bit Vista for a while, and feeling it was just fine (I didn't pay for it, it is better in some ways than XP) I've really learned to love the x64 version.

Funny, I'm personally loving XP 64-bit. The stability of the 2003 codebase without any of the unnecessary services. And surprisingly, I haven't had a single problem with drivers.

There are plenty of valid criticisms of Vista but the hard-drive "thrashing" thing is silly: with default settings it will update it's search index when idle. But it's easy to turn that off if it bothers you. Viola! No more "thrashing".

"Doctor, my arm hurts when I do this!" "No problem, just cut it off!"

XP and 2003 both have an indexing service that for some reason doesn't suck. And this utterly fails to address the bigger hardware requirements for Vista. What do I get for the extra horsepower? As a developer, every single scrap of processing that the OS needs means less for compiling. What's Vista doing with those extra cycles that XP, for some inexplicable reason, doesn't need to do, yet functions (as far as I can tell) exactly the same?

I'll stick with XP-64 until these guys get their open-source version working, then it's good-bye Microsoft, forever. Should be just another couple of years at this rate.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:40 AM on July 25, 2008


But Po0py, why would the dissatisfied minority overshadow the majority of happy users? For Apple and Linux, the giddy fanboys seem more visible than the haters.


Thats exactly because they are fanboys. The vast majority of Windows users are just computer users. Simple as. They don't have any desire to jump on message boards proselytizing about it. They just get on with it. Credit to Steve Jobs for creating such a fanboy culture surrounding the mac. It's free advertisement for Apple.

I have an old iBook G4 here and it a great little laptop and it still runs as good as it does the day I got it. But, like my bad ass Windows Vista gaming machine, I don't have any desire to fawn over it.
posted by Po0py at 5:20 AM on July 25, 2008


The Monkey was posting from mid-2009.

I'm surprised more people aren't, since Vista SP2 enabled time travel. (Pretty painful to operate though, uses MacBook Pros and iPhones as reaction mass. Microsoft say they had no choice.)
posted by The Monkey at 5:31 AM on July 25, 2008


How can I crosspost this thread to comp.os.ms-windows.advocacy?

How can I killfile it, and *plonk* everyone that written reddit-level commentary?

(Am I the only one here who was around *before* Windows 3.0 and Linux and BSD for x86 arrived, and hope to still work professionally with this when the thing that'll replace all that ancient crap appears on the radar? Or, wait, I'm pretty sure that it already has. Someone's been busy switching your operating system for quite some time now...)
posted by effbot at 5:48 AM on July 25, 2008


When Apple switched to OS X and later to Intel chips, it killed Hypercard and the guy's Mac product line.

Man, Hypercard? There was a five year transition period to get your apps off Classic. Most developers managed ok.

Throwing stuff away helps keep the system tidy. I guess that's the tradeoff: backwards compatibility, new features, or clean design (pick two).


we had to work on his Window box because his software no longer ran on Macs

He could run the Windows app on the Mac using Parallels...


Credit to Steve Jobs for creating such a fanboy culture surrounding the mac.

And Linus Torvalds is to be credited with creating the Linux fanboy culture, right?
posted by ryanrs at 6:15 AM on July 25, 2008


Ubuntu Hardy has been nothing but a huge PITA, on a new system. I've been using Ubuntu for a few years, and been happy, until now. Buggier and slower. Some of it seems to be the fault of Firefox.

People who do ordinary things report a happy experience with Vista. I'm happy for them. People who do lots of things and know lots of things report it's plagued with problems.

Lucky me, I was able to get XP with my new machine. But I only use it for certain gadgets that have no Linux support. My lust for buying gadgetry is taking a hit by my lust for avoiding Windows.

My iBook is nice. I'd like it lots more if I wasn't always being asked to spend money for every little program I might like to use occasionally. Even if it isn't big money, it's stil annoying to see simple programs for Windows are free, and the equivalent for Apple costs $20 or more.
posted by Goofyy at 6:35 AM on July 25, 2008


BE OS or Nothing!
posted by Mick at 6:59 AM on July 25, 2008


Metafilter is a good place to promote Microsoft's new ad campaign.

It's a good place to promote all things Apple so why not Microsoft?
posted by juiceCake at 7:00 AM on July 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


So the benefit of "upgrading" to Vista is what, exactly? It's prettier?

The UAC mostly. Sure, most mefites are computer savvy enough not to need it but thats nots true of 95% of users out there. Im glad MS has finally pushed towards not running as admin 24/7. This will help tremendously with the malware problems XP is plagued with. XP is dead OS and a malware magnet. Its really time for MS to let go of it, at least in the home market.

That said, vista has some pretty intimidating hardware requirements. The bugs Ive noticed were all fixed in SP1. There's a lot of belly aching from people who installed it on a beater machine with unstable drivers. No matter how far MS progresses, its still true that you should never use a product of theirs until SP1.
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:28 AM on July 25, 2008


Also, people who complain about vista being slow have never spent much time with Leopard. Theyre both pretty pokey by my standards and the mystery spinning rainbow twirl gets annoying pretty fast, especially considering how fast that hardware is.

I think OS design will never be faster and slimmer than before. It will always be about writing for future hardware and featuritus. Im guessing a lot of the nostalgia of running XP is because it was designed for a computer sold 5 years ago and runs pretty nice right now. People dont remember what it was like running it on a P3 machine with 256megs of ram.
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:31 AM on July 25, 2008


If this gets turned into an ad campaign I don't think people will be so impressed by the fact that Microsoft tricked a handful of its own customers into admitting that they like their new product. It actually seems kind of pathetic.

Agreed. There's no way Microsoft can top Apple's ability to put out insulting 'be a cunt and proud of it' advertisements.
posted by juiceCake at 8:01 AM on July 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


In my experience XP ran more efficiently than Windows 2000 on a P3 with 256MB of RAM. It's hard to let go of the fact that for a brief moment in history, Microsoft managed to produce an OS that seemed to run better on the same hardware than its predescessor (ok, 98SE seemed to do the same vs 95)...but I do remember all of the XP hate, and we waited until SP2 before deploying in the workplace, and there's a lot of tweaking that goes into it that you kind of forget after awhile.

We only recently finished replacing all of our P3-550s (with 256MB of RAM) and yeah, it's amazing running XP on a Dual/Quad-Core machine with 2GB of RAM, and it's kind of terrible to finally have something so slick and fast and streamlined, running today's software as snappily-as-can-be, only to be corralled into the next bloated OS.

And Vista seemed to come around just as the "halfway-decent $500 laptop" became a reality, only to smack it down; many of these laptops shipped with Vista and were an absolute joke due to the hardware requirements, an insult to the poor sucker who bought it.

XP seemed to do just fine on the P3s, running Office and an EMR that easily gobbles up 120MB within a few minutes of use. The main irritation was the bootup time (which happened to be one of the major improvements over 2000) but after that, reasonably smooth sailing...admittedly I would kill myself if attempting to multi-tab-browse on such a machine, but I only recently bumped up my home XP machine from 512MB to 2.5GB in order to accomodate my bazillion-tab habit.
posted by aydeejones at 8:24 AM on July 25, 2008


People dont remember what it was like running it on a P3 machine with 256megs of ram.

My laptop is exactly that and runs XP. Fast enough as an internet and office productivity machine.

For me, Vista just doesn't have enough of a benefit for me to switch over from XP. Nothing wrong with it other than the UAC, which I'd probably just turn off (for me, but it's a godsend for my mother's computer). Windows 7 64-bit will probably be the next major MS system I will use as at that point the changes will be significant.

I also run OSX on a MacPro at work and like the desktop environment. Vista looked nice as well, but then I discovered Styler and, well, XP now looks both pretty and isn't as big a resource hog as Vista or OSX. Score.
posted by linux at 8:37 AM on July 25, 2008


Actually I remember XP being a hog, especially SP1 and SP2 compared to 2000. I think Windows 2000 was the performance sweet-spot. Still is really.
posted by damn dirty ape at 8:47 AM on July 25, 2008


They also have to tweak the OS to improve the performance of SQL server and Office to keep those applications ahead of other DB and office vendors.

First, would you please explain how you know this? Second, obviously MS is not worried about SQL server performance on a client OS, so that doesn't make a lot of sense (unless I missed where people were complaining about the time between server releases). Third, I have never, ever heard of anyone making a perf change for Office, nor do I see why anyone would. People who need the features of Office and have the money for it are probably not going to be deterred by performance concerns.
posted by JasonSch at 9:00 AM on July 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think Windows 2000 was the performance sweet-spot. Still is really.

Damn straight. I spent around $60 on hardware at Newegg a year or so ago, and built a new Windows 2k machine with my old OS disc. It absolutely screams, and still works with the majority of software I throw at it.
posted by Dr-Baa at 9:03 AM on July 25, 2008


Thats exactly because they are fanboys. The vast majority of Windows users are just computer users. Simple as. They don't have any desire to jump on message boards proselytizing about it.

This simply isn't true anymore. 5 years ago? Maybe. Now windows users can be just as aggressive. A couple of months ago a guy wrote about switching to the mac. He was swamped by windows users who were vicious in their responses. If you haven't seen this happening you haven't been looking.

And mac fanboys are balanced by people who categorize any love for apple as cult behavior. No need to see if there's any truth to the story, it's apple, and they're a cult. It's a reverse lemming situation.

My iBook is nice. I'd like it lots more if I wasn't always being asked to spend money for every little program I might like to use occasionally. Even if it isn't big money, it's stil annoying to see simple programs for Windows are free, and the equivalent for Apple costs $20 or more.

Part of the reason I switched was the quality of shareware. Probably half my mac applications are free, and there's usually a free option. But the other half I gladly pay for. They include some amazing programs and used daily makes 20 bucks a bargain. I could switch back if I had to and be happy, but I'd dearly miss quality of mac shareware, which I value far more than Windows quantity, and I know I'm not the only one.
posted by justgary at 9:06 AM on July 25, 2008


Oh, I don't have anything as rigorous as logical reason to back up what I said. It just seems like Vista really kicked Microsoft's ass, more than it should have.

MS started work on Longhorn in May 2001, two months after the release of Mac OS 10.0. Since then, Apple has shipped five major OS releases and transitioned to the Intel platform. Vista, on the other hand, is still struggling for market acceptance.


That start date ignores the reset (in 2003?) and that wasn't really due to technical issues; it was more of a procedural thing. LH's problem was really that it was too ambitious: WinFS, avalon, managed code in general, ... Managing software development is just really complicated. I will say that smaller, more targeted point releases is really the way to go, and Apple does this very well.
posted by JasonSch at 9:20 AM on July 25, 2008


It's a good place to promote all things Apple so why not Microsoft?

I agree with you: Let us start posting Apple's advertisement campaigns on Metafilter, just as we did here with Microsoft's brand new, exciting advertisement campaign.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:51 AM on July 25, 2008


Apple does [targeted point releases] very well

As do the various Linux distros, Solaris, and probably most other vendors. Microsoft's problems are atypical.

And the Intel transition was more than a point release. Can you imagine Microsoft trying to pull off porting to another hardware platform?
posted by ryanrs at 9:52 AM on July 25, 2008


Justgary:This simply isn't true anymore. 5 years ago? Maybe. Now windows users can be just as aggressive. A couple of months ago a guy wrote about switching to the mac. He was swamped by windows users who were vicious in their responses. If you haven't seen this happening you haven't been looking.


I don't beleive that at all. If you look at how many windows users there are compared to OS X users and then compare which crowd is louder when they sing the praises/defend their OS of choice then it is clearly Mac users that are the loudest. You are talking about the random occations when people do speak up and defend windows. I'm sure it happens but not nearly as much as Mac users. Yep, its true that windows users can be agressive when Os X users can be more humurous about it and there are many reasons why that is so. Apple's Mac Vs Windows ad campaign is an obvious culprit. I've always said that Microsoft should do a parody advert campaign in response Apple's efforts but so far they sticking to their rather dull PR campaign.

By the way. Don't think for a second that I'm a defender of windows. I think Os X is probably the better of the two but I'm happy with my Vista gaming machine.
posted by Po0py at 10:05 AM on July 25, 2008


For the record, I do not love Macs—I love UNIX.
posted by ryanrs at 10:12 AM on July 25, 2008


Can you imagine Microsoft trying to pull off porting to another hardware platform?

Are you kidding? Do you know how many different architectures NT has run on over the course of its lifetime? And MS made the x86 -> x64 transition just fine, which isn't that much simpler than ppc -> x86.
posted by JasonSch at 10:25 AM on July 25, 2008


And how many of those ports had full binary app compatibility and processor emulation?
posted by ryanrs at 10:32 AM on July 25, 2008


Did FX!32 ever see much real world usage?
posted by ryanrs at 10:36 AM on July 25, 2008


Also, x86 -> x64 is easy since you only need to change the kernel and some drivers. x64 processors run 32-bit x86 code just fine.
posted by ryanrs at 10:44 AM on July 25, 2008


Also, x86 -> x64 is easy since you only need to change the kernel and some drivers. x64 processors run 32-bit x86 code just fine.

It is easier, yes, which I already conceded. But it's not as simple as you make it because these 32-bit processes call system code that has to do lots of thunking (e.g., in user32). And, of course, you have to fix all the people that stuff pointers into ints. Moreover, it's not like x64 Windows is a bunch of 32-bit processes with just the minimum ported. Everything (basically) in the system is running native so the fact that x86 code can run is meaningless; it might as well have been an entirely different architecture (ignore app compat, which I will address below).

Now, if you want to say that your original comment of moving to a new architecture includes running all legacy binaries untouched (and you think supporting 16-bit apps on x86 and x86 apps on x64 are gimmes so they don't count) I still don't see why you think it can be safely assumed MS couldn't pull it off (especially considering all the crazy 16-bit stuff that ntvdm supports). That seems rather unsubstantiated. MS hasn't done this in the past (presumably) because it doesn't make any sense, as there hasn't been the necessary "overlap" to justify the technical investment.
posted by JasonSch at 11:29 AM on July 25, 2008


I think Windows 2000 was the performance sweet-spot. Still is really.

Damn straight.


Thirded. Win2K Workstation and Server were/are fantastically stable and ran well on ridiculously low-end hardware. MS hit the bullseye in my opinion.
posted by porn in the woods at 1:01 PM on July 25, 2008


Agreed. There's no way Microsoft can top Apple's ability to put out insulting 'be a cunt and proud of it' advertisements.

The way I se it those are adverts fro John Hodgeman, and therefore a good thing, regardless of there merits as a comparison between computing platforms.
posted by Artw at 4:30 PM on July 25, 2008


My Vista box will crash more often in two months than XP did in five years. My previous XP box is used by my GF and still runs better than 3Ghz / 3GB ram Vista box ever will. Live and learn.

That said its not a horrible product, just doesnt bring anything to the table to make it worth the effort.
posted by vaportrail at 5:34 PM on July 25, 2008


I still use Windows 3.1
posted by Vindaloo at 7:52 AM on July 26, 2008


That's what you think! It's really vista configured to look like Windows 3.1
posted by ph00dz at 10:25 AM on July 26, 2008


Vista manages to crash frequently when playing .avi files that are stored on another computer on the network. And not just regular crashes either, the mouse pointer goes all corrupted and then the computer locks up completely, so thats a feature that wasnt in XP.
posted by Iax at 11:14 AM on July 26, 2008


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