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Microsoft XP Unvevils Blah Blah Blah Oh Who Cares.
June 20, 2001 11:46 AM   Subscribe

Microsoft XP Unvevils Blah Blah Blah Oh Who Cares. The full-press marketing blitz, in the face of slumping PC sales, a sluggish economy, and all common sense, will gloss over the fact that you now need 128 megs of RAM to run Microsoft's craptastically ill-conceived OS. Can't wait, Bill - I'm already gripping the sink!
posted by solistrato (36 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
I still don't understand MS's push for WinXP. Win2K drivers are still hard to come by for lots of gear and its a pretty nice compromise between NT 4 and Win98, yet their marketing dept is trying to push another OS.

MS is just going way too fast for business to catch up, they cancelled the NT 4.0 MCSE track early this year which means less qualified people for an OS that'll be around for quite a while yet while Win2k rollouts are coming out as slow as possible. I still don't see any good reason to dump my NT4 servers for 2K let alone for XP.

MS is its own biggest competitor and somehow its losing. Imagine if they spent more time supporting and perfecting their already decent products instead of another expensive mess. Profits over products?
posted by skallas at 11:57 AM on June 20, 2001


Considering a 128Mb stick of RAM is going for about $30, it's not that big of a deal anymore. I run 384Mb of RAM at home, and used to have 512Mb in my work machine.

It's just the way things are these days.
posted by mathowie at 12:01 PM on June 20, 2001


I'm using a Windows XP beta for a new book I am writing. The interface is a real departure from Windows 95/98/Me that graphical designers have been given free rein on.

The new OS includes a couple of big F-Us to anyone expecting the company to change in response to the anti-trust suit. The biggest is that MSN Messenger is built-in, including a button on the Internet Explorer 6 toolbar and a persistent nag dialog asking you to make Messenger your default client for Internet voice messaging.

Windows XP also includes built-in support for Passport, its one-password-fits-all solution for hundreds of Web sites, and Hotmail in Outlook Express.

There's also a new nag feature that makes Clippy look subtle by comparison. Word balloons appear over the system tray at least a half-dozen times during the first hour you use the OS, advising you to delete unused files, use wizards, and the like.
posted by rcade at 12:06 PM on June 20, 2001


i really want to move onto macintosh, but i really hope that the cost of their hardware comes down first ... and i am also waiting for OSX to come preinstalled on new computers (unless they are now).

if windows XP can only emulate earlier versions of windows, then to me, there's no reason not to move onto macintosh. the only reason i might keep a windows compatible computer is to play games that are built for DOS or windows. between osx emulating windows and windows xp emulating its earlier versions, i'll choose osx.
posted by moz at 12:10 PM on June 20, 2001


I've been a longtime observer of MS rollouts -- I went from DOS to OS/2 to MacOS to Unix for my main OS of choice.

I've always thought (even for the win95 rollout) that Microsoft was going to fall on its face because it was moving too fast, not working on existing bugs, reaching too far, etc etc. The above comments are always the same (and I continue to think they're great points)

But the missing part of the puzzle is new computers. When XP is bundled on every new computer, and Windows Media Player, IE, Money, Office, and so on are bundled in XP, you can expect a huge audience even with a horrible OS.

Fact is, the vast majority of users will take what is handed to them. This, if nothing else, will promise brisk sales of XP.
posted by jragon at 12:11 PM on June 20, 2001


I'm already gripping the sink!

Can I just mention my new favourite phrase?
posted by fullerine at 12:12 PM on June 20, 2001


Moz ; it's bundled now with OS9 as the default, and in July OSX will be the default.
posted by jragon at 12:14 PM on June 20, 2001


I like Microsoft, I really do. Windows 2000 is sweet. But XP offers nothing but a lot of superficial crap that would only appeal to your average AOLer/newbie luser. Perhaps I should just hold out for blackcomb

also, those requirements are pathetic. 230 some Mhz and 128Mb ram - hell, i wouldn't recommend running win98se/ME with less than that. If you can barely handle IE 4.0, you need a new machine

As for Macin... tosh (hey - i bit my tongue), I want to see them port to the x86 platform. Gimme MacOS on my PC and then i'm interested. Cause frankly, 500Mhz regardless of their delusional propeganda is weeeeaaaaak.
posted by Zebulun at 12:16 PM on June 20, 2001


isn't anyone else wondering if the "unvevils" in the main homepage post is a typo or a freudian slip?
posted by elsar at 12:25 PM on June 20, 2001


Mac OS X is already bundled with all new Macs (I got a copy on a CD with my new iBook), it's just not the default OS yet - but you will get it free if you purchase a Mac right now. The new (500Mhz G3) iBook is pretty damn fast, btw, even under OS X.
posted by josh at 12:26 PM on June 20, 2001


Sure, most of us here are already running at and way above 128 megs of ram, but when you move beyond the realm of tech-saavy people, a pretty good portion of the population is still far behind.

My parents use a 5 year old gateway with a 3 gig hard disk and 32 megs of ram. I have friends who are still content with their p100s and 16 or 8 megs of ram.

For most of the world, as long as your computer is able to read you your email, send some pictures to your in laws and download sports scores, your computer is working just fine.

Microsoft wants to target everyone with their Latest Product, but I'm guessing the good portion of their focus is on this larger portion of the computing population. They don't want you to just buy Windows XP. They want you to buy a new Windows XP-ready computer from a business partner or go out and buy some new RAM from one of their buddies.
posted by tomorama at 12:29 PM on June 20, 2001


I still don't understand MS's push for WinXP.

I do...the same reason we have tiny changes of trim on cars every year: to make you feel you're out of date and need to upgrade, when that's usually far from the case.
posted by DiplomaticImmunity at 12:30 PM on June 20, 2001


The biggest hurdle M$ may be facing with XP is actually the slimmest technically - the user interface. They've backed off a bit now, saying that they'll provide some kind of alternative via themes or a config setting somewhere, but running the default is like having the AOL client on always, and trying to actually get work done with it.
posted by m.polo at 12:35 PM on June 20, 2001


Anti-MS vitriol seems to be running at /. like levels on Mefi lately...
posted by owillis at 12:37 PM on June 20, 2001


Cause frankly, 500Mhz regardless of their delusional propeganda is weeeeaaaaak.

Mhz isn't very telling at all unless you're comparing the exact same chip, let along 2 different platforms. You should check out the benchmarks on some of these "slow" chips or better yet use a 500-600 mhz Mac to see what its really like.
posted by skallas at 12:38 PM on June 20, 2001


I recently installed an XP beta on my parents' system: Pentium 200, 96 MB RAM, 2 GB HD. Despite the complete disregard for minimum system requirements, XP, on that system, performs better than '98, has yet to crash, and my parents prefer the new start menu layout (admittedly, they detested the new interface and asked that I revert to the "classic" theme). Thus, I'm having difficulty understanding all the brouhaha over releasing system requirement specs.
posted by rmannion at 12:55 PM on June 20, 2001


Same here. Comparing XP to Win98, there's no contest: at least I can leave XP running overnight without it locking up. It actually feels more responsive than Win2000 on my old PPro 200/128Mb: so when I do boot into Windows from Linux, I'm much happier to use the beta of XP. There's also a sense of "about time too" on many of the new features: for instance, having per-program rather than per-window taskbar entries.

That said, I sort of think MS should be offering it as a free upgrade, in order to apologise for the crap they've passed off as operating systems over the past decade.
posted by holgate at 12:57 PM on June 20, 2001


As for Macin... tosh (hey - i bit my tongue), I want to see them port to the x86 platform. Gimme MacOS on my PC and then i'm interested. Cause frankly, 500Mhz regardless of their delusional propeganda is weeeeaaaaak.

Yeah, totally. This PowerBook here with its wimpy little 500 MHz processor really is slow. I'm spending all my time wishing for that 1 GHz Pentium box I left behind at my last job. Oh, yeah - it takes so many seconds to rebuild all the source in my project that, were I holding a stopwatch, I might be able to push "start" by the time it finished. And the GUI - man, it's so unbelievably sluggish that, with a strobe light and a high speed video camera, you might even be able to catch it repainting a window after you click on it. And don't *even* get me going on how badly it bogs down when you try to do simple things like oh, rip a CD to MP3 files - it can take over five minutes!

Using megahertz to measure processor speed is like trying to drag-race a car by measuring its displacement - it simply doesn't work that way. This "weak" laptop gets things done faster than any other computer I've used.

Apple is a hardware company. You will never see MacOS running on commodity PCs, even if Apple someday chooses to jump ship for the x86 architecture. And if you want MacOS running on commodity PCs, you're missing the point. Apple's control over the hardware means you (almost) never have to tweak settings to get your machine to work.

-Mars
posted by Mars Saxman at 1:07 PM on June 20, 2001


I have a hand in the volume software licensing at the company I am contracted to, and I must say that the only reason for MS's accelerated product release schedule is to meekly validate the forced upgrade structure imposed on their Select Volume Licensing customers. Same deal with Office XP. Upgrades are now out the window, and you now must purchase maintenance on licenses at the same time as the initial license purchase. So basically, you are stuck buying full versions of software you don't need if your company's IT rollouts move slowly.
posted by machaus at 1:10 PM on June 20, 2001


Holgate, call me very very naive, but you can boot Windows from Linux?
posted by solistrato at 1:26 PM on June 20, 2001


Yeah, I knew you could boot MacOS from Linux in its own window, (or, duh, use OSX) but I didn't think you could have Windows in a window of Linux.
posted by jragon at 1:30 PM on June 20, 2001


Yes Mars, but how much did you pay for that laptop? My last system upgrade (333mHz to 800, 8 gigs to 30, cd-rw, new case, new MB, double the ram) cost me ~$600. For that, I'd put up with tweaking settings. But hey, I like tweaking settings, could just be me.
posted by Hackworth at 1:31 PM on June 20, 2001


My younger brother, a mac advocate is always trying to say "you can't judge a CPU by its Mhz", then he comes up with some sort of lame analogy.

Hey. I was a Mac head at one time too. But if they claimed their G4 was a bit faster than an equally Mhzed PIII 3 years ago and they haven't *released* a new CPU since, it's hard to buy that arguement today against newer faster T-Birds.

And perhaps your right. If you judge a car by its fenders, hubcaps, and interior and ignore the number of cylinders on the engine (cause pistons are no way to judge a car, right?), then by all means, get that zippy honda. Just make sure you move to the side when my v8 suburban comes bareling down.

[i know i know - this is heated troll shit - i should let it go - but man - Mac people drive me batty - buying a computer cause of it's looks - dammit - its a tool - if i need a hammer, i dont pick the one with the pertiest handle - i buy the strongest one for the best price]
posted by Zebulun at 2:00 PM on June 20, 2001


solistrato: loose terminology from me. I reboot, and switch to Windows. Though I have been able to run Win98 as an X app on Linux, courtesy of VMWare, and I'd do that with XP instead of dual-booting if:

a) it supported DirectX for Counter-Strike;
b) if I had a nice new fast shiny PC.
posted by holgate at 2:08 PM on June 20, 2001


Yes Mars, but how much did you pay for that laptop? My last system upgrade (333mHz to 800, 8 gigs to 30, cd-rw, new case, new MB, double the ram) cost me ~$600.

Regardless of platform, laptop hardware is always much more expensive than desktop hardware. Upgrading a system will undoubtedly be cheaper than buying a whole new system...

That said, the ibook is a really good value, at least David Pogue in the NY Times
"But the iBook's stealth feature is its price. The base model, at $1,300 (with 64 megabytes of RAM and a CD drive), is $500 less than the lowest-priced similarly configured Windows competitor, pounding a silver spike through the heart of the notion that Macintosh elegance necessarily commands a price premium. "
posted by andrewraff at 2:19 PM on June 20, 2001


I've heard that frontpage xp makes up for some of the crap in the old version of frontpage. I sort of care because we get it for free for our computer labs and nobody here will pay for dreamweaver.
posted by mecran01 at 2:28 PM on June 20, 2001


OS X now comes preloaded on the hard drive of every new Mac.
posted by Alwin at 2:43 PM on June 20, 2001


buying a computer cause of it's looks - dammit - its a tool - if i need a hammer, i dont pick the one with the pertiest handle - i buy the strongest one for the best price]

This is a very stylish way to insult Mac users. I doubt a transluscent case has made anyone convert from PC to Mac. What sells is UI and its reputation amongst designers. If the case reflects that, all the more reason to love it than to hate it. I also don't see the value in pure number crunching. Lets not forget our old friends like RAM, drive speed, blah, blah.
posted by skallas at 2:56 PM on June 20, 2001


Re: the style and "looks" of a computer...

There are quite a large number of people now who don't buy their car because of how powerful it is - they buy it because of how good it looks.

Why should computers be any different? Granted, you don't go showing your computer off in the street (unless you have a shiny new laptop), but I still prefer to be using a good looking machine rather than an ugly beige box.
posted by chason at 3:16 PM on June 20, 2001


What sells is UI and its reputation amongst designers.

If I don't like the Windows interface, I can use Litestep or any of the other shell replacements to design my own. Doing the same on a Mac ... well, I've only heard of one project aiming to do this.

As for actual computing power, I've yet to see an unbiased study. There are countless ways to skew the results, from mismatched competitors to platform-specific optimized code.

I use a PC, and I can't imagine there being anything one can do on a Mac that I can't do on my PC. I don't have to deal with Apple's bad business choices. Besides; these days, it just doesn't matter.
posted by skyline at 6:16 PM on June 20, 2001


I use a PC, and I can't imagine there being anything one can do on a Mac that I can't do on my PC.

If you can't imagine it, then obviously a PC is more than sufficient for the things you can imagine.

(What I can't imagine is that this debate still has legs, 17 years into the game. People who call themselves technology people and who cannot evaluate a Macintosh computer and see how a Macintosh is beneficial for certain classes of users and certain classes of work, should call themselves something else, because they suck as technology people.)
posted by m.polo at 9:21 PM on June 20, 2001


Besides; these days, it just doesn't matter.
well put skyline.
posted by the_ill_gino at 9:21 PM on June 20, 2001


"The new OS includes a couple of big F-Us to anyone expecting the company to change in response to the anti-trust suit."

States discuss new lawsuit against Microsoft
posted by rmannion at 10:28 PM on June 20, 2001


This is a very stylish way to insult Mac users. I doubt a transluscent case has made anyone convert from PC to Mac.

Maybe not the transluscent casings, but my PC-using friends drool at pictures of the titanium Powerbook and iBook.
posted by gyc at 12:11 AM on June 21, 2001


For those interested in getting one of the newer G4s, it's rumored that Steve Jobs is going to announce newer models of the towers (with processors running faster than the current 733mhz ones). That means the few remaining 533 and 666 Mhz machines are going to drop to a more affordable price.
posted by inviolable at 1:27 AM on June 21, 2001


Microsoft does good work sometimes. I know, an unpopular thing to say but true.

Windows 2000 is an incredibly sweet OS, sweet enough that I was able to ditch our Linux servers for Win2K boxen.

On our workstations, it stays up for days and weeks under 3dS Max and development loads.

We like it.

All that said, the XP betas we are running on some boxes look nice, and the UI is not all that intrusive.

With any luck, I'll be reloading my personal box with XP this weekend and then we can see if it's as cool as it looks :)
posted by soulhuntre at 10:47 AM on June 21, 2001


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