HURF DURF VISTA EATER
September 24, 2007 1:19 PM   Subscribe

 
Early adopters get screwed...film at 11
posted by GavinR at 1:22 PM on September 24, 2007


My new laptop is going to be a Mac because Vista scared me just enough. I have barely recovered from a bad case of Millennium in the last decade. Before that, I was blissfully ignorant as to just how bad things could get.
posted by madamjujujive at 1:28 PM on September 24, 2007


Early adopters get screwed...film at 11

I was all set to disagree with you until I saw that those who already have Vista have to pay $15-20 to get the disc.

Oh well. Consider it a stupidity tax for buying it in the first place.

(Apologies go out to those who may not have had a choice)
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 1:36 PM on September 24, 2007


I expect the large majority of new Windows desktop apps to be XP compatible well into the next decade, including games. Which ultimately is good news- restricting the functionality of desktop apps will hopefully make web apps more attractive in comparison. Hopefully, developers will find it easier to innovate with web apps, and inertia will develop that will finally prompt advances in web standards support.
posted by gsteff at 1:37 PM on September 24, 2007 [3 favorites]


Oh thank god. I bought a Vista laptop after my old one died in a car crash, and needed to walk into Fry's and out with a solution. I've only just gotten most apps into some semblance of cooperation, but not others (I'm looking at YOU, Picasa).
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:37 PM on September 24, 2007


Somehow I can't see Mac users hating Leopard to want to downgrade.

I really think Vista will be MS's last OS. It took them 7 years to get this out, and people hate it. Even XP wasn't considered usable until it's second service pack and I think that took another couple years to come out. There has also been an increase in time between OS releases.

So, 2 more years before they "fix" Vista, then start on the thier next OS, which will take more than 7 years to develop, and when it is released will take some time to be fixed. I can't image most PC users will be willing to wait another decade to upgrade.

Just my thoughts. OH, and full disclosure, I am a mac guy, but I do support Windows XP as well (both on hardware and virtualized).
posted by cjorgensen at 1:38 PM on September 24, 2007


Wait. Charge money for a new OS. Then charge a fee for a downgrade to the old OS? Awesome times.
posted by clearlynuts at 1:38 PM on September 24, 2007 [3 favorites]


This clearly has a 1) 2) 3) profit breakdown, but it's too obvious to even bother.
posted by IronLizard at 1:42 PM on September 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


Consensus among the devs and sysadmins I work with: Vista is the new Windows ME.
posted by mullingitover at 1:43 PM on September 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


In related news, John Hodgman is now 6 years younger.
posted by brain_drain at 1:43 PM on September 24, 2007 [4 favorites]


I, for one, welcome the title of this post.
posted by ninjew at 1:44 PM on September 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


While LOLMICROSOFT posts are generally annoying and I think mac fanboys need to stop creaming in there pants about the "OS to Rule Them All," vista really is the shittiest platform I've ever encountered. Yes, I really do want to run that program. Stop fucking ASKING ME!
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 1:50 PM on September 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Anecdotal Evidence Alert!: I've spoken with quite a few of our customers that have gotten so frustrated with Vista that they went out and bought a new Macintosh. So, yeah, Vista has been pretty good for Apple's business.
posted by NoMich at 1:51 PM on September 24, 2007


My new computer came with Vista. After spending a day or two changing all the settings to "Windows Classic" (itself a throwback even in XP) it's only slightly more annoying than XP was.

"Only slightly more annoying" is not a great review for a big upgrade, I guess.
posted by callmejay at 1:51 PM on September 24, 2007


I've typed and deleted three trollish responses to this post. No need to thank me, it's a service I am pleased to provide.
posted by jepler at 1:52 PM on September 24, 2007 [4 favorites]


OK, this fab new iMac was the product of my fear of Vista - and the previous bad experiences of my several early adopter friends. Who really thought being the first on your block with a new MS product was going to be a status item?
posted by newdaddy at 1:53 PM on September 24, 2007


I love that the apple heads are laughing that Microsoft is charging $15-20 per downgrade CD. It's like they love their Macs so much they forget how much more they paid for them. It's like a pregnant woman laughing at me because I have gas.

These CDs are for Business and Ultimate versions of Vista which most likely are installed in corporate environments with site licenses where the XP discs will already be readily available so it isn't that big an issue. Besides in business environments it is routine to delay the rollout of new software, particularly operating systems, for a long time. I'm betting neither the latest Apple OS or LAMP stack is running in any enterprise fortune 500 mission critical infrastructure either.

The amazing part is that the discs are not free given how many free CDs microsoft regularly ships. There isn't a product out from Microsoft I haven't gotten a free CD for in the mail.

Plus Apple are not immune to the desire to force upgrades either (see the recent quicktime forcing itunes bundling fiasco).

That said, I would like two computers so I could enjoy the best of both worlds.
posted by srboisvert at 1:55 PM on September 24, 2007 [3 favorites]


Stop fucking ASKING ME!

User Annoyed Constantly. First thing I turned off.
posted by IronLizard at 1:56 PM on September 24, 2007


You know, you can turn that off Terminal Velocity. Of course, it's there to help w/ Trojans, but I never had problems with that on XP either so yeah it's not necessary.

I like Vista, haven't had issues with program compatibility, but I know it's YMMV. Also, you do need a buff machine (but on my quad-core it runs great).

Still, I wouldn't encourage people to upgrade to Vista until they upgrade their computer, I wouldn't want to run it on an old one. But if you've got a fast machine and don't run lots of random software, I haven't seen any problems and see it as a nice but marginal improvement over XP.
posted by wildcrdj at 1:57 PM on September 24, 2007


I tried Vista out for a while, using a version of Home Premium I received via certificate.

While there was a lot I really, really liked about Vista, there were two dealbreakers for me:

1) Performance. My system took a considerable performance hit when compared to the same system on XP Pro. I suppose this is to be expected as Vista is the "next-gen OS", but in my system's performance scoring, the lowest number I had was 5.1 (my hard drive). I could detail all of the differences in performance, but it's probably nothing you can't read elsewhere.

2) Drivers. I have hardware I bought literally weeks before I installed Vista that flat out refuses to work. True, the onus for providing updated drivers falls upon the hardware manufacturers, but my (non-computer programming) mind sees the high rate of incompatibility and wonders if there might have been something MS could have done differently in Vista.

After spending weeks finding two things that pissed me off for every thing I liked, I went back to XP. Sure, there are plenty of workarounds for some of these things, but I reserve this kind of Googlework for my computer support job- not for my free time.
posted by Dr-Baa at 2:02 PM on September 24, 2007


marginal improvement over XP.

I don't see it. Even the eye candy is possible, even easy, to do in XP with the exception of clear windows borders and that ridiculous window shuffler.
posted by IronLizard at 2:03 PM on September 24, 2007


Well, as far as mac fanboys wanting "OS to Rule Them All" I could care less what people use. I'm just glad I don't have to support Vista. XP is bad enough. I used to believe all OSes, while not created equally, were close enough that the one you already knew was best (no reason to get a mac if your previous computer was a PC). This all changed for me with OS X.

And as for macs being more expensive...well, once you've added software equivalent to the stuff that ships on a mac the costs are comparable. And once you've factored in the time and hassle of removing the crap you don't care about on the PC...and you factor in the time wasted getting stuff working. I'll keep my Mac.

And apparently Macs are better at running Windows as well. :)
posted by cjorgensen at 2:05 PM on September 24, 2007


This is wonderful news. Serves'em right for having the nerve to try charging PC gamers a subscription fee for multiplayer.
posted by EatTheWeak at 2:10 PM on September 24, 2007


So last night I dusted off an old HP laptop I had in a box, haven't touched it since 2005 or so (and it was old then.) It had Debian on it, waaaaaaaaaay out of date.

I ran sudo apt-get update, sudo apt-get upgrade, and sudo apt-get dist-upgrade. A few hours later, I had the latest of everything and it's chugging along fine. Didn't cost me a dime, either, other than the electricity and network connection.

There's probably a point to be made here somewhere, but it escapes me.
posted by davejay at 2:11 PM on September 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


Even after working at M$ for ~5yrs, I was surprised at the level of incompetence the whole Vista thing has revealed about the company and what it's been up to over the past decade or so.

My question then is the same as my question now, and maybe some of you smarty-pants tech types can answer it:

Why don't they just start from (mostly*) scratch? Wouldn't it take as long to code a completely fresh, unbloated, completely compliant O/S as to keep loading into the mire of what came before?

It just seems like they're having the same problems as a family who decided to renovate without removing the broken parts of the house first: major stuff is still broken, but now it's surrounded by a whole bunch of other crap that is supposedly "better" but really just entrenches what was bad before and puts a shiny new coat of paint over it.


*I grok that they'd have to reuse bits and pieces related to processes associated with devices and non-M$ software, for example.
posted by batmonkey at 2:13 PM on September 24, 2007


Me and Vista have kind of come to terms with each other now. However the other day I had to install Quicktime and the pain came flooding back. MS and Apple get an equal share of the blame on that one.
posted by Artw at 2:15 PM on September 24, 2007


Just because Apple don't make low end laptops doesn't make them over-priced. They are good value when compared with their competitors.

Whenever I've compared Mac laptops vs. PC laptops, the Macs have come out cheaper. I'm a special case, because I'm mainly interested in battery life & small size. Also, this was years ago, and these days Apple don't even make a laptop that's small enough for me.

In 2005, my last toss-up was a tiny ThinkPad (£1800) vs. PowerMac G4 12in (£1200). The Mac won because it was the cheap option. I really liked the TP's titanium shell and better battery life and smaller size, but I couldn't justify the extra £600.
posted by mr. strange at 2:22 PM on September 24, 2007


Enter the Windows Shutdown Crapfest.

I worked at Microsoft for about 7 years total, from 1994 to 1998, and from 2002 to 2006.

The most frustrating year of those seven was the year I spent working on Windows Vista, which was called Longhorn at the time. I spent a full year working on a feature which should've been designed, implemented and tested in a week.

posted by four panels at 2:24 PM on September 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


I'm sorry, I'm trying very hard to come up with a compelling, insightful reaction to this but I just can't stop laughing.
posted by Skorgu at 2:40 PM on September 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


I will never, ever, ever touch Vista, but I'm glad it showed up because the anecdotal horror stories I've heard were enough to give me that last little push I needed to escape the platform inertia and resolve to go Mac next time. My only gripe is why, oh why, doesn't Corel make a Mac version of WordPerfect?
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:42 PM on September 24, 2007


I have hardware I bought literally weeks before I installed Vista that flat out refuses to work.

I wish there was a real alternative. Mac OS? Toy for people who like pretty animations and window dressing with their overpriced non-standard hardware. Me, I can't deal with everything flying all over the place and stuff like the icons on the bottom getting bigger as my mouse approaches them. Linux? I have hardware I bought literally over 2 years ago, and when I tried to install Ubuntu yesterday I found that it was only supported with PITA workarounds, there was some bug preventing me from even doing the workarounds without wiping my HD, and half the Linux community thinks I am a bad and stupid person for having this hardware. (SATA RAID mirroring)

This post is good news for me, though, because I am having a laptop bought for me and my only choice was Vista, so at least hopefully I can get XP with this.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 2:44 PM on September 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


batmonkey: because everyone wants all their old software to be compatible. They'd even like the device drivers to work. The route that non-windows people do (emulate and virtualize the obsolete OS), has some unattractive features. Hey guys, you know that OS that our bosses built and which made us billions and continues to make money by virtual of a near-monopoly? Let's scrap that and start over. It's a hard sell at a meeting.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 2:45 PM on September 24, 2007


I had to buy a new computer right around the time Vista came out, and - silly me - I thought, "Well, I'm getting a new machine, I might as well choose Vista."

And you know what? I have relatively few problems with it. ...Now that I've turned off pretty much every feature that separates it from XP in the first place. Almost... almost no problems.

*struggles not to cry*
posted by katillathehun at 2:47 PM on September 24, 2007


batmonkey: Joel on Software asserts that rewriting your code from scratch is one of many Things You Should Never Do.
posted by alasdair at 2:58 PM on September 24, 2007


Joel on Software asserts that rewriting your code from scratch is one of many Things You Should Never Do.

yes, because industry-shilling pundits who've never written operating systems know about these things.
posted by quonsar at 3:01 PM on September 24, 2007 [5 favorites]


Microsoft is a victim of its own success, in a way. Apple has changed processor architectures twice in the past twenty-five years, and they can afford to start over like that because they occupy a niche in the marketplace--the turmoil caused by a re-engineering is comparatively small. If Microsoft were to start over, the costs for everyone--Microsoft, software developers, businesses, end-users, hardware vendors, etc.--would be enormous. Apple can get away with something like Rosetta because there are few large operations with a bunch of custom-built Mac software, while having custom-built Windows-based software is very common in the business world, and if Windows were completely re-engineered (and, as a consequence, forced to run software like that in emulation), results would be wildly unpredictable.

It might have been possible without too much pain ten years ago, maybe even five, but with the exponential increases in the number of Windows-based computers deployed since then, it's going to hurt all the more when it eventually happens. Maybe they should have done it with Vista, but given the market resistance that we're seeing with it now, I don't think it'll happen until the cost of maintaining the old architecture exceeds the cost of switching to something new.
posted by Kosh at 3:02 PM on September 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


This reminds me of how earlier this year, a week before Vista came out - we couldn't find a single brick-and-mortar retailer here in Houston that would sell us the laptop we wanted with XP.

CompUSA / BestBuy / etc all had let their stock of laptops with XP run down so that they wouldn't be "stuck" with them once Vista came out. Lots of places had signs that said "Come back and purchase this system next week!", etc.

We ended up just buying a used system off eBay and I put a VLKed XP SP2 on it.

The funny bit was going into CompUSA that next week and seeing half the display systems nonfunctional or bluescreened due to bad Vista installs.
posted by mrbill at 3:07 PM on September 24, 2007


TheOnlyCoolTime -- you can turn all of that shit off in a minute. Your gripe is nonsensical. Vista has just as much crappy eye candy, or more. Under the hood, as you no doubt know, OS X is good old BSD/Unix. If you prefer, you can live much of your life in Terminal sudoing the day away. No animations at all.

As for "non-standard hardware," sorry, but Macs -- for their various problems -- are a lot more "standard" than PCs. No, they don't fit in Antrim cases or use generic motherboards - the word for that isn't "standard" (because none of that stuff is guaranteed to work together), but "commoditized." Yawn. But because the hardware is all engineered by one company, it all works together like there was some kind of . . standard or something.

I think it's time for Windows-fanboys to retire the old slurs. Macs don't cost more -- certainly not if your time is worth money -- in price/performance/service/ease of use terms. They aren't non-standard. Their intel chips can run Windows if you need that shit at all (and thus WordPerfect, if you need *that* shit!). The Mac OS is a far more capable and stable OS than Vista. There is a ton of software now, including something to do almost anything you want to do with a computer.

What are the remaining complaints? Oh, lack of games. Since I'm not a teenager, I don't really care.

Face it. You are really saying "macs aren't cool" because it used to be true that real geeks used Wintel hardware It isn't true anymore. In fact, I'd say that PCs have ceded "cool" entirely to other platforms, Mac included.

But I don't care about cool, and I don't even *love* Macs. I just care about machines that work right, give me access under the hood, and have lots of great software. I've costed out Mac ownership at work and personally, and it is cheaper than PC ownership over time. Cheaper, I tell you.

But don't let the facts get in the way of the old ideology.
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:09 PM on September 24, 2007 [10 favorites]


cjorgensen wrote "And apparently Macs are better at running Windows as well. :)"

Really? Then why can't I get the goddamn mousepad to respond to "tap-to-click" in Windows? Pisses me off. Bootcamp + Parallels means I can run the MS-only software I need to run, but for god's sakes I want a damn mouse driver that will allow me to enable tap-to-click in Bootcamp. And to make things more fun, my AirPort card is actually more reliable in Windows than it is in OS X. Damn thing flakes out on me regularly ever since the 10.4.10 update was pushed.

TheOnlyCoolTim wrote "Mac OS? Toy for people who like pretty animations and window dressing with their overpriced non-standard hardware."

I think you mean a toy for people who want a full UNIX environment, BASH shell, etc. without having to screw with CygWin to make it work. Plus, this "nonstandard" hardware... it's Intel, man. Windows installs fine. Ubuntu installs fine. What exactly is non-standard about it? Not any more or less standard than getting a Dell-branded printer, network card, etc., etc. You might try actually using it. I've used both OS X and Ubuntu at work, for several months each at a minimum, and either one did pretty much what I wanted it to do. If you still think it's a toy, well, sorry to hear that. The only thing that sucks about using a Mac for work right now is the wait for the new version of Office, because Office 2004 is basically a pile of crap. Not Apple's fault.

I've had to play with Vista in my lab. New guy has a Vista laptop. I could not believe how much trouble Microsoft has gone through to hide the most common things from view. All I wanted was to see what his IP and MAC address were. In XP, it's a simple right-click on system tray network icon. In Vista, it takes wading through five or six windows, several "Did you really mean to do that?" pop-ups and still couldn't find the damn MAC address. MS in all their wisdom decided to stop referring to it by that name, so I couldn't find it in Help, either. Eventually figured out that it would show up as a damn tooltip when hovering over the right portion of the right properties window, and will not show up anywhere else. Thanks, MS. You've just ensured that my home system will remain XP until it dies, and my next home computer purchase will likely be running OS X, like my laptop.
posted by caution live frogs at 3:10 PM on September 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Maybe they should start over with FreeBSD, with its generous license, and design a windowing system on top of it, while using emulation for backward compatibility.
posted by stavrogin at 3:10 PM on September 24, 2007


Mac OS? Toy for people who like pretty animations and window dressing with their overpriced non-standard hardware. -TheOnlyCoolTim

I'm sorry, you have exceeded the Ridiculously Ignorant Generalization quotient for MetaFilter today. Please to delete your internet and start over, sir.
posted by lazaruslong at 3:11 PM on September 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Linux? I have hardware I bought literally over 2 years ago, and when I tried to install Ubuntu yesterday I found that it was only supported with PITA workarounds, there was some bug preventing me from even doing the workarounds without wiping my HD, and half the Linux community thinks I am a bad and stupid person for having this hardware. (SATA RAID mirroring)

Not to in any way discount the difficulty that nonstandard linux installs can run into (especially with Ubuntu), but I'd be very interested in the details of this. Gmail in profile if you don't want to clog the thread.
posted by Skorgu at 3:14 PM on September 24, 2007


I hate Macs. I have always hated Macs. I hate people who use Macs. I even hate people who don't use Macs but sometimes wish they did. Macs are glorified Fisher-Price activity centres for adults; computers for scaredy cats too nervous to learn how proper computers work; computers for people who earnestly believe in feng shui.

Obligatory Charlie Brooker mac baiting
posted by Artw at 3:14 PM on September 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Just last week a friend of mine was all set to buy a new laptop, but balked upon realizing that it could only be purchased with Vista pre-installed. Looks like PC vendors are getting tired of hearing customers saying "ok, I'm ready to buy. What, VISTA? Waitaminute." Vista is getting to be a dirty word.
posted by telstar at 3:15 PM on September 24, 2007


Oh, and Office 2007 rocks. Sadly no ones really paids much attention to it because of the big song and dance about Vista.
posted by Artw at 3:16 PM on September 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


TheOnlyCoolTim says: I wish there was a real alternative. Mac OS? Toy for people who like pretty animations and window dressing with their overpriced non-standard hardware. Me, I can't deal with everything flying all over the place and stuff like the icons on the bottom getting bigger as my mouse approaches them.

You can just turn that off, you know. It's a pretty OS, but it is most emphatically not a toy. Underneath the glitz is still Unix, with which you can very nearly bring about world peace from the command line. OS X has a few warts, but overall it's a very solid, very well-thought-out interface. If you take it on its own merits, and don't try to force it to run like Windows (which you can, in many respects, do).... it's quite elegant.

Linux? I have hardware I bought literally over 2 years ago, and when I tried to install Ubuntu yesterday I found that it was only supported with PITA workarounds, there was some bug preventing me from even doing the workarounds without wiping my HD, and half the Linux community thinks I am a bad and stupid person for having this hardware.

That's pretty common in the Linux community. If what you want to do is hard with Linux, then it's your fault, not the software's. To that crowd, Linux is perfect in all things. If what you want is difficult, it must be a stupid thing to want, by definition.

If you can find polite helpers, you can usually make it work, and with mainstream hardware, it is pretty much plug-and-go... but when you're doing an unusual thing (SATA mirroring is still not that common), it can take a lot more knowledge to get it going.

That said, it IS free, both in terms of cost (relatively unimportant if you're a working adult), and in terms of liberty... you're never again held hostage by the people who write your code. If you don't like something, you don't have to use it. No forced upgrades. The software is there for your benefit, not the company's, which Microsoft has entirely forgotten, and it appears Apple may be starting to forget.

Kosh writes: Apple has changed processor architectures twice in the past twenty-five years, and they can afford to start over like that because they occupy a niche in the marketplace--the turmoil caused by a re-engineering is comparatively small.

It's not because they're small, it's because they control their hardware. They've handled their Intel transition masterfully; it's been almost transparent to the end-users. Not quite, as the PPC emulation is a little slow and has a few bugs, but overall they've done a fantastic job. It would have been just about as painless even if every person in the world had a Mac, assuming that they had maintained the same control over the platform.

Microsoft's big problem is that they have much less control over the ecosystem. If Vista had really been focused on user benefit, rather than Microsoft's benefit, it would have been an unqualfiied success, even with just as many warts, because people would have jumped on it, and then forced the vendors to get with the program. But most of the fundamental architectural changes are to benefit Microsoft, not users, and it shows. The market is mostly rejecting it; if they weren't a monopoly, there's no way they could jam Vista down very many throats.
posted by Malor at 3:20 PM on September 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


caution live frogs: I can't stand the tap-to-click! Maybe it's just this MacBook, but about 50% of the times when I reposition my hand to scroll further, or use the double-finger drag to continue scrolling up or down, it registers as a click. Sometimes doesn't do anything, but sometimes opens hyperlinks I didn't want to open. It got really annoying, so I turned it off.


That's not to say that my lack of trackpad finesse is an excuse to not include this functionality, but in the broader sense, this is a fantastic company supporting a dual-boot into their competitor's operating system. They aren't really obliged to make it good, but they did a damn good job aside from a few gripes. Compared to the number of gripes I have with native-Windows machines running the OS, it seems a happy bargain.
posted by lazaruslong at 3:20 PM on September 24, 2007


Malor: That's a great point, made earlier as well by Kosh, and pretty much sums up the difference between the two "ecosystems" as it were.

A personal observation, and slight derail: It seems we have several users in this thread that are TerminalPros. I've often read of things over on Lifehacker or somewhere else that mention using the terminal as a means to tweak OSX into running faster or improving functionality in some regard, but I've never learned enough to assess if any of these supposed benefits hold merit for me and what I use my Mac for. Can anyone explain or link me to some of these magical commands?
posted by lazaruslong at 3:25 PM on September 24, 2007


Oh, and Office 2007 rocks.

That's funny, because Office 2007 makes me want to hurl my laptop out the window. I'm sitting here right now trying to format a chart in Excel. That took a while because apparently it's better to have all the options fragmented out so that if you want to change the axis that's on a different page from formatting the axis, which is on a different page from choosing the chart type, which is on a different page from choosing the data columns. Things were similarly frustrating in Office 2000, but 2007 actually made it worse! It took me half an hour to figure out I won't even be able to use the chart in my Word document report because once it gets into Word, for some reason it becomes a picture-- a picture that doesn't have the formatting changes I made to it in Excel. And this isn't the only problem I've had.

I'm four stories up. I'm really tempted here.
posted by zennie at 3:53 PM on September 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well, I have to admit not understanding why people think Vista is so crap.

I've had this new PC here, running Vista, for about 3 weeks now - it's a mid-range PC, nothing fancy at all. And Vista has thrown up no more PITA problems and than XP. Things crash with the same frequency, I guess, not more. All my hardware worked straight out of the box, I just had to install a driver for my webcam. Turning off User Access Control was the first thing I did, and that greatly improved my experience, but that was easy to do. All the software I use every day (Gimp, Picasa, Firefox, VLC, OpenOffice) works fine.

Seriously, I haven't even thought of installing Ubuntu on it yet, and installing Linux on a spare partition is usually the first thing I do when I get a new computer. Thus far, I haven't been annoyed enough with Vista to feel the need to do this.

On further thought, there have been some problems. I found that Vista lacked the video codecs to play a load of the video files I wanted to play - no big deal, these things never come with codecs to play 3GP or DiVX - so I went and downloaded one of them codec packs and installed that. Bad idea. Vista can suddenly play DiVX, but I no longer get any audio when I play the video clips recorded from my digital camera. This is, however, my fault for installing some dodgy codec pack, and I can still play back my video clips in Mplayer and Super. My codec experimentation also managed to cause a major bug in Windows Movie Maker causing a system crash when I went to export video - but this bug was well documented and I fixed it in 5 minutes.

So what's the big deal? Why is Vista considered the worst OS since WindowsME? As far as I can tell, it's just XP with some eyecandy.
posted by Jimbob at 4:02 PM on September 24, 2007


caution live frogs: This update fixed my post-10.4.10 Airport blues. It should be in Software Update. If you've already installed it, well... you have my sympathies.
posted by marionnette en chaussette at 4:02 PM on September 24, 2007


Things crash with the same frequency, I guess, not more.

If things are crashing at all, they're broken. I see very few crashes in XP... games sometimes, essentially never anything else. If you're getting any app crashes at all, that's too many.

So what's the big deal? Why is Vista considered the worst OS since WindowsME? As far as I can tell, it's just XP with some eyecandy.

Well, you just talked about how all your audio stopped working, but you're blaming it on yourself instead of the OS. And you talked about it crashing, but that seems to be acceptable to you. That's two good reasons right there.

The biggest problem with Vista, and the reason I will never use it on any computer I care about, is the DRM system. You are no longer in full control of your own computer. You're not the owner anymore; you're the enemy. When playing back protected content, Vista is checking thirty times a second to see if you're a thief yet.

Further, they've screwed up the sound and the graphic driver subsystems to support the DRM; they've removed the ability to have functions like echo cancellation in software because you might dare to record your own machine's output. You thief.

Vista is a fundamental shift in what a computer is. It's no longer a general-purpose device to manipulate bits as you wish. Instead, it's a device where you are allowed to manipulate some bits but not others, and it's Microsoft and Hollywood that are determining what bits you get to copy. Further, Microsoft has the ability to remotely revoke drivers that do things they don't like, and stuff new code down your throat whether you like it or not.

This is, in two words, staggering bullshit, and does not belong in an operating system.
posted by Malor at 4:14 PM on September 24, 2007 [21 favorites]


Erm. Will those who claim the capability to bring about world peace from the command line please do so?

No?

Was it a badly formatted .cshrc? Maybe some whitespace in a makefile? It all seemed so simple...

If you believe in exactly one way to do things, both OSX and its command line will please you, so long as you learn it. If you would like to, say, occasionally use the keyboard to launch an application (from Finder) you will have other types of experiences. Those of "oh? I can't do that. Okay Mac, I trust you. It really is better to make me do it your way."

The PC market, for all its multitude of warts, is built upon the capricious presumptions of angry techno-federalists who wouldn't hear of such a thing.

I'll comment further on the "masterful" transition to Intel when my MacBook figures out whether it's awake or asleep. And when disabling its wireless device in BootCamp-ed XP doesn't bluescreen it. And when it stops beachballing. I'll get right on that since it's so much more stable than my ugly, warty, democracy of a Vista desktop. Of course, mine is the only Mac among my four closest Mac-using associates which has not had some sort of fundamental hardware failure wihtin the first 12 months of owning it (from USB controllers to trackpad to hard drives). Yes, masterful control of hardware.

Vista isn't that great for the user, it's great for the developers who've been shackled to a decade-old set of tools. The software they will build is why Vista exists, not the stuff it does now to annoy you. Those drivers you can't get? They were crap before and the new model in Vista means they have to either de-crap or suffer the consequences. I say 'huzzah' to that.

Is this really a race to see who can turn off more eye candy? I switched to a MacBook because I wanted to believe it really is Better Over Here.

It isn't. Just different. Nice quality media hardware in a case that gets too hot to touch. Great processing power and infrastructure in a BSD that iiiiiisn't-quite BSD.

Someone talked about how easy every OS is to install on a Mac. Yep. Install away. That's a poor metric for success.

Using them for day-to-day work, where my work is neither Flash animation(/video editing/whatever purpose-built task you can name) nor basking in the smug joy of tickling the naughty command line of my otherwise smoking hot tool.

It isn't better here. OSX Leopard may or may not make it better, but at the moment, it really, really isn't.
posted by abulafa at 4:20 PM on September 24, 2007


Well, you just talked about how all your audio stopped working, but you're blaming it on yourself instead of the OS.

I messed with the codecs and installed some package that, after installation, I saw dozens of forum posts warning against. The same thing would have happened on XP.

And applications crash; this isn't always the fault of the operating system, it can just as much be a fault of the application - haven't you ever seen a core dump on Linux?

The biggest problem with Vista, and the reason I will never use it on any computer I care about, is the DRM system.

Aah see I agree with you here, but I haven't personally experienced this problem yet, so that's why it hasn't fazed me. Vista plays back all my MP3s and OGGs and DIVXs and so on. I don't download any "protected media".

I ripped a DVD using VLC quite easily - you've only just reminded me that Vista was supposed to stop people doing things like this, I had completely forgotten because it worked just the same as on XP, or Linux for that matter.

So, I accept that your complaints about DRM are legitimate - however, how am I using my computer that's different than the average person, that has led me to not run into any DRM barriers? What sort of content would I have to be watching and listening to in order to notice the difference?

(Soundcard hijacking concerns me, if that's true - I used to use TotalRecorder quite a lot for various purposes, does that not work in Vista?)
posted by Jimbob at 4:21 PM on September 24, 2007


Oh and they make me pay $300 to be able to use the Mac desktop remotely, a feature which comes free with every non-Home version of XP/Vista.

(VNC doesn't even come close - it's unusable compared to the metadata-based RDP).
posted by abulafa at 4:23 PM on September 24, 2007


Malor is correct that those features may be enabled for protected content, but no, they're not on for the content you're using.

Interestingly, SAP (Secure Audio Path) has been in place since XP SP1. I assume Malor will now use only XP SP0 due to the rights implications therein.
posted by abulafa at 4:25 PM on September 24, 2007


Linux? I have hardware I bought literally over 2 years ago, and when I tried to install Ubuntu yesterday I found that it was only supported with PITA workarounds

PITA RAID workaround. Three days because somebody left out five goddamn lines in a driver.
posted by IronLizard at 4:37 PM on September 24, 2007


Wow. This has to be one of the most ignorant threads I've ever encountered on MeFi. Just... wow!

This is the exact same bullshit whining that occured when MS moved over to XP, by merging their home and business OS's into the same product family. It's the same bullshit whining when people moved from DOS 6 + Win 3.1 to Win 95.

It's always the same bullshit whining and it comes down to this:

* MS always builds its latest OS to support the next generation of hardware, not the current generation.

* MS has lots of influence, but very little direct control, over what that next generation is going to be like or when it's going to arrive

* When the truly next gen arrives, along with SP1, it will be prove to be an pretty decent (albeit expensive) product
posted by C.Batt at 4:39 PM on September 24, 2007


For what it's worth, I like Vista just fine. A couple annoyances with finding information (finding decent network information is still best done from the command line, which is rather silly) but overall, a bunch of nice little improvements over XP. Not anything revolutionary, but yah... nice little improvements.

Of course, YMMV.
posted by Alex404 at 4:51 PM on September 24, 2007


caution live frogs writes "All I wanted was to see what his IP and MAC address were. In XP, it's a simple right-click on system tray network icon. In Vista, it takes wading through five or six windows, several 'Did you really mean to do that?' pop-ups and still couldn't find the damn MAC address. MS in all their wisdom decided to stop referring to it by that name, so I couldn't find it in Help, either. Eventually figured out that it would show up as a damn tooltip when hovering over the right portion of the right properties window, and will not show up anywhere else."

As an FYI: Start -> Run... -> Command -> IPCONFIG /all
posted by Mitheral at 4:54 PM on September 24, 2007


I run Vista on my newish, fastish Thinkpad and I prefer it to XP by a mile. And Excel 2007 is the greatest thing ever.

/Awaits shower of praise for making such an insightful addition to the thread.
posted by Kwantsar at 4:57 PM on September 24, 2007


In Vista, it takes wading through five or six windows, several "Did you really mean to do that?" pop-ups and still couldn't find the damn MAC address.

Wait, nobody told you about "ipconfig?"

While you're there, learn net. and netsh

Seriously, the control panels are a waste of time. Command line FTW!
posted by eriko at 5:07 PM on September 24, 2007


We've gotten to the point now where Vista vs. OS X is basically a matter of whose UI bullshit do you like more, Apple's or Microsoft's. Do you enjoy the useless UAC, the obfuscation Microsoft goes to in order to protect the user from themselves, and overly aggressive update requests? Or would you rather have three ways to hide and/or minimize windows and the necessity of managing multiple Finder windows on your screen just to copy a file from one folder to another? Neither way is exactly a winning proposition to me.

It's like both companies want to treat me as though I were a grandparent who's afraid of technology and doesn't know what a window is, so they've covered everything in foam rubber to make sure I don't hurt myself on the sharp edges (UAC is a case in point—heaven forbid Vista do something reasonable like swipe the sudo method of authenticating root; no, instead all they have to do is click a nice shiny button!).
posted by chrominance at 5:09 PM on September 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


As an FYI: Start -> Run... -> Command -> IPCONFIG /all

Windows Vista: Forcing you to experience all the usability of bash and tcsh! (I kid)
posted by Llama-Lime at 5:10 PM on September 24, 2007


Last login: Mon Sep 24 10:55:16 on ttyp2
Welcome to Darwin!
Devils-Ranchers-Powerbook:~ devilsrancher$ defaults write com.world.peace IncludeDebombMenu 1
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:20 PM on September 24, 2007


As an FYI: Start -> Run... -> Command -> IPCONFIG /all

As an FYI: windows key -> "cmd" -> IPCONFIG /all
posted by Kwantsar at 5:25 PM on September 24, 2007


fourcheesemac, lazaruslong, caution live frogs - Thank you for amusing me with fanboy actions on Metafilter. I thought when I got bored of Slashdot so many years ago those days were over.

Refutations: If Mac hardware is standard, then I shall go to the store right now and buy a copy of OS X to try on my computer right here. Except it won't work, because my computer doesn't have a little DRM chip to tell Mac OS X that Apple got to enjoy a huge hardware profit.

If I wanted a powerful FreeBSD based OS, I would install FreeBSD.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 5:44 PM on September 24, 2007


I'm with Kwantsar et al. Vista seems attractive and perfectly functional on my new laptop. It may not be a spectacular upgrade, but it isn't Windows ME, either.
posted by selfnoise at 5:45 PM on September 24, 2007


occasionally use the keyboard to launch an application (from Finder) you will have other types of experiences.

You can open any GUI app from the command line with the 'open' command. 'open /Applications/Sample.app' will run the Sample program in the Applications folder.

The PC market, for all its multitude of warts, is built upon the capricious presumptions of angry techno-federalists who wouldn't hear of such a thing.

Neither would the Mac market. Lots of Unix geeks use OS X too, you know.

I'll comment further on the "masterful" transition to Intel when my MacBook figures out whether it's awake or asleep. And when disabling its wireless device in BootCamp-ed XP doesn't bluescreen it.

Does it have the sleep problem under XP? If you're having that problem with OS X, that's the first I've heard of it.

As far as the bluescreen thing goes, have you filed a bug report? And have you updated your drivers to the most recent? Apple has issued a couple of Bootcamp patches.

And when it stops beachballing. I'll get right on that since it's so much more stable than my ugly, warty, democracy of a Vista desktop.

You'll have to be clearer about your symptom there. Note that beachballing != instability. You might just need more RAM for what you're doing.

And describing Vista as a democracy is laughable.

Of course, mine is the only Mac among my four closest Mac-using associates which has not had some sort of fundamental hardware failure wihtin the first 12 months of owning it (from USB controllers to trackpad to hard drives). Yes, masterful control of hardware.

First, that wasn't what I was talking about; I was talking about managing the OS transition itself, which has been incredibly well handled. The hardware issues on the Intel Macs are primarily because Apple is trying to use that same PC ecosystem that you so fervently extol the virtues of. Apple doesn't make their own laptops; they're made, I believe, by Acer.

In my experience, only Thinkpads are genuinely good (and I don't know about Lenovo Thinkpads, this was when IBM was doing them) -- all other laptops suck, some more than others. Laptops are fundamentally disposable, and are built that way, and Apple is using the same manufacturing guys that everyone else is, pretty much.

It isn't. Just different. Nice quality media hardware in a case that gets too hot to touch. Great processing power and infrastructure in a BSD that iiiiiisn't-quite BSD.

Apple is too focused on quiet, to the point of letting their hardware run too hot. Fortunately, there are freeware utilities out there that will adjust your fan speeds however you like. Your machine will make a little more noise, but it will run a lot cooler.

And hot laptops is hardly an Apple-only problem. My mother's Toshiba gets so hot that she had to buy a little lapboard thing with an outboard USB fan to use it for more than 30 minutes.

Vista isn't that great for the user,

I'm glad you agree with me.

it's great for the developers who've been shackled to a decade-old set of tools.

That, sir, is bullshit. Those tools work just fine on XP.

The software they will build is why Vista exists

No, Vista exists to A) make Microsoft more money, and B) give Microsoft more power, by C) enhancing their monopoly lockout. What I've seen of the new developer stuff strikes me as cherries to try to get them to convert, not stuff that required an entire new operating system to implement.

DirectX 10, one of the 'big new features', absolutely did not need a new OS.

not the stuff it does now to annoy you. Those drivers you can't get? They were crap before and the new model in Vista means they have to either de-crap or suffer the consequences. I say 'huzzah' to that.

What drivers, specifically? I've had pretty goddamn good luck with XP drivers. The only thing I ever crash from is games, and even those crashes are extremely infrequent.
posted by Malor at 5:50 PM on September 24, 2007


Is this where I start my Mac gloating?



OK, how 'bout now?
posted by The Deej at 5:51 PM on September 24, 2007


You can start gloating when they open the platform and hardware gets dirt cheap.
posted by IronLizard at 6:02 PM on September 24, 2007


Kwantsar writes "As an FYI: windows key -> 'cmd' -> IPCONFIG /all"

Ya, like I'm ever going to use a keyboard with a bloody spawn of the devil "win" key. I've heard you can get a Model M with a windows key but I refuse to believe it.
posted by Mitheral at 6:02 PM on September 24, 2007


developers developers developers developers
developers developers developers developers
developers developers developers developers
developers developers developers developers
posted by moonbird at 6:08 PM on September 24, 2007


I'm using all of these platforms to get work done, and while it's great having a MacBook with Book Camp/Parallels, I'm continually reminded of this quote from Bill Maher's New Rules:

"Now that we all have computers, we know that they are, in fact, huge fuck-up machines. They're like having a compact, silicon version of Gary Busey on your desk - you never know what's going to happen."
posted by porn in the woods at 6:12 PM on September 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


TheOnlyCoolTim: "fourcheesemac, lazaruslong, caution live frogs - Thank you for amusing me with fanboy actions on Metafilter. I thought when I got bored of Slashdot so many years ago those days were over.

Refutations: If Mac hardware is standard, then I shall go to the store right now and buy a copy of OS X to try on my computer right here. Except it won't work, because my computer doesn't have a little DRM chip to tell Mac OS X that Apple got to enjoy a huge hardware profit.

If I wanted a powerful FreeBSD based OS, I would install FreeBSD.
"

Geeze, Tim, think you could get a little more slanted in your opinion? The only fanboyism I'm seeing here is from you, just in reverse.

Apple doesn't have huge margins on their stuff, at least not at the beginning of a product cycle. If you compare Apple hardware at introduction with other manufacturers, you will always see that they're roughly comparable. In some cases, they're tremendously cheaper; the Mac Pro is an absolute steal at $2500. The nearest Dell equivalent, when I was last looking a few months ago, was over $3500, before even adding any RAM. And that was eight months AFTER introduction of the original 4-processor Mac Pro. I didn't even bother looking at the octocore models.

Apple's margins really aren't that high. They just don't, for the most part, sell cheap computers. If you want a Mac, you may be forced to buy more computer than you want... but the price for their hardware offerings is fair, compared to similar specs from other companies. Toward the end of a product lifecycle, they're not as competitive, because they don't drop prices or raise features as frequently as other companies do. At introduction, though, their prices are always solid.

re: 'standard hardware' -- as said above, you're confusing 'standardized' with 'commoditized'.

FreeBSD is very solid, ideally suited for use as a server, but it's a bit primitive and not all that great on a desktop. Generally speaking, I think most folks would be happier with either Linux (better hardware support, better-tuned desktops) or OS X (much, MUCH better polish) as a daily-use machine.

OSX is highly usable as a desktop, and Linux is pretty good, but FreeBSD is so painful to work on from a user perspective that I can't imagine most people tolerating it as a desktop for long.
posted by Malor at 6:15 PM on September 24, 2007


Oh, and Jimbob asks: "What sort of content would I have to be watching and listening to in order to notice the difference?"

Well, that's up to Microsoft and Hollywood to determine. At the moment, that definitely includes any HD-DVD or Blu-Ray content. I suspect it will eventually mean 'nearly all legally-downloaded content'.

And note that Microsoft can change the rules any time they like on what's protected and what isn't. They are known to do this already, changing license terms and the like midstream... if you want security patches, you have to accept new license terms.

And then, recently, they pushed out an XP update to everyone whether or not you allow automatic updates. If your machine has been connected to the net, it was silently updated sometime in the last couple of weeks without your permission.
posted by Malor at 6:22 PM on September 24, 2007


God, ME sucked. If Vista is remotely like that, glad I stuck with the old XP.
posted by nickyskye at 6:28 PM on September 24, 2007


ps Never did a downgrade sound so sweet.
posted by nickyskye at 6:29 PM on September 24, 2007


The cooling issue is one I am intimately familiar with on my MacBook. As Malor alludes to, however, this is an easy fix. SMC Fan Control.


TheOnlyCoolTim: I'm not even going to bother, if you are only going to continue generalizing without contributing anything of substance. You could just not join in, but I can't predict your behavior seeing as how we both "entertain you" and "bore you" at the same time.
posted by lazaruslong at 7:02 PM on September 24, 2007


Jesus, they're the same fucking company, doing the same thing they've always done: fucked with their products and forced users to buy new hardware to support them, all in the name of making money and jamming as much bloat and as little QC into their products as they can. Its an economic train, and guess what? We're all in the coal car. Linux? Shit, there they go, the gomers on the handcart, trying to sudo their way into a lean mean fighting machine - which is really a P3 they got on e-bay - yeah, it runs, but it SUCKS.

Microsoft and Apple: "eating lunch together every day for thirty years" and y'all are drinking the Koolaid.

Full disclosure: I own 4 computers. One is a Mac and three are Win boxes, because I get the software cheap. I've got some Linux running on a partition somewhere but I can't be bothered with that niff naw shit. If I wanted to spend half a day recompiling a kernel, I'd just reinstall Windows.
I run a company that supports connecting Macs and Windows machines together, and then training you fucks in how to use them, together, properly. How to get your Exchange calendar to work in shit-ass Entourage, and how to get Windows shares to mount on a Mac, all while some font-fairy is bitching in the background that his "icons are flat! The icons are flat!" because I won't install that shit "appletalktoomuch" protocol on a Windows server. Oh, and by the way: There's a new version of itunes available! Thank GOD from Apple, supporting some shit-hardware (appleTV? WTF do I want with a version of itunes that adds support for some shit hardware they can't GIVE away?) Gah.

And if I have to deal with another hipster-iphone-wearing puke chick with a full muffin top and a 'tude about how her fucking powerimac won't start when she opens the lid, I'm going to jam the fucking powerbrick right into her idock.

/badday
posted by disclaimer at 7:06 PM on September 24, 2007 [3 favorites]


I tried Vista once and pretty as it was, I got rid of it quick smart and went back to XP without too much of a second thought.

However, if like me you wouldn't mind if XP looked like Vista, you can try out this, the Vista Transformation Pack. It looks pretty sweet. There's some download links on that page I linked to, but in case that dosen't work, here's a link to the Softpedia download page for the pack.
posted by Effigy2000 at 7:11 PM on September 24, 2007


disclaimer for the win. Seems like everybody's drinking somebody's Koolaid. I want a Beer!
posted by RussHy at 7:29 PM on September 24, 2007


When I started reading this thread I wanted to run OSX, then FreeBSD, then Linux, then Vista, then XP. Now I just think I'll install Win2k on my old laptop.
posted by malaprohibita at 7:59 PM on September 24, 2007


Is this "Vista" something I would need a PC to know about?

RussHy: Come on over, I am on vacation and drinking a chilly pilsner as I tpye!
posted by TedW at 8:12 PM on September 24, 2007


Sure I'm trolling, but I only do that when I can back it up.

E.g. someone please come in and defend Apple's use of the little DRM chip so you can't run Mac OS on a regular computer.

Malor: I sure as fuck ain't a fanboy. I'll say it right here: Mac sucks, Linux sucks, Windows sucks, BSD sucks, Solaris sucks, System V sucks, QNX sucks. I think that's everything I've ever used that can be called an "operating system." They just all suck in different ways, and for me XP mostly sucks least with some instances of Unix sucking least. And to me, Mac OS is Unix with an annoying GUI on top. If you like the GUI and the hardware, fine, but I still find it hilarious how people make it part of their personal identity.

And they're certainly taking their cut by forcibly bundling in the remote control and the webcam in the monitor and all that crap that most people don't want. I call that overpriced. Did a comparison, and for the lowest level imac without the bundled crap (no webcam, no Bluetooth, no Firewire, no remote, no integrated speakers) a comparable regular machine was $925, $275 less. With the bundled crap (except Firewire, didn't bother) it came out about the same. Also, Apple doesn't want me able to buy a computer and use my old monitor (haven't bought a monitor since '99) at the sub $2,500 level. More bundling. Pillar of their business model is forcing you to buy their bundles - so if I want Mac OS I'm in for a Mac, if I want a Mac I'm in for a new monitor and new speakers though there's nothing wrong with the monitor or speakers I have now, etc...

As for quality, the case might be better than a Dell one, but I doubt that they do anything special with the electronics. Hear about them breaking about as much as anything else, and of course you're not allowed/discouraged from fixing it. (Better get that service plan bundled in!)

Also second disclaimer ftw.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 8:57 PM on September 24, 2007


Malor: Any idea what was in the update to XP?
posted by IronLizard at 9:17 PM on September 24, 2007


And if I have to deal with another hipster-iphone-wearing puke chick with a full muffin top and a 'tude about how her fucking powerimac won't start when she opens the lid, I'm going to jam the fucking powerbrick right into her idock.

Comparison of muffin and muffin-top.
posted by delmoi at 9:19 PM on September 24, 2007


Nevermind. Those silent updates are apparently standard procedure.
posted by IronLizard at 9:20 PM on September 24, 2007


Ugh - who'd have thought that loyalty to some major corporation would have started a war on metafilter, of all places.

Vista sucks. OSX sucks (no matter what feline you call it after - going for the closet-cat-lady demographic much?), and *nix sucks. Alll for dfferent reasons.

Different people use computers differently.

Metafilter is ... essentially... text only. It doesn't matter if you post here from firefox arsonist or IE Caligula, or safari gorilla.
posted by porpoise at 9:44 PM on September 24, 2007


Malor: I don't really want to derail with my tech support issues*.

I was comparing the PC market to a democracy, implying the Apple market is a carefully managed hybrid of anarcho-socialism and constitutional monarchy. Unlike many geeks, I really do prefer real, dirty democracy where everybody loses a little and the law-makers work only so long as they are 'winning' the constituents support.

As for who makes their hardware: how is it that Apple hardware choices and "design" are touted as such a differentiating factor until they perform unfavorably and become POTS and someone-else's-problem?

I'll get right on that hot laptop fix. I'm sure my fans have been field-tested to survive just as long running at speed rather than as backup for radiant cooling. Did I mention that I typically ran my previous PC laptop with the lid closed most of the time - a thing which will literally destroy a MacBook?

The decades-old set of tools I'm referring to are the Win32 APIs specifically in User and GDI which make many UI development choices the lesser of very great evils in a paradigm modeled back when 1M was a lot of graphics memory. Further, I'm referring to the bad old days of kernel-mode development which forced re-implementations of gobs of userland APIs (responsible in large part for those crap drivers I mentioned earlier). Vista addresses this, time will tell if their driver model changes are an improvement (I would assert they can't make it much worse.)

And you're absolutely right. A, B, and C are reasons why Vista exists. Characterizing them as the only reasons is willfully ignorant since it still delivers gobs of value to developers, empowering them to build new software and make money for everybody.

You are mistaken about DirectX 10. It is intrinsically tied to the driver model I mentioned above which provides the abstraction of graphics hardware at a level above the device context and the GUI changes provide the high-performance compositing which makes DirectX10 native to the whole OS rather than a technology living in a window. Whether that's an improvement depends on the hardware, and is clearly the direction developers desire (in some cases contrary to users' preferences, I fear).

As for what drivers were crap before, please meet Creative Labs. The first and worst for driver quality, second only to ATI. ATI improved its quality only after Windows crash reporting demonstrated the locations and situations of their shoddiness (compare NVidia's rock-solid drivers from the same timeframe, say, 2001). Creative still can't get a 64-bit driver running in Vista at my last check. And by 'crap' I mean they take terrible advantage of bad architecture and do silly things necessitated by same. (See above re re-implementing USER in kernelspace).

Finally, I'll repeat my thesis that it's not better just different. I've raised issues with OSX and its services and you've told me to go to the manufacturer for driver updates, file bug reports, and install third-party fixes for existing inconveniences. That sounds a lot like the things one would have to do to customize Vista to their liking (Modulo the hardware catch-up which is a curse of the market. Apple loses money on their early designs and makes it back later while MS forces suppliers and thus consumers to lose that money early in exchange for the choice of hardware and an ostensibly longer tail end - Windows 2000 just sunset this year I think, for instance.)


* But I'll post them at the bottom here:
Not from the cli, from *Finder*, using, say, *enter*; Those Unix Geeks are the worst fascists of all, giving them their pretty over their powerful leads them to apologize for any number of compromises (see Netinfo); Yes, in OSX and XP yes even after an APM reset yes even before Bootcamp was in the picture and I can't be the only one since it shows up on lots of forums and is dismissed with "just put it back to sleep again"; Fully updated on BootCamp 1.4 drivers and me and one other forum sucker are the only ones with this problem - anyway, where would I file that bug exactly, bringing my Mac in to some Genius and explaining "My XP bluescreens" doesn't sound like the road to sage advice given the tone of Mac/XP/BootCamp discourse; finally: I'm thinking 4G should be enough to run Finder and VMWare with a 1G VM, the symptom is a beachball that doesn't go away, not just in Finder but in any app under any menu and yes, sleeping it did fix it after being unable to force-quit or even get Capslock to toggle.
posted by abulafa at 9:47 PM on September 24, 2007


I will also admit, if I didn't do what I do and one of those OSX-friendly roles were my role, I'm sure I'd prefer it. But for me it's just not as good as I was sold on, despite some really stand-out features. Grass never greener and all that.
posted by abulafa at 9:53 PM on September 24, 2007


It doesn't matter if you post here from firefox arsonist or IE Caligula, or safari gorilla.

Don't try it on a sidekick, the sidebar is huge.
posted by IronLizard at 10:20 PM on September 24, 2007


abulafa: Command-O to open an application in Finder. Or any file, for that matter.
posted by blacklite at 10:32 PM on September 24, 2007


malaprohibita: "Now I just think I'll install Win2k on my old laptop."

Best OS Microsoft ever did. Totally focused on the consumer. It was outstanding; it did everything better than NT 4.0 without any significant drawbacks whatsoever. Every OS since has been less and less focused on what customers need, and more and more on what Microsoft needs, to the point that Vista is a gigantic middle finger at consumers everywhere.

While I applaud the desire to move back to such a good OS, I don't think they're patching it anymore. :(

abulafa: "I was comparing the PC market to a democracy, implying the Apple market is a carefully managed hybrid of anarcho-socialism and constitutional monarchy. Unlike many geeks, I really do prefer real, dirty democracy where everybody loses a little and the law-makers work only so long as they are 'winning' the constituents support."

Well, understood, but it's not really a democracy there either. You have more choices about peripherals, but you lose control over the system itself. The BSD part of OSX is open source, which is how they get the Hackintoshes up and running. You get (a lot) less choice in hardware, but (a little) more control over the system. Worth the tradeoff? Hmm, well, for me it is, simply because the DRM in Vista is unacceptable. I just flat won't run it anyway, so the minor open source advantages will be a plus if and when I move full time to that system. (I still use XP most of the time, because that's where my games are, and it's just easier to stay there.)

"As for who makes their hardware: how is it that Apple hardware choices and "design" are touted as such a differentiating factor until they perform unfavorably and become POTS and someone-else's-problem?"

Well, I have no experience with Apple laptops, so I don't profess opinions on their design. I do have a Mac Pro, which I admire very much. It is both damn fast and essentially silent. I wish it had a PCI slot for a better soundcard in Windows, but I have no other real complaints about it. It's roomy, easy to work on, and has a ton of expansion capability. I like it a lot.

What I was trying to point out, though, was that it's exactly that ecosystem that you're so focused on that Apple's trying to use, and they're getting no better results than most PC manufacturers. My mother's Toshiba has been a complete nightmare, far worse than any Mac I've ever heard of.

The cook-Macbook-while-closed thing is new to me, and I haven't heard it elsewhere. Is that XP-only, or under OS X as well?

If it is true, then you're right that it's extremely poorly designed. Any hardware that can cook itself should not have been shipped, period. You might want to ask on the Ars Technica Mac forum on the issue; if it really is true, they'll probably know about it and can confirm or deny. (and possibly give you a workaround.)

"And you're absolutely right. A, B, and C are reasons why Vista exists. Characterizing them as the only reasons is willfully ignorant since it still delivers gobs of value to developers, empowering them to build new software and make money for everybody."

Vista is not necessary for the developer tools. Devs could make gobs of money anyway.

"You are mistaken about DirectX 10. It is intrinsically tied to the driver model I mentioned above which provides the abstraction of graphics hardware at a level above the device context and the GUI changes provide the high-performance compositing which makes DirectX10 native to the whole OS rather than a technology living in a window. Whether that's an improvement depends on the hardware, and is clearly the direction developers desire (in some cases contrary to users' preferences, I fear)."

What's your source for this, please? If it's Microsoft, remember that they also claim that Internet Explorer is an 'inseparable part' of Windows. They're very fond of using this argument, and it's been false every time I've seen it used. I've seen it claimed by people that I thought were highly knowledgeable that there's simply no reason why DirectX 10 couldn't work on XP. I don't have a direct link handy, but I can probably cough some up if necessary.

"As for what drivers were crap before, please meet Creative Labs. The first and worst for driver quality, second only to ATI. ATI improved its quality only after Windows crash reporting demonstrated the locations and situations of their shoddiness (compare NVidia's rock-solid drivers from the same timeframe, say, 2001)."

Yeah, ATI did suck very badly once upon a time, but at this point they're demonstrably better than NVidia, even on XP, and Creative drivers have been fine on XP for ages. These problems were solved years ago, and all Vista appears to have done was to make them solve it again... much to Vista users' chagrin, as the results have been unpretty. Even you say so:

"Creative still can't get a 64-bit driver running in Vista at my last check."

So why is this better for users? They had drivers that worked, and now they don't, and this is better? What they look like on the inside is pretty much irrelevant, as long as they work.

"Finally, I'll repeat my thesis that it's not better just different. I've raised issues with OSX and its services and you've told me to go to the manufacturer for driver updates, file bug reports, and install third-party fixes for existing inconveniences."

Well, not exactly, I was just checking to be sure you'd done the basic homework first. Yes, the third-party fan control thing is stupid and suboptimal. No, you shouldn't have to do it. But it _really_ doesn't take long to install. It sucks that you have to, but there IS a solution out there.

I have no solution for your sleeping WiFi thing, except possibly trying to find out what the hardware is, and using manufacturer drivers instead. That's what I did on the Mac Pro, because Apple doesn't provide Win2k3 drivers for anything. (which is also very annoying). Using manufacturer drivers, I was able to get everything running fine except for the bootup selector... and since holding down Option at boot fixes that, it's no biggie.

It does sound like both of these issues are XP problems, though: things do work properly under OS X?

As far as your beachballing goes, hmm. I have noticed that OS X doesn't handle extremely intensive I/O with large blocks very well. If you open up a terminal, and issue this command:

dd if=/dev/zero of=~/bigtestfile bs=1024

... your machine will come to a dead halt, for all intents and purposes. All I/O stops except for the dd. You cannot get useful work done, at least on the Mac Pro. (if you run this test, don't forget to remove bigtestfile in your home directory.)

If, however, you don't specify a blocksize (leave out the bs parameter), it's a little sluggish, but the computer remains useful.

I noticed the same behavior with VMWare, when creating a virtual disk... the super heavy streaming IO essentially hangs the machine until it's done. But once the disk is created, it seems to work fine. Was that where you were beachballing? If so, it's just a temporary thing, and will go away during normal use.

Also remember that OSX seems to live and die on seek time; it doesn't seem to multiplex drive access very well. If you're doing a lot of disk seeking in different programs at the same time, get the fastest drive you can afford. It will make a big difference in performance.

I'm very hopeful that ZFS in Leopard will repair a good chunk of these problems, although I'm somewhat worried that disk I/O will still be sluggish. The microkernel approach that they took may be part of the problem... message passing between userspace drivers is much slower than calling the kernel to do the work instead. I don't know how much of the problem is the crappy, ancient HFS+, and how much is the microkernel.... if they hold to their deadlines, we should find out within a month or so.

At any rate, I'm sorry you're having trouble, and it's obvious that it is real trouble. But when you say 'the grass is no greener on this side of the fence', you're not really on the other side of the fence... you're still running XP, just on Apple hardware. So you get all the suckage of both companies. :)
posted by Malor at 1:14 AM on September 25, 2007


IronLizard: "Malor: Any idea what was in the update to XP?"

They updated the updating and antipiracy systems. I saw some speculation that they may have shoved WGA down your throat, even if you opted out, but when I last checked, that was unproven. I don't see any files on my machine that have 'wga' in them -- I think the core file is something like wga.dll. So that might just have been a rumor.

If you do have WGA, though, they did change both that and the updating system without asking you.
posted by Malor at 1:25 AM on September 25, 2007


I haven't had any problems or a single crash on my Vista Ultimate yet (2 months and going). It ain't great, but it's a lot more forgiving when it comes to setting up wireless networks out of the box. And for 1300€ I got a dual core laptop machine with 2 gig of RAM, 17" screen and a fast graphics card. The nearest equivalent on a Mac was 2000€. If I had wanted portability, I would have gone for the Mac but for a desktop replacement I still prefer a PC. I'll admit I'm more familiar with PC software and hardware as well, and know the good free utilities for all my own needs without having to resort to piracy. But ultimately there was one huge factor keeping me from getting a Mac: I play games.

Which brings me to this wonderful statement from fourcheesemac:
What are the remaining complaints? Oh, lack of games. Since I'm not a teenager, I don't really care.

There's a reason they've made sure that World of Warcraft works on a Mac these days. PC gaming, though down by quite a high percentage in the last few years is still a billion dollar industry. Your personal opinion of gaming notwithstanding, it's a big industry that attracts a lot of users to PCs over Macs and there have been definite steps towards opening up the platform for gaming. Don't be quite so dismissive of something you obviously know fuck-all about.
posted by slimepuppy at 2:07 AM on September 25, 2007


I heartily recommend Ubuntu. Especially if you have Lenovo notebook. My R60e ran it without problems, and the dual boot was very straightforward to set up. As far as M$ products go:

They'll have to prise XP Pro SP2 out of my cold, dead hands.

If Vista isn't working properly by the time XP reaches end of life, I'll just use Ubuntu or whatever the newest build of Linux is at the time.
posted by chuckdarwin at 2:38 AM on September 25, 2007


Erm. Will those who claim the capability to bring about world peace from the command line please do so?

echo $'\n E\e[91m*\e[0m\306\216\n  \341\265\232\n'
posted by ryanrs at 3:19 AM on September 25, 2007


I've been an 'early adopter' since Windows 3.0 when it comes to MS operating systems (but been a command line jockey since the late 70's with my precious precious $1100 TRS-80 Model 3) and felt the pain every time except with XP, but this is the first time I've ever held off.

I kept trying Vista from the early release candidates all the way through RTM, waiting for it to come together. It never did.

XP runs beautifully on this PC (benchmarks far better than the hardware itself would suggest) I built a few years back, still, and Vista just doesn't, and there's no fucking reason for it. It is fail. Copying files between internal drives takes literally 50 times as long, even with the 'compatibility and performance fixes' applied, to pick an example out of dozens. To hell with that, and to hell with MS's DRM regime and all the rest of it.

Maybe SP1 will fix my problems with Vista, I don't know. I'll try it, of course. But I'm not all that optimistic.

I read somewhere a while back the thought that it is now OSX that is the enthusiast OS, and MS's offering that is the one for the just-want-to-use-ithe-computer-machine non-enthusiast public, and I think that's getting closer to true.

If I weren't a gamer, I'd jump to OSX in a heartbeat, I think, if I didn't have to buy the overpriced hardware from Apple. Fuck them.

So I'll stay with XP, for the moment, I guess.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:51 AM on September 25, 2007


Another vote for SMCfancontrol, which made my Macbook work much better.

CoolTim, have fun installing and running FreeBSD on your commodity box. My time is worth too much to waste like that.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:19 AM on September 25, 2007


I don't see what the fuss is about - I bought a new laptop for the mrs and, faced with a choice of either XP included or Vista included, didn't see the point in paying for an old OS, given that I could always wipe it and install XP for no cost later if I needed to.

It works fine. It looks pretty. It just works. But then, this is a machine with 2GB RAM, so I would expect it to work pretty well. *shrug* I guess I'm just not geeky enough for this fight.
posted by dg at 4:38 AM on September 25, 2007


For some of us, no operating system works fine out of the box. They all require tweaking, breaking and the complete perversion of their most intimate workings before we're satisfied. YMMV.
posted by IronLizard at 7:33 AM on September 25, 2007


OK, look this is silly. Here's the deal: All Software Sucks. Yep, all of it. Windows since 1.0, every DOS ever made, OSX, Linux, FreeBSD, VMS, Solaris, hell OS/360 too. It's the nature of the beast. It's the same reason why you can't have a car that gets 500mpg, 0-60 in a tenth of a second and can haul six tons of gravel at the same time.

Software is tradeoffs, and if you're using the wrong set of tradeoffs you will feel the pain. OSX is a BSD kernel that's massively, let me say this more emphatically massively modified to enhance a certain set of use cases. It schedules like Windows does, the current running task gets the lion's share of the resources and everything else beachballs. This is intentional, it's a deliberate tradeoff made by extremely intelligent engineers to optimize for the most common use case of a desktop machine: One major application running, several other applications waiting to be used. For the huge majority of situations that the huge majority of users experience, this is the right tradeoff.

Windows does the same thing. Transfer a big file, then switch to Firefox. Watch the estimated time quintouple. Switch focus back to the file transfer, watch it drop again. This isn't a bug, this is deliberate optimization. OSX Beachballs, Windows just gets dog ass slow, but what's happening is that you're asking your computer to do more than it has resources to do.

That said, I've got a Windows partition on my desktop purely to run Supreme Commander, and I loathe having to do that, but it's not the fault of the basic, low-level operating system guts that I hate it so. Windows is a direct descendant of the VMS operating system, which is unquestionably a world-class kernel. The crap they pile on top of it, the application stack, API, interface decisions/non-decisions, embrace-and-extend, and shoddy integration are why I hate Windows. The product, as delivered, is crap and we only use it because Microsoft is a marketing company that happens to produce software.

Now OSX is what I recommend to everyone I know. It's user-friendly, it's Unix under the hood, it runs 99% of everything the average person needs, and it simply doesn't break as often. More importantly, when it does I can fix it. I've never, not once, had to reinstall OSX from scratch. But it still sucks.

I run Ubuntu on my desktop at work. My co-workers run Ubuntu. One of them runs OSX on a PC. Yep, without the "magic DRM chip." It took some doing, but it works fine. And they all still suck. The difference is we know where the suck is, where the non-suck is, and how to balance the two with what we need to do. That's why I run ubuntu on four servers, centos on three, gentoo on two, and RHEL on one.
posted by Skorgu at 7:48 AM on September 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


I own a computer with an operating system.
It is not perfect, but it works well for me.
People who own computers with a competing operating system prefer theirs to mine.
They are angry!
Angry about the operating system my computer uses and the company that makes it.
They call it names.
They say mean things about how it looks and works.
Is there something wrong with me because I like it?
No!
How dare they say that products I use are inferior?!
They insult me when they insult things I like!
If I am defined by my operating system then so are they.
I will tell them that their operating system is bad!
I will say mean things about the way it looks and works!
It is stupid not to use the operating system I use!
Now I am angry too!
Yay!
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 9:11 AM on September 25, 2007


fourcheesemac: What are the remaining complaints? Oh, lack of games. Since I'm not a teenager, I don't really care...[snip]...But don't let the facts get in the way of the old ideology.

Videogames aren't just for teenagers anymore. You know, in the interest of moving past old ideology.
posted by NationalKato at 9:27 AM on September 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


Sorry about that NationalKato. I know there are serious gamers. My "teenagers" remark was out of line.

I don't get why, because I couldn't imagine having the time for it, but de gustibus non disputandans est.
posted by fourcheesemac at 10:08 AM on September 25, 2007


Macs take 20 minutes to copy a 17 meg file from one folder to another. End of story.
posted by ALongDecember at 10:14 AM on September 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


Windows Vista is like the return of Big Gay Al's Big Gay Operating System. Or "Fisher Price: my first computer."

I installed it on a Dell box here. No driver issues, and everything seemed ok.. until it started complaining about not being able to contact a licensing server and a few days later it simply refused to function. I just blew it away and went back to XP.

Windows XP on the same hardware (3.06ghz Pentium 4, 1gb RAM, Radeon... not a slouch by any means) "felt" a heck of a lot faster than Vista. I haven't had any gripes with XP in a long time, other than the ease of spyware infections. (Firefox isn't immune.. those mywebsearch fuckers now install a Firefox toolbar too)
posted by drstein at 10:36 AM on September 25, 2007


ALongDecember: seriously? A 9 year old anecdotal blog entry? When the Mac in question was running the fourteen-year-old 'classic' operating system, with its absurdly ancient cooperative multitasking? But I do concede: Macs did suck back then. There's no getting around that.
posted by marionnette en chaussette at 11:13 AM on September 25, 2007


ALongDecember: You're right, a kottke post from 1998 totally kills this debate.

My mac takes about 3 seconds.
posted by lazaruslong at 12:30 PM on September 25, 2007


Um, yeah, what marionnette said. Unless you were speaking tongue in cheek, in which case GOOD SHOW 2 MARKS.
posted by lazaruslong at 12:37 PM on September 25, 2007


Wow, I thought that post was more of a pop-culture reference. As someone who works on a Mac in a lab, I know they don't take 20 minutes to do that. Sorry to interrupt your debate.
posted by ALongDecember at 1:29 PM on September 25, 2007


It doesn't matter if you post here from firefox arsonist or IE Caligula, or safari gorilla.
Can't add a favourite without javascript :(
posted by bonaldi at 2:01 PM on September 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


"felt" a heck of a lot faster than Vista.
That's interesting, because I felt the same thing, but did some tests by timing copying large files etc and found that it is pretty much exactly the same speed, sometimes a little faster. I think that some of the eye candy is slower than the machine actually operates or something, so it feels slow for some reason.
posted by dg at 3:06 PM on September 25, 2007


If I say "all software sucks" will I get modded up too?

(what do you mean this isn't slashdot??)
posted by BaxterG4 at 3:08 PM on September 25, 2007


I call that overpriced.
They call it selling things that don't completely suck to meet a price point they don't have to meet.

At least with the "forced webcam" you know that if someone aged relative gets a Mac, you'll be able to video chat with them, and it'll actually happen without you visiting their house.

At least with the integrated speakers you know it'll be able to make sounds without external speakers.

At least with firewire you know you can string your video camera to it and it'll work.

The extra stuff isn't "bundled crap", it's a fairly essential necessity to make the "just work" shit "just work".

Did a comparison, and for the lowest level imac without the bundled crap (no webcam, no Bluetooth, no Firewire, no remote, no integrated speakers) a comparable regular machine was $925, $275 less.
You can't order an iMac without those things, so how did your comparison add up?

Also, Apple doesn't want me able to buy a computer and use my old monitor.
Every Mac has video out, including the ones sold without monitors.
posted by bonaldi at 6:12 PM on September 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


Macs take 20 minutes to copy a 17 meg file from one folder to another. End of story.

Wow, that was before OSX. When macs really sucked (no memory protection, so any app could bring down the machine). But Mac users still insisted that Apple was the most awesome company in the world.

The only similarity between macs then and now is the obsessiveness of their adherents. The fact that Macs run Intel now is pretty damn funny though, especially given how mac users would constantly bash Intel for being slow (it was, at the time)
posted by delmoi at 7:15 AM on September 26, 2007


And Excel 2007 is the greatest thing ever.

Try multiplying 850 by 77.1.
posted by MikeKD at 12:09 PM on September 26, 2007


and found that it is pretty much exactly the same speed, sometimes a little faster.

You obviously haven't tried to compare playing videos. I had to buy a new processor to support it in vista, when my old celery was perfectly fine on XP.
posted by IronLizard at 6:10 PM on September 26, 2007


I think there's a hailstorm on the way.
posted by tellurian at 8:51 PM on September 26, 2007


Don't be quite so dismissive of something you obviously know fuck-all about.

Slimepuppy, fuck you too. NationalKato managed to call me out politely on my dismissal of gaming, and I politely apologized.

But your comment reminds me of why I hate gamers and computer gaming. A bunch of ass-mouthed pimple-faced semi-men who never grew up and can't find a girlfriend sit aroung getting fat on junk food and jerking off in the dark while they pretend to be a medieval warlord online. That is my impression of the gaming "community" and you just reinforced it.

I know "fuck all" about plenty, just not trivial time-wasting pop culture entertainment for nerds. And I can program, too. One great reason to own a Mac, at least until recently, was the ability to avoid having anything to do with gamers like you. All that power and technology, and you want to pretend to be a soldier in your bedroom.
posted by fourcheesemac at 12:19 AM on October 1, 2007


fourcheesemac: Please don't let a troll get your goat like that. I'm a gamer, and I certainly don't fit any of those stereotypes. Gaming has evolved, and so have many gamers. Sure, you still have some basement virgins, but they have been around forever, and always will be.

And for the record, being able to simulate fighting in WW2 in my bedroom is pretty awesome.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:13 AM on October 1, 2007


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