Vista: To Get or Not To Get

Thom posted a series of articles on OSNews about Windows Vista, first 10 Reasons Not to Get Vista, then a rebuttal on his own blog, then another and another and another. Seriously. But none mentions the main reason I don’t want Vista: because I’m just not interested in supporting Microsoft any longer. More within.

I think several of the new “features” of Windows Vista are lame and not worthy of upgrading. But I’m man enough to admit that if Leopard had a similar feature pack, I’d think it was cool. Because this stuff is all “cool to have” but little of it is “cool to get.” Very few users give a crap about a new TCP stack. Direct X 10 is not going to make much of a different to most users who don’t play games or use applications that render graphics on the GPU. The hardware requirements, whether demanding or not, are clearly hungrier than their Linux counterparts. And I’ve never really cared much about setting the volume on an app by app basis. And still don’t today. Vista just isn’t that impressive on the surface, and since if I ran it, I’d want RDP, VSC, and Media Center, I’m in for well over $500 for the “Ultimate Edition.”

Only Microsoft actively strips out features – actively DOWNgrades their systems just to sell you more of the same product again. Apple sells OS X client and OS X server. Linux allows you to install anything you want. Not Microsoft.

Vista doesn’t address some of the core architectural problems with Windows. The registry, the start shortcuts, the myriads of places to store data and programs makes the system a litterbox after some time. Put simply, manging Windows is a pain in the ass, even the most die-hards of the Microsoft camp that I know admit that. My laptop is managed to an insane degree – I authorize every single cookie, I have a hosts file a mile long, I regularly run crap cleanup utilities. So I consider my laptop fairly clean. And yet, the last several weeks, logging in is a 5-7 minute process as I wait for it as it is “Applying personal settings.” THIS is an area where, if there were significant improvement, I would be impressed. But it’s not addressed. The mess is still there. And most users will crud up their systems til the point of being unuseable and eventually call me for help.

The most important thing that some brush over is the DRM foundation and the license. These are the most important aspects. I liken it to the US – “If I’m not a terrorist, why do I care if they listen to my phone calls?” This nonsense is the same basis for “I haven’t seen DRM, so it doesn’t bother me.” One of the largest motivations for the very creation of Windows Vista was to support protected content. That is what makes money for both Microsoft and their partners. Your system is tied up with DRM. And the pathetic license pretty much grants you the most narrow use that law would likely allow. How can they legally limit you from using the system virtually? Not to mention – does their bootloader still obnoxiously disrespect/overwrite any other bootloader you’ve installed?

A bunch of half-assed applications that people won’t even use – such as their new photo management application – don’t cut it. Vista just doesn’t tout a new way to use your computer, new features that are compelling, and frankly, it’s all about limiting the user in a package that pretends to make you a more powerful computer user. And ultimately, that’s my point: I *might* tolerate some of the underlying inconvenience if the system actually made me work better. But I don’t think it does. I don’t care about the photo manager, I don’t care about the contacts, I don’t care about Windows Mail, I don’t care about the new look, I don’t care about “Phishing Protection,” I don’t care about an IE sandbox, I don’t care about per-app volume sliders, I don’t care about the pathetically late fast system search, and I don’t care about address space layout randomization. In fact, the only thing I think is really good is UAC, but reports from my contacts suggest it’s as much a pain in the tail as anything, and that it may even be turned off by most users.

I also find it interesting that Coding Horror finds Vista’s best feature to be something that Spotlight on OS X has done for well over a year now.

I may end up running Vista at some point when I upgrade my work laptop. I certainly will not run it at home, I will sooner more to Linux than Windows for my personal stuff. But when I do, sadly, it will be as one of those “OEM” suckers, people who simply can’t avoid the Windows tax.

You may be tempted to call me a Mac fanboy, but if there’s any truth to that, it’s mostly because of two things: 1) I detest Microsoft’s business practices, and 2) even if I didn’t, Vista just doesn’t offer the user much in terms of improving productivity beyond a UI overhaul. Vista will not make me a better, faster, or smarter computer user. If anything, it will simply make me happier with my window decoration. There is almost nothing compelling about Vista for me, and I will certainly not be in line to get it.

7 Replies to “Vista: To Get or Not To Get”

  1. I won’t buy Vista either, but I will keep it if I happen top buy a new laptop from DELL or something. But this is not because I dislike Vista or MS. It is because XP has reached nirvana for me. It has a few small problems, but I prefer XP to any other OS out there in terms of overall experience (OE is the best mail client, there are a lot of apps that don’t exist on other OSes, e.g. phone emulators, video chats for everything except AIM etc). OSX is second IMO because I need features and stability and backwards compatibility that doesn’t exist in that OS and its app base.

  2. Actually, your points are really some very good ones: cell phone emulators and some video chat apps are amongst the many apps that are Windows only, and at some point, probably 3-5 years from now, they may be Vista only. This is one of the best reasons I’ve heard for moving to Vista.

    If you actually like OE (I despise it for various reasons) then you may find Windows Mail to be a welcome upgrade. I am one of those people who uses webmail exclusively and uses Mail.app for a backup on Mac and Thunderbird for a backup on Windows. But this may be another reason for you, if you’re a desktop mail client person, to move to Vista in time.

    I, however, have really gotten much more at home in my own little suite of apps: SubEthaEdit, Camino, Transmit, ImageTricks, iTunes, iPhoto, and a few others. I probably will not own a Windows box at home for a very long time, if ever again.

  3. I personally despise Mail.app (too loaded for what I need, and slow) while Thunderbird is simply unstable, corrupts and DB every few months and it is not able to properly load my 70,000 emails (I tried). I can’t switch to any other email app, because I can’t trust any other except OE or Outlook. I find the interface of OE very nice actually.

  4. I personally despise Mail.app (too loaded for what I need, and slow)

    For backup, it’s never been a problem. I’m at about 12,000 messages.

    while Thunderbird is simply unstable, corrupts and DB every few months and it is not able to properly load my 70,000 emails (I tried).

    But why do you need all 70,000 in one box? Why not burn off an archived file every year? It’s like I do with PSTs on Outlook, I cap them off at a certain timeframe and detach the PST until I need it.

    I can’t switch to any other email app, because I can’t trust any other except OE or Outlook. I find the interface of OE very nice actually.

    I don’t mind the UI of OE, the problem is that I don’t like the JetDB behind the OE mails. But I understand that it handles the load you need.

  5. >But why do you need all 70,000 in one box?

    It is on different subfolders, but on the same db. I need all of the old emails because at least 2-3 times a week I need to search within old emails to find email addresses and follow up with quoted text. I need this when I need to email Asian companies for review items for example, or for press people from some companies. For example, I only need the Apple reps old quoted emails once a year only, so I can book my seat for WWDC. I need the old quotation so I can remind them who I am… 😉

    BTW, OE is *extremely* fast reading through 30,000 emails in a single folder. Thunderbird takes FOUR minutes to count them and read their headers. There are many people online saying how “bad” OE is, but in fact, it is one of the best clients ever written. Extremely fast, and super-stable.

  6. Mail.app is a disaster. It’s slow as hell.

    The best email clients for me are Outlook 2003/2007, BeAM, and Outlook:Mac 5.2 for OS9. All of those offer advanced filtering features.

    Evo is good too, it’s just that it is RIDDLED with memory leaks.

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