A Few Thoughts: Microsoft and Windows Vista

Dennis Faas's picture

Since last November and even before that, Microsoft has been aggressively hyping the features and virtues of Vista. We've all seen it talked about in the printed media, on television, and on web sites, including Infopackets.

Is Vista the latest and greatest Windows operating system ever produced? The jury is still out on that. Even I, the local Linux 'geek', look upon Vista and can see where there are seeds of potential greatness, but only the potential. It's just too soon to say for sure if will attain greatness.

Why So Much Memory?

On the technical side, the reasons for the expanded requirements for video and system memory are obvious. The Aero desktop that has everyone gushing over it, does all of it's rendering of graphics in system memory and it takes huge chunks memory to do all that work. It also takes a fast and efficient CPU and a lot of video card memory to get it on the screen while the operating system is accomplishing other, more productive, things. The OS itself is filled with functions and features that most of us will never use and as a result, wastes memory, not to speak of drive space.


Yes, Aero is very pretty and yes, the security features built in to Vista do their job, but at who's expense? From what I've seen, Vista has gone from efficient security to downright paranoia. All it is doing is complicating the user's experience. I can't turn around with out Vista asking me to verify it has permission to do something. The process of granting permission is limited to that one thing at that one time. If I try the same process later, I am asked to verify again, wasting my time and impacting my productivity. Not a good thing!


There is another area that concerns me -- and that is customer support. How can Microsoft expect to support an operating system that comes in 6 different versions? Magic? Smoke and mirrors? I'm sure I don't know. With the kind of support we have experienced to date with previous versions of Windows, I'm afraid they haven't paid any attention to the issue. If they can't support it effectively, there will be heck to pay, mark my words. Supporting one major software system like Windows is tough. Supporting two like XP Home and Pro, isn't much tougher because Home is actually a slightly dumbed down version of Pro. But with Vista, there are whole groups of features that are removed as you step down the list from Ultimate to Home, which includes such things as the Aero desktop that doesn't come with the Home version.

Sales Reports

How about that '10 Million copies sold' thing? I think you need to know the truth behind that statement. Although it may be true they have actually shipped 10 million copies and licenses, only a small percentage of them are actually in consumer hands. Consider how many PC's are built world wide that will be running Vista and are still in manufacturer's factory inventories as either completed systems or as piles of to-be-assembled parts. Dell alone builds a couple thousand systems every day and I'm talking about ALL PC manufacturers currently doing business. A count of a few million PC's doesn't seem so fantastic and 10 million licenses, one per PC, makes sense when you think about a full year's production. So even though there might be a few thousand PC's running Vista on somebody's desktop or laptop, the rest of those 10 million copies are queuing up for new system sales.

Dangerous Ground?

Microsoft is walking a tightrope with Vista, and if they don't take care, the entire world will be impacted. Will Vista become a good, solid, and useful OS? Only time will tell. It's what businesses and governments are waiting for, most of which won't consider buying until mid 2008.

If Microsoft falls off the tight rope, I can just see the law suits that will take place for loss of profits from the manufacturers due to loss of sales alone. Microsoft would die a slow and very painful death. I, for one, don't want to see that happen, even though I will be running Linux instead in a year or two. Until then, my 'beloved' XP machine will keep on plugging along.

Try to have fun! ;-)

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