I've been on a bit of a blog and RSS hiatus the past couple of days and have been working my way through tales of destruction and distress (the 365 outage, not Lindsay Lohan's latest episode), news, and views. In my reading, there's a recurring theme that beats louder all the time. People are just not loving Vista.
James Fallows, one of my all-time favorite columnists, just wrote that he's going back to XP. Valleywag, (almost) always amusing, albeit at the expense of accuracy from time to time, reports that the official release of SP1 for Vista appears to be slated for a 2009 release. And David Berlind really nails it in his discussion about the way the world is changing around Microsoft when he writes:
Today, I’m a user of both Windows XP and Windows Vista and while I remain convinced that Vista is a better OS than XP, my usage of XP serves as a constant reminder that when it comes to getting my work done, I’m not getting it done any faster or better in Vista. In fact, because of the way several things have been moved around in Vista, and because of the way Internet Explorer 7, in an effort to protect us from ourselves, locks up the Web in a chastity belt, I often find myself being slowed down by Vista. It may only be a matter of time before I get used to it (and figure out how to reconfigure IE7 with the necessary wiggle room). But the bottom line is that (a) I’m definitely not more productive and (b) if I finally get to a point where I am more productive, it won’t be by much.
Nothing I've read (or written) sums it all up quite as well as this paragraph. I like Vista for a lot of reasons. The visual appearance is great. The new bells and whistles (the sidebar and gadgets, integration of RSS, and built-in productivity apps like Calendar and Contacts for example) are very nice although such things have been available long before Vista on both XP, some via third parties, and on the Mac and Linux. But when it comes to actually getting things done, Vista feels like it's getting in my way far more often than XP or the Mac OS (both of which I continue to use daily).
Having left the world of full-time gainful employment for the juggling career that is independent writing and consulting, productivity is my paramount concern. I have too many projects running concurrently to put up with an OS that creates stumbling points or friction in my work. And based on my soon-to-be-patented curses-per-hour algorithm, Vista is anything but friction-free. I recently wrote about my frustrations with something as simple as using removable USB memory stick. Given that I do a fair amount of gadget and software testing, I can say with some authority that installing device drivers and applications is not easier or faster in Vista. and even basic things like hibernating, starting up, and shutting down feel like they take a lot longer than in XP.
The luster of shiny new-ness wears off quickly these days and I'm on the fence with Vista. While I'll keep it on the Lenovo X61 Tablet PC for sure (the new Tablet bits in Vista are that good), I'm less certain about some of my other Windows-powered devices. I'm about ready, time permitting, to repartition the hard drive on the Asus R2H UMPC to set up a dual boot with XP because Vista is just so broken on that device in ways both large (overall performance) and small (too many modal dialogs that are too big for the native screen resolution).
I don't think Microsoft can afford the pace they're setting. Vista SP1 needs to be officially released sooner than 18 months from now. And Windows 7? I'm not even going to think about that for a while.