Windows wars: Are you a dog or cat?

Windows wars: Are you a dog or cat?

Summary:  All this Vista versus XP versus Windows Server 2008 stuff got me thinking. Maybe its not just technological issues with Microsoft's latest desktop OS that is creating strife between the user bases.



All this Vista versus XP versus Windows Server 2008 stuff got me thinking. Maybe its not just technological issues with Microsoft's latest desktop OS that is creating strife between the user bases. Perhaps -- if we take a page from Jungian theory -- there is a fundamental ideological and psychological divide between those that prefer one system over the other.

Click on the "Read the rest of this entry" link below for more.

Just as there are "Dog People" and "Cat People", where our preference over one sort of pet manifest themselves into our personality traits -- such as those codified by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicatior (MBTI) that some corporations used to determine job suitability for prospective candidates (and if anyone is interested, the last time I was tested in the late 1980's, I was classified as an ENTP  with "I" tendencies on the "E" which make me a somewhat borderline INTP ) perhaps there are Vista People and Windows Server People.

Certainly, the analogy could be applied to Mac and Linux people as well. But fundamentally, when you get past the various religious platform ideologies, these groups have certain shared characteristics that may define the type of computing environment that is most suitable to them.

The reason why I think Vista is having such a hard time in the market is that Microsoft diverted from an OS marketing strategy that addressed both "Dog" and "Cat" people equally -- the simultaneous marketing of a "Workstation" OS and a "Consumer" OS.  What's a "Dog" person in Windows-speak? Well, that would be a sysadmin type or an IT worker that just wants to get work done in an unencumbered manner, and wants expected and predictable levels of stability and performance -- someone who is accustomed to a Server or midrange OS that performs its functions in a utilitarian fashion with little frills to clutter the system and bog down resources. This would be the same candidate for the classic "Windows 2000 Professional" or "NT 4.0 Workstation" OS, and to a certain extent, Windows XP Professional and conventional Linux/UNIX workstation OSes. Vista, on the other hand, is a "Cat Person" OS -- They like glitz, bells and whistles, and are independent types -- Consumer Desktop users.

At some point, Microsoft stopped making separate OSes for Cats and Dogs. They stopped making Dog desktops and relegated them entirely to the Server, and focused their entire Desktop strategy on different permutations of Cats. Why? Because they looked at Mac OS X -- a Cat-oriented OS, came to the realization that Consumer progress on Windows was nearing an evolutionary dead-end compared to the Mac, and wanted to make Windows more Cat-Like. Unfortunately, in this process, they completely screwed up what was actually good about Windows for a very large portion of their user base -- Corporate America. Sure, I'll buy that the Cat people -- Consumers -- just love Vista. The Loyal Dogs like myself? Not so much.

Woof. I want my Dog Desktop back, Microsoft.

Are you a Cat or are you a Dog? Talk Back and Let me know.

Topics: Windows, Hardware, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software


Jason Perlow, Sr. Technology Editor at ZDNet, is a technologist with over two decades of experience integrating large heterogeneous multi-vendor computing environments in Fortune 500 companies. Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp. His expressed views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.

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  • I have a better explaination, Sigmund.

    Resist change. Stay with the devil you know.

    We did it with 2000 so we will do it again with XP. We will dig in our heels if you ask us to upgrade. In the future, we will be saying why upgrade Vista? The only folks that like change are the implementors. Everyone else is nervous.

    The rest of your blog is bark raving mad.
    • Just like a dog...

      when you come home, it'll be in the same place, each and every time! A cat, on the other hand, you never know where its gonna be and you have to search and search till you find him!

      What do I mean by this?

      Ask yourself these questions:
      1. Add/Remove Programs has been called Add/Remove Programs since Windows 3.1 (maybe even 3.0) In Vista, whats it called? Yes, its a cat.. it moved.. its now Programs and Features. Took me a while to find that because I was stuborn and didn't want to go past the "A"s Does this make me lazy or bad? No. I just expected it to be where it should be!

      2. Ever try changing the file extension assoications in Vista? Im not on a Vista machine but its not where its been at since Windows 95. It used to be under Folder Options. It now has its own icon in control panel!

      3. What about changing display properties or a screen saver!? I miss my dog; I now have to click two times instead of one! Why did Microsoft move make it more time consuming for me and remove all the nice tabs that were in Display properties and keep only one? Vista is like a cat.. everything is moved around.

      4. Not really a continuation, but sometimes these changes are for the better. We went from Windows 3.x to Windows 95 with a drastic GUI (and of course other technicalogical changes) I still used File Manager for the longest time before getting used to Windows Explorer. File Manager just seemed more efficient. What forced me stop using File Manager? When I finally got used to the idea of long filenames and I was tired of seeing the tilda as part of the filename.

      Oh, I don't think Im that set in my ways; Im 29 and I adapt pretty easily. Just don't change things too drasticaly and give me a hint to where something has moved to.. Windows has had the idea of hyperlinks in its Operating System, why couldn't they tell me in various places in Vista that, "Opps, we've moved Add Remove Programs to Programs and Features.. Click here to go there now!" LOL

      Okay, im done ranting.. But I am a dog person, when it comes to Windows. But in real life, Im a cat person.
      • You proved my point.

        People do not like change unless they are the implementors.
        • too true

          It certainly is true, and I agree that in the near future people will ask about upgrading from Vista.
          The point of the article that is not mad though is that at this brief point, where a person buying a new machine has a choice, then the frills vs striped down system is relevant.
          That's such a small chunk of the overall legacy of Vista and a small period of time, too.
          • We only got 2 choices too.

            The blogger let loose with a fraudian slip of a duopoly attitude. Strictly a polarizing mindset that seems to permeate society these days. There are more animals out there to choose from. Nothing but pop psychology running out of control.

            I personally prefer 2000 for a desktop for getting work done so that makes me a dinosaur. XP isn't bad if you turn off the bling. Neither is Vista.
      • Dog/Cat/Fish

        I liked the way you put that! vista is a pretty configuration but it is a new learning venture for us all..I'm a dog/cat person...who also loves fish..heheheh
        • Ehhhhhhh...

 hell with 'em all!

          I'm a bending unit! For the right price i'll bend their OS to any angle they want ... and if that ain't good enough THEY CAN KISS MY SHINY METAL @$$!!!
      • They moved everything around... create new test questions for the next generation of paper MCSE's drunk on M$ koolaid. It's like moving stuff for the sake of moving it, except the light switch belongs next to the door so you can turn it on when you walk into the room. There's not much technically different, and they need a pool of 500 questions, so they moved some stuff around.
        Try asking your cat if he's sure he want's to eat, sleep on the tv, shred the couch, etc.
      • Pretty Much Sums it up

        Touche' to the jollygreenguy!

        I haven't seen an explanation this simple and straight to the point in a long time, especially on topic! Great analogy with the dog/cat lingo and matching them to the OS!
        I agree, why did they move those controls for no advantageous reason? The Aero-glass interface is another resource hog and not needed in the least?so why? I?m thinking MS is being stifled by a few things like MAC and Linux to name a couple! Not that they?ve ever really been ?fantastic? anyway, only predictable, in my opinion.

        Anyways, for me?I?m staying on XP until I absolutely have to move?but what I move to is still to be determined, but it won?t be Vista that?s for sure!
      • If it ain't broke, don't fix it !

        My computer useage predates the PC by many many years. Two things should motivate change: 1) Improvements and 2) Fixes.

        In the case of 1), they should be real improvements driven by documented real user need, not the figment of some engineer's imagination or super ego. They should never be a solution in search of a problem. Nor should they be based simply on greed (we need a new release to continue the revenue stream).

        2) Fixes should be minimized by zealous beta testing. All too often, release shipments are predicated on market strategies, not an obsession with product quality and corporate reputation for quality.

        Microsoft has consistently failed on all counts. Their collective judgement has always been clouded by their collective arrogance from the top down.

        Intelligent users have always seen right through this subterfuge. After a while you build up a giant collective resentment which is where users are today. Vista is a solution in search of a problem (just the way Windows was when first introduced, supposedly for those who didn't like to type)!

        It has taken Microsoft 20 years to get it right. And we users are the ones who have done all their quality control over the years. Before Microsoft, publishers paid attention to the product. Microsoft only worries about the packaging.
        • Innovation

          If it aint broke don't fix it. If that was the prevailing idea then we'd still be living in caves and using horse and carts. Improvement, no matter how many tries it takes to get it right, is imperative. Otherwise we'd end up standing still. Or maybe we should start sending letters by horse rider instead of e-mails.
          • Let's Examine "Innovation" From Microsoft Lately

            Microsoft in the past three years has inflicted on its honest paying customers mis-validation, real damages to small business owners that remain unrecompensed, kill switches, restricted licensing, and DRM.

            Vista started from a great idea - the protected kernel. Excellent idea and how operating systems should be designed from the foundation up. But then Microsoft went wrong.

            Rather than focus on substance and the basic functions of an operating system - memory management, process management, data management, input-output - Microsoft focused on glitz.

            Microsoft achieved the C N Frisch ideal - tranquility, serenity, bluidity. Oh, to gaze in pure sanctified bliss upon the Vista desktop, secure in the revelation of never needing to actually do anything.

            Never mind the immense system context of legacy devices and applications for the medical, scientific, mathematical, engineering, manufacturing, military, law enforcement, forensic, transportation, energy, video processing, and audio processing uses.

            Not to mention games, an ever present consideration for any family. Like mine.

            Microsoft's view is clearly one indifferent to its customers as anything more than a revenue source - a sponge to be squeezed as dry as possible.

            "Prepare to be assimilated. Resistance is futile."

            In our view, anything but Microsoft. Linux or Apple, take your choice. Microsoft has turned unethical, a cancer greedily clawing at the body public with an insatiable hunger.
      • XP Annoyances Gone!

        2. Change file extensions under Folder Options? How lame, all configurations should be in a common location, i.e., "control panel"
        3. Same thing, should be under a common system configuration place, not scattered around like in XP.
        Same thing with hardware configurations - Vista improved but still doesn't have it all in one place. XP is worse.
        Same thing with networking - XP has is widely scattered, Vista is improved, but it still is not correct.

        So more changes are in order to get all configurations gathered under an easy-to-understand common location, all using a CONSISTENT interface.
    • Change for the sake of change

      There's change for improvement, and then there's change just for the sake of change.
      Compared to earlier windows, much of Vista
      is like a car with the accelerator on the left
      and the brake on the right. You could eventually
      learn to drive it, but why should you have to
      go through the trouble?
      Capt. Midnight
      • I agree!

        I said that when I first started using Vista long ago. It seems like the UI designers had no logical reason for making most of the changes they made. It all seemed quite arbitrary, and in some cases, it actually made tasks more involved to perform.

        I don't mind change in the least, but use change to solve problems. If there is no problem, there is no need for a change. If there are no problems, then take that opportunity to start adding stuff to what works, but don't change what already works.
        • Right, BillDem - It's the Difference Between Vista and OSX

          For a long-term Windows user like myself, OSX was a [b][i]major[/b][/i] change - but most of the changes made sense in an aesthetic and/or operational way so I picked the new OS up quickly.

          Vista's OS changes, by contrast, often seem to be arbitrary and/or confusing - and even when the changes make sense at some level (UAC immediately springs to mind), their implementation makes operation clumsy and problem-prone. My constant comments about UAC's resemblance to Bush's "Homeland Security" aren't just due to my libertarian's deep-seated antipathy for the NeoCon mindset - there is a definite air of "We'll make things pointlessly inconvenient and take longer for you, and tell you it's b/c it's making you [i][b]safer[/i][/b]" that both an airport security line and Vista share.

          Admittedly, most of these problems will be fixed when all software and drivers have fully-Vista functional versions - but the simple fact is it's been over a year now, and a lot of my favorite apps and devices...[i][b]aren't[/b][/i]. M$ft fanboyz can blame anybody else they want rather than their beloved VistaVistaVISTA! - but it's a difference that makes no difference to me as a user when my printer or DVD recorder or label printer won't run on Vista, but will run on XP or 2000 just fine.... (and if you think that ending is a pointless attack, Vista Fans - listen to yourselves sometime, willya?)
        • That's it...

          I too have had a deep thought about this Window Vista fiesta yesterday when I was using my Ubuntu on Vista. Somehow I came to the same conclusion what Vista should have been and I am glad you have summed it up not only for me but for many window users that most end-users had no problem with changes but would certainly dislike change for changes' sake. I work for one of the biggest corporations in Canada and over the last 30 years of my service with the company, we had in numerous occasions had the main office sent in some industrial engineers to rearrange the whole floor plan and got everyone upset and as expected the production went down with disgruntled employees shaking their heads wondering why those top brass in Ottawa would allow such nuisance alteration. I agree with you when you say: " If there are no problems, then take that opportunity to start adding stuff to what works, but don't change what already works." Decision makers for companies big or small should take this advise from you whenever they have some funny ideas. Thanks for saying what I always wanted to say.
      • Depends on who is judging it.

        There was other changes too like a better roll cage for security. Besides your gripe is common over in the UK. Turn off most of the bling and it will resemble 2000. Those feature were put in by the requests of the customers and test drivers. So it is improved in one area and setback in others. We don't need the 350. The 327 is just fine. Actually the 283 was the most reliable.

        But do keep up the tradition. Resist change!
  • RE: Are you a Dog or a Cat?

    yeah, but that cat is built on bsd, arguably the biggest dog around.
    • Waiting For

      Netcraft confirmation, but I think it's a BSD slam!