It's Friday and that means time for another Friday Rant!
Over on ExtremeTech there's another one of those "Vista is doomed" articles that's high on drama and puff but low on any insight into the real issues.
Now I've written a lot about Windows Vista over the years. I've delivered scathing criticism and heaped bounteous praise on the OS. Like every other OS I've used there are aspects of the OS I like and others that I loathe. But overall I try not to lose sight of the fact that it's an OS, a platform to do other things on, and I try not to get too caught up on minor nitpicks and concentrate on the bigger picture.
Jim Lynch beings his piece by trying to make bogus claims sound like facts:
Microsoft's recent announcement of a price cut for Windows Vista illustrates the desperate position the company is in. By all reasonable accounts Vista has failed and Microsoft is desperately trying to prop it up and put some lipstick on a very nasty and very flawed pig. Unfortunately, it won't work. [emphasis added]
"By all reasonable accounts Vista has failed." Come on, you can't just drop something like that into an article and not offer anything to support it. I've followed the release of Vista very closely, and while I think that the OS has attracted a lot of justified condemnation over the months, saying that the OS has failed is nothing more than wild fantasy designed to appeal to those who want to believe that Vista is failing. For anyone who has closely watched other OS releases (both Microsoft and from other companies) the mixed reception that Vista has received is nothing unusual or unexpected. My blogging colleague Ed Bott (who, like me, has seen plenty of OSes) has talked about this before and I refer anyone wanting to know more to his blog.
One of the biggest issues I have with Lynch's article is that it takes a narrow view of PC ownership. Throughout his article it's clear that he's talking mostly about people upgrading PCs - he talks "Vista's insatiable need for processing power, RAM, and hard disk space" and "application and game incompatibilities." These are issues which mostly affect people upgrading systems from XP to Vista, who represent a small minority of Vista users. As someone who has upgraded systems I've seen and felt pain, but it's hard to go out and make a case against Vista based on this because most people coming to Vista will be getting it with new hardware. Upgraders are, I'm afraid, a dwindling species.
Lynch also mentions the user interface:
Another problem with Vista is that visually it comes across as a very crude clone of Mac OS X's interface. It even poaches directly by adding things called "gadgets" which is a clear rip off of Apple's "widgets." Vista's "aero" desktop ends up paling in comparison to what was offered in Mac OS X Tiger and positively stinks compared to the cool stuff in Mac OS Leopard. There seems to be a terrible problem at Microsoft when it comes to design decisions.
I'm someone who switches between Windows and Mac, I really don't buy the statement that the Vista UI is a "very crude clone of Mac OS X's interface." Also, as I said earlier, Windows is a platform, not a piece of art to be admired. "Cool stuff" is little more than fluff. I can't understand why people waffle about how the interface looks but ignore more serious issues such as the removal of useful features (for example, the ability to have advanced control over file associations - this was there in XP but gone in Vista). If you're going to pick on interface issues, make them real complaints about things that impact productivity rather than fluff.
Lynch also gripes about performance but offers no data to back up his claims. He makes no mention of the improvements that Microsoft has made to performance since Vista was released. Not to acknowledge these is disingenuous. He mentions SP1 and the performance improvements but then seemingly goes on to dismiss these improvements as "propaganda coming out of Redmond." Yes, Vista RTM suffered some serious performance issues and compared to XP on a like for like system delivered less performance, but all the testing I've done now seems to show that Vista is comparable to XP in most cases. Sure, maybe there's a case to be made that Vista should offer greater performance than XP does, but that's a different argument.
Then, having just highlighted that those playing Crysis on SLI systems might not get an SP1 performance boost, Lynch goes on to say:
The release of Windows Vista has had some positive consequences. Mac market share is up as more and more people look for some way to get off the sinking Microsoft ship and plenty of DIY types are busy downloading Linux distributions as their potential new post-Windows XP operating system.
Yeah, good luck getting Crysis to work on Linux, SLI or no SLI.
There's no doubt that Vista has experienced a lot of turbulence since its release, and that much of this is justified, but to build this into a case that Vista is doomed is ridiculous.
Thoughts? And remember, since it's a Friday, you can vent your spleen about anything tech-related that annoys you!