The Inquirer-Home

Vista makes me sad

Five years for a chrome-plated turd
Tue Jan 30 2007, 10:06
VISTA WILL LAUNCH today with fanfare, parties, hypocrisy, hollow promises and tame reviews. For me, it is something different, it makes me sad.

MS will tell you that Vista is the next great thing in every way, it took billions of dollars to develop, millions of man-hours, and undoubtedly will be the best selling OS ever launched. The problem is that Vista brings almost nothing to the table that can't be described by as three year old as "shiny".

Let's look at it this way, ask yourself what good new features Vista brings to the table. Most will respond that it has Aero Glass, a really pretty UI. How may other things does it bring that are positives? I can't honestly think of one, and I'll bet if you ask the next ten people you run into, they won't be able to tell you any either.

Repeat the same exercise in the negative, what bad new things does Vista bring? Massive crushing DRM infections, unacceptable licence terms, bloated hardware requirements, and a list of cut features long enough to paper your bathroom. To be fair, the next ten people you ask probably won't know that part either.*

So the fanfare will happen, people will swoon for all they are bribed to swoon for, the tech journalist community is too heavily dependent on MS marketing dollars to say anything more than a tepid condemnation, and the expected show will go on. It will be spun as a huge success, and the MS monopoly will roll on.

As I said before, to me this is a sad thing. Why? MS, possibly the richest most powerful and recognised company on the planet gave us Vista. They can buy governments to quash lawsuits, bend large companies with a mere audit, and co-opt technologies with the writ of a lawyer, and all we get is a shiny UI?

If this is all the billions, man-hours and years brought, what was the point? We get a bloated, DRM infected rights removal tool that advances the state of the art to where Apple was the better part of a decade ago, and we are supposed to call this progress? Puh-leeze.

MS is in a rut. The firm has cowered, co-opted or bought all the critics, and any message coming out of the press will be well scripted. Possibly the last big OS ever made is going to be a chrome plated turd, no one has the guts to say it, everyone will pretend it is great because everyone pretends it is great.

Vista could have been innovative instead of warmed over. Vista could have defended our rights instead of raping them. Vista could have been lean and mean instead of bloated and DRM slowed. Vista could have brought new ways of doing things instead of the same old same old. Vista could have been cheaper instead of a stealth price increase. Vista could have pioneered new ways of letting us use computers instead of activated tethers and licence problems. Vista could have been compatible and advanced standards instead of breaking software in the name of locking you in.

Guess what?

See why I am sad?**

I think we would have been better off if MS packed it in and spent the money on the moon shot they are so fond of making comparisons too. We would have gotten shiny there also, without the handcuffs, and we would not have had to lie to our office mates about how much we love it. Are you sad now too? µ

* If anyone does actually do this, please keep track and tell me what people say, I really want to know.

** I had Vista Beta 2 on my laptop and I was thoroughly unimpressed. I put RC2 on the 4x4 I have here, and was thoroughly unimpressed. I read the licence for release and got very scared. Until MS puts out a version that does not require activation and will never phone home without my express consent, I won't be impressed by the release version.


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