Saturday, 27 January 2007

Vista is released to the domestic market very soon!

Here are 10 reasons why you should not bother purchasing Vista followed by 10 reasons why you should bother purchasing it.

You make the decision.
I won't be purchasing Vista as I am far more excited about Linux than anything Microsoft can offer. Even if I was not a Linux user I would not be entertaining upgrading to Vista on the grounds of integrated DRM (Digital Rights Management) alone. A feature Linus Torvalds supports in the Linux kernel as long as it can be turned off by the user - unlike Vista!

I would like to acknowledge Dan Warne and Ashton Mills for these two articles and for the great cartoon which I have slightly modified!;-)

10 reasons why you SHOULD NOT to get Vista.

1. You don't actually need it -- No, think about this. Vista doesn't do anything you can't already do with XP. About the only significant shift requiring Vista is DirextX10, but as no titles support it yet and, according to John Carmack (the godfather of modern gaming) there's no need to yet either.

2. Cost $$ -- It's so blindingly obvious, most people will be blinded to it. You already have XP, and alternatives like Linux are free. If you really want to throw money away, go give it to a local charity.

3. On that note, it's outrageously overpriced -- at least in Australia. As revealed in the current APC, even after taking into account the profit margin Microsoft Australia previously applied to XP (as well as exchange rates, as you would expect), Australians are paying hundreds of dollars more for their copies than in the US. In fact, it's cheaper for Australians to buy Vista direct by mail order from the States. If you think Microsoft Australia is reaming us, vote with your wallet.

4. Upgrading hardware -- XP was demanding at release, but Vista more so. If you have an older machine that struggles with XP at the best of times, Vista is out of your ballpark unless you spend even more money to upgrade. If this is you, see point 1.

5. Driver support -- Key hardware like video and sound is crippled at the moment -- while Nvidia is working furiously to get a stable driver for the 8800 out by the 30th, there's still no SLI support for any of the Nvidia range. And thanks to the removal of hardware accelerated 3D sound in Vista, Creative's popular DirectSound based EAX no longer works at all, muting this feature for just about all gaming titles on the market today. Creative is in the process of coding a layer for its drivers to translate EAX calls to the OpenAL API which is seperate from Vista, but going by past experience with Creative drivers we won't see these any time soon.

6. Applications that don't work -- there's been plenty of coverage about applications that won't work without a vendor update. These include anti-virus, backup and security software such as those from Symantec, Sophos and ilk; CD and DVD burning tools like the suite from Nero need updated versions to work; and even basic disk management and partitioning tools such as Paragon's Hard Disk Manager are awaiting an update for Vista to be compatible. How many more will fail as Vista enters mainstream? Even Firefox has issues with Vista.

7. It's a big fat target -- with a new and untested in the global wild architecture, virus and malware authors are going to work overtime exploiting the holes Microsoft missed. In fact it's already happening. Loath though I am to use the word 'security' and 'Windows' in the same sentence, Windows XP has at least been patched to the hilt and can be used with a plethora of reasonably effective security tools that work now, without waiting for an update down the track.

8. UAC -- Oh yes, the Microsoft solution for an operating system where mutli-user was an afterthought. Sure, you can disable it, but the OS then makes it clear then that the onus is on the user for any damaging programs that got to run with permissions, rather than with Windows in the first place. If you do have it on, it is going to annoy the hell out of you. It pops up far too frequently, and even on a fast PC, the UAC screen takes too long to come up and disappear.

9. DRM -- And to a lesser degree TPM -- were made for the RIAAs and MPAAs of this world, and the even tighter integration of copy protection mechanisms and 'Windows Rights Management' into vista are nothing more than a liability to you, the user. This ComputerWorld piece says is succinctly: 'it's hard to sing the praises of technology designed to make life harder for its users.' As for TPM, this short animated video shows just how far the rabbit hole goes. And to think you pay for the privilege of having the use of media you purchased and own dictated by third parties, even on your own system.

10. The draconian license -- somehow, Microsoft has forgotten that it built its business from products that empowered its customers, not hampered them. Of course, we forget that Microsoft's customers aren't you and I, afterall (see point 9). Aside from the backward thinking that is licensing, and not actually owning, your software new terms with Vista include being able to transfer the license only once; half the limit compared to XP for Home Basic and Premium on how many machines can connect to yours for sharing, printing and accessing the Internet; limits on the number of devices that can use Vista's Media Center features; activation and validation governing your ability to upgrade hardware and use Windows itself; and outlawing the use of Home Basic and Premium with virtualisation software, and Ultimate only if DRM enabled content and applications aren't used. But then again, who reads these anyway?


10 reasons why you SHOULD get Vista.

1. UI built for the era of video and digital photography
It's not actually Microsoft's key selling point, but the thing that everyone will probably find the most useful about Vista is that photos, videos and music are not treated the same as Word documents any more. When you open a folder of photos, they come up as they'd appear in Google Picasa or Apple iPhoto. There's inbuilt basic photo editing. Music folders come up in columns of ID3 tags, a bit like iTunes. Finally, you don't have to rely so much on third party apps to work with your files.

2. Image-based install
PC enthusiasts spend a lot of time installing and reinstalling Windows for their own and other people's PCs. The Vista DVD is actually a pre-installed version of the OS in a compressed form, making it substantially quicker to install. It's also much easier to customise for unprompted installation with the correct defaults, and you can even install your own software automatically at the time Vista is installed - like slipstreaming service packs but on steroids. Read more...

3. Up-to-date driver base and better driver handling on installation
Enjoy the just-baked driverbase while it lasts (19,500 drivers large). If you do need to use a special disk driver during installation in the future it won't have to be on floppy disk. Now you can use a USB memory key or CD. Also, Microsoft is now making much greater use of Windows Update for provision of drivers that aren't present in the Windows RTM driver base. Windows Chief Jim Allchin talks about it here.

4. Desktop search and search folders built in
Yes, you could already get umpteen desktop search apps including Windows Desktop Search from Microsoft for XP, but you can't underestimate the importance of it being installed on every single Vista PC. Now when your mum rings saying she's lost a document she's been working on all day you can just direct her to the start menu. Also, desktop search folders are handy for finding stuff you haven't necessarily got stored in one folder but that is useful to gather together from time to time (e.g. documents with "tax, invoice or receipt" in them).

5. Sleep mode that actually works.
It's a small thing, but makes a big difference: Vista has finally caught up to operating systems that can sleep near instantly and wake up reliably, in a couple of seconds. Read more...

6. Rock-solid laptop encryption
The data on your laptop is worth a hell of a lot to an identity thief. Vista's "Bitlocker" encryption (only in Enterprise and Ultimate versions) does heavy-duty, full-drive encryption, so you can be certain that unless a thief has your password there's simply no way they're going to get in. Read more...

7. Better file navigation
Vista now has some time-saving features like favourite folders displayed in the left column of every Explorer window, as well as "breadcrumbed" folder lists allowing you to quickly jump backward and forward through a path. Sure, these should have been put into Windows years ago, but at least they're here now.

8. Inbuilt undelete
Or, depending on how you look at it, inbuilt rolling backup. Every time you make a change to a file or delete it, Windows keeps the previous version. As a result, the "oh !@#$ I just overwrote my entire PhD with Document1" feeling can be quickly assuaged. Read more...

9. DirectX10
OK, this isn't so much a benefit as your hand being forced: DirectX 10 will never be made for XP, and a raft of games have already been announced ‘exclusively' for 10. Admittedly it does take gaming graphics to the next level, but it's very much tied to Vista.

10. Face it, you have no choice
When Microsoft brings out a major renovation to Windows, you can choose to ignore it for a year or two, but then the device drivers start drying up for older versions of Windows, your friends start asking questions about their new PC that you can't answer, and even if you use Linux, you'll inevitably need familiarity with Microsoft's latest interoperability blockers. Face it: your arse belongs to Redmond.



  1. Great stuff!
    I've been attempting to scrape together the last $150 so I can get my XPS and I just found out dells are shipping with vista anyways.
    I'll check it out, if I don't like it I'll just reinstall with XP pro with my dad's work CD.
    I AM getting Linux BTW, which is a jump off the deep end of weird in my house, we are all M$ users lol.
    The original reason was becuase Linux is 64 bit.
    Can anyone offer advice on which is better Ubuntu or Suse? From what I read, I think Suse will be better, although Ubuntu is more popular supposedly??

  2. Well I have used both Ubuntu/Kubuntu and Suse and they are both great distributions. However, for me on my laptop(Acer Aspire 3500), Ubuntu enabled wireless without any problems whereas Suse 10 didn't so I obviously went with Ubuntu/Kubuntu.
    Philosophically. I prefer Ubuntu to Suse (being Novell backed).
    Ubuntu is arguably better when it comes to installing extra programs (being Debian based - apt get/Synaptic Package Manager)particularly media based needs using either EasyUbuntu or Automatix.
    Best to try them both out, after all they are free, and see what suits your system and needs best.