I was thinking about Vista yesterday when I was working on my Asus Eee PC, getting it ready to be my media workstation during the Democratic Convention later this month.
I was having a bunch of problems with XP, one of which was related to the fact that it came of age before wifi did. The helptext and troubleshooting guide that’s built into the system makes no mention of wireless configuration, beyond a confusing system for creating a wireless network that emanates from my computer. It’s of no help when you’re trying to figure out why there’s no icon in the Network Properties window for wireless. (The manual for the Eee PC has less of an excuse, it was very much written after wifi exists.)
This got me thinking about Vista, and why this computer came with XP, and why I wouldn’t have bought it if it came with Vista. Why? Why won’t I try Vista?
There are a lot of specific reasons which I’ll touch on, but first, the main reason is this: Vista has the smell of death on it. I don’t believe Vista will be around much longer. I don’t want to be one of those people who has a computer that runs Vista, anymore than I wanted to use OS/2 when Windows 3.x was in its heyday. I remembered too well what it was like to use an Apple III when it failed to take over, as expected, from the Apple II. Operating systems can fail, and Vista shows every indication that it is one of those operating systems.
Now, what led to this feeling? Well let’s work backwards.
1. They are running a campaign to try to prove, despite what people believe, that Vista really is a great operating system. They can try to appeal to our intellect, but it only validates the gut feeling that something is wrong here.
2. I think Microsoft is in bed with Hollywood, and when they improve an OS they’re adding more locks and security cameras for the entertainment industry to control us and spy on us. I like computers that mind their own business and work for me, not The Man.
3. Microsoft lost me, bigtime, over their lack of defenses against malware. It was when I switched to Macintosh that I realized how painful Windows had become to use.
4. Vista was troubled in development (it was called Longhorn), kept being delayed, people that worked on it weren’t enthusiastic, their marketers kept saying it had killer features, but never could say what they were and they never materialized.
5. Everything is happening in the web browser now, and Microsoft completely dropped the ball there. I use Firefox now, and I have very little interest in an OS designed to run IE better.
6. And finally, there is no demand for a new operating system. Little improvements, tweaks, defenses against new malware, support for new gadgets, that’s what we need from OS vendors. The days of excitement happening in OSes is long past. I don’t believe Apple can deliver there either, btw. Just keep it working, that’s your main job, no one is going to be blown away by new stuff in the OS.