What were they thinking?

It’s now called the top 10 worst product of all time. Oh, I am talking about Windows Vista, and just recently there have been a flurry of articles (another one here) stating what was rather obvious to anyone taking only a single look at this retarded OS. After all this criticism one cant help but wonder what Microsoft was thinking when it released this OS. In contrast XP was a welcome change to the then ailing 2000 and the OS is still going strong today. I thought Microsoft had learned from past mistakes on Me and 98, yet we see the same thing with Vista.

While some criticism is unduly harsh and unwarranted, Vista seems to be myriad of small mistakes rolled into one. Not entirely from a technical point of view, but with other issues as well. The biggest put off and the most costly mistake as far as Microsoft is concerned is the fact that the OS is a resource hog. The OS requires a stupendous amount of memory to run efficiently. Now some might argue that about 4 GB worth of memory is not so much these days. But that is not entirely accurate. I would put the question the other way round, “Why on earth does an OS that does nothing special in particular require such huge amount of memory?” Why do I tax my memory budget so that a improperly designed OS can run?

There is also another more serious problem which I bet is biting into Vista sales, and that is, Vista runs extremely crappy on older machines with less RAM. Enterprises generally don’t want to upgraded their hardware to support an OS that very clearly doesn’t offer anything special. They see no addition in their value chain in upgrading to Vista and rightly so. You really can’t blame them. I have experienced this first hand on my friend’s machine. He ended up switching back to XP after a rather unpleasant run with Vista. I was reading this inquirer article and it made me smile, what is written seems to be spot on.

The features that were advertised with Vista don’t do justice for it’s price tag. The secure OS crap that was dished out looks nothing more than a nagging nanny. The warnings and messages boxes can get really annoying and I found them too much of a hindrance while working. That’s not going to be too popular with developers and programmers; it’s besides the point that those can be turned off, and programmers have always learned to adapt, what are they there for? The warnings just make you feel retarded. Also, the other feeling I get is somehow Microsoft wants to unload some of it’s responsibility off of themselves on to the end user. It’s like, “Oh we told you this program could damage your system (via a message box). Sorry what happened is your problem not our’s. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!” And what exactly are they securing us from? Can I run the OS without an antivirus or anti-spyware program?

Then there is the DirectX 10 story. As you probably know there is no DirectX 10 for XP ,only for Vista. The driver reason given is utter b.s. That’s just some arm twisting by Microsoft and it has resulted in DirectX 10 not being adopted as widely as it should have been. I have seen a lot of people criticizing DirectX 10, but it’s not DirectX 10 that is preventing more DirectX 10 games but Vista. It seems there are a very few people that have the required hardware + Vista to run DirectX 10. Talking about drivers, the OS has fair share of hardware and driver related problems. Incompatibilities with hardware still continue even after a year of releasing the OS.

I had done a fair bit of brain bashing with the OS just recently to get the game Vista compatible (read here) and I came out with a feeling of being let down by the OS. I use XP for all my PCs and I had high expectations from Vista after having a good time with the XP OS. I however continue to face problems with Vista. Compared to that, XP seems to be a very friendly OS. I spent a good 2 weeks on Vista and was pretty disappointed.

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