Shameless Windows Vista bashing

      So for the millionth time I somehow find myself reading a Vista bash article (this one) and once again THEY GOT IT WRONG. Just to be clear, it is supposedly an article about Windows 7, which apparently implies that it is a forum to bash Vista. The more articles I read the less I respect online tech journalism, but I digress. So a quick summary of the arguments presented against Vista:
      1.Incompatibility was and still is an issue, albeit the tip of the iceberg
      2.UAC is annoying
      3.Vista is bloated
      4.Vista tried to hard to be pretty
      I suspect that if have read other articles about Vista you have probably seen some combination of this complaints in the various other articles. This is by no means groundbreaking stuff, in fact I'd bet I could probably find a few articles from 6 months or even a year ago that present just about the same argument. Even still, that doesn't prevent you from getting it wrong.
      Incompatibility was definitely a big issue when it came out, there is no getting around that. Basically, the second hardware vendors saw that Vista was getting a lukewarm reception they put Vista drivers a few notches lower on the list (aka they weren't going to do it, or at least quickly). Then, when some user goes to install their Brothers printer and it doesn't work they get mad. Is that Vistas fault, or the hardware vendors fault? No reason to point fingers, it just stinks for the end user. In either case, Vista post SP1 incompatibility is unlikely to be the issue. Sufficient time has elapsed for even the slowest of vendors to get Vista drivers out. If they have no done so already, I definitely put the blame on vendors, they have had long enough.
Good ol' UAC seems to be pissing a lot of people off, does this not strike you as odd? OS X and Linux have had the equivalent of UAC since their inception, but no one seems to complain about it there. Yes, UAC likely pops up a lot more often then you are used to in OS X and Linux, but in all reality, if it is popping up, it likely should be. People have become so accustomed to the pre-Vista Windows where nothing pops up to notify you that some terrible website is trying to put a Trojan on your system. Realistically that is just a poor model for security and is likely to result in a lot worse results (keeping a clean system) then the UAC model. It is a lot easier to prevent malware from installing, then it is trying to remove it once it has already been.
      I think when these writers think of Vista they get the image of the Micheline tire man running in their head. How exactly people determine that Vista is “bloated” is a very subjective process and in all likelihood does not imply that they have any actual knowledge of the underlying operating system. Much of this perception comes from people seeing the amount of RAM Vista uses by default compared to other OS's. Its hard not to make that association, but it simply is not valid in this case, not by default at least. Vista has a feature called SuperFetch which proactively puts often and recently used programs in RAM even before it is started by the user. Why? Its simple, if they guess what you are going to start and put it in RAM before you start it, start up time is drastically faster then it would be otherwise. So when someone looks at Vistas RAM usage and sees that it is using 2GB on start they are wondering “How is it using so much RAM? I haven't even started anything!” Chalk a lot of that usage up to SuperFetch, and hope that SuperFetch uses as much RAM as possible. Using RAM is GOOD, thats what its there for, and as long as SuperFetch gives it up when necessary all is well in Windows world.
      Even still, the Vista bloat argument continues. Consider this, when Macs changed from PPC to Intel hardware it was a HUGE change. It required a new OS, programs to be rewritten, and just about anything Apple related that was PPC became outdated. They effectively drew a line in the sand and said it stops here, anything older then this we are done with. What happened? People bought new Macs. Those left with PPC's were left to wither away out in the cold. This wasn't too terrible for those users since Mac users (and Apple users) in generally tend to be a lot more dedicated to the brand then most people are to just about anything. Lets say Microsoft employed this strategy with their next version of Windows (clearly they arent with Windows 7, but lets just say for the sake of argument). I don't think that any of us could imagine the amount of uproar such a decision would make. Even though Microsoft wouldn't be changing the hardware (they don't make their own hardware, Apple does), the software changes alone would bring about so much complaining we wont be able to hear ourselves think. The sheer amount of labor required to rewrite software for the new Windows would be enormous and an absolute nightmare. You think people are pissed about Vista, the amount of headache this would cause would make Vista seem like a blip on the radar. Based on the amount of people who use Windows, and the amount of software written for Windows it is going to be much more difficult for Microsoft to draw that line in the sand.
      Finally, there is always the claim that Vista is trying to be too much like OS X and be too pretty. Its no secret that Microsoft significantly dressed up Vista compared to it predecessors, and its hard to argue that Vista doesn't look better. Whether or not it is worth the resources it draws is a matter of preference. To me, it is. So Vista is trying to be too much like OS X? Really? Are we talking about specifics in the UI, because I don't see many. Your not going to see Windows with a “dock” any time soon (especially now since its patented), I cant see Windows using left side close and minimize buttons, or adopting the silver theme by default, so where is the copying? If you are simply making the case that they are trying to make Vista pretty, then you cant fault them for that, part of being a successful operating system is being pretty. Dont believe me, ask Linux? One of the big pushes in Linux over the past few years has been beautification, and it has paid off. Compare your distro of choice now to how it looked 2-3 years ago and you will see that it is likely a lot prettier, shinier, and slick overall. Linux demonstrates this case so beatifically, pretty is a very important part of being a good OS, like it or not.
      I suspect with Windows 7 hype continuing to build, more and more of these articles will be resurrected from the murky puddles they belonged in. Please, if you are going to make an argument about Vista being “sucky” think about it before you just regurgitate the arguments of others.


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