posted by Neeraj Singh on Mon 23rd Apr 2007 19:02 UTC
IconIf you shout something loud enough and many people are saying it, does it become true? Some groups of people (include tech journalists and Linux advocates, such as Steven J. Vaughn-Nichols) have a psychological need to find Vista lacking. Mr. V-N has predicted that Vista will have all manner of problems, so his clear interest is to point out everything that is wrong with the OS. Who cares if he has to even make some stuff up?

I followed some of the links on SJVN's recent article, and I'd like to address some of them. I'm going to ignore all of the links about how it's doing on the marketplace because I frankly care more about using an OS than about who else is using it. And I'm not going to address his self-referential links because I don't put any stock in his objectivity. The following rebuttal is organized by the linked-to articles. I don't care about the specific points SJVN is making... I just want to show that his data is suspect or perfectly explainable.

Shutdown and startup issues:

The real source for this link is at ComputerWorld. Mary Jo Foley, a ZD blogger, adds little of her own to the article. The real article gives a mixed impression of the issue. Some people are fine and others have major problems. I have no problems, and I'm sure the people in the NT Performance labs fixed everything that they found, but one can only test on so much hardware. Between OEMs and people writing new drivers, the startup slowness can be fixed.

In the mean time, take a look at my comment, which is based on this article by John Vert. Given some time for drivers and programs to improve, and some investigation, system times can be made quite reasonable. If some software is causing problems after drivers have stabilized, I suggest complaining loudly to the maker of that program or driver (especially if it's Microsoft itself). I really don't know why anyone would question using Sleep rather than Shutdown on a computer. Sure, sleep "masks" a sluggish shutdown response, but it achieves the same effect and solves the problem of disabling your computer when you don't need it. If you need a really low-power off state, use hibernate. I'd like to see some justifications for why you want to shutdown rather than doing either of the above. The boot performance is not universally bad, as SJVN posits, and will undoubtedly get better as people start using the new performance diagnostics.

Some Vista Features are annoying:

Lance Ulanoff wrote an article in PCMag (a ZD publication) about annoyances in Vista. I'll try to address his most salient points one by one. If you have issues with the points I skipped, surely it will be worked out in the forum.

1: Complaint about IE prompts for opening Word as an HTML editor: If you trust MSWord not to have bugs when opening HTML pages, then click on a button there and you'll never be bothered again. In general, it's hard to know if someone clicks on something and really intends to open an external application. If you want to be a little secure and are willing to sacrifice 1.5 seconds to open an external application, then leave it as default. If you use a particular application a ton, just disable the prompt for that application. It's not a bad balance between security and usability.

2: Changing date and time: Why do you want to do this more than once? Just have your computer change time from the network time server (as is set by default). You may need to change time zone more frequently if you're on the go, but this doesn't require any elevations.

5: This guy lists as an annoyance that there's no way to scroll left and right in the start menu programs view. He asks the question, "What happens if there's a lot of nesting?" Unfortunately, the lazy guy would rather bash Microsoft than do a 2 minute experiment to see what actually happens by creating some folders in the start menu. I'll leave it to those reading along to do the experiment... It's really not that hard.

6: Serial support: welcome to 2007... I understand that it sucks when old hardware becomes unsupported, but serial has been unpopular for so long. He probably has an issue with the Wacom driver in Vista rather than the OS itself since the serenum.sys serial driver still exists and I guess it must work (I have no serial ports on my machine). That is what I was going to leave it at, but then I decided to do a bit of extra investigation... Oh, look here! Google's first hit on "Vista Wacom serial tablet" is this! Once again, I will state that Lance is a lazy person.

7: Drivers: Drivers are a perennial complaint. I will not defend the indefensible by saying that he should be enjoying his experience with Vista drivers. I have no driver problems, because I'm using pretty Lo-Fi, standard hardware. Other people have problems. Writing Windows drivers is Hard Work, and the Kernel is generally a much less forgiving environment than User-Space. Backwards compatibility does not apply as much in this regime either, because the driver is part of the OS and is expected to participate in its synchronization and locking scheme. I expect this will get better with the advent of the User Mode Driver Framework and the Kernel Mode Framework. Both of these systems present a much cleaner interface to the driver writers. Of course, none of this applies to things like Chipsets and Video Adapters, which are much more central to the system. As far as I can tell, drivers in this area are written in very close cooperation with Microsoft.

8: Some problems he reported through Windows Diagnostics haven't been solved yet? Boo hoo! Wait a few months and check back. It's better than before, when there was no solution most of the time and no one ever knew there was a problem. FWIW, most of my problem reports offer reasonable advice (if the driver is missing, it tells me to check the manufacturer's site... if a major program is crashing it gives a link to the latest version or to a KB article).

9: I don't care about the games in Vista. On the chess thing, this guy just seems to have some vision problems.

Frankly, throw-away complaints like this article are worthless to readers and to the people developing Windows. One of them (#5) isn't even a problem but a question about what would happen in an easily testable situation. You're always going to find someone who will complain about UI. Interface is something that everyone thinks they can understand, so everyone has an opinion to offer. It's an example of bike shed painting.

Table of contents
  1. "Dear SJVN, 1/3"
  2. "Dear SJVN, 2/3"
  3. "Dear SJVN, 3/3"
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