Linked by Neeraj Singh on Mon 23rd Apr 2007 19:02 UTC
Windows If 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?
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ralph
Member since:
2005-07-10

"Well, obviously you do care enough to write a three page article about it..."

Let me correct myself:
Obviously you do care enough to write a three page rant full off fanboy whining about it...

Really, what kind of "articles" osnews deems worth publishing is beyond me.

Edited 2007-04-23 19:33

Reply Score: 5

alexandru_lz Member since:
2007-02-11

Damn, this sounds almost like Get-The-Facts. I don't really like SJVN's articles either, but some of the points he brought up are quite fair. For instance:

* It's not my case, but I do know people who change their date and time quite frequently for the simple fact that they travel abroad with their laptops and they don't always have immediately-available Internet connections. As far as I'm concerned, it's a pretty fair point, and I'm sure this is the kind of people who would complain about a poorly designed Date&Time window.

* There are a lot of people who do need a serial driver. I, for one, need one that works well because I often used the serial port for development reasons (e.g. interfacing with SBCs). I realize that Microsoft doesn't really care about what their customers need, but "there aren't *THAT* many people who need serial ports" is a very lousy excuse.

* I do prefer to shut down my computers when I have to, for a lot of reasons. When my hdd is getting claustrophobic, the last thing I need is Vista taking up some space to hibernate. If I know I won't be working on my laptop for several days, I don't want it to sleep for even a second (I don't care about "saving some battery power" -- if it consumes even the smallest amount, it's not good for me), I don't want it to hibernate (for hdd space reasons), I want it to shut down for good. Even if I didn't have any practical reasons for prefering to shut down my computer over sleeping/hibernating, I still wouldn't care. What I do with my computer is my choice, and I could hardly care less about what the Vista development team thinks I should do with it. "Vista is slow to boot and shut down but you won't need that anyway" is another poor excuse.

Pointing a finger at Linux advocates for not knowing the technical details of the OS-es they don't use is a bit too much. Linux advocates know about Windows just as much as Windows advocates know about Linux. Besides the fanboy-ism which you'll obviously find in any camp, most of the fair points which were brought up against Vista before it was released really stood up.

Reply Parent Score: 5

PlatformAgnostic Member since:
2006-01-02

Who said that serial ports do not work anymore? I don't have one, so I couldn't test anything myself... that was my primary point there. Now, the issue that Lance had with his Wacom tablet was in the Wacom driver and there was an easy solution for it found by googling.

If you travel, you change time zones... this is different from changing the system time (which affects the timestamps put on files on the hard drives and appointments on your calendar and stuff). Time zones can be changed by any user (maybe not Guests). I just tested this on Vista and it works... have you done any even rudimentary checks before writing your response?

I don't think bootup is that sluggish. I was responding to the question in Mary Jo Foley's blog entry about hibernate and sleep "masking" a sluggish bootup. My response is that bootup is pretty reasonable, and hibernate and sleep are much faster. If you really don't have space or battery, don't use the faster means.

Edited 2007-04-23 21:06

Reply Parent Score: 5

sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

"""
Linux advocates know about Windows just as much as Windows advocates know about Linux.
"""

It all depends upon who you are talking about, of course. But I would wager that Linux advocates, in general, know more about Windows than Windows advocates know about Linux.

I suspect that the average Linux advocate knows more about Windows than a significant portion of the Windows advocates.

I would further generalize, and say that the average user of any Non-Microsoft OS knows quite a bit more about Windows than the average Windows user, simply out of necessity.

Note that I did switch around a bit between "advocate" and "average user" there. And nowhere did I address that class of multi-platform aware people that OSNews attracts. So be careful to note that I am not calling eclectically educated Windows advocates stupid. :-)

Edited 2007-04-23 22:37

Reply Parent Score: 5

alexandru_lz Member since:
2007-02-11

PlatformAgnostic, I have seen the serial driver performing badly on some systems myself. It was around the time I read SJVN's article and (having some problems digesting his articles myself) and I was convinced it was not Windows-related, but it does happen to work perfectly well with Linux.

My problem with Windows and timezones (and why I'd rather change the time than the timezone) is related to what timezone really means. I'm not sure if this is leftover in Vista, but it's a habit I've had since Windows 98 I think, and which remained in 2000 and XP. The notion of "timezone" is strictly related to time (something I got used to from *nixes), but when I change my timezone in Windows, it also understands that I am changing my location as well -- so that it changes my local currency, decimal commas into dots and so on, which I simply don't want.

As far as I'm concerned, I was never bothered with boot times because I actually caught not just the days when it took a few seconds to boot into BASIC but also about two minutes to boot a crawling OS on slow hardware. However, remember that Microsoft promised incredibly fast boot times. To whom were they promising that, I do not know, but any Gentoo or FreeBSD user will laugh at anything longer than 15 seconds.

Don't get me wrong, SJVN (and MJF, in some aspects) really *should* open their minds -- what I really mean to say is that much of Microsoft's advertising is seriously inflated. Not that it would be a solitary practice the likes of Apple don't do -- but it still holds. I don't think there was a single piece of software not to be unfairly criticized.

But if you look at many of the points that were brought even before Vista got final, you'll see how most of the criticism comes from users of other platforms. I didn't trust them too much either (the same happened with Windows XP a few years ago). I did manage to understand these critics because I haven't used Windows consistently myself, and next to none of Vista's "novelties" were anything new to me.

Nevertheless, this doesn't justify unfair criticism, which is something about which I agree with you :-).

Reply Parent Score: 2

PlatformAgnostic Member since:
2006-01-02

Most people don't seem to care about facts. Why do I care?

Because I respect some of the people working on Windows and some who have developed it. There are serious screw-ups in there, but the Kernel mechanisms invented by Dave Cutler are quite well-designed with the lessons learned from UNIX and other systems.

The USER subsystem that Raymond Chen and many others have worked on has many warts and compatibility hacks, but it was for a long time the fastest way to draw a desktop to the screen.

The distributed file system, which was partly written (in its original form) by Larry Ostermann solved problems that the Unix world left to applications, much to the detriment of portability and correctness (do you like those .nfs files that appear when doing shares? or the necessity of creating .lock files everywhere?).

I care because, although I haven't met these people, I realize that they are engineers to look up to and not some organs of a corporate leviathan. I care because I don't want to see other students be seduced by the "worse is better" mentality that many UNIX denizens espouse.

Edited 2007-04-23 21:20

Reply Parent Score: 5

archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

I care that I had to buy a cheap PC today for my ex's parents, and that I couldn't get a single one with XP at the local Future Shop. I didn't have time to shop around, unfortunately, so I had to pick one up with Vista.

I care that it took two and a half hour to reinstall it in French (while installing a language pack in Linux takes less than a minute). I care that it is extremely sluggish for a 512MB system, while it could really fly with a lighter system on it.

I care that it took two minutes and 25 seconds to boot into a working Vista desktop, while it took two minutes and 10 seconds booting into Kubuntu 7.04...from a live CD! I also care that the system was more responsive from the LiveCD for simple tasks (like exploring files, surfing the web, moving windows around and the like).

I care that I didn't have access to the Samba shares on my LAN because the new PC came with Home Basic. Or maybe you can, but I couldn't find it because they changed the control panel UIs again.

This was my first contact with Vista. I've installed and used a large variety of MS OSes in my time: Windows 3.1, 95, 98, 2000 and XP. This was by far the most disappointing one (then again, I never installed ME). Sure, some great engineers work for MS, and they have my respect. That still doesn't make Vista a great Windows release. For starters, all the backwards compatibility cruft are making it incredibly bloated.

Look at it this way: if it was such a great product, there wouldn't be *that* much negative opinions about it. The engineers may not be to blame (I personally think the responsibility lies above them), but that doesn't change the basic fact: the "Wow" is elsewhere.

Reply Parent Score: 5

butters Member since:
2005-07-08

I care because I don't want to see other students be seduced by the "worse is better" mentality that many UNIX denizens espouse.

We prefer "simpler is better." Surely with enough talent and man-hours, you can create a gigantic tangle of complexity that manages to function as an operating system. But is that better than a set of simple components that fit together in a logical way?

Students learn UNIX because its design is comprehensible, elegant, and fundamental to understanding computer systems. They don't learn Windows because there's no reason to mimic its design. Maybe its feature-set, but not its design.

I'm sure there are countless top-notch developers working on Windows, and the kernel is actually pretty decent these days, but the platform as a whole is screwed. Microsoft can try their best to improve their code quality, but they cannot immediately abandon unfortunate design elements (e.g. the registry) or police their crappy third-party drivers and applications. You can't put sour milk in the fridge and expect it to become drinkable.

What the Windows faithful don't understand, and many of the Linux advocates as well, is that third-party software is what makes running Windows insecure and unreliable. I have no problem with third-party software as long as it's open source, but I'll only accept proprietary software if the vendor offers full support for their product. Microsoft can't support the vast array of proprietary third-party software that its customers use, but when this crap fouls up their systems, it reflects poorly on them. People install a couple dozen applications that all disclaim any responsibility if anything goes wrong, and then when things go south, they blame Microsoft.

So excuse me if I'm not dying to see all sorts of third-party proprietary software on Linux, because the result will be much of the same. I like the fact that my software vendor supports nearly all of the software on my system, providing timely fixes and easy upgrades. If I use proprietary software, I have to live with the fact that flash might not work in a 64-bit browser or that the NVIDIA drivers might not work with the latest version of Xorg for months. I don't try to file a class-action lawsuit when the proprietary drivers don't work properly. I understand that with proprietary software, I'm at the mercy of the vendor, and if I don't like the way their software works or what environments they support, there's nothing I can do about it.

I find it amusing that journalists are going to such great lengths to rationalize the public's general distrust of Microsoft or criticisms of Vista on technical grounds. In the end, it's not UAC, DRM, WGA, or the various UI quirks that create the sentiment that Vista is simply more of the same from Microsoft. It's just that everybody is fed up with the proprietary software industry screwing us over and making us deal with the mess. We can't keep blaming Microsoft forever. We have to give credit where credit is due and point our fingers squarely at the proprietary vendors, particularly the graphics vendors. They suck at shipping good drivers for Windows almost as much as they suck at delivering them for Linux.

Reply Parent Score: 5

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

"I care because I don't want to see other students be seduced by the "worse is better" mentality that many UNIX denizens espouse."

If you're going to make inflammatory statements like that you better put in some effort to explain exactly what you mean. Who says worse is better? Why is it worse?

Reply Parent Score: 2

superstoned Member since:
2005-07-07

You are right that much of the work being put in Windows is high-quality. They have to live with a huge amount of obsolete code, but they manage quite well.

Still, whether it is all right or not, and no matter who is to blame (notice many windows haters now say linux is insecure because a out-of-tree driver had a security problem, fixed 4 months ago), Vista isn't that great. It might need time to mature, right, but it took 'em 5 years to get it out of the door, and it still isn't stable nor much more usable (in hindsight, XP wasn't that bad...).

And no matter how great Windows technically is or will be, Microsoft still doesn't care about their users, implements all kinds off freedom-limiting technology and uses unfair and market-value destroying strategies to keep their monopoly. The company might not be 'true evil' but it sure is bad for humanity right now, and thus I considder it unethical to use, sell or promote their software.


Still, facts matter, so in that sense, your article is appreciated.

Reply Parent Score: 2