AndandTech, in its usual in-depth fashion (14 pages), reviewed Windows Vista Beta 2. Their conclusions are grouped per competitor– the MacOS and XP. On Tiger: “However, even with the massive improvements Microsoft has shown with Vista, we still feel they aren’t quite ready to beat Tiger in a fight.” When comparing to XP: “Feature for feature, Vista is superior to XP, and its only real costs are memory usage, hard drive usage, and price.” In the meantime, Microsoft has released a new build of Vista. Update: Screencast of Beta 2.
Windows Vista: Beta 2 Preview
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2006-06-25 5:05 pmSCHWEjK
Yeah, I used Win2k3 for some time as my DesktopOS (got a licence for free at my university). It’s stable and fast.
For Vista, I can only say that it’s huge amount of bloat. Despite that the new driver modell looks quite interesting, it’s not woth all the new nuissances: heavy DE, annoying “security messages”, Digital Rights Restriction, etc. But the worst thing is imho the performance drop… Furthermore, all those new and shiny features MS promised are gone (WinFS for example)
Well, I am really disappointed with Vista… at least for me it’s not worth an upgrade.
It’s been a month
2006-06-26 4:25 ambutters
Yeah, I was thinking the same thing… not about AnandTech, though, about Microsoft. Kinda slow, aren’t they?
I’m happy that Windows users are starting the look at the new beta releases and thinking, “yeah, this is really starting to come together… I can see myself using this OS.” If Microsoft didn’t have Vista at this point by now, we’d all be in big trouble, whether we run Windows or not. For Microsoft, salvaging the disastrous Vista development cycle is not only about saving the company, it’s about saving the global economy from expenses and disruption of unprecedented magnitude.
I’m also happy that Windows users are starting to see compelling reasons to upgrade. Not all Windows users fall into this category, but more now than ever. After all, it’s been almost 5 years since Windows XP was released, and if Microsoft didn’t have at least some of its users recognizing compelling reasons to upgrade, that would be problematic to say the least. I’m sure there’s been other software vendors that spent 5 years working on a new release and found that users were content to stick with the previous version, but most of those vendors are now out of business.
Regardless of the development reset, Microsoft should have more to show for their investment and man-hours. I think that this is the core source of discontent regarding Vista. It’s not that users don’t appreciate the new features and other improvements in Vista, it’s that they had higher expectations, and rightly so.
It’s not unusual for a software project to be overhyped, and as a result cause disappointment when the end result doesn’t meet expectations. However, this is not the case with Vista. It’s impossible to overhype Vista. I don’t think our society has progressed to the point where we can generate that much hype. Vista is simply so important to so much stakeholders, and it has been in development for so long, and the release it’s replacing has so many shortcomings to address, that Vista deserves every bit of hype it gets, if not more.
Microsoft customers have a legimitate right to be disappointed. The task of engineering a product as sophisticated as Longhorn was originally intended to be was obviously a tremendous undertaking, but unfortunately for Microsoft, biting off more than they could chew is not a valid excuse. Not after more than 3 years of delays, and certainly not when they’re by far the biggest and wealthiest software company in the world.
The Vista development cycle will likely become a textbook example of execution failure in the software industry, a failure that software engineering and technical management students should be required to study. It wasn’t a lack of vision/direction, resources, or commitment, it was simply failure to capitalize on these items.
The Vista we will experience in 2007 will be the Vista we should have had in 2004. Things are starting to look up for Vista. It won’t be a major catastrophe. It will merely be a huge disappointment.
2006-06-26 12:59 pmsappyvcv
Beautifully said. I wouldn’t change a word.
So it’s slower, memory hungry, disk hungry, needs a 3D card, disturbs you with lots of security dialogs, will cost as much as a new PC, there are no available applications that make use of its features… How much is that better from XP?
2006-06-25 1:08 pmaaron
The same argument can apply to most new Oses when compard to their 3 to 5 year old version that came before.
2006-06-25 2:05 pmdylansmrjones
So far I’m only aware of Vista being that excessive about “security” dialogues.
2006-06-25 2:23 pmaaron
I’ll give you that one. <-;
2006-06-26 10:06 pmAnonymo
We wouldn’t need better boxes if there were not so much bloat. Sure we have faster computers today, but imagine how much of that is being wasted on the bloat. Cut the bloat. Cut Microsoft.
2006-06-25 1:47 pmDuffman
I haven’t tested Windows Vista, but even with the higher hardware needed by Vista, if it’s provide more productivity you can say that Vista is better than XP.
2006-06-26 10:08 pmAnonymo
More productivity, I think you are wrong. How is it going to provide more productivity. By letting you jiggle your desktop around? I think not. More likely it is a waste of time, money and productivity is going to suffer.
64bit processors have been around for some years now. Many operating systems (OSX, Linux and god knows how many others) run natively without problems on this architecture.
How is it possible that Windows is still not able (according to the review) to run *at least* equally as the 32bit counterpart?
What is the point of having 64bit hardware for a Windows user then?
I am not much of a programmer, but might this mean that the actual windows codebase is quite a bunch of hacks that are glued together to run on a specific architecture, instead of being some clean(-er) code that can be recompiled in a reasonably easy way?
2006-06-25 2:12 pmCPUGuy
The only thing that has to be swapped out is the HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer). Everything else is completely compatable.
However, there are a very limited number of drivers for 64bit Windows.
Other than driver related issues, 64bit Windows runs exactly the same as 32bit Windows.
2006-06-25 5:52 pmrenox
“Without problems” is a relative term, there are well know problems running browsers on AMD64 on Linux mode due to the lack of 64 bit JVMs, Flash plugins (and probably other).
If memory serves, the solution is to put the browser into a chroot environement in 32bit mode.
If the distro provides it, users won’t notice too much (except perhaps some performance degradation), otherwise welcome to the problems..
2006-06-25 6:11 pmZan Lynx
On Gentoo I can run 64 or 32 bit programs without using chroot, because the system uses /lib64 or /lib32 for locating libraries of different types.
64-bit JVMs exist and work pretty well. There’s still a problem on Gentoo with having 32 and 64 bit JVMs available at the same time. 32-bit software like OpenOffice can’t run with a 64-bit JVM.
To run a Flash plugin, I just run a 32-bit Firefox. Works fine, although it’s amazing how little anyone really needs Flash.
2006-06-26 9:49 amNxStY
Most 64 bit distributions install 32 bit libraries too so 32 and 64 bit aplications can run side by side.
2006-06-26 10:11 pmAnonymo
you got it exactly correct. Windows is a hack. Who had 64 bit first? Linux did. Who gives you the freedom to do what you want? Linux does. Who gives it to you for free? Windows, NOT.
Vista is getting less efficient with each release, meanwhile mac and linux users systems are getting more efficient with each release.
I read the conclusion page and it says it’s much slower then XP like 20 percent which I think Thom should have put up. All of this upgrading gives me a headache but if that’s the way big game companies want to run the show then we’re stuck with it, unless some comperable Linux games start coming out. I still am duel booting just to play DnD Stormreach. It would have to be a truely refined OS for me to buy it and be able to run older software properly.
My question is more will DirectX 10 cut it?
2006-06-25 5:38 pmZoidberg
It’s still in beta, compared to a mature OS like XP of course it’s slower. Beta versions are not fully optimized yet and have tons of debugging code running.
I looked at the requirements to run Vista but I realized I couldn’t do it on my current hardware. One of the interesting things I have noticed about linux lately is that the GUI’s appear faster, more responsive and my box uses less memory than it did 2 years ago. That is pretty impressive. I don’t know whether it is optimizations in the kernel for memory use or removal of bloat from Gnome but the system keeps getting faster!
2006-06-25 2:31 pmraver31
6 of 1 or half a dozen of the other.
kde has also been speeding up since 3.1 version.
3.5 is now a flying machine
5456 is amazing. Read the article: new Aero, less obtrusive UAP, faster, better performing, new icons, faster startup, and much more stable.
It’s finally coming together.
2006-06-26 10:14 pmAnonymo
oh yeah, 20 years later and 100 billion dollars stolen and we are barely getting to where it should be? pff They are not even close to where they should be. No wonder Billy Boy quit working at Microsoft. he is embarrased and knows they are going down under. He just doesn’t want to be there when it happens… he’ll just say” told you you couldn’t make it without me”
I don’t feel atrated to it, honestly.
and i’m very positive.
everything looks better and more coherent.
i installed about 20 applications and only 1 failed to install (stickies).
the system didn’t feel slow at all.
i have athlon64 3500+ and 1GB RAM.
my guess is you won’t have any trouble as long as you have 1.5 GHz and 1GB RAM.
the only thing that bothered me was all the security pop-ups that came up during the application installations.
I really don’t follow Vista to closely, but here is my main question.
Does Vista provide significant improvements under the hood? Major architectural improvements? New frameworks, etc?
If so, then Vista is a big deal, not for the specific user features it brings, but for the development that it enables. That is the purpose of the OS, to provide the foundation for applications.
2006-06-25 6:13 pmsappyvcv
WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation)
WCF (Windows Communication Foundation)
all under WinFX, which is a framework.
You really hit the nail on the head. The OS provides the foundation for applications, and Vista offers a lot in that area, but it won’t actually be seen until it’s out and apps are being made for it.
2006-06-26 2:11 amsuryad
In theory yes. But all that good meaty part of Vista wont be coming into its own I dont think till R2 gets released. It is quite pathetic to see such a big company like Microsoft with virtually unlimited resources come out with nothing innovative still take them 5 years! Wait if one is to count R2 as the Vista that it is meant to be then add 2 more years to the 5 count! Pathetic! I am sticking wiht XP Pro…and XP 64 bit.
No. I remember my Linux+KDE install 5 years ago. It costed me 0, ran in the same hardware I was running 2 months ago (but KDE 3.x was faster). If you think about it, there is no general rule that can be applied to make a system better release after release. Look at Windows ME. Vista will be another ME, I have no doubt about it, compared to current Windows XP SP2 (possibly with a better SP3).
Applications provide productivity, not the OS. The Operating System is just the layer applications need to run on. I don’t find myself using Linux or KDE. I use Kopete Messenger, Konqueror browser, KMail and OpenOffice. I know in the background is the OS and the desktop, but without applications the OS is useless.
2006-06-25 7:15 pmgoogle_ninja
If the OS doesnt provide productivity, it’s a shitty os.
ask 10 windows users and youll get the opinion that its all about applications. ask 10 mac users, they will spend the next hour listing off os features which make them more productive.
2006-06-25 9:07 pmatsureki
Applications provide productivity, not the OS.
That’s really a question of if / how much you multitask. Switching applications, and especially moving data between them, always incurs a slight penalty that builds up over time.
If you do multitask quite a bit, then I can see how you’d still say this if, for instance, you’re comparing KDE and Windows, since their interfaces are identical by default: (from left to right) start menu, quick launch, taskbar, system tray, clock, _  X. KDE does take a slight lead with virtual desktops and Klipper, but probably loses it again with the unintuitive and rigid arrangement of menu entries.
Anyway, in this specific case, I really don’t see Windows making any drastic moves toward increased productivity. Same old taskbar, similar old start menu. They did introduce “Stack”, that Exposé clone that they worked very hard to make look strange enough so that people won’t think it’s an Exposé clone, but it has the same fundamental design problem as the taskbar: all windows are equal (except some applets, which get lost completely), so having too many documents open makes it hard to find your web browser. They’re also repeating some XP mistakes that hurt productivity, namely a new skin that doesn’t display all widgets (switching to Classic skin somehow makes Explorer all fugly), and new control panel interfaces that are built right on top of the old ones (why won’t they ever remove the cruft?). Also, unless they learn to separate user and system settings and apply it appropriately, UAP is still going to be a nuisance.
“You are in great shape. The best way to experience Windows Vista is with a system capable of running Windows Aero. Windows Aero is the cool new user interface that has glass transparencies and cool 3D visual effects. Your system is certainly capable of running Aero. At a minimum, NVIDIA recommends an NVIDIA nForce motherboard, a GeForce 6 series graphics card or higher and 1GB of system memory. This will allow you to experience all that Windows Vista has to offer.”
2006-06-26 3:18 amNelson
We’re in 2006..if you don’t have this or near this already get with the times if you want a modern desktop OS.
All the problems people seem to have with Beta2 were addresses in their latest build.
Is it just me or does XP 64 bit seem to be the best OS hands down Microsoft has ever written? Vista looks like a major disappointment. I had really hoped that it would turn out to be great but the only thing worth upgrading to Vista for at the moment seems to be ONLY and I repeat ONLY DX 10. Even then it is still not enough for someone to go and upgrade the OS to have a slower crappier buggier bloated OS just for DX 10.
Well, you are confusing the concept of OS with application. Those are different things. We see OS providers actually embed applications into OS or provide applications with their OS. But the OS itself is another thing.
So tell me what OS feature makes you more productive, whatever OS you are using!
2006-06-26 9:54 pmgoogle_ninja
Multitasking/Minimizing/File Managers are pretty much standard nowadays, Expose on a mac, Multiple Desktops on linux, Im starting to really dig Katapult on KDE, Spotlight/Beagle/Whatever they call their search on Vista, Automator on the mac, The dictionary/verb applet on Gnome, Quicksilver on mac, Kwallet on KDE, etc
I could go on, but its time to eat. These are all OS features which improve efficiency (at least for me).
who cares… I’ll stick with my linux box. Too much DRM crap. I say lets all move to linux. Any linux is better that this.
So you are mostly talking about applets and other addons to the desktop, not the OS itself, besides multitasking that is really part of the OS. The others are not. Perhaps I’m just too accustomed to a clear separation between interfaces, like in Linux+X+KDE+Apps. Unlike in Windows.
That’s enough to be a failure in my mind.
Other persons view it differently and they can go ahead.
I’ll recommend Win2K3 for those who wants to use Windows without too excessive system requirements.