“All promised features were cut from Vista.” This is a commonly heard complaint about Windows Vista on the internet. While there certainly is a lot to complain about when it comes to Windows Vista, the mythical ‘cancelled features’ certainly is not one of them. Let me explain why.I often hear this complaint whenever we post a story regarding Vista on OSNews – or any other story for that matter. “All promised features were pulled from Vista and Bill Gates eats babies.” While I can certainly attest that babies do in fact taste great, I often counter this argument by a simple, but effective question: “Which features, exactly, have been cut from Windows Vista?” This is usually about the time when the crickets start chirping, or, when I get accused of being a Microsoft fanboy (they pay for my Aston Martin, you see).
Seriously now, usually the replies to that question do not go beyond the mention of “WinFS“. And WinFS really is about the only significant promised feature that has been cut from Windows Vista. People who have used WinFS, such as myself, in the early Longhorn builds also know why Microsoft more or less abandoned the WinFS project: it was slow. And I am not talking slow-like-honey, but more like slow-not-moving-at-all. It was a pain to use, it did not work, and at that time the first thing you did when you were testing Longhorn builds was turn off WinFS (and the sidebar, which had a huge memory leak). When Microsoft announced, in 2004, that WinFS would not be part of Windows Vista, it only made sense to me.
There are other things that people mention aside from WinFS, but those are debatable, at best. Windows PowerShell, for instance, has never been part of Vista’s or Longhorn’s test builds, and nor have any promises been made that it was going to be. It was concluded that the security risk posed by PowerShell (codenamed “Monad”) was too large, and hence, it was decided that it would not become part of Windows Vista. In other words, this feature was not cut – you cannot cut a feature that was never there or supposed to be there in the first place. Additionally, PowerShell 1.0 was released before Windows Vista itself was even released.
Another thing that never made its way to Vista was the Next-Generation Secure Computing Base (Palladium). This is for the better, as NGSCB was heavily criticised, so I think we can all be happy it never made the cut – in its intended form, that is. Parts of the Next-Generation Secure Computing Base did make its way into Vista, like the features found in BitLocker.
Some claim that support for Microsoft’s XML Paper Specification was also cut from Vista. This, however, is not true. XPS support is still very much there in Vista, it has just been turned into an optional component so that OEMs can remove the feature if necessary – all done because of legal threats by Adobe. However, it is there, so much even that Vista’s printing architecture is based on XPS.
For the rest, we have some minor things, like Vista lacking UEFI support, which, as far as I know, will only be encountered by home users in the Macintosh world. UEFI support will still make its way to the server edition of Vista (Server 2008), as well as the 64bit versions of Vista SP1. SecurID is also missing in action on Vista, but for most of us home users, that is a minor feature. Some users also point to this article, but that is kind of laughable; that article lists mostly features that were present in Windows XP, but are not present in Vista, which have little (if anything) to do with “cutting promised features from Vista”.
Now, compare these few things mentioned above to the immense list of new features found in Vista (do not forget the link box on the right). That kind of puts everything into perspective, does it not?
Now, there is enough to not like about Windows Vista, and I can understand feelings of disappointment. Vista is very, very slow on fairly current hardware, it is extremely expensive, the 3095839 different editions are very confusing, the anti-piracy measures are a tad bit draconian, and most importantly (to me), it is still Windows. In conclusion, there is nothing wrong with voicing your disappointment online, but it is not okay to do so based on lies.
And that will be my final word on this “issue”.
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Edited 2007-12-16 15:16 UTC