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Mailbag: Vista SP2 Thoughts, How To Keep Microsoft Afloat, More

Vista SP2 (what Doug calls a "late beta") is now out. Here are your impressions so far:

For those of us in the trenches, Vista SP1 was fine (though I'm not surprised that your Dad had trouble considering how much CRAPWARE is pre-installed these days.) Cleanly installed, Vista SP1 is a great choice. SP1 brought with it much stability -- but little else.

I've been testing SP2 (first beta, then RC-Escrow, and now the full RC code). Vista SP2 does feel faster but it is still not nearly as fast as Windows 7 (which I am also beta testing). SP2 is rock-solid stable and I am using it in my own production environment without problems. What this means for me is that I will recommend SP2 to my father-in-law (who is running Vista SP1 now) as soon as it goes RTM, but for me, I am going to move all my systems to Windows 7 as soon as it goes RTM. Until then, I will run SP2 in whatever flavor I can get it.

Maybe Vista SP2 will have the goodness of Win 7.

I haven't experimented yet with the Vista SP2 "late beta." But, think it's safe to hope that the forthcoming Vista SP2 will actually upgrade Vista to a stable pre-release Windows 7? And bring some sort of fax app back into availability?

To answer Fred's question, we don't know what the fax situation will be in future versions of Vista and Windows 7 -- but Sharon thinks it's a moot point, anyway:

Fax...ROFL! If you really still need this, there are plenty of free apps.

What can Microsoft do -- if it should do anything at all -- to keep the economic downturn from hitting it too hard? Here's your take:

Microsoft has nothing to worry about because first and foremost, it's a software vendor. As long as it is selling enough Windows and Office licenses to OEMs and enterprise customers, it can ride out anything. And even if sales drop off, all Microsoft has to do is lay off a few people and rent a little less office space.

That's not the same for Apple or the Microsoft OEMs. Hardware makers have to pay for the production capacity they own, whether they are producing hardware or not. And they have to store the inventory they cannot sell. They cannot just sell off production capacity or warehouse space.

I was just reading a Computerworld item that says "Netbooks Are Killing Microsoft." It seems that "30% of all Netbooks ship with Linux."

I blame Vista for this. If Microsoft continues to sell bloatware, more and more people will change to Linux. Microsoft needs to be selling a slim-trim Windows that can be run on low-cost machines. Yes, that means Windows will have to be cheaper, too, but I think if M$ doesn't change its ways, it will find more and more people learning to use Linux and OpenOffice.

How about Microsoft Visual FoxPro? MS has stated that there will be no new releases of the product past its current version 9.0. However, the worldwide developer community considers VFP a very viable product; visit to see one example of how some of our brightest developers in the VFP community are taking charge and continuing the development of Visual FoxPro.

As a member of a local VFP developer community, the Chicago FoxPro User and Developer Group, I can attest to the fact that this 'marked for dead' product is alive and well. And we are one of many just in the U.S. The VFP community spans the globe. Microsoft could weather the storm a lot better if it worked smarter and did not hrow out the baby with the bath water!

And Earl thinks that regardless of how the economy's doing, blaming foreign workers doesn't always wash:

One of my clients is an immigration attorney. While in their offices, I kept hearing the phrase "prevailing wage." I finally put two and two together: Foreigners must find work at the prevailing wage to qualify for an H-1B visa. They cannot be hired for less than Americans would take. Once hired, they pay U.S. taxes.

So the question "Why hire foreigners?" must be asked. The answer is two-fold. First, the foreigner probably has a greater facility with a different language and culture which would help in international situations. Second, businesses prefer the most qualified candidate. These foreigners were among the best in their countries. They will probably be among the best in our country, too.

Tell us what you think! Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to [email protected].

Posted by Doug Barney on March 06, 2009


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