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Stories of Vista Bliss

Despite what we've been telling you here for months -- and, to be fair, the vast majority of e-mails we get still bash it -- not everybody is unhappy with the forlorn Vista operating system. We've run tons of negative e-mails on Vista, and we've received some more very good ones recently.

But in the interest of some equal time, and because we said we would, today we're giving you positive -- or at least not screamingly negative -- e-mails about Vista. Some of these, as always, we had to edit for length, but the basic ideas are intact. Let's get started:

Richard starts us off by saying that if we don't like Vista, we shouldn't blame Microsoft...we should probably blame ourselves:

"Vista's 'failure' is a communications failure between Microsoft and its customers, between Microsoft and its partners, and mostly between Microsoft and its Tier 1 OEMs and ISVs. The entire channel was NOWHERE NEAR prepared for Vista's release. And while we see that a few unwise compromises were made between key Microsoft executives and their OEM and ISV counterparts vis-à-vis which CPUs and chipsets were 'acceptable' for the Vista experience, almost everything they baked into Vista came out of customer feedback and demand: bulletproof security, security best practices (least privilege), and a much better user experience that, regrettably, demanded better hardware.

"I'll tell you too what I don't miss: I don't miss never seeing a blue screen since I've owned Vista -- something I could never say about XP, Windows Server 2000 or 2003...or even NT 3.51 or 4.0, for that matter."

We agree that a lot of third parties dropped the ball on Vista. The extent to which Microsoft tried to work with them on holding the ball (how far can we stretch that metaphor?) is another topic of discussion altogether. Anyway, Zenner strikes a similar tone and also suggests that XP love is more like a sickness:

"Holding on to XP (especially when required to pay for 'downgrade' rights) is self-defeating, bordering on mental illness. I will agree that in its initial release, driver support was a major headache, not mention the requirement to 'finally' retire a lot of 8-, 16-, even some wholly inadequate 32-bit peripherals. The fact is, hardware as well as software were being hobbled by backward compatibility. X86-64 processors have opened up a completely new benchmark for PC performance; there is no need to continue with the arbitrary designation of workstation vs. PC. PCs, even laptops, have evolved to the point that it's almost impossible to purchase an under-powered computer anymore, yet clients (and closet Luddites) are refusing to step up to the challenge.

"The biggest complaint I still hear seems to be a lament that Vista is 'too' good. Finally, Microsoft creates what everyone was complaining about -- security, stability and defaults that start secure and allow the user to decide how much compromise he is willing to endure for connectivity and communication. Despite being given nearly everything that magazine writers, governments (national and international) and business concerns have lobbied for, we are faced with a consumer revolt, and what is it they are whining about this time? That it's too difficult having to make a few minor adjustments to reap all the benefits. That driver compatibility (which peripheral providers had been warned years ago would be needed) is somehow under the control of Microsoft. Maybe complaining to the root cause entities is not nearly as satisfying as continuing to find something, anything, to justify mistaken animus toward Microsoft."

Maybe, Zenner, there is some anti-Microsoft sentiment at work in the press (although we try to remain objective here), but XP is also a Microsoft OS and people seem to like it well enough. Sometimes familiarity breeds contempt; in this case, it seems as though the opposite is at work.

Grant, writing from South Africa (we love contributions from outside the U.S., by the way), suggests that hanging on to XP is not a good idea...and that Vista is not so bad:

"I have deployed a number of Vista Business machines with very few problems. Applications are catching up fast (except those that still write in Cobol). By downloading the latest drivers from the PC manufacturers' sites, SP1 downloads gracefully. The users seem to like the new interface and features. From my point of view (IT administrator), Vista is good, because it is so much more secure than XP.

"Recommending to customers that they 'downgrade' Vista to XP is irresponsible and short-sighted (as well as lazy and selfish, because they know XP well, so it's easier to maintain, and they don't have to learn how to maintain the new OS (yet)).

"If Windows 7 comes out in 2010, add two years for stabilisation and user acceptance, we're looking at running XP for the next four years. You've got to be joking! Imagine what Apple (Cougar, Lion or whatever) will look like by that time. What would Microsoft's credibility be then?"

Good question, Grant. We're sure some folks in Redmond are wondering the same thing. Or maybe cloud computing will make the OS mostly irrelevant and make the browser the only environment we need.

Finally, Dave's just happy all around with Vista:

"My system starts up, honestly, in about half the time XP took. Task Manager -- take a look; it's been greatly enhanced. All the extra apps that are included are great additions for novice and power users. The organization of the Start Menu is wonderful. There's nothing worse than looking at three columns of installed programs on an XP machine. Oh, and if you like Apple cutesy, the dream scene desktop background rocks. Honestly, after two weeks, I'm cruising around Vista without a hiccup."

More power to you, Dave. We're glad it's working out for you.

We're still looking for Vista tales; we'll run them -- positive and negative -- from time to time here. Send them to lpender@rcpmag.com. If you haven't seen yours yet, don't give up. It might still appear. And thanks to everybody who has contributed.

Posted by Lee Pender on August 28, 2008 at 11:54 AM