Saturday, February 03, 2007

Two Days with Vista

As many MS Windows users know, after a period of use you will need to reinstall your operating system. This happened to me at work - where I was running Microsoft Windows XP Professional. Being the little dweeb that I am, I thought to give this Vista thing a try - the designate test dummy for our corporation.

Microsoft Windows Vista is the newly released product from the Windows operating system line. I purchased the eOpen Business edition of the product - creating my own CD from the official ISO then using the eOpen license number.

Installation went very smooth on my Pentium 4 3.00 GHz 2GB RAM desktop. Post installation I had to manually track down and install the sound and firewire drivers - thankfully the Vista version existed. Manually added my desktop to our corporate domain (Windows 2000 AD) - global policies were enacted, login script ran. I'm in!

This is where the fun begins right?

The colours - more gawd-awful pastels that I can't stand. Next is the 3D effects - they are okay but nothing coming close to what I have with my Beryl (or Compiz) desktop. I don't really need eye candy - this is a work machine after all - so I configure the computer for Best Performance which effectively turns off all the toys. There is a noticeable increase in performance with all this garbage off. Didn't like the Windows Sidebar and Gadgets - just not customizable enough for me what I'm used too in Linux - so they are gone as well.

Fine - so now I need some applications. Can't install Microsoft SQL Server (client or server), sorry - won't work on Vista until next service pack. Okay, so everything else goes on - no troubles. The applications themselves seem to start slowly, archives painfully slow (30-90 seconds in some cases) - once running they seem to be okay to use. Every time IE starts it overrides my default brower, this pisses me off (and reminds me of the pain back in the early-mid 90's). Even as a member of the domain administrator group I am unable to change some functionality on the local machine - this must be customizable, and I don't bother looking. My legitimate music CD fails to play - looking into this it appears Microsoft was nice enough to put DRM shit directly into the OS (which is much much worse that most users will ever realize). My time is limited and the changes just browsing network files is different enough that I loose patience - I can't blame anyone else but myself.

In theory, I agree for the need to retool Vista. Security right? Wrong, DRM takes precedent when there is a conflict - that makes no sense at all. New innovative technology? I don't see anything but incremental changes to what our corporation uses already. So what about all that great eye-candy? Big deal - ask any Linux desktop user to see the desktop they have been using for the last year. And what is all this shit about Vista Content Protection hardware? Is anyone else getting scared - Vista is causing the markets other hardware costs to increase! But what is this about some users seeing upwards of triple the bandwidth usage?

There are a host of good things - don't get me wrong. Piles of great stuff in the AD itself should make every company look at reasons to upgrade. But is it enough? I barely even looked at Vista and it gave me a bad taste. I use Windows because I have to and I'm lucky enough to enjoy a Linux desktop because I prefer it.

Two days later I sat back and looked at my system and thought this is just stupid and on a day away from the office, asked a Junior System Administrator to re-install XP Pro back onto my system. I was worried about being forced to move to Vista (pre-installs, etc) but guess we should be good for 2 more years on Windows XP.

Just long enough to convert all our desktops to Linux.

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