Vista Watch III

June 6th, 2008 Vista Watch Update
Infoworld has been fighting the demise of Windows XP. But it appears despite more than 200,000 petitions, Microsoft is doing the Caesarian Thumbs Down. And so it is doubly ironic – just as Microsoft releases Service Pack 3 with even more XP performance improvements, it also is taking away sales of Windows XP as of June 30th 2008. No matter that Windows XP outperforms and is more compatible than Vista. Windows Brand be damned – take Vista and nothing else is the clear message from Redmond.

Meanwhile on the Windows 7 front it appears Windows 7 as the lean, mean machine may be just wishful thing. Read this coverage from Apple Watchs Joe Wilcox. And here is the measure of Vista reluctance in the IT community from eWeek.


April 25th, 2008 Vista Watch Update
More Trade Press pundits saying Vista is a wreck, a mess-nobody-wants-to-cleanup, ME II … etc, etc. But remember the Aussies got it right a year before everybody else. See here also:
eWeek – I missed this posting from January of this year.
eWeek – XP to live beyond June 30, 2008 in Atom based $300 subnotebooks
PCMags Dvorak – calls it the Vista Death Watch
Popular Mechanics – Macs run Vista better than PCs


There is accumulating evidence that the IT analysts see the Microsoft (and Apple, IBM, Oracle, SAP and you name your large IT vendor) of creating moats around their operating stacks as increasingly fruitless. Customers eventually move toward better and more accomodating solutions. Those moats may be monopoly market share as in the case of Microsofts desktop hegemony or maybe proprietary+ monopoly as in IBMs mainframe base or it may be proprietary + brand loyalty as in Apples iPod/iTunes/iPhone/iYigh-whats-next; but the whole idea is to construct a moat around your products such that your company can control demand for them. This by definition means less interoperable, more closed change and innovation, plus less open to all stakeholders of the product or service. It is instructive that most Open Source projects are the direct opposite of these

This moat formula does not rule out high innovation or customer facing services from proprietary stack vendors. However the moat/monopoly , proprietary and closed stack strategy just puts these customer desirable processes often way down on the LIFO stack of new development and enrichment. It is this idea that seems to be gaining traction in explaining how Microsoft could nearly ruin its Windows brand with Vista, which some at Gartner are calling “junk”. Likewise there is the Wired assessment of Apples “winning” strategy.

This then raises the question of what IT shops and organizations can do to extricate themselves from the Open Source obviously provides a lever. Perhaps organization-wide use of critical Open Source software like Java?Eclips/NetBeans for app development, Firefox for browsing, or MySQL for database warehousing could provide an organization with a “bona fides” demo of its independence when negotiating Service Level Agreements, Software Assurance or

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Meanwhile the rumor mill on when Windows 7 continues to churn unabated, here are some recent posting:
Computerworld – a lot of heavy hitter chatter here.
Information Week – Next year appears to be in the cards
Information Week – No not next year
TheRegister – the plucky British have the last word

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Here is a priceless take on why Vista is going wrong – its those damn 3rd party Developers, Developers, Developers.

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Finally here goes top marks and a reprint verbatim of the Australian PC Site that stuck its neck out and defined the case against Vista clearly right in the midst of the Vista launch, January 17, 2007 while everyone else was either fawning or demurring:

1. You dont actually need it — No, think about this. Vista doesnt do anything you cant already do with XP. About the only significant shift requiring Vista is DirextX10, but as no titles support it yet and, according to John Carmack (the godfather of modern gaming) theres no need to yet either.

2. Cost $$ — Its so blindingly obvious, most people will be blinded to it. You already have XP, and alternatives like Linux are free. If you really want to throw money away, go give it to a local charity.

3. On that note, its outrageously overpriced — at least in Australia. As revealed in the current APC, even after taking into account the profit margin Microsoft Australia previously applied to XP (as well as exchange rates, as you would expect), Australians are paying hundreds of dollars more for their copies than in the US. In fact, its cheaper for Australians to buy Vista direct by mail order from the States. If you think Microsoft Australia is reaming us, vote with your wallet.

4. Upgrading hardware — XP was demanding at release, but Vista more so. If you have an older machine that struggles with XP at the best of times, Vista is out of your ballpark unless you spend even more money to upgrade. If this is you, see point 1.

5. Driver support — Key hardware like video and sound is crippled at the moment — while Nvidia is working furiously to get a stable driver for the 8800 out by the 30th, theres still no SLI support for any of the Nvidia range. And thanks to the removal of hardware accelerated 3D sound in Vista, Creatives popular DirectSound based EAX no longer works at all, muting this feature for just about all gaming titles on the market today. Creative is in the process of coding a layer for its drivers to translate EAX calls to the OpenAL API which is seperate from Vista, but going by past experience with Creative drivers we wont see these any time soon.

6. Applications that dont work — theres been plenty of coverage about applications that wont work without a vendor update. These include anti-virus, backup and security software such as those from Symantec, Sophos and ilk; CD and DVD burning tools like the suite from Nero need updated versions to work; and even basic disk management and partitioning tools such as Paragons Hard Disk Manager are awaiting an update for Vista to be compatible. How many more will fail as Vista enters mainstream? Even Firefox has issues with Vista.

7. Its a big fat target — with a new and untested in the global wild architecture, virus and malware authors are going to work overtime exploiting the holes Microsoft missed. In fact its already happening. Loath though I am to use the word security and Windows in the same sentence, Windows XP has at least been patched to the hilt and can be used with a plethora of reasonably effective security tools that work now, without waiting for an update down the track.

8. UAC — Oh yes, the Microsoft solution for an operating system where mutli-user was an afterthought. Sure, you can disable it, but the OS then makes it clear then that the onus is on the user for any damaging programs that got to run with permissions, rather than with Windows in the first place. If you do have it on, it is going to annoy the hell out of you. It pops up far too frequently, and even on a fast PC, the UAC screen takes too long to come up and disappear.

9. DRM — And to a lesser degree TPM — were made for the RIAAs and MPAAs of this world, and the even tighter integration of copy protection mechanisms and Windows Rights Management into vista are nothing more than a liability to you, the user. This ComputerWorld piece says is succinctly: its hard to sing the praises of technology designed to make life harder for its users. As for TPM, this short animated video shows just how far the rabbit hole goes. And to think you pay for the privilege of having the use of media you purchased and own dictated by third parties, even on your own system.

10. The draconian license — somehow, Microsoft has forgotten that it built its business from products that empowered its customers, not hampered them. Of course, we forget that Microsofts customers arent you and I, afterall (see point 9). Aside from the backward thinking that is licensing, and not actually owning, your software new terms with Vista include being able to transfer the license only once; half the limit compared to XP for Home Basic and Premium on how many machines can connect to yours for sharing, printing and accessing the Internet; limits on the number of devices that can use Vistas Media Center features; activation and validation governing your ability to upgrade hardware and use Windows itself; and outlawing the use of Home Basic and Premium with virtualisation software, and Ultimate only if DRM enabled content and applications arent used. But then again, who reads these anyway?

Congratulations to the Guys Downunder for getting it substantially right and having the guts to say so.