So How Bas is This Vista Thread, Really?
Let me point out a few things that might help clarify which information in this thread is useful, and which is not so useful.Saying that any operating system (XP, Vista, Linux, Windows 98, etc) "Works right out of the box" is not anywhere near the same thing as saying that "It's a good operating system."
Being able to get online with wireless networking and fetch email, browse the web, rip a CD, watch a DVD, install and use an application, etc. only means that the OS in question is fulfilling the absolute minimum requirement of being usable
In most cases, what it really means is that the computer arrived with the OS and OEM drivers properly installed and configured from the manufacturer.
(Dell, HP, Sony, Etc.) OEM installations will already have all the proper drivers installed and configured, and does not necessarily represent an "off the shelf" install of the OS. In fact, it almost never represents this.If you consider the thousands of variations
in hardware brands, models, hardware revisions, BIOS versions, device firmware versions, chip set versions, configurations, driver versions, and the combinations of all of the above, you'll quickly see the near uselessness of a statement such as, "It works on my computer, so it's obviously a good operating system."
If you were to format the hard drive and reinstall the OS from an off-the-shelf box, you would, in nearly every case, not get the same functionality as you did with the OEM install. Further, you would still most likely not get the same level of overall compatibility, performance, and stability even after locating and downloading the latest drivers for all of your hardware unless you were to download every one of them from the OEM website
. This is because most of those drivers have been very carefully tweaked, tested, and massaged to work as near perfectly as possible with your exact model and configuration. In other words, they've been hand picked and fine tuned for your exact system by the people who built it.
Unfortunately, this also means that your system is most likely bogged down with a ton of "crapware
In the end, the best way to get the most out of any OS is to format the drive and reinstall it, and then install the OEM drivers that you need. Short of learning more about the inner workings of the OS and doing further tweaking on your own, this scenario will give you a machine that has the best performance and is as stable and usable as possible... for that OS.It has absolutely no bearing on whether or not it's a good OS!A note on Linux:
When speaking about Linux it's rather pointless, and quite misleading, if you don't specify which distribution, and which version of the distro you are using.
There are many different versions of Linux and most of them are not in the least bit intended for use on a laptop or even as a Windows replacement OS.
A few, however, are, and they do quite a good job of it. For instance, I use Linux Mint
, a variation of the popular Ubuntu
distro, and lo and behold, it works "out of the box" on my Sony SZ laptop, my Dell XPS2 laptop, and both of my desktop machines at work. It even works perfectly installed on a virtual machine via VMWare
Wireless works, the video drivers work, ACPI
functions work at least as well as they do on most Windows installs (ACPI has always been sketchy, even in Windows, hibernation being the least stable of the features), sound works, etc.
Does this mean that I can say, based on only the above two paragraphs, that Linux Mint is a good OS? NO. It only means that it's a stable and usable OS on my machines. Saying anything more than that is leaving the realm of fact and becoming nothing more than assumption and attempted persuasion.
Do I think that Mint is a good option based on a deeper technical understanding of the OS? An understanding of the inner workings of the OS as opposed to the fact that it boots up and lets me get online via wireless and it looks pretty while doing it? Absolutely. (BTW, a good Linux install with one of the advanced UI packages
installed makes Vista's eye candy look like a joke.)
In summary, saying that you tried Linux without saying which version of which distribution is like saying, "I tried a foreign car and it didn't work for me, so foreign cars should obviously be avoided."
Furthermore, saying that any OS
didn't work perfectly on your specific brand, model, and configuration of hardware so therefore it's not a worthwhile OS for other people to try is like saying that because you and your ex significant other had some incompatibilities, every one else in the world will have the same issues with them. (And with you, for that matter!)Back on topic: How Bad is Vista?
I don't evangelize Linux, or any other OS. My only interest in this topic is seeing people get the most out of the money they are spending on these computers.
I also have an interest in giving people the opportunity to actually learn more about Vista than what MS wants you to know about it. They want you to see that it works "out of the box" from your OEM, and that it's pretty. What they don't want you to know is some really dark stuff. The article
that I've referenced specifically looks at the effects of the implementation of Digital Rights Management (DRM) in Vista, and most of it is quite shocking. A lot of it will have a negative impact on everyone, irrespective of whether DRM itself is an issue for you. Issues include:
If you bother to look at any one of those links, and really read the content, you'll find right away that the bells and whistles of the Vista UI serve primarily to distract the masses from the fact that the underlying OS stabs the entire computer industry square in the back, and that the effects of that assault will be passed directly to us, the consumers.
In the end, if all you really need to know is, "Will Vista work on my computer, and behave in a way that meets my needs?" then the answer is going to be "yes" in most cases. If you want to know if Vista is the best OS for you, then you will need to educate yourself if you truly hope to find the answer. The first step in gaining that knowledge is to realize that popular opinion, especially when expressed as narrowly as, "It works for me, therefor it's fact." is ignorant at best, even when stated with the best intentions.
What is my opinion on the currently available operating systems? XP is the most stable, matured, best supported option for the PC going. It will be maintained and supported by MS until (through?) 2011. If you're a gamer and no one ever manages to find a way to port DX10 to XP, then you will have to use Vista... but only for DX10 games.
There is going to be a lot of industry fallout over Vista before 2011 comes around, and we may be looking at a whole new field of options by then. In the mean time, Vista is a curiosity but not, IMO, the best solution. Service packs and patches may improve Vista's performance and stability, but they won't change the core issues at hand.Finally, and most importantly:Get the facts. When you have the facts, you don't need an option.
-Doc (Worked at MS for nearly a decade.)