Monday, July 07, 2008

Rethinking Windows Vista

I run XP SP3 on my home-built computer. I initially tried to run Ubuntu on it. Worked like a charm. But the instructions for getting Oblivion to run in Ubuntu were kind of a bear. I love Ubuntu, but the only way to gaurantee I could run my favorite games on this system was to go back to Mother Microsoft. Oh well.

A good friend of mine often joins me in lampooning Windows Vista whenever we chat on the phone. We've thrown around the phrase that Vista is the new "Windows ME" a few times. Unfortunately, XP is now available only through eBay, buying an "ultra low-cost PC" (like the Eee), or as a free downgrade included with expensive Vista Ultimate or Business models from major PC manufacturers.

I decided to see what the devil's advocates of the "Vista Sucks" campaign had to say. I found Ed Bott. I like Ed Bott. And Ed Bott likes Vista. Reading his articles gave me a lot to think about when it comes to comparing Vista to XP. Here are some points that I learned by reading his articles:

  • Slow enterprise adoption of any new Windows OS is expected and typical. You've probably heard this argument before. I suspected that it was only so much market-speak defensive spluttering. This article persuaded me otherwise.
  • Vista SP1 performs as fast as XP SP3 in games. See Ed's explanation and some spot on editorial criticism of bad journalism here.
  • Many "Vista Sucks" complaints can be attributed to bloatware loaded by PC manufacturers; a clean install (like I would do for any Windows OS) is a must.
There were several other tidbits in there that made me feel substantially better about one day owning a Vista PC. I like the fact that Ed Bott is often as critical as he is praising of Microsoft. Sometimes I think he's a little too pleased about Windows DRM. And I didn't like his criticism of the "ugly" "Windows Classic" visual style, which I use on every Windows computer I can (I'm sorry, I just have a thing for gray buttons).

Essentially, what my revised opinion comes down to is this: Since Vista no longer offends my gamer's sensibilities, and it can be pared down to near-XP resource usage, I'll use it when I need it. But it will take more than respect to get me to pay $200 for an operating system, no matter what it is.

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