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158 Pages of Microsoft's Dirty Laundry 296

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the isn't-that-a-song dept.
KrispyRasher writes "Even internally, Microsoft couldn't agree on what the base requirements to run Vista were, but that didn't stop it from inaccurately promoting the OS as running on some hardware. 158 pages of Microsoft internal emails reveal scandalous truths about the squabbles that took place in the lead up to Vista's launch."
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158 Pages of Microsoft's Dirty Laundry

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  • by Idaho (12907) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @10:06AM (#22609558)
    Microsoft execs on Vista problems [nwsource.com] is an excellent summary of the affair so far.

    This class action suit isn't looking too good for Microsoft, I would say (though I'm not a lawyer, fortunately)
    • by da5idnetlimit.com (410908) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @11:07AM (#22609800) Journal
      We already don't Read The "Fine" Articles...
      You really expect us to read 158 pages of emails ?

      You must be new here !

      8p
    • by IdleTime (561841)
      Well, I would say you were really uninformed if you bought a low-end PC to run full Vista on. Everyone knew it would require a badass PC to run on. And MS, let me tell you this: Vista will never get close to any of my machines, not even new ones I will buy in the future. For all practical purposes, for me Vista is not existing and I sure as hell will not fork over any money to MS for this piece of shit!
      • by gormanly (134067) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @03:22PM (#22611020)

        Yes. The people who believed the sticker were really uninformed, that's why the lawsuit could succeed. They looked at the info provided by MS and thought they were informed, that their new PC they were buying would be able to run Vista when it was released

        Many people - including Mike Nash, Microsoft's Corporate Vice President, Windows Product Management - thought that were well informed in advance of purchase by the sticker on their machine that said "Vista Capable", then they tried to run Vista and it sucked. They trusted Microsoft to set reasonable minimum requirements and got screwed.

        Of course, Microsoft's minima have always been over-optimistic at best, and all techies know that just because they tell you XP Pro requires a 233MHz Pentium MMX and 64MB of RAM, or Server 2003 Enterprise Edition requires a 133MHz CPU and 128MB of RAM, it doesn't make it a good idea to try it. Joe Average shouldn't need to consult his resident geek about whether the sticker is lying

        Someone senior at MS should take the rap for this. If you're going to sign off on a set of minimum requirements for any software why would you not make sure to spend at least a week using it on a box with that spec? If it runs like a dog, bump upwards. No excuses, Mr Allchin...

  • A VP in Microsoft buys a Sony laptop with 915 graphics and a Brother multifunction printer? I've suggested elsewhere on these pages that Microsoft management may not always be of the same high quality as their scientific and engineering staff, but two such misjudgements from one exec is worrying. Especially as one assumes that the guy didn't do it for lack of cash.
    • by gbjbaanb (229885) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @11:51AM (#22609980)
      And why wouldn't he? The laptop carried the "Vista Capable" sticker, so you'd think it was capable of running Vista, and every piece of hardware comes with drivers for Windows, that's just a given.

      Of course, with what we know now, he should have asked around first "Hey guys, does Vista Capable mean it can run Vista? Can I get drivers for a popular piece of commodity hardware?".

      I'm sure he believed the hype from MS on this worryingly dodgy OS.

      (disclaimer: I have a MSDN copy of Vista Ultimate, and even I'm thinking of going back to XP.)
      • by Gazzonyx (982402)
        Just wondering, can you give a rundown of what bothers you about Vista? Whenever I read reviews, they're always for a gimped version and I try to give Microsoft the benefit of the doubt... but you're the second person I've heard of that has Ultimate and going back to XP. The other guy who told me this said it was because he could never find the underlying 'knobs' if he wanted to do anything non-trivial.

        Personally, I'll probably never run Vista (and I'm running XP, BSD, OSX, Linux, and Solaris on occasi

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by budgenator (254554)
          I got a new HP desktop as a gift, 3 GB ram, AMD dual core 6000 and "powered by nvidia" runs Vista fine and ran Vista exclusivly for two weeks then started dual-booting arch linux. Vista didn't have any noticeable performance or stability problems, I think Linux does run faster but not hugely so it could be I'm more comfortable in Linux. Some friends of mine have HP laptops with Vista, loaded up a bunch of games from Best Buy and the machines are sluggish feeling and very unstable. All told I wouldn't recom
          • I ran Vista for about two months on my desktop, didn't have any particular issues other than couldn't run the free versions of VMWare on Vista x64 (my 4GB of ram showed as 2.4GB on x32)... After disabling defender, and UAC it wasn't bad... I liked the sidebar better than Yahoo Widgets(Konfabulator) or Google Desktop myself... and the UI changes actually make more sense in Vista than previous versions of windows, but being "used to" the old way made it cumbersome. However with UAC on, it's a real pain...
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Billly Gates (198444)
          It is very slow and I/o intensive and offers little benefit over Vista.

          I have a dual core laptop and one program can make Vista feel very unresponsive even if there are two processors. When I downgraded to XP the system still felt responsive and the otehr CPU took things over quite well.

          Also on a notebook Vista will just pound on the hard disk randomly for hours at a time for no reason. Running MS resource manager I found out it was running disk defragmenting and registry backup programs very slowly in the
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by gbjbaanb (229885)
          OK. I am a Windows developer, and have been for ages - Windows suddenly became good with NT4 when everyone I knew and worked for decided to migrate from proprietary unix systems to NT.

          I've run every Windows OS since then really.

          So, I installed Vista a few months after it became available. It looks nice, I have aero and the sidebar going with a couple of gadgets and I've even grown used to the 'search instead of start menu'.

          Things I havn't got used to: the changed Control Panel, it *still* confuses me that '
    • Interesting that this got modded off topic. I wonder why? Are the shills out? I consider it to be extremely relevant that a senior Microsoft exec did not seem to know the significance of a low end embedded graphics system on a laptop, or of likely driver support from a second tier printer manufacturer. Given that this is about how Microsoft underestimated the Vista compatibility issues, such ignorance suggests that at least one Microsoft exec did not have good technical knowledge of the environment in which
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Tassach (137772)
        You (and many others) are assuming that "microsoft exec" means someone involved with the engineering side of the business. Any large (or even medium sized company) software company has lots of positions that are completely non-technical: HR, legal, facilities. Furthermore, software development is only one of many lines of business Microsoft is in. Would you expect someone who manages graphic artists to know (or even care about) the inner workings of an operating system?
    • by BKX (5066)
      While the 915 is horrendous, the Brother multifunctions are actually pretty decent, as long as you go laser. They have workable Linux compatibility (not as good as HP but better than Canon's non-support), and both the printer and toner is significantly cheaper than everyone else.
      • Intel 910 works mighty fine on Compiz-Fusion with almost all eye candies enabled.

        If Aero cannot work well on Intel 910, it's probably because Aero is an incompetent pile of junk compared to Compiz.

        • by ashridah (72567) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @03:47PM (#22611146)
          Actually, you'll find it's because Aero demands decent pixel shader support to do the blur effect underneath the titlebar (aka, glass). That's the difference between compiz and aero, basically. Aero uses a bunch of pixel shaders, and thus, limits itself as to what cards can do everything. Compiz uses basic transforms (in most cases) instead, and runs on more hardware as a result. (Note, hardware accelerated alpha blending isn't texture-mapped blurring. The latter's a bit more complex)

          Which looks better is a matter of subjective opinion. Glass looks nice to me, but then, I only ever have high-end video cards. Some of the compiz effects are nice as well, although quite a few just bring a system to it's knees just as easily as Aero will, and some compiz effects seem fairly pointless. A lot of it is asthetics, although compiz does have some handy ones as well as just visually appealing ones.

          ash
  • by kurt555gs (309278) <kurt555gs@nOSPAm.ovi.com> on Saturday March 01, 2008 @10:13AM (#22609580) Homepage
    Of course the truth was stretched by M$. I like the part where they favor their buddies at Intel and say Vista runs well on low end chips, just to help an investor report.

    The larger problem is even if you have the next thing to a super computer, Vista is still Vista. Doing mysterious DRM checks while copying files at a rate that would embarrass a TRS-80 Model 1, and all of the other issues of driver incomparability.

    Vista is still prone to viruses and Trojans in no small part because M$ still lets it run as root and not need physical password entry to install or run a program.

    Before any of the M$ fanbois out here start modding this down, go download the latest Ubuntu, install it on your "Vista Capable Machine" , try using it for a while, then honestly look and see if it isn't superior for desktop use than Vista.

    I think you will be surprised.

    Or, for those that think you have to pay for software in order for it to work, go over to an Apple store and try OS X.

    After doing either of those 2 things, then see if you can come up with some reason, other than monopolistic domination and pre-installation as a reason that anyone would want Vista.

    I am glad to say that Vista really is the new Edsel.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Lingerance (1117761)
      > Vista is still prone to viruses and Trojans in no small part because M$ still lets it run as root and not need physical password entry to install or run a program. I believe I'm missing something here. UAC will ask you for your password (if set correctly, otherwise it just asks for a confirm/sanity check). Those who are familiar with server will have no problems finding out how to get Vista to behave more like gksudo.
      • by EvilRyry (1025309) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @10:30AM (#22609660) Journal
        Even the cancel/allow is perfectly fine for most cases. If you are in the admin group it will ask you for the cancel allow which supposedly runs isolated from other apps so that they can't push the allow button for you. If you're not in the admin group, then it prompts you for admin credentials. Its really not that bad of a system except theres no "yes, and leave me alone for the next few minutes while I actually try to get some stuff done with out this freaking thing harassing me every time I try to change a system setting" option.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by zakezuke (229119)
          "Even the cancel/allow is perfectly fine for most cases"

          And somehow Sunbelt Kerio Personal (formally Tiny Firewall) were somehow able to implement similar features, yet Microsoft couldn't get it right.

          Come to think about it, Microsoft has always had a blind spot for some simple concepts. Yes, No, No to all, Yes to all. Which ever option I needed they always neglected to put in the menu.
          • by ehrichweiss (706417) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @12:49PM (#22610264)
            "Come to think about it, Microsoft has always had a blind spot for some simple concepts. Yes, No, No to all, Yes to all. Which ever option I needed they always neglected to put in the menu."

            Abort, Retry, Cancel, Fail?
            A
            Abort, Retry, Cancel, Fail?
            R
            Abort, Retry, Cancel, Fail?
            C
            Abort, Retry, Cancel, Fail?
            F
            Abort, Retry, Cancel, Fail?
            grrr
            Abort, Retry, Cancel, Fail?
            <ctrl-alt-delete> NO CARRIER
          • by p0tat03 (985078)

            Yes, No, No to all, Yes to all. Which ever option I needed they always neglected to put in the menu.

            Actually IMHO those are precisely the options you *NEVER* need in a menu. "Yes" to what? "No" to what? IMHO Yes/No dialogs should be banned from existence. Users do not bother to read the bulk of the dialog boxes that are presented to them - sometimes for good reason, some of those things read like essays. Look at other OSes - close down an app without saving, you get a dialog with "Save", "Don't Save", and "Cancel". Even without reading the dialog you know exactly what each button does.

            Whereas in Windo

      • For legacy installers it will prompt if the installer is called Setup.exe or similar. If it's called anything else then it won't prompt.

        The UAC prompts are so annoying that most people will deactivate them.
    • by Britz (170620) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @12:07PM (#22610060) Homepage
      This is Slashdot. You get modded up for mocking Microsoft and BSD and modded down for mocking Linux.

      You will get flamed AND modded into oblivion if you as much as critisize Apple. And I really don't want to find out what would happen to you if would start mocking Apple. I never EVER heard from those guys again.
      • by node 3 (115640)
        'Elp, 'elp!, I'm being oppressed!
      • by retro128 (318602)
        I criticized Apple once. I got modded down and someone put themselves on my "Freaks" tab. However, this is Slashdot and I think it's safe to assume that everyone hates my opinion anyway. As for the real world, I feel that overall I don't have too much to worry about Apple users physically. It's like the playground back in elementary school. If you want to get away from some girl who's chasing you, you run to the boys' bathroom. Well if you want to get away from Apple users, you run to the datacenter.
      • by tgv (254536)
        Not completely true. I once got modded up and down over and over again (really from +1 to +5 to -1 to +4 to 0 to ... etc.) for critizing Linux' inability to appeal to Joe Average (installation, UI, software with all the features you don't want but none of the features you happen to know, that kind of thing). The result was that I couldn't post to Slashdot for a couple of weeks!

        Can you image? I couldn't ... Well, wait. Perhaps it wasn't that terrible. Anyway, not only critizing Apple will get you modded into
    • by JimMarch(equalccw) (710249) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @12:28PM (#22610162)
      It's even funnier than stated.

      A year ago a friend and I bought near-identical low-end laptops: Celeron single-core 1.6 CPUs, Intel 945 graphics, etc - one Acer (mine) and one Toshiba. These were $400 Best-Buy-sale-o-the-week critters. Both shipped originally with Vista Home Basic. We set them up with 1gig memory each (533) - they had shipped with 512 and Vista was utterly unusable.

      At 1gig we tested both with MS-Office 2003. He still had Vista. I had Ubuntu Feisty 7.04, Innotek Virtualbox 1.52 I believe it was, and Windows XP running as a virtual machine with 512megs of it's own RAM leaving 512 for Ubuntu.

      The Ubuntu/XP mutant combo spanked the Vista box - severely - in everything but boot time as my rig had to boot two OSes in succession.

      At that time getting Office '03 to work in Wine was a no-go. It's at least possible now I've heard, and that might be even faster. But regardless, Vista with one gig should have been able to keep up with virtualized XP running in 512...it wasn't even close.

      Need I mention that I rapidly converted my bud to Ubuntu/XP?
    • by dioscaido (541037)
      Vista is still prone to viruses and Trojans in no small part because M$ still lets it run as root and not need physical password entry to install or run a program.

      Actually no, even if you are in the administrator group, all your processes are running without administrator privileges. That's the whole point of UAC. The little 'confirm/deny' dialog is essentially the kernel asking whether the particular process that's about to run can be launched with Administrator privileges enabled. IE takes this mechanism
    • by ribond (149811)

      and say Vista runs well on low end chips, just to help an investor report

      I didn't see this while reading through the email. I see that Microsoft shot itself in the foot & diluted it's "vista capable" branding by losing the Aero support requirement. I do not disagree that with the stance that this was stupid.

      because M$ still lets it run as root and not need physical password entry to install or run a program

      They really get it from both sides here. UAC (the security-ish action-confirmation popu

    • Before any of the M$ fanbois out here start modding this down, go download the latest Ubuntu, install it on your "Vista Capable Machine" , try using it for a while, then honestly look and see if it isn't superior for desktop use than Vista.

      Take that a step further, you can use a Linux Distro to run Cedega to
      run World of Warcraft faster than it will run under windows.

      The fact that a major world wide game runs faster under linux than under windows
      is absolutely friggin hilarious, and pathetic all at the same t
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Kelz (611260)
      I took your advice (a few days ago actually) and tried installing Ubuntu. LiveCD didn't work. Alternate CD installed it but X wouldn't work. Recompiling X wouldn't work. Looked at forums and after 3 hours of trying to figure out what was wrong it appears that my hardware may be too new for Ubuntu.

      Ubuntu loads now, but I can't actually log in because it boots me out a second later. I'm no expert, and I've no idea how to fix, and forums are useless. I wanted it to work; I wanted to think it might be ready
  • by G4from128k (686170) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @10:14AM (#22609588)
    Although I'm not a MSFT fanboi, I can see how defining compatibility is not easy. Although a given OS certainly will not run on ancient hardware or hardware lacking key features, the required MB of RAM, GB of disk, and GHz of CPU are all subjective requirements once the hardware is above some minimum spec. I know that I've run OSes on hardware that were below the recommended spec and found them quite usable (for my purposes). Add the fact that the company must set the required hardware spec before finishing the OS and its no wonder that MSFT picked a spec that some find unbearable.

    I'm not surprised by the internal squabbles or that the company would pick a spec that's lower than what some engineers argued for.
    • by nguy (1207026)
      I can see how defining compatibility is not easy.

      Well, fortunately, there are experts for that sort of thing. They aren't in management, though, and Microsoft management seems too stupid to listen to them.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 01, 2008 @10:18AM (#22609600)
    ...is the discussion over the miserable driver situation. They eventually conclude that IHVs didn't expect them to ever ship Vista, and that the IHVs also didn't trust Microsoft enough to work hard at getting their drivers working on the Vista betas because they expected subsequent changes to Vista that would break the drivers and negate all the effort.

    These guys honestly seem perplexed that the IHVs don't trust Microsoft. I find that utterly hilarious.
    • by goombah99 (560566) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @11:35AM (#22609910)
      My favorite part [informationweek.com] of the e-mails was where they show how they massively screwed HP and ignored Walmart. I suspect they will wind up paying for this one way or another in vendor credibility.

      This retreat took at least one OEM, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HP), by complete surprise, as this late-January 2006 e-mail showed:

      In our August 7x7 with HP you both [Jim Allchin, Co-President Platforms & Services at the time, and Senior VP Will Poole] committed to HP that we would not move off the WDDM requirement and HP made significant product road map changes to support graphics for the full Vista experience. Ramano [John Romano, Senior VP of HP's Consumer PC Group] specifically told Jim that HP will invest in graphics if MS would give him 100% assurance that we would not budge for Intel. This goes beyond desktop for HP as their mobile guys moved off 915 early for the same reasons.
      it doesn't just work

      The problem with the "Capable" program is that the customer who buys a "Capable" machine and Vista retail does not know that "Vista Capable" != everything just works. The bar for getting such a sticker was/is too low or the marketing around the sticker was/is not specific enough as to what it actually means; Vista installs, runs but there is no actual submissions of systems going through any sort of "Vista Capable" experience validation (as opposed to what happens in the actual DFW [Designed for Windows] Logo program).
      Microsoft's current predicament might be best summarized by this e-mail describing a February 2006 meeting:

      Wal-Mart was very vocal today regarding the Windows Vista Capable messaging. They are extremely disappointed in the fact that standards were lowered and feel like customer confusion will ensue. ... They also went so far as to say they wish Windows Home Basic was not even in the SKU lineup. ... Please give this some consideration; it would be a lot less costly to do the right thing for the customer now than to spend dollars on the back end trying to fix the problem.
      • by Stiletto (12066)
        it would be a lot less costly to do the right thing for the customer now than to spend dollars on the back end trying to fix the problem.

        Hahahahahha. That's one of the funniest things I've read all week. Many of us have worked in the software biz. How many times have we seen this wrong decision made over and over and over and over again?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by El_Oscuro (1022477)

          An old saying from the Army, which definitely applies to software development:

          "There is never enough time to do it right, but always time to do it again."

    • by ribond (149811)
      note that the other part of the driver problem came from enforcing higher standards for inbox drivers. IHVs had to provide source code (new for vista), pass the same set of internal tests that exist for MS-produced drivers and agree to the 7-year support lifecycle for the inbox driver.



      you could see a large chunk of the IHV market being less than enthusiastic about supporting today's work 7 years from now.

  • by edwardpickman (965122) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @10:21AM (#22609612)
    on an 8 core 6.5 with 12 gig of ram.
  • by pieterh (196118) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @10:22AM (#22609622) Homepage
    A lot of things are going wrong for Microsoft right now...

      - "Vista Ready" is starting to mean a huge liability
      - The EU seems determined to make Microsoft stick to the rules
      - MS's OOXML effort is running into real resistance
      - Apple keeps taking more and more of the desktop and laptop market
      - The EEE PC has finally turned Linux into a mainstream "feature"
      - Trying to buy Yahoo has made MS look really weak in Internet services
      - Its "we'll sue Linux for patent infringement" FUD is convincing no-one
      - It's being sued persistently by patent trolls in the USA

    I'm just wondering if 2008 will be the year that sees Microsoft humbled by the market and its own inability to deliver products people actually *want* to use.

    A whole lot of people are going to sing and dance in the streets if things do go badly wrong for Microsoft. They don't have a lot of friends left, unless they're willing to buy them.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Microsoft will always have office to generate refenue, for what it's worth...
      • by SpinyNorman (33776) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @11:10AM (#22609814)
        Office is certainly a cash cow, but the the document format lock-in that keeps it so is disappearing. Things like OpenOffice have pretty good interopability and Microsoft seem to be getting increasingly forced to open up their standards.

        Don't forget that Google is also sticking it to them on this front. For 95% of home users Google Docs (supports MS .doc, .ppt, .xls formats) is all you need. I guess it's karma from killing Netscape that is coming back to Microsoft.

        http://docs.google.com/ [google.com]
      • With Microsoft's OOXML dead and with a pack of FLOSS office suites evolving quite nicely (openoffice, koffice, etc...) , that revenue stream will soon dry out. It will be the very same scenario involving linux and windows.
      • by Cromac (610264)

        Microsoft will always have office to generate refenue, for what it's worth...

        Always? It will make them money for a long time but not always. Open Office is getting better all the time, it's closer to deposing MS Office than Linux is to deposing Windows on the desktop. Right now MS Office can go no where but down in marketshare. They've "won" they have as close to 100% of the business desktops as anyone can get, that means at best they can maintain their position but over time they are sure to lose more an

  • by CPE1704TKS (995414) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @10:22AM (#22609624)
    What Microsoft feared most about Google has become true now: The application stack has shifted up, and now the web browser has become the new OS. No one cares about Vista because no one needs a new OS anymore. All they care about is getting their news and email, IM'ing and watching youtube. Flash and AJAX have completely supplanted the OS.

    The only reason why you need a new OS is for new features, but frankly, no one needs them. The only reason why people use an OS these days is to interact with local files, but the vast majority of people only care about 2 types of files: MP3s and digital photos. Even Word documents are becoming marginalized now. So what's the point of a desktop search for newer kids these days, when they stick everything online now?

    Because of the lack of importance of new OS features, that's why other OSes like Mac OS are gaining steam, because Windows isn't as essential as it was 10 years ago. It's a perfect storm of good for Apple, they are becoming ever-increasingly "cooler", and the need for Windows is diminishing, so people can still get their email and watch youtube and still get the same experience. This is also why everyone is still using XP, a 7 year old OS, without any complaints. No one cares, and it scares Microsoft to death.

    They shit the bed in their attempt to make Vista relevant and they lost their one-and-only chance. I'm sure Vista will be adopted eventually, but it will probably take another 5 years because it is as popular as XP is now.
    • by Splab (574204) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @10:39AM (#22609698)
      if no one cares about Vista how come theres a class action lawsuit in progress?

      That would require at least a few caring about the Vista they bought.
      • by node 3 (115640) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @11:37AM (#22609926)
        The class action lawsuit is from people who bought a new PC (hence the "Vista Capable" claim) with Vista. What they wanted was a new PC, not Vista in particular. Vista was probably given very little consideration other than "the newest version of Windows? Sure, sounds good".

        Then they got it home and found how bad it runs. Much worse than their last, less powerful PC.

        So it's not really so much about them caring that Vista runs like crap, it's them caring that their PC that they just bought runs like crap.

        Really, Vista is the biggest "meh" in computer history.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jkrise (535370)
      I'm sure Vista will be adopted eventually, but it will probably take another 5 years because it (Vista) is as popular as XP is now.

      I would wager that XP is about 10 times as popular as Vista now... at the very least. Application (in)compatibility is the single biggest problem for corporates, while for home users... as you said, Vista brings nothing new since a browser and Flash is all that home users need. I think Vista will take much more than 5 years to get adopted... by which time its successor should
      • Sorry it was a typo, I meant to say it will probably take another 5 years before it is as popular as XP is now. In terms of popularity, I also meant "widespread" as opposed to "well liked".
    • ...the web browser has become the new OS...the vast majority of people only care about 2 types of files: MP3s and digital photos. Even Word documents are becoming marginalized now...

      Many companies for various reasons - safeguarding proprietary information, trade secrets, etc. - have no desire to store their business documents on "Google's servers." Nor do I expect that to change in the near future. And while your assertions about file formats may be true for home users, it certainly is not true for many

    • As much as I want to believe how this "cloud computing" has supplanted the local one, it's not the case. Online services are in their infancy.

      Okay, maybe email, but most of the stuff that deals with productivity is very much a client-side affair. Have you tried editing a picture in an ajax-y environment? It's a mess. The bandwidth isn't there and the browsers are retrofitted to perform functions no one really anticipated.

      Audio/Video editing, image manipulation, or tasks with large files will keep the local
      • by MikeURL (890801)
        If you listen to the vid on Windows 7 you'll see that MS has only recently thought about going back to the core kernel and starting over. Vista SHOULD have been some kind of XP enhancement instead of a new release. The new release should be something truly new (like XP was when compared to Win95). The main reason XP turned out to be better than Win 95/DOS was that the kernel was more robust.

        XP Reloaded is a good name and would have been a good idea. If it were a substantive upgrade that was reasonably p
      • by hairyfeet (841228)
        I think a lot of what is biting MSFT in the ass is their desire to stuff everyone into the same (crappy) box,instead of realizing that there is a BIG difference between the home and business user.The business client wants low resources(so they can save on hardware),ease of lockdown with group policy,and reliable.That is why I still see a LOT of companies hanging onto their Win2K machines.The few I've seen upgrading lately has been to get XP before they quit selling it. Whereas the gamers want SOME pretty,bu
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Monoliath (738369)
        There was talk of some magical OS Microsoft was going to release back in 2003, named XP Reloaded.

        Yeah, it was released, it's called Windows Server 2003. It is everything Windows XP should have been...games run great, audio / graphic production works great and seems to 'never' crash.
    • I'm sure Vista will be adopted eventually, but it will probably take another 5 years because it is as popular as XP is now.

      And by then, Windows 7 will be out. Let's face it: Vista is nothing more than the Son of Millennium Edition. Very few people adopted that steaming turd, preferring instead to wait for XP to show up a year or so later. Same thing will happen with Vista. Much as Microsoft would prefer that everybody go out and buy a new system, many people are going to wait on the sidelines because their current systems are Good Enough(tm). When they do upgrade in the next several years, they'll have lots of options: a flavo

    • I thought I would get a few years of use out of my username as XP was pretty new on the scene when I inexplicably 'lost' my old /. account and decided to create a new one - Had no idea that after all this time (6 years now?) XP would still be the OS I have to admin on a daily basis and that Windows 8 will probably come to fruition before that drastically changes.

      Me? Ive been an Apple user since 1999 - bought stock when they were 'beleaguered' and held on through all the splits ;) And my friends mostly have
    • The only reason why people use an OS these days is to interact with local files, but the vast majority of people only care about 2 types of files: MP3s and digital photos. Even Word documents are becoming marginalized now.
      You don't have a job, do you?
    • by ribond (149811)
      plenty of real attacks on MS business now, but looking at this dispassionately:

      Would you rather keep your documents on the local machine or trust google with everything? Please send your response via GMAIL so they can keep the progression of discourse clear.

      The only reason why people use an OS these days is to interact with local files,

      which is a good reason to keep using the OS... but I don't see docs & mp3s as the only thing you want to keep on your box & out of the internet's hands... taxes, fi

  • by arabagast (462679) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @10:47AM (#22609720) Homepage
    Been reading the pdf the past days, and altough it seems as if there was many sensible voices over at microsoft, they had to much of a momentum forward, making it hard to change directions midcourse. it's really a pain reading those letters knowing what vista ended up at. I'm just hoping to find a reference like "this is ME all over again" somewhere in those letters, would have been so nice to hear that from the horses mouth :)

    and btw: it's 158 pages, not 185.
    • by goombah99 (560566)

      Been reading the pdf the past days, and altough it seems as if there was many sensible voices over at microsoft, they had to much of a momentum forward, making it hard to change directions midcourse. it's really a pain reading those letters knowing what vista ended up at. I'm just hoping to find a reference like "this is ME all over again" somewhere in those letters, would have been so nice to hear that from the horses mouth :)

      When you take thoe inferrence and combine them with the slashdot article last week about how the head honcho on vista was trying to get it out the door so he could move over to Amazon in time to collect his signing bonus then it all sort of makes sense. Inadvertently Amazon did cause vista to become a speeding train and heedless of the warnings being raised internally.

  • by argent (18001) <peter.slashdot@2006@taronga@com> on Saturday March 01, 2008 @11:18AM (#22609840) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft is always in something of a no-win position when it comes to minimum system requirements. If it specifies huge hardware needs, then the opportunity to sell upgrades is reduced since most existing PCs can't handle the new version. If it sets a minimal baseline platform, then it's difficult (though arguably not impossible) to add any features that make upgrading worth the hassle and risk.

    It would have been easy to add features to make Vista worth buying: make it modular, make it simpler, make it more rather than less reliable, and make the features that reduce Windows security optional, and look at what your best competitors were doing.

    * Make the HTML control optional, rewrite the control panel applets and other shell components that need it to work without it, and change the tight binding between rendering and access control. Provide a "legacy" wrapper for it so that old programs can use the insecure API, but make THAT optional as well.

    * Make the DRM optional. Vista without DRM would still use the old XP drivers and remain compatible with XP, but wouldn't have the components to run the latest encrypted media, so give us the option... Basic Vista or Video Vista. If you don't install Windows Media Player, you get WMP 2.0 and a WMV3 codec so you can play most video, but if you want to play HD-DVD you need to take on the full thing.

    * Bundle Interix with ALL versions of Vista. They could call it "A better UNIX than Linux".

    * Remove the crippling in Terminal Server, allow multiuser use over networks. If you can't afford to upgrade all your computers to Vista you can use the old ones as terminals to your Windows Home Server.

    * Bundle Visual Studio, in the package, the way Apple bundles XCode and all free UNIXes bundle their compilers. Windows is the last hold out of the horror of the '80s... the compiler-less OS.

    These might not sell to home users, but it would sell to business, and don't forget that what got Windows into the home for a lot of people was the fact that they were using it at the office.

    But this would all be diametrically opposed to Microsoft's "we know better than you what you want, and that's *our* OS, not yours" policies. Hell, even Apple gave up on the idea of unbundling access to UNIX from Rhapsody, and if it's not too scary for APPLE users it's not too scary for Windows.
    • by spectecjr (31235)
      Bundle Visual Studio, in the package, the way Apple bundles XCode and all free UNIXes bundle their compilers. Windows is the last hold out of the horror of the '80s... the compiler-less OS.

      Nah, don't bundle it. Most people don't need it. Seriously, 99% of people have no use for a compiler on their machine.

      However, they do let you download Visual Studio Express editions for free. So if there was an - I dunno - "World of Windows" tutorial which explained where to get that, that might satisfy your requirements
  • by Monoman (8745) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @11:27AM (#22609882) Homepage
    The thread on this subject the other day had an good comment from a former MS employee. Vista works well if you do the following

    1. Turn of Aero
    2. Switch to Classic mode/view whatever it is called (makes it look like Windows 2000)
    3. Go into System properties and set to optimize for best performance.

    A friend tried it on two systems (one is a new quad-core) and is much happier now. So where does that get you? Basically, system that looks like Windows 2000, performs like XP, and has the underneath the cover features of Vista like "enhanced" security, searching, etc.

    I haven't tried Vista yet because of the lackluster performance and no compelling reasons to run it. Knowing it can be setup to run faster is nice but I still can't see anyone spending money on Vista just to turn off all of the eye candy.

    I'll stick with XP at work and Ubuntu & XP at home for now.

    • So where does that get you? Basically, system that looks like Windows 2000, performs like XP, and has the underneath the cover features of Vista like "enhanced" security, searching, etc.

      I've tried that, and there is a bit of a problem there. When you did that sort of thing in XP, it actually looked rather nice - all the graphical decorations, color choices etc were such that they fit the Windows Classic theme as well. This is not the case with Vista. All the fancy icons and widgets at the top of the window

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Gewalt (1200451)
      But all that gives you is windows 2000 with a buttload of additional DRM.

      Why would anyone want that?

    • by Monoman (8745)
      Something else I forgot to add. Vista performance seems to be tied to closely to drivers. The guy at work with the new quad-core HP says his dual-core Dell still boots faster (dunno exact specs). Another guy at work says his wife's $500 Toshiba laptop came with Vista and it performs fine for her. He didn't know specifics but said if it totally sucked his wife would make sure he knew about it. :-)

      So maybe a big part of the Vista performance problem is the drivers. Some vendors must have 1/2 baked driver
    • by jcnnghm (538570)
      I was in a similar situation as your friend, but I feel like I got considerably better results by reinstalling XP and installing Launchy [launchy.net]. The only Vista feature that I thought was worth having, after disabling Areo and putting classic mode on, was the searchable start menu. Launchy provides the same utility under XP, but performs better than the vista search.
    • by kop (122772)
      If you turn off aero then the adobe CS3 bundle will give you wierd errors in connecting to camera's and in screen updates making Flash and Premiere unusable. Adobe CS3 runs fine on lower specced machines running windows or mac os
  • Wow, Wall*Mart (Score:5, Interesting)

    by xtracto (837672) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @11:27AM (#22609886) Journal
    When even Wall*Mart tells you to do what is best for customers...

    a Microsoft employee, wrote that Wal-Mart is "extremely disappointed in the fact that the standards were lowered and feel like customer confusion will ensue. They would like to see Microsoft reconsider the program and allow for the use of 2 different logos; one that is strictly a Windows Vista Home Basic Capable, and the other Windows Vista Capable."

    She continued, "Please give this some consideration; it would be a lot less costly to do the right thing for the customer than to spend dollars on the back end trying to fix the problem."
    That snippet was really insightful. Shit, Microsoft *should* have made those two stickers (Vista Home Capable and Vista Others). When they announced that there would be 6 different versions of Vista everybody *knew* it would bring problems...
  • by nxsty (942984) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @11:54AM (#22609992)

    Microsoft's own most senior executives were completely bamboozled by the "Vista capable" labelling scheme. "I personally got burned by the Intel 915 chipset on a laptop that I PERSONALLY (e.g. with my own $$$) [bought]", said Mike Nash, Corporate Vice President, Windows Product Management, who bought a "Vista capable" laptop, only to find it couldn't run the Aero interface. "I now have a $2100 email machine," he concluded.

    As opposed to a $2100 email machine with aero?
  • by Death_Aparatus (571087) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @12:11PM (#22610076)
    Unfortunately for me, I am a gamer. Serious PC gaming is still pretty much stuck on the windows platform. They tried pushing us to Vista with DX10 and when they EoL XP, they will have succeeded. I, for one, will be taking a closer look at Wine on my Ubuntu partition. I just hope it really works as described. Does any one know of any other linux gaming solutions? I suppose I do still have an itch for nethack every once in a while.
    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
      I've recently done some work on a list of games that do not propagate vendor lock-in [inglorion.net]. I suppose that, in normal English, that means "games you can run on YOUR system, whatever that system is", although it's not quite _that_ good. The listed games are games I've played and enjoyed myself, but there are links to many games. They can all (I think) be played on Linux/x86, and many of them work on other platforms, too. I don't know if it will satisfy your wishes, but it's a start. Comments welcome.
  • "...but that didn't stop [MS] from inaccurately promoting the OS as running on some hardware"

    ...so it doesn't run on *any* hardware? Man, I always suspected something like that. Those evil, evil bastards.

  • Graphics drivers (Score:5, Informative)

    by ragnarok (6947) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @12:49PM (#22610266)
    Check out page 47 of the PDF. There's a pretty interesting table showing the percentage of crashes attributed to each graphics vendor. Nvidia is way out front, with 25% compared to less than 10% for ATI.
    • by bogie (31020)
      Good catch. Also from the list, remind me to never try and run Webroot on Vista. Too bad the document isn't language searchable.
  • by Master of Transhuman (597628) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @05:29PM (#22611678) Homepage
    Microsoft does not sell software.

    It sells lies.

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