SubliminalVortex writes "It has taken many years for Microsoft to become a very prominent player in the software industry for home users; their most powerful ally in the early days was their operating system and the cooperation of the hardware vendors.
Windows Vista; however, seems to be a difficult sell to some home users, since they have purchased computers containing (or have existing) hardware (in some cases specialized hardware). Most cases I've seen directly involved the hardware not being supported by the operating system. A co-worker recently paid over $5k for a workstation from Dell with Vista whose operating system didn't support his pre-installed optical drives. It was eventually corrected by having new drives with Vista dirvers installed on his machine.
I've recently put together a new AMD 4600+ machine with some nice hardware and I've been afraid to install Vista; especially since one of my pieces of hardware doesn't have a Vista driver. (I need my digitizing pad for drawing and photo editing.)
Perhaps the smaller niche market hardware vendors went through a lot of pain to support XP. It really is annoying when an OS vendor changes the 'driver' model and you have a small niche shop creating hardware that has to 'keep up' or be left behind. Perhaps some of that niche market really does have a need to keep the old machines behind; alternatively people are just comfortable where they're at.
I think Windows NT 3.5 and 4.0 were revolutionary; Windows 2000 was a great advancement beyond that. With Windows XP, they managed to get everything wrapped up in one "neat little package" that was easy to install, use and was stable.
If an end-user has a business that depends on third party hardware, and that hardware doesn't update their drivers because the operating system changes their model, then why would that end-user upgrade? Perhaps these vendors could be coerced to upgrade their drivers, but for small shop hardware vendors, what to do? Especially if these small shops aren't around anymore.
Without a good consensus of what hardware is still in use and on what operating system won't be able to answer that question. I wonder how many people opted to go for Windows Vista and were disappointed; especially those who bought hardware system or upgraded only the RAM and hard-drive space, only to find out their favorite hardware (specialized or not) didn't have a Vista driver. A lot of good a computer is to a person who uses it for photo editing if their tablet doesn't have a Vista driver, but it works wonders in Windows XP.
Why should an Operating System vendor require a hardware vendor to re-design their drivers for their new OS? Is it because the original design is insecure or is it because it is of their "ease of use" internally.
It's understood that things need to change over time; but if you're going to pull the rug out from under peoples' feet, let them know ahead of time. Even the small potatoes; I suppose they grew so big, they didn't even remember the potatoes had eyes.
I think that Vista might be a bullet MS has to swallow. Perhaps my opinion, but I think that Windows 95 had a heck of a lot more user support for it's launch (and the 12:00am opening night for retail outlets).
I had to use a Windows Vista machine once and its UI was so "foreign" it took me a lot of clicking to find out how to change the resolution settings. (I'll admit, I'm a developer, so I'm used to 'control panel'.) Not to mention that even launching control panel applets required the OS to ask you whether or not you wanted them to run. You know, with code signing and all of the other cruft thrown in, this was the most *useless* thing I could think could ever happen. How does an OS allow a 'trusted' control panel applet to be installed and then ask for your permission to run it? Let me guess, the applet was from a 3rd party video card manufacturer and they didn't know all the rules necessary to create a driver that would be entirely 'trusted'. This is just rediculous.
Since Windows 95, I've known several people who have "turned off" the eye-candy windows had to provide and just used the OS to do what it did best; run applications. I know that since I've been used to Windows 95, I've kept the same UI settings (once I determined them) to keep my Windows XP looking and acting just like Windows 95.
I tend to think that some people may not need a version of windows that offers 'eye candy' along with its purported security. I suppose by ensuring that all hardware vendors develop new drivers for their new OS ensures that security; however, there is no guarantee they are all in business. I tend to think that Vista will not necessarily fail, but certaily will be crippled in the hardware arena. After all, do hardware vendors really need to spend the time and effort re-writing drivers that already work well on a thriving OS?
...and what's wrong with *fixing* the thriving OS instead of abandoning it?
With other players on the market like Red Hat and Ubuntu, I think they can make a serious dent in the Server and End-user markets, respectively, as long as they don't make the same mistakes; however, they do have to play "driver" catch-up; but, that's no stranger to Windows Vista either.
I tend to think that Microsoft (well, they don't have all their eggs in one basket, good for them) in the computer arena, is on the decline. Others are starting to eat their lunch."