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What's Different About Vista's GUI? 444

jcatcw writes "Paul McFedries, author of Windows Vista Unveiled, thinks that an operating system should be thought of as more than just its user interface, but then again that interface should work well for the user. He thinks the Vista interface rates 'pretty darned good.' The Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) results in positive changes for both developers and users. Developers can do 2-D, 3-D, animation, imaging, video, audio, special effects and text rendering using a single API. The use of vector graphics and offloading work to the GPU result in better animations, improved scaling, transparency, and smooth motion."
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What's Different About Vista's GUI?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 20, 2006 @06:02PM (#16522421)
    We sure as hell don't want GNOME or KDE to be innovative or anything.

    Somebody wake me up when these two projects stop playing perpetual 2nd place, and start trying out new GUI ideas.
  • by thedbp ( 443047 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @06:05PM (#16522455)
    Not to troll, and its nice that Windows users are getting these features, but how come no one ever calls MS out on the fact that Vista is basically still playing catch up to OS X, doesn't do it as well, and is probably going to be left in the dust when Leopard comes out? 339834706 []

    Here's hoping MS uses the competition to better Windows. The more secure it gets and the easier it gets to use, the better for everyone, even those of us who don't use Windows.
  • by From A Far Away Land ( 930780 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @06:06PM (#16522465) Homepage Journal
    "an operating system should be thought of as more than just its user interface, but then again that interface should work well for the user."

    Vista can apparently be represented in a significant way by either Mac OS X, or XP with modifications. It's mostly a vehicle for DRM, including PVP, which will require you to buy a PVP compliant digital monitor. Vista's enhancements won't even work on many powerful systems you are buying these days - if they have "Vista Capable" stickers. In an age where we should be looking for energy savings, what's the benefit of making a system more complicated than XP, and requires more horsepower than a rather darn good OS Microsoft released in 2000?
  • So what? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by toejam316 ( 1000986 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @06:09PM (#16522515)
    When HAVN'T Microsoft tried prettying up their GUI's to make people go "Oooh, purdy windows! get windows!". Lets face it, it works. really all thats happening is that they're just cranking up the "lets make it purdyer!" factor. The sad thing is, it works O_O
  • by PoconoPCDoctor ( 912001 ) <> on Friday October 20, 2006 @06:10PM (#16522533) Homepage Journal
    In January of this year, maybe a little later, our contracted supplier of PC's will probably start the push towards shipping new PC's with Vista, instead of XP Profesional. In my environment, a major medical center/school, I don't think the GUI will be immediately useful, in fact, it might hurt productivity initially, since our users will need to learn how to navigate Vista to accomplish everyday tasks like file copying, etc. Games are not big in a medical center, or most large enviroments, for that matter.

    Unless Vista's underlying GUI can better render high-resolution images of cells, and most imaging in the research labs is done on Macs, it probably will not have a tremendous impact on corporate buying decisions.

    The OS choice will be determined when our PC supplier starts to charge more for a PC with XP Professional than the same system with Vista. Research dollars are hard to come by, and unless Vista totally breaks standard Office suite PC/applications, it's just a matter of time before it will replace XP.
  • by The Real Toad King ( 981874 ) <> on Friday October 20, 2006 @06:11PM (#16522555) Homepage
    Somebody wake me up when these two projects stop playing perpetual 2nd place, and start trying out new GUI ideas.
    Okay, somebody refresh my memory; how long have GNOME/KDE had workspaces?
  • Which one? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by thebluesgnr ( 941962 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @06:20PM (#16522663)
    There's the Windows Internet Explorer UI, the Windows Media Player UI, the Windows Mail UI... they're all different.
  • by yagu ( 721525 ) * <> on Friday October 20, 2006 @06:22PM (#16522685) Journal

    Enough said.

    What the heck? I'd love to understand look and feel better, but it would seem to be a more effective review if the pictures were in color.

  • by thedbp ( 443047 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @06:24PM (#16522713)
    I meant in the articles themselves. Surely these tech-literate pundits have heard of and used the competition's operating system, right? I mean, you know, so they can have a frame of reference?
  • by radicalnerd ( 930674 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @06:24PM (#16522729)
    Black and white?! Nice... it's, like, the exact same layout, but it looks more like art! omg!
  • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @06:26PM (#16522749)
    > I don't think the GUI will be immediately useful, in fact, it might hurt productivity initially, since our users will need to learn how to navigate Vista to accomplish everyday tasks like file copying, etc

    Silly user. File copying is evil! You're not supposed to look at files.

    Win95/98: We won't show you directory paths or file extensions.
    WinME: We won't even boot to DOS without a fight.
    WinNT: Pay no attention to the 8.1 filenames. We're going to make sure everyone puts spaces in every path name, by calling it "Program Files"
    Win2K: ...and since some of you still didn't get the message last time, we're going to make everyone's home directory contain at least two spaces by calling it "Documents and Settings"
    WinXP: ...and don't even think of trying to remove Outlook or other files we want on your hard drive, even if you never use the application. By the way, it phones home, but we won't nuke your box if you don't let it phone home.
    Vista: the way, when we said we wouldn't nuke your box if you didn't let it phone home, we meant we would nuke your box if you don't let it phone home. Don't worry, we won't install any user tracking software not authorized by the government, though.

    > Research dollars are hard to come by, and unless Vista totally breaks standard Office suite PC/applications, it's just a matter of time before it will replace XP.

    You've forgotten the lesson of Office 97.

    Research dollars are hard to come by, and when it's confirmed that Vista totally breaks standard Office suite PC/applications, only then will it be only a matter of time until it will replace XP.

    Embrace. Extend. Extinguish.

  • interfaces (Score:4, Insightful)

    by StarvingSE ( 875139 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @06:31PM (#16522805)
    Paul McFedries, author of Windows Vista Unveiled, thinks that an operating system should be thought of as more than just its user interface

    Correct. Why can't Microsoft understand this? They spend so much time with the user interface, that the actually OS stuff (stable runtime environment, security, "revolutionary file system" gets put on the backburner. I think it would be in MS's best interest to focus 100% on the core internals of the OS and leave the shell to either open source or some third party. Heck, even a totally seperate division of microsoft. This whole "API for everything" and having so much interface stuff integrated with the internal running of the system is just a recipe for disaster, as can be seen on every other windows release before vista.
  • by Ash Vince ( 602485 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @06:35PM (#16522863) Journal
    Because your average technical journo who writes the articles in question is too hooked on the freebies MS provide him with in the way of free booze to risk fucking that up.

    Everyone knows there have been better OSes out there than windows since OS2 warp but the competion has never bribed these people with enough free stuff for them to write about it. To get a glowing review of an OS you have to install it on a brand new laptop and then give said laptop away for free to enough journos so that some actually use it.
  • slow transparency (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bored ( 40072 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @06:36PM (#16522869)
    This guy is smoking some serious crack in a couple of places, he talks about how difficult it is to do transparency? Hello I wrote a little piece of code to make transparent windows back with turbo pascal on a 386.. If my 386 could do it i'm sure you don't need a GPU... Just because transparency wasn't in the basic GDI (which is even older) doesn't mean it was hard or even that slow.

  • by Ramble ( 940291 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @06:39PM (#16522901) Homepage
    Can you specifically point out the similarities then? Becuase a lot of the features in Vista were pinned down in or before 2003.

    Tiger came out '04.

  • Re:interfaces (Score:2, Insightful)

    by NineNine ( 235196 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @06:44PM (#16523001)
    Well, if you haven't noticed, the interface is what people see, and what they notice. Linux has no consitent interface, and what is there is a nightmare. Hence, no Linux on desktops. Macs have a very very pretty, shiny interface. Hence, people are willing to pay a premium for their Mac's. And, obviously you're not aware of what's going on in the back end either, because Windows has been changing, WHILE STAYING BACKWARDS COMPATIBLE for quite a long time. They just moved from ActiveX/Com to .Net for much of their framework stuff, for example. That's pretty significant.
  • by Guy Harris ( 3803 ) <> on Friday October 20, 2006 @06:44PM (#16523003)
    Linux has had this for how long now? Something like 21 years at least.


    1. you're trolling;
    2. you're exaggerating;
    3. you're saying "Linux" when you mean "some X11 window managers" (which can run, amazingly enough, on UN*X+X11 systems that aren't based on Linux).
  • by soundvessel ( 899042 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @06:51PM (#16523097)
    At least then the users will be prepared for what will happen to him/her when they bring their laptop in to have me work on it and I find out they have been surfing porn sites with their virus scanner disabled.
    I'm pretty sure they'll just expect you to do your job and fix it, assuming they're paying you.
  • by Fonce ( 635723 ) <> on Friday October 20, 2006 @06:53PM (#16523119) Homepage
    You know what bothers me about this? They've taken nearly every proposed feature out of Vista that we wanted or that was going to useful...or even new...leaving us forced to debate whether or not there's actually anything new in the only really new thing about it, Avalon.

    And when we do have people talking about it they don't have any idea what they're talking about, discussing cutesy shit you can do with their uber-advanced API and not improvements that Microsoft has made to the ACTUAL GUI that will help me complete complex tasks easier, find that which I need faster, and just make my user experience more pleasant and efficient overall.

    Features, you say? They're not features, they're bugs. Much in the way that spam is email, these bullshit "improvements" are actually just annoying eye-candy and a stop-gap measure to one-up the actually useful features that exist in other operating systems such as OSX and Linux. And no, I'm actually not a *nix fanboy despite my heavy use of it; I've been a Windows admin for a few years now. And I've been a user long enough to know that dancing icons and spinning buttons do nothing more than impress grandma for a few seconds and piss advanced users off.

    Where's the real innovation? Where's the Microsoft that made Windows 3.11 and Windows 2000 (which, despite it's faults, was one hell of an OS)?

    Dead, I say, choked by the left hand of greed and the right hand of stupidity.
  • by x_MeRLiN_x ( 935994 ) * on Friday October 20, 2006 @06:58PM (#16523163) Homepage

    For example, new Windows users are often surprised at the abrupt disappearance of a window when they click the Minimize button.

    Who has to explain to these new users that a 3D accelerator is required for these new animations to work? How do these users feel when they find out the person trying to sell them said hardware merely needed to point out how to use the taskbar? Call me a pessimist, but people who don't understand how windows are minimised even after having it explained to them shouldn't be using computers. Don't get me wrong, I like the new GUI additions and everyone who I have shown 'Flip 3D' has been impressed, but I don't agree that they can be justified in that way.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 20, 2006 @07:00PM (#16523189)
    It really baffles me why they haven't added virtual desktop support yet. This is something that X has had since swm [], which Mr. LaStrange released in 1990!

    Even the Sun workstation I used in the mid-1990s, running Solaris 2.5 and CDE, offered virtual desktops. For the love of fuck, Microsoft needs to add virtual desktop support.

  • by trimbo ( 127919 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @07:15PM (#16523353) Homepage
    Not to troll, and its nice that Windows users are getting these features, but how come no one ever calls MS out on the fact that Vista is basically still playing catch up to OS X,

    Not only do people point that out every day, but they fail to point out that Apple has a lot less to worry about when it comes to upgrades and their existing customer base. Didn't they basically break tons of apps with the 10.2 or 10.3 upgrade by switching GCC versions? Yeah, like Microsoft could get away with that! Microsoft has to upgrade their software to fit the needs of hunderds of millions of business customers. How many Fortune 500 companies are completely built around MacOS X? It's not hard to innovate when your primary money source is selling to home users who want cool 'gadgets' on their desktop, rather than support the OS of businesses with 50,000 employees they've trained up with a bunch of custom IE/intranet, Win32, .NET apps, etc.
  • by kosmosik ( 654958 ) <> on Friday October 20, 2006 @07:20PM (#16523429) Homepage
    > Developers can do 2-D, 3-D, animation, imaging,
    > video, audio, special effects and text rendering
    > using a single API.

    And when exactly they will learn that UI design it is not about what YOU CAN DO? It is what YOU CAN'T DO. You can take any program and DO WITH IT WHATEVER, give it nice animations, nice 3D effects, symphonic sounds, add to it few agents, fifteen toolbars, make it do your coffee etc.

    It is not what you CAN do. It so about how to make it the most simple as you can. KISS - for Keep It Simple.

    Reffered in the article OSX is a quite complicated operating system but still it manages to deliver a platform on which (at least in my opinion, and I am not biased since my main workstation is running Linux) you can make SIMPLE and USEFULL applications.

    My point is that the platform should allow users to get consistant and simple interface. Not that what Windows is offering - now you get it even more complex - you get all Windows Legacy stuff working (dating back to 95) and also a BRAND NEW SHINY 2D 3D WHATEVER interface. So it is in fact worse not better. Since it includes more ways to screw the applications to become UNNEEDLY COMPLEX.
  • by creepynut ( 933825 ) <(ac.nworbyddet) (ta) ()todhsals(yddet)> on Friday October 20, 2006 @07:35PM (#16523635) Homepage
    And I'm sure surfing porn sites with the virus scanner turned off is in their job description too.
  • by creepynut ( 933825 ) <(ac.nworbyddet) (ta) ()todhsals(yddet)> on Friday October 20, 2006 @07:38PM (#16523661) Homepage
    Any new computer system released after Vista should support all the eye candy. That will certainly be where most of the Vista installations come from, new computers.

    Even the Intel Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) series of shared-RAM chips supports the Vista eye candy.
  • by DragonWriter ( 970822 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @07:43PM (#16523725)
    , but how come no one ever calls MS out on the fact that Vista is basically still playing catch up to OS X

    Because, as has been demonstrated in every Microsoft windows release since the first, no one cares that Microsoft Windows $foo is playing catch up to Mac OS $bar.

    Plus, its old news. Its like every article that mentions the Earth having to point out that the Earth is roughly spherical. Yeah, there was a time when that was news to people and interesting, but now its just a given.
  • by snilloc ( 470200 ) <jlcollins@hot m a i l . com> on Friday October 20, 2006 @07:55PM (#16523833) Homepage
    I can't be the only person who turns off almost all animations, right? I don't want Windows sucking even minimal performance out of my system. Animations are a pain when frequently switching programs, or when trying to use the UI when another program is taxing the system.
  • Beryl (Score:5, Insightful)

    by anno1a ( 575426 ) < minus city> on Friday October 20, 2006 @08:23PM (#16524073) Homepage
    Ok, I agree, the Linux people are major ripoff artists. That being said, when most things _are_ ripped off (which, being great artists, happens rather fast), new features do appear. The window manager Beryl [] (which is a fork of Compiz) has gone above and beyond in imitating the new graphical bling of Vista. And a lot of the bling from OSX too. I dare say that a lot of this bling comes at a smaller price (hardware wise) than what you get from Vista.

    When I first saw screenshots of Vista I was impressed. Impressed with what could be done. Sadly, I haven't really seen them move any further with the bling since the first screenshot was released, and now that I have Beryl up and running I really couldn't care less.

    If you look at the forum [] for Beryl you'll see a LOT of input from users, requesting (granted, a lot of stuff seen elsewhere, but also) new and innovative features and bling, that might actually prove useful when working (and naturally a lot that's pure bling).

    What I'm basically looking for is what makes Vista stand out from something like Beryl, except for the fact that you can actually run (some) windows programs on it. Why are people getting so excited over this, when you can have Beryl running on your computer today? Or Compiz? Or Metacity?
  • by gelfling ( 6534 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @08:38PM (#16524211) Homepage Journal
    When dear Lord will MS finally understand that we don't want to operate our computers. We want them to operate themselves. I want fewer controls, fewer buttons. I want the software to figure out what's the right way to do something, the right app to start, the right place to put an object. I don't want to be an AUDITOR for my system anymore. I'm sick of it. I don't really care about this years trendy glassy stylistic trend which will be as old as dirt in about 3 years anyway. I don't want rearranged controls that map out everything I could possibly do. I want all of that transparent to my use. I want for instance to be able to simply start typing on the desktop and have it popup the last 4 choices of applications, have me quickly pick one, and load what I just typed into the appropriate area. And if the input is unique enough, I want the software to know what the application is supposed to be and take appropriate action. I want a blank canvas. I don't want to start Adobe to read a PDF. I want a window to open up with the PDF and keep the application absolutely in the background. I don't care what it is. And I don't want to hear about codecs, plugins or patches. Just make it work or let me know how long it will be before you, the system is ready to do that. I want you remember all the little tweaky settings. Print still means print even if the last time I printed it went to email instead, just do that unless and until I tell you otherwise.

    Then I want it run faster and quieter with fewer interruptions to update, fix and patch. The system can do that but it has to be completely quiet and unobtrusive about it. I want virtual reboots that allow me to keep working even when the system has to be restarted. I don't want to do storage management, that's your job.

    I don't want to hear from firewalls, spyware blockers, AV or malware tools. Please do have them but if they are worth anything at all they will do 99% of their job with ZERO human intervention or notification of any kind.

    And then what I want you to do is precreate a large array of batch scheduled housekeeping procs to run off hours, again, w/o me knowing about them to do the little things they need to do: update, defrag, clean off garbage, memory cleanup, patches etc etc etc etc. Take a few hours if you like, take more, do it at night or whichever schedule I give you and bring the system back to WHATEVER state or condition it was in before including all open applications and objects.

  • by x2A ( 858210 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @08:42PM (#16524241)
    cuz most people don't work that way, and at worse, can be confused (on a level) by virtual desktops. The amount of people I see trying to move windows around the screen because they don't even alt+tab, or minimise windows, even when they know how, makes you realise that a lot of people out there cannot comprehend the extra dimensions.

  • by x2A ( 858210 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @08:48PM (#16524283)
    or me, who likes to alt+tab to winamp or MPC etc, then just use the scroll wheel (well, scroll bit of the pad) for changing the volume, then alt+tab back... all quickly without even having to wait for any visual feedback (like you would do if it involved moving the mouse).

    Plus when it comes to virtual desktop/console type things, I don't like free spin... prefer something like alt+f1-f4 to switch, so you can jump straight to where you know your stuff is without waiting for visual feedback.

  • by x2A ( 858210 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @09:03PM (#16524401)
    Because you do things in a way that benefits from virtual desktops. It's like saying you have to work in another language, not your native one; it's gonna slow you down. However, someone who's native language is that language isn't going to feel crippled in the slightest, because they don't need what you need. I, for example, have no use for virtual desktops, and so remove the pager from my desktop, because that's not the way I interface with the computer.

  • by flight_master ( 867426 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @09:05PM (#16524417)
    it will look very professional when placed side-by-side with Vista, which looks like a toy
    Exactly, that's the point.
    I recently purchased a Mac (A MacBook Pro to be exact). It's interface is surprisingly simple, yet easy to use, and very responsive. On my primary workstations, I run Debian linux with KDE - again, minimalistic in nature, it's fast, smooth, and doesn't distract me.
    Then, I've got Windows Vista RC2 running on a 'play' computer - it's goofy, quirky, and distracting - to me, really annoying.
    However, you do have to realize that the majority of Windows users are goofs, who are quirky, and love being distracted. Windows Vista isn't made for users like you and me who work with their computers. It's made for the millions who merely read mail, surf the net and chat with the "uber coo"l MSN Messenger.

    It's all in the eye of the beholder. I just wish Vista would be a *little* lighter on system resources (especially my poor old ATI 9600 card).
  • by wanerious ( 712877 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @09:36PM (#16524589) Homepage you went to Dock Preferences and unchecked the "Magnification" box, and they still jumped out at you?
  • by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @09:47PM (#16524673) Homepage
    And their virtual desktop powertoy is just that, a toy. It sucks compared 10 year old versions of Unix with the virtual desktop. Windows was never designed to have virtual desktops, so any attempt to make them is a hack, and it turns out really bad.
  • by Fatalis ( 892735 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @10:34PM (#16525007) Homepage Journal
    X11 has inferior font rendering and quality to Windows hands down. XP had ClearType and many well designed typefaces when it came out 5 years ago, and Vista introduces more good fonts. It's the rare thing that Microsoft got right (the other being marketing). ClearType is even arguably better [] than Apple's technology [], though OS X overall font support is excellent.

    I can't understand IT professionals overlooking the practical importance of typography. We all spend hours reading text on computer screens, so it's not just about font literate designer types that suffer seeing subjectively ugly things, it's about everyone that uses a screen.
  • by loraksus ( 171574 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @10:36PM (#16525027) Homepage
    By default, windows actually "fly in" to view. EVERY SINGLE WINDOW. You will be annoyed after 30 seconds.

    Although I eventually tossed my vista install, I didn't really mind that.
    I think it worked really well to hide the time it took for a window to open - something that was really obvious if you dropped it into that "classic mode that looked retarded because it was half windows 95 gui, half vista (mostly buttons)". It also gave the user feedback that something was happening and even made the open folder, etc, process feel a lot faster than it actually was.
    You have the same thing on OSX with the genie animation , which doesn't imho work as well.
    When I dropped back to 2k3 server, I had a "damn, this is much faster" moment. I was running on a 7800gt too, so..

    I'm looking forward to the comparison reviews in the major mainstream publications.
    Bah, doubt that you'll get what you expect. Microsoft's PR department will toss dollar bills at the reviewers and you'll get the usual tripe / reprinted press release that passes for journalism in the computer industry these days. Look how quick they got a number of people to play the part of the apologist with the Vista EULA thing. There was some damn spectacular spin done there, especially by some of the guys who write for the bigger windows oriented mags. Take a look at Paul Thurrot's article for a great example how you can confuse people into thinking how a significant eula change was just a "clarification".

    The sidebar was stupid and slow but voice recognition in RC1 was worse by an order of magnitude. Vista would sort of finish booting, allowing you to open a firefox window or something and then, out of nowhere, VR would start, leaving firefox stuck on the start page, apps refused to load, etc. 20 seconds later, you'd be started up, but man was that annoying.
  • by nickos ( 91443 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @10:52PM (#16525139)
    Maybe I'm showing my age here, but why on earth should anyone be boasting about an OS being "pretty responsive" on a 350MHz AMD box with 64MB of ram? What the hell is it doing?
  • by davidsyes ( 765062 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @10:56PM (#16525171) Homepage Journal
    I've some questions, not direcly AT you, nor ripping you. These just came to mind, inspired by your and other's comments... So please understand I am trying to find my way to reasonable/insightful (and maybe even inciteful) questions (I don't have vista, and surely will not plunk down my OWN money for exhorbitant vista "features" KDE and Gnome give me right now):

    Can vista users stretch the desktop icons and folder icons? Do they scale well?

    Can vista users with bad dexterity or shaking hands left-alt-right-mouse-drag a dialog box or window to resize it? Can a vist user double-click the title bar and scroll up, shade-up or resize a window besides just maximize/plunk-back-to-previous size?

    Can a vista user left-alt-left-mouse to drag an in-the-way window out to the side?

    Can a vista user bring to focus on mouse-over any window the user wants? Without a hassle? With user-selected responsiveness?

    Can a vista user switch to different desktops as efficiently as KDE and Gnome users can? Can vista users roll the scroll wheel over the taskbar or Kicker-wannabe and switch different virtual desktops AND to a select application? Does the vista desktop icon update in realtime like KDE's Kasbar thumbnails reflect the desktop contents?

    Can a vista user split a virtual desktop's apps off from the Main Taskbar/kicker to an auxiliary task bar for more refined self-organization?

    Can a vista user use glassy effects on a GPU or graphics card that is sufficient for KDE and Gnome?

    Does vista have a wealth of Superkaramba-like widgets that are USEFUL and not dullard ripoffs of OSX or ripoffs of lesser KDE/Gnome widgets reinterpreded from OSX?

    Most of the things I am asking about existed in KDE or Gnome for YEARS. Hell, ms couldn't even slipstream this stuff into incremental updates to windows. Despite all those huge FUCKING patches they slog down on everybody.

    Or, is vista just a hugely-rewritten PATCH to XP in disguise? Put these responses on a wall chart, too. So we can post them on the Tux poster for the cubicles.
  • by Mr. Picklesworth ( 931427 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @11:37PM (#16525375) Homepage
    Another thing Gnome / KDE does that makes the experience better is the "Keep window on top" option. I've found myself using it more and more, and it's why I prefer Photoshop via Wine to Photoshop in Windows. It's an instant feature for any windowed application.
    I don't see a transparent window border improving Photoshop's usability. Do you?
  • by CheshireCatCO ( 185193 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @11:54PM (#16525461) Homepage
    When OS X Leopard comes out, it will look very professional when placed side-by-side with Vista, which looks like a toy.

    Not that I want to dispute anything you said, but I would like to note that I know at least one person who avoids OS X partially because she feels that IT looks like a toy compared to XP. So I kind of suspect that that view is in the eye of the beholder. And, when you get right down to it, that isn't a very damning criticism. I don't really care if my OS looks like a toy or an industrial warning sign as much as I care about how well it works provided it doesn't really offend good taste. If the toy-looking OS has the better performance and interface, I'll take it.

  • by drsmithy ( 35869 ) <drsmithy@gm a i l . c om> on Saturday October 21, 2006 @04:04AM (#16526575)

    Not to troll, and its nice that Windows users are getting these features, but how come no one ever calls MS out on the fact that Vista is basically still playing catch up to OS X, doesn't do it as well, and is probably going to be left in the dust when Leopard comes out?

    Because anyone who has been in the industry for more than a few years and isn't a blathering fanboy (and they do enough "calling out" to make up for everyone else ten times over) knows that everyone "copies" everyone else, everyone reguarly (if not always frequently) comes out with new features others don't have and at some point, everyone has a technological lead over someone else.

  • by jsebrech ( 525647 ) on Saturday October 21, 2006 @05:53AM (#16526915)
    UAC: Vista can raise (and presumably lower) program permissions while running.

    This isn't such a good thing. From what I've read UAC asks for permission quite often. If we take a look at history, people will end up automatically clicking on allow, just to not have to think about it. A well-designed system takes into account the human factor so that it does not ask to change permissions (roadblock-style security, which leads to automatic response by the human user), but instead allows to user to change permissions levels by explicitly requesting it (fork in the road security, which requires the user to explicitly leave the main road).

    Firefox never asks for permissions, because it was designed in such a way as to inform you of how you can give additional permissions to the sites that need it, and generally operates just fine without elevated permissions. OS X rarely has to ask for permissions, because when you want to change a system-wide setting you first have to explicitly unlock the system preferences dialog.

    I agree that UAC will reduce the amount of malware. But I haven't read anything about it that made me think it was any better (or even the equal of) OS X's security mechanisms when it comes to actual daily use.
  • Re:Not Goofs (Score:2, Insightful)

    by CheShACat ( 999169 ) on Saturday October 21, 2006 @07:33AM (#16527275) Homepage Journal
    > i can click through and navigate through most of the standard windows prompts literally without reading what they are actually saying
    > with Vista, you have to focus

    Perhaps this might decrease the amount of malware that people get from randomly clicking OK on boxes without looking what they are saying? Remember that Microsoft are engineering for the masses, not for slashdotters. This is surely a subtle way to coax a bit more conscious interaction out of the millions of lusers for which Vista is engineered. If it takes this kind of bloat to encourage the average user to pay a bit more attention to what's happening on the screen, it can only be a good thing.

    People that can go beyond that and see the counterproductivity of this stuff are commonly in a much better (=more enlightened) position to chose to disable the unneccessary gubbins, or even to choose alternatives to MS products... Which is one of the things that brings us together at slashdot. In a wierd way I think the desktop PC at the moment, with its humongous amount of under-skilled yet over-dependent users, might actually need this kind of dumbing-up of the experience; it helps to raise users awareness that they actually DO need to keep track of what the computer is doing and why... and it keeps the users amused by the shiny things and out of the administrators' hair while we work away on our 'proper' computers!

The trouble with the rat-race is that even if you win, you're still a rat. -- Lily Tomlin