a business as usual view of Vista

I just read another blog post bemoaning Vista, with a commenter saying they would never use Vista. If you haven’t read posts and stories like that, you probably don’t need to read this perspective.

It is traditional and usually judicious to be leery at first when Microsoft releases a new version of Windows (or any software supplier releases a new major version of any piece of software). Even Windows 3 (3.1?) wasn’t really ready until Windows 3.1 (3.11?) Windows 98 might have been OK the first time out, but making it so was a big priority at Microsoft. NT4, Windows 2000 and Windows XP all needed at least one service pack before I was ready to trust them. (NT 3.1 and 3.5 were somewhat different in that they weren’t really intended for regular end users. Windows ME was a disaster, from many perspectives, and doesn’t fit in this context.)

So I barely touched Vista last year. Now Vista SP1 is the norm. From my recent experience, Vista SP1 is certainly not terrible, and seems to have noticeable security improvements over XP.

A couple of weeks I needed to purchase a new computer for my church library. After shopping around online and visting Fry’s a couple of times, the best hardware bang for the buck seemed to be a Compaq SR5410F at Circuit City. That machine came only with Vista SP1. Some of the other possibilities were available with XP, but it seemed time to give Vista a chance.

So far, everyone who has used this machine, seems quite happy with it (myself included).

All of the escalation of privilege dialogs to do administrative things are understandably annoying, but most of them seem sensible. The question is not “Why is Microsoft forcing this on users?” but rather “Why did Microsoft take so long to follow the lead of other operating systems in this regard?”.

I could do without the “Aero” 3D dialog eye-candy, but I’ve felt that way about most of analogous stuff in many prior editions of Windows, Mac OS, and the prominent X-Windows managers.

My biggest frustrations are with ancient applications that don’t work with Vista, but the frustration is best placed with the vendors who sell those applications. The most annoying instance is from a vendor whose site only mentions Windows 9X and NT, while still selling support subscriptions.

The only other problem that comes to mind is that TightVNC doesn’t work with Vista yet. But UltraVNC mostly does work with Vista. The only problem I’ve noticed with UltraVNC is that the option to turn off Aero is unreliable. When Aero crops up remotely, frequent screen refreshes are necessary. Not a big deal.

I probably wouldn’t want Vista on older hardware, but on new hardware it seems to make sense.

May 28: Slashdot seemingly soothes some more of the Vista uproar in Windows 7 Won’t Have Compact “MinWin” Kernel.

Disclaimer: I still own shares of MSFT.

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