For once I did not run out to buy the latest copy of Windows, Vista, as soon as it was available. In the past I’ve rushed out either on or pretty close to release day to pick up the latest incarnation, rush home and install it and wonder at how much the latest and greatest has improved over the past version.
I remember being absolutely amazed at how much Windows ’95 was a leap ahead of Windows 3.1, although at the same time curious at how similar it was in ways to OS/2 but in many ways was not as solid as OS/2, particularly in stability – OS/2 was always a rock solid OS. I also remember coming home with my first copy of Windows XP and upgrading my Windows ’95 machine and being surprised that it mostly migrated everything ok, but then later found out I had a bunch of old apps that would no longer run on XP and that there was no upgrade path from companies the software came from. Oh, and the hardware that no longer worked (scanner and printer) and that there were no upgraded drivers for XP.
I’ve been curious to how ‘Longhorn’ as it was called for a while was developing prior to the actual launch and kept track of the news over the past couple of years, but then was only disappointed to find out that the features I was really interested in were all put on the backshelf or abandoned, like WinFS – the very interesting new concept to building a next generation file system based on top of a version of SQL Server. Who knows if that will ever make it to see light of day.
I think I’ve just reminded myself why I still have not bought Microsoft Vista. I have number of older PCs in our house, and they are all running just fine as they are, and work well for what we use them for. They are mostly P3s, and a couple of P4s, and most have less than 1 GB of RAM. And here’s what most people just do not get – upgrading to Vista is not going to make your access to your web based email more efficient, neither is it going to be any faster. Neither is Vista going to be faster when writing short docs in Word. Will my old copy of Office ’97 even work on Vista (because that’s all I’ve got), who knows and who cares, because I don’t. I’ve no interest in paying upwards of $100 for an upgrade to an Operating System which doesn’t really offer any benefits to me as a user. Sure it looks prettier, but not $100 worth of pretty. It’s still not even close to the Mac OS X on my wife’s Mac Book.
In all honesty I think Microsoft have lost their way. Vista appears to be very much a knee-jerk reaction to try and catch up with what Jobs is doing over at Apple with Mac OS X. Sure, Windows still has the market share by far, but I think Balmer and Co. are finally starting to get worried by the devoted Mac users talk of how much they love working with their Macs and how much they love the software on the Mac. I’ve never heard anyone talk about Windows in the same way. I have to use Windows at work because I have to, not because I choose to. If I had my way I’d be using any flavor of Linux over Windows any day. Vista just seems to be reaction to the rest of the market, and no longer can it be seen as offering anything new. I’m not going to give Gates another $100 just to get some features that everyone else already has. Oh, and for the record, my next PC will definitely be a Mac.