Vista Does Not Suck

The debate.

I bought Vista in March 2007, and after 16 months, I am happy to say that Vista does not suck. Yes you read that right. VISTA DOES NOT SUCK. Like many people, my history with Microsoft and operating systems goes back to the early 80’s with DOS 2.0. When I compare the two, there is literally no comparison. Vista is the clear winner.

In fact, fast forward 10 years to 1990, and Microsoft finally releases Windows 3.0 which was stable enough for mass adoption. Again, Vista blows the doors off Windows 3.0.

All of this is tongue in cheek, but there is a rather serious point behind this article. The very nature of the software business is one of continous improvement. Bugs get reported and they get fixed. New features are added on to the old ones.

So right after Windows 3.0 came Windows 3.1. Windows 3.1 was a runaway success. Customers, both businesses and consumers, snapped it up. Perhaps the most important thing was that Windows 3.1 was the first version of Windows to be bundled with new PC’s from companies such as Hewlett Packard and Gateway. Before Windows 3.1, the primary way to purchase Windows was from a store that sold Lotus 123 and Wordperfect. Just another addon.

Fast forward 4 years, and Microsoft made a huge advance with the launch of Windows 95. Prior to Windows 95, Windows 3.1 ran on top of MS DOS. Many of us old timers remember typing “Win” after the computer had rebooted to get into the Windows environment. Windows 95 consolidated DOS And Windows into one operating system. But they did not stop there. They greatly improved the driver model enabling a whole universe of printers, sound cards, keyboards and everything else to easily connect to the Windows universe. Despite all of these great improvements, I still say that Vista handily beats Windows 95.

Then came Windows 98, and Windows 95 despite its many accomplishments was not very stable. The BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) was quite common and frustrating. Windows 98 made huge strides in reducing but not eliminating BSOD. Due to these strides, corporations began to take Windows seriously.

Then in 2000, Microsoft laid a huge turd called Windows ME. Who knows what they were thinking, but Windows ME was plain horrible. It was slow and it crashed more often than Windows 98. It was a nightmare. Clearly, Vista leaves Windows ME in the dirt.

In November 2001, the cavalry came to save the day with the introduction of Windows XP. XP was a total rewrite of the Windows Operating system, using a much more stable core. The predecessors to Windows XP were Windows NT and Windows 2000. XP was Microsoft’s holy grail. XP converged the Windows consumer and Windows business operating environment into one unified program. Furthermore, Microsoft scrapped all versions of Windows 9X legacy code.

XP was a breath of fresh air. After enduring 10 years of Blue Screens of Death, and hours and hours getting peripherals operating correctly, XP brought the bacon. It was a huge home run. It makes a alot of people sad to see Microsoft discontinuing XP because XP is a lot better than Vista. Sorry Microsoft, still today XP is a better operating system than Vista.

So the big question is why is Vista worse than XP? This is not the nature of the technology industry. Each year, things get faster and cheaper. Never do things get worse. The reality is that Vista is an entire rewrite of Windows. Rather than building off of their most successful code base of all time (XP), they scrapped it. It all seems wrong. Like Windows ME, you scrap your bad code, not your best code.

So why? Here is my guess. There are two big differences between Vista and XP. The driver model and the video layer. In both cases, these changes were not made to help us, but to control our access to the content we view. Vista has a “feature” called DRM or Digital Rights Management. I think that once Vista is on a critical mass of PC’s, Microsoft will be able to cut deals with Hollywood and other content providers to sell and display their content on our PC’s. So every time, we watch a movie on our Vista PC, Microsoft makes a buck instead of Blockbuster.

Of course, we have little to no say in this matter, because Microsoft has essentially forced the PC manufacturer’s to put Vista on all new PC’s. In order for this plan to work, Vista does not have to be better than XP. It just can’t suck. So folks, I am happy to inform you that after close to 18 months of use, Vista does not SUCK.

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