DevelopMENTAL Madness

Monday, May 25, 2009

Windows Critics: Get a life

I was working on a Windows 7 post about my installation experience and I ended up in a rant. So I decided that I should move my rant to a separate post where it belongs.

Two criticisms that I have heard leveled at Windows 7 are:

  • It’s too soon (3 years) to roll out a new OS.
  • It’s just a Vista service pack

I’d like to take a minute or two to answer those from my own perspective. First to the criticism that it’s too soon. The first time I read a post to this effect the author actually said it was too short a time frame to rewrite the OS. I really have to say this is a ridiculous assumption that operating systems by any vendor (or any software for that matter) is rewritten for every release. Rewrites are the exception to the rule when it comes to software, hardware, manufacturing…you name it.

Now, to disregard the word “rewrite” for a minute let’s look at the actual time frame. Here’s a list of the release dates for the main line of Windows Client releases:

  • Windows 1.0 - 1985
  • Windows 2.0 - 1987
  • Windows 3.0 - 1990
  • Windows 95 - 1995
  • Windows 98 - 1998
  • Windows ME - 2000
  • Windows XP – 2001
  • Windows Vista – 2006
  • Windows 7 - 2009

With the exceptions of Windows 95 (a major overhaul) and Windows Vista (a complete rewrite). All Windows releases have been within 3 years.

There’s been a lot of talk about how Windows 7 is just Vista SP 3 and I have to say there really is a lot that’s like Vista. The fact that I’ve had no unsolvable compatibility issues and the similarities in the UI support it. However, the same things could have been said about Windows 95, 98 and XP. Windows 7 has improved upon the Vista performance issues enough to run on XP hardware and netbooks. I’m not going to go into a feature list, but there is also enough new features and improvements that it justifies a new release.

I only started using Vista after SP 1, because it was a complete rewrite and I believe the initial criticisms of Vista were certainly justified. But since SP 1, Vista has been extremely stable and easy to use. My favorite example is running Vista as a standard user instead of an administrator. I don’t ever run as an administrator anymore. I started doing this in XP, but it was always a pain. Vista has made this extremely easy. When you need admin privileges in Vista you get a prompt for the admin password by the UAC. If you enter the correct password you never see the prompt again. Of course the UAC is annoying, the idea was to get users to stop running as administrators – the biggest security hole there is.

I understand if people don’t like Vista, but what annoys me the most is when it becomes illogical. That anything Microsoft creates is proclaimed junk before it’s even tried. The day is too short to go into all the complaints there are about Windows. But at the end of the day when you consider that I can run Windows on ANY hardware instead of being locked into a limited configuration or having to bend over backwards by writing my own patches to the operating system (I realize Linux has come a long way, but if we’re gonna judge based on all past performance this is a fair comparison) I think people should just get off their high horse and accept that Windows does an incredible job of meeting the needs of most users. If it doesn’t meet your needs then use something that does and get a life.

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