2007-11-13

The Vista Problem

So I've been running Vista for a little while on my new laptop. Not that much I should add though as I almost immediately installed Ubuntu as well. But every once in a while when I want to use iTunes or play one of those games that only run on Windows I tell grub I want to start Vista.

I'm not very impressed with Vista. What's the difference compared to XP? A bit of eye candy and an annoying dialogue that pops up every now and then to ask if I really do want to install a program (or something similar) when I'm trying to install a program (or doing something similar).

I hear Vista isn't selling so well and I'm not surprised. Why would anyone want it when the only thing it does is get in the way? We were promised lots of cool things like a new file system to rule them all. But feature after feature were cut until only DRM was left and I don't know of any computer used who had that on his wish list for new OS features.

John Dvorak's hypothesis about the failure to produce something new in Vista is that Microsoft has gotten sidetracked with all kinds of other projects. He thinks that Microsoft is looking too much at Google and losing sight of it's core business. I doubt that. Microsoft is a big company and it can do several things at once.

My hypothesis is the following: Microsoft is finally paying the price for backwards compatibility. The reason Microsoft can't deliver the new features they promised for Vista is that they're simply too difficult if they have to maintain backwards compatibility at the same time. Their codebase is deteriorating because of all the hacks and special cases they have had to insert just to make sure old programs work. And Microsoft has shown that it can be done, at least to some degree. But the deterioration is bound to catch up with them some time and I think this time has come. I think the only way for Microsoft to stay alive in the OS department is to cut backwards compatibility. Only then will they be able to add some new interesting features. On the other hand, cutting backwards compatibility will mean that it will be just as easy for people to switch to any other OS as to Microsoft's new one and that doesn't sound so good for Microsoft either.

Hmmm. If I'm right Microsoft has painted themselves into a corner. Not that I mind though.

1 comment:

Andy said...

http://xkcd.com/349/