Windows Vista is here!

8 Jan

Microsoft has just announced their new fancy operating system namely Windows Vista. Vista in English language means ‘panorama’ or landscape view. Well, the naming could not have been better as the capabilities of the new O/S ends very much around how your application windows looks and are viewed. Beyond that is it really worth? I guess it’s not.

I used Microsoft Windows for application development since Windows 3.X (Windows/386) era. Since then I have seen how the Windows O/S evolved and I can say that Microsoft is pretty good in marketing whatever Windows flavours they came up with. After Windows 98 Second Edition which had a very good user interface for common man and reasonable stability, I thought NT 4.0 was a pretty cool Operating System for the developers. It may not have been a gamer O/S but
it had everything in it for application developers as well as corporate server requirements. If you categorize PC users broadly into three categories – Application Developers, Information workers and Gamers – I would think that the 98SE belonged to the information workers and NT belonged to application developers. Now that leaves us with one category of RIG lovers and probably Vista is for them?

Though I used Windows 2000 professional edition extensively for development as well as normal PC usage of browsing, chatting, editing etc for almost five years I somehow liked Windows XP better – Well, probably except for its stupid Start menu that requires your mouse to be moved vertically and horizontally several times before I could achieve something. I thought Windows XP was almost complete as a UI-rich Operating System until Microsoft announced the arrival of the Vista! Now, let us see if it really a major technology and usability revamp over XP.

If you believe in love at first site, well then Vista is for you. For the first time in Microsoft’s O/S history you get to see all your application windows arranged in an ‘almost 3D’ manner. This is quite an eye-catching feature along with the translucent menu bars. Microsoft calls it an aero desktop – again quite convincing pet name! But beware, the basic home edition doesn’t support flip 3D windows. This is a setback for normal home users who are probably the main target audience for this kind of features.

Beyond the catchy looks the other value add that Vista has is in terms of the number of tools that it is bundled with – Windows Defender and firewall, Windows DVD maker, Instant search, Windows movie maker, a bunch of 3D games to name a few. But will somebody buy an operating system for these fancy tools? God, err… Billy, alone knows. Wait, the worst is still not over – The so called Business Edition is something in which I had great hope on as I thought it is a
professional developer environment. But Microsoft feels that a few administration features like scheduled complete PC backup/restore, remote desktop, drive encryption etc would automatically make your Home edition a Business Edition of the O/S. Should we blame them, probably not. I think they have got their market and anything that is dumped on the users will be gracefully accepted.

The impact that Vista rollout has on corporates would be in terms of additional investment on aero-supported graphics cards. Also, if home edition PCs are equipped with these expensive cards, the prices for the final assembly are surely going to shoot up which will adversely affect the PC market for sometime. One of the main features WDDM (Windows Display Driver Model) that claims to be the PC saviour in case of a display driver failures definitely requires you spending a few additional bucks while upgrading – All this on top of the $300 that you pay for the Vista Business Edition.

All in all, other than for a little bit of enhanced usability for common users and some pyrotechnics that comes along, I would not buy Microsoft Vista. But then, it’s the Microsoft’s market and sooner or later it will get you there. I am counting down days before I am dispossessed off my good old XP :(

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