Why Vista will be GREAT!

by Chris Seibold Apr 25, 2006

There’s an old joke, one you’ve likely heard before, which goes something like this:

Q: “Why are you beating your head against the wall?”
A: “It feels so good when I stop.”

After you are through suturing your sides, you may want to rethink the joke because it tells us why Windows Vista will be great. As the joke notes, even the mediocre can seem pretty good when viewed from a carefully chosen perspective. Vista may be this decade’s version of Star Wars Episode I (loads of special effects, little else of interest) but in the end, the failing’s of Vista won’t really matter because it only has to be better than XP.

Before traveling down the “how great Windows Vista will be” path any further, it is a wise move by any author writing for Mac site to explicitly state a few things: Vista is just an OS X rip off, there is no conceivable way Vista will be better than OS X, and (most importantly) boy howdy, OS X is great.

That important message noted, we can return to the fate of Windows Vista. The actual release of Vista will be immediately followed by a Mandelbaum like “It’s go time” chant from the Mac and Linux communities. The list of features once promised for, and now missing from, Vista will be dragged out. Security holes will be highlighted and held aloft for widespread mockery. Any aspect of Vista that can possibly be seen as derivative of OS X will be labeled as outright Microsoft theft. Even the final ship date, whether tomorrow or sometime in ‘09, will generate a massive amount mirth for the staunchly anti-Microsoft among us.

While the minions of the Macintosh and the lemmings of Linux are busily heaping delicious derision on every facet of Vista that can possibly be interpreted as a flawed, their ranks will be joined, surprisingly, by the Windows Pros. These are the acolytes of the Windows world, the folk that poke around in the registry and modify the .dll files, these are the people who can actually remove spyware once the PC is infected. These people will not be satisfied. They will grouse about the lack of actual advantages in Vista, they will lament that the last good release of Windows carried the NT suffix. Their complaints, like the shrill whines of the Mac and Linux folks, just won’t matter.

As it turns out, not everyone is interested in computers. You, one can tell because you’re visiting Apple Matters, are one of the select few interested in the complete computing experience. While you are the exception, it is important to remember that, for the masses, a computer is little more than a weed eater. A weed eater spins a piece of nylon string at incredible speeds, when string meets overgrown grass, the grass loses. Occasionally, the string breaks and a length of the weed chopping nylon is slung off, invariably smacking the one who wields the trimmer squarely in the shin. The impact draws a little blood and raises a painful welt. Most yard owners rationalize the injury by chalking the incident up to the price of speedy yard work.

Should the weed eater stop cutting grass successfully, for whatever reason, the average yard owner will blame the weed eater, not the trimmer string or the grass. Most consumers view their computer the same way they view their weed eater. They don’t see the OS as something separate from the machine, they see it as an extension of the machine. Should the computer fail to get on the internet they’ll blame the machine and hope that all it needs is more trimmer string, errr, an adjustment in Windows.

To continue with the analogy, when you buy a new trimmer you compare it, reflexively, to your old trimmer. You’ll marvel that is starts with one pull, regard the quieter muffler with a grateful smile and appreciate the modern looks of the new plastics. Asked how much better your new trimmer is than the old one, you’ll say you wondered how you ever put up with that temperamental piece of garbage. Of course, you are comparing the new trimmer with a ten year old, badly maintained, worn out hunk of junk so the comparison isn’t very fair. Were both trimmers in equally pristine condition, you might note the features of the new trimmer don’t really add too the lawn trimming experience and your shins are still just as blood stained and lumpy.

For the vast majority of people buying a new computer the experience will be extraordinarily similar to the experience of replacing their old, worn out, trimmer. They’ve decided to get a new computer because the old machine isn’t performing very well. When that person fires up a machine with Vista preinstalled they are going to be thrilled. They’ll drool over the new eye candy, experience euphoria when investigating the new search feature and become orgiastic wihen they see Gadgets (if Dashboard widgets are any indicator the infatuation with Gadgets will be short lived).

And, that, quite simply, is why Vista will be regarded as “great” by most computer users. In the minds of the truly computer literate, people like you, Microsoft’s next offering may strike users as an example of a “me too” OS, but most people won’t be comparing Vista to the latest Linux build or to Leopard. Most people will be comparing Vista to XP (or 2000 or 98). In the end, to be great, Vista doesn’t have to be better than anything but the hardly maintained, spam filled, misplaced file ridden, mess of a computer it is replacing. So, when you ask yourself if Vista will be great, remember the competition isn’t very stiff.



  • Yess…. ‘espoused’....

    I think people are gonna care when they spend $200 to upgrade to nothing.

    Luke Mildenhall-Ward had this to say on Apr 26, 2006 Posts: 299
  • you don’t have the word espouse in england?

    Chris Seibold had this to say on Apr 26, 2006 Posts: 354
  • here are some of the features found in windows vista ultimate edition. most of the features that are business orientated are not found in Mac OS X. that is from “Support for two physical CPUs” to the end. note i said some not all. of course Mac OS X has some features that vista doesn’t have. but so you know that windows vista is not as featureless as James seems to keep on ranting.

    Feature of windows vista ultimate edition

    Windows Aero user interface (full) • • • •
    Tablet PC support • • • •
    Windows SideShow • • • •
    Scheduled backup of user files • • • •
    Back up user files to a network device • • • •
    PC-to-PC Sync • • • •
    Network Projection • • • •
    Presentation Settings • • • •
    Up to 10 simultaneous SMB connections • • • •
    Windows Collaboration (full functionality) • • • •
    Premium games [1] • • • •
    Home Only
    Parental Controls [2] •    •
    Themed Slide Shows •    •
    Windows Media Center (supports CableCARD, HDTV, and Media Center Extenders such as Xbox 360) •    •
    Windows Movie Maker [2] •    •
    Windows Movie Maker HD •    •
    Windows DVD Maker •    •
    Business Only
    Support for two physical CPUs   • • •
    Support for 128+GB RAM (64-bit CPU) [3]  • • •
    Windows Mobility Center (full functionality)  • • •
    Remote Desktop (Host and Client)  • • •
    Windows Fax and Scan [4]  • • •
    Windows ShadowCopy   • • •
    System image-based backup/recovery   • • •
    Encrypting File System   • • •
    Wireless network provisioning   • • •
    Desktop deployment tools for managed networks.  • • •
    Policy-based quality of service for networking   • • •
    Windows Rights Management Services (RMS) Client   • • •
    Control installation of device drivers   • • •
    Network Access Protection Client Agent   • • •
    Pluggable logon authentication architecture   • • •
    Integrated Smart Card management   • • •
    Domain join (Windows Server/SBS)  • • •
    Group Policy support   • • •
    Offline files and folder support   • • •
    Client-Side Caching   • • •
    Roaming user profiles   • • •
    Folder redirection   • • •
    Centralized power management through Group Policy   • • •
    Internet Information Server [5]  • • •
    Enterprise Only
    Windows BitLocker drive encryption   • •
    Support for multiple UI languages     • •
    Subsystem for UNIX-based Applications     • •
    Virtual PC Express     • •

    HP=Home Premium
    BU=Business Edition
    EN=Enterprise (volume license only)


    Elodan had this to say on Apr 27, 2006 Posts: 1
  • Why am I distinctly unimpressed by that list.

    Benji had this to say on Apr 27, 2006 Posts: 927
  • Ben, what are you talking about?! Tablet PC support and up to 10 simultaneous SMB connection!! How can you not be impressed?

    Luke Mildenhall-Ward had this to say on Apr 27, 2006 Posts: 299
  • OK OK. And, I mean, Windows Movie Maker: wow.

    Benji had this to say on Apr 27, 2006 Posts: 927
  • “Premium games [1] • • • •”

    I hope they’ll include Doom 3 or at least Half-life 2… ;-] The videocard, powerful enough for Vista’s iCandy, will definitely be able to handle those games…

    I wonder what “Subsystem for UNIX-based Applications • • ” means… Will I be able to play Mac games on a PC? ;-] Please, please! I want to be able to play Mac games on a PC! Of course, I won’t play them, it just might be nice to be able to do it… ;-]

    “Windows Media Center (supports CableCARD, HDTV, and Media Center Extenders such as Xbox 360) • • “

    I thought Xbox 360 is a gaming console… Now they tell me it’s an extender… I’m so confused… ;-]

    Frosty Grin had this to say on Apr 27, 2006 Posts: 33
  • LOL. I know… what is up with that, ‘ability’ to play ‘premium games’ ?? And why is it only on professional version?? So people on Home can’t play Half Life?? Haha.

    Luke Mildenhall-Ward had this to say on Apr 28, 2006 Posts: 299
  • Simple. Apple designs an OS for users. Microsoft designs an OS for systems administrators. (Can you really explain what all those listed features do?)

    IIRC, Paul Thurott just did an article on how the security pop-ups in Vista are so frequent and wordy that no one will ever read them and just hit the Enter key, repeatedly.

    OS X lets a user find a wireless network and join it. Vista has a wizard to get you through all the necessary settings. (Don’t personally know if this specific example is totally true, but the overall user experience portrayed is a true representation.)

    Apple offers OS X and OS X for servers. Microsoft offers four versions of Vista (and another four for Europe/export, and I think another, minimal OS for developing countries).

    So, I’m a home user who wants to set up a wireless network, do I have to get Vista BU to get “Wireless network provisioning?” I want to communicate with a relative in the old country, do I have to get Vista EN to get “Support for multiple UI languages?”  I’m a home user who wants to encrypt my files from spying spouse and use a dual CPU to not take a performance hit; can I need Vista BU to get an “Encrypting File System” and “Support for two physical CPUs?” And get Vista UL to get “PC-to-PC Sync?” Where’s my music, photo and web design apps?

    Get a Mac, it just works.

    ziggybopper had this to say on May 10, 2006 Posts: 5
  • smile

    Benji had this to say on May 14, 2006 Posts: 927
  • Ben! WTF are you doing? I’m getting email after email from Applematters saying: “Ben Hall has just bumped another old article from last week - do ya wanna go see what he did??”

    Luke Mildenhall-Ward had this to say on May 14, 2006 Posts: 299
  • Sorry sorry I have these moments in the early hours of the morning sometimes when I can’t sleep and suddenly am gripped by the need to go to apple matters and dig up long forgotten arguments. I guess I’m a sort of wer-troll.

    Benji had this to say on May 15, 2006 Posts: 927
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