As I mentioned in my last post I've made my way to Microsoft HQ with a Visit to Canada on the way; this meant flying out through Heathrow Terminal 5.
T5 got off to a bad start, and we made contingency plans for lost luggage, delays etc. The reality: the easiest taxi drop-off I've seen at a UK airport, very short queues to check in in, lower security hassles than most airports, and as pleasant a place to wait for my flight as I've found; and baggage arrived successfully at the other end. The story is doing the rounds that the initial problems weren't just teething troubles, but were down to BA not training its staff on what was new... I understand that they showed up for work on the morning the terminal opened and had to work out where they were supposed to park and go on from there...
Now one of the things that has come up in the meetings I have been in is that we've done a lot of survey work around Vista. 94% of PCs sold via retail have Vista on them. In our recent financial statements to Wall street we said we'd sold 180 Million licences. Corporate customers are buying Vista licences faster than they are deploying, but the same happened with XP, and the rate of deployment of Vista is about the same as XP was at the same point in its life. But Vista is not getting the good press it deserves.
2 years ago, at every meeting I went to someone would try it plug their laptop into a projector to show their slides. And it wouldn't work "Press Function F5" someone would call out "No, this one's a Dell , F5 is for the HP" another would say. "Oh... try F8" . People would slip out of the room to get a coffee or make a quick call. By the time it had been sorted out 5 minutes had passed. It's a very conservative estimate to say I lost 10 minutes a week this way. Over a year that's a whole working day.
Then Vista came along and it has the Mobility Center. Press [Window key] [X] and up it Pops. Click connect to display and WHOOSH the presentation is on the screen. That's a day saved: and knowing what Microsoft consulting Services used to charge for my time, that's worth more than cost of the upgrade licence, and the deployment cost and so on.
I brought this up in the group meeting this morning when someone said something about "people not being able to use PowerPoint because of Vista".. The betas of Nvidia's Vista driver 6 months before launch didn't work when a monitor was plugged in, but 3 Months before launch that problem went away. I must have sat through upwards of 500 PowerPoint presentations since Vista came out, and I've never seen a problem related to Vista. If the battery fails in someone's slide clicker what I hear is "That's vista for you", if the projector won't focus "It's vista". That's wearing a bit thin. What shocked me was someone at the same table leant over after I'd said all that and asked "What was the key combination for that ?"
Earlier in the session, a senior Microsoft person said she'd really valued the training everyone received on XP, and how she missed that with Vista. Anyone can switch from XP to Vista without re-training. You get security benefits, a better network stack, easier deployment but it takes a little time to show people what can be done. How you get the best out of search, use tagging and previews in explorer, turn off the sound for one irritating application without turning them all off. The list goes on. We didn't teach people those things. And not everything about a brand new OS is positive. Some hardware isn't up to the task - I will tell the story of my Home PC another time, but the short form is it needed me to spend £40 on RAM and the 5 year old graphics card doesn't support Glass; it works better and does more than it did under XP. Some things won't have drivers in the early days. The number of drivers available at launch was a creditable 30,000 but that's increased by over 150% (77,000 at SP1). Some applications don't work on a new service pack never mind a new release: not everyone has got to grips with the Application Compatibility Toolkit which has helped to provide an environment where some real horrors can be persuaded to run. And user account control annoys IT Professionals like the seat-belt alarm in my car annoys drivers. I don't need to be told I'm manoeuvring the car with my belt off. I do want to know if my children undo their belts when we're driving down the motorway. I hope the safety parallel is obvious.
We didn't give our own people the skills to talk about these things. And our own gleaming new state of the art product had a "Terminal 5" experience. SP1 for Vista was a milestone which gave people the feeling they could go back and have another look at Vista (in fact almost all of key changes had happened before SP1). I wonder how long it will be before people stop trying to avoid T5.
Update. Fixed several typos. Jet lag. Grrrr.
Linux IS going faster but, not because it's doing less.
Multi-threaded platforms fall into two basic types: Cooperative and Preemptive.
Windows in cooperative: While a native Win program is running, if it has a UI, the main loop contains a call to "PumpMessage." This function retrieves the mouse message and other user actions to pass them the program's specific functions for handling. What also happens in there is processor attention is temporarily passed from the local program to the next program that needs it. A non UI can call "Sleep(1)" or a like function to accomplish the same cooperation.
Linux is preemtive: The kernel is tuned to give each user mode program an interval of processor attention called a slice. On the trailing edge of the slice, the processor state for the local program is stored, the next program's state is put in place then activated.
The difference here is that when a Win hangs, Windows only preempts that program after a maximum interval is reached. The idea is that when a program is taking a long slice, it problably needs it. Such is not always the case...
When that program is hanging, everything in user mode has it's operation delayed.
In Linux, when a program is slow, only the local program operation is affected unless the program is hanging inside a shared resource that allows single thread access only.
Found another Vista weakness last night. I use a USB fob for transporting files to/from work. Opened one file and worked on it with the same application that I used at work. Couldn't 'safely remove' it without shutting Vista down. Then I recalled that I have seen this before with Vista. Does usability testing involve regression testing?
Anyway, your rebuttals are drifting into the 'Yeah well, different people, different experiences...' groove. Does that not underline that for many people out there, the Vista experience has been pants and Microsoft is still blaming the user/hardware when these regressions/flaws happen for some people and not others. (Parenthetically I find this reflects the most annoying part of the Linux community that responds to user issues with a smug, "Well, it worked fine for me."
To be fair there is some valid information in your remarks but I some ways I try to treat my utilization of the desktop in the same way as an average user (servers are more my thing) and view it as a failure on Vista's part when I cannot easily and intuitively find out how to use a feature. By that criteria 'CTRL-X' does not get a passing grade.
If Microsoft wants to rule the OS kingdom, we are at least looking for a benevolent despot instead of a self-serving tyrant(and who has a keen sense of what he is wearing before going on parade.)
If you think Windows Vista sucks then I suggest you take a moment to view the recordings on the Mojave
I've tried to use Vista and get used to it but I...just...can't...stand...it! Far too "user friendly" which ends up being a right pain in the backside for an advanced user who just wants to get stuff done.
Got a Fujitsu laptop for family use and had aggro with the wireless... took me about 10-12 clicks to get into Network settings I could see in XP in 2-3 clicks. Seven buttons for shutdown... why? And no I don't leave any of my PCs left on at the mains, power management on not so boot speed is important to me. Something that's now lightning quick with XP SP3 :)
Also the RAM situation... just about bearable at 2GB if you want smooth performance need 3-4GB from what I've seen and tried out personally. Problem is you've got the 4GB ceiling in 32-bit... what happens if Vista's hardware requirements go up like XPs have over the years, remember XP on 256MB... not any more! Was there ever a plan to make Vista 64-bit only, now that would have moved the game forward and made it a worthwhile upgrade...
Just can't find anything day-to-day that Vista does better to justify the upgrade.
Office 2007 though that's another matter... very nice UI design and some very handy features, if Vista was as good it would have no problems!
I stumbled on this thread by accident, read it, and then a couple of days later read about "Mojave" and thought I had to contribute - something I would never normally do. I retired from a techie profession getting on 5 years ago and now devote myself to fancy woodwork. A computer is a machine for getting things done, not something for intense study and investigation. I have a Netgear wireless router, a 3 yr old XP laptop, a couple of ancient MACs - pre Intel - a Linux box, relic of my last work assignment and a 6 year old Win2k box which 6 months ago was replaced with a new Dell / Vista Home Premium machine. As far as GBytes (2) and GHz (dual cpu) go it's far and away the highest spec'd machine in the house but you would never think so to sit at it. It's slow in general - comparable with the 700MHz Win2k box - very slow on my network compared with the other machines, unuseable on wireless and, unlike XP or Win2k, won't communicate over the network with anything non Microsoft. I don't know or care if the problem is Vista, it was Dell who got my money and as it happens I'm deeply suspicious of McAfee. I just think average Joe ought to be able to buy a machine running the obvious OS from the obvious supplier, get it out of the box and feel he's got value for money. btw., yes I do have SP1 and no there still isn't a driver for my scanner. I haven't reassessed wireless.
The geeks I know divide quite simply into two. The Mac people are all Mac enthusiasts, of course - they always are - and give the answer you'd expect. The Windows guys unanimously say: Didn't I know, hadn't I heard, why didn't I stick with XP? NOONE volunteers to sort me out and James O'Neill, you are the first Vista enthusiast I've encountered.
Where can I get one of those Mojave machines?
Ian I'm finding that a lot of IT professionals (geeks if you prefer) are very conservative in adopting Vista. I know what you mean about not knowing if you should blame Dell or Vista, or McAffee (I don't trust McAffeee either and I'd re-install the OS clean in just about any machine I buy because so many OEMs fill the machines with Crap ware (see. http://pcDeCrapifier.com) And HP lost me as a customer by not doing a driver for my scanner. (Thought it is worth looking at VueScan from Hamrick software for their driver library).
Gerrard. I'm using 2GB in my home machine and it is running with 2 users and fast user switching very nicely. Seriously my 4GB work laptop is not noticably faster.
I'm not going to get into the argument about sleeping the machine, (Things like indexing, de-fraging, shadow copy, malware scans, and so on are designed for machines that sleep). if you really want to power it down, use hibernate. But have a read of this about the options
There really is no need to re-initialize the whole OS every day.
@George "Does that underline etc" ... yes kind of. Some people will always like the old way. "Microsoft blaming users" though - where ? I think we did a poor job of making some of the best features in Vista easy to find (especially for people who were moving up with zero training) and we didn't even give our own people the information they need to engage with folks they met. Take what I just told Gerrard about the shutdown options: how many people realize you can change the default from sleep to shutdown ? That is our fault. There are also some really badly written apps and drivers out there and some bad practice among OEMs who pre-install the OS. Personally I wish we were a bit more willing to go on the warpath against those guys.
@James: "On the war path?" Threatening to beat up one's own customers and contributors is high in the list of "Who and What went wrong and Where." It's on a post-it note attached to a Balmer video, he's holding up a list of IP violations found in other OS' which includes "Save As." You can ask SCO how that would work out...
Instead, how about "What can we do to help and influence companies to create more compatible SYS and INF files? Can MS put a facility in the driver applet that options sending the device signature to MS, compile a db/web site to show hardware mans what to work on and in what priority? Simple and least expensive: XP to Vista driver thunk?"
You, yourself brought up “clean install.” I wonder if MS gives OEM’s a tool similar to “vLite” (www.vLite.net). This is what I use to make a slip-steamed, relevant drivers only version of an install DVD but, this is getting heavily into tinkerers’ territory, which for a non technophile, is counter to the point of PAYING for an OS. As I type this, my pro-Linux business partner is reminding me.
@Gerrard Shaw: While I’m satisfied with being able to poke at my partner about the lead machine next to his desk having XP, he is quick to remind me that neither he nor I were able maintain our workflow; during the pre-SP1 test I had to use Remote Desktop to my XP workstation in order to stay productive and ended up going back to XP, altogether. A great deal of utility software, related to my first post, will have to be replaced, some is proprietary and is simply not yet available nearly two years after V-Launch. (V-Lunch?) The current tools are backed up and perform well, there is no performance gain, or rather, a documented performance loss is involved in changing to the new OS.
We’ll just keep taste testing until we see the performance even out over the SP releases or next OS. Hopefully, it won’t be to long before they figure out that their solution for the interrupt cadence/thread priority was unnecessary and is making machines run slower and warmer.
As for the other 70 machines in our place: ‘loss in productivity associated with user disorientation’ coupled with ‘additional hardware requirements’ and ‘performance loss’ make upgrading cost prohibitive. My partner keeps threatening to change everything to Kubuntu, and I keep telling him that would, at the least, disorient the whole office at once since learning at leisure is not an option for the team.
I think you misunderstood what I said there. We have a bunch of OEMs who fill their machines up with crap-ware and we just smile and say "these are our loyal partners". If it were left to me I'd dish out prizes for "Worst written driver", "Worst configured PC", "Sloppiest installation routing", "Most violations of good programming practice". There was a time when Microsoft was too rough. These days I think we're too soft. When drivers crash and users opt to send the crash dump in we get to see which are the culprits, and we have a gentle chat with the writers.
"Most violations of good programming practice."
James, the people that are here venting, and well in majority, are telling you something that you, as a company, should already know: If you replace a utility device with another that costs more, the new device should be equal or better as a functioning utility.
Putting XP and Vista side by side, Vista looks better, hands down.
Trying to use a PC as a component of workflow, XP crushes Vista to powder even when it's installed from scratch, UAC disabled, network tweaked and SP1 slipstreamed.
At your suggestion, I looked up Mr. Russinovich's writings (I remember him from 95 or so, big in TCP tuning and later involved in breaking a Sony scandal) and, after reading more than one, took the time to write a "plain old open a file for read and open another for write" copy routine just to get a base line for judging an improvement.
Again, using an actual hard test and not speculation or hearsay, the XP with Symantec AV disk to same disk copy was just above the speed of the Vista with no AV disk on bus 0 to other disk on bus 1 transfer rate. Vista's disk to same disk time was 1/3 that of XP's. Reading Mr. Russinovich's articles on file copy and interrupt cadence now says to me that the speed and heat problems ARE in the Vista kernel, itself. Drive manufacturers are bragging on box with "SATA300, 3Gb/s (375MB/sec.)" It's clear to me that the chances an MS OS was used to test this are very low...
You will not get an argument out of me when it comes to OEM's and crappy trialware (time limited MS Works does fall in there, though.
But as a professional, doing his best to make decisions and recommendations on hard evidence, "Where MS went wrong with Vista" was in releasing it with so many changes that weigh more than their XP equivalent.
But don't take my word; Ask Intel or Dell or IBM or HP. They each did private tests for office use and in their products and each concluded that their productivity and their sales were being hurt by "Vista only" policy.
Something MS can do to keep from going wrong with the next OS product: Go full preemptive multitasking and put the IO interrupt cadence back where it was in XP. Falling back to cooperative should be boot option away. The opposite default and switch should be an optional Vista update. Things like UAC should have a big, conspicuous switch during first boot.
UAC; I wonder how many man-hours across the planet are being lost through people answering the same question twice…
Over all, leaner is better. Do things like trying to get a file copy faster than 200MB/sec. Make a system a compiled, one file boot in less than 10 sec. That's the kind of thing we were expecting.
If you want to be the undisputed Masters of the Universe, you have have to truely move ahead of the others again, else, you'll hear things like "Mac sales soared!" and "Linux downloads higher than 10K per day!" Oh, wait...
Looks like you and I are never going to agree on the productivity aspect. Vista saves me tons of time, from quicker finding programs, search, better explorer, protecting me from myself with Shadow copies etc.
I'm pretty certain that all the NT derived OSes are pre-emptive (only the DOS and 9X ones were co-operative).
You don't like UAC... well it does two things one is it makes people aware when they are running things which change the system. And I think that is a good thing - usually: it's a pain in the neck when building a system.
Leaner isn't better. DOS was not better than Windows 1,2 3.x or 9x. Windows 9x was not better than NT. 2000 was not better than XP. On the one hand you complain about changes on the other you suggest that we change the OS to be a single compiled file - which presumably means a reboot for each driver change and earth shaking changes which affect compatibility.
As for "Dell, Intel, IBM and HP" doing private tests which you know the answer to... does that even deserve and answer.
Haven't had to work on many Vista PCs yet but the few times I have I seem to turn into Kevin the suly teeanger shouting "whaaaateverrr" at the UAC prompts... quite funny in a way but incredibly annoying!
Think the 32-bit OS need junking for the next version of Windows and start on a clean base, Vista seems like it's carrying too much weight for want of a better phrase...
Any program that assumes an NT OS is preemptive will be one that is seen as consuming "99%" processor in taskman. Only console loops are sliced by default. Even services must at least call "Sleep" to relieve processor load up.
I challenge you to whip out a C++ compiler and try it.
Intel announced that it would not upgrade to Vista from XP because of the additional system requirements. *Don't they manufacture/sell the needed components?
A group of hardware mans lead by Dell and HP invoked a "Downgrade to XP by Request" campaign when they realized that a significant number of people were not buying PC's from them altogether when XP and XP marked drivers were not an option.
I come from the world of SCADA. I live and work in Detroit.
Large machines are no longer primarily controlled and monitored by panels with knobs and gauges. We use PC's. I can tell you that I have written systems for processes on which a plain old "E-Stop" button is not safe to use.
While a compiled one-file OS may not be the best option for Joe-Tweaker who has a new video card every month, as an OPTION, it may just save some electricity, making a positive impact on the planet vs. the previous OS and, in my town, save someone's life. To understand what I mean and how my clients use your OS, lookup the origin of DDE.
You brought up timesavings, in particular "Search" and I'm guessing you mean the new indexing. Probably works nicely if you have a "Surf and doc edit" setup, about 15000 to 20000 total files in system. It hurts if you are a developer - 215000 files in MS DevStudio alone. Got rid of that right after UAC…
2000 was a definite improvement over NT4. Relating XP to 2000, I have never seen a BSoD under XP that did not have to do my debugging someone else’s kernel mode driver but, by bringing up this succession, you are underlining my argument: We accepted these migrations because of a high level of compatibility and a measurable IMPROVEMENT in the PC as a utility.
James, it may not be correct but my perception is that you work for MS and your jobs is to travel to companies and show them the neat new stuff in MS' lineup. I don't expect you to say, "Yeah, you're right. Our new OS is crap."
I'm telling you, as an outsider that is nonbiased:
- SLI does not work on Vista out of box, needs MS patch. Patch came months after V-Launch.
- Game frame rates are lower in DX10 until a patch. The patch came more than 6 months after V-Launch.
Many game enthusiasts stayed with XP to keep the frustration level down. After a long bout with OS generated messages "system low on virtual memory" when it wasn't and "this program is hung and will be shutdown" when it wasn't (CoD4 in particular while in a league match) I had to review what I was getting from this OS.
The ability to play games that a console is not capable is a large selling point of PC's. The things we used to wow our customers perform visibly slower than what this OS replaced. This is why when someone says in public "Vista aint so bad" they get jumped.
What I will take on speculation is that it's probably having a negative impact on the market, PC games in particular. The EA's and Activisions can tell you if I'm correct.
BTW, DOS was better than Win 3.1 and then 95 if your thing was playing games. Just ask Rational Systems, the people that sold DOS4GW to developers at about $10K US back then.
Then a REAL innovation, Windows Game API which later became DirectX with Direct3D, caused people to move forward. Between DX and OpenGL, by the time 98 came along, people had already forgotten what that "SET BLASTER thingy" had been for.
Personally, I have a copy of Vista Ultimate sitting on my shelf, which was won at a Microsoft event. It's still sitting on my shelf. I'm intrigued by Glass and DX10, but I have to use this computer for my livelihood as a self-employed developer. So Vista will sit on my shelf till I've got a second PC to put it on, because I still have to support old VB6 apps with ocx controls from companies that don't even exist anymore. Not typical, I know, just my situation.
I have a customer who can't put Vista on their machines because they're dependent on a parallel port printer, and Vista discontinued support for parallel ports. I presume it fell under security holes, but still. That's their situation. And they're not the only ones I know with legacy apps and hardware who aren't upgrading because of it. I suspect even some of the large corporations that are slow to adopt Vista are in similar boats. Enough legacy equipment, software, or processes to make upgrading to Vista a very expensive proposition with a new version of the OS now perhaps a year away.
As for Office 2007, I like it alright, with one huge exception. Outlook 2007 is a pain for those of us with large mailboxes, because it slows down the whole computer, sometimes to a full halt for several seconds (even on my 4GB RAM machine) whenever it starts pulling in email and often when opening up a mail message. So far, everything I've seen says Microsoft's solution is to tell you to empty your mailbox and it won't run slow and that the new file system for Outlook is causing massive numbers of reads and writes when it deals with mail. The necessity of starting and stopping the Word engine to render the HTML emails is also slowing it down. Fix these speed issues without making me delete my email and I'd be quite happy with it.
I think your trying to convince yourself. I have a high spec machine, Im an experienced developer. When I upgraded from XP to vista my hard disk thrashed constantly and my machine seemed much slower and less stable. That was my perception, that was my first impression, that was my experience. sorry.