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August 19th, 2007, 10:29
I don't want to sound like a Microsoft apologist here, but the fact is that WinXP was fundamentally broken in many very significant ways. I just took a laptop out of mothballs that's been unused for about two years (XP SP2). The update process took about four hours, and involved well over a hundred updates, most of the security-related. XP hasn't really evolved into a pretty nice OS -- the patching system for it has evolved into a pretty nice patching system.

So basically Microsoft *had* to do something drastic to it. The result is Vista.

Is it perfect? Of course not. Backward compatibility was a major design priority, which also means carrying over some bad architectural decisions and a quite a few bugs and flaws.

Is it better than XP? Yes, it is. As far as I can tell, everything that could be fixed about the Windows architecture without breaking backward compatibility has been fixed, and it mostly works extremely well. (Good luck to that PC editor to getting hibernation and sleep working on a Linux system, btw.)

Is it the best possible solution? I don't know. If I had been in charge, I would have dumped the kernel and started over, and done backward compatibility VMWare style in a virtualization box, eventually migrating it out. But I'm pretty damn sure Microsoft thought that option through as well, and decided there were good reasons not to go that way. (You think driver support is bad for Vista? Imagine what it had been like if not a single XP driver of any kind could have run on it.)

Finally, about "forcing people to move to Vista:" Microsoft clearly has a very strong business incentive to do just that. Supporting two OS's is twice as expensive as supporting one. XP needs more patching than Vista, and running those patch servers isn't free either. The faster the market drops XP and goes Vista, the better for MS, so you bet your life they're going to do every trick in the book to get people to do just that.

Besides, it's not like we're out of options -- Ubuntu is a perfectly decent desktop OS, and there are three perfectly capable gaming consoles out there. So if you really don't want to go Vista, for whatever reason, now or on your next machine, then don't.

So, people, let's keep things in perspective, shall we?
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Prime Junta

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