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Microsoft Internal Emails Show Dismay With Vista 662

bfwebster writes "Microsoft is currently facing a class-action suit over its designation of allegedly under-powered hardware as being 'Vista Capable.' The discovery process of that lawsuit has now compelled Microsoft to produce some internal emails discussing those issues. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has published extracts of some of those emails, along with a link to a a PDF file containing a more extensive email exchange. The emails reflect a lot of frustration among senior Microsoft personnel about Vista's performance problems and hardware incompatibilities. They also appear to indicate that Microsoft lowered the hardware requirements for 'Vista Capable' in order to include certain lower-end Intel chipsets, apparently as a favor to Intel: 'In the end, we lowered the requirement to help Intel make their quarterly earnings so they could continue to sell motherboards with 915 graphics embedded.' Read the whole PDF; it is informative, interesting, and at times (unintentionally) funny."
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Microsoft Internal Emails Show Dismay With Vista

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  • At least... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wellingtonsteve ( 892855 ) <> on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:21PM (#22590618)
    .. this shows that Microsoft are not misguided/stupid enough to genuinely believe Vista is a Good Operating System.. Let's hope they learn from these mistakes before Windows 7 comes out.
  • Re:Shocked (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <`dadinportland' `at' `'> on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:23PM (#22590632) Homepage Journal
    Don't by so short sighted.

    It's not about making a decision based on profit, it is about a decision to deceive and lie to make a profit. Big difference.

  • by Impy the Impiuos Imp ( 442658 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:23PM (#22590636) Journal
    Are they going to reimburse me for buying extra RAM for my daughter's new Toshiba laptop that had 512 MB of RAM with Vista, officially offered for sale at a store that way, but with 64 MB of it reserved for video RAM, leaving the system with a whopping 448 MB of RAM? And it takes about 10 minutes to start up because the HDD is running virtually nonstop, thrashing as it pages in the minimal amount of stuff needed? And opening a web page or a simple program takes almost as long, for the same reason?

    Someone decided that was a valid, acceptable configuration for a Windows Vista machine.
  • Re:Enough.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Amouth ( 879122 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:29PM (#22590698)
    considering that this is a tech/nerd site.. and considering that MS has a very very large portion of the OS market. i would assume it logical that the number of articals on this site be in the same proportion about them.

    sorry if it bothers you .. jsut filter it or stay in the linux or other sections
  • by Anita Coney ( 648748 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:37PM (#22590816) Homepage
    "From my point of view, the reason to upgrade to Vista is its significantly higher security than XP, let alone the earlier OS's"

    If higher security is the reason, wouldn't it be better to switch to Linux or OSX? Just asking.
  • A pity, truely (Score:5, Insightful)

    by downix ( 84795 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:37PM (#22590818) Homepage
    Microsoft dropped the ball on this one. It is not a Bob, or ME situation, with a strong alternative sitting in the wings. This time, they bet the farm, and now have a lot of crow to eat.

    What saddens me is that I want to like Vista, but I can't. My sister loves it, but to get to run it she has now 8x the PC that I do (Athlon64 x2 vs my ancient Socket-A Sempron), and I still crunch her into the ground for performance in many cases. Microsoft has managed to become the victim of it's own success, I believe. They worked on the premise that hardware would progress faster than it did, but people have hit the point of "good enough." More and more I don't see people upgrading their PC's. I used to pick up used machines easily that were just 2-3 years old. Now, this Sempron 2800 is the last one I got this way, and I've had it for years. People just aren't upgrading. Bodes poorly for Vista.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:38PM (#22590830)
    "Someone decided that was a valid, acceptable configuration for a Windows Vista machine."

    That would have been you, or your daughter since nobody forced you to buy it. Hell, 512MB on a laptop with XP is barely adequate so it should be no surprise that it's barely adequate for Vista. Especially with all the shovelware it most likely came with!

    Add some more memory to that beast, it's relatively cheap these days and it will make a world of difference.

  • by KublaiKhan ( 522918 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:39PM (#22590838) Homepage Journal
    With all due respect, if the only improvements are 'security' and 'bling'--then why not just lock down XP with some 3rd party software, or run a different, more secure, OS altogether?

    Why go through the expense and bother of upgrading to a brand new OS, one with significant growing pains?
  • Can AMD use this? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cryophallion ( 1129715 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:40PM (#22590860)
    I wonder if AMD can use this in a lawsuit of their own due to anti-competitive practices (On the other hand, it would be burning a bridge with the largest OS manufacturer, but since Intel appears to be getting preferential treatment, there may be something much more sinister below the surface). Not only that, but shouldn't Microsoft's shareholders be kinda ticked? By allowing this to happen, Microsoft opened the door to this lawsuit (something that will not help their investors), while helping out another companies investors, which it would appear was not in Microsoft's investors best interest.
  • by ahabswhale ( 1189519 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:41PM (#22590870)
    I just read their internal emails and it appears that they changed the drivers required for Vista such that due to new DRM A/V requirements in Vista, most existing drivers were made inoperable and, in many cases, would never be fixed. They then colluded with Intel to say that machines based on the 915 chipset were sufficient to run the OS so that Intel would have good quarterly results.

    To summarize, they just don't care about the customer. At no point do the emails indicate them making any decisions based on what's best for their customers. It makes it pretty obvious why Vista has been such a failure so far. They can't even get the service pack right.

    I'm not big on the idea of predicting corporate downfalls but you really have to wonder whether a company that makes such incredibly bad decisions is long for this world.
  • by Foofoobar ( 318279 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:42PM (#22590896)
    I've been using Vista since it came out and have helped to install it on several machines in our office. I can honestly say now that all of those machines I have had to reinstall XP on and with good reason; hardware incompatibilities, software incompatibilities, slowdowns, crashes, freezeups.

    I love the new Vistas look and feel but unfortunately it just doesn't perform the way it was promised and they did rush it to market. I think that any company that rusahes a product to market and the consumer ends up paying for it, should be punished for such negligence. If this were a car manufacturer or a drug manufacturer, you would see the same thing. So why should Microsoft be any different?

  • by Centurion5 ( 1180605 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:47PM (#22590940)
    I would rather be provided drivers to downgrade to XP than any refund rebate. They deliberately do not supply the drivers to keep you from abandoning Vi$ta. I own a license for XP, just let me use it!
  • by unity100 ( 970058 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:47PM (#22590958) Homepage Journal
    When people are able to run Lord of the rings online in medium graphics level setting with a mid range graphics card, 1 Gb ram and Xp whereas getting almost the same performance with people on vista and high end gear, you can say that the latter os fails in performance.

    and dont feed me the 'but those are games' bullshit. for, games and entertainment comprise almost half of the activity on computers, and even for business, only idiots would want to put vista on a client/standalone computer in the office, having the need to pour a few hundred bucks just for being able to run vista so that the computer is going to conduct the same work it did with xp.

    on gaming front microsoft tried to push vista with the 'high performance' bullcrap to gamers with dx10. correcting - they FORCED it, and almost noone took it. now they have to oblige with nvidia's needs for putting dx10 capability for xp, because people are just evading not only vista, but high end graphics cards too, because they need dx10 to deliver the latest, but noone wants to take the vista sh@t just because of it.

    sorry people. you in microsoft have utterly failed with vista, and you need to go back to drawing board, even, put on your thinking caps and reevaluate your approach to customer and their needs.

    we are not the witless herd of the 90s anymore.
  • Re:At least... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by plague3106 ( 71849 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:48PM (#22590972)
    There's a difference between "we'd like it to be more compatible and run on lower hardware specs" and "Vista just sucks."
  • by Enrique1218 ( 603187 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:48PM (#22590980) Journal
    That was always the gripe I had with integrated graphics chipsets. IGV take away the system memory and the OEM's "innocently" forget to do the subtraction when quoting the actual system memory in their marketing material.
  • by plague3106 ( 71849 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:50PM (#22591004)
    Oh, you know what would happen. People would complain about an "upgrade treadmill everyone is forced upon."
  • by WhiteWolf666 ( 145211 ) <> on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:55PM (#22591066) Homepage Journal
    What metric are you using to say Vista is safer?

    The best metric is per-system average number of security failures. Not potential vulnerabilities; "Real-World" functionality. Otherwise, you can't hold up the "MS" software ecosystem as a feature of Vista.
  • Re:Shocked (Score:4, Insightful)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <`dadinportland' `at' `'> on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:55PM (#22591074) Homepage Journal
    It was confusing, all their partners showed that it would be.
    All there commercials advertised Vista Ready stickers meant it was Vista ready and was shown with a computer running Aero.

    The market clearly wasn't ready for it, but MS sure implied everything you have would work fine.
    Knowing it wouldn't.

    There where some people that wanted to advertise Vista Basic and Vista capable but MS decided against that.

    No, they shoved a product that wasn't ready out the door, knew they where doing it and hoped customers wouldn't complain too much.

  • by mzs ( 595629 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:56PM (#22591092)
    3 and 2 GHz procs and 1 and 2 Gigs of RAM are minimal HW!? I run Leopard happily on a 1 GHz eMac at home and Tiger on a 450 Mhz G3 tower at work both with 768 MB of RAM. FreeBSD and XP run great on a 750 MHz PC with 512 MB RAM at work as well.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:58PM (#22591116)
    Call me a troll or flamer. But come on, even tho I know you are very possible trying to be funny and serious at the same time. But not everything is fixable with *nix or OSX. People look into upgrading their Windows system to a more secure Windows. Not totally changing platform. So please stop suggesting other OS. I have checked out Linux (and I do like it) but some times I just have to log into Windows to get some stuff done right. No OS is the magic wand.
  • by jerkychew ( 80913 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:58PM (#22591126) Homepage
    It's not just the chipset per se, it's the chipset + embedded graphics. You're getting good Aero performance because you're running an AGP card.
  • by d3ac0n ( 715594 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:59PM (#22591140)
    I'm fairly certain that most people are familiar with the idiom "like a champ" meaning; "to do something very well". Not quite sure what you are talking about though...
  • by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @03:01PM (#22591178) Homepage
    I see Windows Update mentioned a lot in the PDF.

    Has it ever had a third party driver on it? I've never seen one. I always assumed it was like Windows Media Player which always says "looking for a codec" then "codec not found" - even if it's the most common codec ever which is missing.

    Microsoft could fix an awful lot of problems by making Windows Update actually do something useful. I don't know why they don't do it...

  • by d23tek ( 1208848 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @03:01PM (#22591182) Homepage
    While you may be correct that the best reason to upgrade to Vista is the improved security, that was clearly not how the product was primarily advertised to the general public. People were shown ads with amazing Aero eye-candy, and told that Vista was the way to get it. When purchasing a computer that says "Vista capable," it's a reasonable assumption for a non-technical user (to which those ads were targeted) that buying a "Vista capable" computer will deliver the most prominently advertised feature of Vista. I'm not saying it's a bulletproof case, because the small print was there, but it's rather self-contradictory to advertise Windows Vista as being easier than ever for novice users, but also expecting same novice users to understand the system requirements of a GUI that is an optional component of an OS.
  • by Itninja ( 937614 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @03:05PM (#22591246) Homepage

    they just don't care about the customer
    It could be argued that no American, publicly traded corporation really cares about the customer. They care about profits and, to a slightly lesser degree, their stockholders. Now if they could generate revenue and make decent profit by providing an awesome product at a great price, then they probably would (and maybe some corporation do). This would be perceived by the end user as 'caring', but really that is just a by-product. Caring is not in the corporate American equation.
  • by threeturn ( 622824 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @03:07PM (#22591274)
    Quote from email to Ballmer in the thread:

    "People who rely on using all the features of their hardware will not see availability [of drivers] for some time, if ever, depending on the mfg. The built-in drivers never have all the features but do work. For example, I could print with my Brother printer and use it as a stand-alone fax. But network setup, scanning, print to fax must come from Brother".

    Yes - buying Vista is a really good idea if you want to keep any existing hardware.

  • by pallmall1 ( 882819 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @03:11PM (#22591344)

    That would have been you, or your daughter since nobody forced you to buy it. Hell, 512MB on a laptop with XP is barely adequate so it should be no surprise that it's barely adequate for Vista.
    Yeah, like the average shopper at Best Buy is supposed to know this. They don't. And the stickers were supposed to relieve the shopper of the uncertainty regarding the hardware's ability to run the latest Windows operating system. Microsoft said, "trust us," and the shoppers who did got fucked. But that's no surprise, either. It's the Microsoft way.
  • by TheVoice900 ( 467327 ) <kamil&kamilkisiel,net> on Thursday February 28, 2008 @03:11PM (#22591360)
    They do care about their customers. Except that their customers are not us, they are Dell, HP, et al.
  • by BrianGKUAC ( 919321 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @03:13PM (#22591396)

    I have an old XP box (Dell GX620, ~ 3 GHz processor with 1 GByte of RAM)
    Am I the only person around here that doesn't think this computer is old? Maybe I'm missing something here, but I always thought there was something distinctly prestigious about being able to take something that's maybe 6 years old and make it outperform something that's 1 year old at the same task. Maybe we've entered a newer era of techieness in which the Joneses-style competition is more important than optimization. Meh.

    *returns to cave full of 'archaic' hardware*
  • by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @03:13PM (#22591406) Homepage
    What about my laptop that's listed as Vista Capable, yet only has 512 MB of RAM, Intel GMA, and 1.7 GHz Celeron. Vista certainly doesn't run well on that, no matter how much tweaking I've tried. Sounds like your machines that work fine with Vista have much better specs than a lot of the Vista Capable hardware being sold. Your systems don't really reflect some of the low end computers being passed off as Vista Capable. One has a processor that's almost twice as fast, with twice as much RAM, and the other has a processor that's about the same speed, yet has 4 times more RAM. Mandriva Linux runs quite smoothly, even with Compiz (3D desktop) for comparison's sake. And that's without any tweaks necessary. If Mandriva can provide all the eye-candy without needing a high end computer, why can't Vista?
  • by sm62704 ( 957197 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @03:13PM (#22591412) Journal
    It attempted to download and run something on the computer I'm using. There's an "extra anonymous modifier" om the post so it's a registered slashdot user.

    I have nobody in my "foes" list but if this guy had not posted anonymously, he'd have been the first. Is there any way to unmask these asshats? Maybe the program he was trying to plant was benign, but I really doubt it. At any rate, that is the last link I click from an A/C post.
  • by WGR ( 32993 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @03:18PM (#22591468) Journal
    Third party software can't secure the kernel, which is why you need an OS change. Other OS won't run most Windows software.

    The problem with Vista is that to increase security, the OS had to restrict the ability to so easily add software that malware also was easy to install. This meant going to the Unix model of separating administrator accounts from user accounts by default. This caused problems in many device drivers which had not been properly written to use user level privileges by default. Many device manufactures really don't have smarts to write secure drivers, especially those who are trying to sell in the cost conscious consumer market.

  • by TheOldSchooler ( 850678 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @03:20PM (#22591508)
    Well contrary to popular portrayal, psychopaths are usually pretty unorganized people.
  • by codepunk ( 167897 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @03:27PM (#22591636)
    How much OS do you need to run a browser?

    The OS is pretty much a moot point for most people now. Most everyone I know uses a PC to run a browser
    and email. Sure they may use office or whatever occasionally but the browser and perhaps a email client
    can just about get you anything you need.
  • by sm62704 ( 957197 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @03:28PM (#22591658) Journal
    Insightful? If the box says it will run Vista (or if the Vista box says it will run on 512mb) it should run Vista with 512mb or it's a classic bait and switch. And you shouldn't have to reconfigure anything or add any hardware, it should WORK. Speaking of which, my box at home has 512mb and it runs XP fine. Most of the time anyway; sometimes it has trouble booting, bluescreening and rebooting itself repeatedly.

    I have better uses for my money [] (like paying my eye doctor, Dr. Odin) than buying yet more memory for a computer that worked fine with 98 and works fine with mandriva/KDE. If I were the guy who typed the GP post I'd be pissed too.

    Did thieves just take over all corporations this century, or was I just not paying attention the first half century of my life? When did lying become acceptable?

    Microsoft and its employees should stop making excuses for their piss-poor crapware and actually produce a quality product instead of the bloated buggy crap they shovel out the door these days. If I bought whole computers instead of building them from spare parts I'd buy a mac.
  • by RAMMS+EIN ( 578166 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @03:35PM (#22591752) Homepage Journal
    ``Vista has a security advantage over XP, all other things being equal. Linux cannot make the "all other things being equal" claim.''

    Neither can Vista.
  • by curmudgeon99 ( 1040054 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @03:38PM (#22591804)
    To all the Microsoft apologists out there--this is your Waterloo. Here we have a concrete example of how Microsoft decided to do one of their corporate buddies a huge favor--letting them meet their f'n quarterly numbers. So, Microsoft chose to help one of their rich pals over every single one of their users. That should tell you who they value. And the common perception that Vista is a piece of crap? Confirmed internally! This is just despicable.
  • Re:At least... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sm62704 ( 957197 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @03:43PM (#22591910) Journal
    Let's hope they learn from these mistakes before Windows 7 comes out.

    As someone who doesn't like Microsoft software and fervently wishes it weren't ubiquitous, I hope they DON'T learn from their mistakes. I'd like to see 90% of all computers sold running various distros of Linux, or actually any other OS but Windows. If Microsoft keeps it up that's what's going to hapopen. Don't discourage them!
  • by lenova ( 919266 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @03:44PM (#22591916)
    To be fair, the horrible grammar/spelling is probably because Ballmer is replying to emails on the road from a smartphone. I have found most managers reply with one liners like this when punching messages onto tiny smartphone keys.
  • by RAMMS+EIN ( 578166 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @03:45PM (#22591926) Homepage Journal
    ``and dont feed me the 'but those are games' bullshit''

    Is there any good reason to run Windows besides games?
  • by RAMMS+EIN ( 578166 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @03:49PM (#22591990) Homepage Journal
    What I've always found funny about Vista is that it had poor compatibility with existing Windows applications, and abysmal hardware support. You know, the two things that (rightly) prevent people from using another OS instead of Windows...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 28, 2008 @04:10PM (#22592262)
    I've usually found upper management folk who take the time to write at least a legible, somewhat correctly punctuated email to be the best organized and least flustered of the management group. They are also the most pleasurable to work with. The converse--I've found--is also true.

    I work directly under a person who writes emails in a manner very similar to Ballmer's, as evidenced in the PDF. It can be painful to work with him, as you must be careful not to write a too wordy or complicated email. Otherwise, the full contents of the email will not be digested and you end up frustrated with unresolved issues.

    (Posted anonymously for obvious reasons)
  • by dissy ( 172727 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @04:10PM (#22592272)

    "From my point of view, the reason to upgrade to Vista is its significantly higher security than XP, let alone the earlier OS's"
    Ok, first i was actually about to reply to the GP and defend you.
    However, I assumed you meant what you said quoted up there, the main reason to upgrade from XP to Vista was security. Or at least by 'earlier OS's' you meant earlier versions of Windows.

    And sure, valid point that would be!


    OS X is definitely not more secure than Vista. Standard Linux consumer distros are not either.

    First off, so mods wont get 'facts' confused with 'troll', i need to post this url at the top: []
    This will be explained nearly towards the bottom of this post alot better, however is proof your statement is false in a black&white binary world. If you are interested in real world facts where it isnt so clear cut, read on...

    An OS that ships with zero services facing the internet (or LAN for that matter, since there is little difference outside of Windows World) is about 100% secure. No version of windows since 3.11 (IE any one with a tcp stack built in) has passed here, and still does.

    'But then you add services' you say. Sure, ok. Failure again!

    First, we should make the distinction between vender apps and 3rd party apps acting as services. We do this cuz it wouldnt be fair to blame MS for Joe Blows 'super secure internet cursors package' that connects to a remote server plaintext with no auth and executes a list of commands in a file.

    Technically all linux services are 3rd party. However, lets bend the rule in windows favor here, and count the 'main' services included in almost all linux distros as not-3rd party (despite the fact they are), such as openssh, apache, bind, etc.

    More linux services out of the box have been secure than windows ones, and for the linux ones that have had problems, they have been announced and patched/fixed generally in the time span one sleeps or goes to work in. Windows security bugs are usually swept under the rug and hidden from public view for at least a week, more commonly a month, and in a few rare extreams for years. (See below for proof)
    So thats 16-24 HOURS to a fix for opensource apps, and whenever next tuesday rolls around for Windows (IE up to 7 days if the hole is major sever and reported minutes or an hour after patch tuesday just hit.)

    Now lets hit the OSX part. You are more correct there, but still not really.
    OSX out of the box is by defiinition FAR more secure than vista. Open OSX services: 0, Open vista services: >1
    What that means is vista has potential holes that are out there, and wont be reported to us for months (standard MS track record) and wont be fixed till next tuesday (1-7 days), and there is a non 0% chance that disabling that windows services is not possible (no matter how small), which is not the case in OSX.

    So, that leaves OSX local exploits compared to vista, and 3rd party introduced ones. In that area I dont know. So i'll give you that just cuz I also dont care to know. easy points, and perfectly plausible to be true.
    Apple has had its cases of delaying fixes and trying to hide security issues that don't fall in their opensource components.

    Hell, up till very recently (~1-2 months ago) there was a flaw in ALL windows TCP stacks that lets an attacker simply execute code (Ok, in fairness, except for windows 2k, which it just crashed instead of ran code) which included vista.
    This bug has existed for many many years and just recently reported and fixed.

    you think the 0day hacking groups havent known about this for many years? no, they do, and use it.
    Vista was out of the box vulnerable to having remote code executed simply by being on a network.

    BTW, here it is from MS's own knowledge base []

  • by sootman ( 158191 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @04:17PM (#22592368) Homepage Journal
    Click Start > Right Click 'Computer' > Advanced System Settings > Performance Settings > Adjust For Best Performance

    Are you fucking kidding me? That's really in Vista? If it's a checkbox, why isn't it checked by default? If it's a slider, what does the other side say? "Needlessly consume CPU cycles"? "I'm stupid, tell me where to buy new hardware"?

    What does this option do that turning off Aero (or going all the way back to 'Windows Classic' theme) doesn't do? Does this work on desktops, or is it a laptop-only thing where the other option is "Optimize for battery life"? Sorry, I don't have a Vista machine here or else I'd check for myself. Really, I want to know. I remember a tab like that in XP but all it did was turn off visual effects.
  • by peragrin ( 659227 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @04:23PM (#22592426)
    Minor nitpick. Apple tried to make the OS everyone would want. it was called copland, it was a total an utter failure, behind schedule, and way over budget. Seeing how bad copland was turning out, Apple new something drastic had to be done so they first where going ot buy BeOS. but they wanted to much money, so instead they bought NeXt. With Next came steve jobs and the base of what became OS X.

    Since then it has been little changes here and little changes there, completely changing how the system works a little at a time.

    MSFT won't learn to do something drastic first, and start over.
  • by flanksteak ( 69032 ) * on Thursday February 28, 2008 @04:34PM (#22592536) Homepage

    Agreed. MS made a monumental effort to ensure that Win 3.1 and DOS apps & hardware worked as well as humanly possible on Win95. They knew that successful adoption depended on a painless transition. There was a great story in the Seattle Times back then where an MS employee with a pickup truck drove to Egghead and filled the truck bed [] (scroll down about halfway) with a copy of every shrink-wrapped software product available in the store. He drove back to campus and handed out the boxes to the QA people and said "see if this works". The other great bit about that article is how the descriptions of the work atmosphere (near the bottom) sound like google today. I wonder if anyone would describe MS like that these days?

    I'm surprised that they didn't make the same QA effort for Vista. Backwards compatibility has been their ace in the hole for a long time. People put up with the rest because moving from one OS to another wasn't that hard. Most stuff worked almost immediately and if it didn't it got fixed quickly. But the attitude that all vendors would have to write all new drivers is surprising. Granted that the vendors wouldn't have to write as many as MS would, but for an end-of-lifed product there's no financial incentive for the vendor to update it. While MS would seem to have one, given that people who have now-broken hardware are going to be mostly upset with the company that just took their money. Or if someone learns ahead of time that upgrading will disable their hardware they won't want to buy.

  • Re:At least... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @04:44PM (#22592626) Homepage Journal
    There's also a difference between "Scrap it" and "We spent 10 years writing this crap and we're damn well going to sell it whether they want to upgrade or not!"
  • Re:At least... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sm62704 ( 957197 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @05:09PM (#22592948) Journal
    If it wasn't for their "embrace-extend-extinguish" motto, their "DOS ain't done 'til Lotus won't run", their refusal to interoperate, their reluctance to follow US and EU law I'd agree with you.

    But until Gates, Balmer, and their entire Board of Directors and upper management staff are gone I see no prospect whatever of them changing their tune. Microsoft is bad news for anybody not directly associated with them, and bad news for many who are. If they actually were drinking their own koolaid I'd be a bit more sympathetic to them.

    IMO We would all be better off if Microsoft ceased to exist tomorrow.
  • by ozbird ( 127571 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @05:14PM (#22592994)
    It's hugely annoying for those on the inside.

    Good! Open source projects have their code and often developer discussions open to view and ridicule; why are Microsoft so precious about their steaming pile of code and internal emails?
  • Re:At least... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by setagllib ( 753300 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @05:18PM (#22593056)
    Reducing a 90% player to 50% will greatly improve competition and innovation in the market, which is what we all want. Microsoft have been "getting by" based on corruption for years now, with minimal value added to their operating system, browser, office suite... while other systems have had to waste seemingly infinite man-hours supporting Microsoft's deliberately difficult proprietary file formats, file systems and network protocols, all while making time to innovate and advance.

    With the waste of time down, and mindshare up, Linux and similar systems in its space will rise to great heights and Microsoft will have to actually make good products to remain relevant. That means we get multiple great operating systems rather than the prolonged battle between highly compromising systems we have now.
  • by KnowledgeKeeper ( 1026242 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @05:31PM (#22593204)
    My focus is not on neat consumer feature and great graphics. I have found that Vista runs well on old hardware that is not really adequate for the new visuals. I have an old XP box (Dell GX620, ~ 3 GHz processor with 1 GByte of RAM) that I am running Vista business on.

    Dude, 3GHz machine is not old. It's a perfectly usable machine. 1.6GHz Duron, 256MB of RAM is an old machine new OSes should run well on. Check out things like NetBSD/FreeBSD/Linux. New versions of their OS actually run _faster_ than the old ones. 3GHz machine with a gig of RAM is a turbo-sprinter. You're basically saying that a machine that does 3 BILLION tics per second is an "ok" machine to run the OS on. I'd understand if we were talking about cpu intensive work, but OS should be practically invisible to the machine.
  • by King_TJ ( 85913 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @06:02PM (#22593610) Journal
    The Mac Mini was intended to be an "entry level" Mac, for people who just wanted to tinker around with OS X and Apple products. Quite a few of them ended up as special purpose machines, running in-car computer projects, model railroads, or set-top media center boxes.

    If you're the type who wants to do more upgrading to your machine, other Apple products are better suited to the task. Any of the current Apple iMacs allow easy installation of memory modules by unscrewing two little screws that hold on a metal plate covering the sockets. Same deal with a Macbook Pro... simply unscrew the door on the bottom of the laptop and there's the memory.

    I agree that $150 is pricey for an upgrade, but much of that cost was probably markup on the memory by Apple. Most vendors do this, really. I remember getting stuck paying a HUGE premium from Dell for one of their SCSI controllers and an additional drive for one of their Poweredge servers, for example. HP did the same with an additional P4 CPU for one of their servers. Gateway memory used to cost a lot more than generic stuff you could find on the net, too.

    Saying you'll "never buy a Mac again" over a high-price quote on an in-store RAM upgrade? Wow... I don't know what to say to that, except good luck with that one. MOST of us who bought Apple computers found them to be very reliable, nicely constructed machines that run a nice alternative OS to Windows. I wouldn't say ANY of my Macs were "cheap purchases", but they've all been very much worthwhile purchases.
  • by mamer-retrogamer ( 556651 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @06:29PM (#22593940)

    many people don't want to throw out even one item of hardware so they could use Vista

    Microsoft is being bit by its own successful campaign of getting hardware manufactures to only support Windows with "Designed for Windows" hardware. These WinDevices (WinModems, WinPrinters, WinScanners, etc.) rely on Windows to do the bulk of their processing and if you change the way Windows interfaces with these devices (as is the case with Vista) you need to create brand new drivers from scratch. The problem is that hardware manufactures are not going to invest the time and money to make a discontinued piece of hardware work with Vista when they can sell you a shiny new one.

    If Microsoft would have promoted "real" hardware that did not need specialized driver software which is intimately entangled in the internals of Windows, they would not be in this position. Take, for example, a standard Postscript printer: complicated low-level drivers are unnecessary in most operating systems and it just works (to steal a line from the Mac world).

    Could you imagine a world where every multi-function device used standard USB communication to interface to the Postscript/PCL printer, SANE/TWAIN scanner, and the built-in fax modem was a standard serial device that used AT command sequences? If Microsoft promoted such standards, this device could not only "just work" with Vista, but also Mac OS (X or otherwise) Linux, OS/2, BeOS... basically everything. The conspiracy theory part of my brain says that MS just can't stand for that, which is why it did not "discourage" hardware manufactures from tying basic functionality to Windows.

    But now that it needs to change the internals of Windows, Microsoft's hardware lock-in is coming home to roost.

    (BTW, does anyone else think it is monumentally stupid that Vista does not support generic Postscript or PCL printers out of the box and must rely on HP or Adobe for such drivers?)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 28, 2008 @06:44PM (#22594140)
    How about you get a job? Then you'll realise you need apps, and can't spend all day emailing your studentmates and browsing the interwebs.
  • Re:At least... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Risen888 ( 306092 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @08:02PM (#22595054)
    Do you run a company?


    Would you ever scrap thousands of hours for which you paid people to work on your product?

    Yes. If it sucks. Don't sell shit that sucks. Dude, this isn't rocket science.
  • by SL Baur ( 19540 ) <> on Thursday February 28, 2008 @08:48PM (#22595444) Homepage Journal

    Well, in my experience novices tend to have a grand total of one program open at once, and if you try to leave a second one open they will close it, sometimes even when you have carefully minimized it. Many developers are this way as well -- wanting to squeeze an extra 50msec out of that recompile. Oh, and that one program is almost for sure 99% most likely you-can-bet maximized.
    That's probably the case with novices. I'm surprised that developers would do something similar.

    I'm a developer and I currently have 28 open windows on my desktop in 8 virtual desktops. 10 of them are Eterms, some of which have ssh sessions to other machines on the local net. I have two Firefox windows (for viewing certain internal corporate webpages) one instance local and one running on another machine. One copy of Opera with 3 windows of its own (that I'm posting from now), one copy of FSF Emacs running on another machine in the network, 8 XEmacs windows, 5 of which are unique instances, 1 Konsole, 1 plain vanilla xterm, and 1 copy of Evolution (for reading corporate email). If I left something out, well my desktop is kind of um, cluttered.

    I logged in 45 days ago, the system has an uptime of 83 days (I don't have a UPS in my cube), I have only 1GB of memory and I'm slightly over 1GB into swap. Everything runs with acceptable performance except the Firefox running over the network on a Solaris workstation. Oh and this all with the older, piggier and slower KDE 3 *and* this is an "old" HP workstation that isn't likely to be "Vista Capable".

    Do you see how someone like me just isn't interested in Vista or indeed any version of Microsoft Windows? I've been able to work like this on Linux since the stable 2.0 kernel was released 12 years ago and then I had a bit less core memory. I've been working with lots of windows open on Unix for over 20 years (scaling up the number of windows as core memory has increased).

    By the way, the environment you describe: one application at a time full-screened with maybe another 1 or 2 in the background is exactly how the AT&T Unix PC worked ... 25 years ago. Actually, it was a Microsoft Vista of its own. By default it shipped with a noisy slow hard drive and a ridiculous amount of ram, either 256k or 512k. It wasn't until you could buy larger, faster drives and expand the memory up to 4MB (I ended up 3.5MB) near the end of its life that it became a wonderful machine.
  • by mjwx ( 966435 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @09:10PM (#22595594)

    I'd say for XP that 128mb is "barely adequate."
    XP would run with 64 MB of RAM. 128 MB would be adequate for general purpose computing (Internet, email, office XP or 2003). A P3 1GHZ, 256 MB RAM and Geforce 3 (64 MB) video card used to run Battlefield 1942 great. on a modern IGM you may require 512 MB which is what a modern low spec PC would come with but with a 2002/2003 vintage IGM 128 MB would have been sufficient and 256 MB would have been more than enough provided you weren't playing the latest games. The problem you are most likely encountering is that the performance of Windows degrades over time, three months of daily operations is enough to make a noticeable effect. This remains a problem no matter how much RAM you throw at it. 512 MB might give you 4 to 6 months before the slow down becomes too noticeable.
  • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @11:02PM (#22596486) Homepage Journal

    its not like someone at M$, or Intel for that matter, spec'd that machine for Toshiba.

    Intel had nothing to do with it, but the Vista capable designation DID come from MS. They set the requirements and Toshiba and others designed to that requirement.

  • by SEMW ( 967629 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @11:18PM (#22596614)

    Are you fucking kidding me? That's really in Vista? ... I remember a tab like that in XP but all it did was turn off visual effects.
    So, in other words, your post can be summarised as "I can make a fairly intelligent guess that, being an option that is in exactly the same place and named exactly the same as an option in XP, it does pretty much the name thing. But instead of making that tiny logical leap, I will instead randomly express indignance and incredulity"...?
  • by causality ( 777677 ) on Friday February 29, 2008 @12:44AM (#22597136)
    Why is this modded "Troll"? Is someone who advocates personal responsibility really such a painful thing for you guys to hear? Knowing what you are buying before you spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a machine is simply good sense. It's the prudent thing to do. If you yourself are not knowledgable about computers, it's not difficult to ask someone who is, to do a Google search, or to pick up a publication like PC Magazine or Consumer Reports and see whether the item you had in mind is highly rated. Honestly I can't believe people think that blindly trusting labels, packaging, or other advertising is the best way to make a good purchase.

    If you disagree with the parent poster, implying that you really believe that looking out for your own best interests is a task that shouldn't involve you, a task that should only be up to the government or honest advertising ... well, I don't think this is a rational belief at all, but if you feel that way then how about posting a reply to explain your reasoning? Modding someone "troll" because you strongly disagree with them is the kind of cheap, childish shit that makes Slashdot a worse place.

    And no, I am not saying that Microsoft should blatently lie, or that government regulators should do nothing about it if they do (save the strawman arguments, please). I am saying that depending on politicians or corporations to look out for you is naive at best, blatently stupid at worst. What is "troll" about pointing out that there is no substitute for due diligence? Or, what's "troll" about pointing out that uninformed decisions tend to get bad results?
  • by Allador ( 537449 ) on Friday February 29, 2008 @02:06AM (#22597482)
    Why not just use grub?

    Let's see. Bootcamp installs at basically the push of a button. Grub? Nope, have to do your own partitioning, then manually configure grub, after reading up on it to figure out how it works.

    Bootcamp also has the windows drivers for the hardware, so even if you do use grub, you're going to have to use the resources from Bootcamp.

    So lets recap .... a simple push-button solution that 'just works' or a bunch of work, both to produce exactly the same outcome.

    Is it any wonder why more people dont just use grub?

Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.