Jan 25 2007

Vista mania

Published by at 2:28 pm under Washington

Next week will be the peak of ballyhoo for the new Windows Vista operating system from Microsoft, as founder Bill Gates does time on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart and a wave of commercials hit the air, and stores open early on Tuesday to accommodate the crush of buyers of the new OS.

Windows Vista logoWell, maybe. Or maybe the days of big excitement over new big OS developments is over; the air doesn’t feel like it did when Windows 95 (which was a good deal more revolutionary for the Windows users of its time than Vista is now) made its deservedly big splash.

Here’s a contrary point of view from Jeremy Allison, an open source advocate, at ZDNet:

There’s simply no excitement about it. Most quotes from businesses are about how much of a chore it will be to upgrade, with warnings about how much old software will be incompatible and how people will have to buy new machines just to run it. No one actually wants this new system, except Microsoft and some of the hardware vendors who are desperately hoping Vista will revitalize moribund computer sales.

I think the day of the big-bang operating system release will die with Vista. This kind of upgrade has become obsolete. It might have made sense in the age of disconnected computers, where an upgrade involved a PC technician going to each desktop with a CD-ROM, but with the advent of Internet-connected PCs it’s crazy. People want to simply keep patching their existing systems remotely and securely until eventually all of the original code has been replaced and you’re running a new operating system.

He sees Vista, in other words, as overreach, as a kind of tipping point (he uses the phrase) where the Microsoft business model of the 90s – new operating system, all new applications, loads of money on the table – no longer works so well, and progressively less well, partly because there’s too little practical benefit in exchange for too much money spent.

We’ll see. The next year or so should mark interesting times at Redmond.

DISCLOSURE Ridenbaugh Press uses Windows, Apple and Linux OS computers. We started moving harder into the Apple and Linux worlds last year in part to avoid being caught up in the eventual Vista-related expenses. A year ago, the bulk of our work was done on Windows machines; now, a majority is on Macs, with more transition toward Linux in the works.

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