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Longhorn, the good, the bad, and some recommendations July 1, 2005

Posted by rjdohnert in Software reviews.
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After having used build 5048 for a total of two weeks as my primary OS, I figured I would give some thoughts and some opinions about it. My first thought on Longhorn is, What trainwreck? I do believe Jim Allchin when he said that WinHEC was not the coming out of Longhorn. if it was, Microsoft is wasting its time. When I first got this build, after reading all the opinions online, I thought using build 5048 was going to be like masturbating with sandpaper, slightly amusing. slightly painful and quite frustrating. Honestly though it wasnt that bad.

The good….

The UI design and Explorer.exe enhancements are rather good. Slightly Mac like but it was a fresh experience. You can tell this is not your fathers windows. I like what they did with the properties by putting them on the bottom. When you open Explorer its like you are reading a book and it seems quite intuitive. Having the address bar and a search pane on the same level is believe it or not a good idea. I have done the same thing withe the MSN Explorer bar with Windows Desktop Search on my XP install and it is rather convenient then having to type it into the deskbar like a spotlight wannabe, but thats a comment for my WDS review which will be posted next week. The color blending was rather off but thats okay its an Alpha build so what do you expect. Overall I liked the color scheme and in my opinion it looks professional. Whoever is in charge of the UI team needs to light a fire under someones bunghole and make the color schemes more fluid.

Hardware support was good. because it was an Alpha build I thought this test machine would handle like Whistler beta did or how Linux hardware support on this machine behaves. But everything from onboard sound to the onbard nic card was picked up and configured properly. Aero worked with the video card and my CD and DVD Recorder drives were picked up and treated as such. Windows XP on this machine will not pick up the DVD recorder and use it as a recorder unless I install a third party burning tool. My USB Wireless adapter for my internet connectivity did not work and the XP drivers did not work thats okay I just used an old Airport base station and jacked into the ethernet port and I was able to get online .

The Bad….

Application support was not very good. Office 2003, OpenOffice.org, Firefox, Netscape 8, GAIM, VS 2003 and JRE 5 all worked fine. Yahoo Messenger would not launch, AOL Messenger and ICQ would start and then quit unexpectedly, so I had to use GAIM. Some of the applications did not use the Aero interface and looked rather aged, Im talking GNOME 1.2 aged which was ugly. Java apps worked extremely well and all .NET software that I use works. The only security focused software I could get to work was McAfee products. ZoneLabs and Symantec shit didnt work.

They took out the sidebar. I miss the sidebar. Microsoft really needs to consider doing a widget utility or buy out the guy that does Konfabulator and include that. Widget apps are nice and convenient for some things and I personally dont care who accuses Microsoft of stealing Dashboard. Its a useful utility and needs to be included. If they dont, did I mention Konfabulator 2 works on this machine?

Some recommendations…

Speed was good on this machine at Intel 2 ghz, 2 gig of RAM and 120gig HD. I didnt have any unexpected crashes and it was odd in a way, the more apps I opened the more Longhorn seemed to like it. It didnt degrade a whole lot. Heavy eye candy needs to be lessened alot or at least have an option to turn the shit off. i dont like transperencies and heavy effects take away from the user experience. Apple and Microsoft need to quit this battle over eye candy. Some may consider it useful, I dont. Also, offer only one binary for Personal Computing. Damn this Home Edition and Pro edition crap. Offer only one edition. Have the specialty editions like Tablet PC, Embedded and Media Center but in the age where more and more people are doing business activities at home having a “Home Edition” makes no sense, not to mention XP Home sucks. On most XP Home Editions I work on for some people I recommend them to get XP Pro because Home Edition it seems like I have to reinstall it every 6 months. BTW, my XP Pro machine I havent had to reinstall since I bought the machine. (knocking on wood). Overall I dont think this build was a huge waste of time. Sure it had some annoyances but its alpha build. People need to chill out and take it as what its meant to be. If anything 5048 didnt turn me off to Longhorn but rather makes me excited about the the beta offerings. As for this machince, well Im going to see if I can ever get Fedora Core 4 to work on it. At least until Longhorn beta ships 🙂

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