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When Paul Thurrott is wrong April 23, 2006

Posted by rjdohnert in Opinions.
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This story came out a few days ago and I read it.  Before we start I have a lot of respect for Paul.  He has been a journalist for years, he has been around in the tech industry for a long time.  I’m critical on Microsoft and I’m also critical on its competitors.  If they give us shit, I say its shit.  As I did with SLED and as I have been on Mac OS in the past.  The problem I have with Thurotts article is not that I’m a Microsoft enthusiast, the problem I have is that once again, like WinHEC last year he is giving a definitive shoot down on Windows Vista based on a CTP.  CTP’s despite what many say are not major code releases.  They are a snapshot to the customer that shows where the product is at the moment and should not be used to give a definitive thumbs up or thumbs down of the product.

Microsoft has pulled features from Vista and or set up different delivery systems for these features.  WinFS, delayed.  Monad will not be shipped as part of the OS which as an administrator that pleases the hell out of me.  Monad and Command Prompt are just two features of the Windows OS, command line for Linux and Mac OS X, for the users who dont need to use them to get into trouble.  With regular users the first thing I do is restrict them access to the command prompt and not just on Windows, on UNIX, Linux and Mac OS X systems as well.  Why?  because basically unless they are old time UNIX or Linux cats they dont know what the hell they are doing and I would rather see them doing their work, being productive instead of going into a command line and fucking up the system that I will have to repair later.  Monad will have to be downloaded and installed separately, which is just fine by me.  WinFS will be released later and unless I see something with strong appeal that Copernic or Vista’s integrated search cant do I probably wont bother with it.

Next, he addresses who is to blame for the delays, broken promises and as he called it "train wreck" that has become Windows Vista.  He wants to blame Bill Gates, who took over as Chief Software architect.  I hate Bill Gates as much as anyone else and anytime I have a problem with a Windows system I wish he was sitting next to me so that I can choke the life out of him.  But Bill has done two great things with Windows Vista.  First he dropped the Windows XP SP2 codebase and replaced it with the Windows Server 2003 SP1 codebase which is a much more robust system and doesn’t have as many quirks as the XP sp2 codebase and is much more tolerant of extreme changes than SP2.  Next, he implemented a Security first approach to Windows Vista which I am not going to argue that’s a bad thing, although my buddy Steven J Vaughn Nichols would probably say that’s what Microsoft needed to do in the first place. I don’t like to pass out blame, when you pass out blame you are merely making excuses so unlike Paul, I blame everyone on the Windows team for the delays, the problems and the screw ups.  After all, Windows is not a one man project.  Should Bill Gates have stepped down?  Well if Bill Gates should step down, then so should Steve Jobs and Linus Torvalds.  All three are vestiges of the past.

Next, he likens Windows Vista to a warmed over copy of Mac OS X Tiger.  I think Paul forgets that many of the features that are in Tiger were in earlier versions of Longhorn beta, around the PDC 2003 era and were copied into Mac OS X Tiger.  Who shipped first?  Who cares.  The fact is that every system has a mail client, every version of Linux and Mac OS X has had calendars and mail clients.  Those are features customers want and what they expect and the features are helpful.  Who introduced RAW image editing first? it was actually Picasa from Google.  So Apple does its fair share of copying as well as some of its innovations.  I’m hard up to find a truly innovative feature in Mac OS X. The only difference is they do it prettier and the shiny things are what catches peoples attention.  If Windows Vista is so bad, then why are other system developers, ie Novell and Apple copying features from Windows Vista and incorporating into their own products.  What you think alt-tab and a multi columned start menu are innovations in SLED?  The search bar in the SLED menu a Novell innovation?  Do you think (Konfabulator) Dashboard is an innovative feature of Mac OS X?  Do you think Spotlight is an innovation found in Mac OS X?

Broken promises, who hates broken promises?  I do.  Did Microsoft break any promises?  Of course.  I have used the Vista CTP’s and I see enough in there that would improve my life as an admin and as a user a great deal.  Personally, I dislike XP.  I personally think they blew the dog, with the pink thing hanging out, with Windows XP and they have redeemed themselves with Windows Vista.

I agree with Paul on the UAP feature in Windows Vista.  Its in there, its not exactly as flawless as in other systems but if Microsoft didn’t include it people would be bitching and moaning about it not being included.  Personaly, I like Paul would like to see it a little less frustrating and with Windows Defender I would like a warning on certain software, but if I chose to download it after I have been given a warning it should be my choice.  Aero, I like something’s, I dislike others but I’m taking a wait and see attitude because hey, its a CTP not the final code.  I personally am taking a wait and see attitude on Windows Vista before I make any final judgments on Windows Vista because its a , lets say it all together now, a CTP.  Not final code.  When dealing with a CTP, RC candidate or Beta if you are fortunate enough to be a tester, send your feedback to Microsoft, that’s what its for.  Its not there to the final be all say all, its for feedback.  If Microsoft see’s a need to change it they will.

So I personally think Paul was way in left field with this review, sorry Paul.  What are the chances of Microsoft changing everything to Paul or anybody else’s total liking?  Not very likely, but I challenge anyone to find me a system that is 100% perfect and doesn’t contain a feature that someone doesn’t have a gripe or bitch about or that they would not like to see implemented better.  Windows Vista has been a very frustrating journey but the final product will be the one where I ultimately give it a thumbs up, or thumb to the throat.

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Comments»

1. tech reader - April 29, 2006

You’re giving too much credit to Bill Gates. I don’t think he has as much say over using the Windows Server 2003 SP1 codebase for Vista or Security initiatives as you would think. Think about how many layers there are between any typical non-manager employee and the CEO/Chairman. You really think BillG has time or the inclination to make the implementation decisions that affect the execution and delivery of Windows (vs. MSN, Office, XBox, etc.)? He has to trust other people to make them. And because of that, he has to take the bulk of the blame and graciously credit others for successes. Tough luck, that’s why he’s getting the gazillions. And if he can’t handle it, he *should* graciously step down. (Will he do that is another matter altogether.)

2. xgeronimo - May 28, 2006

why not to do it style? To send him a very special gift with a hint – The Blame plush toy (safely tacked inside the metal cage) 😉

3. hre - February 18, 2007

Mac OS X is more more than a pretty face surely?

4. hunting thurrott – smack|foo - October 19, 2007

[…] growing track record on such reviews, tends to support that kind of […]


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