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This Isn’t Good News For A Software Company

Oliver Willis notes that:

Microsoft is apparently offering a tool to downgrade PCs to XP from Vista. From my quick experience with Vista, that seems like a feature, not a bug.

That has to hurt. OW includes a link to the software. I try not to go to the Microsoft because they keep trying to download their malicious software program that I keep rejecting. This is not good news for the system software group. I think they are encountering resistance to hardware upgrades that are really necessary for Vista to be usable. Vista doesn’t have support for a lot of peripherals that people already use and like even though they are a few years old.

12 comments

1 Rook { 09.24.07 at 8:05 pm }

Well, I am using Vista, and have had no problems. But then it’s an HP, and all my peripherals are HP. My only problem is that HP has yet to add network support for my printers with Vista. But I can at least USB them and still get printing done of my laptop.

2 Bryan { 09.24.07 at 8:15 pm }

OT: It wasn’t your fault on the commenting, it’s Typepad. They sent the wrong information twice and it took them more than a day to send a response.

That’s the problem of legacy equipment, and too many companies don’t go back to their older models. HP doesn’t do its own drivers, so it is an expense, but they need to cover their own equipment.

I lost the world’s best scanner to XP because the company disappeared or was absorbed after Win95 and there was no way I wanted to write a driver for it. It was “sort-of” TWAIN compliant, but not totally.

3 whig { 09.25.07 at 12:37 am }

I think Vista is a really great environment for a dual processor rig because you can dedicate one processor to the DRM and have the other processor free for doing real work with its half of the memory.

4 Bryan { 09.25.07 at 1:10 am }

Vista probably works reasonably well if you can afford to spend the money on the hardware, but Unix/OSX/Linux work even better. The “ix” will arrive someday and Windows will be forgotten.

5 whig { 09.25.07 at 2:19 am }

Well, actually you probably will do better with a three-processor rig because you’d then have one processor for the DRM, one processor for the anti-virus, and one processor with a third of the memory for the applications that you want to run.

Well, I guess half that for the windowing system, you have to figure. But really, a sixth of the memory will be available to your application, and a third of the processing power you might expect, which will help us sell you more hardware upgrades.

6 whig { 09.25.07 at 2:20 am }

Also I hear it crashes a lot. But that’s okay. It’s Microsoft.

7 whig { 09.25.07 at 2:21 am }

Nobody ever got fired for buying Microsoft. Linux? What kind of communist are you?

8 Michael { 09.25.07 at 8:43 am }

That’s good news for everyone that doesn’t want to have to hunt for a box that still has XP on it from the vendors. The federal government’s portal for submission of grant proposals (Grants.gov) currently requires most submissions to be packaged using software that doesn’t work on Macs, and which is clunky, counterintuitive, and a total PITA to use. To get around that, the feds have been trying to require agencies to design fillable forms for proposal submissions using Acrobat instead. Those forms work on Macs. But the only version of the Acrobat reader that works with those forms that have the necessary functionality built into them is incompatible with Vista.

I need a new laptop, since I’m just about out of disk space, memory capacity, and patience with my current four- or five-year-old Dell. But since I often use my laptop to work on proposals when I can’t get to the office or when I’m traveling to conferences, etc., I need to be able to work with Grants.gov. Which has meant hunting around in the basement of Dell’s website (since they seem to be the only manufacturer that’s still offering XP boxes for sale, albeit just a few of them and without doing much in the way of advertising). I can’t get a lot of the good deals, I can’t get a certain number of options I’d like, and I don’t have much choice in the way of models.

Maybe the better route is to buy a Vista box, download the tool, and reinstall XP on it before I load it with anything else. Of course, Micro$uck being Micro$uck, that will probably involve no end of problems and cause more headaches than it solves…

9 Bryan { 09.25.07 at 1:44 pm }

It is absurd, Whig, that the operating system eats all of the resources. People don’t understand that applications are what you buy a computer for, not the O/S. People forget that Windows is a ghost of the Mac interface [Microsoft paid licensing fees, so don’t anyone try to say it wasn’t] which Jobs borrowed from the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, along with the mouse.

The man hours that are wasted waiting for the processing of “look and feel” rather than the actual work you are trying to accomplish is amazing.

10 Bryan { 09.25.07 at 2:15 pm }

Michael, unless there’s some major reason for locking into Dell, I would check with Lenovo [IBM Thinkpad’s owner] and HP. I fairly certain that anyone will provide an XP system disk if it will make the sale, but you are going to have to call their 800 number, trying to do it on the ‘Net won’t work.

If the university has a deal with Dell or whoever, they have an account rep at the vendor who will “make it happen”. Getting product out the door is the name of the game, so check with the university IT people, or the bookstore if they handle computers.

Microsoft and Adobe have been PITA forever. When they get something right they seem to make a point of destroying it with their next update. The government pays to have a program written and never plans for operating system upgrades or compatibility, so if something changes the guys who wrote the program would have to re-bid for any upgrades.

The government tends to lag everyone on computer upgrades so I would assume they don’t see the problem because none of their machines can run Vista, and they certainly own few, if any Macs.

11 Steve Bates { 09.25.07 at 6:00 pm }

As I noted (and acted on) last May, Micro Center will sell you any of several house brand (PowerSpec) desktop machines with XP Pro factory installed. Of course they don’t push it, but if you ask, you can order one, or sometimes they have them in stock.

As to the processor power used by the UI (in any of the major OS’s), I’ll be happy to debate anyone on its utility, taking the position that for the vast majority of users, that power is well-spent. I’ve taught a lot of people to use a lot of computers over more than 25 years, and I can assure you that while command lines are great for tech people like us, ordinary business users acquire skills far faster on those processor-intensive interfaces.

DRM is another matter. Don’t get me started. Excuse me a moment while I put a vinyl disk on the “record player” …

(Aside: one of the museums on the Mall in DC has one of the original Xerox PARC computers on display. It was designed for use by kids. There was no screen saver, so the main screen image… two cartoon pigs with curly tails… is burned into the screen, all these years later. Hey, I found that amusing; so sue me! 🙂 )

12 Bryan { 09.25.07 at 7:33 pm }

That’s better than the “A:>” you saw on most early DOS boxes, Steve.

I have production clients where they only run one app all day – inputing, editing, and retrieving data with periodic reports.

Other people do nothing but word processing.

It’s an awful lot of overhead for the few people who might actually use it.