The Joel on Software Discussion Group (CLOSED)

A place to discuss Joel on Software. Now closed.

This community works best when people use their real names. Please register for a free account.

Other Groups:
Joel on Software
Business of Software
Design of Software (CLOSED)
.NET Questions (CLOSED)
TechInterview.org
CityDesk
FogBugz
Fog Creek Copilot


The Old Forum


Your hosts:
Albert D. Kallal
Li-Fan Chen
Stephen Jones

Vista is not that bad.

Yesterday I bought a Compaq Presario laptop for my dear. I was worried about security until I configured Vista for the first time.

I have seen interesting new dialogs: "Do you want to run this program?" or "A program is trying to access your computer" or "This program is not recognized" or "Do you want to install this" and so on ad infinitum.

They annoyed me at first, but by the end of my configuration, I felt a big relief thinking about people who are challenged by computers. I'm not saying that Windows has become fully secure. I'm saying that now you will remember what has been done to break the OS.

I'm not going to talk about the UI; everybody knows how great it is. I won't mention incompatibility either; we should all upgrade at a time.

In my opinion even Ubuntu doesn't do it better and soon as I'm done with my current projects, I will switch to Vista.

I hope I have changed some minds.
Victor Noagbodji
Monday, June 30, 2008
 
 
Clearly not everyone knows how great Vista's UI is:
http://www.istartedsomething.com/20080531/windows-ui-taskforce-your-help-wanted/

Did you forget to mention Python because Vista doesn't include it out of the box? Unlike Mac OS X.
John Topley Send private email
Monday, June 30, 2008
 
 
"I felt a big relief thinking about people who are challenged by computers. "

Have you ever seen these people using computers? They *NEVER* read the text in those dialogs, they just click whatever button makes the dialog go away.

Safer? Not even slightly.
Jimmy Jones
Monday, June 30, 2008
 
 
"They *NEVER* read the text in those dialogs, they just click whatever button makes the dialog go away."

That is the biggest crock of crap I've ever heard. Saying it over and over again doesn't make it true.

And YOU read those dialogs don't you? So just because there is nothing in the world that will save a complete moron doesn't mean that good folks like us don't benefit from the extra features.

And once you get your system installed all of those warnings and dialogs go away anyway unless you install something new (which for most people is about twice a year). I've been running Vista for over a year and I can't even tell you when the last time was that I saw one of those dialogs. If one popped up now I'd DEFINITELY pay attention.
uggh
Monday, June 30, 2008
 
 
Being the EOL day for XP, I just bought a copy...
*myName
Monday, June 30, 2008
 
 
People that don't know how to use computers fall into two camps with regard to the dialogs.  One group clicks it to go away.  The other group becomes absolutely paralyzed by the implications that the unsigned software can't be guaranteed safe by Microsoft (like there are any guarantees on their signed stuff).
Lance Hampton Send private email
Monday, June 30, 2008
 
 
UAC is the same on Ubuntu, the Mac and Vista.  Microsoft's version of it simply saves some keystrokes.  It doesn't help or hurt ignorant users any more than the other two approaches do.  But it is a giant leap forward in getting people to stop running as admins all the time.
Doug
Monday, June 30, 2008
 
 
"People that don't know how to use computers fall into two camps with regard to the dialogs. "

Again with the binary thinking. I do not fall into either of those two categories and neither do you. The Vista FUD slingers want you to believe that 90+% of the world freezes or just completely ignores dialogs which isn't true. People have been using this argument to bash Vista for a long time. I'm personally very sick of it. If you personally believe it then you've been brainwashed and aren't thinking for yourself.
uggh
Monday, June 30, 2008
 
 
"People that don't know how to use computers fall into two camps with regard to the dialogs. "

Again with the binary thinking. I do not fall into either of those two categories and neither do you.

--------------

Well, presumably not, no.  Most people posting on here presumably have a level of computer literacy that put's them above the "don't know how to use computers".  So if you are not in the main category, your choice of sub category is irrelevant.
if( !a && (b || c) ).....
Monday, June 30, 2008
 
 
"I felt a big relief thinking about people who are challenged by computers. "

Wow!! you chose the right forum here 8-)

regards
Jorge Diaz Tambley Send private email
Monday, June 30, 2008
 
 
>'just because there is nothing in the world that will
> save a complete moron doesn't mean that good folks
> like us don't benefit from the extra features.'

Um, he said (and I quote): "people who are challenged by computers"


People who are 'challenged by' computers don't read dialogs. I've sat and watched them. I see people who dismiss twenty dialogs every single morning when they switch their computer on - and they've been doing it so long they do it from muscle memory. Norton wants a credit card? Cancel. Jave has updates? Cancel. Adobe is pestering again? Cancel. Online casino wants you to join? Cancel. Wait, what...?
Jimmy Jones
Monday, June 30, 2008
 
 
Back on topic ... there's nothing *WRONG* with Vista, it's just that there's not much which is right.

It had the longest gestation os any version of Windows, and, ... is this it? Is it supposed to excite me?
Jimmy Jones
Monday, June 30, 2008
 
 
Ugh, I just spent the first half of today wrestling with a stupid, stupid IIS7 issue. But on the whole, I tend to agree.

The problem is, what exactly was MS doing with those 5 years and $500 million? Vista isn't a disaster, but neither is it very good or impressive. In my opinion it is definitely not worth the money to upgrade from XP.
KT
Monday, June 30, 2008
 
 
"The problem is, what exactly was MS doing with those 5 years and $500 million?"

I believe they spent three of them working on code for Longhorn which was subsequently thrown away. So really Vista represents about two years of elapsed development effort.
John Topley Send private email
Monday, June 30, 2008
 
 
"I believe they spent three of them working on code for Longhorn which was subsequently thrown away."

Well, is the discarded Longhorn code going to show up in Windows 7?  And isn't it interesting that MS is already starting the hype machine for the NEXT version;  maybe they want to distract us from Vista??

"So really Vista represents about two years of elapsed development effort."

...which failed pretty badly - VISTA is the biggest "don't want / don't need" OS since WinME.
Old Guy
Monday, June 30, 2008
 
 
>It had the longest gestation os any version of Windows

I've never understood how this is relevant. Are you saying if Microsoft had written Vista in eight months you'd happily pay for it? How does "time invested in engineering" translate to any kind of intrinsic value for the end user?

Vista has features, it has an ROI, it has a TCO. It has a price tag. Where does "time spent in development" factor in?

Sure it's worthy of discussion with respect to engineering practices or Microsoft's health or the stock price. But people always throw it up as a factor in the buying decision. Why?
Philo [MSFT]
Monday, June 30, 2008
 
 
"The problem is, what exactly was MS doing with those 5 years and $500 million?"

Most of the Windows division was working on SP2 and, after that, Server 2003. People don't seem to realise the enormous amount of work that went into those releases (plus Tablet and Media Center). During that time, *some* people were working on Longhorn, but much of that work was shelved (the "reset"). Vista was, perhaps, 2 years of development.

Monday, June 30, 2008
 
 
"Is it supposed to excite me?"

Not unless there is something seriously wrong with you.

Why is it that people value an OS based on how exciting, fresh, or new it is? Is Linux exciting, fresh, or new? Is it consistently better than its previous versions? Does it constantly make you want to upgrade? Do you care how many hours were spent on the latest version? No (on all counts). But that doesn't mean that it must be a pile of crap now does it? And no, the fact that one is free and one costs money is not enough to explain why people don't bash Linux when new versions come out. Besides, Linux isn't really "free" to begin with. And you never upgrade any OS for "free". There are always some costs involved. Especially if you value your time as much as I do.
dood mcdoogle
Monday, June 30, 2008
 
 
Yes, it *is* supposed to excite you: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/windowsvista/100reasons.mspx

If they weren't the ones telling me I should be excited then you'd have a point. Instead, I'm just responding to what they're telling me. "You should be excited." Umm, nope. Not so much.
Drew Kime Send private email
Monday, June 30, 2008
 
 
Sure, Vista isn't that bad, but neither is XP.  Microsoft has done a horrible job of telling folks why Vista is better than XP.  After I installed it and encountered a compatibility problem with my work VPN, I went back to XP and haven't heard a compelling reason to try Vista again.

Go to the Microsoft Windows Vista homepage (http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/windowsvista/default.aspx).  Nothing on that page gives me reason to upgrade...
-Find stuff with a single search box
-better security
-use the most popular software and hardware

And the features page... again... I don't see anything compelling that XP doesn't already do.
chris
Monday, June 30, 2008
 
 
I have a buddy who is a hardware and OS geek, and he recently grudgingly reported to me that Vista was consistently faster than XP on his new top of the line system, which I found hard to believe. Go figure.
Ken Sharpe Send private email
Monday, June 30, 2008
 
 
"How does "time invested in engineering" translate to any kind of intrinsic value for the end user?"

Huh? You've totally lost me there.


This is what was _supposed_ to happen with Vista:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aL3rfuKwMDI
Jimmy Jones
Monday, June 30, 2008
 
 
"UAC is the same on Ubuntu, the Mac and Vista."

Nooooo - It is not the same.  I can't speak for Mac but the philosophy is totally different...

Ubuntu: The process you are about to run will do stuff at a system level.  If you want to let it do this, then give it your password.  It won't bother you again...  Other processes are still not allowed to do stuff to the system.

Vista: Some process wanted to do something at a system level.  Do you want to allow it?

In some ways, Vista SOUNDS more secure because it asks before it does anything to the system.  The trouble is that the user drowns in UAC prompts and ends up just clicking OK (there really needs to be a "Whatever" button).  They also don't REALLY know what caused the UAC prompt.  How about a userspace virus that detects an installer running and then decides to propagate itself through the system then...  Who would notice...  UAC is just an electronic "Caveat Emptor" - "Hey, the user OK'd that system crack - It wasn't our fault".  All that hooey about trying to get software writers to only make minimal system changes - It loses a lot of cred when most MS software needs at least 4 UAC prompts to install.

Give me the Ubuntu approach any day!
the Melbournian Send private email
Monday, June 30, 2008
 
 
>>Nooooo - It is not the same.  I can't speak for Mac but
>>the philosophy is totally different...

Huh???

Try the following text substitutions:

In some ways, UBUNTU SOUNDS more secure because it asks before it does anything to the system.  The trouble is that the user drowns in PASSWORD prompts and ends up just TYPING THEIR PASSWORD (there really needs to be a "Whatever" button).  They also don't REALLY know what caused the PASSWORD prompt.  How about a userspace virus that detects an installer running and then decides to propagate itself through the system then...  Who would notice...  UBUNTU PASSWORD PROMPTS are just an electronic "Caveat Emptor" - "Hey, the user OK'd that system crack - It wasn't our fault"....
Doug
Monday, June 30, 2008
 
 
"In some ways, UBUNTU SOUNDS more secure because it asks before it does anything to the system."

Bzzt.. Fail.

Ubuntu asks for the password ONCE before installing software, then doesn't bother you again.  It would be like UAC prompting when you start the install and then never rearing its head again.  Except that UAC doesn't - It will ask you another 4 or 5 times during the process, after random amounts of time, for obscure reasons.
the Melbournian Send private email
Monday, June 30, 2008
 
 
"Except that UAC doesn't - It will ask you another 4 or 5 times during the process, after random amounts of time, for obscure reasons. "

I've never seen that. Ever. Sometimes I think you guys just make this crap up.

"If they weren't the ones telling me I should be excited then you'd have a point. "

I guess you were born yesterday. How else could you explain that you just don't seem to get how marketing works. Have you ever seen a new product that DIDN'T tell you how wonderful it is? Are you actually serious about that comment you just made?!?!?!?

"Nothing on that page gives me reason to upgrade...
-better security"

I think that better security is a great reason to upgrade. Especially since it means that I can run as the equivalent of a limited user without all the fuss. Apparently all you guys have never tried to run XP as a limited user. If you had you would understand what I'm talking about. But I guess you are still one of the clueless people in the world running as an admin. Will the clueless ever actually get a clue or not?
Vista Fanboy
Monday, June 30, 2008
 
 
No operating system is going to protect an uneducated user from their self. I've been running this installation of XP as an "admin" for 3 years and I have had no problems whatsoever.  I stay away from unsavory websites and I don't open spam.

At least in Vista I can turn off UAC, it's not so easy in Ubuntu. I get annoyed annoyed by having to type sudo in front of every command.

Anyway, Vista's great. I love the media center, there's nothing better for my living room.
Wayne Bloss Send private email
Monday, June 30, 2008
 
 
"At least in Vista I can turn off UAC, it's not so easy in Ubuntu. I get annoyed annoyed by having to type sudo in front of every command."

Bah - Log in as root...

Agreed with the sentiment re users, and also have stayed malware-free on XP for years.
the Melbournian Send private email
Monday, June 30, 2008
 
 
"I've never seen that. Ever. Sometimes I think you guys just make this crap up."

Um, try installing Visual Studio...  Visio...

What do you do with your PC.  Switch in on and admire the translucent beauty of Aero Glass.  Obviously you never actually install anything...
the Melbournian Send private email
Monday, June 30, 2008
 
 
If this thread's title were "Vista security is not that bad", I would agree.

However, the rest of Vista is that bad.
Norman Diamond
Monday, June 30, 2008
 
 
Melbournian,

"Bah - Log in as root..."   

Unlike other distributions, there is no default "root" user in Ubuntu.
ps
Monday, June 30, 2008
 
 
>"How does "time invested in engineering" translate to any kind of intrinsic value for the end user?"

>Huh? You've totally lost me there.

When has the amount of time spent engineering a product EVER factored into a buying decision?

"I *was* going to buy the new Honda Accord - it's a great midrange sedan that's comfortable, quiet, and gets pretty good gas mileage. Top of the line safety and some good luxury features. I felt it was a really good deal. Then I found out Honda spent SEVEN YEARS engineering it. What a bunch of idiots -I'm not going to waste my money on that."

Nor does it matter what Longhorn was going to be. ("Where's my flying car? I'm buying anything until they can fly!") All that matters is what's in the box and the price on the box. Make your buying decision (or upgrade decision, or choice of OS) on that.
Philo [MSFT]
Monday, June 30, 2008
 
 
you said it annoyed you; "to ad nauseam"; then you liked it cause it bugged the shit out of you.

to be a computer scientist who is good at computer science; you have to understand; that the computer didn't need to bug you "to ad nauseam" at all.

life would be much more simpler if we demanded that we get what we want; instead of following peer pressure, or needing to like things for our egos; be a good consumer and tell microsoft that it bugs the shit out of you, simply by not buying their products, or any product which "bugs" the shit out of you.

it makes life "nice".
lemon shakespear obrien Send private email
Monday, June 30, 2008
 
 
> Is Linux exciting, fresh, or new? Is it consistently better than its previous versions?

Well, admittedly, Linux has come a long way in the last 10 years...

WRT UAC, Ubuntu vs. Vista, is that on a default install, with only 1 "normal" user account set up, Vista (at least Home Premium, anyways) makes the user an "administrator", and won't let you downgrade to a standard user.

Ubuntu makes the user account a standard user with all of the sudo stuff required.
*myName
Monday, June 30, 2008
 
 
Nicely pulled out of context.

I was referring to the *difference* between XP and Vista.

If you had an old Honda which you liked. Honda then spends seven years working on a new model, all the time telling you how revolutionary and wow-inducing it will be.

Then they finally launch it, you go to the showroom and... all they've done is remodel the dashboard and add some extra seating choices. Would you be disappointed? Would you wonder what they were doing all that time?

In practical terms (ie. in terms of running software) the difference between XP and Vista isn't much more than that.

Even the much-touted Aero graphics turned out to be more "yawn" than "Wow!". It's got that new 3D task switcher, and, um, well ... embarrassingly else - despite the massive hardware requirements.

Have you ever seen a Mac ... or, heaven forbid, one of those fancy 3D Linux desktops?

eg. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4fTh0x3xLE

or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rmz9a9pJR_s

Me? I'm pretty sure effects like that would have sold a few more copies of Vista *and* they could have done it in less than seven years.
Jimmy Jones
Monday, June 30, 2008
 
 
>there's nothing *WRONG* with Vista

For one thing, the new Explorer is broken.  I set my preferences (View As List), remove the check from "Remember Each Folder's View Setting", then click "Apply To All Folders".  I navigate to another folder and discover that it has reverted to Thumbnail or Tile view.  Granted it's a small issue but it's annoying as hell.  It worked in XP, which means that someone exerted the effort to *break* the feature.

Also, have you *tried* copying files to/from a network?  WTF did they do?  I swear my Commodore 64 transferred files to/from the cassette drive faster.


>>It had the longest gestation os any version of Windows
>I've never understood how this is relevant.

Philo, I think he means that, after such an extended development period, we expect more.  So much more.  Since Vista doesn't provide it, there's no compelling reason to rush out and purchase it.  They basically took XP, rearranged the functionality, gave it a new skin, and broke a few features.
Pragmatic Realist
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
 
 
> For one thing, the new Explorer is broken.  I set my
> preferences (View As List), remove the check
> from "Remember Each Folder's View Setting", then
> click "Apply To All Folders".  I navigate to another
> folder and discover that it has reverted to Thumbnail or
> Tile view.

Microsoft told me it operates that way by design.  I call the design broken.  That's for Vista.  Now let's upgrade to versions where the design wasn't broken, and see how the code was.

> It worked in XP, which means that someone exerted the
> effort to *break* the feature.

It was broken in XP RTM and SP1, but fixed in SP2.

It was working in Windows 2000 for a long time, but broken by some update.  I think the breaking update was IE6.

Some other misfeatures of XP were things that worked in previous versions of Windows but someone exerted effort to break them in XP, and they remain broken until the end of XP.  Some of them are broken in Windows Server 2003 too.

>>>>> All that matters is what's in the box and the price
>>>>> on the box. Make your buying decision (or upgrade
>>>>> decision, or choice of OS) on that.

I agree.  I want to upgrade some clients and some servers to Windows 2000.  Price please.
Norman Diamond
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
 
 
Vista actually isn't that bad of an OS, sure UAC could be done better (the concept is the same as OS X/Linux, the implementation needs some work, but it is a 1.0 feature compared to something like a 15-20.0 feature in UNIX-based OS's).

The one thing that Vista really "falls down" on is backwards compatibility. People have been used to being able to run their apps from the days of yore on Windows for a long time. Add in the fact that Windows hardly changed from 2001-2007 (yes, I know new versions were released but they were still XP) and this compound the expectation.

The problem is that backwards compatibility, while being the biggest strength of Windows, is also its achilles heel. It's hard to design clean new software when you're tied down to the the decisions of the past. MS is starting to realise this and are putting progress ahead of backwards compatibility. It'll be painful for a while but it's necessary if Windows is going to advance at any decent pace in the future without collapsing under it's own weight.
Martin Pilkington Send private email
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
 
 
Jimmy Jones is an obvious troll. Nuff said!
Vista Fanboy
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
 
 
"I guess you were born yesterday. How else could you explain that you just don't seem to get how marketing works. Have you ever seen a new product that DIDN'T tell you how wonderful it is? Are you actually serious about that comment you just made?!?!?!?"

Excitement was the centerpiece of their ad campaign. There's a difference between "exciting" and "wonderful". Is toilet paper exciting? Boy, I sure hope not. How about a mini van? Hmm, maybe, but the ads seem to focus more on comfortable and flexible. Let's see, maybe luggage? No, durable and light seems to about cover that ad campaign.

Yup, I see new products *all the time* where the advertising doesn't say it's exciting. So if the first, most important thing they can say about Vista is that it's exciting ... well, no it isn't, and that's not what I'm looking for anyway.

And that is the difference between advertising and marketing. You don't tell people why *you* like the product. You find out what would make *them* like it and tell them about that. And so far, Microsoft hasn't done that.
Drew Kime Send private email
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
 
 
>> It worked in XP, which means that someone exerted the
>> effort to *break* the feature.
>
> It was broken in XP RTM and SP1, but fixed in SP2.

Wrong.  It was broken in XP SP2 too.  Some other Explorer bugs were fixed in SP2 but not this one.

However, in XP this bug occurs around twice a day at random, and in Vista this behaviour occurs all the time because it's by design.
Norman Diamond
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
 
 
"I've never understood how this is relevant. Are you saying if Microsoft had written Vista in eight months you'd happily pay for it?"

I agree, in the sense that as a user, I don't care how long the thing took to make. However, Windows doesn't exist in a vacuum. Other operating systems were passing Windows by as MS took forever to build Vista. Then everyone was supposed to care when MS came out with an OS that sported features that were around years prior on other platforms, an OS that was missing a bunch of the stuff that was supposed to be in it. And shell out $300 a pop for the privilege.

That's the bottom line for me. It's not a disaster, but it's just not worth the money.
KT
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
 
 
"Unlike other distributions, there is no default "root" user in Ubuntu."

Yeah - I really never grokked that with Ubuntu.  They had some reasons, but they were kinda dumb.

The root user is there, it is just that the password is not set to anything the user can actually find out.  They also don't list it on kdm/gdm.

The first thing I do after install is "sudo passwd root" and away you go.

If you need an fsck run manually, the first thing it asks is "please supply root password for system maintenance".
the Melbournian Send private email
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
 
 
I didn't pay for Vista. I paid for a computer which had Vista preinstalled.

There's a difference: I didn't have the easy choice to buy a computer without Vista preinstalled.

This means I don't feel the pain. Vista has its problems, but I didn't totally like XP either. If I were in love with XP then I'd have insisted on having that preinstalled.

I've yet to setup a Linux partition and configure internet access from it. I failed miserably the first time I tried. I'm new quite new to Linux.
</useless personal digression>
Daniel_DL Send private email
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
 
 
Microsoft: "The reason we put UAC into the platform was to annoy users. I'm serious"

http://www.crn.com/software/207100934
MT
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
 
 
Yes, I really feel much safer when I go to the Windows control panel, click on some icon and the system asks "Was it really _you_ who started this action?"
Daniel_DL Send private email
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
 
 
"The reason we put UAC into the platform was to annoy users."

Damn. Now I have to stop saying that Microsoft never produced anything that worked right the first time.


Seriously, though, this could only have worked if they *told* people from the beginning that's what was happening. "If you are seeing this prompt, the application $foo requires you to grant administrator access. This is a potential security flaw. You should contact the maker of $foo and ask them to upgrade their software so that it doesn't require you to compromise the security of your computer."

Pop that up on Joe Average User's screen a couple of dozen times and maybe you get enough people complaining to vendors that it changes. The way it was actually implemented, most people just want to know how to make the window go away.
Drew Kime Send private email
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
 
 
"Vista is not that bad."

Such praise.

Sincerely,

Gene Wirchenko
Gene Wirchenko Send private email
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
 
 
Brevity is the soul of wit. Bravo.
Drew Kime Send private email
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
 
 
>>"Vista is not that bad."
>
>Such praise.

Thread over.
Jimmy Jones
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
 
 
The problem is that your new and shiny laptop is as fast as your two years old laptop... crazy uh?

--
Nicolás Miyasato (miya)
http://nmiyasato.blogspot.com
Nicolás Miyasato Send private email
Thursday, July 03, 2008
 
 

This topic is archived. No further replies will be accepted.

Other recent topics Other recent topics
 
Powered by FogBugz