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Ballmer Calls Vista 'A Work In Progress'

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the truth-in-advertising dept.

Windows 345

shanen tips us to a Seattle Post-Intelligencer story about comments from Steve Ballmer at a conference earlier this week during which he referred to Vista as "a work in progress." He also admitted that the 5-year release cycle wasn't a good idea. Despite the approaching deadline for the end of XP sales, Ballmer's remarks about the older operating system were more ambiguous: "Vista is bigger than XP. It's going to stay bigger than XP. We have to make sure it doesn't get bigger still, and that the performance and that the battery life and that the compatibility, we're driving on the things that we need to drive hard to improve. I know we're going to continue to get feedback from people on how long XP should be available. We've got some opinions on that, we've expressed our views. ... I'm always interested in hearing from you on these and other issues."

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The most expensive... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23134646)

...beta software I've ever heard of.

Re:The most expensive... (4, Funny)

rsmoody (791160) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134674)

Beta? More like EARLY alpha software! What I don't get is how in the hell they can get away with charging customers over $300 in some cases to alpha test this shit for them. Wonder if this comment will come around to bite him in his big sweaty monkey ass. Wonder if he will yell and scream and jump around then or just throw another chair.

that was my reaction (5, Insightful)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134724)

Also, maybe you shouldn't release a work in progress.

Re:that was my reaction (1)

rsmoody (791160) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134786)

ahhhh, point made! Note to self....do not push out shit software on the public that is not ready and also charge for it. Got it!

Re:that was my reaction (4, Funny)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 6 years ago | (#23135002)

Maybe Ballmer can re-invent himself as a caber tosser after his company collapses. I understand he's good at throwing heavy things, and he's definitely a tosser...

Re:that was my reaction (4, Insightful)

blowdart (31458) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134912)

Why not?

Software is never perfect; releases tend to be when it's "good enough". If you wait for perfection it never gets released. Linux is still a work in progress, if it wasn't there would be no more kernel updates. As long as there are patches then a system isn't finished. MS even released a feature pack [istartedsomething.com] for Vista this week for bluetooth and networking. SP1 improved sleep and startup times. Visual Studio is getting regular feature additions these days, the asp.net ajax stuff is a good example.

When *isn't* something that is still "alive" and used a work in progress? Heck if you shouldn't release work in progress goggle wouldn't have any apps; and putting daily builds/feature based check ins on sourceforge wouldn't happen either.

Disclaimer: I was in the audience; the conference in question was the MVP summit.

Re:that was my reaction (5, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#23135086)

You're right that software is never done, but considering the revelations of what was happening in the final months before Vista's release, even die-hard Microsoft apologists have to admit that it was a victory of marketing over engineering that got an operating system like Vista through the starting gate. It wouldn't be so bad if it was labeled that way. I've installed bleeding-edge Linux kernels in the past out of pure curiousity, but never in my wildest dreams would I dare throw one on a production server or on to someone's PC.

That's exactly what happened with Vista. It simply wasn't ready, and worse, it appears that the backroom way which Microsoft works with major hardware companies even knocked it back a few notches. It's not surprising to me, as I had heard some rumblings long before the revelations a few months ago. The marketers wanted an operating system ASAP, the teams didn't think it was ready, but the marketers won, and now Microsoft's credibility has fallen through the floor. Even worse, for most people, there's no point to the upgrade. As awful as it sounds to the marketers in Redmond, and maybe even to a lot of FOSS fanatics, Windows XP is a stable, mature product that works properly on today's hardware.

But Microsoft doesn't survive on stable, mature products. It survives on its unholy hardware alliances and marketing department, which push for unrealistic (and pointless) upgrade cycles. The problem here is that Vista is a resource hog. They say 1gb of RAM should be enough, but I can tell you that Aero runs, but does not run all that well, on 1gb of RAM. Only now are we seeing what I would consider legitimately sufficient hardware being released that runs the Vista "experience".

But it doesn't end there. Rather than admitting that Vista was a disaster, Microsoft still appears determined to kill XP, despite the fact that most business and many consumers don't want Vista. The only reason the operating system can even be considered a success is because of Microsoft's long-standing darling, the OEMs.

Here's a tip to Microsoft. Keep XP on the shelves. You're stuck with supporting Vista, but maybe Windows 7 will be an improvement, but only if a) you refuse to take hardware vendor's calls when they demand support for their low-end shit and b) fire 9/10s of marketing department, they're the incompetent evil morons that have created this disaster, and they should be shown the door. As well, as a sort of sub-point to that, the developments should always win automatically against marketing demands. Vista may have been released six months late, but you wouldn't have the black eye you have now.

Re:that was my reaction (5, Interesting)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 6 years ago | (#23135192)

The power of trusted computing:

Worried about the illegal acts your company has been engaged in being leaked to the public? Trusted computing can make it impossible.

Hospital behind on their software payments after those budget cutbacks and the legal system won't help you enforce? Shut them off at the push of a button.

Someone at a news agency release information that compromises the governments position? Revoke the signature key, now it will not play even if someone does try to redistribute. Censorship after the fact.

They put the hardware on everyones desktops quite some time ago, just needs the right software support. That is what Vista is. It'll also be embedded in every set-top box after transitioning everyone away from analog television.

Now, imagine you were a powerful government or among the richest companies on earth, and someone approached you and offered to bring this scheme to reality. How much would that be worth to you? Billions? A place in the regime? All of the above?

Connect the dots.

The general population will not believe this is happening until the pieces are all in place. They can't. It's too big, and it means discarding everything you thought you knew about the way the world works. But it's still happening nevertheless.

The end user? Show them something flashy and keep dropping the price. Get it out there into the market at all costs. Do it while you've still got the influence to pull it off.

Re:The most expensive... (1, Flamebait)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134884)

Um, have you actually used Vista? Or do you not know what alpha means?

Re:The most expensive... (5, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#23135028)

No, I'd say after using Vista for a few months that it's probably a reasonable first or second beta release. Most things work, but it's the annoying bugs (like the constant disk use which kills laptop battery life).

At the end of the day, other than a few neat things in the UI, I still don't see the point of it. It offers little or nothing that's all that compelling. It's not like it really runs any of my software any better, and simple things like trying to install Apache and MySQL turn into major headaches.

Re:The most expensive... (4, Insightful)

leamanc (961376) | more than 6 years ago | (#23135148)

Beta? More like EARLY alpha software!

You've got a point. A point that Microsoft should really be considering. If you can't get past Alpha quality in six years (people like to talk about Visata's five-year cycle, but six years later, we're at SP1 and it's still not ready), then you need to consider some options:

  • 1. The project you are working on (Vista, in this case) is hopeless and should be abandoned
  • 2. You should seriously revamp your software development team and associated processes
  • 3. Maybe you should get out of software development altogether

Like a lot of us here, I'm the "techie guy" who helps everyone with their computer problems. Most of these people are clueless and just nod their heads with blank stares when I try and explain what the problem was and how I fixed it. But now, even these Average Folks are talking about how bad Vista sucks, how they feel burned by buying a PC with it pre-installed, and wanting to know how can they get "real Windows" back.

Fortunately, I've made more Linux converts over the past year than I had in the previous five combined.

Re:The most expensive... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23135216)

So when is the class-action lawsuit for releasing early pre-release software as released boxed/shrinkwrapped software?

And if they said this about linux? (1, Insightful)

cliffski (65094) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134704)

is linux not a work in progress? isn't ALL software these days not a work in progress? That's a GOOD thing. software design can respond to user experience and feedback, and move with the times. That's called running a software business responsibly. Face it, if linus stated this everyone would triumph it as showing that linux moved with the times, and was better than monolithic old vista.
This is a poor, half assed attempt to bash microsoft by the fanboys.

Re:And if they said this about linux? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23134792)

HEAD/source code = Work in progress
Tagged release/distro = Finished release

There is a difference between always working on a project and releasing crap.

Re:And if they said this about linux? (4, Funny)

Idiot with a gun (1081749) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134868)

There's a difference between "Work in progress" and "Oh bugger, that's broken."

Re:And if they said this about linux? (4, Insightful)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134902)

There's also a difference between something that is given away for free being called a work in progress and something that is a pricey commercial product being called a work in progress. Of course, you're right about feedback and improvement. This seems more about a poor choice of words by Ballmer.

Re:And if they said this about linux? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23134914)

I don't disagree with your statements about software evolving, and of course Microsoft does catch hell simply because it is Microsoft.

However, I do see a difference. Microsoft can and will stop selling their previous versions, so at some point, I have to accept their design decisions or get over it. With other OS's, I can download the specific version that tickles my fancy.

Given the Vista debacle and Microsoft's tendency to push their latest and greatest as hard as they can, can you blame me for being cautious when Ballmer talks about his software evolving in some unknown direction?

Re:And if they said this about linux? (3, Insightful)

timonvo (1063686) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134920)

The kernel is under constant development, but the releases are always quite stable. And nobody forces you to run the latest kernel.

Re:And if they said this about linux? (0)

jeiler (1106393) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134926)

This is a poor, half assed attempt to bash microsoft by the fanboys.

Yes, it is--but this is Slashdot. What did you expect?

However, when you have the marketing share that Microsoft has, you're in a difficult position. Unless what you release is perfect for each and every user that's out there, you're going to get complaints. There's nobody that Microsoft can point to and say "We need to emulate them" without disrupting their business model, and there's nobody that Microsoft can point to and say "Hey, we did better than so-and-so."

In that respect, when it comes to business and consumer desktops, Microsoft is in the same position that Ma Bell was in back in the 1970s--there is no alternative, so if anything goes wrong, you get the complaints.

Re:And if they said this about linux? (4, Insightful)

Runefox (905204) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134938)

I wouldn't be so sure. Linux is something that's more ambiguous than Windows is - Windows is a packaged, supposedly complete product that costs real money (a lot of it), is extremely widespread, and most importantly to your point, used by almost everyone in North America at some point in their lives - Which, in essence, means that Ma, Pa and Uncle Tusky are alpha/beta testers. And they're paying for it.

Linux is at its core a community effort, rather than a commercial product (though many have been made from it). As such, it is constantly changing and evolving, and is quite difficult to "keep up" with for most who aren't enthusiasts (Windows version upgrades gives most people a hard time to begin with). There exist shiny, polished distros like Ubuntu and Fedora that are meant to be a "whole product", being almost literally a snapshot of stable, tested software bundled with a stable version of the kernel, but these OSes are generally non-profit or free (as in both these cases).

The core difference between them at first glance is that Windows costs money. Coupled with what Ballmer went on record with in TA, that basically means that Microsoft doesn't consider Vista a "complete" product as yet, but has no problem charging inordinate amounts of money for the privilege of running it. That said, my experiences with Ubuntu in the past have always been a lot more polished than my experiences in Windows, and I would consider Windows to be an inferior product on most days. I still use Windows XP (my X-Fi doesn't yet have a driver for Ubuntu and Wine still isn't perfect), but I doubt I'll be making a jump to Vista "Just Because". There don't seem to be any compelling reasons to make the change (aside from having Aero and DX10 support, the latter of which won't run on my system and the former of which is a memory hog for a decrease in desktop CPU usage), and a lot of people feel the same way - Even Joe and Jane Average.

Another difference between Windows and Linux is that while the Linux kernel itself may be in perpetual development (as is the general mindset of Linux), this is because it falls under a different development model than the Microsoft mindset. Linux' greatest trait is that it IS in perpetual development - Because this is desired and necessary. For Microsoft, it's supposed to be one spit-shined, heavily-tested operating system every few years. A different model; Not necessarily better or worse, but different, more similar to Mac OS and most traditional software development cycles. In this model, however, being in a state of perpetual development is something that is absolutely catastrophic, because as with the XP->Vista jump, more development time is spent fixing holes and bugs in the previous generation of software to bring it up to spec than is spent working on the next big release. This is what we're looking at with Vista, which Ballmer confirmed.

The very fact that most of the more impressive features of Windows Vista (hi, WinFS!) were ripped from it later on in its development stunted its ability to really compete against even its own predecessor, and for me, cast doubt upon its legitimacy as a valid entry in the product line.

Re:And if they said this about linux? (4, Insightful)

mysticgoat (582871) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134994)

Face it, if linus stated this everyone would triumph it as showing that linux moved with the times, and was better than monolithic old vista.

If Linus made this statement about Linux, it would be within the context of operating systems whose kernels and other low level components have an established history of successful upgrades with minimal negative impacts on userland. However I doubt that Linus would ever make this statement since he rarely casts glittering generalities before the public.

But the statement was made by Ballmer, and needs to be evaluated within the context of Microsoft's history of software releases. Within that context, the statement is clearly a piece of spin doctor legerdemain to cover the damage that Vista does to the userland experiences of those unfortunates who have had Vista inflicted upon them.

I suggest that author of PP sell off his MSFT stock and invest in something with a better future, like maybe a recycling and disposal company. It should be obvious to everyone with a brain that when a stockholder has to take up fanboi behaviors to protect his investment, there is something wrong with that stock.

Re:And if they said this about linux? (5, Funny)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 6 years ago | (#23135072)

This is a poor, half assed attempt to bash microsoft by the fanboys.

I don't know if I'd call Ballmer a fanboy. He is the CEO after all, and he would certainly know how bad Vista is. If anyone has the right to bash MS, it's him.

I don't think you can complain when he takes an opportunity that's handed to him on a platter.

Re:And if they said this about linux? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23135080)

This is a poor, half assed attempt to bash microsoft by the fanboys.


No, it isn't. Telling Vista is beta or incomplete is the lightest criticism one could think of.
How about reading a detailed analysis [auckland.ac.nz] certainly not written by fanboys that goes deep and shows how Vista is designed to screw all its users?

Remember ME? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23134650)

I thought we were just going to ignore Vista until Windows 7 came out...

It's Windows ME all over again.

God forbid... (1)

jpellino (202698) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134656)

They work all those problematic details out before release.

Ballmers Real Quote (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23134658)

"Vista is bugger than XP. It's going to stay bigger than XP. We have to make sure it doesn't get bigger still, and that the performance and that the battery life and that the compatibility, we're driving on the things that we need to drive hard to improve.

Re:Ballmers Real Quote (0)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134976)

Are you trying to make a joke and say it's buggier?

interesting (1, Insightful)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134682)

So.. basically by implication he admits they released an unfinished project that they knew was bloatware?

Well we knew it, buts its nice of him to admit it. (Bet MS PR just loves him)

:-)

This + Chairs = PR Love (1, Funny)

russlar (1122455) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134870)

(Bet MS PR just loves him)
Between this and that whole chair nonsense, yeah, I'd say PR loves him.

So... (5, Funny)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134684)

This means Vista is still in development development development development?

Re:So... (2, Interesting)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134702)

And we are all betatesters as usual.

As usual - and nothing surprising. The worst thing is that we are more or less forced into Vista unless we go to Linux, FreeBSD or AROS.

Re:So... (1, Troll)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134744)

Because linux would never make you run not fully tested code? Lol

Re:So... (1)

udippel (562132) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134832)

Because linux would never make you run not fully tested code? Lol

Astroturf? LOL!
I even doubt for twitter that he'd pay USD300 (and neither USD50) for testing some alpha-Linux.

Re:So... (0, Troll)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 6 years ago | (#23135020)

Wow i got modded troll fast i guess i should elaborate. Vista gets jabbed for releasing a product that is under development. Then someone suggests linux instead.

Linux is CONSTANTLY under developement it is almost a living thing it is evolving all the time. I didn't say this was a bad thing. I just thought the switch suggestion was ironic.

Re:So... (0)

superash (1045796) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134712)

...do not say something that will awaken the chair throwing monster! Let it sleeeeeep.

Progress in what sense? (1)

s1d (1185389) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134686)

Amount of bloatware added with each progressive version?

Re:Progress in what sense? (3, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#23135036)

There's that conspiracy theory that Windows is working hand in glove with hardware manufacturers to increase each other's sales. Each new release of Windows requires new Intel hardware for best results, while every new hardware purchase comes with a Windows license you often can't avoid.

Re:Progress in what sense? (1)

s1d (1185389) | more than 6 years ago | (#23135094)

What, a conspiracy theory? There hardly remains any doubt about it anymore. The recent lawsuits against Vista got out enough M$ and Intel dirty laundry so it no longer remains a conspiracy theory, but a proven public fact.

Software "architects?" Ha! (3, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134690)

If builders built buildings the way Microsoft writes code... well, we'd have the US embassy in Iraq.

Re:Software "architects?" Ha! (1)

jorx (975057) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134708)

Um... there IS a US embassy in Iraq: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embassy_of_the_United_States_in_Baghdad [wikipedia.org]

Re:Software "architects?" Ha! (4, Informative)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134756)

Read the article you linked...

"The current embassy, which opened July 1, 2004 in the "Green Zone", is being replaced with what has been described as the largest and most expensive embassy in the world. The new embassy has been mired in construction delays, but is expected to be completed in 2008."

Re:Software "architects?" Ha! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23135176)

Yep, and my prediction is that the Iraq war will finally be over once that embassy complex is sacked. Probably in around 2020 - 2030 timeframe.

Re:Software "architects?" Ha! (1)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134992)

Haha, imagine that from a security point of view too. It'd be a the biggest embassy in the world with holes tanks could drive right through in the wall?

That's great Steve. (5, Interesting)

nurhussein (864532) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134692)

Now please explain the hefty price tag for your unfinished product.

Re:That's great Steve. (3, Insightful)

Flavio (12072) | more than 6 years ago | (#23135012)

That's easy.

Price is dictated by the market. As long as there are people willing to buy Vista, Microsoft has no incentive to either lower its price or improve its quality.

Re:That's great Steve. (4, Funny)

imbaczek (690596) | more than 6 years ago | (#23135052)

it's one of those ???-Profit! cases.

Translation, please? (3, Interesting)

Gazzonyx (982402) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134710)

OK, I've read that quote (from the summary) over a few times and I have not a single clue what Ballmer is trying to say. Would someone please translate that in to something resembling a sentence for me?

Re:Translation, please? (5, Funny)

jeiler (1106393) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134774)

Marketing translation: "Like any other release, there are occasional issues, but we're working to resolve those issues."

Real-world translation: "It's buggy bloatware, but it's our buggy bloatware, and if I catch you even thinking about another operating system I'll start throwing furniture again."

Hope that helps.

Still Not My Native Tongue (1)

Gazzonyx (982402) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134924)

Actually, I was hoping you could translate to 'software developer' for me; it's a two step refactoring from 'marketing translation' and three from 'real-world'.

Re:Still Not My Native Tongue (4, Funny)

jeiler (1106393) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134944)

Oh, in software developer, it's "Oh, shit--Marketing says release it now. We're toast!"

Re:Translation, please? (3, Funny)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134946)

That might make a funny commercial. If only someone would make it. [youtube.com]

Re:Translation, please? (0)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 6 years ago | (#23135024)

"I'm always interested in hearing from you on these and other issues."

Never argue with a man when he is holding a chair.

In Other Words (5, Insightful)

fluch (126140) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134726)

It is a failure. Why not just name the child by its real name?

Re: name the child (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134852)

... nooo!

Don't drag "think of the children" into this!

Though Microsoft is getting pretty good at the Chewbacca defense.

"Vista is bigger than XP. It's going to stay bigger than XP."
Meanwhile Windows 7 is aimed at being comprised of (overpriced?) components so you can skip the bloat and make it smaller than XP. Maybe this is the Three Bears philosophy of programming.

XP SP2! (3, Insightful)

headkase (533448) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134734)

We didn't know it at the time but XP pre-SP2 sucked. When Vista reaches SP2 it'll probably be decent (from an average persons point of view - for me it already works absolutely fine). By then Windows 7 will be out and I'll be one of the people sticking with Vista for SP3 and go to 7 when it's SP1 comes out.
Linux and Windows both suffer from the same issue: theres so much variety of hardware out there that you just can't write it perfect for everything right off-the-bat so you need to release and incrementally improve. Mac's suffer less from this situation as Apple rules their hardware configuration with an iron fist - which is the source of their mythical "it just works®".

Re:XP SP2! (4, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134834)

Linux and Windows both suffer from the same issue: theres so much variety of hardware out there that you just can't write it perfect for everything right off-the-bat so you need to release and incrementally improve. Mac's suffer less from this situation as Apple rules their hardware configuration with an iron fist - which is the source of their mythical "it just works®".

The problem being your description of the phrase "it just works" as "mythical" is correct. Even with a limited number of hardware targets to run OS X on (and a relatively small software universe), Apple still can't get upgrades not to screw up on a regular basis.

The real problem, to correct a poster a few P's above is:

"If builders built buildings the way programmers wrote programs, then the first woodpecker that came along would destroy all of civilization"(Weinburg's second law).

Despite all of the truly gifted programmers, the wonderful development tools and several decades of experience, computers still aren't toasters (except Pentium IV's of course).

Re:XP SP2! (1, Insightful)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134964)

I've been using OSX since oct 2000; I have yet to experience a screwup due to an OS software upgrade. I'm sure many other people feel the same way...

Re:XP SP2! (2, Insightful)

AhtirTano (638534) | more than 6 years ago | (#23135066)

I've been using OSX since oct 2000; I have yet to experience a screwup due to an OS software upgrade. I'm sure many other people feel the same way...

4 years, never had an upgrade screw up either, though one of my co-workers has.

However, I have had hardware compatibility issues that demonstrated to me that it doesn't "just work". The free printer they give out (HP Photosmart Express) couldn't even be installed without downloading stuff from HP's website. HP bears much fault in this, but Apple shouldn't be featuring peripherals that have problems like that, or should at least have some helpful information on their website to fix the problem. I know I'm not a solitary case, because Google gave me the solution very quickly.

Re:XP SP2! (1)

eck011219 (851729) | more than 6 years ago | (#23135092)

But when Mac users had to migrate from OS9 to OS X, it was a lot more like this situation. I jumped on board with OS X myself (I'm mostly a PC guy, but I'm a graphic designer and therefore have to have a Mac around, too), and it was a lot buggier in the beginning than it is now.

I'm not defending Vista by any stretch, nor am I equating Vista to OS X. But I think the OS9-OSX change is a more accurate parallel to the XP-Vista change. Both broke existing software, both introduced new interfaces that were confusing to users of the older OS, both had device driver issues at the outset, and so on.

Re:XP SP2! (4, Informative)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 6 years ago | (#23135234)

I've been using OSX since oct 2000; I have yet to experience a screwup due to an OS software upgrade. I'm sure many other people feel the same way...

May I present to you my second favorite web site, Mac Fix It [macfixit.com] . Seriously, not everyone has problems with OS X, or XP or Palm or whatever. But as a recent switcher (and I still like Macs and OS X despite the glitches), it's much less stable and problem free than I expected. This is on bolt stock, 99% Apple Certified parts (I added my own HDs to my Mac Pro - they've been fine). Four Mac Books and a Mac Pro (along with a Linux server). The 7.4 Quicktime upgrade hosed Premiere Pro on two machines. I had to back out of the last security fix to get SSH to work again. Now, just as when I was responsible for an XP network, I don't touch an "update" until it's out for a couple of weeks.

YMMV.

Re:XP SP2! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23134850)

Mac's suffer less from this situation as Apple rules their hardware configuration with an iron fist - which is the source of their mythical "it just works®".

Just because you've figured out how it "just works", doesn't mean it's mythical. Macs -do- just work, for the most part. Just because the hardware and base operating system comes from the same company doesn't make it any less valid.

Re:XP SP2! (1)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134950)

We didn't know it at the time but XP pre-SP2 sucked. When Vista reaches SP2 it'll probably be decent (from an average persons point of view - for me it already works absolutely fine).

How much of your perception of "working fine" has to do with the fixes brought by Windows XP's SP2 and how much it has to do with being forced to deal with it for about 4 years?

One thing is the damn thing being usable. Another entirely different thing is forced accommodation.

Re:XP SP2! (4, Informative)

mxs (42717) | more than 6 years ago | (#23135000)

Linux and Windows both suffer from the same issue: theres so much variety of hardware out there that you just can't write it perfect for everything right off-the-bat so you need to release and incrementally improve.
Well, you could do a hell of a lot better if the hardware vendors support your platform with manpower, documentation, and support. The two systems don't really suffer from the same issue at all -- some of their drivers might.

I also doubt that Steve meant hardware support when he made that statement. There are more fundamental changes needed.

Re:XP SP2! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23135186)

The biggest problem about Vista isn't related to bugs; every software/OS has bugs, included Linux, *BSD, MacOS etc. The problem is that Vista was designed from ground up to limit what the users can do with it. Microsoft agreed to screw its customers when big media companies asked that the system shouldn't allow people to do certain things, and the number of limitation is so high that the system has become nearly unusable.

It's not about bugs or security, it's much worse: Vista is the first operating system designed to be inoperative on request. This is why even people who love Windows should avoid it at any cost.

Lies, Lies and More Lies... (1, Insightful)

jr76 (1272780) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134742)

Look, if anyone just does a basic analysis, you'll see that there's this circular process where the heavier operating system requires new hardware, forcing people to buy both to keep up with the times, which both them and the manufacturer want.

Therefore M$'s strategy of making it bigger and bigger is clearly intentional, so that they both continue their same profit model.

This will not end until they have a solid competitor, period, and that means the linux geeks have got to get off their high horse and make an easy, packaged, "buy your box from dell with it pre-loaded" version of it your grandma can use.

Because, personally, i'm getting a little sick of getting these operating systems from Microsoft which I swear to God have code running several extra loops just to bog it down so that only the most bleeding edge (aka money I don't want to spend) boxes can handle it reasonably.

Re:Lies, Lies and More Lies... (1)

mysticgoat (582871) | more than 6 years ago | (#23135116)

Look into Ubuntu. The future you've asked for has arrived. The only thing is that you still think you need to buy new hardware to get better software, so you aren't seeing it. That kind of thinking is SO stuck in the last millennium.

Re:Lies, Lies and More Lies... (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#23135228)

And Ubuntu is still a pain in the ass to get working on a good many laptops. Now, that's not entirely the fault of the open source community, as a lot of hardware vendors won't or can't deal with Linux, and force developers to either do hacks like ndiswrapper or reverse engineer Windows drivers. But the fact remains that laptops remain a huge problem for Ubuntu, and for all Linux distros.

that must make it a beta (2, Funny)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134752)

People should get it for free since they're clearly helping them ready vista for completion.

Mind you even for free I wouldn't taint my system with that crap. Ballmer is a tit.

Like a Turd (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23134766)

Like turd only halfway out is a work in progress.

Hmm Linux (1)

TheLeopardsAreComing (1206632) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134796)

This seems to be one more small victory for open source operating systems. The fall of XP may just be the final nail in the coffin.

How does it matter now (1)

aloktherocker (1233588) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134810)

Released more than a year ago with 6 shitty versions of the same thing.Now you say its still under progress when everything fails! (oh and btw isnt 2008,the year of linux on the desktop,so who cares!)

Re:How does it matter now (1)

DeathGod321 (1126621) | more than 6 years ago | (#23135064)

I remember hearing that last year was 'the year of linux on the desktop,' and next year will probably be 'the year of linux on the desktop' as well.

Re:How does it matter now (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 6 years ago | (#23135206)

It's certainly the year of linux on the laptop, if eeepc sales are anything to go by.

Steve says "Vista is a work in progress" (0)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134814)

"Well, Steve, in your own time then..."

5-year release cycle (5, Insightful)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134844)

He also admitted that the 5-year release cycle wasn't a good idea
Windows was complete when NT 4.0 came out in 1996 -- 32-bit pre-emptive multitasking with a normal user interface (i.e. no Program Manager). With the possible exception of Active Directory, everything else could have been a service pack or patch: USB, WiFi, CD-R. When the calendar drives a release schedule rather than needed features, Microsoft is not only acting just to fill its coffers, but it costs companies massive admin overhead.

Ballmer is right -- it shouldn't be a five-year release cycle. It should be 10 years. 64-bit is a good reason to have a new release after NT 4.0.

Re:5-year release cycle (1)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134862)

OMG you mean to suggest that Microsoft is motivated by profit? How dare they!

Re:5-year release cycle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23135008)

> OMG you mean to suggest that Microsoft is motivated by profit? How dare they!

Microsoft doesn't just cost us money when we buy their products. They cost us huge amounts in lost productivity, and they don't even profit from that!

Re:5-year release cycle (3, Insightful)

dHagger (1192545) | more than 6 years ago | (#23135140)

I partially disagree. In my opinion, it is better to make small iterative releases a few times a year - while still not pushing features that might break things as patches. Smaller upgrades would make it easier to keep the system updated - instead of having to make a risky major upgrade after many years. How many of you have managed to upgrade windows from one version to another without any problems at all?

And a calendar driven release schedule - why not? Features that are ready to be deployed will be included - others will have to wait until they are ready. With short time span between the releases - it is not such a big deal to hold a feature back, as it is when the next release is several years away.

Re:5-year release cycle (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 6 years ago | (#23135214)

OpenBSD has a calendar driven release cycle - ie every 6 months. Seems to work fine for them.

bashers.... (0, Troll)

Bafoon (1191427) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134864)

and while you keep bashing vista and microsoft the sales numbers are working against you and in the favour of microsoft. keep it up...that will surely move the linux desktop triumf from 2099 to ... 2299.

Re:bashers.... (3, Informative)

Runefox (905204) | more than 6 years ago | (#23135022)

I believe the sales figures would be due to systems with Vista pre-loaded (which is practically everything now). In my experience, very few stores will offer to do an XP downgrade (we do), and if they do, they need to be sure that drivers exist for all hardware beforehand or end up with a half functional computer. Before you ask, yes, there are Vista-only pieces of hardware out there, and yes, they are common and mostly OEM, especially on Dells and HPs. Sony are starting to get pretty bad, too, though they actually have a pretty good track record AFAIK. I'm fairly certain there's a good reason for this, in spite of XP still being officially supported by Microsoft.

Re:bashers.... (0)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#23135136)

Those sales are largely OEM copies being sold on computers out of the big box stores. If it wasn't for the Best Buys, Walmarts and so forth (not to mention the Microsoft tax), those sales wouldn't be there. Just how many people do you know that have gone out and purchased Vista for their existing computer? How many people with existing hardware are going to even be able to run it properly. Let's remember for the true Vista "experience" one needs what would be considered a high-end Vista machine.

640k or ram is all anyone will ever need... (4, Interesting)

3seas (184403) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134872)

... There was a time when hardware resources were limited and expensive and programmers programmed accordingly and software was faster and easier to use in ways it is no longer easy.

Granted applications have become more integrated thru the operating system improvements but as technology and its use changes from the mainframe to the cell phone, the cycle of programming should be moving from the packrat (use all the memory and resources you can in your application) back to compactness of providing the right functionality only.

Where does this put Ballmers statement?

He is in essence saying MS will remain stupidly behind the times while claiming to be the forefront.

As the user base becomes more and more adapted to computing in a second nature manner, the more and more the user base will perceive the obvious babel of MS and as such move to alternatives for which third party commercial development will not be able to ignore and stay in business.

And we all know from experience that this is not going to happen over night but more at the rate of evolution via human generations, where each generation will put up with the babel less and less.

Leadership... (5, Insightful)

Woodmeister (7487) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134894)

You know, Vista may be a work in progress, but Balmer's leadership of the company has most definitely stalled. Microsoft's reputation in the PC marketplace is anything but positive (i.e. neutral at best). They (and their software) are only big and popular (read: ubiquitous) due to inertia and lock-in. It's time for the tech community to just move on - completely ignore MS, deal with their s/w as needed, and replace it with "futureware" when it makes sense. Really. The "deadhorse" tag most certainly applies to this OS. Stop paying attention to anything Balmer blurts out of (any of) his orifices. He's prolly some of the most dead weight at that company anyways.

Nice footgun, MonkeyBoy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23134900)

Yeah, that'll go over well with corporate CIOs:

I paid HOW MUCH for a "work in progress"!?!?!?!

Deja vu. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23134928)

Strange, I seem to remember reading this exact same story on Digg not long ago...

What a coincidence!

At least it's not another fucking Roland article.

creators call planet/population rescue kode.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23134942)

a 'work' towards progress/survival. it's newclear powered & very user friendly/centered. it's also absolutely free of 'bugs', &/or payper liesense fees. let yOUR conscience be yOUR guide. you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. there are still some choices. if they do not suit you, consider the likely results of continuing to follow the corepirate nazi hypenosys story LIEn, whereas anything of relevance is replaced almost instantly with pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking propaganda or 'celebrity' trivia 'foam'. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on yOUR brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071229/ap_on_sc/ye_climate_records;_ylt=A0WTcVgednZHP2gB9wms0NUE
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080108/ts_alt_afp/ushealthfrancemortality;_ylt=A9G_RngbRIVHsYAAfCas0NUE
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/31/opinion/31mon1.html?em&ex=1199336400&en=c4b5414371631707&ei=5087%0A

is it time to get real yet? A LOT of energy is being squandered in attempts to keep US in the dark. in the end (give or take a few 1000 years), the creators will prevail (world without end, etc...), as it has always been. the process of gaining yOUR release from the current hostage situation may not be what you might think it is. butt of course, most of US don't know, or care what a precarious/fatal situation we're in. for example; the insidious attempts by the felonious corepirate nazi execrable to block the suns' light, interfering with a requirement (sunlight) for us to stay healthy/alive. it's likely not good for yOUR health/memories 'else they'd be bragging about it? we're intending for the whoreabully deceptive (they'll do ANYTHING for a bit more monIE/power) felons to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather', as well as a # of other things/events.

http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=video+cloud+spraying

dictator style micro management has never worked (for very long). it's an illness. tie that with life0cidal aggression & softwar gangster style bullying, & what do we have? a greed/fear/ego based recipe for disaster. meanwhile, you can help to stop the bleeding (loss of life & limb);

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/28/vermont.banning.bush.ap/index.html

the bleeding must be stopped before any healing can begin. jailing a couple of corepirate nazi hired goons would send a clear message to the rest of the world from US. any truthful look at the 'scorecard' would reveal that we are a society in decline/deep doo-doo, despite all of the scriptdead pr ?firm? generated drum beating & flag waving propaganda that we are constantly bombarded with. is it time to get real yet? please consider carefully ALL of yOUR other 'options'. the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption. fortunately there's an 'army' of light bringers, coming yOUR way. the little ones/innocents must/will be protected. after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit? for each of the creators' innocents harmed in any way, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available. 'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet, & by your behaviors. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable. some of US should consider ourselves somewhat fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate. it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc.... as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis. concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order. 'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

meanwhile, the life0cidal philistines continue on their path of death, debt, & disruption for most of US. gov. bush denies health care for the little ones;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/03/bush.veto/index.html

whilst demanding/extorting billions to paint more targets on the bigger kids;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/12/bush.war.funding/index.html

& pretending that it isn't happening here;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article3086937.ece
all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven

(yOUR elected) president al gore (deciding not to wait for the much anticipated 'lonesome al answers yOUR questions' interview here on /.) continues to attempt to shed some light on yOUR foibles. talk about reverse polarity;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3046116.ece

Dear Steve (4, Insightful)

cmacb (547347) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134958)

"I'm always interested in hearing from you on these and other issues."

Your products suck. They threaten people's hardware, waste their time, cost them too much both in dollars and in lost productivity. They have created a far too large an infrastructure of people who could be made more productive elsewhere (MCSE and the like = Amway pyramid schemes). Furthermore they pollute useful infrastructure used by non-Microsoft solutions by serving as a growth medium for malware and by causing millions of Windows users who can't rid themselves of your products to run helplessly to those who have for help. Ultimately as with any widespread systemic defect, your products cost lives.

Please go to hell. And take Windows with you.

Thanks for listening.

fp t4co?! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23134972)

hobby. It was all

I don't see what the big deal is. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23134986)

Isn't every software product a work in progress?

I can't believe... (2, Insightful)

Capeman (589717) | more than 6 years ago | (#23135006)

how he simply calls it a "work-in-progress", even when microsoft wants windows users to adopt Vista. So let's get this, if you buy Vista, you are testing a work-in-progress OS until microsoft gets enough feedback to "perfect" Windows 7 because they will abandon Vista, and then you will have to buy the new "finished" version. Hell, if Windows 7 doesn't work out, it will simply be called another WIP.

Better than... (1)

Delkster (820935) | more than 6 years ago | (#23135014)

Well, I guess being a work in progress is better than being a work in regress.

Vista changed a lot (5, Insightful)

Toreo asesino (951231) | more than 6 years ago | (#23135034)

There are reasons the earlier versions of Vista sucked, and like Balmer said, are still work in progress. To summarise the three main points I see:

-Actual security (UAC); breaking a shed-load of applications that would write to C:\Windows and think nothing of it

-64 bit. It's the first serious consumer Windows that's 64 bit. XP 64 bit is rare at best; Win2003 isn't for consumers.

-New driver architecture. Video, audio, and network driver stack has been re-written from the ground up after nearly 10 years to being more or less the same. New changes are worthwhile too; a bad video driver should (in theory) never be able to bring a system crashing down like in XP, for instance.

All these things had to be done; all these things broke stuff. They are massive and necessary changes, and in the long run will pay off, but in the short run have been a bit of a system-shock.

Things are changing though; but Vista has been as much a change from XP under the hood as 98 -> 2000 migration was in my opinion.

Re:Vista changed a lot (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 6 years ago | (#23135102)

New changes are worthwhile too; a bad video driver should (in theory) never be able to bring a system crashing down like in XP, for instance.

So, the OS inspects everything that a driver sends to hardware? That would explain why XP has a much higher performance than Vista.

Re:Vista changed a lot (3, Interesting)

v1 (525388) | more than 6 years ago | (#23135146)

This seems to be a popular route for PR to take though. Make a product, do not make it evolve for ages because "it would break things", as if they are not breaking things, for the good of the consumer. Then when we've finally had enough of this good treatment, change everything and break a bund of stuff in the process, but amazingly again it's for the good of the consumer.

Can't have it both ways. You have to admit fault at some point in the process. You can't blame the future on the past AND the past on the future, at the same time.

I see so many examples of this today where people made a mess in the past, and the fact that the fix is going to be unpleasant is not their fault because it's now an entrenched problem, like this was not their doing to begin with. They usually rationalize by saying "well we made a mess but we cleaned it up so it's nobody's fault". Wrong. You've wronged us twice, once by creating the problem and refusing to fix it for so long, and then a second time when you finally fixed it through an unpleasant means "because there were no other options left". (yet it was ye who got us to the "no other options" predicament)

Fixing your own mess is an apology, not a pardon. If you deliberately direct the problem into a corner from which there is no pleasant escape, you cannot claim innocence in the hardship it produces getting free of the problem, claiming helplessness that now "there's no other choice". There was choice, you had choice, you made the decisions that brought us here, you are responsible for the results, inevitable though they may be.

You should not be considered a savior as you try to dig the world out of the mess you created.

A detailed analysis of why Vista should be avoided (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23135048)

This analysis [auckland.ac.nz] explains a lot about how Vista and its business model should be avoided at any cost because it actually harms every user.

MS will not let XP die ... (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23135118)

because of ReactOS. The minute XP dies ReactOS gets a boost.

No one can doubt that they are very scared of linux and done evrything they can to hinder it.
The last thing they want is to see an OSS version of XP getting a toehold in the OS market.

Windows users have no choice, Vista is your future (2, Insightful)

Locutus (9039) | more than 6 years ago | (#23135156)

Microsoft will drive Vista through you skull just like they did with Windows 2000 and Windows XP. It may take 3 years to get it through your thick skulls that Vista is your future but you will eventually get it.

What could possibly give them reason to not force Vista on its customers being in the position they are in?

This stuff about Vista uptake/etc is getting old and it appears that even 8 yours is too long for people to remember how it was the last couple of times. Surprise, you're stuck with what they give you.

LoB

Re:Windows users have no choice, Vista is your fut (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#23135204)

To summarize: those of you reliant on Microsoft, bend over and grab those ankles.

Yeah long development cycles suck (5, Insightful)

Unnngh! (731758) | more than 6 years ago | (#23135198)

I can sympathize with the drawn out development cycle. Whenever this has happened at places that I've worked, it gets impossible to keep up with the changes. Scope creeps, because what you developed last year is no longer relevant. Plus, there's something that simply *has* to go into this upcoming release because everyone knows its going to take a while and you have told a customer they can have it. If you don't know when the current release is going out, slating anything for the next one is pretty much saying it'll never get done. These kinds of things just don't stop coming up.

The landscape changed a lot between when MS started Vista and when they released it. They were behind the times, trying to play catch-up, and they botched it. I had high hopes for Vista when they were planning it...new file system, powershell, lots of unfulfilled promises. They ended up delivering something that is passing fare IMO but is behind the times, and I don't see them changing the tune with their next release. They are wed to this beast now.
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