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The Myth of Upgrade Inevitability Is Dead

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the standing-pat dept.

Windows 597

Several readers pointed out a ComputerWorld UK blog piece on the expanding ripples of the Vista fiasco. Glyn Moody quotes an earlier Inquirer piece about Vista, which he notes "has been memorably described as DRM masquerading as an operating system": "Studies carried out by both Gartner and IDC have found that because older software is often incompatible with Vista, many consumers are opting for used computers with XP installed as a default, rather than buying an expensive new PC with Vista and downgrading. Big business, which typically thinks nothing about splashing out for newer, more up-to-date PCs, is also having trouble with Vista, with even firms like Intel noting XP would remain the dominant OS within the company for the foreseeable future." Moody continues: "What's really important about this is not so much that Vista is manifestly such a dog, but that the myth of upgrade inevitability has been destroyed. Companies have realized that they do have a choice — that they can simply say 'no.' From there, it's but a small step to realizing that they can also walk away from Windows completely, provided the alternatives offer sufficient data compatibility to make that move realistic."

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last sentence (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25941585)

the last sentence is a load of bollocks. People stick with XP because then they don't have to change their existing software. Walking away from windows would force just that

Re:last sentence (5, Interesting)

hellion0 (1414989) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941829)

Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the... ah, wait, wrong cliche.

Still, the fact is that someday, Microsoft will stop supporting XP even when it comes to security. That'll mean all those businesses who try to hang on will be forced to seek another option then, assuming MSFT hasn't learned and made something that would be a logical, worthwhile upgrade from XP. Assuming things stay the same by that point, you might start seeing a frenzied stampede away from Windows.

Re:last sentence (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941861)

wine?

Re:last sentence (2, Informative)

digitig (1056110) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941907)

wine?

Why, thank you. A glass of Chablis, please.

Or, if you mean Windows emulation, my experience is that it still breaks more than Vista does. But maybe it won't by the time MS withdraw XP support.

Re:last sentence (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25941933)

> wine?

Why bother, when you can have the real thing?

You need to remember that most people are not Linux zealots, are quite happy to use Windows if it meets their needs, and won't jump through hoops to avoid using Windows.

Re:last sentence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25941881)

provided the alternatives offer sufficient data compatibility to make that move realistic."

OOXML will fix that ;)

The published version of OOXML has OLE.

Depends of your point of view (5, Insightful)

PinkyDead (862370) | more than 5 years ago | (#25942053)

Can't agree with that.

If you're talking about the home user, then they will change as soon as they buy new hardware. They will take what they are given and they will like it. Just go into any computer shop and open your ears: Dad is in there, he's heard bad things about Vista and he's fairly sure he doesn't want it - but he still leaves the shop with it under his arm. When he gets home, he finds he's not happy, but there is nothing he can do - and unless he can get someone to downgrade it (which he's not comfortable about either) he's stuck with it. Whether that means that he will switch really depends on what Mac/Linux can offer to that market segment.

Small businesses will operate in a similar fashion, but because they have better budgets for hardware upgrades and the availability of technically capable individuals for advice and support, they won't take the crap and will be a lot less resistant to change (except for the accounts "department" - because they use balance sheets to determine software quality).

As for the medium to large business user - they cannot use unsupported software, so if XP ever ends up in that state they will have to change.

The problem they have right now is that Vista represents too much of a cost overhead to support internally, for at best no advantage, or more typically severe costs in terms of reduced productivity or hardware upgrades.

They currently live in an overlap which XP represents, but as that overlap shrinks they will start seriously looking at alternatives.

On top of this, those involved in making the decisions may be going one step further and projecting a future where every 12-24 months a new version of Windows appears and with it a repeat of the current uncertainty. If they are, then good business sense says that, unless Microsoft put guarantees in place (which must be based on what they have, not what the intend to have), then it is time to start planning for change.

Re:Depends of your point of view (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25942189)

Just go into any computer shop and open your ears: Dad is in there, he's heard bad things about Vista and he's fairly sure he doesn't want it - but he still leaves the shop with it under his arm. When he gets home, he finds he's not happy, but there is nothing he can do

Or, more likely, he gets it home and finds he is happy. End of problem.

Upgrading must be for a reason (3, Insightful)

KennyMillar (813395) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941591)

I really struggle to comprehend companies which upgrade without doing a full cost/benefit analysis first. Surely when upgrading a significant number of machines with a new OS, you must consider a) the benefits b)the cost c)training requirements and d)other options. By other options I mean such things as Other OSes including Linux and Mac OS X - and in order to do that you need to speak to experts in each field, not just a MS Expert who will only tell you the benefits of Vista and the downsides of everything else. I really do not see the benefit of upgrading from XP to Vista for most business users - who, lets face it, are doing web, email, word and excel. Is there really anything they can;t do just now? Or anything they really NEED from Vista? What about Mac OS X - doesn't that provide much the same 'new' features?

Re:Upgrading must be for a reason (3, Insightful)

afc_wimbledon (1052878) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941621)

Indeed, but the reason is often justifying the jobs and budget of the department doing the upgrading, sadly.

Re:Upgrading must be for a reason (0, Redundant)

KennyMillar (813395) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941665)

Ah, yes - aint that the truth!

Re:Upgrading must be for a reason (5, Insightful)

pugdk (697845) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941737)

Yes, upgrading must be for a reason.

I recently decided to upgrade to Vista because Microsoft has utterly destroyed the functionality and stability of Windows XP with its recent updates (say in the last 9-12 months or so).

I'm not sure exactly when this happend, but I'm not alone, plenty of coworkers have the same problem:

Double clicking on an office file (doc, xls, ppt) will make windows go into a waiting period (hour glass) for several minutes (up to half an hour or until you reboot) before the file is finally opened. This "functionality" is present not only with office files (but mostly these), but also other documents (besides office documents) suffer the same fate.

This has happend to a range of computers, running a range of different anti virus software, with a range of different office versions (office 2000, XP and 2003).

Now, you then install a CLEAN version of XP and a clean version of office (with antivirus etc.) this DOES NOT happen!

You then update your XP and Office (or wait for your computer to get owned... argh) and the problem comes back!

Hence Microsofts update has FORCED me to upgrade to Vista to get any meaningful work done... at least this problem is gone from Vista, however other problems then pop up, most notably, the lack of obtaining a new IP via DHCP when switching from one location to another... jesus, how hard can it be? but also performance drops (mostly network related) and no, I'm not alone in seeing these things either.

All in all, I got rid of some showstoppers caused by updating Windows XP, just to be annoyed by simple problems in Vista.

Considering the price tag this software comes with, I can't say I'm impressed with the problems, neither am I impressed with the observation that Microsoft forced me to upgrade to Vista by utterly messing up XP *after Vista was shipped!*

*sighs*

(No, using Linux is unfortunately not an option, as we use software everyday that runs only on Windows... using a Mac would bring forth the same problems, its either Windows or not get any work done!)

Re:Upgrading must be for a reason (4, Informative)

dougisfunny (1200171) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941783)

I would guess that is more a problem with Office rather than with XP, as the files mentioned open without problems on a fully updated XP with OpenOffice.org.

Re:Upgrading must be for a reason (2, Funny)

fork_daemon (1122915) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941833)

Out of Paranoia about M$ wanting to cripple XP just to push out VISTA, I had advised my friend to stop updating. Seems like my fears were right.

Re:Upgrading must be for a reason (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25941849)

Tip: Install wireshark and listen to the network interface after clicking the office file. I think you'll quickly find the cause of your problem.

Re:Upgrading must be for a reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25942065)

Pray continue, instead of leaving us all some form of self-satisfied smug geek cliffhanger?

Are you saying it is Office doing License checks?

Or the files being on a shared server and a low bandwidth connection?

Re:OpenOffice.org (1)

Macrat (638047) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941901)

Your failure is running M$ Office.

Go get a copy of OpenOffice. http://www.openoffice.org/ [openoffice.org]

Re:OpenOffice.org (1)

pugdk (697845) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941935)

Sorry, but openoffice does not contain all the features of office yet. Its getting better, but the functionality just isn't there yet.

Re:OpenOffice.org (-1, Troll)

Macrat (638047) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941973)

What features do you think you need?

Aside from being a M$ fanyboy?

Re:OpenOffice.org (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25942057)

jesus fuck, you linux zealots really are pathetic. fuck you, you fucking lemming

Re:OpenOffice.org (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25942077)

Being sure that the word document would appear the same to others would be nice.
I struggled to fit my CV in two pages - but if I open it with OO it is suddenly formatted somewhat differently, and a line or two escapes to a third page.

Now suppose that I edited the CV in OO.
Statistically, whoever is going to read it is more likely to use MS office to do so. How can I be sure that it is displayed properly and I don't make an ass of myself ?

If your answer is "check with ms word" - why should I use OO at all then ?
If your answer is "send PDF" - well, I tried once, too many times they didn't know how to open it. And while I agree in theory that it's not a very good sign about a company that the receptionist or the HR person only knows MS office, I am not willing to give up that position based only on that.

Unfortunately OO still has a long way to go, and so does wine.

Re:OpenOffice.org (1)

FictionPimp (712802) | more than 5 years ago | (#25942135)

In my experience files made in microsoft office look different depending on which version of office is used to open them. We are in the process of switching all of our users to a single version of microsoft office because of constant complaints from users who make a doc, send it to another user who opens it to find it looks 'funky'.

So don't count on that HR person to get the same file you see on your screen. The only good way to do that is PDF.

Re:OpenOffice.org (2, Interesting)

jenn_13 (1123793) | more than 5 years ago | (#25942187)

I don't know what features pugdk is missing, but I did have an experience with an Excel file from a client where a macro I needed to run wouldn't work when I opened it in the OpenOffice spreadsheet app. Since running that macro was the whole point of him giving me the spreadsheet, that pretty much forced me to use Excel for that particular task. Other than that, though, I prefer OpenOffice, and only have that installed on my personal computer.

Re:OpenOffice.org (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25942109)

Most of the world still runs MS office and while i agree open office is pretty much on par with office its compatibility with office is still not up to par for any higher level formatting.

So you run into a problem where you could have a well formatted nice looking document in open office (such as a resume) and then send it to your recipient who opens it in MS office to find the text misaligned and everything about 1/4 to the left of where it should be.

As a stand alone product open office is good, for a straight to the printer product, open office is excellent, but if you are ever sending out .docs or .xls files you're playing russian roulette with your look of "professionalism".

Re:Upgrading must be for a reason (1)

Spliffster (755587) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941931)

Although i am not an admin here at work (doing development work) I can confirm, that SP3 cannot be rolled out in our company because of such issues. However, this is not the only problem we have encountered with SP3 and all 4500 desktops will stay at SP2 with carefully selected hotfixes.

Re:Upgrading must be for a reason (1)

Drinking Bleach (975757) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941961)

Microsoft sabotaging an older operating system to persuade people to upgrade is nothing new. See: Windows 95. Install IE5 on Win95, and suddenly EXPLORER.EXE eats RAM like crazy and causes more BSODs than ever. Microsoft's solution: Upgrade to Windows 98.

Re:Upgrading must be for a reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25942061)

Are you sure that Linux is not an option? Have you already checked whether you're software runs under Wine?

Re:Upgrading must be for a reason (3, Informative)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 5 years ago | (#25942179)

...All in all, I got rid of some showstoppers caused by updating Windows XP, just to be annoyed by simple problems in Vista.

Considering the price tag this software comes with, I can't say I'm impressed with the problems, neither am I impressed with the observation that Microsoft forced me to upgrade to Vista by utterly messing up XP *after Vista was shipped!*

*sighs*

(No, using Linux is unfortunately not an option, as we use software everyday that runs only on Windows... using a Mac would bring forth the same problems, its either Windows or not get any work done!)

Well, while it sounds like you've definitely done your troubleshooting homework, I fail to understand the "several minutes" issue when opening up docs, as we still purchase new machines with XP, patch them up to SP3, install Office 2003, and have never reported that kind of issue.

Yes, SP3 and other updates of late have seemingly bogged down the OS a bit, but still not worthy to weather the pains of Vista compatibility, at least for our business.

Re:Upgrading must be for a reason (4, Insightful)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941749)

I really do not see the benefit of upgrading from XP to Vista for most business users - who, lets face it, are doing web, email, word and excel.

The benefits of upgrading to Vista (much like those from upgrading to XP) are not for the end users, they are for the IT departments that have to support them.

And it is this supporting infrastructure that is often the reason why Linux, OS X, et al, are not options.

Re:Upgrading must be for a reason (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941927)

may i ask about details on how vista benefits the support infrastructure?

Re:Upgrading must be for a reason (1)

FictionPimp (712802) | more than 5 years ago | (#25942161)

Actually I have a perfect example. Our IT support staff knows windows. They pick up vista easily because it works similar to windows. So they know how to support windows. The same is true with our netware guy. He knows netware, is certified in netware and can use it.

These kind of guys (what I can business IT guys) will make any excuse to keep from learning something new. Even if linux had a start button and control panel exactly like windows they would still be lost and worthless.

So the cost of moving to linux is huge, because my boss would need to replace 90% of our department. Only the system admins would remain.

vista great for beer mats. (1)

sjwest (948274) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941949)

The only paid ms upgrade we ever did (other than paying the windows tax on a new pc) was for xp for usb support on one box (yes that support sucked). We used to be big in NT [no usb],

We are now a 100% linux shop,

I have a little experience with vista - a staff member who upgraded his home pc had to rethink internet connection, buy a new printer (not supported in vista anymore) and change isp because that vista software and the big branded isp a 'o' l kept crashing. when he upgraded.

TCO wise - a bad investment for him

Family wise My father has Vista and with huge amounts of memory and after you spend a a day removing the additional Microsoft crap software and ban ie from executing means its ok.

However i completely failed to burn a dvd in his writer using the m/s user software and that was with admin rights - i made some very nice mug mags though before i copied service pack 1 onto a linux host and made a proper cd disk with some decent cd/dvd writing software.

Not good.

no, not at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25941601)

Observing that one does not have to upgrade is an application of, "If it's not broken, don't fix it." In the same situation, walking away from Windows completely would be even more stubborn resistance to this principle than merely upgrading Windows XP to Vista and beefing up hardware.

Year of the linux desktop? (0)

moniker127 (1290002) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941603)

What? Is there an echo in here?
Good jesus someone needs to move slashdot out of this giant cave that echoes sounds for years upon end.

Re:Year of the linux desktop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25941647)

Year of Plan 9 netbook, most probably!

Worms for all! (2, Informative)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941619)

all they have to do to get their market back is stop releasing security patches or release lower and lower quality patches.

Re:Worms for all! (1)

TristanGrimaux (841255) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941877)

They will try just that, but seriously, is not going to work.

Re:Worms for all! (1)

Chatterton (228704) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941911)

They have already started to release lower quality patches. I get problems that I didn't have before Vista like the inability to properly shutdown my computer because he refuse to shutdown at all (the window open with the 3 choices, I click the shutdown option, the windows disapear but nothing is done). Now when I boot linux, I have to force the opening of my ntfs partitions because they are not properly shut down :(

Re:Worms for all! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25942043)

all they have to do to get their market back is stop releasing security patches or release lower and lower quality patches.

That may well happen. They won't have their
best staff at work maintaining a 7 year old
and (essentially) obsolete OS.

Maintaining a non-current OS is an unwanted
burden for even a company the size of MS.

You don't have a choice (3, Interesting)

szundi (946357) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941623)

Hey, don't pretend like you have a choice anyway. Vista is co crap, that you have your choice now. If Windows 7 will be good enough, hw vendors stop writing Xp drivers, and your choice vaporised.

Re:You don't have a choice (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941983)

A lot of vendors don't write drivers for Linux, either. Someone writes them. Who's to say that wouldn't happen for XP if it's still very popular and MS stops supporting it?

Ditto on updates and security patches. It happens with abandoned games all the time (see: Starsiege TRIBES).

Re:You don't have a choice (2, Insightful)

FictionPimp (712802) | more than 5 years ago | (#25942169)

I know, we can just grab a copy from the repository and fork windows xp right?

Upgrades are still necessary. (4, Insightful)

purpledinoz (573045) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941625)

The minimum requirements for Windows XP are 300Mhz CPU and 64MB of RAM. XP was designed for yesterday's hardware. My work laptop is XP and my home laptop is Vista and I found that Vista handles my 2GB of memory a lot better than XP. For example, task switching from Half Life 2 to the desktop is handled a lot better in Vista than XP. If all the bullshit was removed from Vista, it would perform better than XP. Unfortunately, that's not the case.

Re:Upgrades are still necessary. (2, Insightful)

Endymion (12816) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941657)

Sure, there's some technical improvements, but most people don't care!

They just want to know if their web browser and Word/Powerpoint will work. And we passed the point where that was an issue a long time ago.

Remember, a vast majority of XP users are not playing HL2...

Re:Upgrades are still necessary. (2, Informative)

TBoon (1381891) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941723)

Running XP at 300mhz/64mb RAM might have worked prior to any service packs. However, SP2 in particular increased the requirements quite a bit.

Besides you need to find software that is enjoyable such low-end hardware. My 900mhz/256mb laptop was faster than my desktop when I got it, weeks after XP was released. (Narrow escape from ME there!). Today, just Firefox alone can be pushing it on that machine.

WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?! (5, Funny)

denzacar (181829) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941975)

Making a logical comment - HERE, on Slashdot?!

Don't you know by now that when someone mentions Windows or Microsoft you should put on your best "hate-face" and go "GRRRRR"!?
Likewise, as soon as someone mentions Linux you should put on your best "smart-face" and go "A-Ha"!?
And should someone mention anything about Apple you should just smile like hell cause you just had a multiple orgasm.

Don't you know that Windows are made from stolen fetuses of prospective Linux programmers?
When the mother is asleep during her last trimester, Bill Gates swoops in through the window (hence the name of the OS) on his leathery wings, holding a coathanger and snatches that fetus right out of her womb.
Fetuses are then thrown into a giant blender, and later boiled below a huge board covered with cat excrement.

The power of Linux is so strong in those unborn programmers that their life juices condense and wash out the excrement off the board in the form of code, which Bill then steals for the next version of his unholy OS.
Something is lost in transcription, naturally, plus while all geniuses those babies do lack the experience, ergo - Windows sucks.

Didn't they teach you anything in school?

Strange leap in logic... (5, Insightful)

Endymion (12816) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941631)

From there, it's but a small step to realizing that they can also walk away from Windows completely

No way. I'm as huge a unix and Free Software proponent as anyone here, but even I can see that statement is utterly idiotic. The motivation to stay with XP is the desire to not change. Change takes effort, which is generally not worth it if things are working fine at the moment. The "don't fix it if it's not broken" theory.

The simple fact is that most computers, both hardware and software, are generally "good enough" these days. This means that the most efficient thing for you to be using is often the one you are using at the moment. To suggest otherwise demands a substantial benefit, and Microsoft is (hopefully) figuring out that they are no longer offering such a benefit. Free alternatives may indeed offer substantial benefits, but it's generally in more obscure things like "not being tied to a single vendor" that are not a direct impact on most people's daily computer needs.

Now, it's still great that people seem to be finally jumping off the Microsoft upgrade-treadmill, but it's going to be a while yet before they decide other upgrades might be a viable option...

Re:Strange leap in logic... (3, Interesting)

zoney_ie (740061) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941689)

Yep, if Windows XP is "good enough", why would people flock to Linux anymore than Vista? It's even less likely than people eventually all adopting Vista. Which to be honest, does not at all look like a foregone conclusion anymore - not sure where that leaves us as it seems unlikely we can stay with XP for very many years more. I guess eventually more people and businesses may migrate to Vista, or else Microsoft will pull a "fixed-up" version of Vista out of the hat with Windows 7... OK so that's not so likely either.

Personally I will be sticking with my 3.5 y.o. desktop with XP (still just under a year's Dell on-site warranty, thanks to a 3 year offer a few months after my one year CAR ran out), and my 2 y.o. laptop also with XP (a year's Dell on-site warranty left on that too).

I did admittedly upgrade my graphics card in my desktop a year ago for €150, but I got €50 for my old card too.

I am inclined to think the days of frequent upgrading are at an end.

Re:Strange leap in logic... (0)

Macrat (638047) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941921)

Yep, if Windows XP is "good enough", why would people flock to Linux anymore than Vista?

Lack of virus?

Re:Strange leap in logic... (1)

EvilIdler (21087) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941923)

I got a GeForce 8800GTS in March last year. It's still fine with everything I play (shooters, strategy..uhm..both things I play). Still getting very nice framerates in everything I'm throwing at it. I think I'll look into upgrading in a year if something major comes out that requires it.

(I'm using 64-bit Vista. It is, strangely, working.)

Re:Strange leap in logic... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25941945)

> Yep, if Windows XP is "good enough", why would people flock to Linux anymore than Vista?

A couple reasons, other than freedom:
- Better performance
- More familiar interface (IE6 -> Firefox and office 2003 -> openoffice, at least)

Re:Strange leap in logic... (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941953)

Yep, if Windows XP is "good enough", why would people flock to Linux anymore than Vista?

If MS stop supporting it (or, for the paranoid, start sabotaging it) then it will cease to be good enough. If that happens then at that point, users will need to make a choice of what other OS to move to.

Re:Strange leap in logic... (1)

TrueRecord (1101681) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941755)

"No way." It depends on what to do with a computer. For many it's quit sufficient to have mail clients and IM. One can only stuck in MS shoes if there's no alternative working on free systems.

The logic is REBELION (3, Interesting)

TristanGrimaux (841255) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941965)

The expression "NO, I WILL NOT UPGRADE" is showing a disconnection from Redmond. "This hardware is fine, I will not switch to Vista, thank you".And from there, from that point of rebelion, other alternatives sounds plausible.

If you are feeling that Vista is a scam, and that someone is trying to push you to buy new hardware, when you are told that there is a FREE version of an OS that lets you stay with your hardware and is community based you hear bells from heaven.

Re:Strange leap in logic... (1)

rcastro0 (241450) | more than 5 years ago | (#25942013)

From there, it's but a small step to realizing that they can also walk away from Windows completely

No way. I'm as huge a unix and Free Software proponent as anyone here, but even I can see that statement is utterly idiotic. The motivation to stay with XP is the desire to not change. Change takes effort, which is generally not worth it if things are working fine at the moment. The "don't fix it if it's not broken" theory.

Well, people not upgrading sets up a fixed target for Open Source alternatives (Linux, OpenOffice, etc) to replicate, in all the dimensions that would be important for a user (so that said user feels that he has not changed anything).

Then other questions come: could Linux be more XP-like than XP itself? Not really. But XP is being discontinued and, in any case, it is paid software. Another question: once the OS (Linux/Windows) is completely transparent to the user, could the OpenSource OS fork into something different, and invert the game, causing MS to play catch-up? All very interesting.

One thing semms sure to me: once the innovation/obsolescence curve flattens, it will be *much* harder for proprietary software to keep charging what they are used to.

!smallstep (4, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941637)

From there, it's but a small step to realizing that they can also walk away from Windows completely, provided the alternatives offer sufficient data compatibility to make that move realistic."

Sure, the group that says "if it works, don't break it" are going to throw out all their old applications and start using a completely new set of applications, if only the data compatibility is good enough. Maybe you should start at the application front? Because if people won't switch from Windows/Word to Windows/OpenOffice they certainly won't move from Windows/Word to Linux/OpenOffice. Linux/WINE/Word is hardly the answer.

That's GNU/Linux/WINE/Word - you insensitive clod! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25941761)

See title for content of post.... :)

Most people don't know its an upgrade (4, Interesting)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941639)

Like most people in IT I spend a certain part of the year helping out those less fortunate than myself. Namely all the friends, friends of the wife, some bloke I met in the pub and the school in getting their computers to work. Most recently I fixed a couple of laptops and an internet connection, one was on XP the other on Vista, the wife asked to have her (XP) PC "look like" her husbands as she like the look of the interface. When I said it was a different operating system she said "Isn't it Windows then?"

The point is of course that it is Windows and the difference between XP and Vista for most users does just come down to the pretty window manager... until stuff doesn't work. The XP box was back-online in under 10 minutes, the Vista box took me longer due to the wonderful UAC and a driver problem.

Most of the time however I feel like a Mac salesman, I turn up with my Mac (the trouble shooting box) run all the tests and have them thinking "ooooh that must be hard to use because its so powerful and techy" then let them play around with it for a few minutes. I'd say that around 50% of those people I've supported this year who are looking at replacements are now looking at a Mac.

Now a Slashdot poll on what is the correct payment for these unofficial support calls (often at a party or other social function) would be good. Right now I'm getting around two bottles of wine and a decent meal out of it.

Re:Most people don't know its an upgrade (5, Funny)

somenickname (1270442) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941697)

I generally ask for payment based on the OS that I'm asked to install or fix:

Install/Fix Ubuntu: A beer
Install/Fix XP: A six pack of beer
Install/Fix Vista: A keg of beer, blow and hookers

Re:Most people don't know its an upgrade (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25941865)

Oh great... I laughed so hard I have to clean my monitor now. Thanks.

Re:Most people don't know its an upgrade (5, Funny)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941963)

I generally ask for payment [...] Install/Fix Vista: A keg of beer, blow and hookers

In fact, forget about Vista and the beer.

Re:Most people don't know its an upgrade (5, Funny)

hazem (472289) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941995)

If I ever get laid off, can I come work with you?

Re:Most people don't know its an upgrade (1)

zoney_ie (740061) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941717)

I like the look of Macs and OSX, but Apple products are still frightfully expensive here in Europe (well, UK/IRL at any rate), and also any Mac fans I know pay dearly twice over - once for the hardware in the first place, and again for the pain and grief for tech support, failures, upgrades, just about everything. In one case every single piece of Apple hardware has given grief, even down to the iPods (I use plural due to replacements having been necessary). It also seems like some kind of cult or addiction the way folks with dodgy Apple equipment (which does look nice) keep going back for more.

Personally I'd love an iPod Touch for one thing, but the cost here doesn't allow me to even be remotely tempted to buy one in a fit of madness.

Re:Most people don't know its an upgrade (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 5 years ago | (#25942095)

I like the look of Macs and OSX, but Apple products are still frightfully expensive here in Europe (well, UK/IRL at any rate)

They're expensive the world over. They're a luxury product and as such command a luxury price - put simply, Apple have not, do not and will not produce an equivalent to the cheap tacky £300 laptop that Dell offer.

Re:Most people don't know its an upgrade (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25941817)

Correct Payment for fixing Vista?

Blowjob or no job!

Re:Most people don't know its an upgrade (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25942099)

My experience with Macs is that they do look simpler from the get-go, but once you start doing actual work with them, they give just as many problems as Windows machines. The UI certainly helps sell Macs, yet under the hood it's just regular hardware with an OS that needs drivers and can get borked by bad software installations. The added flexibility of having a real Unix OS is of no use to most people, and to me its offset by Apple's walled garden approach. Also, have you seen the latest Simpsons episode...?

7 is on its way. (1)

s1lverl0rd (1382241) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941641)

With Windows 7 looking around the corner, I think companies will skip the monster called Vista and just hop on the train again when 7 is released.

Re:7 is on its way. (1)

Technician (215283) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941851)

With Windows 7 looking around the corner, I think companies will skip the monster called Vista and just hop on the train again when 7 is released.

Think there is really a chance of that once that more reports come out that Windows 7 is mostly Vista with a new paint job?

The reports I've seen doesn't show much difference between Windows 7 and Vista.

Re:7 is on its way. (1)

s1lverl0rd (1382241) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941993)

The 'paint job' is meant to pull Vista out of infancy. There isn't much difference - but that's because it's mostly bugfixes.

Riiight... (0, Troll)

denzacar (181829) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941643)

Because all that everyone ever uses on a PC is MS Office.
Nobody uses PCs to play games or godforbid does any graphic, 3D, CAD, audio, video... etc. etc. -work.

These aren't the upgrades you are looking for. Have some FUD and move along.

Riiight... again... (0)

denzacar (181829) | more than 5 years ago | (#25942019)

Sure... Its a troll.
Suggesting using PCs for anything but MS Office... Pure trollage.

What? No "Flamebait" and "Overrated" moderations too?
Somebody is slacking... I'll tell on you to Taco*...

 

*Not Commander Taco... Regular Taco... I talk to them sometimes... sometimes they reply...</i>

Upgrading - not an option? (1)

doktorstop (725614) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941645)

People do not upgrade "just because". Well, sure, a small percentage do (you know, people who just have to get the latest and shiniest... YOU know what I mean, right?).
For the majority, either they upgrade "by accident" - when buying a new PC that, accidentally, comes with a new OS.
For businesses, it is not an accident, they evaluate that the OS 1) runs all the soft they use and 2) complies with hardware they use, and 3) is sustainable (security patches, support etc).
Because of that, businesses WILL have to upgrade, together with us, once XP support stops (hey, 2014 is NOT a long way out!), they buy new hardware (oops, sales printers don't have XP drivers anymore, or can't sync with the latest BlackBerry thingies!!!). Last, but not least, they upgrade MSOffice, servers and then, surprise, to use the new features they need components that are Vista-only.
Moving away? Macs or Linux, *IF they comply to the same requirements: newest hardware, stable support and problem-solving, and of course playing nice with the latest corporate drones gadgets!

In some places it is impossible to upgrade (5, Interesting)

bdsesq (515351) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941651)

I work for a hospital. Our medical records software does not support vista yet. General Electric is the vendor and they have recently announced vista compatibility will happen some time next year.

If they had been ready two years ago we might have tried it. With today's economic situation I don't think we can afford to upgrade.

So no vista for a 5,000 employee organization.
There are hundreds of other hospitals with the same medical records software.

XP just works. Why would anyone upgrade?

Missing features, Started with ME (1)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941671)

IIRC it was round and abouts of WindowsME that Microsoft got it in their heads to actually restrict some of the network features. Talking about it to a Microsoft employee, their basic "explanation" was that NT and 2k were for businesses and 98 and ME were for the home. I don't have issue with Microsoft having different pricing for businesses, if you're making a profit off their product it makes perfect sense to ask for more.

I don't remember the issue, perhaps it was logging onto a domain. Perhaps they also made it a pain to display all the workgroups on a given network. I don't know. During the win9x/me age, it was more problematic since were programs and hardware that just wouldn't work with NT/2k

So now we have Vista. I have no direct experience with it but from my understanding some features I find "useful" are missing in the home/pro editions. That seems to be the biggest insult and certainly a good reason to avoid the vista 4 flavor insanity. For example I use fax from time to time. Not often, but when dealing with medical shit they use fax. It seems I need business or ultimate vista to do "fax", well either that or get 3rd party support for it.

But like with most people I'm sticking with XP until such time as there is actually a reason to upgrade. I said the same thing about win2k, and unfortunately there was some adobe program that "required" xp.

New hardware and security patches (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25941695)

Microsoft is only putting real effort into both into Vista, so if users have any interest in either, they'll be forced to upgrade, sooner or later.

Bollocks (4, Insightful)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941705)

Big business, which typically thinks nothing about splashing out for newer, more up-to-date PCs, is also having trouble with Vista, with even firms like Intel noting XP would remain the dominant OS within the company for the foreseeable future.

Bollocks. Big businesses (like, say, Intel) run a 3-5 year upgrade cycle (closer to 5 these days), based around both hardware cycles (typically due to leasing arrangements) and software certification. The _earliest_ any intelligent person would expect Vista to start appearing in big business IT (outside of pilot programs, testing and CxO laptops) is the beginning of 2009, and more likely around the beginning of 2010.

What's really important about this is not so much that Vista is manifestly such a dog, but that the myth of upgrade inevitability has been destroyed. Companies have realised that they do have a choice â" that they can simply say âoenoâ. From there, it's but a small step to realising that they can also walk away from Windows completely, provided the alternatives offer sufficient data compatibility to make that move realistic.

Bollocks. Those staying with XP are doing so because it is a known quantity. If they're not prepared to move to the mostly-known-quantity of Vista, they sure as hell aren't going to step into the complete unknowns of OS X or Linux.

That may not have been the case before, but the similar poor uptake of Microsoft's OOXML, taken together with the generally good compatibility of OpenOffice.org with the original Microsoft Office file formats, implies that we may well be near the tipping point for migrations to free software on the desktop..

So 2009 will be the year of the Linux desktop ? Just like 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000 and 1999 were going to be ?

I'm obviously not the only one thinking along these lines. Last weekend, Dell was advertising its new Inspiron Mini 9 in at least one national newspaper. This would have been unthinkable even a year ago, when the company's fear of upsetting the mighty Microsoft by mentioning the âoeLâ word would have been too great, and is further evidence that GNU/Linux is indeed becoming a mainstream option.

Bollocks. Dell have been selling servers, workstations and desktops with Linux installed for *years*.

In summary, the writer is a clueless fool, although that should had been obvious as soon as the phrase "quotes an earlier Inquirer piece [...]" appeared.

Re:Bollocks (2, Insightful)

size8 (1067704) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941823)

"Dell have been selling servers, workstations and desktops with Linux installed for *years*." Yes, but Dell hasn't been *advertising* Linux very heavily. And that was the point made by the post you replied to.

Re:Bollocks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25942129)

Wow, someone on slashdot who gets it.

We have around 60000 people using computers.

We are still with XP. We're delaying full scale rollout of Vista because its still half-baked and its enterprise management tools are significantly different (or just plain broken or absent). Vista requires upgrades that simply aren't viable until at least the next end-of-lease. The return on investment isn't there, yet.

We know where XP is broken and how to work around its faults. We like it, but we don't love it. Its currently better than Vista. This will change as time goes on.

For the fanboys: Yes, we've looked at Linux. We like it. We use it. Big time. Along with Solaris, Netware and a whole host of others including Mac OS X. No, we aren't going to ditch XP. No, we aren't going to stop using Microsoft software where it makes sense. Yes, Linux is getting better. No, its not ready for the desktop.

Have another day.

People don't like vista, Whoop de doo (4, Insightful)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941747)

Vista isn't exactly the first big time flop Microsoft have had. Windows ME was unreliable rubbish that offered little benefit over 98 and was a huge flop. XP which followed it up was a huge success and, is a good, solid, reliable OS (despite all the venom directed at it).

Windows 7 has had glowing reports from everyone I know who's installed the beta and they find it incredibly fast, reliable and easy to use and that's only a beta> Microsoft have gone through every major critisism of Vista and fixed it or taken a better approach to it.

The only thing that was 'wrong' with Vista that currently remains is the DRM but that was a whole load of FUD to begin with. Don't want DRM? Don't buy DRM protected content that won't play on software without the DRM features Vista has.

As for no need to upgrade, XP is approaching the end of its lifespan, it's not designed for technologies such as SSDs nor is it really designed for Netbooks (the only reason it runs well on them is because XP was designed to run on 500mhz systems with 512mb ram). software is starting to hit the 4gb ram limit of 32bit OS' and it's not going to be worth spending a lot of time and money 'upgrading' to xp 64 when it would cost them little extra to upgrade to 7.

Shortened version: When MS last had an OS flop, they followed it up with their most successful OS ever.

Re:People don't like vista, Whoop de doo (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 5 years ago | (#25942029)

Windows 7 has had glowing reports from everyone I know who's installed the beta and they find it incredibly fast, reliable and easy to use and that's only a beta

So there's plenty of time to fatten it up. Also, according to Wikipedia, the betas have been released to "close partners" and employees of Microsoft; neither of these seem like impartial reviewers to me.

The only thing that was 'wrong' with Vista that currently remains is the DRM but that was a whole load of FUD to begin with.

What's wrong with Vista is that it isn't really backwards compatible; old programs keep on crashing regularly. Given this, why not go with Linux and Wine instead ? It is under active development, so its compatibility is likely to keep on improving, and the platform itself is far more stable than Vista.

Don't want DRM? Don't buy DRM protected content that won't play on software without the DRM features Vista has.

Sure, DRM can be circumvented or avoided completely by downloading the disinfected version of the content from the Internet. That was never in question.

What is in question is: does the DRM subsystem contribute to the observed problems of Vista (such as bad network performance) ? Do the DRM drivers get loaded, and do they monitor the state of the machine, even when no DRM'd content is being played ? And if yes, how much resources does this consume ?

software is starting to hit the 4gb ram limit of 32bit OS' and it's not going to be worth spending a lot of time and money 'upgrading' to xp 64 when it would cost them little extra to upgrade to 7.

This of course assumes that the 64-bit version of Windows 7 is better than the 64-bit version of Windows XP. It also assumes that either is better than the 64-bit support of Wine.

Re:People don't like vista, Whoop de doo (4, Interesting)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 5 years ago | (#25942055)

More objective reviewers than "everyone I know" have found that the alleged speed advantage of Win7 doesn't bear scrutiny. Some have also pointed out that it's not really a new OS, just an attempt to recover from a marketing disaster by applying lipstick and eyeliner to that sad old pig we call Vista.

Here's just one example. There's plenty of others out there.

http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/news/index.cfm?newsid=107030 [pcadvisor.co.uk]

I'll leave aside the whole DRM question, except to note that an OS which I bought and paid for that puts the "rights" of notoriously predatory and dishonest entertainment corporations before my own is not something I'd want on my computer.

Re:People don't like vista, Whoop de doo (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 5 years ago | (#25942085)

As for no need to upgrade, XP is approaching the end of its lifespan, it's not designed for technologies such as SSD

Frankly, Vista is even less suitable for SSDs. I've heard it hammering away at the HD for no reason. For hours. That would have killed or severely wounded an SSD, especially MLC-based.

I had MS Works on a 486 (2, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941765)

While it wasn't as fully featured as the latest version of Word, there wasn't a lot that I wanted to do that Works was too limited for. Modern machines have hundreds of times more RAM and a similar increase in processing power and really don't do a whole lot more.

Who would have thought... (-1, Flamebait)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941775)

Who would have thought that a BSOD producing crap of an OS running on any available hardware would be more preferred than the godzilla-sized-requirements-hog of VISTA?
Two years ago slashdot was filled with comments about how crappy XP was.
Now they are glad to go back to XP because Vista is sooo... bad.
Is this a ploy by MSFT to force people to like XP?

Sadly, Vista is still unstable long-term (4, Interesting)

ZP-Blight (827688) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941785)

Since I'm a software designer and must support the latest standard, I upgraded to Vista so I can make sure that my programs are compatible.

Its been nothing but pain.

I'm very fanatic about keeping my system clean and functioning well, I don't install superfluous applications and am very careful about what I do install.

The problem is, VISTA seems to slowly degrade in stability over time with blue-screens appearing quite often after a few months of regular day to day use. Once it gets to more than 2-3 blue screens a day, I restore the OS from a clean image and then it works well for a while longer until the blue screens appear again.

The funny thing is, the blue screens seem to be from different system components (usbhost.sys, tcpip.sys, memory faults, etc...). If you may think this has something to do with hardware failure (which was my initial guess seeing references to USB and other hardware drivers crashing), you'd be wrong as a clean install or running XP gets rid of all these problems. And I'm not using any weird USB devices either, only Flash Drives and the occasional SD card reader.

Re:Sadly, Vista is still unstable long-term (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25942111)

Sounds like you have a virus thats hiding and installs itself from one of your flash drives!

The problem is (5, Interesting)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941793)

not Vista. The problem is: why upgrade?. I am running XP and I'm EXTREMELY happy with it. One of my server is running 2003 and I don't see any need to upgrade to 2008 at all. It is a great server system.

My mac is still running Tiger and I don't see the need to upgrade to some other cat and I'm still running Mandriva 2007.

The days where I had to have the last are gone. And I consider myself a nerd. Normal users care even less.

Note, well I lied , I do have one laptop running Vista and it's OK. But I don't see the need to upgrade to W7 when it comes.

So where do I buy new XP machines? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941799)

Oh, I can't. So upgrades are inevitable for most people - just as soon as their machines die.

Easy. And *used* machines are even easier. (1)

spaceturtle (687994) | more than 5 years ago | (#25942101)

Even the latest EeePC models [shoppingsquare.com.au] still come with XP (or Linux). Windows Business licenses allow installation of XP [engadget.com] , and you still get the occasional non-netbook machine with XP pre-installed. However from the summary itself, if you really want to stay with XP, one option is just to buy a *used* XP machine. There are people still running Mac Classics out there.

mod 0P (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25941805)

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Here we go again (4, Insightful)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941807)

This is really something new for Microsoft, isn't it? It's not as if there are people still using Windows 2000 anywhere... Oh, wait.

Everytime there is a new version of any operating system this same thing happens. People say that there is no compelling reason to upgrade. A bunch of people draw the line and never upgrade. Doom and gloom is predicted for the future.

This is why there are still people using OS/2, AmigaOS, Windows 9x and even Windows 3.1.

But life goes on, and eventually the most of the general population does upgrade. New computers are purchased, business cases are made to upgrade entire organisations and software is purchased that requires a newer OS. The upgrade cycle doesn't happened in a huge wave. It is more of a constant flow.

The reason for this is the generally accepted one: that there are never compelling reasons to do so. However, once you do get used to a new OS, you tend find it hard to go back again. Yes, we have all heard the stories of people immediately downgrading new computers when buying Vista, but so many of those stories fail to take into account the crapware installed by the PC maker that also gets wiped when reinstalling the OS.

Vista software incompatibility (4, Insightful)

ZP-Blight (827688) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941813)

With regards to vista compatibility issues.

The biggest issue with vista compatibility is that with User Account Control, you can't write into the "Program Files" directory, even as administrator.

Microsoft now requires that all data written by a software be stored in the "AppData" directory.
So how do developers react?

The good developers split their program files between the static files (which go into the "Program Files" directory) and dynamic files (files that need to be written to which go in the "AppData" directory).
What do the lazy programmers do? Put their entire program into the "AppData" directory and avoid any hassle altogether.

So now, the "AppData" directory essentially becomes the new "Program Files" directory, but... The users are 99% unaware of this and the "AppData" directory (which there are several of) gets contaminated with more junk which is harder to find.

journos (1)

julian67 (1022593) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941885)

journos quoting journos...how could it not be true?

Microsoft's problem isn't Vista (4, Interesting)

Morgaine (4316) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941925)

Microsoft's problem isn't really Vista, the bit of software.

Their major problem is their lack of understanding that good operating systems can't be created overnight and chucked on the shelves like white goods items under pressure of Sales and Marketing ... not even in a 3-year "overnight". Operating systems evolve into being good, and once they're getting close to being usable then you don't chuck them out just because you want new product in the catalog. Not if you're half sane.

And MS also seems to misunderstand the longevity of operating systems, the attachment that users form with them, people's reluctance to change, and the simple fact that something that works doesn't need to be replaced ... software doesn't wear out, nor obsoleted given incremental upgrades. The "all change" paradigm that seems to hold in MS is in total disregard of commonsense.

And lastly, MS has a real problem in understanding that people buy operating systems to serve their own needs, not to serve the needs of 3rd party content providers --- that's a severe requirements mismatch.

Vista also has technical issues of course, but MS has plenty of manpower to fix those. What I'm not sure it does have the ability to fix is its totally backwards perception of what they should be doing in this area.

Re:Microsoft's problem isn't Vista (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 5 years ago | (#25942133)

Microsoft created an entire market with operating systems.

In larger systems, an operating system is something which you stick with, often for the life of the hardware or longer. And if the hardware lasts 10 years, so does the OS.

New versions of the OS come out from time to time and it may be the case that hardware failure forces upgrade occasionally - but by and large, it's not something you do unless you really can't help it.

But that's not how Windows has been sold for the last 20 years.

The Myth of Upgrade Inevitability Is Dead (1)

JJMacey (1138471) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941969)

Hi All, I have found that openSuSE 11.0 works so well that I've decided to replace my Notebook HDD, and put my existing 160 drive in a USB portable device case. I'll save that, and run Fedora 10 64-bit on my new 250 GB HDD. Hey, I looked at Vista, and it was a dog. I remember when companies were reluctant to upgrade from Win2000. If it works, it works. Save what you are using, and those thoughts of running the latest, and greatest Microsoft are really dumb. I've run Linux and all those open source goodies for about 6 - 7 years now. I wonder what the guys @ Slashdot are running.

Software support pathetic even after 2 years!! (2, Interesting)

jkrise (535370) | more than 5 years ago | (#25942033)

At a hospital I consult, we use the E-Film PACS viewer to allow doctors to look at patient's XRays, MRIs, CT Scans etc. The problem with Vista is that even at this date, E-Film does not still work.

https://www.merge.com/EMEA/estore/content.aspx?pname=eFilm%20Workstation%E2%84%A2&returnUrl=&productID=185&contentTypeID=4 [merge.com]

I think it could be because of DRM and video stuff, but that is the job of Microsoft to worry.

And if as per recent reports, Windows 7 is just Windows Vista with rebranding, then XP will be the last version of Windows for a very long time indeed.

Big businesses and upgrades (1)

ET3D (1169851) | more than 5 years ago | (#25942113)

"Big business, which typically thinks nothing about splashing out for newer, more up-to-date PCs"

Aren't businesses typically a lot after the curve when it comes to upgrading to a new OS? (Or, for that matter, to new hardware.)

Indeed! (1)

VShael (62735) | more than 5 years ago | (#25942131)

Now if only Linux was ready for the Desktop.

Oh well, there's always next year.

In the Beginning...was the Command Line (1)

Rob8 (913383) | more than 5 years ago | (#25942193)

Is a book by Neil Stephenson.

MS is basically addicted to making OS's. But the market for MS OS's is dwindling.

Book is worth a read though.

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