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What's Different About Vista's GUI?

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the now-with-more-goo dept.

444

jcatcw writes "Paul McFedries, author of Windows Vista Unveiled, thinks that an operating system should be thought of as more than just its user interface, but then again that interface should work well for the user. He thinks the Vista interface rates 'pretty darned good.' The Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) results in positive changes for both developers and users. Developers can do 2-D, 3-D, animation, imaging, video, audio, special effects and text rendering using a single API. The use of vector graphics and offloading work to the GPU result in better animations, improved scaling, transparency, and smooth motion."

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Improved animations (5, Funny)

nizo (81281) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522387)


Better and more useful animations. Microsoft realized a few years ago that some sort of animation effects were necessary, particularly for novice users. For example, new Windows users are often surprised at the abrupt disappearance of a window when they click the Minimize button.


I hope they have a nice animation for when the machine is infected with a virus, like clippy catching fire and then running around in circles screaming. At least then the users will be prepared for what will happen to him/her when they bring their laptop in to have me work on it and I find out they have been surfing porn sites with their virus scanner disabled.

Re:Improved animations (2, Funny)

skrew (111096) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522441)

I for one welcome our newly animated, spiffy-gui overlords.

Re:Improved animations (5, Funny)

atani (514575) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522447)

like clippy catching fire and then running around in circles screaming
I would expect a different animation if clippy gets infected from a porn site.

Re:Improved animations (5, Funny)

dapsychous (1009353) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522511)

I tell you what, nothing is scarier than when a paperclip asks, "Hey, man, does this look infected to you?" Oh, the rumors that will fly around the avatar water cooler.

Re:Improved animations (5, Funny)

Ana10g (966013) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522531)

I would expect a different animation if clippy gets infected from a porn site.
Yup, that's a whole other kind of burning!

Re:Improved animations (5, Funny)

Gracenotes (1001843) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522527)

I hope they have a nice animation for when the machine is infected with a virus, like clippy catching fire and then running around in circles screaming.
Dare you attempt sacrilege against Clippy? I'm sure that malicious, libelous fan fiction abounds about him. All those copyright infringements and bad jokes about his simple eagerness to help have hurt the potential millions, in profit, of whoever invented him. Don't you dare insinuate that the software engineer who created Clippy is penniless.

Clippy's long career will end when Vista comes out in favor of a "better" help system. We shall mourn his loss. Undoubtedly not much change in the GUI, eh?

Re:Improved animations (5, Funny)

Kamots (321174) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522649)

"I hope they have a nice animation for when the machine is infected with a virus, like clippy catching fire and then running around in circles screaming."

I'd be infecting my computer on purpose if that was the result!

Re:Improved animations (2, Insightful)

radicalnerd (930674) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522729)

Black and white?! Nice... it's, like, the exact same layout, but it looks more like art! omg!

Re:Improved animations (2, Insightful)

soundvessel (899042) | more than 7 years ago | (#16523097)

At least then the users will be prepared for what will happen to him/her when they bring their laptop in to have me work on it and I find out they have been surfing porn sites with their virus scanner disabled.
I'm pretty sure they'll just expect you to do your job and fix it, assuming they're paying you.

Re:Improved animations (4, Insightful)

x_MeRLiN_x (935994) | more than 7 years ago | (#16523163)


For example, new Windows users are often surprised at the abrupt disappearance of a window when they click the Minimize button.

Who has to explain to these new users that a 3D accelerator is required for these new animations to work? How do these users feel when they find out the person trying to sell them said hardware merely needed to point out how to use the taskbar? Call me a pessimist, but people who don't understand how windows are minimised even after having it explained to them shouldn't be using computers. Don't get me wrong, I like the new GUI additions and everyone who I have shown 'Flip 3D' has been impressed, but I don't agree that they can be justified in that way.

Re:Improved animations (1)

certain death (947081) | more than 7 years ago | (#16523247)

BAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Oh, MAN! I needed a good laugh, and by golly, you for sure provided it, thank you.

As a user of WindowMaker (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16522409)

I couldn't give a fuck. When the scrollwheel on the desktop changes workspaces, THEN I'll be interested!

Re:As a user of WindowMaker (1)

MindDelay (675385) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522913)

touche

It really baffles me. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16523189)

It really baffles me why they haven't added virtual desktop support yet. This is something that X has had since swm [wikipedia.org] , which Mr. LaStrange released in 1990!

Even the Sun workstation I used in the mid-1990s, running Solaris 2.5 and CDE, offered virtual desktops. For the love of fuck, Microsoft needs to add virtual desktop support.

Re:It really baffles me. (4, Informative)

dan828 (753380) | more than 7 years ago | (#16523283)

It really baffles me why they haven't added virtual desktop support yet.

It's been around since NT-- a powertoy called Virtual Desktop Manager

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/power toys/xppowertoys.mspx [microsoft.com]

Re:It really baffles me. (4, Informative)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 7 years ago | (#16523387)

That's a major cheat - it just sends hide commands to all the windows on one 'desktop' and show commands to all the windows on the other. It also fails rather badly if one of the apps refuses to be hidden.

In XP it got a bit silly because all the window animation started up and you'd see all the windows shrinking and growing...

Re:As a user of WindowMaker (2, Interesting)

oddfox (685475) | more than 7 years ago | (#16523199)

And many users with sensitive mouse wheels, such as myself, say fuck that. A key combination is much more effective for switching to a different workspace.

QUICK! LETS IMITATE IT!! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16522421)

We sure as hell don't want GNOME or KDE to be innovative or anything.

Somebody wake me up when these two projects stop playing perpetual 2nd place, and start trying out new GUI ideas.

Re:QUICK! LETS IMITATE IT!! (2, Insightful)

The Real Toad King (981874) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522555)

Somebody wake me up when these two projects stop playing perpetual 2nd place, and start trying out new GUI ideas.
Okay, somebody refresh my memory; how long have GNOME/KDE had workspaces?

Re:QUICK! LETS IMITATE IT!! (-1, Troll)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#16523341)

WTF is a "workspace"? Oh, I see by googling that this is what GNOME calls a "Virtual Desktop". It figures that GNOME would need their own name for a feature whose commonly accepted name isn't even someone else's trademark. Who gives a shit? Microsoft has been giving away the virtual desktop powertoy for quite some time now.

Re:QUICK! LETS IMITATE IT!! (4, Interesting)

Jerf (17166) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522589)

Somebody wake me up when these [KDE and Gnome] stop playing perpetual 2nd place, and start trying out new GUI ideas.
Funny, I was just pondering how completely Microsoft is missing the point of the features in KDE and Gnome. Until Windows has a decent workspace switching mechanism, I'm not going to find the interface tolerable no matter how many whizbang animations Microsoft adds.

I've also found pervasive KNotify support to be surprisingly useful in little ways, not least of which is helping support that multi-workspace work area. It's the little things, like telling Konsole to KNotify me when the console is active or quiet, or Kopete's ability to use KNotify to put up the first bit of the message, which is often the entire message, preventing me from needing to switch windows to read it (or switch desktops)...

In my opinion, the KDE interface at least has long surpassed Windows and I am yet to read about Vista actually picking up on the reasons why. It doesn't surprise me that a multi-billion dollar company can create a nicer-looking interface, but I'm "surprised"* at how resistant they are to the actual features that make the experience different.

(*: Actually, no I'm not; I'm pretty sure Windows still doesn't really support multi-workspace use, at least from what I've seen of the hacks that offer it, and I'd guess that "fundamental Windows limitations and the inability to offer reverse compatibility" is behind some of the other missing features, too. XWindows may suck but it seems to me it sucks less...)

Re:QUICK! LETS IMITATE IT!! (1, Informative)

Eideewt (603267) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522693)

It also lacks my favorite thing in the world: hotkeys to raise, lower, move, and resize windows without fumbling for title bars or the even smaller buttons on them. Linux has had this for how long now? Something like 21 years at least. Microsoft needs to either make window management easy or make it less necessary (like by implementing virtual desktops).

Re:QUICK! LETS IMITATE IT!! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16522963)

You can do it from the keyboard, its just a lot more work. Try alt-space to get the window menu for the current window then the arrow keys for the rest, though theres no way to send the current window to the bottom of the stack, you just have to keep alt-tabbing until you get the one you want on top.

But I do think you're right. The various window managers have managed to surpass Windows in advanced and power-user features.

Re:QUICK! LETS IMITATE IT!! (4, Insightful)

Guy Harris (3803) | more than 7 years ago | (#16523003)

Linux has had this for how long now? Something like 21 years at least.

Either:

  1. you're trolling;
  2. you're exaggerating;
  3. you're saying "Linux" when you mean "some X11 window managers" (which can run, amazingly enough, on UN*X+X11 systems that aren't based on Linux).

Re:QUICK! LETS IMITATE IT!! (1)

Eideewt (603267) | more than 7 years ago | (#16523275)

Yeah, you're right. I should have said X or *nix. My mistake.

Re:QUICK! LETS IMITATE IT!! (5, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#16523405)

Alt-Space, n minimizes. Alt-Space, x maximizes. Alt-Space, m moves (arrow keys, or once you hit an arrow key you can do it with the mouse.) If you can figure out how to activate the taskbar with the keyboard, you can restore windows by hitting enter when they are selected :) Alt-Space, s changes size: You use the arrows to select a drag handle, then use them some more to resize. I realize other people already told you that you could do this, but I just explained how. Actually, the easiest way to restore them is to use Alt-Tab until you get to the one you want. And they already provide virtual desktops (to which you can switch with keystroke combinations) through the Microsoft Virtual Desktop Manager (MSVDM) Power Toy. So are there any other features which Microsoft already has (the key combinations predate Motif - Microsoft was an original member of the Motif Working Group and helped steer it, in fact) that you would like to ask for?

I'm no Microsoft apologist but damn, you just don't know what you're talking about.

Re:QUICK! LETS IMITATE IT!! (0, Redundant)

ZiggyM (238243) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522997)

Micorsoft has a free virtual desktop manager which may help in what you want, its part of the powertoys and can be downloaded from http://download.microsoft.com/download/whistler/In stall/2/WXP/EN-US/DeskmanPowertoySetup.exe [microsoft.com] It works really well as long as you dont use the "Shared desktops" option.

Same old wine, new bottle (1)

NatteringNabob (829042) | more than 7 years ago | (#16523079)

and ever worse license terms for the poor victim that this stuff gets foisted off on. But let's be realistic, the MS PR machine has to get people to gush over Vista, and every other new release even if, for the most part, it is just a bug fix release. There just isn't any compelling reason to move from XP to Vista, even less reason to go from Linux or MacOS to Vista, so the Microsoft PR machine has to invent some. For this release, since everything else pretty much got dropped, they need to hype the whizzy, but mostly pointless use of 3D effects. Big whoop.

Re:QUICK! LETS IMITATE IT!! (5, Interesting)

digitalhermit (113459) | more than 7 years ago | (#16523143)

I think you hit it on the nose. I'm not particularly fond of KDE/Gnome, but they seem years ahead of the Explorer desktop. For various reasons I've had to use an XP desktop and laptop recently. Some of the more annoying things:

1) Right clicking the desktop brings up a menu with some useless entries such as "Arrange Icons By" and "Refresh". Sure, those can be useful, but not for me. Problem is that I can't modify it to be more useful. E.g., have it launch a command prompt, an editor, browser, etc.. This is particularly onerous on an extended desktop with large displays. You can't use the mouse effectively to get to the Start menu since you may need to cross (at worst) two whole desktops. Someone suggested moving the menu to the rightmost display to halve the distance, but this is a kludge. Sure, you can also use the Windows key... But wait, this keyboard doesn't have one...

2) One desktop... You can't easily segregate tasks with a single desktop. The Powertools can add this, but it's broken for lots of apps, including Microsoft's own Excel which has problems when you move from window to window when Excel is maximized or minimized.

3) File explorer doesn't have tabs. I've gotten so used to tabs in Konqueror and Firefox that this is painful on Windows. They caught on with IE7 and did a decent job of it, but when oh when will this be available elsewhere?

4) CMD.EXE is very limited in resize capability. You can put in arbitrary row/columns, but this requires menu entries rather than a drag resize.

5) Every once in a while (say once a month), the window gets shifted *above* the active desktop. You can't alt-drag the window though and have to resort to some control key madness to bring it back. If it happened more often I would remember the key sequence... but it doesn't.

6) What rhyme or reason is there in where new windows pop up? For example, double click on My Computer and it may or may not appear on your primart display. Sometimes it's on the second head, sometimes on the first. If I move the window to the primary and then launch another one it appears -- heh, sometimes on the second, sometimes on the first.

And I could go on... But the XP desktop seems to 1996'ish.

Re:QUICK! LETS IMITATE IT!! (1)

TrekCycling (468080) | more than 7 years ago | (#16523225)

This is so true. This is the #1 thing I hate about using Windows at work. The lack of virtual desktops that I become accustomed to while working on my Linux box at home. I'm not sure what Windows does that makes me any more productive than what Gnome does, frankly. If anything I'm less productive on Windows.

Sounds like Mac OS X 3 years ago. (5, Insightful)

thedbp (443047) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522455)

Not to troll, and its nice that Windows users are getting these features, but how come no one ever calls MS out on the fact that Vista is basically still playing catch up to OS X, doesn't do it as well, and is probably going to be left in the dust when Leopard comes out?

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2674791799 339834706 [google.com]

Here's hoping MS uses the competition to better Windows. The more secure it gets and the easier it gets to use, the better for everyone, even those of us who don't use Windows.

Re:Sounds like Mac OS X 3 years ago. (5, Funny)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522605)

how come no one ever calls MS out on the fact that Vista is basically still playing catch up to OS X

I'm pretty sure someone does that every time a Windows Vista story comes up. Case in point...

Re:Sounds like Mac OS X 3 years ago. (4, Insightful)

thedbp (443047) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522713)

I meant in the articles themselves. Surely these tech-literate pundits have heard of and used the competition's operating system, right? I mean, you know, so they can have a frame of reference?

Re:Sounds like Mac OS X 3 years ago. (5, Insightful)

Ash Vince (602485) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522863)

Because your average technical journo who writes the articles in question is too hooked on the freebies MS provide him with in the way of free booze to risk fucking that up.

Everyone knows there have been better OSes out there than windows since OS2 warp but the competion has never bribed these people with enough free stuff for them to write about it. To get a glowing review of an OS you have to install it on a brand new laptop and then give said laptop away for free to enough journos so that some actually use it.

Re:Sounds like Mac OS X 3 years ago. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16522661)

Because nodoby gives a shit about OSX.

Re:Sounds like Mac OS X 3 years ago. (4, Funny)

peragrin (659227) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522879)

You forgot that OS X does it on a third of the hardware.(except ram then only half)

Re:Sounds like Mac OS X 3 years ago. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16523127)

On a third of the hardware - but not unless it's THEIR'S. If you optimize for only the systems you make you can obviously get a lot better performance.

Re:Sounds like Mac OS X 3 years ago. (-1, Flamebait)

NineNine (235196) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522889)

1. This isn't a comparison article.

2. That's good for you. Now, would you mind letting me know when any of my critical business software will run on a $25 Mac that I can pick up at the local thrift store?

Re:Sounds like Mac OS X 3 years ago. (3, Informative)

Beer_Smurf (700116) | more than 7 years ago | (#16523233)

Are you suggesting that Vista will run on a $25.00 thrift store PC?
I can tell you that the latest version of OSX and MS Office, will run on a $100.00 used Mac.
I do it every day on my B&W G3 400.
You can verify said prices here. http://www.baucomcomputers.com/ [baucomcomputers.com]

Re:Sounds like Mac OS X 3 years ago. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16523327)

You're running "critical business software" on a $25 thrift store computer? Clearly, sir, you are a captain of industry! I'm certain that it greaves Apple immensely to be without your support.

Re:Sounds like Mac OS X 3 years ago. (1)

phatvw (996438) | more than 7 years ago | (#16523067)

but how come no one ever calls MS out on the fact that Vista is basically still playing catch up to OS X

While this may be true for the basic UI and windowing features, MS is way ahead in the API's and use of GPU's. No other OS out there really supports intelligent scheduling and memory management on the latest generation of GPU's. The overhead of having all the animations and fancy stuff in the UI is more than made up for by being able to effectively use the power of the GPU. Especially for games. In those regards Microsoft is way ahead of the competition.

Re:Sounds like Mac OS X 3 years ago. (1)

tb3 (313150) | more than 7 years ago | (#16523313)

Can you back that up, at all?

Do you know anything about the graphics technology in OS X (Core Image, Core Video, Quartz Composer, etc. ) that can let you make such a comparison?

Re:Sounds like Mac OS X 3 years ago. (1)

zoney_ie (740061) | more than 7 years ago | (#16523155)

> Vista is basically still playing catch up to OS X

And the closer it gets the more annoying it will be to use... In fact, considering the job Microsoft are doing, it will most likely get more annoying *whether or not* you find the OSX one good or bad! Personally, I find the OSX interface far too cumbersome and inefficient. Enough with the colourful bouncing and animationed transitions already!

And yes, I run XP with themes and things like the auto-hiding of less used menu items switched off (i.e. very little different to 2K, NT4, or even 9x interface).

Re:Sounds like Mac OS X 3 years ago. (1)

Solder Fumes (797270) | more than 7 years ago | (#16523223)

Microsoft doesn't have only Mac OS X to worry about. Vista has been delayed so long, Linux developers have had enough time to craft some very slick OpenGL UI enhancements. Not all are eye candy, I've been using XGL/Compiz/Beryl for a few months and it makes the desktop experience more fluid and natural. Here's an example video, this is pretty much where Beryl is now: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELwnG9f7lDM&mode=re lated&search= [youtube.com]

Re:Sounds like Mac OS X 3 years ago. (2, Insightful)

trimbo (127919) | more than 7 years ago | (#16523353)

Not to troll, and its nice that Windows users are getting these features, but how come no one ever calls MS out on the fact that Vista is basically still playing catch up to OS X,

Not only do people point that out every day, but they fail to point out that Apple has a lot less to worry about when it comes to upgrades and their existing customer base. Didn't they basically break tons of apps with the 10.2 or 10.3 upgrade by switching GCC versions? Yeah, like Microsoft could get away with that! Microsoft has to upgrade their software to fit the needs of hunderds of millions of business customers. How many Fortune 500 companies are completely built around MacOS X? It's not hard to innovate when your primary money source is selling to home users who want cool 'gadgets' on their desktop, rather than support the OS of businesses with 50,000 employees they've trained up with a bunch of custom IE/intranet, Win32, .NET apps, etc.

If only this really could be the last time... (1)

cbhacking (979169) | more than 7 years ago | (#16523383)

Seriously though, how often DO I need to explain?

Yes, OS X does the minimize to dock (close enough to taskbar) thing quite well. Kudos to them. Of course, XP could sort of do it too. The idea isn't new, it's the method. OS X does a pretty animation, Vista turns the window transparent and shrinks it down to the bar. I prefer Vista's version purely because I'm opposed to eye candy; indeed I ran Vista without Aero for months before trying it and realizing how helpful it was. OS X's animations feel very eye candy-ish.

So, on to the other things mentioned in the article, or even not mentioned:
  • I'm guessing OS X does vector-based graphics for everything, based on the zoom quality. Seriously, it should...
  • I've never heard that OS X does its rendering via 3D, hardware-accelerated objects. If it does, please educate me and provide a reference. Even on programs not designed around WPF, it's impressively good at improving performance.
    • Little things like no more desktop tearing and no more left-behind sprites (a menu that didn't vanish because something interrupted its overdraw, for example) are nice.
    • The ability to smoothly play video or quickly render graphics (in the Photoshop sense) even during high CPU usage (without too much effect on the rest of the system) is very nice.
    • Things like the ability to see the status of your other windows by mousing over their taskbar icons (without shrinking your current window) is extremely nice; I use it on a daily basis and get annoyed in XP when I can't. Expose was a great idea, but I'm a very keyboard-oriented person; I like using Flip-3D using only 2 or 3 keys to very quickly look at all my windows (or alt-tab, since that now shows thumbnails. The main time I use the mouse (as described above) is when I want tomonitor something in a thumbnail window (for example, a background file download) while working in a different foreground (and often maximized) app.
    Oh, and yes, WFP can really improve render times on both image and video by using hardware acceleration. Figures I've heard are in the 3x to 5x rander speed range (the system doing the benchmarks has a powerful video card, an Intel GMA won't give you that kind of boost of course). Everybody talks about how great Macs are for image/video editing, but can they achieve those kinds of acceleration or does it all still go through the CPU?
  • I'll grant you Macs handle virtual desktops nicely. I only learned about the capability to use that feature in XP after I'd switched to Vista, and the XP PowerToy won't install on Vista, so I have yet to see what they will look like in Vista. The feature is supported, however; UAC prompts, for example, appear on a different desktop. I'll keep a close eye on this one, and I've already spoken to the Vista shell guys about it. I'd like to remind you though that until Leopard comes out, virtual desktops ("Spaces") aren't really part of OS X (any more than they are of XP... or, at this point, Vista. *Sigh*)
So, in conclusion, Windows and Mac shells are always playing catch-up with each other. OS X had XP beat on many levels when it came out, and has it beat on most now... but XP was well ahead of OS 9 in many ways too. I consider Vista ahead of Tiger, and for my usage style (keyboard-centric, function over looks, etc.) even ahead of Leopard, though integrating virtual desktops very nearly tips the balance there.

Next version to be called Windows Dressing (5, Insightful)

From A Far Away Land (930780) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522465)

"an operating system should be thought of as more than just its user interface, but then again that interface should work well for the user."

Vista can apparently be represented in a significant way by either Mac OS X, or XP with modifications. It's mostly a vehicle for DRM, including PVP, which will require you to buy a PVP compliant digital monitor. Vista's enhancements won't even work on many powerful systems you are buying these days - if they have "Vista Capable" stickers. In an age where we should be looking for energy savings, what's the benefit of making a system more complicated than XP, and requires more horsepower than a rather darn good OS Microsoft released in 2000?

Re:Next version to be called Windows Dressing (3, Funny)

Ruie (30480) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522691)

a rather darn good OS Microsoft released in 2000?

I believe you are mistaken, MS never sold any OS but Windows..

Re:Next version to be called Windows Dressing (3, Informative)

ultranova (717540) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522897)

I believe you are mistaken, MS never sold any OS but Windows..

Not true. Or have you forgotten DOS ?

Re:Next version to be called Windows Dressing (1)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 7 years ago | (#16523055)

We are at war with Eurasia. We have always been at war with Eurasia.

where

"at war with Eurasia" = "Selling Windows".

Re:Next version to be called Windows Dressing (1)

Lorkki (863577) | more than 7 years ago | (#16523255)

And not to forget Xenix, their first operating system product.

Re:Next version to be called Windows Dressing (4, Informative)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522951)

Xenix?

Re:Next version to be called Windows Dressing (4, Interesting)

phatvw (996438) | more than 7 years ago | (#16523197)

In an age where we should be looking for energy savings, what's the benefit of making a system more complicated than XP, and requires more horsepower than a rather darn good OS Microsoft released in 2000

The answer is simple: Games. Just wait till the new DirectX10 titles start coming out - that is going to be the driving sales force for Vista!

Also, Vista is quite aggressive in its power management so even though the CPU and GPU peak energy consumption might be a lot higher than a typical Windows XP machine, the OS is quite intelligent about turning off bits that aren't being used - especially on laptops. I reckon the energy requirements will be about the same overall.

Cough, cough... (2, Interesting)

patrick0brien (615224) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522467)

Cough... yeah, right. I've lost so much faith in MS's ability to develop anything really new and interesting, I'm actually wondering if I had faith in the first place. Well, ok, maybe once in 1985.
Though I'm not looking forward to buying a Quadro FX just to minimize a window. Tad sarcastic.

Offloaded to the GPU? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16522479)

Then why are the CPU requirements for Aero so high?

Re:Offloaded to the GPU? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16523181)

For the other bloat^H^H^H^H^Hfeatures, of course.

Re:Offloaded to the GPU? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16523287)

What's the deal with you guys going nuts over system requirements of Aero? I haven't seen any new systems which are not capable of running Aero. All you need is a 128MB graphics card, which is something even basic gaming requires. And it is not just that. I installed Vista on a 4 year old laptop with 8MB video memory and the basic interface of Vista (without Aero) is still way more reponsive than XP. Microsoft has made huge performance improvements in the UI. It just keeps getting better.

But does explorer use directx 10 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16522483)

In vista, does the file system explorer and UI stuff that comes with the OS take advantage of directX 10?

Anyone know?

Stop spinning the f*cking articles (0)

Browzer (17971) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522495)

The article says:

"So how does Vista's interface rate? As you'll see in this chapter, the answer has to be "pretty darned good," although with a few reservations."

The introduction to the story says:
"He thinks the Vista interface rates 'pretty darned good.'"

"has to be "pretty darned good," although with a few reservations" is not in the same ballpark as "rates 'pretty darned good.'"

My question is, who is being quoted as saying "pretty darned good"? Never mind the "has to be part", we know who is saying that.

So what? (2, Insightful)

toejam316 (1000986) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522515)

When HAVN'T Microsoft tried prettying up their GUI's to make people go "Oooh, purdy windows! get windows!". Lets face it, it works. really all thats happening is that they're just cranking up the "lets make it purdyer!" factor. The sad thing is, it works O_O

WPF!!1!111 (5, Funny)

neuro.slug (628600) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522521)

I know it doesn't make sense, but the Object Management Group should extend the API just so we'd have the OMGWPFAPI.

Re:WPF!!1!111 (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522657)

OMGWPFAPI

Isn't that supposed to be the OMGWTFAPI? I imagine that the response of most programmers looking at the API for the first time will be: "Oh, My God! What The Fraq?!"

Re:WPF!!1!111 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16522971)

I guess you expect to modded funny?

Vista GUI - my take (4, Insightful)

PoconoPCDoctor (912001) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522533)

In January of this year, maybe a little later, our contracted supplier of PC's will probably start the push towards shipping new PC's with Vista, instead of XP Profesional. In my environment, a major medical center/school, I don't think the GUI will be immediately useful, in fact, it might hurt productivity initially, since our users will need to learn how to navigate Vista to accomplish everyday tasks like file copying, etc. Games are not big in a medical center, or most large enviroments, for that matter.

Unless Vista's underlying GUI can better render high-resolution images of cells, and most imaging in the research labs is done on Macs, it probably will not have a tremendous impact on corporate buying decisions.

The OS choice will be determined when our PC supplier starts to charge more for a PC with XP Professional than the same system with Vista. Research dollars are hard to come by, and unless Vista totally breaks standard Office suite PC/applications, it's just a matter of time before it will replace XP.

Re:Vista GUI - my take (5, Insightful)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522749)

> I don't think the GUI will be immediately useful, in fact, it might hurt productivity initially, since our users will need to learn how to navigate Vista to accomplish everyday tasks like file copying, etc

Silly user. File copying is evil! You're not supposed to look at files.

Win95/98: We won't show you directory paths or file extensions.
WinME: We won't even boot to DOS without a fight.
WinNT: Pay no attention to the 8.1 filenames. We're going to make sure everyone puts spaces in every path name, by calling it "Program Files"
Win2K: ...and since some of you still didn't get the message last time, we're going to make everyone's home directory contain at least two spaces by calling it "Documents and Settings"
WinXP: ...and don't even think of trying to remove Outlook or other files we want on your hard drive, even if you never use the application. By the way, it phones home, but we won't nuke your box if you don't let it phone home.
Vista: ...by the way, when we said we wouldn't nuke your box if you didn't let it phone home, we meant we would nuke your box if you don't let it phone home. Don't worry, we won't install any user tracking software not authorized by the government, though.

> Research dollars are hard to come by, and unless Vista totally breaks standard Office suite PC/applications, it's just a matter of time before it will replace XP.

You've forgotten the lesson of Office 97.

Research dollars are hard to come by, and when it's confirmed that Vista totally breaks standard Office suite PC/applications, only then will it be only a matter of time until it will replace XP.

Embrace. Extend. Extinguish.

Re:Vista GUI - my take (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#16523249)

Research dollars are hard to come by, and when it's confirmed that Vista totally breaks standard Office suite PC/applications, only then will it be only a matter of time until it will replace XP.

Unless it hinders Vista adoption. Seriously, if you have to replace all your software when you upgrade to Vista, a lot of IT people will be asking, "Why should we update to Vista?" and maybe even, "Why shouldn't we switch to Mac?"

Looks More Like OSX (0, Redundant)

queenb**ch (446380) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522571)

Having recently observed the Vista interface in action, I can say that they've done a nice job of ripping off the OSX look and feel.

They have dashboard widgets.

They've pared down the start menu and it looks more like the dock on a Mac.

The way things load looks more like a Mac.

Just my 2 cents,

QueenB.

Re:Looks More Like OSX (1)

olyar (591892) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522835)

Are you seriously accusing Microsoft of stealing interface ideas from Apple? They would *cough* NEVER do that. C:\NGRTLNS.W95

Re:Looks More Like OSX (3, Insightful)

Ramble (940291) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522901)

Can you specifically point out the similarities then? Becuase a lot of the features in Vista were pinned down in or before 2003.

Tiger came out '04.

Re:Looks More Like OSX (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522999)

The start menu looks like the dock? Really?

I've got Vista RC1 on a computer I don't use much, but I've used it enough to know what the start menu looks like, and I'm not reminded of any dock configuration I've seen at all...

Re:Looks More Like OSX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16523053)

You know, I've been hearing this @#$ for years. Mac ripped off Xerox, Windows ripped off Mac, Mac ripped off OS/2 (well, ok, I don't hear that one often, because *nobody* implemented the cooler features of the Workplace Shell)...

It's a desktop. It's supposed to be functional, and attractive.

It will usually reflect current trends in the industry.

It will usually reflect, therefore, the other desktop UI's out there, because they're all essentially drawing from the same material.

But hey, I'm glad to hear you now have an optional second button and scroll wheel... er... ball.

Windows Vista Doesn't Matter (3, Interesting)

jalvear (610723) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522593)

Why bother buying and using an over-rated, over-priced, years-late operating system update? Linux works fine. Windows XP works fine. (Well, except for a few security issues.) But the world does not need another huge Windows release. To paraphrase what someone once said in a commercial: "The Internet is the Computer"

The Holy Grail... (4, Interesting)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522641)

...is vector-based uber-scaling. I want a desktop that looks basically the same when I switch resolutions, with icons and fonts scaled appropriately. Vista has the necessary scaling and vector capabilities in place, but I'm guessing it doesn't support this. Or does it?

Re:The Holy Grail... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16523229)

"but I'm guessing it doesn't support this. Or does it?

It does. Your holy grail has arrived. Zooming webpages in IE looks 1000 times better too.

Which one? (2, Insightful)

thebluesgnr (941962) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522663)

There's the Windows Internet Explorer UI, the Windows Media Player UI, the Windows Mail UI... they're all different.

very colorful review. (3, Insightful)

yagu (721525) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522685)

Enough said.

What the heck? I'd love to understand look and feel better, but it would seem to be a more effective review if the pictures were in color.

Re:very colorful review. (1)

Chosen Reject (842143) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522787)

What!? You want all those new fancy animations AND you want a color depth of more than 256 shades of gray?! And pray tell, what kind of supercomputer do you expect to run such a thing?

Re:very colorful review. (1)

DaveM753 (844913) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522959)

Color pictures requires Vista's new AERO.

No?

Re:very colorful review. (5, Funny)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 7 years ago | (#16523385)

Enough said. What the heck? I'd love to understand look and feel better, but it would seem to be a more effective review if the pictures were in color.

They are in color.

Those are the colors.

What? Did you want lime or blueberry or something?

Start, Run anyone? (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522733)

I'm sure Vista would be easier for anyone who has never used a computer, but just to find something as simple as the Run may aggrivate or at least make the seasoned Windows vetern go on a safari hunt or a quick Google groups search to see how to turn the new interface off for a clasic mode.

The problem people have spent time learning where things are, but when you change them it causes aggrivation of having to relearn it all over again.

Re:Start, Run anyone? (1)

ljw1004 (764174) | more than 7 years ago | (#16523221)

The search field works like Run used to, for many tasks. e.g.:

Ctrl+Esc notepad ENTER
Ctrl+Esc http://slashdot.org/ [slashdot.org] ENTER
Ctrl+Esc itunes ENTER

So basically just don't press the "R" key like you used to!

Re:Start, Run anyone? (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 7 years ago | (#16523323)

Problem with that of course is you can't pass parameters, so it's not nearly as useful.

I'd kill to get rid of that useless search bar and get the run back.

A while back... (4, Interesting)

bunions (970377) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522745)

just after they'd changed the name from the awful "Avalon" to the much more memorable "Windows Presentation Foundation," I saw a demo of this stuff from a MS evangelist. The demo application was awful. Gratuitous use of 3D, buttons that were unrecognizable as such and which would flip up into the 'air' playing a movie when you pressed them.

I understand that it was just a demo and these things weren't really 'gratuitous' because they existed simply to show off the capabilities. But the bottom line is that it's so super-easy to make these awful UI abortions that we're gonna see metric asstons of it coming down the pipe from programmers and their bosses who are unable to resist cramming every last widget behavior into their software. Feh.

But what about the actual GUI? (4, Informative)

pammon (831694) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522795)

The author seems rather confused about what "GUI" means. The GUI is the graphical user interface - what the user sees and interacts with. The article mentioned almost nothing about the actual user interface of Vista - only the developer-targeted APIs. Nearly all of the apps that ship with Vista do not use WPF and therefore the actual GUI will not be like what the author describes.

And the author is simply wrong when he says that "With WPF, everything is drawn with vectors, so you can scale windows and icons as big (or as small) as you want, and the objects will display with no loss in quality." In fact, icons in Vista are generally 256x256 bitmap images. Artists normally prefer bitmaps because it gives them more control over the artwork.

interfaces (3, Insightful)

StarvingSE (875139) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522805)

Paul McFedries, author of Windows Vista Unveiled, thinks that an operating system should be thought of as more than just its user interface

Correct. Why can't Microsoft understand this? They spend so much time with the user interface, that the actually OS stuff (stable runtime environment, security, "revolutionary file system" gets put on the backburner. I think it would be in MS's best interest to focus 100% on the core internals of the OS and leave the shell to either open source or some third party. Heck, even a totally seperate division of microsoft. This whole "API for everything" and having so much interface stuff integrated with the internal running of the system is just a recipe for disaster, as can be seen on every other windows release before vista.

Re:interfaces (2, Insightful)

NineNine (235196) | more than 7 years ago | (#16523001)

Well, if you haven't noticed, the interface is what people see, and what they notice. Linux has no consitent interface, and what is there is a nightmare. Hence, no Linux on desktops. Macs have a very very pretty, shiny interface. Hence, people are willing to pay a premium for their Mac's. And, obviously you're not aware of what's going on in the back end either, because Windows has been changing, WHILE STAYING BACKWARDS COMPATIBLE for quite a long time. They just moved from ActiveX/Com to .Net for much of their framework stuff, for example. That's pretty significant.

Re:interfaces (1)

toadlife (301863) | more than 7 years ago | (#16523349)

"They spend so much time with the user interface, that the actually OS stuff (stable runtime environment, security, "revolutionary file system" gets put on the backburner."

While the filesystem did get tossed, everything else you mentioned is improved in Vista. Application ACLs (SELinux/AppArmour for the masses), UAC (people bitch about this, but it's a very useful security feature), and a better seperation of drivers from the kernel are all in Vista.

More animations and cute graphics? (4, Interesting)

goofyheadedpunk (807517) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522815)

Maybe I'm just cantankerous today, but the idea of having a GUI do more happy bouncy shit to pander to the least educated user really bugs me. Perhaps it's just me, but I hate little "helpful" pop-up tips and goofy animations asking if they can assist me in writing a letter. No user interface, other than the nipple if you're a mammal, is intuative and no amount of pop-uppery will fix that. Simplification and consistancy is probably the best way to make sure that all the rules of the interface can fit inside people's head, which is maybe what they're groping toward by copying OSX. (Which is by no means the Best Interface Ever, as some people content. Me? I like the command line.)

Blegh. Why has this pissed me off so much? I've not used a Microsoft product in years, and I'm far more likely to do this [bmezine.com] [*] before touching Vista. I don't know, maybe it's just me, but does this piss anyone else off?

[*] DO NOT CLICK THIS LINK (unless you're familiar with modblog, aren't squemish and aren't at work).

Re:More animations and cute graphics? (1)

Tatsh (893946) | more than 7 years ago | (#16523343)

I used to agree with this, and am not a huge fan of Aero (finding some parts unnecessary). The best parts are the preview when you hover over the task bar (I use a Mac OS X theme on XP and use Visual Tool Tips to see previews on my "task bar"). When XP came out, I was extremely opposed to its new interface (changed to classic and used that for a long time). 4 years later I like themes (ones that emulate OS's only), 1 year after that I turn on a few XP visual effects; my system is looking pretty good. :D

I LOVE AQUA GUI, but OS X is not that great when it doesn't work with your system 100% (damn ATI).

slow transparency (4, Insightful)

bored (40072) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522869)

This guy is smoking some serious crack in a couple of places, he talks about how difficult it is to do transparency? Hello I wrote a little piece of code to make transparent windows back with turbo pascal on a 386.. If my 386 could do it i'm sure you don't need a GPU... Just because transparency wasn't in the basic GDI (which is even older) doesn't mean it was hard or even that slow.

Re:slow transparency (2, Informative)

Sebastopol (189276) | more than 7 years ago | (#16523205)

Yeah, I'm sure you were performing on average 2000 bitblts per action on your 386 Pascal program. Just because you wrote an algorithm that probably did a 50% dither on b&w bitmap 10 years ago, then saying it is trivial, is akin to me saying, "Hey, I once ran a 4-minute mile, therefore a marathon is trivial!"

Vector? Which Aero doesn't do? (4, Interesting)

KiwiRed (598427) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522871)

I'm kind of lost about exactly what this 'vector based' part of the Vista UI is, as referred to in the article:
Improved scaling. With vector-based graphics, you can scale any image bigger or smaller without any loss in the image quality. This is simply not possibly with raster-based graphics. For example, if you have ever tried using larger icons in Windows or a program toolbar, you know that the resulting icons look blurry and jagged.
Yet MS themselves have said that Aero isn't vector-based (http://www.msblog.org/?p=731 ), and just used good ol' bitmaps. Is the author referring to some feature of the UI that MS has available in Vista but just forgot to use for Aero?

Totally worth the cost of upgrading! (2, Funny)

DaveM753 (844913) | more than 7 years ago | (#16523077)

Figures 3.8 through 3.11 prove the best reason to upgrade. Clippy has been upgraded: now he's a dog!

Feature my ass. No, the other meaning. (5, Insightful)

Fonce (635723) | more than 7 years ago | (#16523119)

You know what bothers me about this? They've taken nearly every proposed feature out of Vista that we wanted or that was going to useful...or even new...leaving us forced to debate whether or not there's actually anything new in the only really new thing about it, Avalon.

And when we do have people talking about it they don't have any idea what they're talking about, discussing cutesy shit you can do with their uber-advanced API and not improvements that Microsoft has made to the ACTUAL GUI that will help me complete complex tasks easier, find that which I need faster, and just make my user experience more pleasant and efficient overall.

Features, you say? They're not features, they're bugs. Much in the way that spam is email, these bullshit "improvements" are actually just annoying eye-candy and a stop-gap measure to one-up the actually useful features that exist in other operating systems such as OSX and Linux. And no, I'm actually not a *nix fanboy despite my heavy use of it; I've been a Windows admin for a few years now. And I've been a user long enough to know that dancing icons and spinning buttons do nothing more than impress grandma for a few seconds and piss advanced users off.

Where's the real innovation? Where's the Microsoft that made Windows 3.11 and Windows 2000 (which, despite it's faults, was one hell of an OS)?

Dead, I say, choked by the left hand of greed and the right hand of stupidity.

This will probably be modded flamebait... (-1, Flamebait)

maidden (921536) | more than 7 years ago | (#16523121)

... but for a group of people who, in general, claim to hate Windows and not want your computers to be contamnated by it or what have you, y'all sure talk about it a lot.

But is it as good as .... (2, Funny)

microcars (708223) | more than 7 years ago | (#16523219)

WindowsRG ? [deanliou.com] (ReallyGood Edition)

what if windows could have xfce, kde or gnome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16523381)

Would you really consider the vista, xp, 2k, or Nt desktop interfaces if you could have somthing similar to XFCE, KDE or GNOME?

Yes, I know, there is litestep,xoblite,sharpe, and blackbox. But I still would prefer one of the Linux desktops.

When they will learn? (3, Insightful)

kosmosik (654958) | more than 7 years ago | (#16523429)

> Developers can do 2-D, 3-D, animation, imaging,
> video, audio, special effects and text rendering
> using a single API.

And when exactly they will learn that UI design it is not about what YOU CAN DO? It is what YOU CAN'T DO. You can take any program and DO WITH IT WHATEVER, give it nice animations, nice 3D effects, symphonic sounds, add to it few agents, fifteen toolbars, make it do your coffee etc.

It is not what you CAN do. It so about how to make it the most simple as you can. KISS - for Keep It Simple.

Reffered in the article OSX is a quite complicated operating system but still it manages to deliver a platform on which (at least in my opinion, and I am not biased since my main workstation is running Linux) you can make SIMPLE and USEFULL applications.

My point is that the platform should allow users to get consistant and simple interface. Not that what Windows is offering - now you get it even more complex - you get all Windows Legacy stuff working (dating back to 95) and also a BRAND NEW SHINY 2D 3D WHATEVER interface. So it is in fact worse not better. Since it includes more ways to screw the applications to become UNNEEDLY COMPLEX.
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