Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Microsoft Vista

I was reading an article on the evil empire's newest OS, Vista, and it occurred to me that microsoft hasn't released a new operating system since 2001. For a company that runs not only on software sales but on continuous sales of upgrades and successor-products, that's a fairly big gap between major releases.

Buyers of new computers, of course, will have the system loaded on their shiny new PCs or laptops. The question for microsoft, in the short-term, is: how many computer users who are not in the market for a new computer will upgrade to Vista. Hmmm. I have no idea.

In fact, I wonder if anyone really has a clue as to how viable the OS upgrade market is right now. As I said, its been six years since the last system release. Back then, of course, there were more reasons to upgrade. XP was, without a doubt, a more robust and flexible operating system than Windows 98. Yeah, the user interface seemed a little odd, but uses could revert to the "classic windows" interface and settle right in.

Do owners of existing computers need to upgrade to Vista? That's probably the most relevant question to start with. And I think the answer is no, they don't. Here's why. If you purchased a computer anytime in the last two to three years, it probably came with 256 megs of ram and a hard drive ranging in size from 40 gigs to 120 gigs. From a practical standpoint, this is really all that the majority of home users will ever need (unless they're into pc gaming and, if that's the case, the processing and memory requirements change so fast that you almost need to upgrade or buy a new computer every year). Security? Yes, Vista will be more secure than its predecessors by quite a leap. But don't count on that security to protect you for very long. The majority of all worms, hijackers, and trojans are aimed at microsoft products, meaning that you'll always need to rely on some form of externally-supplied security (such as mcafee, trend micro, or norton).

Here's my own position on Vista. I won't be upgrading to it anytime soon. I have two laptops and two desktops and three of these four computers are outfitted with 256 megs of memory. According to microsoft, that won't cut it. They recommend 512 megs and that's for a basic version of Vista. And my experience with MS operating systems has told me that when MS recommends a basic level of memory to run one of its products, that's simply to run it. And I mean barely run it and your computer too. In other words, turn it on and watch it crawl. I do have one PC that would be capable of doing the job and its loaded with one gig (1000 megs) of memory, but I wonder if even this will be enough to run vista and still do everything that I currently do at the speed I currently do it at.

How many people will rush to upgrade to Vista? Don't know. If most people look at it the way I do, there won't be many. Quite frankly, I don't really have a reason to upgrade since I'm very satisfied with the performance of all my computers, from best to worst. My bet: as far as the home user market is concerned, Vista will appear on new computers and little else.

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