Windows Vista has been out for a little while now and I still haven’t even seen it in use. This far out from the Windows XP launch I had at least marveled at several people using it, although I hadn’t switched to it myself just yet. But I haven’t even had the opportunity to see Vista in action because nobody I know uses it or is even interested in using it (me included). Its many disadvantages include: the high cost of upgrading, incompatibility with currently working programs on Windows XP, and of course, draconian DRM. The last part especially irks me because Vista has lots of “features” that are blatantly anti-user, such as how it degrades high quality video to high quality outputs ostensibly as an anti-piracy measure. Realistically, it means don’t bother trying to use Vista to output video to an HDTV, or using it to watch HD-DVDs or Blu-ray discs. Ridiculous.
My work has absolutely no plans to upgrade to Windows Vista. Even the new laptops we new employees got came with Windows XP rather than Windows Vista. Everything already works, and the IT guys simply don’t see the need to spend the money for the sole privilege of potentially having all of our mission-critical applications fail. When Vista first came out manufacturers such as Dell were only offering new computers that came with Vista. After the inevitable backlash, they started offering XP again, and will probably do so for a nice long while.
However, the upgrade to Vista is eventually going to become inevitable as long as one wants to keep using a Windows environment. Using XP over Vista will be no more practical in a few years than trying to use 98 over XP is today. That’s why I’m simply going to stop using Windows at that point. I’ve had seven years experience with using GNU/Linux now, mostly on servers, but also on desktops. My current desktop dual-boots into Fedora Core 6, for instance. But what keeps bringing me back to Windows is the computer games. Well, not for much longer. I already play far fewer computer games than I used to. I’m simply finding other things to do with my time, like editing Wikipedia, writing, reading, and updating this blog. In a few years’ time when continuing to run Windows XP becomes untenable, I’m going to switch over to GNU/Linux once and for all and never look back.
Update 2007-08-18: Looks like the editor in chief of PC Magazine, who is just stepping down, isn’t thrilled with Vista either. He has a litany of complaints about flaws in the operating system that still aren’t fixed after nine months. I’m so glad I didn’t upgrade.