Windows Vista will you buy it? 25 replies

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awof

Leader Of the Black Sun

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19th July 2005

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#1 11 years ago

!READ THIS.

1. You don't actually need it -- No, think about this. Vista doesn't do anything you can't already do with XP. About the only significant shift requiring Vista is DirextX10, but as no titles support it yet and, according to John Carmack (the godfather of modern gaming) there's no need to yet either. 2. Cost $$ -- It's so blindingly obvious, most people will be blinded to it. You already have XP, and alternatives like Linux are free. If you really want to throw money away, go give it to a local charity. 3. On that note, it's outrageously overpriced -- at least in Australia. As revealed in the current APC, even after taking into account the profit margin Microsoft Australia previously applied to XP (as well as exchange rates, as you would expect), Australians are paying hundreds of dollars more for their copies than in the US. In fact, it's cheaper for Australians to buy Vista direct by mail order from the States. If you think Microsoft Australia is reaming us, vote with your wallet. 4. Upgrading hardware -- XP was demanding at release, but Vista more so. If you have an older machine that struggles with XP at the best of times, Vista is out of your ballpark unless you spend even more money to upgrade. If this is you, see point 1. 5. Driver support -- Key hardware like video and sound is crippled at the moment -- while Nvidia is working furiously to get a stable driver for the 8800 out by the 30th, there's still no SLI support for any of the Nvidia range. And thanks to the removal of hardware accelerated 3D sound in Vista, Creative's popular DirectSound based EAX no longer works at all, muting this feature for just about all gaming titles on the market today. Creative is in the process of coding a layer for its drivers to translate EAX calls to the OpenAL API which is seperate from Vista, but going by past experience with Creative drivers we won't see these any time soon. 6. Applications that don't work -- there's been plenty of coverage about applications that won't work without a vendor update. These include anti-virus, backup and security software such as those from Symantec, Sophos and ilk; CD and DVD burning tools like the suite from Nero need updated versions to work; and even basic disk management and partitioning tools such as Paragon's Hard Disk Manager are awaiting an update for Vista to be compatible. How many more will fail as Vista enters mainstream? Even Firefox has issues with Vista. 7. It's a big fat target -- with a new and untested in the global wild architecture, virus and malware authors are going to work overtime exploiting the holes Microsoft missed. In fact it's already happening. Loath though I am to use the word 'security' and 'Windows' in the same sentence, Windows XP has at least been patched to the hilt and can be used with a plethora of reasonably effective security tools that work now, without waiting for an update down the track. 8. UAC -- Oh yes, the Microsoft solution for an operating system where mutli-user was an afterthought. Sure, you can disable it, but the OS then makes it clear then that the onus is on the user for any damaging programs that got to run with permissions, rather than with Windows in the first place. If you do have it on, it is going to annoy the hell out of you. It pops up far too frequently, and even on a fast PC, the UAC screen takes too long to come up and disappear. 9. DRM -- And to a lesser degree TPM -- were made for the RIAAs and MPAAs of this world, and the even tighter integration of copy protection mechanisms and 'Windows Rights Management' into vista are nothing more than a liability to you, the user. This ComputerWorld piece says is succinctly: 'it's hard to sing the praises of technology designed to make life harder for its users.' As for TPM, this short animated video shows just how far the rabbit hole goes. And to think you pay for the privilege of having the use of media you purchased and own dictated by third parties, even on your own system. 10. The draconian license -- somehow, Microsoft has forgotten that it built its business from products that empowered its customers, not hampered them. Of course, we forget that Microsoft's customers aren't you and I, afterall (see point 9). Aside from the backward thinking that is licensing, and not actually owning, your software new terms with Vista include being able to transfer the license only once; half the limit compared to XP for Home Basic and Premium on how many machines can connect to yours for sharing, printing and accessing the Internet; limits on the number of devices that can use Vista's Media Center features; activation and validation governing your ability to upgrade hardware and use Windows itself; and outlawing the use of Home Basic and Premium with virtualisation software, and Ultimate only if DRM enabled content and applications aren't used. But then again, who reads these anyway? Along with that I suggest Reading these Notes:

In a controversial technical analysis Peter Gutmann goes into fantastic detail about the recently released Vista operating system and its content protection scheme. One thing became clear to me after reading this analysis. Vista is being marketed to content producers, not consumers. If Windows XP was Microsoft’s attempt to embed a browser into the operating system then Vista is the attempt to embed DRM. Digital Rights Management technology has been applied to literally every ring of the OS architecture. Vista's target market is content producers and the underlying philosophy of the user experience will be far different then what many consumers expect it will be. Microsoft has attempted to plug the infamous “analog hole” as much as is possible by forcing all data through encryption algorithms. For those unaware of the “costs” of encryption it is sufficiently high. Pushing HD audio and video content through encryption/decryption routines is a tremendous strain on any system currently available and in the near future. Even with the application of Moore's Law a conservative estimate could place affordable and usable systems within this new content system 5 years away. It will be interesting to see how these restrictions will be spun by the large marketing and PR teams since none of these innovations will benefit consumers in any way. The job that has been handed to these PR and marketing teams is to dress up a product designed with every restriction a producer has asked for and make a consumer want to buy it. One of the most quotable lines from the Gutmann analysis sums this up perfectly as, “breaking the legs of Olympic athletes and then rating them based on how fast they can hobble on crutches.” In the past when I have delivered lectures to web application developers I would caution them to never trust user input. Perhaps developers took this philosophy a little too far. The entire operating system now seems to have turned against the user. Zero tolerance drivers and regulation code will lock the system down if any type of deviance is detected. So called “tilt bits” will signal an attack on the system if anything is found out of the ordinary. These changes won’t enhance user security unfortunately as they were designed to protect only “premium content”. Medical data, credit card numbers, and other private things that do deserve this level of protection are completly ignored. Untrusting of any environmental changes the system will shut down or degrade performance in response to a perceived attack. This is a marked turn from the past versions of the Microsoft operating system. In the past one could take a hard drive from a Windows OS and drop it into an entirely different system. The new hardware would be detected and drivers applied on the spot. At most a single reboot would bring the user back into a usable system. This type of resilience was what impressed me during the early days of the new Windows architecture. In those days Microsoft was fairly dominant but still pursuing new customers. The new Vista scheme signals to me that they have exhausted new customer acquisition and are now focused on milking their existing market. In the next post I will look at who benefits (Intel, Hollywood, code obfuscation providers) and who doesn’t (consumers) and some security issues (driver revocations for DDOS)

[INDENT] “Some argue that the consumer gets little or negative ‘benefit’ from this increase, this is false. The consumer gets premium content on their PC” [/INDENT] Pete Levinthal Software Engineering ATI Technologies, Inc This is a fair statement. Playing HD content from a Blueray or HD DVD disk is clearly an advantage that end users would appreciate. So in the sense that a benefit is an advantage I would say Levinthal’s statement is accurate. However, benefit can also refer to “profit” which would make his statement questionable. Considering that he mentions ‘negative “benefit”‘ I think we should delve further into this connotation. Profit is the positive difference between the amount spent and the amount earned. So in purely mathematical terms the amount of “cost” to the end user to play premium content must be lower then the amount gained in the operation of HD playback for a profitable expierence. I believe it is safe to assume what the amount gained is, HD playback. What isn’t so clear is what the costs are. In the programmers universe cost is generally associated with amounts of cpu cycles spent solving some problem. Thus if a programmer writes a function for a program which needlessly recomputes values it is considered “expensive”. An accomplished programmer can write elegant solutions which do not incur much cost. Keeping the previous definition of “cost” in mind I think it is fitting to look into what the premium content protection really costs a user. From this analysis we can make a fair judgement on whether a user profits overall from the ability to play HD content. According to the Micosoft presentations here, here, here, and here the playback of HD content requires no less then two rounds of encryption/decryption before the video is sent to the display. First the video comes from the original HD media in encrypted format and is decoded. That decoded media is then encoded again using the AES algorithm and sent across the PCIe bus. Once it reaches the other side of that bus it is decoded and then sent across the HDMI interface to the display. The entire process is documented here in a presentation by Microsoft: Slide15.jpg Based on my own valuation of HD content playback I would say that the price is either near or exceeding the gain of watching content on my PC. Clearly the price of these computations goes down every 18 months* by 50% according to Moore’s law. This led to my earlier prediction that an affordable and usable system running Vista is perhaps 5 years away. Before I close on this installment I want to give a preview of the next piece I have lined up. This image struck me and has pervaded my thoughts about this article. Picture%201.png This image from a presentation delivered by Dave Marsh (Program Manager, Windows Media Technologies) captures how Microsoft frames this problem. Perhaps not intentional but all too apparent in this image is their end user acting deviously and maliciously hurting Hollywood, Microsoft, and probably America. * Wikipedia cites Moore as stating 12 months between the doubling of transistors which given my previous statement would reduce the distance of a usable and affordable system 3.3 years away. There are other references in the article that state the chip making industry adheres to the “doubling every 18 months”. My prediction was that of 3.5x current capacities for an affordable system to play back HD content on a Vista PC.




Roaming East

Ultima ratio regum

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7th November 2005

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#2 11 years ago

military personnel get it for free so why shouldnt I? well, not free, but only 14 bucks. ALMOST free...




awof

Leader Of the Black Sun

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19th July 2005

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#3 11 years ago

I posted the Info to show the Good / Bad of it but no matter its your choose.




awof

Leader Of the Black Sun

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19th July 2005

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#4 11 years ago
Psychokenesis

I'm too cool to Post

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16th October 2003

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#5 11 years ago

Will SaQ buy Vista....

*clears throat* HELL NO...




marvinmatthew

Tech is where you'll find me..

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13th April 2005

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#6 11 years ago

awof;3511845!READ THIS.

1. You don't actually need it -- No, think about this. Vista doesn't do anything you can't already do with XP. About the only significant shift requiring Vista is DirextX10, but as no titles support it yet and, according to John Carmack (the godfather of modern gaming) there's no need to yet either. 2. Cost $$ -- It's so blindingly obvious, most people will be blinded to it. You already have XP, and alternatives like Linux are free. If you really want to throw money away, go give it to a local charity. 3. On that note, it's outrageously overpriced -- at least in Australia. As revealed in the current APC, even after taking into account the profit margin Microsoft Australia previously applied to XP (as well as exchange rates, as you would expect), Australians are paying hundreds of dollars more for their copies than in the US. In fact, it's cheaper for Australians to buy Vista direct by mail order from the States. If you think Microsoft Australia is reaming us, vote with your wallet. 4. Upgrading hardware -- XP was demanding at release, but Vista more so. If you have an older machine that struggles with XP at the best of times, Vista is out of your ballpark unless you spend even more money to upgrade. If this is you, see point 1. 5. Driver support -- Key hardware like video and sound is crippled at the moment -- while Nvidia is working furiously to get a stable driver for the 8800 out by the 30th, there's still no SLI support for any of the Nvidia range. And thanks to the removal of hardware accelerated 3D sound in Vista, Creative's popular DirectSound based EAX no longer works at all, muting this feature for just about all gaming titles on the market today. Creative is in the process of coding a layer for its drivers to translate EAX calls to the OpenAL API which is seperate from Vista, but going by past experience with Creative drivers we won't see these any time soon. 6. Applications that don't work -- there's been plenty of coverage about applications that won't work without a vendor update. These include anti-virus, backup and security software such as those from Symantec, Sophos and ilk; CD and DVD burning tools like the suite from Nero need updated versions to work; and even basic disk management and partitioning tools such as Paragon's Hard Disk Manager are awaiting an update for Vista to be compatible. How many more will fail as Vista enters mainstream? Even Firefox has issues with Vista. 7. It's a big fat target -- with a new and untested in the global wild architecture, virus and malware authors are going to work overtime exploiting the holes Microsoft missed. In fact it's already happening. Loath though I am to use the word 'security' and 'Windows' in the same sentence, Windows XP has at least been patched to the hilt and can be used with a plethora of reasonably effective security tools that work now, without waiting for an update down the track. 8. UAC -- Oh yes, the Microsoft solution for an operating system where mutli-user was an afterthought. Sure, you can disable it, but the OS then makes it clear then that the onus is on the user for any damaging programs that got to run with permissions, rather than with Windows in the first place. If you do have it on, it is going to annoy the hell out of you. It pops up far too frequently, and even on a fast PC, the UAC screen takes too long to come up and disappear. 9. DRM -- And to a lesser degree TPM -- were made for the RIAAs and MPAAs of this world, and the even tighter integration of copy protection mechanisms and 'Windows Rights Management' into vista are nothing more than a liability to you, the user. This ComputerWorld piece says is succinctly: 'it's hard to sing the praises of technology designed to make life harder for its users.' As for TPM, this short animated video shows just how far the rabbit hole goes. And to think you pay for the privilege of having the use of media you purchased and own dictated by third parties, even on your own system. 10. The draconian license -- somehow, Microsoft has forgotten that it built its business from products that empowered its customers, not hampered them. Of course, we forget that Microsoft's customers aren't you and I, afterall (see point 9). Aside from the backward thinking that is licensing, and not actually owning, your software new terms with Vista include being able to transfer the license only once; half the limit compared to XP for Home Basic and Premium on how many machines can connect to yours for sharing, printing and accessing the Internet; limits on the number of devices that can use Vista's Media Center features; activation and validation governing your ability to upgrade hardware and use Windows itself; and outlawing the use of Home Basic and Premium with virtualisation software, and Ultimate only if DRM enabled content and applications aren't used. But then again, who reads these anyway?

1. You don't actually need it- Is Microsoft forcing you to get Vista? No. They're supporting XP through 2011, so who gives a damn?

2. Cost $$/3. On that note, it's outrageously overpriced-Microsoft's target market is not in Austrialia, in the states, Vista can be had for $120, and that's if you're upgrading to Vista, and not getting a new computer.

4. Upgrading hardware- This OS is desinged for the long-term, in five years, do you think we're going to want an OS that was dumbed-down to accomodate PC's that (in five years) will be eight years old?

5. Driver support- The are approxomately three times as many drivers available for devices on the Vista launch date, as there were on the XP launch. And driver support is always a bitch at OS launches, there's nothing new here.

6. Applications that don't work- Again, nothing new. Somehow everyone is fine when Apple says, "okay guys, every single OS9 program ain't gonna work on OSX." Applications are always broken/breaking on new OS's. And most valuable applications are going to be/have been already updated to work with Vista.

7. It's a big fat target- Microsoft undoubtabley screwed up on security with XP. They're not going to let it happen again. They know the horrendous PR it would cause them to have.

8. UAC- Vista does a much better job with multi-user accounts in Vista. Now, if one account gets infected with a Virus/Spyware, the other accounts are much more protected. What would you rather have them do, let you run as Admin all of the time and take the massive risk? Or, (as Mac OSX does), let you run as the much saffer limited-user, and require you to enter your password now and again?

9. DRM- This definatley does suck. But what you fail to mention is that 90% of the DRM is ment to protect 'high quality content" (meaning high-def content). While annoying, most of us won't be using our PC's for high-def movies and video, so who gives a whoot?

10. The draconian license- If you want a multi-machine network, go get the damn business version of Vista (that's what it's for), or get the Vista Home Server edition when it comes out in the fall.

Hey, I'm not saying I'm going to get vista, or even that I like it (I don't care one way or the other). But it would be nice if the thread creator was a little less biased. I think that my rebuttle combined with the thread creaters comments paint a more ballenced picture.




aaj111

The Internet ends at GF

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31st January 2007

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#7 11 years ago

One day we shall buy it, but not for some months...




Guest

I didn't make it!

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#8 11 years ago

No.

Not yet, anyway. It's only just about to be released and there will be so many bugs, it will be unbelievable. I'm gonna leave it a good few months/years before I get it. I'm happy with my Media Centre, anyway.




Akula971

Pain is a sensation. Enjoy it

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9th February 2004

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#9 11 years ago

Slowly but surely, the computer that you bought becomes the computer THEY control. I actually liked XP when it came out. I do notice though that Vista is getting panned in so many places that would normally welcome it.




Relander

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8th April 2005

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#10 11 years ago

I have no need for Vista.