Will there be Windows 7 bashing?

Michael PietroforteMVP By Michael Pietroforte - Tue, November 11, 2008 - 13 comments google+ icon

Michael Pietroforte is the founder and editor of 4sysops. He is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) with more than 30 years of experience in system administration.

Windows 7 might come out much earlier than many expected (including me). If what several new sites have published during the last few days is true, then Windows 7 might even show up during the 2009 holiday season. It is obvious why Microsoft is pushing Windows 7. Vista still has a bad reputation (which is unjustified in my view), and Microsoft hopes that all of the Vista bashing will be history soon. However, I doubt somehow that those organizations who want to skip Vista will be much happier with Windows 7. Nevertheless, the reaction of the media to Windows 7 is quite positive thus far. Could that change?

Even though Infoworld tries to keep the Windows-slapping business alive, I somehow doubt that the media will bash Windows 7 because their readers are already tired of this topic. Perhaps more important is that the user experience of Windows 7 will be better. The most significant improvement in Vista is the new security model. It was also one of the main reasons why the Vista-bashing wave started rolling in. It caused numerous compatibility issues, which resulted in user frustration – the perfect breeding ground for the anti-Vista meme virus. Since Microsoft did most of the dirty work in Vista, they can focus again on new end-user-related features, which makes the media happy because they have something to write about.

However, from a technical point of view, things probably won’t really change with the release of Windows 7. It will certainly not be more compatible with Windows XP than Vista. Windows 7 is just Windows Vista with quite a few additional features. Most media sources write that Windows 7 won’t cause new compatibility problems, but I am not convinced. The fact that Microsoft made some major changes to the Windows kernel makes me suspicious. So, we will only know more about compatibility when Microsoft releases a public beta of Windows 7. Furthermore, there are still many compatibility issues with Vista. Read this revealing article at apc about Vista driver woes. These problems won’t go away with Windows 7.

Microsoft is quite aware of the fact that hardware and software compatibility was the main reason for Vista’s marketing disaster. It is obvious that they are working hard not to repeat the mistake. They are pushing third parties to do their homework, too. The fact that there will only be one compatible-with-Windows 7 logo demonstrates this. But this is only what we see on the surface. The other question is whether Microsoft’s efforts will be successful.

I think the only mistake Microsoft made with Vista was that they underestimated the size of their own ecosystem. Vista’s beta’s phase was extremely long, and so they expected that all third parties would have had enough time to adapt their drivers and applications. Obviously, that wasn’t the case. The number of third parties is certainly much bigger than when Windows XP was released. There will always be hardware and software vendors who can’t match Microsoft’s pace. Thus, the only way will be to introduce compatibility affecting innovations in smaller doses. I think this is what we will see now with Windows 7. Perhaps that is another reason why Windows 7 will be coming out much earlier than expected. Five years between two major OS releases is much too long nowadays.

It also sets high expectations and increases the tension in the Windows community, which makes it more likely that it will be perceived as a failure if there are no real “wow features”. Smaller release intervals give the media less time to decide whether they should bash or praise a new operating system because they will be too busy speculating about new features and release dates. Once the user feedback comes in, the next version is already on track, which makes it boring to bash the old one. One of the reasons why Vista bashing stopped in the media is because everyone is now focused on Windows 7.

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13 Comments- Leave a Reply

  1. Chaps says:

    I think a large part of the problem is that so many thord-party companies have a hard and fast rule about never supporting beta and RC versions of Microsoft products due to the oft-used excuse ” it might change before release”. I know this is the case with McAfee as IE8 beta 2 breaks McAfee Internet Security ( the whole console is now blank and can’t be accessed). So what happens? Nothing.. until it is then released… even if they are doing stuff behind the scenes, it doesn’t get tested by the public until after the product is released. by then, it is too late…

    let’s hope that some of these attitudes can change and that the companies will worker harder 9 or smarter) to be in tune withthe Windows 7 release…

  2. Jack Hughes says:

    A big problem was computer vendors shipping Vista machines with too little RAM. I’ve got a friend whose new machine with Vista was unusably slow because it didn’t have sufficient RAM in it. Now, I guess you could argue that Microsoft shouldn’t have shipped an OS that need 1GB of RAM in the first place, but…

  3. JimH says:

    Vista was simply a failure and the writing was on the wall long before it was ever released. Many Windows apologists have trouble accepting this. From the rewrite of code that MS had to do early on in the development cycle to the features that kept getting removed right up to the changes that MS was making that hurt developers while it was in RC mode.

    During this whole time MS underestimated how well Apple was executing as Apple hadn’t been operating this well since perhaps the pre-Mac days if ever. Seriously MS really hasn’t had too strong of competitors that executed all that well since…hmmm…get my point? Mozilla, Apple, and arguably Adobe are just about it on the consumer side. The linux/unix community is it on the enterprise side with servers. Novell was clueless in how to run the type of business needed to compete.

    Lets also not forget how much Google has distracted MS.

    Like I said the writing was on the wall but everyone thought it was like 1993-98 where users saw MS was executing and focused like a mad man(not to mention doing the very things that saw itself get convicted a few years later).

    The question is now while MS now has competitors that seem to be at or near the top of their game, can MS refocus and execute without getting in trouble again? That all remains to be seen.

    In my job as an admin Vista has been a total and complete disappointment. Even Server08 has issues as simple as file copying just as Vista does. I pray that MS rights the ship. I have no desire for them to have any kind of commanding position in the industry but I do want a strong, reliable product from them…Vista just wasn’t it.

  4. Michael Pietroforte Michael says:

    Chaps, I agree, but this problem also existed when XP came out. The main difference is that there are many more third parties now which makes it more likely that one of your devices or applications is not supported anymore when a new Windows version comes out.

    Jack, you are absolutely right. But you can’t really blame the vendors for that. The problem is that Microsoft’s official specifications were a little too optimistic. By the way, I think that Vista requires at least 2GB.

    JimH, so in your view Microsoft’s efforts to improve Windows security were unnecessary? Do you remember the disaster with the blaster virus? And what about the new imaging technology? Don’t you think that this feature greatly simplifies OS deployment? I think Vista was a release dedicated for especially for admins.

  5. Gorby says:

    Goodness me! Where do I start…
    Michael, you are talking about “new imaging technology.” What on earth does an operating system have to worry about new imaging technology.

    Along with the other posts here, Vista is too big! My personal PC has the computing power able to run many 3rd world countries total IT needs (if allowed to use an efficient OS). A PC that sits on my desk needs 2 Gig of RAM to run acceptably!!! Most of what I do is email, web surfing, and document writing.

    Microsoft needs to cut Windows right back. Get it fast and furious! I know they integrated a whole lot of applications into the OS to combat the perceived threat from Linux (an OS with an abundance of bundled application available on the install disk), but businesses (the bread and butter of the industry) DON’T want the bloat.

    Security… Hmmm… There is a whole industry making a lot of money with security products for Windows. Why? Is Windows that insecure?

    Windows 7 should run acceptably on a Pentium 3 1000Mhz with (OK let’s get big) 1 Gig of RAM, and NOT need a huge video card.

    The gamers can always go and get their huge machines to shoot people in graphic realism.

    That would leave a nice OS for the rest of us.

  6. Jack Hughes says:

    >Windows 7 should run acceptably on a Pentium 3 >1000Mhz with (OK let’s get big) 1 Gig of RAM, and >NOT need a huge video card.

    @Gorby – you just described Windows XP :)

  7. Daniel says:

    The only thing Microsoft did wrong with Vista was underestimate their ecosystem? I agree that’s probably their biggest mistake, but how about:

    - Misleading compatibility stickers on inadequate hardware
    - Rushing a product through an arbitrary deadline
    - The Mojave Experiment – seriously, are we supposed to believe they’re NOT paid actors?

  8. Greg Shields says:

    I’ve been blogging about the anti-Vista crowd and their misleading arguments for a while now, but InfoWorld’s recent uptick in Windows 7 vitriol really drove up the blood pressure. Two recent blog posts of interest:

    Article 1: http://www.realtime-windowsserver.com/articles_analysis/2008/11/would_you_buy_a_tester_from_a.htm

    Article 2: http://www.realtime-windowsserver.com/articles_analysis/2008/11/are_you_sick_of_the_vista7_bas.htm

    Having followed this debate for the last two years or so, its nice to see that people are finally coming around to embracing this new OS.

  9. Michael Pietroforte Michael says:

    Gorby, did you read my article about Vista’s imaging technology? I think it will answer your question. Properly applied, organizations can save a lot of money with it, enough money to buy new PCs with 4GB RAM. By the way, there is no such thing as an operating system that is too big as there is no such thing as bad weather. It is just a matter of the right equipment. ;-) If your PC is too slow with 2GB, then it is probably not configured correctly. Try to disable indexing.

    Jack, I used Vista on a brand new laptop with 1GB. The performance is okay, as long as you only have one or two apps open. The average user needs at least 2GB. With current memory prices, it would never come to my mind to deploy Vista on PCs with just one 1GB. You will only have frustrated users complaining that Vista is slow. But we all know that Vista is lightening fast. ;-)

    Daniel, rest assured that there were many more mistakes. Just count the updates since Vista was released. ;-)

    Greg, I absolutely agree. Utilizing performance and compatibility tests of a pre-beta to bash an operating system is certainly unprofessional. It is quite obvious that the main purpose of Kennedy’s articles is to bash Microsoft at any cost.

  10. [...] 7 may escape the bashing that Vista got, or will it? See the original post at: 4sysops – Will there be Windows 7 bashing? Tags: [...]

  11. Gorby says:

    Sorry about that, Michael. The new imaging technology IS a part of the OS, and seems a good idea.

    However I’m still concerned about having to put in such a large amount of RAM, and we simply accept it!

    I’m actually of the opinion that an OS should be as small as reasonably possible and 3rd party applications make up the rest. Microsoft or anyone else can supply these. I don’t want a lot of the default stuff that comes as part of Windows. It can still exist on the install disk, and I can install it if I wish, or not.

  12. Daniel says:

    I am crossposting this from the realtime-windowsserver.com blog, but it goes through approval and I’d like to make the same point here.

    The only reason Microsoft is still relevant is because they have invaded every possible corner of the world with their software. Not only can we conceive better and more efficient ways of doing things, we have done so.

    If Ubuntu works on 99% of systems out of the box, and it’s not even making a profit, why can’t Microsoft do the same? It’s far from perfect, but running said OS from the Live CD turned up better results, faster performance, and quicker boot times.

    I’m not a Linux junkie, or an Apple fanboy. In fact, all of my computers have been Windows boxes, yet I have run alternate OS’s on them occasionally. But I am fed up with having to walk around with this backpack full of rocks just to get some work done.

    Windows 7 just represents a thinly veiled attempt for a fresh start, without all the hard work of a real fresh start. It’s like a more intricate Mojave Experiment run on the entire Windows ecosystem.

    I’ll buy it with one condition, if there’s a screensaver with Ballmer screaming at a mirror.

  13. Michael Pietroforte Michael says:

    @Gorby I absolutely agree. Windows gives us not enough options what to install and what not. I am preaching this already for years. This is one of the biggest advantages of Linux. But this problem has nothing to do with Vista. XP isn’t better here.

    @Daniel >>If Ubuntu works on 99% of systems out of the box, and it’s not even making a profit, why can’t Microsoft do the same?

    Simple answer: Because 89,000 Microsoft employees would be jobless then. ;-)

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