Vista: IT loves it, hates it

Friend or foe. The debate rages.

Last week I suggested that the IT world, particularly when it comes to marketing, is crazy, and I cited as evidence Microsoft's recently announced US$10 million plan to use comedian Jerry Seinfeld to hawk Vista.

In the process of explaining this craziness I took a swipe at Vista: "To recycle an old joke, trying to repair the market's perception of Vista by being funny is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic ... as it sinks." I then suggested that, should you be happy with Vista you must have swallowed Redmond's blue pill (that was a Matrix reference in case you were wondering) and to not bother writing in.

Ha!

Reader Glenn N. Morley was first in with: "People knocking Vista don't know what they are talking about (sorry dude, but you asked for it...). Vista is the best OS from Microsoft to date. I've got the experience and the user base to prove it, and I can back that statement up with hard data. I manage a nationwide network of over 1,600 seats from California to North Carolina. We run it all, from OS X [and] Linux to every MS OS from 2000 on up. I am completely platform agnostic. I want the best solution for the given situation. Across the board, Vista is the superior choice. Period."

Wow. I think he's serious. Glenn continued: "The Apple ads attacking Vista are laughable. I'm not sure how the FTC allows such intentionally misleading information." Oh come on! Microsoft's rabid spin-meistering with the ridiculous "Mojave Experiment" and "Windows is cheaper to run than Linux" campaign weren't intentionally misleading?

Glenn concluded: "If you don't think so, take a peek outside of your cage and I'll show you what it's like to manage a real network, with real users from coast to coast. Viva Vista!"

Glenn, Glenn, Glenn. My cage is covered over. Rather like a parrot's. I am not allowed out.

Reader Matthew Schlawin also wrote in: "I always look forward to reading 'Backspin' and I thoroughly enjoyed your Aug 25 column. As I was reading I found myself nodding and agreeing with paragraph after paragraph. Your conclusion was dead-on." (I like this guy.)

Matthew explained he's not so excited by Vista. In fact, he's quite the opposite: "I am the Technology Director of a small high school (640 students) and we are trying as hard as possible to avoid Vista. Our hardware will not support it, our peripherals will not work, and we would really rather not put in yet another server just to handle licensing. If Microsoft could have only given me just ONE feature in Vista that would make upgrading worthwhile. (I really can live without a spinning cube!)."

Matthew's last point there is a complaint I've heard from many of you. Many folks say the "advances" in Vista, in practical terms, are just more chrome.

Matthew's conclusion: "The sad thing is that in a year or so, the new hardware we buy will only come with Vista drivers. When they stop making XP drivers, we will be forced to upgrade. I'm hoping Windows 7 will make the blue pill a little easier to swallow, but I'm not holding my breath."

Here's the problem: We've seen that Vista's resource requirements are far greater than those of, say, XP which means that many organizations going down the Vista rabbit hole will require significant investment. We also found that many machines that were quite happily running Vista were later "broken" by the installation of the first service pack.

To me this doesn't sound like a good proposition for most IT shops, but for all the Matthews there are also a lot of Glenns.

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Mark Gibbs

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