Microsoft Practically Admits Vista Sucks

September 13, 2009 | By | 14 Replies More

I’ve recently bought a new laptop, and have been battling Windows Vista for a week to get it to run some of my clients’ apps. I had considered paying an extra hundred dollars to retrograde my system to XP. But I figured that the future is coming, so I might as well get a handle on it.

Then tonight I saw a commercial:

Did I hear this right? Microsoft is practically admitting the Vista nightmare is drawing to a close. The last clause is, “…more happy is coming”. When my free upgrade to Windows 7 comes, I hope it solves some of my problems. But I doubt it.

Share

Category: advertising, computers, Current Events, Technology, Whimsy

About the Author ()

A convoluted mind behind a curly face. A regular traveler, a science buff, and first generation American. Graying of hair, yet still verdant of mind. Lives in South St. Louis City. See his personal website for (too much) more.

Comments (14)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Jay Fraz says:

    Microsoft : How can we salvage Vista?

    PR : Well, we can compare our next version to it!

    Microsoft : Brilliant!

    PR : Brilliant!

    Users : Is this Vista?

    Microsoft : No, ummm, its Windows 7! See the new startup screen!

    Users : Is this actually ready to ship?

    Microsoft : ?

    Users : ?

    _________________

    Despite my potshots, hopefully it will be better though.

  2. Tim Mills says:

    Actually, given the general libertarian bent here, I'm surprised all you guys don't use Linux.

    Whatever its shortcomings (and they are fewer every month), it's stable, it's free, it works on any machine you care to resurrect, it's free, it's can do pretty much any productivity task that Windows can, and best of all, it's free (as in free speech, but also as in free beer).

    I recommend trying out Linux Mint – it seems to be one of the easiest to get going with, and has more of a Windows-like feel for refugees from Microsoft who don't want to go cold-turkey.

    Or start by trying out free software (Firefox, OpenOffice, etc) on Windows first, then when you're comfortable with them, switch to Linux behind the scenes.

  3. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    Dan, I've been an IT pro for over 20 years and can say with out a doubt that Microsoft products have never had much in the way of quality.

    I use Windows XP at work, but my home computers run Linux. And my background is actually in Unix.

    Most people are unaware that Windows is a crappy OS because they believe the hype from the entire Windows support ecology, Microsoft trained sales people, Microsoft certified trainers, Microsoft Certified Systems Engineers (a.k.a. Must Consult Someone Experienced), and the plethora of Microsoft-centric publication.

    Consumers readily accept the idea of having to buy a new computer every 4 years even though their old one is working, simply because each new version of Windows requires 2 to 4 times the hardware to perform the same tasks as the old version.

    Every new version of Windows promises to be better than the last, and isn't , but the consumer manages to get accustomed to the quirks by the time the new version is forced on them.

    They think the state of the art in personal computing requires continually updating anti malware programs, wasting hours per month defragmenting their hard drives ( Unix derived OSes don't fragment the drives to begin with ).

    Lat year, when my old desktop computer 's power supply died, I went out and bought a new one. My new one is a 64-bit dual core AMD system, and it came with Windows Vista Home Media Edition pre-installed. It includes a digital TV tuner. I booted it up, and almost an hour later, spent mainly by clicking "okay" on over 200 modal warning boxes (a modal window will not let you change to another window while it is open) I finally started the TV application which did not recognize the built-in TV tuner.

    So I popped in an old Linux install disk, installed Linux, upgraded to the current AMD64 version and never looked back.

    BTW, I saw a video review of Windows 7 on Youtube and was amazed at how much it looked like the Linux I've been using on my computer.

  4. Dan Klarmann says:

    I have two significant problems with Vista.The new "Aero" interface is a resource hog (but it can be turned off)

    The new core is not compatible with some older apps to which my clients still cling. I went through this a little going from Windows98 to 2k/XP. But it wasn't as bad because I'd already been using WinNT (the core under 2k and XP) and most applications had been patched to work under both the old DOS and the new NT based systems.

    The annoying pop-ups that stop and ask me twice every time I need to do some legacy or system-related thing must be fixed by the application folks. Very annoying, but most apps really have no need for Administrator rights; they just have always assumed them. <img style="float:left;" src="http://dangerousintersection.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/gaah.gif&quot; alt="gaah!">So many older apps need to be Run-As an administrator, and that requires me to reassure both the system and the firewall that yes, I do wish to allow the thing that I asked to run to actually run.

  5. Dan Klarmann says:

    I use Windows because I support clients' legacy apps that apparently won't run otherwise. When I find out that SqlServer, IIS, and cetrtain custom vertical market apps written for Windows can run under Linux, Ubuntu, BSD, or another Open or Free O/S, then I may switch.

    I do use and promote FireFox and OpenOffice.

  6. grumpypilgrim says:

    I don't think Micro$oft has ever made a good GUI OS. Ever since their first attempt twenty years ago, their Windows operating systems have been unstable resource hogs. Plus, the many security holes in their products have managed to single-handedly spawn the entire industry of anti-malware products. Bottom line: the success of M$ seems more to do with predatory business practices than with anything their engineers have produced.

  7. Dan Klarmann says:

    Grumpy – If Windows hadn't emerged and firmly held market share against Mac, then most of the malware would target Mac and its suite of security holes. The big dog draws the most fleas.

    And as Lao Tzu well knew, penetrator technology always outstrips defenses. Any usable interface will necessarily have chinks in its armor.

    And Mac users know as many irritations from their GUI as those of us who are stuck with Lose-dohs. Remember this video?

  8. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    Dan, the Windows market share argument doesn't hold up.

    Windows originated as a graphic shell that sat on top of MS_DOS, which was never designed with networking in mind and as such relied on a simplistic security model that is easily circumvented. On of the most ridiculously simple MS-DOS was the ANSI bomb which used a specially coded data file to re-map some or all of the keys on the keyboard to send a format c: command instead of the actual key value.

    Windows versions up through 98 were all GUI shells that used MS-DOS for file management and even with version 3.1.1 which added networking, still used the underlying MS-Dos file system.

    Windows NT however was built around a kernel developed under contract by the team that created RSTS-E for digital equipment corporation as an OS for the PDP 11/70 mini computer. RSTS-E had some serious flaws in handling ungraceful program exits, often saving workspace images to the wrong user account. NT had the same problems.

    NT incorporated the multitasking functions into the kernel, and revamped the file system to be more compatible with multitasking, multi-user security, but used access control lists (ACLs) extensively and corruption of an ACL could either make a file inaccessible by anyone, or accessible to everyone.

    Another problem with NT was in the extensive use of remote procedure calls (RPCs) to local library functions. RPCs make it very easy to elevate the calling program to administrative rights. Many Windows wxploits work by using an RPC to invoke an instance of a system service, the passing system commands as out-of-band data.

    So in short, it is easy to write malware for Windows.

    Apple, however, was not quick to adopt multiuser/multitasking into MacOS, Multasking abilities were added around version 8 with the multifinder and multiuser capabilities were added with an upgrade to the filesystem. Also the functionality if the kernel in pre OSX versions of Macos was much more inclusive that the Windows NT kernel, allowing for very simple hardware divers and applications, since most software consisted mainly of local procedure calls.

    The also Allowed software that followed Apples interface standards to be portable between different versions of the OS. It also made it difficult for malware to work across different versions as the malware did not follow the published API standards. So each version of MacOS before OSX generally had fewer than 100 malware programs written for it. As I recall, MacOS 9 has something like 2 dozen viruses.

    By contrast, most Windows malware are work programs written as Visual Basic for Applications macros in MS office files, and rely on the seamless integration of the Microsoft applications for dissemination.

    Since OSX, Apple has been using a kernel derived from BSD-UNIX, however there are at least 30 pieces of OSX malware with Macs at nearly 10 percent market share.

    Linux is under represented in the market share calculation since market share counts only include known deployments of commercial Linux distributions. No one really knows how many systems are really running linux with non-commercial installations, and embedded Linux installations on consumer devices such as the Sony e-book reader and the Archos PMP devices are not counted as they are locked down and usually do not support software installation.

    However the security model used by Linux is quite simple, but effective. System services are not run with administrative privilege, but as non-privileged users.

    Basically, Linux is a malware hostile environment. While this doesn't prevent the development of linux malware, it reduces the damage that can be caused by malware, and makes it more difficult to create the malware in the first place.

  9. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    Uh, Dan…

    I forgot to mention that the Windows 7 ad seems to imply that a 4 or 5 year old child who can barely read can easily create a multimedia work of art.

    My younger son, who is 12 years old, has been using linux since he was seven and is now started learning on his own how to develop PSP games under linux. He took the computer literacy class at school and found the computer class now consists of teaching children how to use Microsoft software. The last thing the class did was to create two slideshow multimedia presentations with Movie Maker. One was done with family photos and the other was done with photos taken in Russia. I ask him why he didn't use one of the Ljube (a Russian band) songs from my cd collection, and he said he didn't think of it.

  10. > at least 30 pieces of OSX malware

    As far as I know I have never encountered any of them, lots of phishing scams though. And I believe none of those 30 are viruses.

    Also, OSX's 10% market share is where most of the money is. So one would expect a more than proportional interest on the part of malware authors for that segment.

  11. Dan Klarmann says:

    Paultje: Please expand on "OSX’s 10% market share is where most of the money is." What money?

    Malware is profitable in its ability to mass attack through spam or DDOS or other mechanisms. As far as malware authors go, the profit is in finding the most machines that can be hit with a single tool.

    Frinstance: Conficker variations are still spreading, even though any Windows machines that has been patched in the last 8 months is immune. Maybe 10% of the Windows machines out there are vulnerable. It is not worth creating a similar robot for Mac because 10% of its 10% would cost as much to try to infect as 10% of the 90% Windows share.

  12. > What money?

    The money people are willing to spend on their computers. Apple concentrates its efforts on those who are willing to pay a premium up front for their gear and is clearly succeeding, even in the current economic dip. So it would stand to reason for criminals to go after that market segment more vigorously, but that doesn't seem to happen, at the contrary.

  13. NIklaus Pfirsig says:

    For any piece of malware to cause problems, it must be executed on the target system. On a default windows install, You can get a spam mail with a spoofed sender name that looks like someone you know. You open it and it contains a MS-word attachment that opens automatically by default. When the attachment opens the malware, that is bound to the "on open" event executes, first harvesting your email address book, forwarding itself to all your contacts, then dropping its payload, often spyware that can be used to collect passwords, and other sensitive data and send it to a hacked server where the cracker can retrieve the info and sell it.

    Most of the apple malware is in the form of trojan files.

  14. Dan Klarmann says:

    In my experience, the default install on most systems includes an anti-virus suite that stops most malware attacks via email.

    Also, the last few versions of MSOffice defaulted to not-run scripts in any document unless individually approved.

    It take active neglect to disable standard safety features. Unfortunately, our nanny-state culture trains us to disable all those annoying safeguards as a matter of course. Tired of the nagging "Time to Upgrade" warnings? The simplest way to shut it up is to remove your safety suite.

    But this doesn't have to do with the OS, but with the ignorance of users. A Word script can conquer a Mac as easily as a PC.

Leave a Reply