Barney's Rubble

I'm All Ears

Opinions about Vista are as varied as the day is long.

I love it when people bring me back down to earth: when my kids nail me with a one-liner, my copy editor points out 12 typos and eight atrocious grammatical mistakes (most of which never make it to the printed page), or when my best girl beats me in every single bet we make (I've paid for every dinner since 1998 because of this).

And you, the Redmond reader, can bring me back down to the earth faster than a 5-year-old's kite.

It's easy to think that after 23 years of IT writing and high-tech journalism you know everything. Most of us don't. We aren't in IT like you -- we just cover IT.

Here's the difference. As an observer, my strong sense is that Windows Vista is far more secure than Windows XP. As such, I reckoned shops would switch over as they brought in new machines, rather than trying to cram a big new operating system onto underpowered old boxes.

Barney's Rubble

Boy was I wrong. While some may migrate piecemeal, most of you are far more systematic. Apparently, you actually test new OSes prior to deployment, and you wait for the first service pack so the big bugs can be fixed.

In fact, more than a dozen readers set me straighter on this issue than a $10 ruler.

Software compatibility is the No. 1 concern. George, an IT Pro, found that many of his corporate apps don't yet run on Vista, and his users could be just as productive with XP.

For Alex, who's waiting at least a year and a half before starting to switch, it's not just plowing through compatibility issues, but dealing with management, training and productivity.

As for my notion that new PCs with Vista should "work right out of the box," Dennis begs to differ. He bought a new Dell laptop with Windows Vista Home Premium for his son, only to find that a driver that Dell itself installed wouldn't work with the OS. Barr believes Vista shipped before it was done. "It should have baked for another six months so it would be truly golden brown and delicious," Barr argues.

Chuck, who "works for a large trash company," expects to move to Vista "around 2015." Before you assume that Chuck is joking, you should know that his shop still runs Windows 2000 on the desktop.

Stephen from the United Kingdom sees Vista as so disruptive and different that it opens the door for Linux. I've found this to be a pretty rare response, and believe the Windows hegemony is unthreatened (and if it is threatened, we'll just start a Linux magazine, eh what?).

Fortunately, a couple of enlightened IT pros see things my way. Kurt advises using Vista on new machines as you phase out the old, rather than bringing in new XP boxes you'll be stuck with for three or more years.

Finally, Rob loaded Vista onto his OptiPlex GX270 and loves it! All of his old apps run, they just run better. And the upgrade was easier than Paris Hilton on a second date.

Got something to say? Write to me at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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