Everyone has a blog, including my dog. For the past few years the debate on whether blogs are journalism has been discussed. Are they? What’s the difference in writing for a magazine or online publication and a blog? Someone checks the facts? There’s an editor to uphold the reputation of the publisher? Well it seems times are a changin.
Normally I don’t care to think about it much until someone forwards me a link to an article that seems out of place. The latest round of journalism I received a link to is the article, “Windows XP SP3: The Perfect Reason to Avoid Upgrading to Windows Vista” by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols. Now keep in mind this is on the CIO.com website. I don’t know if they printed the article. I certainly hope not. But after reading the article I wondered what the agenda is for the site.
There are certain aspects of the article I’m cool with. I certainly have no problem having someone say, “Windows XP SP3 is the best Windows PC operating system I've ever used”. Sounds good, right? But is it accurate? Maybe it is the best Steven has used, I don’t know. I can say without a doubt, that is not the case for me.
For me, it’s Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, then Windows XP. I mean really. Windows Server rocks. 2003 is as solid as they come, and 2008 is looking really good as well. But I’m a server guy so I naturally show more love for the server stuff. But it’s early for Windows Server 2008 and I don’t like to declare success for an OS until it has some history. Let’s not forget a lot of code is shared between Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. But I’m confusing the issue. I digress.
The article is about desktop operating systems. It’s interesting to me that the conclusion of the article is that Windows Vista is a pig. But the author states, “My personal minimum configuration for Vista is 3GB of RAM, a dedicated graphics processor with 512MBs of RAM to call its own and a 2007 or newer dual-core processor (like, say, a 2.33GHz Intel Core2 Duo E6550)”.
Now I’m confused. Steven basically says Windows XP is great. Then he says Windows Vista is a pig. Then he advises what you should run to get outstanding Windows Vista performance. He didn’t actually say that, so I will. You can get outstanding performance, and it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.
Let’s rewind to December 29, 2006. On that date, I wrote a blog post on Installing Windows Vista on a Compaq Evo n620c. When I did that article, I was actually surprised at how well Windows Vista ran on the machine. Now don’t get me wrong, that machine doesn’t hold a candle to my Lenovo ThinkPad T61p running the 64 bit version of Windows Vista Ultimate. But it isn’t supposed to. And that’s the point. But it did run Windows Vista and with that comes security, management, and networking improvements. Windows Vista isn’t just a new theme.
Machines evolve with user wants and needs. The software that runs on those machines also evolves. If you look at the Windows Vista ecosystem, it has improved dramatically since we launched the product. My blog post and install of Windows Vista on December 29, 2006 was using the real RTM bits of Windows Vista. Doesn’t 12/29/2006 already seem ancient to you? Well it isn’t, but Microsoft and it’s hardware and software partners have made a huge amount of progress since that time.
If you have machines that still have value and run Windows XP well, kewl!!! However, the machine I did the install on above is no more. It died. I took it to PC Recycle. It’s been replaced. That’s ok because it was almost five years old and had been properly beaten up by a group of presenters during it’s life. In short, we got a lot of value from that machine. For the record, I have another one. I have a Compaq Evo n620c sitting right next to me that is nearly identical to the previous machine. It currently has Windows XP SP3 on it. But it only has 1GB of RAM so it really isn’t designed for Windows Vista.
So do yourself a favor. When it comes time to replace a machine, get a machine with a good CPU, plenty of RAM, and a great GPU. Users want eye candy. They want Flash and Silverlight websites. They want high definition video. They want a snappy operating system. Windows Vista is very snappy with the right mix of components. Don’t bother trying to run Windows Vista with a NVIDIA 6200 graphics card like Steven did. At least not if you are trying to run Aero Glass. For heavens sake, turn off Aero in that case.
There are many reasons I totally disagree with many of the commercials and articles I’ve seen lately. In fact, I’ll be exploring a lot of that over the next few months. There’s a lot of FUD out there and I hope to dispel a lot of the bad information I see. I certainly don’t expect everyone to agree with me, but like I told a Windows Marketing Manager on the phone today, it’s time to start stating some facts. You hear enough FUD and you start to believe it. Trust me, I fell into the same trap until I started testing things on my own.
Over the next few months we’ll revisit application compatibility, driver support, updates on deployment techniques, hot machines you should consider, etc. I think you’ll find the information I have coming very useful and will help you make informed choices.
“See” you again soon!