We have no intention of shipping another bloated OS and shoving it down the throats of our users.
-- Paul Maritz, Microsoft group vice president

Is Windows Vista unusable?

There is some debate regarding Windows Vista, Microsoft's flagship that is supposed to be the answer to Apple's MacOSX. After trying it out for a couple of days now I can only come to the conclusion that OMG it's bad. It not only looses by a wide margin to MacOSX, it stands no chance against its supposedly older sibling Windows XP. There are a lot of nice features that I do like, foremost the proper support for running as multiple users smoothly, running as a non root user and then installing programs as root. Nice. Now we've caught up with UNIX who had it, ah 1970 or so...

My biggest gripe with Vista though is performance. The windows system is ... well, dog slow. I routinely see the new hourglass icon (oh, they copied OSX and made a little spinning circle now, they don't fool me though, it's still a hourglass) for the simplest occasions, like clicking on a menu item or dragging windows around. Now, I don't have that slow of computer and to add insult to the injury windows tells me that my experience should be fine. The windows experience index is apparently from 0 to 5.9 (ok, who made up that scale, someone?). Ok, somewhat slow harddrive it seems. I can live with that. But I can not live with the fact that my old computer that was an old 3.2GHz P4 was soo much faster than this machine and it ran a bogged down Windows XP Media Center.

Vista user experience

Ok. I get that I have the lowest of the low of Vista versions, although with all the variations out there, there is such a thing as consumer confusion. But is it too much to ask of my OS to not crash, hang or be dog slow with minimal load when running on a computer that should according to their specs fly? I'm really pissed here and not the good kind, you know after several bottles of wine.

Somewhat is also up with the memory consumption, I routinely go above the 2GB I have in the machine and then everything starts to lock up. Ok, I like the new nice sidebar which is a copy of the OSX little applets (even though Apple's are nicer, again) but the little sidebar app takes away 60MB of mine. Not that much loaded in there after all, weather, time, notepad and the currency (whoho, the dollar went up after falling through the basement floor several times now).

In closing

I'm definitely regretting thinking "how bad could it be" and going with Vista now (think your worst nightmare, square that and multiply with a googoplex). Added with the fact that it seems to be hard to find apps that run on Vista as well as drivers, I can't see why anyone would want to run this instead of XP. If this continues, I might just have to wipe my harddrive and install XP on the thing though. But I hate installing OS's. It takes a ridiculous amount of time for no reason.

Despite the fact that MS said that OpenGL would be supported, it doesn't seem like it. For the few OpenGL applications I had, they woefully exhibited a lot of bugs (like deciding to fill the entire viewport with grey when I switched focus away from it) making them unusable. I guess this is the nail in the coffin for OpenGL, although I would much rather see it be the nail for Vista.

Now, I've heard that Windows Vista 64 is actually more stable and faster than the 32 bit version, why I couldn't begin to guess (less bad legacy drivers?) but after the experience with the 32 bit version I'm not happy. The final nail in my coffin is that my Windows XP installation on my laptop has started to act very weird with a constant load of 100% in some hardware interrupt. Oh great. Now it's time to re-install that one as well. Anyone who know where I can buy a couple of copies of Windows 2000? Seems to be the last OS out there that ran decently...