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Say NO to Vista

The war on Vista continues:

Say NO to Vista.

I'm even recommending Apple Mac's above Vista!

Dutch consumer rights organisation recommends Ubuntu

The dutch consumer-rights organisation 'Consumentenbond' has recommended Ubuntu as a possible alternative to Vista after it received 4200 complaints about Vista in four weeks. Translation of the dutch article:

Flood of complaints about Windows Vista

AMSTERDAM – Consumer organisation 'Consumentenbond' has collected 4200 complaints about Vista in four weeks. Vista still isn't a viable replacement for XP, according to the organisation.

More home users are confronted with the new operating system, as Windows Vista comes pre-installed on most new computers. In august the Consumentenbond opened an online report form where customers with problems can report their problems.

Especially non-working software and peripherals have led to problems. For 59% of the complainers some computer programs refused to work. 46% experienced non-working peripherals such as printers and videocards. Slow computers and repeated network failures where also a big source of complaints.

The Consumentenbond remarked: "Obviously, Vista isn't a viable replacement for XP yet". In a letter to Microsoft, the consumer organisation has requested that Microsoft allows unsatisfied customers be allowed to downgrade to XP without cost..


The consumentenbond advises consumers to only get Vista if they're sure that their hard- and software works under the operating system. The consumer organisation also recommends consumers to look into alternatives such as Apple's Mac OS X or Ubuntu Linux.


Microsoft is disappointed about the investigation. "Microsoft had hoped to learn more about the user's experience with Vista. The complains however only focus on peripheral compatibility. The conclusion that Windows Vista wouldn't be a viable replacement for Windows XP cannot be determined from the investigation."

A spokesman is surprised that the consumer organisation now sought contact with Microsoft in order to discuss the outcome of the investigation. "The whole summer we've tried to get into contact with the Consumentenbond, but they have not responded".

According to Microsoft, there are now close to a million Vista users in the Netherlands. "The Consumentenbond does not mention how many users are content with Vista". Microsoft points users with problems to their support website. Klachtenregen over Windows Vista; 7 september 2007 14:53

Budget supercomputer

Hey, look! Something to run Vista on.

Ubuntu Linux… for your mom.

"This will be the year of Linux on the desktop!". This has been the topic of tech-predicting articles on the web since at least 2001. It's been repeated (and proved wrong) so many times, it's even become an Internet meme. But ladies and gentlemen, rejoice. For the year of Linux on the desktop has arrived! I have witnessed it with my own eyes. How do I know? Because my 60-year old mom is using Ubuntu on her new laptop!

The new machine

Let me tell you how this came about. My mom, who is 60 years old, used to run Microsoft Windows 2000. It was the only Windows version fast enough for her old 300Mhz machine. I sometimes thought about blowing new life into her machine by installing some version of GNU/Linux, but I was afraid it would be too incomprehensible for her. So I always kept her with Windows.

Now, about three weeks ago, my mom decided she wanted a new computer. She found a nice Packard Bell budget laptop for sale at the local electronics store, so she asked me if it was okay. I told her, "sure, looks like a nice machine". A 1.8 Ghz with 1 Gb of memory ought to be more than enough for her computing-habits: surf the internet, watch a couple of movies online, write a letter, chat on MSN, manage her photos, print a document, write an e-mail.

Windows Vista

The new laptop came pre-installed with Windows Vista, the latest 'hot' operating system from Microsoft. "Great", I thought, as Windows 2000 was becoming a bit of a nuisance. I once thought about installing Windows XP on my mom's old machine, but was afraid it might be too slow. Now she could have the latest Windows version with a clean install on her brand new laptop.

Unfortunately, it turned out that Vista wasn't such a good deal as we thought it was. Even though we're talking about a brand new 'Vista-ready' laptop, the horrors of The First Boot where mind-shattering. Mom's brand new, out-of-the-box laptop was slower than her old 300 Mhz machine! The cause? Windows Vista! Sure, it's a budget laptop, and it's not the fastest machine around, and I wouldn't be surprised if it didn't make a great gaming platform, but it sure should be enough to run a simple Operating System!

Another big problem was Vista's new 'security'. My mom is a paranoid lady. If she doesn't trust something, she'll back off. And when she doesn't understand something, she won't trust it. You'll never find my mom entering her address, personal or bank information anywhere on the Internet, for instance. This is probably the reason why she never gets spam, nor has she ever been conned. The problem with Windows Vista is that it alerts the user about everything and then makes them choose. A clever way to delegate the burden of responsibility of security to the user instead of the Operating System. After about half an hour of working with Vista, we must have seen at least fourteen security related pop-ups. I personally couldn't make heads nor tails of the 'possible security problems', let alone my mom. It's common knowledge that when you let the user choose each and every time anything happens, they'll quickly adopt the Don't-read-just-click-okay mindset. Hell, I'm a paranoid security freak and even I started to just click okay without reading any of the warnings.

I tried tweaking and configuring Vista so that it would run faster. I tried turning off the annoying security and placing restrictions on the default account the default user uses. I tried and tried and tried, but all that happened was a botched up Vista that was either still incredibly slow, annoying or wouldn't boot anymore. Enough was enough. Time to pop the big question: "Mom… what about Linux?".

Ubuntu installation

My mom agreed to me putting Ubuntu on her laptop. If it wasn't satisfactory, I'd get some illegal version of Windows XP from somewhere and install that instead. "Can I write email/chat on MSN/manage my digital photographs?". Sure! Everything my mom wanted to do on her computer was easy with Ubuntu, so no worries there.

I started my very first Ubuntu installation (I'm a Debian user) and started clicking 'Next'. Everything in the install worked pretty easy, with some notable exceptions:

  • The 'Next' button on the next screen didn't work when I left the mouse cursor on it. I had to move the mouse of the button, then back on it, and then I could click it.
  • I couldn't partition and format the harddrive. It kept complaining with some kind of error during the creation of the ext3 filesystem. Turns out I had to reboot the machine after creating the partitions, but that wasn't mentioned anywhere.
  • When I brought the machine over to my mom's house, there was a particularly nasty problem where the machine would hang during or right after booting. It turned out there was a bad WiFi network around my mom's house somewhere which caused the machine to halt with a 'SOFT BUG ON CPU#0' bug. Removing all the propriety closed source drivers fixed the problem.

After installation, I tested all her hardware: the digital camera, the wireless mouse, etc. Everything worked like a charm. Watching video on the internet? No problem. Listening to internet radio stations? A breeze! Making sure her own software is up-to-date with the latest bug and security fixes? Easy as pushing a button.

The verdict

My mom's verdict: "This is just like Windows, except faster?! I thought I had to do stuff with a lot of white-on-black text, like I always see you do?! This is much easier than I thought, and I can even watch internet movies!". Don't worry mom. I wouldn't have put Ubuntu on your desktop if you'd had to learn how to use the terminal.

She's been working on it for a few days now. Of course, there's some stuff she still needs to learn, simply because the programs are different then what she's used too, but she's coming along just great. My mom already used Thunderbird and Firefox for her emailing and browsing. She's picking up the other new programs fairly quickly.

Would she have been able to do the installation herself? Well, probably yes, if it wasn't for the problems mentioned above. That's more than I can say for Windows, cause she's never been able to install that herself.

So there you have it! Linux on the desktop. 2007 was the year. Kudos to all who predicted it.

Joel Spolsky on Vista

I've been using Vista on my home laptop since it shipped, and can say with some conviction that nobody should be using it as their primary operating system — it simply has no redeeming merits to overcome the compatibility headaches it causes. Whenever anyone asks, my advice is to stay with Windows XP (and to purchase new systems with XP preinstalled).
Joel Spolsky, Even the Office 2007 box has a learning curve

Vista problems

The battle is on! Microsoft Windows Vista sucks, and here's the propaganda to prove it:

Nine-and-a-half facts about Vista

Here are some true facts about Microsoft Vista:

  1. Vista is the forefather of the Matrix AND Skynet
  2. Vista installations contain two full dumps of both Bill Gates and Steve Balmers DNA so they can be cloned in the future.
  3. Your installation of Vista is very safe. The FBI, NSA and Homeland Security keep a close eye on it for you.
  4. Every time you click on something in Vista, a kitten is killed (slowly, like everything else in Vista)
  5. Vista is possessed by the devil. Vista CDs glow eerily in the night and produce spooky sounds, even when not in your computer
  6. Vista was an experiment of Microsoft's research department to see what would REALLY happen if you'd let twenty-thousand monkeys bash on a 'typewriter' (keyboard, in this case).
  7. 2,189,000 and a half trees where destroyed due to printing out Vista's source code and manuals at Microsoft.
  8. Vista's so ugly… it's uglier than yo momma!
  9. People die every minute out of frustration with Vista
  10. Vista wouldn't be so bad (but still pretty bad) if it didn't cras)!#@_!!!!E_NOCARRIER

Bad Vista!

Bad vista!.
Bad Vista blog.

Thanks Mafkees. :-)

Windows Vista: Slow and annoying

My mom recently bought a new budget-laptop that came installed with Microsoft Windows Vista. Now, I'm no Microsoft fan, especially not when it comes to Windows, but that's just me. It's perfectly fine for my mom and non-power users in general. I basically try to spend the smallest amount of time in Windows as I can. I've got a Windows 2000 machine at work, for billing my hours (yeah, I guess my work couldn't afford a decent billing system that wasn't created at Windows-R-Us) and I occasionally help my parents out with their Windows machines. It's not too bad, as long as I don't have to spend too much time in it.

Since Windows 98, there's been a steady growth in quality in Windows. 98 Pretty much sucked, 2000 was reasonable and XP was very decent. But everything's gone down the drain with Vista. It's amazing how many leaps back an Operating System can make in so much time. I'd already heard how bad Vista was, but it really blew my brain. I've only spend, like, an hour on it, setting it up and (un)installing various applications, but here are some of the things I noticed straight away:

  • Slow

    My Deity, this Operating System is slow! I mean, sure, this is a budget PC with just a 1.8Ghz processor and 1Gb of memory, but come on! There wasn't a moment when this machine wasn't swapping like crazy, and all I was doing was updating the virus program and installing Mozilla Thunderbird. That's it! Two tasks, and Vista grinds to a halt. Bye bye multitasking, hello 1992! My mom's old machine was a 300Mhz/380Mb machine running Windows 2000, and it was much, much faster than Vista on her new machine. Unacceptable! Even my MOM thought it was slow, and she was used to a 300Mhz machine!

  • Annoying security

    The security on this thing is annoying. Just about anything you do causes the screen to darken and a pop-up to appear saying how evil running applications is and how you should be careful, etc, etc. Hello?! We're just running a setup program that wasn't even downloaded off the Internet! Improving security wouldn't have been that hard. Simply make every program that could possibly download anything from the internet (browsers, chat programs, email clients) download all their stuff to a separate 'download' folder, and then warn the user when running something from this folder.

  • Accounts

    Unless I'm terribly blind and/or mistaken, there are no separate accounts anymore in Super Vista Home Basic Anniversary Edition. I had kind of expected better security of Vista, and most notably, easier account separation so the n00bs could also understand it. Something easy such as installing 'dangerous' programs (Internet Explorer, Outlook) as separate users with separate passwords and then allowing the 'default' user to execute these programs as that user without a password. That would give users a fair amount of protection against not just viruses but also spyware and other nasties. But there's nothing like that at all, and you can't even build your own setup, like I was used to under Windows 2000. That's a bit of a shame. Or totally pathetic, actually. I guess it's back to Windows 95.

After about one hour of working with it, Vista was driving me insane. Most versions of windows have done so, but usually only after I've had to work with them all day long or when I have to install new hardware or do something totally unexpected such as trying out a new application. Vista had me up the wall in less than an hour. Impressive.

There's only one conclusion: I'm installing 2000 again or perhaps get my hands on a second hand XP version (I'm already looking forward to the Gestappo-like activation). Vista's as bad as everybody said it was. Vista's bad, even for a Microsoft product. Wow.