I ordered my wife a new laptop from Dell for her birthday. Unfortunately, Dell did not offer Ubuntu for the Inspiron 1720 model. So Vista it is. Having to use Vista, being the Linux advocate that I am, is the equivalent of a die hard Yankee fan having to wear a Red Sox shirt to the ball park. I tried to go into it with an open mind and document my first impressions. My initial impression is that Vista is slow, buggy, and not as intuitive as XP. The intuitive part might be attributed to my familiarity with XP but it sure seems like it takes a lot more clicks to get to where you want to go.
So let's start with slow. This brand new laptop, with double the memory and cpu power of my wife's previous laptop running XP, takes at least 3 times as long to load. My wife's old laptop has been through the abuse of my kids downloading various rogue software applications loaded with spyware. I am constantly cleaning up the registry and removing stuff from the old laptop. The new powerful laptop is clean and still takes forever to boot up. When I have more time I will probably shut down a ton of unnecessary services that Microsoft defaults to automatic startup. Even connectivity is slow. I put my wife's old laptop and new laptop side by side. Both are connected via wireless to my Linksys network. I simultaneously request the same web sites and consistently get longer response times on the new laptop. It looks like it has some additional overhead that it performs for all requests.
On to buggy. When first connecting to both my wireless network and my shared printer from my main server, Vista displayed a progress bar that went off into no man's land. In both instances I canceled and retried and it worked instantly. Weird. Here's the classic one. So I am on the bed with laptop plugged into the outlet. My wife walks by and accidentally unplugs the laptop when she stumbles over the wire. She plugs it back in and I get a message that says something to the effect that Vista does not recognize my power cord and will now run in degraded performance mode. Huh? So we unplug and plug it in again and all is good. It's the old "jiggle the handle" mentality. That was one of the most bizarre errors I have seen in a long time.
Finally, not as intuitive. I remember when XP came out. I totally hated the previous version of Windows. When I first got my hands on XP I was skeptical. I was presently surprised to find that it was much easier to use and crashed a lot less. It still did not live up to my standards but it was a drastic improvement over its predecessor. I don't think this is the case for Vista. It took me a long time to figure out how to find stuff. It seems to lack a lot of the flexibility of normal operating systems and forces you down certain paths. It rebooted itself twice for reasons unknown to me when I was trying to get it set up. I realize that some of this might be because I am a Vista newbie. I can tell you that the first time I ever used Linux and XP, I was able to get setup in a lot less time.
I will add that I have not spent more then an hour or two using Vista and don't have enough information at this time to make any final assessments. From the brief time I did use Vista I was slightly disappointed. My Ubuntu CD waits patiently! On the bright side, it's still better then wearing a Red Sox shirt!
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