A Vote for Vista

You can't find a more popular whipping horse than Windows Vista. It's the most picked-on Microsoft product since Bob. The conventional wisdom is somewhere between "released too soon" and "should never have been released at all" and everyone seems to have fallen back in love with Windows XP, if only by comparison.

I dissent.

(Full disclosure: I worked at Microsoft during the release of Vista, and I worked on .NET 3.0, which is included in Vista. Also, I still own a smattering of Microsoft stock, which has seen both better and worse days.)

To be clear, I am writing this on a MacBook running Mac OS X "Leopard". So I have obviously picked my horse in the client operating system stakes. But for the last few months I've been doing a programming contract using Windows XP (running on my Mac under VMWare Fusion, which I highly recommend). I've also been running Vista SP1 (also under Fusion) to program this website. There's no comparison. Vista may require a little more memory and storage, but I have plenty of both. In every other way it is preferable: prettier, easier to use, more secure, more powerful, and (perhaps just because it's easier to do many operations) faster.

In fact it's quite educational to shuttle between all three operating systems. Apple has opinions, while Microsoft just can't say No. Take resizing windows - Windows says "grab any side of the window!". Apple says "only the bottom right corner." Which is better? Well, it's easier to learn Apple's way, because there's only one hotspot to learn. And you are much less likely to resize by accident. And it saves significant screen real-estate. On the other hand, once you've learned the Windows way it's a lot faster for window manipulation. I tend to think Apple made the right call, but I sometimes miss the Windowsisms that sped up my day. I find this sort of thing to be true all over the place.

Am I giving up my Mac? No, I like Apple's style. But when I'm in my Vista VM I'm pretty happy to be there. It works very well, especially for this power user. And, because I so very much hate the kind of reductionist thinking that ends up at "Mac R00LZ! Vista SUX!", I wanted to chime in.

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