What journalists write isn’t supposed to be news. And it isn’t news. But Jim Louderback’s defection from the hopeless cause of championing Vista is at least evidence that sanity can sometimes prevail in human affairs.
Louderback - the departing editor of PC Magazine in the US - has decided his career change is the time to own up to some doubts about what Robert X. Cringley (another journalist) so brilliantly described as Microsoft’s “craptacular” operating system, Windows Vista.
“I've been a big proponent of the new OS over the past few months, even going so far as loading it onto most of my computers and spending hours tweaking and optimising it. So why, nine months after launch, am I so frustrated? The litany of what doesn't work and what still frustrates me stretches on endlessly,” he says, ruefully.
The interesting thing about people like Louderbeck is that they are not the usual sirens of the anti-Microsoft and anti-Windows world. People making a living slating Microsoft but he isn’t one of them. This is a guy who actually loaded the OS in anger “onto most of my computers”.
“I could go on and on about the lack of drivers, the bizarre wake-up rituals, the strange and non-reproducible system quirks, and more. But I won't bore you with the details. The upshot is that even after nine months, Vista just ain't cutting it.”
So somebody else has noticed that Vista is perhaps the worst version of Windows since 3.0. And that’s saying something because, let’s face it (and even people who get fed up with all this Mac and Linux superiority), Windows has never exactly embarrassed the great book of superlatives.
I know a journalist who wondered whether there was a point in writing a series of short articles on “things Microsoft needs to improve to fix Vista”. But he gave up with what he was taking on. It would have been the longest and dullest series of articles in the recent history of tech publishing, reading more like a list of hopelessly incurable diseases nobody wants to be reminded of. So it hasn’t been written.
Come back Windows XP, secure or not, because you were the operating system I grew to sort of like. You started swiftly, you shut down promptly, and the resume mode even worked as advertised. Adding more memory made a visible difference and you could scan local and network hard drives at a speed that didn’t suggest they might be located via a modem on the far side of the world.
What went wrong guys? Where did those billions of development dollars really go? Windows users want to know.