Alright, I finished my testing of Windows Vista Beta a few days ago, and I can summerize the newest version of Vista in one word, “HORRIBLE!” And for those who like the gory details, the review the Windows Beta here.
Well, I’m gonna review step by step.
Well, I liked that the GUI installation system was restored, but I do not like that there are no choices on what to install. And, this system was a clean one, it became slower than Windows 98SE during installation routine of Vista! Why does it need all the special stuff during install? I would settle for Winodws 2000 backend during the installation process, since that is more efficient. Also, Windows Vista installation was rather skimpy on the details, even in expert mode. And the installation totally destroyed the LVM used to maintain my Linux OS, Fedora Core. Fortunately, I repaired it and imaged the bootloader from Vista into GRUB to chainload. Also, it should definitely recognize at least ext3 and LVMs, since they are talking about interoperability, it should have basic Linux FS support. Pretty much the rest of it was fine.
The first loading of Windows Vista was pretty good, although why have all the special effects ENABLED during this period? I would think that it should be enabled after that, since typically the first boot is the slowest period that the OS is ever in.
I like the new style, and I have to admit, I was getting sick of the Start button. I like that its simpler and uses the Windows Logo only on the app menu button. The search feature is good, but i would like a XP mode available as well for the start menu, simply because i install LOTS of programs, and it would take a while to search through all of it. It is snappy in Aero Basic, but Aero Glass is pathetic. Microsoft, the system’s WVDDM was introduced FOR THIS?!?!? This is crap compared to compiz on AIGLX in Fedora Core! And Fedora Core does not even require much modification to the drivers to work! Also, it is too slow to be useful, unlike compiz, which utilizes mesa’s 3D pretty efficiently. Aero Basic is UGLY! I switched to it for a bit, just to see if it was any good, and boy was it UGLY! I cannot describe how UGLY it is. Even Clearlooks1 on FC4 looks better than this! And that is saying something! Microsoft, you need to learn from the Fedora Project. They do a lot of things the RIGHT WAY.
Of course, there is the sound driver bit. For some reason, it refuses to autodetect my extremely common Intel i945 sound chip. Windows XP, Windows 2000, and Red Hat Linux 8 have all identified it, but for some reason, Vista refuses to. I had to go through a lot of work to override the PnP system and force it to let me define driver settings manually. I even grabbed the NT4 services control panel and used it to temporarily shut down the PnP system, because I could not find it in Vista Services Manager. After that, it was a piece of cake to set up sound and various other devices. However, PnP does not go down without a fight. As soon as I restarted, my settings were ignored, and all of a sudden, sound did not work again! It activated PnP on all configured devices and requested the drivers. I had to “reinstall” my drivers, and then it rebooted once for each device! Ugh, that was painfully slow experience.
Most of my applications that I used in Windows are DVD burning, OpenOffice, etc. Well, software for hardware obviously did not work. However, software that links into the system to do stuff such as play DVDs, movies, mp3s, TV, etc. will be getting the “unDRMed” monitor problem. The video quality is horrible on my monitor, simply because of the DRM in the video machanisms… However, I borrowed a monitor from a friend that has an identical monitor except for the DRM, and it played very well. Digital Restrictions Management in MONITORS is rediculous. And DRM is starting to hurt the customer’s pockets too… Since these monitors with DRM in them are very expensive, this is more like a global scandal. And one of my favorite apps, Cygwin, does not seem to work on it, which is a shame. Cygwin is much better than Services for UNIX in Vista Ultimate, and it is opensource.
Tweaking and Extra stuff
I guess because it is beta, virtually no tweaking tools exist yet, so that is a good (bad?) thing. Ultimate Extras is missing though, and I think it is stupid that it was not included in the beta. Perhaps the release candidate….
Vista sucks as a development platform, and for a end-user platform, it will reduce productivity with how slow it is. Even MESA with an graphics card with little 3D support performs better than Vista with full 3D support in hardware. I think I will stick to Windows XP for my site development for IIS. And I definitely use Fedora Core for my 3D accelerated user platform most of the time. When Microsoft gets the picture and actually does some interoperability stuff, I may consider it….