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Inspired by Microsoft's really (really!) poor marketing campaign called the 'It's not that the product's bad, you're all just stupid' project, I thought I'd have my own go at a scientific view of how good Vista is or isn't.
This, by the way, was really prompted by the fact that I had a dead computer and the chance to buy a new one. So rather than building the thing myself - I grew to hate internal USB connection last time I made a PC - I went to PC World and picked up a bog standard, but rather large, laptop which featured Windows Vista Home Premium.

Step 1: The Hoodwinking
So the first thing I had to do was convince myself that I wasn't looking at Vista, cos, you know some bad people said some bad stuff about it, but was really seeing a new prototype called Mo-Dave. This was easier than I'd imagined because the software actually loaded - that couldn't be Vista (boom boom).

Step 2: The tests
The first thing I did was boot up the Firefox Installation Kit (IE7) which didn't like Firefox at all and took three goes before it installed, but eventually worked.
I then downloaded 3 to check out the legendarily slow office suite. It was very fast. No problems so far.
Tried Radio Paradise. Fine although Windows Media Player didn't like the .wmv stream or the .mp3 stream so I downloaded iTunes and that was good.
Then I installed Ubuntu using Vista's own partition software (this is covered in First Steps soon) which was surprisingly good.
Visually, I quite liked Vista to start with, but after a few hours of playing I'm starting to think that some parts are not that well thought out. For example, the transparency+blur effect on the title bars actually obscures what's underneath too much to be useful but not enough to make the titlebar text suitably readable.

Step 3: The reveal
So, I've played with it and the verdict: it's alright. Once I'd revealed to myself it was Vista and not Mo-Dave well, I felt pretty stupid.

Really, after a year or so of testing and the fixed kit list that a laptop provides, there's no excuse for this not being stable and usable. I've had two random stops so far (in two days), just complete and unclean shutdowns, one of which was during the installation of Adobe CS3 which was really annoying. The User Access Control is a pain for two reasons. Firstly it's just slightly too invasive; Firefox already asks if I want to download the file I'm trying to download. A second question from Windows is redundant. Secondly, it doesn't learn, so I find myself having to authorise the same small thing (opening up a system directory) over and over again. In Ubuntu I'm asked to input a password when doing something critical which is more invasive but, oddly, makes me feel my efforts are worthwhile.
The real revelation was Ubuntu Hardy Heron on a Dell. I had read up before purchasing and was a bit concerned that the wireless, the webcam or sound would play up, but in fact it's all been incredibly smooth. I wasn't concerned about the wireless because the machine is going to be tethered, but after a few minutes of playing, the system informed me that a driver was available for the Broadcom chip and it now works seamlessly.
The webcam works well with Ekiga and Cheese, sound is great and Compiz is absolutely stunning working in tandem with the proprietary Nvidia drivers.
We - as a userbase- should be doing more to show, free software and Compiz to the masses, I think. One look at the rotating cube with floating windows and image caps had office colleagues slack jawed with amazement, especially once they'd heard the price of the software.

Your comments

I recently obtained two

I recently obtained two brand new laptops through work. Vista lasted about 10 seconds before I installed Sidux on my Thinkpad but my wife wanted to keep Vista.

After 3 months she couldn't say a good word for it. She tried to create a folder in the program files directory and it asked her 7 times if she really wanted to do it?!!?? She tried to select 30 photos and it took 8 seconds and you could visibly see it selecting each photo. This was a brand new dual core 2gb 200gb hard drive machine. It now has XP which flies (but there is a kubuntu partition I am trying to convince her to use more!!)

One interesting thing I've

One interesting thing I've just noticed is that Ubuntu won't let me use rubbish wireless security which meant changing everything to WPA2 this morning (I know I should have done it earlier, but other things always crop up) so now the wireless works at home (secured) and at work (open).
Even the media keys work so I can change the volume of Rhythmbox from the hardware.
The one thing Vista has totally refused to do is access my Freecom external drive. Admittedly this has previously been attached to a Mac (not Timemachined). It recognises it but won't let me access it. Ubuntu does though, so that's another feather in the brown cap.
Compiz crashed for the first time this morning - but I didn't notice until my windows didn't wobble.

Vista crashed on our machine

Vista crashed on our machine about a month after we got it. We then put XP on it, and I have to use Ubuntu in Wubi. Grrr.

@Andy: How long have you been running it? My Git version of compiz fusion (complete with 3d glasses) has only crashed 3 times in a couple of months. That's more stable than I thought. And anyway, I only need to right-click the blue cube and click reload :)

Well I've only had this

Well I've only had this machine for a couple of days and I've had two Compiz crashes. Both times I was taking screengrabs in Gnome using KShapshot. I was also running some screenlets (which could have caused it as I was using the widget layer) and using an Alpha version of Dropbox which integrates with Nautilus (and, I'm assuming this could cause a problem).
I'll be putting Ubuntu through the ultimate test in a bit and seeing if it will recognise my M-Audio Blackbox.

I was so impressed with the

I was so impressed with the loading speed of open office in Ubutnu that I celebrated by making a video of it with my phone. Oddly, the Dell 1720 has a little bluetooth light on the fascia but, apparently, has no bluetooth hardware inside.

Apparently the LXF edition

Apparently the LXF edition of Wordpress strips out embedded stuff, so <a href="" rel="nofollow">here is a link</a>.

Is that a cold start of OOo

Is that a cold start of OOo -- ie not cached in RAM?


That's a cold start. I also

That's a cold start. I also made a video of it starting up in Windows with Quickstarter and it's pretty much instant. Depending what else is running, it can take as long as six seconds to launch. The slouch.

That is fast. And I thought

That is fast. And I thought Firefox loading in less than a second was good...

Also, I haven't had any CF crashes using the GNOME Screenshot Tool. Does KSnapshot do it differently?

I'm not sure about the

I'm not sure about the method of grabbing the screen, but KSnapshot has nicer file management (name auto increment especially) and is persistent so it works a little better for my purposes.
Any recommendations for screen grabs? I liked the feature in OS X's Grab utility that let you specify a mouse pointer to be included in the shot, which made it easy to set up screengrabs for tutorials.

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