Windows Vista and Office 2007 hits

Got an email this morning from advertising the upcoming availability on the 30th of the month of Windows Vista and Office 2007 for folks who want to pick them up. I thought it was interesting to note that the email only advertised three of the possible versions of Vista: Vista Home Premium Upgrade, Vista Business Upgrade, and Vista Ultimate Upgrade. Those will set you back $154.99, $194.99, and $249.99 respectively and require you to have A) a legit copy of Windows XP or Windows 2000 and B) a DVD drive as I don’t see any packages offering CDs listed.

If you do a search on you’ll find that the other versions of Vista including the non-upgrade versions are listed as well. One big surprise I didn’t expect, however, is the fact that Microsoft is actually making available the option to purchase multiple licenses for Vista to the home user at a small discount. For example I saw a listing for a Vista Home Premium Upgrade Additional License Pack with a price of $143.00 making for a whole $11.99 in savings. That’s mighty generous of Microsoft, eh? Still, I suppose any discount is better than no discount though I’d imagine some folks will spend the extra bucks just to have two copies of the media on hand.

I’ll eventually be moving my PC to Vista in part because I’m a PC Systems Administrator so it’d probably behoove me to be familiar with the new OS and partly because I participated in a promotion not too long ago from Microsoft that’s supposed to net me a free license for the Business edition. The other two PCs in the family will have to wait a bit until I get a new job. Well, if Courtney wants to buy her own copy then I suppose she might actually be the first to upgrade, but I think she’s fine with XP for right now.

60 thoughts on “Windows Vista and Office 2007 hits

  1. Dave M.: You are entitled to your decisions and the experience that they are based on. With that stated – your experience confuses the heck out of me. In fact, I’d go so far as to say the whole Ubuntu/Debian community weeps with me raspberry

    Regarding software install problems in particular:
    I can’t discount the problem of an install screwing up (ATi can’t even install their own drivers correctly, using their own installer), and that’s a fair exception. Like I can’t install many of my Win/95/98/ME games on XP. I find both problems to be rather bizarre of their respective designers, but that said, it limits themselves to different crowds. Everyone needs a graphics driver. Not everyone needs Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain. My parents turn to me on these sorts of things and go, “okay, so what do I do?” and I have to get on the phone with them and guide them through it. That said, a once-configured system virtually never needs maintenance – and I would know. The whole idea of “Defrag, virus check, spyware check, uninstall old programs, clean the registry, check the page file” stuff like this that I’ve had to do to manage XP to keep it in top shape I’ve never, ever had to do for Linux. I’ve done installs for a lot of friends and family so far, and I’ve never had a callback. I do maintenance on my PC when I want to experiment with something beta like Beryl SVN. The rest – the driver updates, the security fixes, all that, takes care of itself. Cleanly; ATI’s crap included. Probably the toughest part of my Ubuntu install was trying to get my TV-card working properly. Googling it, I found the name of this Conexant CX____ thingy that has to do with my card, and found that it should already have been working, but I needed to add a line to this xorg.conf file. Then I needed to search for where that file is (and the system search is totally useless for this). Back to google. Found /etc/X11/xorg.conf. Opened the file like the article told me to, I copied the quoted line and pasted it in where the original article told me to. No thinking necessary. The searching and re-searching took me about 3 hours – that was the bummer. Certainly is an area that asks improvement.

    Regarding useability: The whole adding and removing programs came up at the bottom of my applications menu, with a link conveniently titled “add/remove”. That gave me lists I could break down into specifics – like games, graphics, internet, office, etc. Likewise, I’ve never had a problem installing software, even from Synaptic. I’m looking for Thunderbird email in Synaptic, so I click search and type in “thunderbird”, hitting ‘enter’. In the descriptions to the right, the only thing calling itself an email anything were the Mozilla Thunderbird standalone email client and some thing for Mozilla Thunderbird that files emails quickly. With those two options, it’s a no-brainer to try the former. What the hell- the latter too. I hit the check mark, because I’m done. To this extent, I disagree about useability.  If you’re that confused, there’s a rather prominent help icon in the system menu. You can search it for what you want.

    It really only asks the attitude “this is something new – let’s get to know it”. I can’t offer anyone an OS that doesn’t require a manual – or at least the benefit of someone to help them through it. The first PC I used was a VIC-20. I needed my brother to teach me how to run the “Knox” cartridge. Then we got a 286 through my uncle, in which I exclusively used DOS to do what I needed because it was my only option. At 16, it took me a long time to learn to find where everything is in Windows – and the help was arguably as helpful as Ubuntu’s (once I realized what the Start menu was), but with no directory for users (although I could find a lot of stuff I assumed programmers and developers were interested in). I was on 56k, I was using altavista as a search engine, and I was getting useless result after useless result. The idea of not having a list of things to type into a blank screen written on a piece of paper beside my desk was totally alien. I couldn’t even figure out how to get my beloved black screen back, and play Scorched Earth. The whole idea of a GUI was foreign to me. It made no sense, and it took about 2 years to get comfortable with Windows. I learned most of what I knew on the phone with my ISP at Sasktel, talking about the problems and asking lots of questions if I got tossed past their tier 1 support. I’ve never experienced such a struggle with any OS as the transition I made from DOS to Windows 98.

    I also find the claim that it’s “no better” to be specious at best – knowing that setting up Ubuntu, running it, and adding/removing and installing is a whole lot more user-friendly than red-hat of yester-decade, and certainly some bit better than the Windows of the same era. Even XP’s Add/Remove programs is useless as far as adding programs – what, you mean I need to look on my hard drive for them? bw.exe – is that my game? Ubuntu actually holds the advantage in that area, IMO.

    We’ll see again in the recent future. I’m convincing both sets of parents to trying Linux on their current box. I’ll be getting one set of parents a new box, since the K6 I got them for free last year runs the hand me down Windows 98 fine, but doesn’t offer them a lot. Windows still tops the useability list, with Mac rather close on its heels and Linux trailing. I worry about those unusual circumstances, like the graphics drivers and stuff – but if they’re using it for internet and email, I can trust Linux not to behave badly. Ideally, I’d get them a Mac; my few interactions with it say its right wonderful. – but even the cheap Mac’s are out of my price range (500 bucks tops). I get them a regular tower, I can spend a heap of that money on a fresh Windows XP, or I can give them Linux and get them hardware I know is reliable. I’ll get back to you when they’re all set up and see what their responses are.

  2. As a fellow Linux user (Ubuntu as of late) I can say that my experiences are certainly similar with Patness’.  And I have no idea how you had so much trouble Dave.

    But that aside, since Ubuntu is realtively new to you, you might have to do a little research to learn about it.  Just like I’m sure Les did for Vista, and many computer techs did for XP, or DOS to Win 9x.  If you have the paitence to learn, then you will be able to catch on rather quickly.

  3. Pat and Elwed:

    Both said: Computer nonsense on top of computer nonsense on top of computer nonsense with some blah, blah tossed in for good measure.

    Then Pat offers this nugget which gets to the heart of the matter for those of us that are not geeks:

    Windows still tops the useability list, with…Linux trailing

    Ding, ding, ding!!!!!!  Those of us that are not geeks and gamers could care less about all this other mumbo-jumbo.  The crux of the matter is which thingybobber is easiest to use and requires the least amount of RTFM.

  4. The crux of the matter is which thingybobber is easiest to use and requires the least amount of RTFM.

    Gates’ genius is he understands this.

  5. Computer nonsense on top of computer nonsense on top of computer nonsense with some blah, blah tossed in for good measure.

    Consi, it’s people like you that cause unrest wink

  6. And to reprise: What OS you use depends on what you need it for in the first place, your aptitude with regards to using computers, cost issues, and probably other factors.

    The question isn’t whether X is “easier” than Y, but which one is the overall best fit (or alternatively, “easier” for whom?). For business users, the retraining required for Vista and Office 2007 may well be the tipping point.

    An anecdote: The city of Munich is migrating their employees to Linux desktops. The move met resistance, partly Machiavellied by Microsoft, partly by entrenched Windows Solitaire players. In a compelling move, the migration managers had the president of the worker’s union demo Linux. Said president happened to be a woman and the managers rightly assumed that if a woman can use Linux, it would shut up the male recalcitrants.

    Other than legacy applications that require workarounds, I don’t see how a properly engineered corporate Linux desktop is inferior to Windows. On the server side, I’ve always considered Windows a horror and as far as I know, you need more staff to support a Windows server infrastructure than you do for Unix or Linux. If you talk about the proverbial Mom and Pop and the computer-challenged folks, they’ll be hard pressed no matter what. Right, Consi? wink

    From what I see, open-source software in general and Linux and OpenOffice in particular are making inroads at the public sector all over the world, motivated by one thing or the other. Some large corporations like IBM eat their own dog food, so to speak, and the Vista upgrade will drive more corporations towards Linux. Increased exposure will result in more polish, too.

    The long and short of it that there isn’t a single OS that pleases everybody. If you’re happy to subsidize Gates or Jobs, by all means do so.

  7. Consi, true enough – but the question was never raised as to which is best. The strengths and weaknesses of each OS are well-established. Elwed, it’s Consi and Brock that’re my favorite shit-disturbers here. smile

    Consi, my position in this argument is simple. Linux is not ‘bad because it is not Windows’. There are always reasons for an OS to improve – that doesn’t mean it’s not ready for mass-distribution. I disagree that Windows is a model OS in any form, although it does useability better than others. Linux is an active competitor, and it’s making, as Elwed says, inroads at a lot of places, for a lot of reasons. – Not the least of these is it’s vast improvement over it’s predecessors. Last, that anything new will, mark me, WILL, require that you put some elbow grease in. I’ve used my DOS/Win98 transition as an example of this.

    I tend to think, overall, that my Windows installs require more maintenance and more time to fix than Linux, and in the end, all OSes require RTFM or external help from someone. Most people I know that aren’t regular computer users aren’t because they’re unhappy with the OS – they’ve had a ton of problems and the system’s been difficult to use and riddled with problems. Guess what – there’s only one OS to blame in their cases; y’all get three guesses, and the first two don’t count.

  8. DWangerin, Sorry about that. I’m always getting BSD and BEos mixed up in my head. Thanks for the correction.

    elwedriddsche, PEBCAK? I suspect this is just another reason I stay away from Linux. smile

    Patness, They may weep, but I get more frustrated every time I try to use a Linux distro. I don’t want to spend weeks and months in Linux forums trying to figure out how to install Thunderbird when all I have to do on the Mac is copy a file to my Hard Drive.

    Getting to know how to use something is one thing. Taking years to get to know Linux is my problem. Lets take a look at new backup/restore systems coming out in Vista and Leopard. In Leopard, it’s called Time Machine and when I lose a file or contact for some reason, I can pull up Time Machine, go to a date where the file/contact is and tell it to use that version of the file. Done. Even my parents could do that. Looking at Vista, they have something that looks very “source control” like. You bring up the preferences of a file, go to a tab that has the older versions, (I can’t remember the name of the tab right now) then select an older version and I assume press a button to bring it forward. The screens alone scare the crap out of me, but if it works and doesn’t foul up the system like “System Restore” does now, then fine.

    I would say that Apple has a better handle on users that don’t really know how to use a computer or even want to.


    …you might have to do a little research to learn about it.

    That’s the problem! I didn’t have to “research” anything with the Mac. At least not on the web. Sure, I have pulled up a few help files so far, but I have yet to run out to the online community to look to get a problem solved as simple as installing a program.

    It’s possible that Ubuntu doesn’t like running under Parallels. However, I’m not about to gum up a working system just to see how Ubuntu works. I’m quite happy with the computers I have and their OS’s.

    Consigliere, Don’t forget to put OS X in that list. It’s actually the easiest to use Linux distro out there.


    Look, I have no beef with any of the OS’s out there. At least not so much as I won’t use them occasionally. My problem is that every time I try to evaluate a Linux distro, I get burned. So I don’t install Linux on systems that are working. I have no problem installing a distro in Parallels to see how it works and I have yet to find one that either works or likes running in virtualization.

  9. Since it’s a slow morning in this iced-over town, a final comment on Linux in this thread.

    A goodly number of people have used Linux productively for years and there are plenty more for which Linux on the desktop is adequate. As time goes by, that number will rise, but there will always be different strokes for different folks. No big deal.

    Candidly, Dave, I couldn’t care less if you and Linux get along. The only thing that I take exception at is when people who are challenged by Linux for one reason or another bad-mouth Linux, instead of qualifying their experience in an intellectually honest way: “For me personally and perhaps for users with a comparable skill set Linux doesn’t work out.” I’m not going to re-read these threads if you are prone to such hasty generalizations or not. If the shoe fits…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.