John Dvorak confirms my worst fears about Windows Vista. Although, honestly, it would have been more of a surprise if they were not confirmed. It will be available in all the colors of the rainbow, so long as they are black.
Microsoft is not helping with its lack of enthusiasm. This is further complicated by a confusing array of Vista offerings. There is Vista Home Basic, Vista Starter(?!), Home Premium, Business, Enterprise, and Ultimate. (Emphasis and extra punctuation, Jim Benson)
Vista Black, Vista Deep Midnight, Vista Almost-no-white-gray, Vista Obsidian... What's the difference between these? You can likely dig up a chart on a Microsoft web site that will tell you some of them, but as anyone who has ever accidentally bought a computer with Windows XP Media Edition will tell you - you never learn all the differences until it is too late.
I love Windows XP, it works, it comes up every day, is stable, and lets me get my job done. Sure, it's bloated and hard to customize and gives me infuriatingly bad error messages, but it so much better than what I had before.
Mary Jo Foley found some surprises in Steve Balmer's Vista unveiling, but none were really about Vista. They were surprises in the presentation. And why would the presentation be normal? People at Microsoft are worried that this lackluster offering will be ... luster-less.
It will be matte black.
Vista's main problem is not it's lack of web, but, rather, its structure. The structure of Microsoft products are so rigid that they require many versions of the same software. If Microsoft released a central Vista minimal build and then allowed on-demand and as-needed download of componentry - none of this would even be an issue.
McManus quotes from the Microsoft press release:
"Windows Vista and the 2007 Microsoft Office system also provide the core platform that will enable businesses to take advantage of the benefits of Internet-based software services. These products incorporate key XML and Web services technologies that will help companies tap into online services and select the mix of on-premise and hosted applications to deliver the right balance of control, convenience, cost-effectiveness, and security while helping increase productivity."
(emphasis McManus', but I share the sentiment)
Okay, so Microsoft claims to allow you to do exactly what I just called for. But, if that were true, you wouldn't need so many versions of Windows.
The argument I get against this is that most users wouldn't understand the componentry they need. Users don't understand dlls either and they use them everyday unwittingly. The platform would merely look for needed components and then, if it didn't find them on the PC, it would gather them from an external source.
So when Microsoft says that they "deliver the right balance", that's not your balance they are talking about.
Blogged at Marco Polo Gateway Hotel, Kowloon, Hong Kong Using Windows Live Writer (which I also love)