Ouch. According to a lot of people who've been monkeying around with Release Candidate 1 of Windows Vista, the system leaves a lot to be desired: install problems, reboot problems, problems with media and the user interface.
One writer we profiled this week laments that there's no longer a Run command in the Start Up tool. If you want to launch something from a disk drive, you have to search for the Run command.
And then there are the hardware requirements that many say will turn folks off from Vista even more.
At first blush, it would all seem pretty serious for Microsoft. A release candidate is usually a nearly finished product, with only a few minor tweaks before the full launch. So it's not surprising that many samplers are wringing their hands over what Mr. Gates is bringing down from the mountaintop.
It would be interesting, though, to do a Web search to see if any of the original pre-XP commentary is still available. If memory serves, there were a lot of frown lines over that upgrade, too. And remember when Windows 95 looked like it would have to be renamed Windows 96 or even 97 due to all the bugs and delays that it went through?
Heck, we wonder if the National Archives has any correspondence between the guys who developed ENIAC.
Will Vista be a bust? We can't say. But we know from experience not to put too much stock in feedback from pre-release tests, or even post-release tests, for that matter. In something as complicated as a new OS, only two things are certain:
1) Bugs and workarounds will be a fact of life for early adopters, and
2) New tools will produce new ways of doing things, even if the learning curve is sometimes a little steep.
In hindsight, if you can actually have hindsight about something that hasn't happened yet, maybe the steep hardware requirements for Vista will be a good thing. By the time everyone's ready to launch, most of the technical issues will have been worked out.