My experience with Windows Vista, in n simple steps

At work, I just got a “Lenovo X61s”:http://shop.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/controller/e/web/LenovoPortal/en_US/catalog.workflow:category.details?current-catalog-id=12F0696583E04D86B9B79B0FEC01C087&current-category-id=2D07A76B547E4B28A678EA089EF892A3 — a really nice piece of hardware, and way more suited to my everyday needs than the desktop computer it replaced.
It came preinstalled with Windows Vista Business edition. Here is my (highly biased) review:
h3. Booting up
# The computer boots.
# It shows me a microsoft progress bar
# After a couple of minutes, it still shows me a progress bar
# Finally, a few minutes later, I have a spinning disc of death mouse cursor.
# Crash/Reboot
# Repeat steps 1-4
# Be greeted by a welcoming dialog
# Answer lots of questions, like where I am from, what my name is.
# Notice that it doesn’t pick up my time zone or keyboard setup based on my other location
# Notice that the dialogs are inconsistent. Some use immediate apply+progress, while others require me to click “Next”. Wonder why.
# Get asked if I want Lenovo promotional material
# Get asked if I want to register
# Get asked about more crapware. No, Norton Internet security is not an acceptable piece of software. Anywhere in the known universe
# When everything is answered, notice that the system claims to be measuring my performance, and thus needs to reboot afterwards. Believe that this is a blatant lie.
# Reboot
# Wait
# Wait more
# Be greeted by a friendly login dialog revealing the username of the only user on this computer. Friendly, but I’m actually old school enough to prefer typing in my username.
# Wait
# Watch the spinning disc of death flash in my mouse cursor. Another few minutes.
# Bitch on IRC about this shiny operating system being slow.
# Notice Microsoft’s familiar Window telling me it’s configuring MSIE and other applications for me.
# Questioning why they couldn’t just have done that at the same time I created my user account.
# Try dragging the window around in total boredom.
# Notice how, even after Microsoft told me they would configure Window effects to work optimally, have set up a system that has problems dragging a 200×50-sized window without getting jumping, lag, jerking, and unresponsiveness
# Notice that Lenovo, beside my insistence on not installing anything from them, runs the batch script from hell
# Notice that said scripts throws error after error after error.
# Thinking that this is a bad sign
# Try to open up an application
# Wait
# Notice that it takes MSIE ten seconds or so to open
# Wonder where all of the rest of the windows came from. Including warning this, warning that.
# Notice that an icon in the systray telling me my system is misconfigured, insecure and not working optimally
# Ignore said icon
# Bitch more on IRC
# Leave the computer alone
# Notice that the task bar goes AWOL.
# Try to bring it back the way the task bar was brought back in XP and 2000, by simply moving the mouse to the bottom of the screen.
# Notice that nothing happens.
# Curse.
# Try the Windows key.
# Notice that it works.
# Figure out that since Vista is intent on being the antithesis of “Fitts’ Law”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fitts_law, you need a higher precision pointer device than the nipple. Install a mouse.
# Locate and plug in said mouse.
# Try to move cursor with mouse.
# Notice how exactly *NOTHING* happens.
# Wait
# Curse
# Bitch on IRC
# Curse
# Notice how Vista, after 30 seconds or so, says it has located a pointing device. In dialog popup in a systray icon. Which is partially obscured. By the second popup telling me my computer is unsafe, misconfigured and whatnot.
# Curse.
# Wait another 30 seconds.
# Try to reboot the thing. Only to find out that the power button just puts the computer to sleep.
# Try to locate a proper shutdown option in the start menu, like the “Power” symbol. Click it. Which puts the computer to sleep.
# Power up the computer
# Curse
# Type password
# Curse again, because the bog standard mouse is still not working. Fully expecting that there is some non-modal dialog that wants my password.
# Try to figure out what the two odd-looking symbols next to the power button are. One most certainly locks the screen, but the tiny arrow-like thing looks promising.
# Curse, because the nipple is not a good control device for actually clicking on real tiny onscreen buttons like that.
# Choose reboot
# Plug in external DVD drive
# Boot “Ubuntu”:http://www.ubuntu.com/
# Select “Install”. Answer various questions. Including “Guided partitioning, use entire disk”
# Notice how Ubuntu actually makes one of the same usability mistakes Vista makes. If I am in Norway, and say so on the shiny map, I would expect to get a Norwegian keyboard (Sidenote: and a 24-hour clock after reboot. Yes, I really want this even if I want English as my UI language)
# Start installation
# Go talk to some people.
# Get back to a system that is ready to reboot.
# Reboot.
# Notice how all of the hardware works. Including the ability to plug in a frakking mouse and have it work five seconds later.
# Enjoy using Gnome, which is actually _usable_ with the nipple
# Curse Vista, but be relieved to know that you will never, ever have to deal with it again.
# Be extremely satisfied that “your employer”:http://www.opera.com/ has a really nice policy: Run whichever OS that suits you.
# Upgrade Ubuntu 7.04 to 7.10, knowing that the upgrade will still Just Work. Even if it is to a prerelease version.
# Go have food and beer with co-workers that don’t use Windows Vista.

14 Comments

  1. Shit, I’m supremely jealous. I would prefer to use Ubuntu at work, but I’m still stuck in Vista crapness for now.

  2. I envy thee! Vista is total and utter crap.

  3. “Be extremely satisfied that your employer has a really nice policy: Run whichever OS that suits you.”
    I sure miss that option :/

  4. vlakgla

     /  2007-09-19

    #74 is not exactly true.

  5. To clarify #4: Of course, Opera has to run on the platform you want to work on, and if you’re doing Windows QA, running Solaris is not a real option for you.

  6. I actually used Ubuntu when doing Windows QA at Opera 🙂

  7. FWIW: Location: NL, Keyboard: US, UI: US.

  8. (Although the actual keyboard itself has funny Norwegian symbols on it, now I look it at.)

  9. Jere

     /  2007-09-29

    I thought your review was right on the spot… until I reached point #71. Hardware compatibility on Linux is a joke. The most irritating part is the support for my GPU which is simply a piece of crap.
    Speaking of the freakin mouse. I’d kind of expect Ubuntu or any distro for that matter to recognize at least the back and forward buttons that mine has. Windows automatically associates them with Alt+left and Alt+right – a procedure that, last time I checked, can be achieved on Linux only by installing some piece of software that maps mouse input with keyboard commands and adding it to a boot script. I’m absolutely amused.

  10. bq. Hardware compatibility on Linux is a joke. The most irritating part is the support for my GPU which is simply a piece of crap.
    I have, on five different machines, not had any particular problem with hardware being recognized and fully functional (Experiences both from ATI, Nvidia and Intel GPUs). As for graphics drivers, yes, the state of affairs have been up and down, in particular with ATI graphics cards — this is however about to change, with AMD having opened up the specification, allowing for high-quality open source drivers.

  11. Jere

     /  2007-09-30

    Consider that I use a motherboard with the fairly common Intel 845G chipset. The Linux driver is buggy redrawing the screen and throws the picture too much to the left, so I have to adjust the position from my screen. (And adjust it back as soon as I boot Windows)

  12. bq. Consider that I use a motherboard with the fairly common Intel 845G chipset. The Linux driver is buggy redrawing the screen and throws the picture too much to the left, so I have to adjust the position from my screen. (And adjust it back as soon as I boot Windows)
    This is not any fault of Ubuntu or the Linux driver for intel chipsets per se, it is just that the hsync and vsync are slightly _different_ – not buggy. You may experience the same between two different driver versions if you had two different Windows installations on your system (A problem I used to experience in Win2k after switching between two different monitors).
    One thing you can do, is to try to ensure that you’re running with the same refresh rate on both setups.

  13. Jere

     /  2007-09-30

    I surely do run both OS’s with the same screen settings (the xorg conf belongs to the list of config files I’ve had to mess with). Windows has no problem positioning the picture where my screen considers the default position situated (where the horizontal and vertical offsets in the screen’s settings are zero).
    Another example of incomplete reverse-engineering must be Gaim, or whatever it’s called nowadays. The last time I seriously tried to use Linux on my desktop (as in: use it without much greater effort than Windows), I finally lost my marbles (that took a couple of days) when I realized why my contacts on MSN were acting so weird. It turned out Gaim simply didn’t send and receive all of my messages. Fun.
    I find that Linux still remains usable on servers only.

  14. bq. I find that Linux still remains usable on servers only.
    Patently false. I have run and administered nothing but Linux on desktops and laptops for over two years, on six different computers, and none of them have suffered from any of the problems you describe (including your problem with GAIM, which I successfully had used on windows for several years _before_ switching to Linux)