Windows Vista and Office 2007 hits Amazon.com.

Got an email this morning from Amazon.com 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 Amazon.com 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 Amazon.com.

  1. As much as I hate to admit it, switching the “friends and family users of techies” over to Vista may not be a bad idea at all.

    Here is where I was going to link to a fantastic review and article on Vista and of course Vista vs XP.  But MaximumPC Magazine doesn’t archive their magazines until they are a couple months old.

    Essentially what the article said (Their January 2007 Magazine), was that even for gamers there isn’t an immediate need to upgrade, since few video cards are compatible with DX10 and since few video games are taking advantage of DX10

    However the security updates are very well done and make huge strides toward improving the system.  And fact, some are so well done and do such a great job that the only thing that should be holding users back is the price of Vista.  The security features are a good improvement for those that know little about computers and system security. 

    As with any M$ OS there are of course annoyances, but it makes sense to upgrade the non-techie users due to security upgrades.  Of course as funds are available. 

    After reading the article I am a lot less outspoken against Vista, but just like Maximum PC stated, I think Vista should have been an upgrade.  There is no reason, except for M$’ greediness, to have users paying for Vista just for the intrinsic security features that should have already existed with XP.  Some of these security features have existed in Linux and MAC for 3 or more years.  How long does it take for M$ to steal ideas from competitors?

    The only reason I will lay down the dough for Vista is if a DX10 game comes out that I must own.  Otherwise I am happy with Ubuntu and XP.

  2. I’m a home user and something of a luddite, but aside from perhaps some security fixes, a different coloured start menu and a new design of paperclip assistant I don’t see much difference between the versions of windows and office that I have had, other than they need more resources. I might upgrade if minimum spec requirements for something makes me.

  3. I used the RC1 version for a while, and liked enough I will most likely buy it, too.

    I agree with WEBS that it should have been offered as an upgrade, but we all know THAT wasn’t going to happen.

  4. XP and Ubuntu, thanks. May actually legit my copy of XP long enough to take that in hand, but I don’t see myself purchasing new PC games anymore. Black and White 2 may be my last. I’d rather have a working copy of XP and leave it at that. I use Linux for everything but gaming anyhow.

  5. There are a lot of reasons I am not upgrading to Vista until I absolutly have to. The biggest reason is money. Les saw that Microsoft is offering a small discount on multiple licenses purchased. That “discount” will not help my household upgrade to Vista.

    I have 5 Windows based systems in this house. 4 of them could run Vista with Aero. I calculated the upgrade price to just under $1,000! This includes a notebook that never had a ligit copy of Windows to begin with, so an upgrade isn’t an option.

    I also have 3 Mac’s that I maintain. Two in the house and one at my parents. To upgrade all three (5 if I had them) to Leopard when it comes out will cost a whopping $200! Apple has a family pack license that allows up to 5 systems to be installed/upgraded for $200.

    Distant Claws isn’t far off in his assessment. Oh sure, there are some pretty major security fixes. However, I predict that a lot of people are going to be turning those security features off when the 100’th “So and so program is doing something questionable, are you sure you want to let it proceed?” dialog boxes popup. I know I wanted to turn it off from the Beta and 2 RC versions I tested.

  6. Also keep in mind that if you want the Aero feature, and you want to be able to connect your Vista OS to a domain, you have to purchase the $400 version.  That is what pushed me away.

  7. I sometimes wonder if microsoft and the antivirus companies secretly create their own viruses/security flaws to create a market for newer versions with security improvements that should’ve come free. It’s difficult to believe many people would go to all the effort of making a virus only to malicously hurt people that don’t affect them, if it was targeted to shut down a bank’s security, wipe police databases or harm a rival company I could understand

  8. Part of the draw for hackers to create virus’ is similar to the draw of an artist who paints or sculpts.  I sometimes wonder why the hell someone would want to throw paint on a wall and try to sell it, but people do.  And they do it for their own personal satisfaction and for the chance of a claim to fame.

    Most people like to have recognition beyond a self pat on the back, and for artist and hackers it is the chance of being famous. 

    Writing a virus as complex as the ones that float around today is not a simple task.  It takes expert knowledge of Computer Science skills and knowing how to program in multiple languages and a strong grasp of IT networking and social networking skills.  One way to prove these skills is to piss people off by destroying their information or whatever.

    But I sometimes wonder about a lot of the spyware software.  Most of it, from my experience, finds crap that isn’t even on my system to begin with.  In other words, the program either places it on there or tells you it’s on there so it looks like it is doing something, and to get you to pay for the “Professional” version.

  9. Webs, I agree and will expand a bit. Virus creation and execution is a proof of concept, not only for a particular security vulnerability, but for the skill we think is required. In doing so, we advance our knowledge of the systems in use. Most programmers that I know of don’t feel particularly challenged doing grunt work. They don’t mind their jobs, but don’t feel engaged by them. Writing an effective virus can be a tremendous challenge, and when successful, offers tremendous personal reward. In short, viruses are often written out of boredom, for a personal reward.

    That’s not to say that there aren’t commercial groups that do the same, however; simply, it’s not necessary. If I want to force someone to adopt this service pack that does stuff we don’t want to tell them explicitly about, the way to do that is to scare them with security. Say, “We found a flaw”, watch a virus be released for it a few days later, and watch people upgrade without any investigation as to what they’re putting on their PCs. Viruses are a potentially effective form of fear-mongering, and most of that is regulated by script-kiddies, IMO.

  10. Browsing a computer magazine in a shop (I rarely buy, so I can’t actually quote verbatim) about Vista I spotted this important caveat

    You can only transfer the licence ONCE.  This the journo said would affect those who do major upgrades to their own PC’s as certain changes would trigger the ‘platform move’ signal, so the 2nd upgrade would disable Vista.

    Don’t ask me for references, like I say a quick browse in a (uk) newsagents.

  11. Last Hussar, if you are planning on upgrading your system more than twice, (once for Vista and once after), then I suggest buying Vista Ultimate. Vista Ultimate doesn’t have this ONCE situation.

    As to the virus issue, back in the day, viruses were written to gain recognition. These days, they are written to make money. Spammers are willing to pay big bucks to gain the ability to send out millions of spam messages without alerting an ISP that spams are being sent out.

  12. The license transfer thing is currently enforced with some copies of XP as well.  I had to go through some hassle of proving I purchased the copy I have when I upgraded a bunch of peripheral hardware (new video card, sound card and NIC) along with a second hard drive.  The whole thing is shit since none of THOSE things would necessarily be indicative of a new system.  A new motherboard and/or processor I can see might indicate a new computer (ok, would BE a new computer), but adding a second hard drive and the other stuff?  That’s just too damn much control over my computer.  I guess I’m just dumb for sticking with it (well, I’m lazy is the real reason).

  13. TAFKA, that “hassle” was another big reason that I switched and I switched my parents to OS X. I “had” to reinstall Windows on my parents Windows box and after reinstalling Windows with Dell’s reinstall disc, I was told that the version may not be genuine. I stumbled through Microsoft’s website for quite some time before we finally found a page that showed us what to do to “fix” the problem.

    You see, Apple doesn’t consider it’s users criminals like the RIAA/MPAA and Microsoft does. There is no “check” to see if you are running a ligit copy of OS X. Plus, it’s priced so that folks don’t necessarily need to steal it in order to use it.

    Of course Linux is priced even better. smile

  14. Ubuntu!

    Anyway, my paleo-laptop woudn’t bear Vista anyway, so why o,n Earth bother?
    I’m a typical end-user and it’s something of a relief that I don’t have to bother about security and purchase anti-virus…

  15. Here is a brilliant idea: make games for Linux, screw Vista.  I mean come on, the only reason I still dual-boot Ubuntu/XP is because most of the games (except World of Warcraft) are incompatable with Linux!  But I forgot, you can’t make millions of dollars off of open source software, huh…

  16. I think there is a section of society that is against the idea of pc gaming in general, I have known people who see computers as work objects only, see video gaming as a waste of time and the cause of unreliability, also there are those who think that children will become bloodthirsty murderers for ‘killing’ imaginary people who follow set paterns and don’t look or behave enough like real people for a gamer to identify as alive, and therefore not have sympathy towards

    It is a sad thing that more power should be given to this group of people, such that they can impose their dislike for video games, porn, etc through parental controls and the like. What is there that children need protecting from? What could be so wrong about something that it needs parental control, surely children would be more in touch with reality if they were exposed to all aspects of the world as early as possible so as not to have an illogical fear or hate.

    As for those of us who don’t want to be restricted by some security features and parental controls, microsoft would do well to allow these to be turned off, otherwise home users like myself won’t buy it (I have a sneeky suspicion they want to shut down the PC gaming market somewhat to promote xbox+xbox game sales)

  17. Consoles sell more games.  More game sales equals more money.  So, shut down PC gaming and move gaming to consoles.  Fuzzy logic.

    there are those who think that children will become bloodthirsty murderers for ‘killing’ imaginary people who follow set paterns and don’t look or behave enough like real people for a gamer to identify as alive, and therefore not have sympathy towards

    Well, I’ve played many a violent video game (Mortal Kombat, Grand Theft Auto) in my formative years, and I haven’t become a serial killer yet.  But then maybe I am an exception.

  18. Well, Microsoft doesn’t see the PC as a “Work” computer only. During Bill Gates keynote at CES, he made it quite clear that Windows is a gaming platform and is the biggest selling gaming platform.

    I’m unclear about WildTangent’s complaint in reguards to Vista. Some casual games that his site sells seem to work fine for me under Vista. I’m a big PopCap fan. I have quite a few of their games.

    There has been a lot of FUD about Vista. Personally, I’m all for that since I’m a Macintosh user now and would love to see more games developed for the Mac. I’m actually surprised that there are not more games developed for OS X. OpenGL has multi-threading so 3D will be much faster and is in WoW. It has a ton of Core tools to make developing 2D and 3D games much easier. Yet there are only a handful of games developed for the Mac.

    Oh sure, I understand the market share thing. However, if some of the “FUD” turns out to be true, then maybe instead of Linux which is just hard to use for normal people, game developers look to Mac and OS X for a platform to protest Vista. I’d be all for that.

  19. Linux which is just hard to use for normal people

    Proof that Elwed is abnormal from Dave.

  20. Dave M.: During Bill Gates keynote at CES, he made it quite clear that Windows is a gaming platform and is the biggest selling gaming platform.

    At least that’s what he told the public. If gaming is going to be as difficult as it sounds, gamers are going to vote with their feet and microsoft knows that, it doesn’t have to be the official policy. Segregating the market by function allows specialisation and makes the consumer have to buy and keep up to date two items instead of one.

  21. Sorry, that was a general statement since I didn’t want to extend the comment to be longer.

    I was just at a website talking about screencasts in Linux. It showed how you needed to compile then ‘make’ and ‘make install’ to install the software.

    That may work for folks that understand linux like the understand a normal phone, but for folks like my parents compiling then running ‘make’ to install a program is not ‘easy to use’.

    With OS X, there are two ways to install a program. One is to simply copy the program to a folder on your HD. The other is an install program similar to what Windows uses all the time. That’s it. Uninstalling is a matter of removing the files installed (this is where programs like AppZapper and CleanApp come in). No compiling or running ‘make’.

    Now, I understand that different Linux is multi-platform so the developers would have to make binary images of each platform that the program could run on. If it’s difficult to impossible to have binary images for all the platforms, create an install program that does the compile/make behind the scenes so that the user just sees a progress bar. If an error occurs, display an appropriate message and cancel the install.

    Linux will never become a mainstream OS until problems like the one above is solved.

  22. It’s becoming – the trick isn’t that it’s mainstream. In fact, it’s not necessary. Mac is mainstream, and there’s virtually no development for it, either. As far as the make and make-install stuff, anyone can write a shell script to do all that – the game studio included. All it is is the sequential list of commands you have to type in. Development for Linux? Sure, as systems like Debian continue to evolve, that will entitle studios to a lot more work in patching the game to conform with any changes in standard or compiler that may exist. Oh well. There’s no issues in any of that.

    As far as I’m concerned, none of this should ever find the customer. A responsible studio will take care of that stuff on Linux the same way they take care of it on Windows.

    I’ll grant I don’t know the innards of the Linux distros well, but I thought that OSX has a Unix backbone – so install processes and other things should be remarkably similar.

    The question is still a matter of investment versus return – if people will play all their games on Windows, why add cost to develop for another OS? I understand there’s more of the market to capture than that; I’m in a very Mac-intensive campus. I can’t tell you how many great games I’ve played on the PC that Mac users wish they could tap (Black and White 2 being the most recent example). Without strong forecasts, a lot of studios won’t even try, primarily because they aren’t being appropriately given the resources to do so by their publisher. IMO, the publisher/distributer pair is the bottleneck. It’s got nothing to do with Linux (of it’s own merits), – just the idea that “it’s not windows, so we can’t fund it or shelf it”.

  23. distant claws, I agree with your statement about gamers voting with their feet. However, they won’t have any other place to go other than platform systems like Xbox 360 or Playstation. Linux and OS X are just not options for gamers. At least not yet.

    Vista is a pretty different OS from XP, it’s going to take a little tweaking to make programs work on Vista. Plus don’t forget that there is a way to make a program run under compatibility mode.

    OK, I just tried to install and run Bejeweled under Vista. The install was strange because I had to use the Admin password to install it. Maybe if I installed it in a folder my user account controls instead of “Program Files” I wouldn’t have to do that. Anyway, it ran fine the first time. It turned off Aero for some reason. I then tried to run it again and it failed. I couldn’t get it to run after that at all.

    Mind you, I still have Beta 2 installed. They may have fixed all this on the release version. Still, it does seem to have some problems.

  24. Patness, the biggest problem is “shelving it” as you stated. There is a very small space that games are given on shelves. Studio’s like EA pay big bucks to make sure that they get shelf space.

    Yes, OS X uses BEos for it’s backbone. The difference between other Linux distro’s and OS X is that OS X developers create binary images for OS X only. So there’s no need to compile the program before installing it. It’s already compiled and ready to go.

  25. I was just at a website talking about screencasts in Linux. It showed how you needed to compile then ‘make’ and ‘make install’ to install the software.

    That may work for folks that understand linux like the understand a normal phone, but for folks like my parents compiling then running ‘make’ to install a program is not ‘easy to use’.

    I have been using Ubuntu for a few months now, and I have been a Linux user for over a year.  The process of using the make and make install command is called compiling and I have never had to do this.  Especially with Ubuntu.

    To say that Linux will never become mainstream is not true.  As more and more people use it, it will naturally become more user friendly and will become very popular where people become tired of paying for crappy M$ software.

  26. I don’t know what all you install in Ubuntu, but the program that showed the procedure to “compile” was xvidcap. The webpage that shows the procedure is: http://news.softpedia.com/news/Screencast-Guide-Capure-Your-Linux-Desktop-on-Video-42626.shtml

    What I meant, if I didn’t say it, was that Linux will never become mainstream if procedures like the one for xvidcap are needed to install programs like it. It will also never become mainstream if there is no support programs for it. Sure, there are places that will support Linux. I don’t see these companies offering support for less than $100 a shot.

    Sure, businesses have been dropping Windows over the past few years to switch to Linux, but my parents and yours will probably not be switching to Linux anytime soon. I personally don’t want to be spending my entire free time over at my parents fixing this and that because something stopped working and I don’t have a clue how to deal with it.

  27. What I meant, if I didn’t say it, was that Linux will never become mainstream if procedures like the one for xvidcap are needed to install programs like it.

    And you’re wrong; debian (and Ubuntu, by extension) use package managers like gdebi and synaptic and apt-get, almost always with a GUI, to search for, correlate, document, and install a huge list of possible programs.

    Sure, there are places that will support Linux. I don’t see these companies offering support for less than $100 a shot.

    Really? Because everywhere I’ve seen, this support is free, from Linux users all over the world. Sure, it’s not easy – neither is Windows. I can’t count on all my digits and protruding limbs the number of times I’ve had to direct someone to the command-prompt to do work that can’t be done from within Windows proper. Insofar as program support and documentation, Ubuntu’s is already covered by Canonical Ltd. up to and including the event that funding from Canonical dissolves – in which case it’s got substantial coffers to draw from for decades to come (if I remember the figures correctly, $80M). The Dapper Drake release is a long-term-support release, with coverage on the desktop for 3 years and coverage on the server for 5. By the time that coverage ends, a new LTS will be released to take its place for free.

    But then, if you’re afraid of that type of computing, nobody can save you. It’s not difficult; it is different. You’ve gotta be willing to try it – and if you do, I recommend Ubuntu. Sorry if this double-posts – doesn’t seem like things are coming up proper.

  28. I’m with Dave M. on this one. When it comes to installing software, Windows—including Vista—kicks the living shit out of every Linux distro I’ve played with and that includes Ubuntu and Debian. The only current OS with an easier install is OS X.

    It’s quite true that several Linux distros have very good package managers that are GUI based and will handle the install process pretty well so long as someone has made a package for your particular version of Linux, but even then it skips steps as simple as putting an icon on the menu or desktop so folks can launch the application. I can recall installing a GUI based mySQL manager on Mandrake Linux awhile back and then spending a good hour trying to figure out how to launch the damned thing and put an icon for it on the menu. That will not go over well in a world used to how Windows handles software installs.

    Sure there’s plenty of free support from Linux enthusiasts around the world and for me that’s great, but for my parents? They’re not computer geeks like I am. They barely understand me when I try to explain things to them, do you really think they’re going to be able to go online and work this stuff out with Linux enthusiasts?

    My biggest problems with the Mac is the fact that it’s still more expensive than it should be and they don’t want to let me pick out my own hardware for the PC I want to run OS X on. The day they let me buy the OS by itself and run it on whatever PC hardware I want to toss in my box is the day I’ll seriously consider switching to that OS. That’s just a personal issue on my part though and not really a criticism of how good the OS is. I will say that Macs aren’t a bad choice for folks who aren’t as geeky as I am.

    I ran the Vista RC2 for about a month, but didn’t really do much gaming on it. I just got the notification email from Microsoft letting me know my free Vista Business license would be in the mail in a few weeks time so I’ll probably end up restaging to Vista once that arrives and see first hand how good or bad gaming is under that OS. Then I’ll tell you folks what I think.

  29. debian (and Ubuntu, by extension) use package managers like gdebi and synaptic and apt-get, almost always with a GUI, to search for, correlate, document, and install a huge list of possible programs.

    So you are saying that the screencast program I mentioned is in this package manager. If this is the case, why are there instructions on how to install it? Are you actually saying that your parents use one of the distro’s you mentioned? That they install programs using the package managers?

    Really? Because everywhere I’ve seen, this support is free, from Linux users all over the world. Sure, it’s not easy – neither is Windows.

    Oh, you have got to be kidding me. I have attempted to use the Linux community to gain help with a rogue X daemon that wasn’t functioning properly. Those folks treat noob’s like the Usenet treated AOL’ers. Now maybe I was on a site that was an exception, but it didn’t take long for me to get a really bad taste for the Linux user community.

    So I took a look at this Canonical Ltd. support. $250 for 9-5 support. I assume that is per year. So what you expect folks like my parents to do. Buy into this “insurance” system in the hopes that they will actually need this support? Why in God’s name would anyone pay that kind of money.

    Oh, yes, OK, I bought support for my Mac from Apple. The same $250 for 3, count them 3 years and this is 24x7x365 support, not 9-5 and probably weekdays only. Like I said, not ready for prime time…

    Les, did you have to send them anything to get the Vista Ultimate package? My Hotmail account went dead since I hadn’t used it since I used it to get the Beta’s in the first place. If a free copy of Vista arrived at my house, I would probably install it. What the heck. I’m just not going to pay for it right now. smile

  30. It wasn’t Vista Ultimate, it was Vista Business, though I may upgrade to Ultimate at some point depending on the cost involved.

    It was a promotion they were doing about a month ago aimed mostly at developers. You signed up to watch three half-hour videos on how to make use of various new systems in Vista as a developer and after doing so they send you a free Vista Business license. It was at their Power Together website, but they’ve already run through the allotment of free licenses. They had a similar offer for Office 2007, but I didn’t sign up for that one.

  31. Oh, yeah, I saw that. I didn’t do it. I read somewhere that they were giving Ultimate to the folks that participated in the Beta program. Oh well, no biggie.

    Oh, also, Mac’s really are not as overpriced as you might think. Granted, you are paying for all the stuff they put into them, but compared to equally equipped PC’s, the price is actually cheaper.

    Problem is, that you can’t get a Mac that is “low-end”. The closest thing to that is the Mac Mini, and even that is a bit on the pricey side. But you get Bluetooth and WiFi built in, plus a few other things including the remote for Front Row.

    When I got my Mac Pro, I was looking to get a very high end system that I wouldn’t be upgrading anytime soon. Having 4 Xeon processors pretty much tap’s my need for power for quite some time. This computer barely breaks a sweet most the time. Running at a load average of about 0.10. When I was running HandBrake last night encoding some videos off of an ISO image, I was hitting a load average of 3.5 and I still had enough left over to be playing a game, playing songs in iTunes, and surfing the web without seeing even a glitch.

    Sure I paid an arm and a leg for it, but I would have paid the same arm and leg for a Windows box that attempted to do the same and I wouldn’t have even been able to get the Xeon processors back in August. Now maybe.

  32. My biggest problems with the Mac is the fact that it’s still more
    expensive than it should be and they don’t want to let me pick out my own
    hardware for the PC I want to run OS X on. The day they let me buy the OS
    by itself and run it on whatever PC hardware I want to toss in my box is
    the day I’ll seriously consider switching to that OS. That’s just a
    personal issue on my part though and not really a criticism of how good the
    OS is. I will say that Macs aren’t a bad choice for folks who aren’t as
    geeky as I am.

    So True, and is the same reasoning that I haven’t used MAC.

    Oh, you have got to be kidding me. I have attempted to use the Linux
    community to gain help with a rogue X daemon that wasn’t functioning
    properly. Those folks treat noob’s like the Usenet treated AOL’ers. Now
    maybe I was on a site that was an exception, but it didn’t take long for
    me to get a really bad taste for the Linux user community.

    In the Ubuntu forums, as long as you read the entire thread or at least do a search first so you are not repeating anything, you will get a response and be treated fairly.  I have read through a lot of the Ubuntu forums and have yet to see a noob get poor treatment.

    So I took a look at this Canonical Ltd. support. $250 for 9-5 support. I
    assume that is per year. So what you expect folks like my parents to do.
    Buy into this “insurance” system in the hopes that they will actually
    need this support? Why in God’s name would anyone pay that kind of money.

    Excellent question.  I assume you are aware that M$ offers the same thing?

    But I can understand the argument of not giving it to your parents.  What it really depends on is what kind of users your parents are.  If all they will ever do is browse the Internet and some occasional word processing, and they haven’t yet been indoctrinated into M$, then Ubuntu would suit them well.  The reason why users have a problem using Linux is that they are too used to M$.

    But like I said this issue will be fixed over time, since one of the points for Linux Developers is to beat out M$.

  33. So True, and is the same reasoning that I haven’t used MAC.

    OK, I posted the comparison in a different thread, but I’ll post it here too. I just priced a Dell 710 with Core 2 Extreme Quad processor and with a similar configuration, the Dell was $4,401, my Mac Pro was $3,600. Looks to me that the Dell is the “premium” priced system, not the Apple. Apple is pricing there systems very aggressively these days.

    The forums now may be better than they were, but my experience was unpleasant and is one I don’t want to have again. Plus, reading the responses requires a CompSci degree to understand. Linux is definitely not for me.

    At least Microsoft gives you one free call and there per call charge is only $99. $250 for 9-5 support no matter if you need it or not seems pretty excessive. Of course, I paid $250 for 3 years. Now, I did that this time because I’m really new to the Mac and OS X so I want a place I can turn to when needed.

    As to Microsoft’s and Apple’s ability to answer problems. I needed to reinstall Windows on my old box a while back, tried to and found my system wouldn’t see the CD. I called Dell when I couldn’t figure out what was going on. I got their hardware support first, a person in India. After about 45 minutes I was sent over to the software division since the hardware guy couldn’t figure it out. The software group charged me $99 and I got an American, or an Indian that could speak excellent English. He told me that the BIOS settings for the HD was set to make the HD perform faster, however, it can’t boot a CD. So he showed me what to change to allow the CD to be read and off I went. I argued that this was not a software problem and after a few more hours, I was able to get the charges reversed.

    Now, with my new Mac Pro, I was getting Kernel Panic’s seconds after a reboot. I tried all the things Apple users are supposed to try and still had problems. So, I called Apple and got in the queue. While I waited, I did a little more research and found that there were some files that installed with Cisco’s VPN client and removed the files and the Panic’s stopped. Right after that, I got a tech at Apple that sounded like he was in California, and since I solved the problem, I asked him if the procedure I followed was an appropriate one. He agreed. Total time, about 20 minutes.

    So, sure, I could have passed on the support, but I’m sure it will pay for itself before the 3 years is over.

    My mother surfs and emails, but my father likes to install programs and games. I can just see him killing the OS within a week of getting his hands on it. Before you say that it’s impossible to kill a Linux installation, you don’t know me very well. I have killed more Linux distro’s than I care to count.

  34. I never saw the appeal of Macs and I have acquired a distinct unfondness of NeXTstep that prejudices me against the modern versions of MacOS or whatever it’s called. I might spring for a copy, though, if it could be installed on a vanilla PC.

    Regarding the installation and configuration of Linux applications, it depends. You shouldn’t compare apples and oranges, though, and adjust for the familiarity with the OS platforms you compare. It’s a bit silly to complain about apps being hard to get running if one doesn’t know his or her way around the applicable OS. To be sure, there are plenty of apps in the Unix/Linux world that assume that you will sit down and RTFM. If they are pre-packaged for a Linux distro, the package maintainer can mitigate that. However, those apps that are hard to get going in Linux would entail a learning curve in Windows or MacOS, too.

    Having said, whatever floats your boat. By the way, it’s a bad mistake to set your mind on an OS monoculture right off the get-go. If you have multiple computers or have caught the virtualization bug, you can profitably run multiple OS platforms and match the OS to the task.

  35. I do run multiple OS’s on my Mac. I have Ubuntu installed and Windows XP Pro. Both using Parallels, and the WinXP Pro is installed in Boot Camp as well So that I can get the full glory of quad Xeon processors under Windows.

    I don’t have huge problems with Linux, other than killing the installations, but I wouldn’t install Linux for my parents. There is just way too much that can go wrong.

    As for RTFM’ing, that’s great for a geek who wants to play with the OS. My parents just want to get mail, browse the web and my dad likes to find free games and install them.

    I wasn’t all that fond of NeXTstep myself. However, I understand that it’s applications were stored like OS X’s are stored. For that, I love NeXTstep. Being able to simply copy an application from the DMG (disk image) file to my applications folder is just great. No DLL hell, no bizzare files floating around someplace I don’t know about. Just brilliant! Sure, there are traditional install programs, and they install files in other places I don’t know about, but there is still no DLL hell which Linux users enjoy too.

    That was pretty much the appeal for me to switch to a Mac. That and not having to read 15 million manuals on how to do this and that in Linux. If I want to, I can still do that, I can stay in the outer GUI, or I can run Windows either in Parallels or Boot Camp. Choices. I really like the choices the Mac gives me.

    Sorry, I get the feeling that I am starting to sound like an ad. smile

  36. As for RTFM’ing, that’s great for a geek who wants to play with the OS. My parents just want to get mail, browse the web and my dad likes to find free games and install them.

    How much RTFM do you need for Firefox and Thunderbird? The free games might be a problem, though, if your Dad insists on Windoze games.

    Sorry, I get the feeling that I am starting to sound like an ad.

    Not to worry. It’s well-known that Mac fans and Christian apologists are one of a kind wink

    Like I might have said before, Mac hardware and software simply doesn’t do anything for me. My only interest in the platform is retrocomputing – BasiliskII with the free MacOS 7.5.5 and perhaps one day I’ll bother to dig up a copy of A/UX and see how it fares on the emulator.

  37. To be sure, there are plenty of apps in the Unix/Linux world that assume that you will sit down and RTFM.

    Therein lies the rub.

  38. Dave M: I really like the choices the Mac gives me.

    I got my Mac primarily because it came with a nice 23 inch cinema display.  wink
    It’s an older G4, but it still gets the job done as far as kicking around some HTML or scripting, and maybe some light photoshop. 

    Now a newer Mac with XP running under parallels – that would be sweet indeed – no more KVM switches, and certainly less of that “ready for takeoff” sound that all those fans in my PC tower evoke, and I could test WebSphere apps all the live long day while still checking my iChat.

    Les: I’m with Dave M. on this one. When it comes to installing software, Windows—including Vista—kicks the living shit out of every Linux distro I’ve played with and that includes Ubuntu and Debian. The only current OS with an easier install is OS X.

    Agreed.  I was a bit startled the first time I ran an install under OS/X because I didn’t think it could possibly be as easy as it was.

  39. elwedriddsche,

    How much RTFM do you need for Firefox and Thunderbird?

    None. But the problem isn’t using those programs. It’s installing them. In my experiences with RedHat 6.0, I was presented with about 8 versions of Firefox and the latest wasn’t one of them. Some programs require pre-requisit programs in order to “install” them. I could never get those programs to work.

    I suspect that installing programs have changed a lot since the old RedHat 6.0 days. I really should spend some time in Ubuntu, but I find myself doing way too much stuff in OS X.

    It’s well-known that Mac fans and Christian apologists are one of a kind.

    Funny thing is that I was a Windows user since Windows 3.0. That’s about 12 years now. I was happy enough with most of the OS’s up to XP. Vista just seems “way” out there and I have a feeling that home users like my parents would have no idea what to do. If my dad switched to Office 2007, I’m sure he would have no idea what to do to work on the documents he works on.

    The GUI’s are so different from previous versions.

  40. But the problem isn’t using those programs. It’s installing them.

    Huh?

    In my experiences with RedHat 6.0

    Excuse me, but that was what, seven years ago, give or take? Isn’t it a bit cheeky to make statements about contemporary Linux without a big, fat disclaimer of how out of touch you are?

    It’s no skin off my nose if you run a Mac, though.

  41. OK, I’m going to go into Ubuntu now and see if I can install a program easily. smile

    OK, so I wanted to install Thunderbird. I started by looking for an “Install programs” entry in the menus, but found Synaptic Package Manager. If it weren’t for our previous discussions, I wouldn’t have known that is where I am supposed to go. I searched for Thunderbird and got a list of about 50 entries. Which one am I supposed to choose to install Thunderbird? So, even though 7 years have passed, the problem still exits that there are too many choices to do a simple install.

    So I selected the first entry, and after some confusion over what I was supposed to do after selecting the program I wanted to install, I managed to figure out I needed to click “Apply”. Not exactly intuitive. After another dialog, I get an error message stating: “E: I wasn’t able to locate file for the mozilla-thunderbird package. This might mean you need to manually fix this package. E: Unable to lock the download directory”.

    So, there you have it. Unless I am missing something here, it’s no better than it was 7 years ago.

  42. OS X uses BEos for it’s backbone

    No, OSX uses BSD unix.  BeOS was a wonderful non-unix, non-windows OS that failed financially.

    My biggest problems with the Mac is the fact that it’s still more expensive than it should be

    As Dave M. pointed out, Apple hardware is actually reasonably priced for what you get, and when you factor in build quality and component quality, it is a good deal.  The problem with the hardware is that there is no mid price-range options for systems with external monitors.  For people like myself who already spent a fortune on a 23” Cinema Display, I can either get a Mac Mini toy system or a top-of-the-line Mac Pro with top-of-the-line pricing.  Some more hardware choices would make it much easier to justify switching to Apple hardware for desktops.  Oh, and OSX trying to support all the hardware out there would be a big mistake for Apple.  Part of what makes OSX work so well is that it supports only a limited subset of hardware, but supports it well.

    It’s well-known that Mac fans and Christian apologists are one of a kind.

    I find this rather insulting.  I switched to using Macs a few years ago and I like them for good reasons.  I’ve used dozens of OS’s over the last few decades—DOS, Windows 3.0, WinNT-2K-XP, linux (slackware, red hat, mandrake, suse), Solaris, SCO, FreeBSD, BeOS, Mac OS9 (yuck!), and even my own 32-bit OS to name a few—so I’m very well experienced with different OS’s, and I find OSX to be the least problematic and easiest to use OS out there.  I’ve done professional software developement on a Mac, which was then trivially ported to Windows thanks to WxWidgets; I’ve done extensive research on a Mac using all my unix tools, which were trivial to build using the included unix tools; I wrote my thesis on a Mac using latex; and I have a Mac version of MS Office for compatability with my Windows-using colleagues and clients.

    I still have a Windows box, but since I got a Mac I only boot it up to play games and compile Windows versions of software releases.  I’ve been using my Mac PowerBook notebook computer for about 10 hours a day, every day for the last two years, and there has not been one single hardware or OS problem.  With its predecessor, a Dell Inspiron 8000, I went through two broken displays, two broken keyboards, four broken mousepads, and multiple driver problems in under a year and a half.

    So, in a nutshell, I’m a computer nerd doing serious computer work, and I’ve found Apple hardware with OSX to be the best platform available.  No blind-faith needed here.

    When it comes to installing software, Windows—including Vista—kicks the living shit out of every Linux distro

    About once a year since 1994 (remember slackware?) I’ve tried installing Linux and using it as my primary OS.  Every time, after a month or so I give up on it: installing programs is too difficult (and I’m no stranger to configure and make), system configuration is a nightmare (e.g., what was that line I needed to add to the fstab?), and getting drivers to work is like pulling teeth (my own in most cases).  All of these areas are improving rapidly, but in the end I still get little return for my hard work: game support and performance is not as good as under windows, the system is not as polished or easy to maintain as OSX, and applications are not as mature or diverse as with either Windows or OSX.  I’m currently gearing up for my yearly attempt, this time with Ubuntu, but I’m doubting that it will last.

    Back on topic, I find absolutely no reason to upgrade to Vista.  UI eye-candy (AeroGlass) will not improve my productivity, game support will not be better for several years at least, and I don’t see any serious sercurity improvements.  I haven’t even upgraded to XP, since 2000 does everything it does almost as well, and Vista just seems like an expensive way to use up my system resources and restrict media playback.

    Office 2007 could potentially be very nice since the new interface has some better organization of features, but again I can’t justify spending the money for something that will not really improve my productivity (I’ve already learned the quirks of using Office:Mac 2004 and Office 97, so the new interface is just a different layout).

  43. (DWangerin)

    (me) It’s well-known that Mac fans and Christian apologists are one of a kind

    I find this rather insulting.

    Kindly refrain from misquoting me. The remark was intended as tongue in cheek and concluded with a smiley to make this explicit. However, even lacking the smiley I wouldn’t retract it.

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