What Will Vista's Legacy Be?

Years from now, when you've moved on to Windows 7, you'll look back at Windows Vista fondly. You'll remember its fabulous attributes, not its flaws. (Yes, Vista's terrible driver support and not-so-nimble performance will be banished from your mind.)

Wait, don't start flaming me on this: That's the opinion of a Microsoft executive who said in a recent interview he believes that Vista's not-so-hot reputation will be exonerated in the next couple of years.

If that theory is true, then I should still miss my used, ugly, monkey-poop brown 1971 AMC Gremlin that featured a driver's door that I had to tie shut with rope because the door jamb was rusted out. Let me tell you folks, I don't miss anything about that car, although I do fondly recall the day I accidentally set it on fire while pouring gas into the carburetor. But that's another story.

In a blog item on CRN's ChannelWeb, Steve Guggenheimer, vice president of Microsoft's OEM division, said he thinks that because the new Windows 7 -- which was officially released to manufacturing yesterday in preparation for its October 22 release date -- shares much of its code with Vista, that most negative consumer views will soften over time for it.

"I think people will look back on Vista after the Windows 7 release and realize that there were actually a bunch of good things there," Guggenheimer was quoted as saying in the interview. "So it'll actually be interesting to see in two years what the perception is of Vista."

Hogwash

Did I mention that decades later, I still definitely, positively, absolutely do not miss my old monkey-poop brown 1971 AMC Gremlin ONE LITTLE BIT?

I don't miss the Gremlin because it was a piece of junk. Yes, I got it free from an ex-girlfriend who didn't drive, but it was no bargain. The body was rusting out, the engineering was terrible, the build quality was shoddy, it was slow and it didn't handle or stop well. Sort of like an automotive version of the Windows Vista computer operating system...

OK, maybe that's a little harsh. Not everyone bashes their Vista-equipped computers. Yes, there are many, many users out there who like it just fine, with all of its pretty and flashy bells and whistles.

But for many others, and for lots and lots of business users, Vista was never adopted because of its shortcomings -- mainly having to do with inadequate driver support for basic peripherals like printers. I think it's inexcusable that something as simple as basic and wide-ranging printer driver support could be lacking in Vista, causing many users to have to ditch perfectly functioning printers because they weren't compatible with Vista.

Because of all of these issues, there are millions of PC users -- consumers and businesses alike -- who never made the switch from their old, reliable Windows XP operating systems to Vista. Microsoft has been hurting financially due to that phenomenon, and they certainly don't want to see it happen again with Windows 7.

Let the honeymoon begin!

(Todd R. Weiss is a freelance technology journalist who formerly wrote for Computerworld.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TechManTalking)

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