The news world has been alive over this question. The latest version of Microsoft’s flagship operating system hits the store shelves on Jan/30.

To decide whether to Vista or not, it is important to look at the somewhat checkered history of the Windows product. Prior to the release of Windows 3.11 it was the laughing stock of the industry.

It was Windows 95 that changed the ‘vista’ of Windows. Pretty much from the release of Windows 95 it was downhill all the way. Now Microsoft did make a bit of a mistake when they released Windows ME. ME was a truly horrible product! When ME hit the unsuspecting public in 2000, it was a story of shock and horror! In fact I am pretty much convinced that the whole Iraq conflict could have been avoided by dropping copies of ME on Baghdad! Sadam would have begged forgiveness and mended his ways.

I was living in Phoenix at the time, I remember it quite well. I was kept busy for several months reformatting hard drives and reinstalling Windows 98 on customer’s computers.

The next big change was Windows XP in 2001. Well I can honestly say that I did not see people lining up around the block for this release. XP managed to obsolete a high percentage of computers currently in service. It needed lots of RAM (which was very expensive) and a fast processor. 

XP also introduced us to the tiered level of software. For $150 you can have the crippled Home Edition, or for $350 you could have the feature rich Pro Edition. It does not take much rocket science to figure out which one is the favorite with the software pirates.

So along comes Vista, on the upside the name is more fun than 98, ME, or XP. But do you need Vista?

I work with computers all day long, and when I get home I play with computers. I am a computer geek!

But I do not need Vista, Vista would ruin my life, worse than that, it would ruin my bank account. All of my computers are junk. I do have lots of them, but they are junk. When one breaks I just build another one out of my junk pile. They all do useful things though.

My main TV is a 10 year old Apple Mac PowerPc with a 19 inch monitor and tuner card. My ‘Web Server’ is a Pentium III 650 that lives in an empty beer case; most of my ‘media’ is served through a Pentium III 850 that lives in a custom built Plastic Canvas case.

Moving to Vista would require me to obsolete all of these fine items and go spend money on new hardware.

What many people do not realize is that computer speed is only important sometimes. If all you want to do is cruise the net, write letters, play music and video, or even create stories on BNN, any piece of junk works fine!

The only time you need speed is if you are a gamer. The games eat your systems performance.

As far as Vista is concerned I will not be converting. I suspect that I am not alone in this decision. I have way too many computers, and at $150 a copy I would need to take out a second mortgage to pay for it.

It is my theory that Vista will actually be the straw that breaks the proverbial Camels back. Several of my computers run an operating system called Linux. Linux comes in many different flavors, most of which are completely free.

Up until about a year ago I would not have advocated Linux for the guy in the street, but times have changed. The various families of Linux have come a very long way in a very short time. Hell it even looks like Windows!

You want the new Aero look of Vista? You can get it for free with Fedora.

There are very few programs that have not been recreated for the Linux environment. OpenOffice looks and feels just like Microsoft Office.

I guess I am just getting old and grey, I’ll stick to what I know works on my computers!

Simon Barrett  

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