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How workable is Vista?

Discussion in 'Embedded' started by rickman, Jun 17, 2008.

  1. rickman

    rickman Guest

    I have been looking to buy a new computer for a bit and I had just
    about decided on a Windows XP based system from Dell. Today I called
    them and found that not only are they not going to sell XP machines
    after tomorrow, but the orders are flooding in! It seems pretty crazy
    to me that if XP is still that popular, they would stop selling it.
    Is this something mandated by MicroSoft?

    So the question is, is Vista ready for prime time? I have heard
    nothing but bad about it and I know that a lot of software vendors
    have yet to support it... at least the last time I looked. Are the
    rumors true of Vista being a PITA or just plain incompatible? Is it
    time to switch to Linux?

    What experiences have people had with Vista?

    rickman, Jun 17, 2008
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  2. Vista is OK performance wise but it is incompatible with older
    programs like Visual C++ 6.0.

    You do need at least 2 GB of RAM for decent performance.
    EventHelix.com, Jun 17, 2008
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  3. rickman

    Joerg Guest


    Quote: "After June 18th you have the option to purchase Windows Vista
    Business or Windows Vista Ultimate with a downgrade service to Windows
    XP Professional."

    So it seems not all is lost.

    I don't have any because I opted not to use Vista. Heard and read about
    too many incompatibilities WRT legacy software, DOS full-screen and
    such. Also, I've heard of people who bought a stash of XP licenses just
    in case.

    Regards, Joerg


    "gmail" domain blocked because of excessive spam.
    Use another domain or send PM.
    Joerg, Jun 17, 2008

  4. I do a bit of "computer doctor" on the side for extra dosh. I hate
    hate hate hate hate hate when I'm presented with a Vista machine. It's
    an absolute hog of an operating system, ridiculously slow and full of
    all sorts of "features" that hinder your every attempt to productively
    use a computer. A lot of applications that worked perfectly with XP
    simply won't work with Vista, even simple applications like Collins
    English Dictionary. Plus it's slow, real slow. Plus Control Panel has
    been given a disgusting overhaul so that even the most mentally
    retarded people can use it, which is detrimental to the power user.

    Avoid Vista like the plague. If you can't get XP on the machine, then
    just get Vista and then do one of the following:
    1) Pay extra for the super duper version of Vista, because with
    the super duper version, Microsoft will give you a free license for
    Windows XP if you decide to downgrade.
    2) If you're "honest": Get normal Vista, then go out and buy XP,
    wipe the machine and install XP.
    3) If you're "dishonest": Get normal Vista, then download the
    corporate version of XP via bittorrent. The corporate version works
    with a universal CD key, and works perfectly without restriction.

    I got a laptop with Vista on it because the price was right. Two
    guesses which of the above options I chose.

    As for Linux... well at the moment I've got Kubuntu and Backtrack
    installed. Linux is still a long way away from replacing Windows, and
    both sadly and frankly, I don't think a free operating system can ever
    replace a paid-for one. Don't get me wrong, there's bucketloads of
    fantastic free software out there, OpenVPN for example, but when it
    comes to a great big operating system, you need to pay the lads.

    A friend of mine switched to Mac a couple of years ago and never
    looked back. He was a power user of Windows, knew his way around the
    system registry, did some programming with the Win32 API, but he still
    hasn't looked back even though he had to start from scratch with Mac.

    I'd switch to Mac myself but I'm just a bit... eh... set in my ways. I
    tried to switch to Linux but I jut got pissed off with the bugs and
    lack of functionality and now I've pretty much given it the boot.
    There's projects running at the moment where people are trying to get
    Mac OS to run on normal IBM-compatible machines that normally run
    Windows. I might give it a go at some stage... but for now I'm more
    than happy with my heavily customised installation of XP.
    Tomás Ó hÉilidhe, Jun 17, 2008
  5. rickman

    Joerg Guest

    Here's a list that I found:


    That's reason number xx why I don't have Vista. It's pathetic to need so
    much RAM.

    Regards, Joerg


    "gmail" domain blocked because of excessive spam.
    Use another domain or send PM.
    Joerg, Jun 17, 2008
  6. Wait 2-3 years till MS will release several service packs for Vista.
    1. Vista is incompatible with many older softwares, such as VDSP 4.0,
    for example.

    2. Vista is incompatible with many older drivers, such as dllportio. So
    forget about the legacy hardware and the JTAG simulation on the parallel

    3. Vista is slower then XP regardless of the amount of memory. With all
    bells and whistles switched off, the speed of the execution is somewhat
    30% slower on the dual core machine.
    Only if you are enjoying working on computer instead of using a computer
    for work.
    Vista works, however it doesn't offer any advantages over XP.

    Vladimir Vassilevsky
    DSP and Mixed Signal Design Consultant
    Vladimir Vassilevsky, Jun 17, 2008
  7. rickman

    rickman Guest

    But that means you have to pay for Vista *and* you have to pay for
    XP. They call this *Vista Bonus*... talk about a marketing scheme!

    I have a problem with paying Microsoft twice for an OS on the same
    machine. This really is putting me off the whole idea of buying a
    windows amachine at all. We'll see if it can actually push me over
    the edge to Linux though.

    rickman, Jun 17, 2008
  8. rickman

    rickman Guest

    No, this is what they call "Vista Bonus" which is the most expensive
    version. In essence, you are paying for both versions of the OS.

    rickman, Jun 17, 2008
  9. rickman

    rickman Guest

    I would be happy to consider the Mac if it would run the software that
    I use. But the FGPA vendors don't support it and the PCB layout
    software I like doesn't run on it... at least I haven't heard that it
    does. Will the Mac run PC software like Linux does using something
    like WINE?

    rickman, Jun 17, 2008
  10. rickman

    JeffM Guest

    JeffM, Jun 17, 2008
  11. rickman

    larwe Guest

    Sorta. You can dual-boot Intel Macs to Windows - but this puts you
    back in exactly the same position of needing to acquire a Windows
    license. You can also use virtualization software like Parallels
    Desktop, but (a) you still need a Windows license, and (b) my
    experience at least is that a fair percentage of embedded dev hardware
    doesn't work in virtualization. Some does, some doesn't, it's very hit
    or miss. Currently I do about 60% of my work on a MacBook in MacOS;
    the remainder is split between Linux and WinXP. I was given a free
    Vista Professional license by Microsoft, but I haven't got a machine
    that's capable of running it, due to missing drivers. Really, I don't
    think it's missing drivers, I think it's that none of my machines have
    graphics cards that support Vista's DRM requirements, but whatever -
    the installer complains and I haven't bothered to go further and see
    what happens.

    Software vendors are starting to take more notice of MacOS. The usual
    route is for the Linux version to be rebuilt as an X11 binary for
    MacOS, since that's not much work. Ugly, but serviceable. The next
    step is for it to be rebuilt as a native app. EAGLE has taken that
    route (yay! V5 is MacOS native!)

    BTW you haven't yet mentioned the fact that 60% of the drivers for
    embedded dev hardware are unsigned. Vista 32-bit will not by default
    allow you to load unsigned drivers (though it is possible to coerce
    it). Vista 64-bit will not load unsigned drivers, period.
    larwe, Jun 17, 2008
  12. rickman

    David Brown Guest


    My first-hand experience with Vista is fairly limited - it came with a
    laptop I have, and I was not impressed. If I had wanted a toy, I'd have
    bought a playstation.

    For each generation of windows, MS have been trying to make the OS
    easier to use for common tasks. The problem is that it's only *their*
    definition of common tasks, and it comes at the expense of making less
    common things harder.

    People often say that Linux has a steep learning curve compared to
    Windows. That's not actually a very accurate picture. It's more
    correct to think that Windows has a steep learning curve, but fairly low
    offset - it's easy to get into, but hard to do more advanced stuff. And
    it's getting steeper all the time. Linux, on the other hand, has a much
    flatter learning curve, but a higher offset - once you've got the
    basics, you can get a lot further more easily. And the offset and start
    curve are getting easier all the time.
    This all depends on your use. For an experienced "power user" on
    windows, it's hard to move to Linux - things don't work as you expect.
    It takes time to re-learn things. I use XP for my main desktop, because
    it is what I am most familiar with - but I have kubuntu on a Virtual Box
    machine for when I need something windows can't provide (such as the
    occasional application, better networking, or more convenient software
    installation). I also use kubuntu on my laptop.

    For an everyday user of OpenOffice, FireFox and Thunderbird, the change
    is barely noticeably - my wife and kids have no problems using the
    kubuntu laptop.

    And for server usage, Windows has a very long way to go before it can
    come close to the power, flexibility, convenience, manageability and
    value for money of Linux.
    David Brown, Jun 17, 2008
  13. rickman

    David Brown Guest

    I don't think you are paying for both versions of the OS - you are
    paying MS for a single OS license, and you are paying Dell for the
    "downgrade service". At least, that's how I interpret the wording.

    You can also think of it as a simple price increase - after all, XP is
    worth a lot more than Vista.
    David Brown, Jun 17, 2008
  14. rickman

    Jack Guest


    by chance have you tried the Codewarrior Suite from Freescale with
    Parallels (and/or Bootcamp)? It's is working? and what about the
    USBTap and USBtoSerial adapter?

    Another thing: some of you is using Altium Designer with a Mac
    (through Parallels or Bootcamp)?


    Bye Jack
    Jack, Jun 17, 2008
  15. rickman

    larwe Guest

    For small values of "perfectly" where special hardware is involved.
    The MSP430 Windows USB-JTAG drivers, in particular, cause a kernel
    panic when you attempt to use such hardware within Parallels or
    larwe, Jun 17, 2008
  16. rickman

    David Brown Guest

    There are just so many things to choose from, that's all. People won't
    agree on what's the nicest colour - but they'll mostly agree that colour
    is nice to have.
    Prioritizing I/O is a good thing (Linux has had it for years), if you
    have multiple tasks that are all bottlenecked on I/O speed. It's a
    useful feature for servers, but of little use for the average user on a
    That's why Bill Gates invented morning coffee!
    Avoiding Internet Explorer and Outlook Express (and Outlook) is the most
    important step to avoiding malware on Windows. The other important
    method is to *think* a little about what you are doing. These
    techniques work on all versions of Windows (and are even easier on
    non-Windows machines :)

    UAC is definitely a step towards avoiding accidental installation of
    malware or otherwise seriously messing up your machine, so it's a good
    idea (note that "sudo" on *nix is nearly 30 years old - three cheers for
    Microsoft's innovation!). I can't really judge whether it is too much
    of a pest to be useful in normal usage - since I've only use Vista for
    testing purposes, I wanted to install a lot of stuff, and therefore
    found UAC a pain. Certainly there is the risk that people will turn it
    off just to stop it bugging them - that happens to a great many
    firewalls on windows.
    Welcome to the real world.

    For people using a home PC mainly for web and email, cataloguing their
    digital photographs, playing music, and some light office apps, they are
    faster, safer and cheaper using Linux.

    For people using a PC for common business tasks, OpenOffice, FireFox,
    and Thunderbird or Evolution on any platform will cover most needs -
    Linux or XP are smaller, faster and cheaper than Vista.

    For people using a PC for games, XP is currently the best platform.

    For people doing more specialised work, compatibility with a range of
    software and/or hardware is critical. Whether XP or Linux is the best
    choice will depend on the details of the work - but Vista is out.

    Vista can and should be judged by how well it runs software that people
    need to run, and how well it supports hardware that people need to use.
    That includes old programs and old hardware (and new hardware - Vista
    has had more than a few problems with lack of drivers for newer hardware).
    David Brown, Jun 17, 2008
  17. Perfectly well using either Parallels or VMWare.
    You still need a Windows license, of course.
    Clifford Heath, Jun 17, 2008
  18. (Sorry Google has made a balls of quoting today for some reason)

    On Jun 17, 6:29 am, "MC" <>


    I pay regular visits to msconfig to keep my machine fresh. I've an
    Intel Core Duo 1.83 GHz. My desktop appears quickly and I can start
    clicking straight away. If your XP is polluted then Yes it can take a
    couple of minutes. But if it's lean and clean, it's quick as


    I hate that stuff. For example, under Linux, I'm always logged in as
    root. I have full control over what executables files I run, and I'm
    not thick, so I don't have a problem.
    And yes I do see those prompts every day, must just be the kind of
    user I am.
    Tomás Ó hÉilidhe, Jun 17, 2008
  19. rickman

    David Brown Guest

    Using the closed source version of Virtual Box (it's closed source, but
    free for most practical uses), you can pass USB devices through to the
    guest system without the host having to have drivers. I've not tried
    Virtual Box on the Mac, but I had no problems using a windows-only USB
    dongle from a Virtual Box windows guest on a Linux host.
    David Brown, Jun 17, 2008
  20. rickman

    David Brown Guest

    On Linux it is *so* easy to mix and match root and normal user work that
    it's just plain daft to login as "root" for normal usage. There is "su"
    (or "sudo su -") for command lines, kdesudo or gsudo for use on KDE or
    Gnome (most gui-controlled stuff that requires root runs these
    automatically), and setuid bits for scripts.

    If you are using Linux as a server, and most of your work is
    administration that requires root privileges, then logging in as root
    makes some sense, but even then you are best logging in as a user and
    using su (or "sudo su -") on your shell.

    If you are working with a desktop, then it's silly to login as root -
    it's like removing the door to your house to avoid the minor
    inconvenience of opening it.
    David Brown, Jun 17, 2008
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