Gnomie Michael Schroeder writes:

Hi, Chris. I just watched your Vista rant video. You are right on when you say Vista is not ready for prime time. Anybody who deals with more than a couple of computers already knows this.

The problem is you are looking at Microsoft from the eyes and paradigm of a geek (said with the utmost reverence, as I am a fellow geek). We think, properly, that a “technology” company like Microsoft should care about producing a quality product. It does not. And this is part of the core problem. Microsoft is not driven by great technology, it is driven by great marketing. If the product does not work, so what? As long as it can get people to buy it, Microsoft is happy.

Look at its history and we see this to be a consistently repeated theme. Its actions clearly display its values. Remember Windows ME? Microsoft almost publicly admitted that ME was a huge failure (but it was not so forthright in saying it was a failure because it was full of unacceptable bugs). What about Windows 98 — remember how Microsoft duped some stupid people into buying 98 beta? Wow, buy a beta product… what a concept. Then those same people had to buy Windows 98. Oh yeah, when Microsoft finally started to get things right and released 98 “Second Edition,” people had to BUY that yet again! Did Microsoft care that it initially released a crappy product? No! It was ecstatic because it got people to pay for the same operating system three times. Windows 98 was a great success because the Microsoft marketing engine produced gobs of money.

Its marketing driven philosophy follows even into the server world. Yes, it seems to be a bit more careful on the server side (after all, the geeks mostly run this world and we are not going to hang our job on a server that crashes every few days and won’t run half our apps). But even here we see that Microsoft rushes to get a product out quickly instead of properly. NT 4.0 was very problematic until SR2 or 3. I was happy to see it push the NT 5 release and even yank some promised features to address core OS problems, but even then it put Windows 2000 (NT 5) out with unacceptable bugs. After watching the Windows Server cycle with dismay from back in the 3.x days I finally adopted the stance — which I hold to this day — that I will not deploy a new Microsoft server OS until it has been out in the community for at least a year. I have some colleagues who will not deploy a Microsoft server until the third or even fourth service release.

Maybe my colleagues and I are just spoiled. We grew up with server operating systems that were feature rich and relatively free of major problems from day one of public release. (IBM, VAX, Sun, Silicon Graphics, etc.)

Microsoft’s marketing focus rather than technology focus is what we really should be ranting about. Microsoft needs to become a technology company that produces good technology. It needs to stop being a marketing company that can sell any old piece of crap.

I said that Microsoft is “part” of the core problem. We are the other part. The community. At least, a lot of the community. Especially those community people who are calling you and others like you names for standing up and proclaiming the truth about Vista — they are the problem. As long as we are willing to pay for crap software, Microsoft is going to keep making it. As long as we are willing to keep buying the marketing engine, Microsoft will continue to be a marketing engine.

I applaud everyone who has refused to accept Vista. I applaud people who created such a backlash when Microsoft tried to force OEM computer manufacturers to stop shipping XP that the OEMs said “no way.” I applaud those in the community who are refusing to accept another piece of bad programming from Microsoft — who are saying “we’ll buy it only after you fix it.”

This is where change must happen. It must happen in the community. When the community finds integrity enough to say “no,” we will see Microsoft come to us and say “we want your input now.” We might even see Microsoft say “we are not going to put this product on the shelf until it works.”

I have no illusion that this will actually happen though. The community did not buy OS/2, it bought Windows. The community did not buy Novell, it bought Windows. The community did not buy VAX LanManager, it bought Windows. All three of these competing products were vastly superior to Windows in almost every respect (and I have not even mentioned Apple). But people buy marketing, so we purchased and are now living with an inferior product. We have adopted Windows almost to the point of a religion, and now we complain that there are not any other good alternatives? WE ALL BUT KILLED THE BETTER ALTERNATIVES!

Like you, I care for some reason. Even after almost three decades in this game I somehow still care. So I have to stand up and call a spade a spade. The spade is that nothing will change so long as we continue to pull out our wallets and pay for poorly developed software. The spade is that if non-technical people don’t start listening to those of us who really know, they are going to keep getting duped by Microsoft marketing.

The other spade is that these community members who fancy themselves “experts” because they are smart and work with two or three computers in a home environment need to step down and shut up. Their Vista computer may run perfectly. Good to hear! They need to start supporting a few dozen systems in a network environment before they open up their yap and claim to offer “expert” advice!

More power to you, Chris. You keep yelling from the top of that soap box — maybe people will start to listen!