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I think that the development of an OS is similar to the building of a structure. If you want to further the development you have two options building the new features on top of it or build a new structure starting again from the foundations. Deciding wich one is the adequate one is critical, you got 50% of possibilities to take the right decision, but also 50% of screwing it up.
When Microsoft started the development of next OS codenamed Longhorn, they were trying to do a big leap. The new features, included WinFS a new filesystem, a new GUI Aero that required the building of a new graphical architecture, the notorious Palladium Windows Security System, the decision to base the OS in the .NET Framework, the debut of Monad an scripting shell, etc. It was about two years ago that they realized that if they want to continue with the plan the only way was to build the OS from scratch, because these new features will mean changes deeply in the core of the OS. There was a lot of noise on that days, in the end they decided to keep their aging infrastructure and build on top of it the new features. A critical decision...
Because of these changes in the direction of development, most of the features were drooped, WinFS, Monad and other features were phased out for the release of Vista. They are supposed to be implemented in the future, who knows. This explains the continue delaying of the OS. The worst thing of this decision is that most of the grave problems that Windows has now will still be present in Vista.
However they keep pushing Aero as a key feature, that was one of their priorities instead of other grave flaws in the OS (security, someone? ). So in order to have Aero and the new graphical architecture, they were forced to create some sub-structures aside of the main structure, kind of workarounds, because their current structure will collapse if they dare to build Aero on top of it. This again more delays and more duplicate efforts to just patch the structure fearing that will collapse anytime.
It's just a fact that if you try to solve the flaws of the OS by patching it and creating workarounds to everything, you need a herculean work force to do it. In the end, the system continues inestable and risks serial failures if you don't patch it again and again...
I'm sure that the critical decisions they took will have consequences for the future of Windows, remains to be seen if they were right or wrong.
- Windows Starter 2007 (Previously Windows Vista Starter Edition). This version does not use the Vista branding because it will not include the Aero graphics display found in the Vista line of products, and will only ship in a 32-bit version.
- Windows Vista Home Basic (and Home Basic N). A simple version of Windows Vista that is aimed at single PC homes. Windows Vista Home Basic is the baseline version of Windows Vista, and the version that all other product editions will build from. Home Basic N is aimed at the EU and will lack Windows Media Player.
- Windows Vista Home Premium. Whole home entertainment and personal productivity throughout the home and on the go. As a true superset of Home Basic, Windows Vista Home Premium Edition will include everything from Home Basic, as well as Media Center and Media Center Extender functionality (including Cable Card support).
- Windows Vista Business (and Business N) (Previously Windows Vista Professional Edition). Windows Vista Business is roughly analogous to XP Pro today. This version is aimed at business decision makers and IT managers and generalists. Business N is aimed at the EU and will lack Windows Media Player.
- Windows Vista Enterprise. Optimized for the enterprise, this version will be a true superset of Windows Vista Pro Edition. It will also include unique features such as Virtual PC, the multi-language user interface (MUI), and the Secure Startup/full volume encryption security technologies ("Cornerstone"). There is no analogous XP version for this product.
- Windows Vista Ultimate. The best operating system ever offered for a personal PC, optimized for the individual. Windows Vista Ultimate Edition is a superset of both Vista Home Premium and Vista Business, so it includes all of the features of both of those product versions, plus other features.
Well... for a single user that has to upgrade to play the latest games, first or second option should be enough I guess(if you don't want a 64 bits system indeed). In fact, a lot of peoples got WinXP Pro, but home should be just fine in most cases and it was not expensive... really...
i think i need to post further ... the problems of vista and things windows in general , i mean things that somehow in a sense just *work* ... mac stuffs could be kind of too costy but anyway here is something i found recently , they are from the author of pdisk ::
donno on which thread should i post , but anyway here is it ...
>> "Why Windows Vista has not been released yet?"
damn !! why bother about it , windows(if its happens that you still need it) should stick with either 98 or 2000 and no more ... xp and onwards ?? use them at your school/work-place or something , remember ... we are all *nix heads , good or bad , blind or bright , lousy or super-intelligent ... but ... do not stray too much , do not think like "windows" ...
if feeling bored or lost(as in "What is your biggest problem with Linux?") or something , probably its time for us to try out this plan 9 , maybe computing history is full of surprises and twists , sometime intendtional but i suspect many times its un-intendtional , quite unlike hard-politics ...