lundi 26 mai 2008

Vista versus XP comparison by Microsoft

If a company releases a product and a successor of that product a few years later and then a document comparing the features of both products; What would you expect from that comparison ? Every company in the world would obviously come to the conclusion that their new product is far superior than the old one.

Microsoft released a Windows Feature Comparison white paper [link, via Ars Technica] that compares Windows Vista and Windows XP. The not so surprising result of the comparison is that Windows Vista is superior to Windows XP everywhere, well except for a few parameters that have not been compared with each other.

Microsoft is having a hard time convincing the public that Windows Vista is a “good” operating system, that upgrading to it does indeed make sense from various standpoints. The feature comparison explains how the features are implemented in XP and Vista in two columns and outlines the key differences in a third.

The following features are compared:

  • Security Development Lifecycle (SDL)
  • Defense in depth
  • Windows BitLocker™ Drive Encryption
  • Windows Firewall
  • Windows Internet Explorer® 7 Protected Mode
  • Microsoft ActiveX® Installer Service
  • Group Policy settings
  • Standard user accounts
  • Reliability and diagnostics
  • Event management
  • Task scheduling
  • Image-based setup (IBS)
  • Deployment, compatibility, and asset -inventory tools
  • Windows Setup
  • Worldwide single-image deployment
  • Windows Mobility Center
  • Sync Center
  • Offline files
  • Network Projection
  • Secure Sockets Tunnel Protocol (SSTP)
  • Power management
  • Wireless networking
  • Search
  • User interface and navigation

The intended audience for the white paper is clearly not the end user but people working in IT. Microsoft is comparing security, deployment and management which are key features for IT admins who have to make decisions on the upcoming company operating system.

Windows Vista is not a bad operating system. The PC I bought for my mother is running Windows Vista and it’s working out fine for her. My major problem with Windows Vista is that, apart from the forced exclusiveness of Direct X 10, it is not providing anything that I would need that I could not have in Windows XP.

Software developers have created so many excellent programs that add to the Windows XP experience that the other features in Windows Vista do not seem to be that exclusive. Just look at Bitlocker and Search for instance. Instead of using Bitlocker users can install True Crypt, and there are so many desktop search replacements for Windows XP that I stopped counting long ago.

Microsoft’s main problem in my opinion is the lack of new features from a user’s standpoint that would make a user say: Wow, that’s better. The one key are that they did not mention in their feature comparison is performance and that is probably the area where they could make the biggest impact. But I guess that we have to wait until Windows 7 is released to the public before we see an improvement there as well.

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