Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Objective review of why Vista pisses me off (or Why isn't Vista more like Ubuntu?

So I'm being completely upfront in the title as to where I am on this one, but I think that it's worth giving some airtime to a few of these. Readers might care to note that they should route around the "grumpy Yorkshireman that doesn't like change" for some of these. You never know, I might get some comments explaining why I'm a bozo when it comes to Windows.

Avalon and the new Windows Aero UI.
I gave it two weeks and then I'd had enough. Does it really make me more productive having all that shit, or is it just effects for the sake of it? I have the same opinion on Compiz - I haven't yet seen a compelling reason for it to exist, beyond being secretly sponsored by Nvidia / ATI to make people get shiny new graphics cards. Let the conspiracy theorists chew on that one. And despite paying Dell more for a fancy graphics card in this laptop,


apparently it's not that good.

Blue screen of Death
No really, I had one in my first week, and I've had one since then. Lovely. Occasionally (once a quarter?) when running Ubuntu Dapper, I've had X lock up on me and be completely unresponsive, to the extent that I couldn't even switch to a virtual terminal or ssh into the box and do something to it. The first time this happened, I went climbing at lunchtime, came back and it was still borked, so just a hard reboot to fix that. A reboot once a quarter on a development machine doesn't strike me as too bad. Vista is managing once a week at the moment, and in neither case am I writing C or any system level code. It's all Java / Python / Ruby and that sort of level.

Black screen of death
That was a Vista new feature for me; I've never had that on previous versions of Windows. This is progress people!

Still no decent shell
I'm using Cygwin, but it doesn't seem to let me tail files and press Return to get some space in between lines. Minor, but annoying.

Continual swapping
Previously I was on a 2GB RAM Dell workstation, and now I have a 2GB RAM Dell laptop. The laptop is always swapping. What's changed? Well, I'm now on Vista rather than Ubuntu and I'm not running Oracle XE anymore, but otherwise the services running are much the same. IDEA / Eclipse, Tomcat, MySQL, Firefox, intermittent email client and a text editor. Don't know why Vista is always swapping (TaskMngr thinks it has 700MB free) but it's bloody annoying.

Broken file permissions
Doing a release today, the VPN crashed (don't know if that was Vista, BT, the Windows 2003 Server or something else. That appears to have left me with the following undeletable file.


So Vista has let me create a file that I don't have the rights to delete. That's smashing!


Random security policies
Or that's what I'm guessing is causing this anyway. If so, then a learning mode like AppArmor has would be nice. See



No, when I ask for a large amount of heap to be allocated for my Java process, I don't really know what I'm doing, so please stop me. Thank you Vista, you're my hero.

Update: LazyWeb to the rescue, at least about the disk thrashing issue.

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