Slashdot | Longhorn Beta is Disappointing

Slashdot | Longhorn Beta is Disappointing Slashdot has picked up on some early negative comments that Paul Thurrott has made blogging from WinHec regarding Longhorn. Specifically Paul writes, “I’m reflecting a bit on Longhorn 5048. My thoughts are not positive, not positive at all. This is a painful build to have to deal with after a year of waiting, a step back in some ways. I hope Microsoft has surprises up their sleeves. This has the makings of a train wreck.”

Not the best thing to hear from someone that has been pretty positive on most everything Microsoft does in the past.

Although I’m not at WinHec and can’t comment on what Paul saw specifically, I will say that from what I personally saw Longhorn was extremely impressive and I believe that we saw similar demos.

What impressed me personally the most was the speed at which the Longhorn PC responded. Part of this may have been due to the fact that the demo that I saw was run on a 64-bit machine — I’m sure I’ll upgrade to a 64-bit PC by the time Longhorn is out myself. As 64-bit computing allows you to load a lot more into RAM, this could be largely responsible for the speed increase.

Still. When you combine that speed with the new types of search available (cross applications, files, documents, emails, etc.)and then the ability to dynamically view files and expand them via enlarging or decreasing the folders or files using the mouse wheel without actually launching an application, I was pretty impressed. With the combination of 64-bit computing and Longhorn this was the biggest performance jump I’ve ever seen to date in computing.

I wish that Paul had given more details on why he thought Longhorn was a train wreck. It seems kind of irresponsible to me personally to just write this without sharing more of his reasoning. Of course he did say he’d have more on it later, so hopefully he will explain this better shortly.

As Slashdot picked up the Thurrott story, inevitably the comments revert away from Longhorn and degenerate into the typical school yard shouting match about how Apple and Linux are so much better than Longhorn, etc., etc.

I used the Macintosh OS for many years many years ago. I still remember back to the days when I’d have to swap out my system software disc with my word document disc on my old Mac Plus that didn’t even have a hard drive. I remember how thrilled I was when I upgraded to an SE30 and had an actual hard drive in the machine which made all the difference in the world. But I’m not an Apple user anymore and haven’t been for about 13 years.

Now, go ahead and call me closed minded.

People have been yammering on about Tiger does this and Tiger does that, the bottom line is that I switched from a Mac many years ago and I’m not very interested in rearranging my entire computing experience just because Tiger does this or Tiger does that. Good for Tiger. I use a Windows PC at work not a Mac and my company will not be changing this any time soon. I’ve invested the past 10 years in building my computing skills with Windows and organizing my Media Center set up at home with Windows and my AudioVox Smartphone with Windows, and my four PC network with Windows, etc. etc. If Tiger does whatever, good for them. But Tiger would need to be able to offer something so amazingly compelling to me for me to even consider switching the whole way I do computing. And I suspect that although most people won’t articulate this that they feel the same way much to the chagrin of the Apple zealots of the world. This is the reality of the situation.

By writing that Longhorn is impressive this doesn’t mean I’m saying that Tiger is not also impressive. As a PC user Tiger is just not for me. Thurrott has apparently used both and so he may have a better insight into this than I do. But from what I saw of Longhorn, I will tell you this, it will certainly dramatically improve my PC computing experience and will have a significantly positive impact on my own personal computing efficiency.

By the way Paul, how about an RSS feed for your site. This is the first time I’ve been there in a long, long time because you don’t offer one that I can tell, or at least NewsGator doesn’t recognize it if you do.

Update: Ed Bott chimes in. “On a more substantive note, let’s put things in perspective. The Longhorn build handed out here at WinHEC is for people who write device drivers for a living. It wasn’t put together to dazzle Windows fans or, for that matter, to be used on production systems. It’s got lots and lots of rough edges. The bits and pieces I’ve seen here look interesting and unfinished. But I’m going to reserve more substantive opinions until Beta 1 comes out this summer. And even then I’m setting my expectations appropriately, because Microsoft has already made it clear that most of the whizzy consumer-friendly features won’t appear until Beta 2.”

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