The great thing about making plans is that you dont have to actually follow them. Following the Lotusphere week, I decided the Blingmaster (My Dell XPS Gen-2 gaming laptop) had to be reinstalled. So what to do ? Redo XP (and spend four hours re-downloading all the patches) or go for Vista ? Well..

Being lazy and curious, I thought I'd give Vista a whirl. So in honour of Bill Gates' visit to Scotland (presumably to shill Vista to the Government), I've installed Vista Business...

So how did it go ? Well, I just basically skipped reading documentation and didnt run the pre-requisites. Why ? Am I suicidal ? Well, I figured that Dell was sooo far up MS's backside (only the soles of the shoes are visible) that all their machines would have relevant Vista drivers - especially the Blingmaster. And so far, so good.

I've installed Firefox, VMWare, Lotus Domino, Lotus Notes, iTunes, Orafice 2003 (Even I'm not stupid enough to go for Office 2007!), and am in the process of reinstalling visual studio 2003 and 2005.

So how does it perform ? Well, its okay. Bear in mind that XP requires a firewall (Zonealarm), a virus-scanner (Norton) and a malware checker (Norton again with Ad-Aware). So it went like a pig. Like - it took 15 minutes to boot from cold, as all my co-presenters (and most of the A/V guys at Lotusphere) will attest. Now - its under 3 mins.

Of course I'm not stupid enough to actually obliterate my XP partition - thanks to the new 120gb hard drive in the blingmaster, I can have XP and Vista dual-boot.

So whats new ? Well, the graphics - whilst sluggist (even on my Radeon 256mb card) are pretty. Though the "frosted glass" look at the top of the windows reminds me of a high-class urinal in a dutch coffee shop. Stable? So far. Performance ? I dont see it performing alarmingly slowly.

Differences ? Well, most stuff. The control panel thankfully has a "classic" mode, and the menuing system is - well - *new*. In old windows exploder, you could at least copy/paste the filepath back and forth. This now looks more like Gnome.

I'll keep you posted on any serious stuff I see. But so far, so good.

Is it worth spending money on ? Well. Not really. Not yet. Its just "XP with Lipstick & Rouge" so far. Once I find something compelling, I'll blog it.

Time taken ? Just over an hour to get the core O/S up and running, and talking to my AD infrastucture.

Recommended ? Well, its not a strong "go for it" yet.

Put it this way: This isnt strong enough for me to consider NOT purchasing a macbook this summer.


The only issues so far are with MS products:

  • Visual Studio 2003 has "compatibilty issues" - which are NOT enumerated - but still seems to work for what I need

  • Visual Studio 2005 has (again) unlisted "compatibilty issues" - so the "Windows Update" process is suggesting I download SP1 for VS2005 - which was published yesterday. So currently sitting with 500mb of "updates" coming down the wire for this and office 2003.

  • SQL Server 2005 doesnt run on Vista till you apply Service pack 2 - again - the update process seems to have snagged it.

  • MOZY backup works, as does VNC, and the Java-based AuthGUI. Surprised.

  • VMware workstation 5.5.3 does NOT officially support Vista as a host, but is running in "beta" mode. That is, it'll moan, but does seem to work - after taking a hefty gulp of CPU..

Just got my VPN, VNC and remote desktop software running - all without hassles. Bear in mind that there's not a JRE on Vista (way-hey!) so you have to get your own from, but its only a 14mb download.

So DONT try and do this over dialup - it'd take a few years. Guessing I've had to download about 750mb of stuff so far on this brand spanking new Vista install (for me, albeit a heavy-duty developer).