25 Shortcomings of Microsoft Vista OS - A good reason to choose GNU/Linux ...

December 20, 2006
As a continuation of the previous post, here are 25 shortcomings found by Frank J. Ohlhorst when he reviewed the yet to be formally released Microsoft Vista OS. I have added my views which are enclosed in parentesis, alongside the Vista shortcomings.
  • Vista introduces a new variant of the SMB protocol - (I wonder what is the future of Samba now...)
  • Need significant hardware upgrades
  • No anti-virus bundled with Vista
  • Many third party applications still not supported
  • Your machine better have a truck load of Memory - somewhere around 2 GB. (Linux works flawlessly with just 128 MB... even less).
  • Too many Vista editions.
  • Need product activation. (Now that is something you will never see in Linux).
  • Vista OS will take over 10 GB of hard disk space. (With Linux you have a lot of flexibility with respect to the size of the distribution.).
  • Backing up the desktop will take up a lot of space. (Not so in Linux)
  • No must have reasons to buy Vista. (The fact that Linux is Free is reason enough to opt for it)
  • Is significantly different from Windows XP and so there is a learning curve. (Switching to Linux also involves some learning curve but then it is worth it as it doesn't cost you much and in the long run, you have a lot to gain).
  • You'd better come to terms with the cost of Vista - it is really exorbitant running to over $300. (In price, Vista can't beat Linux which is free as in beer and Freedom).
  • Hardware vendors are taking their own time to provide support for Vista.(Now a days, more and more hardware vendors are providing support for Linux).
  • Vista's backup application is more limited than Windows XP's. (Linux has a rich set of backup options and every one of them is free).
  • No VoIP or other communication applications built in. (Skype, Ekiga... the list goes on in Linux).
  • Lacks intelligence and forces users to approve the use of many native applications, such as a task scheduler or disk defragmenter. (Linux is flexible to a fault).
  • Buried controls - requiring a half a dozen mouse clicks. (Some window managers in Linux also have this problem but then here too, you have a variety of choice to suit your tastes).
  • Installation can take hours, upgrades even more. (Barring upgrades, installation of Linux will take atmost 45 minutes. Upgrades will take a little longer).
  • Little information support for Hybrid hard drives.
  • 50 Million lines of code - equates to countless undiscovered bugs. (True, true... It is high time you switch to Linux).
  • New volume-licensing technology limits installations or requires dedicated key-management servers to keep systems activated. (Linux users do not have this headache I believe).
  • Promises have remained just that - mere promises. A case to the point being WinFS, Virtual folders and so on. - (Clever marketing my friend, to keep you interested in their product).
  • Does not have support for IPX, Gopher, WebDAV, NetDDE and AppleTalk. (Linux has better support for many protocols which Windows do not support).
  • Wordpad's ability to open .doc files have been removed. (Now that is what I call extinguishing with style. OpenOffice.org which is bundled with most Linux distributions can open, read and write DOC files).


  • No need to convince me. I've switched to Linux

  • A few points to note:
    - The Samba team is working hard to implement SMB2 into Samba 3 but until then Vista can be made to work with Samba (Google "samba vista").
    - A fully functional KDE/Gnome desktop with 3D-extensions needs a lot more than 128meg of memory (but still less than Vista).
    - Technically Vista is not available to consumers for another month and this time is being used by hardware manufacturers to produce drivers.
    - Skype is not distributed with any Linux distributions either due to its licensing.
    - A non-root user in Linux will also be asked for authentication before performing many system level maintenance tasks too (for security).
    - A Vista installation is comparable to Linux and in many cases actually faster due to the imaging process.
    - Most of the network protocols named are old and not in wide use. WebDAV is supported under the Web Folders umbrella.
    - Comparing the functionality of Wordpad to OpenOffice is a little harsh but it is disappointing .doc support has been removed.

    I'm not a Windows fan and the 25 things weren't compiled by you but its always good to keep an even keel.

    Plus you may want to change CNN to CRN as they are two very different organisations :-)

  • Ravi

    Thanks for the correction(s) especially the CNN mixup :-) - My mistake. But you said...

    A non-root user in Linux will also be asked for authentication before performing many system level maintenance tasks too (for security).

    Perhaps your comment was in response to the one which states "New volume-licensing technology limits installations or requires dedicated key-management servers to keep systems activated.". If so, then *authentication* and *volume licencing* are two different things. One relates to security and the other relates to controlling the users even after they have brought the product including deciding on how many machines they have the right to install the product.

    As far as samba is concerned, yes it is a good thing if the samba team is able to make it work with the new SMB protocol that is built-in Vista. But I wonder what is stopping Microsoft in putting a spanner in their efforts especially now since it has made a deal with Novell where by they can provide propritery kernel modules which will allow Microsoft's customers who run SuSE to inter operate with Windows?

  • The main problem with Vista continues to be the same one than in previous versions from my point of view, and is the lack of administrative tools. No command line to control the computer. No ssh. No even simple things like lsof or vmstats. While trying Vista Beta many times it freezed at reboot, why?. I don't known since there is no way to see what's happening behind the guts, so I couldn't send a bug report to Microsoft even if I tried. Easy backups is the future.

    And now that Wine works so well in Linux and also so many native Linux apps work so well, it is even loosing the "applications" advantage over Linux, not to mention that with new Virtual Machines additions in standard Linux kernel it's easy and more secure to exec old windows app on Linux than it is on brand new Vista.

  • I have spent the last 7 months testing wireless at Intel on Vista....I too have permanently moved on to Linux....Kubuntu and Suse. Goodbye Bill!!

  • Sorry I was referring to point 16 - intelligence. OSX and most Linux distributions will prompt a user before undertaking an root-level task (like software updates) in the same way Vista does. Unfortunately for Vista the current UI asks a little too frequently and doesn't persist approval as well as sudo can (it just keeps on display dialogs).

    The Novell/Microsoft deal does not cover binary kernel modules (details). However Novell has and will continue to make deals with hardware manufacturers for binary kernel device drivers (e.g. NVidia). Fortunately for the rest of the software industry Microsoft cannot dramatically impede Samba because it must continue to maintain compatibility with earlier versions of Windows. Consequently the original SMB protocol will be supported by Microsoft until at least the EOL of Windows 2003 which is many years away.

  • Not to rag on Linux or anything, but Linux has far more distributions to choose from than Vista versions. I think that point might be moot as well.

  • Vista is crap.

    Microsoft is just dying, this is the end of Windows the most crap system ever born.. now ppl will know how great a UNIX based system is.

  • The thing is, as much as I enjoy Linux, I have to keep windows around to run various programs. I can honestly say I don't want Vista, I've used the beta and it was not that impressive. Microsoft simply has no fucking clue anymore.

    The big question isn't why choose Linux, its why doesn't Linux have more developers? And the reason I see is that developers are scared of Linux. Windows is a money making machine for everyone involved. Hardware, software, tech support, you name it, they're making $$$ off of windows. Companies may see supporting Linux as bad for their own interests.

  • You write:
    No anti-virus bundled with Vista

    In my view, this is a bonus. I would never use an antivirus or firewall program from Microsoft. I wouldn't trust them.

  • Honestly, I think the Licensing, DRM and Genuine windows dis-advantage program are so full of crap I am going to convert all of my customers, family and friend to Linux. Billy and team pull your head out of your axx! Your software is poor quality, high TCO, extremely insecure and generally crappy to use. I am going all BSD's Linux, Unix and OS X!

  • Does not have support for IPX, Gopher, WebDAV, NetDDE and AppleTalk. (Linux has better support for many protocols which Windows do not support).

    I haven't seen anybody using IPX in years. AppleTalk was dropped in Mac OS X 10.4.8, I think.

  • @anonymous above....
    I haven't seen anybody using IPX in years. AppleTalk was dropped in Mac OS X 10.4.8, I think.

    That may be true, but there are still enough Mac users who have stuck to OS 9, even though it's basically a "dead" OS.

  • In regards to Mac OS X, do not look to Apple as a company to flee to -- they're just as bad (if not worse) as Microsoft.

    Not only is their operating system proprietary, they require Apple's own hardware to run. This is even more restrictive than Microsoft Windows.

    Steve Ballmer and Steve jobs, other than the blue jeans... whats the difference?

  • Great article. Still the only thing holding me back from entirely converting over my whole network to Linux is gaming.

  • Too many inputs all valid & sound... I was also thinking that one really good reason why people don't move to Linux is GAMING... Then a user above me did pointed out this...

    I also strongly believe that if developers start supporting Linux for all latest & future games it will be a grave setback for Microsoft... A lot of gamers are enthusiast who love to troubleshoot & with an open kernel its much easier for them to fine tune according to their requirements...and get the best performace possible.. more framerates with a stable OS..

    Linux graphic API is still very weak compared to Windows & more development is necessary.. Once gaming is pleasure in Linux most home users will switch 'coz everybody wants to play....

    As for corporates they have to decide themselves what they want....

  • Windows Vista does have VoIP built in!
    Try out Windows Live Messenger ;)

  • I work at a Redmond software consulting firm so we make lots of money from Microsoft, and I'm required to use Vista. I've been using it since September. It has gotten better with each release but the final still doesn't feel final. Maybe around SP2 it will be "tolerable."

    I absolutely HATE all the stupid Alerts and Popups that it throws in my face. It's very condescending for a power user to be treated like Grandma with the alert boxes. "Are you SURE you want to run that app?" Hell yes I clicked it twice already, dammit!

    I will say that the install process was pretty painless, best Windows install so far. But the hardware requirements are onerous - my Dell Latitude 2ghz Core Duo notebook with 2GB of RAM and 7200rpm HD doesn't feel very snappy, it's just "OK". I thought this was supposed to be a hot machine but leave it to Windoze to slow anything down.

    I would love to use a more productive OS for home and personal / gaming use. Linux sounds good but maybe one of the "friendlier" variants would be up my alley - I don't have a lot of extra time to play hacker and tweak every command line, I just want a solid smooth OS to get my work, play, music, or art done.

    You can get things done on Vista, but it is definitely not a "smooth" experience. I am telling my friends and family not to bother with the "upgrade" yet.

  • No need to convince me. I used Linux for a long time, until recently I switched to Mac OS/X. *NIX is the past, present and future.

    MCSE, Messaging+, RHCE, ACN Member

  • The Windows 3.1 SDK API convinced me at that time that Windows was not for me. I've used OS/2 since then and shifted to SuSE Linux when Microsoft stabbed OS/2 in the back.

    I now use Fedora - I shifted when Novell took over SuSE. The fact that Microsoft could leverage the market against OS/2 and force IBM to pull the plug is reason enough for me to not trust any large corporate.

    I will stick to a community supported, free (as in Freedom) and reasonably easy to use version of GNU/Linux.

  • Hi,
    My old PC died and I was seeking around for a new OEM computer, I saw and I read what is all about with VISTA and I was so disappointed, that I decided to switch to OSX with a nice MACPRO (I will install bootcamp in order to have a Linux distro as well).
    NEVER EVER I will buy a M$ product !
    GGi from Switzerland

  • Stop spreading FUD about Apple's OS X being proprietary.

    The OS is fully Open Source and Apple fully supports many Open Source projects including paying for development of many projects.


    You are free to run Darwin (the real OS behind OS X) on any platform or computer you choose.


    The window manager which gives Apple's Unix its "look-and-feel" to seperate it from all the other Unix distributions out there is proprietary yes. (((insert your consttant winging, moaning and whining here))) - tough!!

    OS X also includes X11 window manager to support running standard Unix applications.

    Maybe you need to get yourself an education before professing to be someone worthy of being listened to.

    Might want to start here

    Someone more informed than you.
    Mac OS X (home)
    Dell Laptop with Windows formatted off and Ubuntu Linux installed (work)

  • After three years of a near total lack of 64-bit support from Microsoft I'd have to say that the common thread to all posts re: upgrading to Vista is that it's big, fat and ugly. Should it have have been called Windows Blister?
    I'd also like to point out that Microsoft have their own games console which has no annoying alerts/popups/firewall/antivirus/installation issues, which I'd guess is why they made their new desktop OS such a pig... they want gamers to get away from keyboards ;0)
    For anyone wanting a stable, high performance solution that is easily maintained Linux is right here right now! I'd recommend Gentoo Linux for a myriad of reasons, but each to their own.
    Ultimately Microsoft have been working hard on Vista all this time just to help promote GNU/Linux, good on you M$ :0)

  • I tried a beta version of Vista and found it pretty slow.. Although there maybe improvements in Vista as compared to XP I dont think I want to get a new PC anytime soon just to make it feel snappy. Its been a few years that I've used GNU/Linux, some of the above 25 reasons are more or less strong points of Linux rather than practical reasons to shift to it.

    What about the end user who says that his phone doesnt work well with linux and he cannot backup his phone using Linux? And some hardware manufacturers still ignore GNU/Linux altogether!

  • There is only one reason why i still have windows on my pc: games.

  • Info Tek

    **The big question isn't why choose Linux, its why doesn't Linux have more developers? And the reason I see is that developers are scared of Linux. Windows is a money making machine for everyone involved. Hardware, software, tech support, you name it, they're making $$$ off of windows**

    That point above is sooooooooo true!! I owe it all to Windows 2000/ASP/SQL Server 7/VB6/IIS5/Index Server for getting my well-paying IT exposure back THEN during the dotcom boom. And don't forget that Windows Mobile (PocketPCs, iPAQs, etc.) cash machine too. Thank you M$. :-)
    But now that application servers are the big thing now, I think there's a pile of cash to be made on Unix/Linux.
    The problem is that most IT guys are in this profession for the money and not the passion. If you're good, you should be able to make money on both platforms.

  • Tolga BALCI

    I have openSuSE 10.2 installed on my notebook and desktop. I do not have the need to use Windoze:

    * I have PS2 & XBox [hacked ones] at home for playing games: I do not need the newest, ATX-ZYVF graphics card with zillion pixel-shading capabilities, I do not need lots of gigabytes for installation, I do not need the newest sound card.
    * I have a home network that I configured myself with Linux. I have a 24-port 10/100 M switch, I ADSL connection both wired and wireless, I have a 400-gig LAN Drive. And what: I am totally network illiterate! Tell me about the easiness of windows.
    * I do not need to spend USD 300 [+VAT in my country] for transparent window borders: I can have a rotating-cube desktop in 30 minutes. Come on guys, get to know xgl, compiz and beryl.
    * We don't need extra MBs of graphics cards for widgets. Take a look at gkrellm and if it is not too *shiny* for you, see superkaramba. They do not eat up your ram, your graphics adapter and cpu. And plus, you can easily modify them.
    * Before supporting Vista, please tell me something that you can do with it but without any other operating system. Aha, you do not need the fancy mobile phone-computer connection software that came bundled with your new mobile phone. If you have syncml, visit www.mobical.net. If not, purchase a bluetooth or an IR dongle. The cost is 1/4 of the WinXP Home licence fee.
    * The M$ Office can't print to pdf, but OpenOffice does.
    * We Linux guys/gals do not need antivirus, antitrojan, antimalware ... stuff. We are immune by default.

    By the way, the most amusing thing with Linux is to receive an e-mail with an attachment that contains a virus: You download it, save the attachment to your desktop, open it with a text editor and see what the person has written. And watch Symantec, Kaspersky and other companies headline the threat.

  • No Offense, but some or most of these reasons are just plain stupid.
    -Too many Vista editions. "Cant count to to five huh, oh thats right you use linux, sorry."

    -Is significantly different from Windows XP and so there is a learning curve. "Only for an gold fish"

    -No VoIP or other communication applications built in. "Dont forget, linux users cant install their own software, they have to have it done for them"

    -No anti-virus bundled with Vista "I guess windows security center for retards doesnt count"

  • I'm out in the field every day and more people complain about Vista than anything else. Everyone wants XP on their new computers. They do not want Vista. And these poeple are at every level of education or non education. I myself would rather use Linux than Vista.

    Linspire 5.0 is great for those who have never used a GNU Linux distro and want an easy OS to learn on. CNR is great. Knoppix is also a truly fantastic distro that I would love to put on a system.

    I run both XP and Linspire on my own network. I custom built my computer with 786mb of RAM and now Linspire, ultra loaded, works very smoothly. And CNR has tons of free games.

    I still marvel over how much better CD's sound when burned with K3B over any of the Windows burning programs. The clarity of the music is 10 times better. There are things that Linux distro's do much better than any other OS out there. The day is coming when GNU Linux will be the dominating force in computing.

    That day isn't here yet, but it is also not that long off. Once wider support for the various Linux OS's comes to the table and more people learn about Linux, the tables will turn. I have been watching GNU Linux continue to grow, and the growth has been nothing short of amazing.

    Some of the best programs I have ever worked with are on Linux. But in the mean time, I still am not giving up my XP systems. I use Limewire on Linspire, but wouldn't dream of it on XP. And a special note to the developers. You folks are doing a great job, Thank you. Keep up the wonderful work. We are noticing.

  • "New volume-licensing technology limits installations or requires dedicated key-management servers to keep systems activated. (Linux users do not have this headache I believe)."

    you believe? wtf I know it doesn't and I don't use linux. Listen, linux isn't for everyone, it is difficult to use especially for the casual home user who goes on AOL and is most definitely not tech savvy by any means. This is what is hurting linux. Make it as user friendly as windows, and more people will use it. This won't ever happen. Closest thing you've got is Mac OSX and I beleive within about 5 years many more PC users are going to switch because Vista is basically a generic "k-mart version" if you will of Mac OSX. All they need is more software for Mac OS and everyone will become more interested in switching. I've been a PC user for a number of years but I saw the new macs and they beat the p*ss out of windows based desktops.

  • I prefer to use Windows XP. I don’t want new OS versions cause I should upgrade my PC in that reason. Also I don’t pretty sure in new versions, you know, safety and stuff…

  • Hey people! no need to attack Linux just because its differend. I'm only learning to use it but I'm going a lot faster than I did with windows. I've been useing windows for about 6 years and I'm still confused by the networking. With Linux its not that it isnt user friendly, it's that its different.

    Also I've been using Fedora for about a month and guess what? No crashes...

  • ok so windows has its shotcomings but linux does too along with every other OS. i dont support windows and i dont support linux because ive had horrible experiences with both.
    id like to jump on the bandwagon and trash vista with everyone else but uh linux sucks too. im buyin a mac. no crashes no half life no failures, and my favorite very simplistic use.

  • oh one more thing without a decent internet connection linux sucks... im on dial up which= little support and SLOW downloads.

  • I've been a software developer for decades and I've used every version of Windows. I've earned my living interacting with this thing. But...

    I can't honestly say it's good for customers because the OS is and has always been either full of holes, or patches to the point of chaos. Where I've seen internal MS code, it frightens me. Their support engineers very often have little idea of how their own code works and I've often been told "the code IS the documentation".

    Outside of work, I use Windows machines when I need to because of software I have to use, and Ubuntu out of preference. As a developer, I'd say that the tools sold by MS (at very high prices) are excellent and there's nothing open source that comes close - yet...

    Windows is unstable because it has been patched incessantly since its birth - refactoring is not in the mindset of MS - because they want to eek out as much profit from every line of code however poorly written. In that situation, they strive all the time to lock users in.

    Personally it's pissed me off so much, I'm retiring so I can work on open source projects in an environment which values quality. It'll be a lot less money - but a massive increase in satisfaction.

  • Opra

    Personally I don't like Microsoft Vista:((( It is rather inconvenient for me…