Originally Posted by SmugMug
Have an office mate that's a beta tester for MS products (not sure how he weaseled into that gig) and he is much more impressed with Win7 than Vista. When he was testing Vista I kept telling him that it was never planned to be a long term OS and that it was going to be a transitional one (a la ME). He has pretty much confirmed that now that he's tinkering with Win7. It's a lot less of a resources whore and will be (probably) better supported by MS than XP was.
I also get to beta test many MS products. I am currently running the Windows 7 RC. I like it very much. I was a very happy Vista user, also. I never understood the issues with Vista. Unfortunately, Vista was not completely what MS wanted. I had a chance to play with some of the very early "Longhorn" pre-betas. Longhorn was going to be the followup to XP. It was going to be a interim release to prepare for "Blackcomb" (These are all codenames that MS came up with). Blackcomb was going to be a major upgrade to the NT family of operating systems.
Longhorn was focused on the interface and on the file systems. Some of the early interface concepts were awesome, but required significant graphics power. WinFS was going to be a file system merged with a relational database. Also a very cool concept but resource hungry. During the development of Longhorn, MS had to suffer the outbreaks of major malware hits. MS made the decision to scrap all of the work done on Longhorn and reset to the XP kernel version 5.2 (this was Windows Server 2003 R2).
This reset essentially moved development back 2-3 years. MS instituted a model for developing safer code and basically made security the cornerstone of OS development. They didn't have much of a choice as 97% of the world runs their OS. I think they rushed things a bit and the initial release of Vista was not as high a quality as it should have been. Also, because it had been so long since a MS OS release, many OEMs, i.e. Dell and HP, tried to put Vista on everything they sold. Vista had highter hardware requirements than XP, but many of these OEMs tried to showhorn it onto sub-par systems. Also, many hardware vendors were put of practice writing drivers and they really dropped the ball on getting drivers out for hardware. MS made that task a bit more difficult, because they forced vendors to write drivers for both 32-bit and 64-bit OS's. The only way to get a MS-certified driver was to have both a 32 and 64-bit version.
I think Windows 7 takes the Vista core and tightens up the code. The removal of mail and such is an unfortunate side effect of the European Union sanctioning MS for the monopolist practices. I think it's actuaslly good, because now Windows Live Mail is a separate product and can be updated on a different schedule than the OS. I also like it much better than Windows mail or Outlook Express.
Vista drivers work in Windows 7 for the mmost part, so Win 7 won't have any issues with missing drivers. Also, the current hardware available which also runs Vista well, will not be lacking in Win 7. 2 or 4 GB RAM is common now, and most video is DirectX 10 capable.
I have one machine that I'll keep as a Vista machine, I see know reason to update it and I don't use it very often, but I will be updating my laptop to Win 7 when it comes out (October 22 for the general public). Hopefully I'll have the RTM build well before the Public release date.