IT IS difficult to forget how Microsoft used journalists to glorify OOXML, having given them free trips around the world [1, 2]. In general, Microsoft does a lot of gifting in exchange for love from the press, so suffice to say, the true story is rarely told by an impartial crowd.
The side stories are sometimes more interesting that the polished articles. Such is the case with the following rant about a journalist being denied access (having it retracted rather) for not being a fan of Microsoft.
Blacklisted by Microsoft!
Basically, they blacklisted me from certain super-secret (i.e. pre-conference, NDA, off-the books) sessions at their Professional Developer Conference (PDC) –- this after formally inviting me to attend those sessions as an “esteemed reviewer” representing InfoWorld.
Oct. 9, 2008 — A short while later, I get my first hit. It seems that the whole mess started when the Windows Server team made the mistake of inviting yours truly to an event hosted by the Windows Client team. Apparently, the folks on the Server team were unaware of my decidedly negative views towards Vista, and when the Client folks found out they had invited Randall C. Kennedy -– a.k.a. Vista’s most vocal and effective critic -– to their special, “for fanbois only” (nice photos, Paul) shindig, they went ballistic.
First, it appears that someone high up on the Client Team (Steve?) really doesn’t like me. I mean, really, truly loathes me. And it’s not just your run-of-the-mill frustration with a journalist who picks on them. This thing is personal, and the executive in question is allowing his or her personal feelings to spill over into the company’s handling of formal press relations with InfoWorld.
This is not the first time that Microsoft plays “reward & punishment” with journalists in order to control or at least police coverage.
In addition to yesterday’s complaints about Vista 7 [sic], consider the following from the news:
Businesses that plan on skipping Vista to move directly from XP to Windows 7 could face application-compatibility headaches.
“It lacks credibility and reeks of ‘consensus,’” he wrote on his blog then.
Not wanting to rag on something publicly that I hadn’t experienced intimately myself, I decided to take the plunge (called “eating your own dog food” in developer parlance) and see if I could move over full-time to the new Windows 7 M3 pre-beta. After all, with an essentially unmodified kernel and no major changes to the security model, how bad could it be?
My first compatibility roadblock involved Daemon Tools. One of the most widely used ISO-mounting utilities, Daemon Tools is a core part of my day-to-day compute stack. It’s how I install software into any new system (physical CDs and DVDs are so yesterday), and as such, one of the first things I add to a new installation.
And it broke. Not in any minor, cosmetic way, either. It broke big time. The core “SPD” driver — kernel-mode component used to simulate a physical CD/DVD drive — refused to install. This came after I had forced the installer to continue by enabling the “Windows Vista RTM” option in the compatibility tab for its disk file (otherwise, Daemon would refuse to even attempt an install).
Regardless, my real takeaway from all of this is that, despite leaving the core Vista kernel and driver model intact, Microsoft is still finding ways to break applications. So much for the whole “seamless transition” promise to Vista users. I can only hope that things get better before RTM or even the official beta launch. But, frankly, even at an M3 revision level, this sort of incompatibility nuttiness simply shouldn’t exist — not for an OS that is just a lipstick tube away from its piggish predecessor.
GNU/Linux continues to be a major problem to Microsoft, according to the post “Microsoft facing bleak outlook for Vista sales.”
The computers being shipped to developing countries generally include less expensive operating systems, including XP or the least expensive version of Vista. Netbooks are also aimed at customers looking for low cost devices that likely will ship with XP or Linux installed.
“My initial evaluation of Windows 7 shows that it’s really just Vista with a fresh coat of paint.”