December 21, 2008

There goes an afternoon

I just tried to install older versions of Office (2003 Pro) and Adobe Creative Suite (CS2) onto my Vista x32 box. I had to jump through some serious contortions to get Office installed, and ended up backing out of my CS2 install because I couldn't find my old serial number (a topic worthy of a separate discussion). This process horked my Vista install. Thankfully I was able to restore to a System Restore point before the day's installs and un-installs, and it appears I'll survive this disaster. My take-away is that Vista has a huge hole in its safety net. If you are going to make an operating system that is partially incompatible with older software, then integrate a compatibility check that pops up when I'm installing incompatible software. Warn me before I'm about to hork my system. Without guidance, I'm going to surf the web trying homebrew hacks to get software installed. I can't tell if it is a simple and innocuous bug stopping the install or a fundamental incompatibility that compromises Vista's stability. Installer apps don't even make the attempt to warn users when they install on OS versions they were never tested with. I've put that check into installer apps my companies have built, but I guess that safeguard has been removed by many vendors. I'm guessing the language of those dialogs were tripping the end user's "what do I do, time to call Customer Support" reaction that is deadly to the bottom line? Microsoft, if you are going to make an incompatible operating system, then go the distance and build one with compelling new functionality that warrants my purchase of new apps to take advantage of the new functionality. Be revolutionary and completely break apps in the name of amazing and intuitive, or keep things compatible. I'd actually like a new OS from Microsoft that was completely incompatible with Windows, but was the next BIG platform. Ensure compatibility via an integrated virtualization box. Vista was not the next BIG thing, and therefore has no excuse for being incompatible with recent versions of Office and Adobe Creative Suite.
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