Other developers are frustrated by the change in security and other core OS services. Noted one developer working at a small company: "My company has had several developers forced to use Vista while servicing our clients. The result has been an absolute nightmare. Applications don't work, drivers collide, the screen loses integrity at random times, we encounter file data loss or corruption, our network-based automated backups don't work, etc."
Roadblocks on rollback to XP
Given the many frustrations he's encountered, Pam advises his clients not to install Vista or to replace Vista with XP on new computers. And he seethes that he'll have to get each of the five different Vista versions, and either five PCs to run them on or a Mac or Unix box with enough virtual machine capability to run them all, just so he can duplicate customers' environments.
"Several of my customers have gone back to the store where they purchased their new computer and have asked that they replace Vista with XP," he says.
But users may not always have that choice, several InfoWorld readers noted. "There are not always XP drivers available for a clean install of XP," commented one reader, whose newer Toshiba's Nvidia video card had only Vista drivers. Another reader had a similar issue with a new Acer laptop: "The hardware and firmware in my laptop's chip sets simply do not support XP."
Agents of change
Not everyone is holding back on the shift to Vista, of course. Several InfoWorld readers expressed satisfaction. For example, an independent developer in the United Kingdom, who did not want to be seen as a "fan boy" and thus declined to be identified, told InfoWorld he prefers Vista to XP and views the UI changes and incompatibilities as minor issues. "Vista is what Microsoft wanted XP to look like; when they couldn't achieve Vista's look, they settled for the horrible design it has. Yes, Vista uses more resources than XP, but it runs absolutely everything 20 percent faster for me than XP ever did. Yes, drivers are a problem at the moment for older hardware that is capable of running Vista, but then the same was true for XP," he said. "Program compatibility has caused one or two problems recently, but nowhere near as many with XP when I first got it."
Other readers suggested that those who wanted to stick with XP were doing so because they simply didn't want to invest in new hardware. All OS conversions cost time and money and change is just part of the technology landscape.
For IT, the cost of such change -- directly and indirectly -- is the key issue in deciding when, or even if, to shift from XP. Microsoft has told the Wall Street Journal that resistance to adoption is "business as usual" in a new OS's first year, but eventually there'll be no need for a petition effort like InfoWorld's to keep an older OS available.
The question is what "eventually" means and what Windows 7, now rumored to be arriving next year, may offer instead. Meanwhile, if massive response from InfoWorld readers is any indication, few businesses are putting an upgrade from XP to Vista at the top of their to-do lists.