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Dell Documents Reveal Microsoft's Pre-launch Vista Errors 220

twitter writes "The New York Times has a piercing analysis of documents from the Vista capable lawsuit. The documents show that Microsoft seems to have put a wrench in Vista's driver situation only at the last minute. 'Late OS code changes broke drivers and applications, forcing key commodities to miss launch or limp out with issues,' said one slide in a Dell presentation dated March 25, 2007, about two months after Vista's launch at retail and availability on new PCs.' We have all heard the lazy vendors don't believe Vista will launch excuses but few of us have heard Steven Sinofsky, chief of Windows development, second and third opinions. 'Massive changes in the underpinnings for video and audio really led to a poor experience at RTM,' he said. 'This change led to incompatibilities. For example, you don't get Aero with an XP driver, but your card might not (ever) have a Vista driver.' Finally, said Sinofsky, other changes in Vista blocked Windows XP drivers altogether. 'This is across the board for printers, scanners, WAN, accessories and so on. Many of the associated applets don't run within the constraints of the security model or the new video/audio driver models.'
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Dell Documents Reveal Microsoft's Pre-launch Vista Errors

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  • Par for the course for Microsoft I think. If my memory serves me well.
  • by Keeper ( 56691 ) on Monday March 03, 2008 @05:53PM (#22628394)
    The quotes in the summary explain why Windows XP drivers would not work; they do not state that driver model changes were made right before RTM.
  • Re:But why? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Firehed ( 942385 ) on Monday March 03, 2008 @05:57PM (#22628446) Homepage
    Could we please stop trolling about this? The copy protection on Vista is about the same as XP. The support for existing DRM-protected media is the same if not better; that does NOT force DRM on you, just allows you to use media that some video bigwig thought needs the protection - if it weren't supported at all because MS tried to take a stance against it, then we'd just be complaining about the lack of support. DRM is not magically added to your existing media, though I expect the stupid default behavior dating back to WMP9 if not earlier to add copy protection to ripped CDs remains (as I use neither XP nor Vista, I can't comment for sure).

    If you're going to complain about Microsoft and DRM, do it with the 360, which apparently was patched to require HDCP over HDMI for games - absolutely senseless in every sense of the word, and entirely their fault. Vista is no different from XP in the fact that the OS has its own relatively ineffective copy protection, and is compatible with DRM-laden media.
  • Re:But why? (Score:5, Informative)

    by wampus ( 1932 ) on Monday March 03, 2008 @06:15PM (#22628674)
    Turn off thumbnail generation. The DRM is only used for playback of protected files.
  • Re:But why? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 03, 2008 @06:19PM (#22628738)

    Could we please stop trolling about this? The copy protection on Vista is about the same as XP.
    Yes, can we please stop trolling and claiming that the Vista DRM is "just like XP"? Because it is not and anyone who has used the OS knows that.

    First off, it's well known that the redone video and audio drivers were required for the new DRM. That right there is a change: pre-Vista, the OS wasn't designed explicitly for DRM. Now it is.

    Secondly, the new designs shave a good 10%-50% off performance. Audio acceleration is gone. EAX effects are no longer possible. Recording the audio output of programs is no longer possible. All in the name of DRM.

    ALL layers are now encrypted. This, not surprisingly, slows down the OS. By a lot. It also greatly reduces battery life. Where before, playing a music file might involve a single decryption step to send the data to the audio player, it now must be re-encrypted before being sent to the card, then re-decrypted before being converted to analog. All because an enterprising user might otherwise snoop on the bus to "steal" the audio data.

    In short, Vista is 10%-50% slower solely to allow for DRM. The kernel was redesigned with DRM in mind, not user experience. Battery life was halved in extreme cases - again, solely for DRM.

    It's not trolling, there are simple facts that have been exposed time and time again. Look it up on Google. Vista is much, much, much worse than XP when it comes to DRM.
  • by twitter ( 104583 ) * on Monday March 03, 2008 @06:31PM (#22628866) Homepage Journal

    The NYT coverage and their analysis are both news from the Vista capable dissaster. With a jerk around like that, it's no wonder that the whole industry has revolted [] and it's nice to see the word getting out to a wider audience via papers like the NYT. Their analysis is also interesting, though I'd love to see where "Otter" beat them to the punch. Didn't happen did it?

    Here are some older examples of the same kinds of behavior:

    • Apple and Lotus 123 []
    • The DRDOS Case, 1991 []. Court proved malice and PR lies to cover it.
    • Backup software. There's a reason it's hard to back up M$ systems.
    • OS/2 [], software they helped make and then killed because it was better than what they owned.
    • Netscape, 1995. Court proved malice and lies to cover it. People still claim Mozilla suffers from "memory leaks".
    • Word Perfect. Another victim of the DOS/Win3.1
    • Audio players, software [] and hardware []

    The list goes on and on. On the chopping block today are ODF, Linux distros, AV makers and a host of competitors that just won't die like iPod, Play Station and Mozilla. The only way out is to avoid Windows and stay away from M$ and other non free software vendors. The further away you are, the better off you are.

  • by oahazmatt ( 868057 ) on Monday March 03, 2008 @06:35PM (#22628924) Journal
    Maybe I implied something I didn't mean to, so I'll clarify my position a bit.

    Internal schedules, release dates, etc., those should always be present. If you don't have any internal dates, there's no motivation for your workers, as they'll just "get it done when it's done".

    Published release dates are what can cause the problems. If you tell your employees "We need this by March", that's one thing. That's also something you can pass along to your business partners. But when you come out and tell the public "Our product will be out in March", and the product falls excessively short of expectations, or does not even make it out of the gate, that's when you create a problem, all for the sake of marketing.
  • Re:But why? (Score:5, Informative)

    by man_of_mr_e ( 217855 ) on Monday March 03, 2008 @06:41PM (#22629004) []

    While it goes into details about a lot of other stuff, there's the explanation of Vista's (apparent) slow disk performance.
  • by peragrin ( 659227 ) on Monday March 03, 2008 @06:56PM (#22629184)
    actually it's not. The previous version was from internal Microsoft memo's. This one is from Dell.

    This means even the vendors putting Vista ?Ready sticker son computers knew those computes wouldn't run Vista all that well.
  • Re:But why? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 03, 2008 @07:13PM (#22629370)
    The new video and audio drivers have nothing to do with DRM. The new driver stacks are both moved to user-space from kernel-space so that a failure will not bring down the OS. Audio acceleration is gone because audio drivers are not permitted to access kernel resources directly, which prevents EAX, but also prevents them from causing a BSOD.

    No layers are encrypted. The only encryption/decryption applies to protected media, which is already encrypted and requires decryption. If the media is not protected there are NO encryption or decryption steps. The system works exactly as it did in XP.

    Vista is not 10%-50% slower. The kernel wasn't redesigned at all, let alone for DRM. Vista uses largely the same kernel that David Cutler took five years to design 15 years ago. Microsoft doesn't rip out and rewrite kernels for shits and giggles.

    Battery life is decreased due to Aero, not DRM. More intensive usage of the GPU drains power resourcs. When not playing protected WMV, HD-DVD or BluRay, DRM isn't in use at all. This DRM is required to display HD-DVD or BluRay on a computer; no OS is immune, legally. Either Microsoft supports it, or Microsoft can kiss all high-def media good-bye.

    It is trolling because your "simple facts" are not facts at all, regardless of how many times shit-eating fucktards like yourself keep posting it to forums so that they become Google hits. Repeat it as often as you want it does not become true.
  • Re:But why? (Score:3, Informative)

    by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Monday March 03, 2008 @07:30PM (#22629542) Homepage
    For a fact I saw the Vista DRM in operation. There was a service that monitored the Hard disk drive contents (assumed copyrighted contents) and if the service was shut down, Vista immediately went into reduced functionality mode, re-enable the service and Vista went out of reduced functionality mode (minutes after that the hard disk was reformatted and a different OS installed).

    As for the major patch the occurred very soon after the release of Vista, I was likely a DRM patch, to fix a typical M$ failure. Whilst they had spent lot of time money and effort trying to secure the DRM so the public couldn't break it, they did nothing to protect it from false activation hence a major security flaw.

    of course M$ really doesn't care about other peoples content, DRM for them was to be a two step process, first pay to protect your copyrighted content, and then in a future version pay to allow your content to run. This of course was a way to allow them to shift to a free OS ie., you pay for the OS by paying a tax upon every bit of content you play and for every application that you use and of course it is designed to specifically target FOSS.

    The reason of course the go to so much trouble trolling forums, blogs and websites, about the DRM in Vista,is that it is all so extremely monopolistic, leverage their existing monopoly to establish an even more severe and exploitative monopoly.

  • Deja Vu (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sponge Bath ( 413667 ) on Monday March 03, 2008 @08:36PM (#22630236)

    Late OS code changes broke drivers...

    This reminds me of the painful driver development from NT4 to Windows 2000. A few years before release MS was pushing us to port NT4 drivers to Win2K. We jumped on it quickly and had working drivers, but as the years rolled by changes would be made that broke the earlier work. This rinse and repeat continued to the *very* end. Years of wasted time and resources for no reason.

    What I learned from that is to start looking at new Windows driver documentation a few months before release and then wait until the actual release before changing or writing any code. You just don't know what fundamental changes will occur until the discs are on retail shelves.

    You sure as hell can't trust what MS tells you as a developer about interface changes and release dates.

  • by piojo ( 995934 ) on Monday March 03, 2008 @10:09PM (#22630946)

    When OEMs were releasing their Windows XP computers with 128MB of RAM (256MB with SP2), I always said it was criminal.
    I had a computer with 128MB ram that came with windows 98. I installed XP on it, and was much happier with XP than I had been with the previous OS. Sure, it was a piece of crap (speed/memory was not the worst of its problems), but I liked XP on that machine. I agree that a customer that bought a computer with 128MB ram and XP was probably getting a raw deal, but in that situation, I would have preferred XP to any prior windows OS.
  • Re:Pot and Kettle (Score:5, Informative)

    by NullProg ( 70833 ) on Monday March 03, 2008 @10:19PM (#22631030) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft hashed the release of Vista, but the Linux community of all people has no right to talk about new releases making drivers incompatible. Backwards compatibility doesn't exist in the linux world.

    Examples please. All my devices work the same or better under SuSE or Ubuntu.
    All my purchased Linux (Loki) games still work.

    I can't say that for my $300 Microsoft Office 6.0 purchase under Windows. I can't say that either for the Windows games I've purchased over the years.


If it's not in the computer, it doesn't exist.