Do We Really Need Windows Vista? by George Lunt

Microsoft has just released its Vista operating system. There are many other analysts that will tell you that Vista requires new equipment and more memory to run efficiently and that it may have problems using current XP hardware or software. However, in this article I'll look at whether we actually need Vista, and at the possible hidden features that can make Vista useful to abusive governments and corporations.

The first question I want to ask is do we really need Vista? To answer this let me go back seven years. Windows 2000 Professional was Microsoft's first operating system that added enhanced networking technology to a desktop meant for the typical user. Microsoft's other year 2000 operating system called the Millennium was never very successful.

In late 2001 Microsoft decided to use the 2000 Professional foundation and created a new system called Windows XP. They actually left off lot of the networking stuff that came with 2000 Professional on the XP Home Edition. In order to get the stuff they left off and some other things you had to buy XP Professional.

Here's the interesting thing. Most programs that run on XP also run on Windows 2000. Internet Explorer 7 (which still reportedly crashes a lot) can only run on XP but Internet Explorer 6 and Firefox run very well on Windows 2000. Most office and Internet software have no problem running on Windows 2000.

You must remember what the purpose of an operating system really is. Its main purpose is to run user based software and Windows 2000 achieves this purpose with most current Windows software.

What did Windows XP do to make it better than Windows 2000? They claim better security with their Service Pack 2, but from the virus and spyware attacks that I've seen, it doesn't look like that helped. Things like memory management, more efficient use of modern processors, and better networking may be some of the hidden XP enhancements but service packs could add this type of functionality to Windows 2000.

There were many more things added to XP that can be described as bloat. They've added the famous nagging dialogs that warn you when you don't have an antivirus or your automatic updates are turned off.

By default, Microsoft doesn't think you're smart enough to look at the files in Windows folders without destroying them, so they hide them and to view them you have to click "Show the contents of this folder." File extensions are even hidden by default.

The Control Panel was simplified because Microsoft figured that your brain was too feeble to fathom the complexity of viewing it in the "Classic View." Lot of the dialogs that Microsoft added are actually insults to your intelligence. Do you really need the operating system telling you that "You have unused icons on your desktop?"

To make more money from its XP Operating System, Microsoft introduced activation. Activation means you can only use the system on one computer. The software won't work on computers other than the one it's activated for. Hackers soon beat the activation code. So Microsoft introduced "Windows Genuine Advantage" where your computer must prove that it's running genuine Windows before you can download any additional free software from Microsoft, including the Internet Explorer 7 browser or the new Media Players.

This just goes to show that Microsoft has been subtly restricting its operating system with the passage of time so that Microsoft, not the user, gets all the advantages.

Here's some review questions.

So why did we need XP in the first place? All we got was more nagging dialogs, activation, and Windows Genuine Advantage. Of course you must realize that as CPUs advance Microsoft will not support their advanced features on Windows 2000, but they could if they wanted to.

So for the last five years, what most users have done on Windows XP, they could've of done on Windows 2000. Microsoft forced most people to update because they hold a monopoly requiring new PC manufacturers to have their latest operating system pre-installed on all new PCs.

Many people don't realize that Windows XP Home was really a downgrade from Windows 2000, and that they had to purchase Windows XP Professional to get about the same networking functionality as they originally had with Windows 2000.

Now the time has come for Vista. Vista has four versions: Vista Home, Vista Home Premium, Vista Business, and Vista Ultimate. If you are now running XP Professional and you "upgrade" to Vista Home you are actually being downgraded several levels. You probably need Vista Ultimate to get back the same features as your XP Professional had. It costs $259 to upgrade to Vista Ultimate, and $399 to install it on a new PC.

You can bet that Vista will have a lot more nagging dialogs and push you toward buying more Microsoft software like Office 2007 that you probably don't really need.

Did you know that the NSA (National Security Agency) helped design the security for Windows Vista? This is the same organization that helped the Bush Administration spy on US citizens. Asking the NSA to help design Vista security is similar to asking the fox to help design the hen house.

Along with Vista's activation code and the "backdoor" software added by the NSA, your Vista could be telling the corporate aliens that run the government exactly what you're thinking. Just imagine, you're a government employee and you surf to a site that criticizes the current administration. The next day you hear a knock at your door. It's the FBI; they've come to take you in for questioning. They were monitoring your on-line habits thanks to Vista.

No one knows what code lurks in Microsoft software, that's the problem. We don't actually know whether the NSA put any hidden code there. Using Vista the government can be eavesdropping on the population for years to come. Even if this doesn't happen, you can bet that Vista software is designed to keep giving Microsoft and its partners, and not the consumer, a growing advantage.

Consumers already lost the battle for open operating systems. There is practically no PC vendor in the United States that will sell a PC that does not have a Microsoft Operating System pre-installed. The exception is an Apple PC; then the Mac operating system, another proprietary system, is pre-installed.

Think about it, people are not given a choice to install an open operating system like Linux. To be fair there should be no operating system installed on a new PC. You should buy a "systemless" PC, then choose the operating system you want and the store should install it for you before you take your PC home.

As long as PCs are pre-installed with XP or Vista very few people will ever switch to Linux. Most people aren't technically savvy enough to attempt to do the installation themselves. And even after the Linux is installed, it requires some getting used to for people who've worked with Windows all their lives.

The twenty first century is the century where greedy governments and corporations try to squeeze every penny from the working class to enrich their leadership. They're all looking for new ways to control us. Information Technology is creating new techniques for governments to track populations through closed Operating Systems like Vista.

We can only be spared their watchful eye by embracing open source software like Linux. By being able to examine Linux code, experts throughout the world can say with much more certainty that there are no surprises placed there by enterprising governments or corporations.

George Lunt is someone who feels the world is getting too corporate. His writings relate to the individual's struggle with big government and big corporations. His website is [ redirected].

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