CNN says Windows Vista looks like...uh...Mac OS X

Thomas Veil

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Feb 14, 2004
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(AP) -- Known for years by the code name "Longhorn," the successor to Microsoft's Windows XP has been dubbed "Longwait" for its numerous delays. As features have been announced, it's also been accused of copying Apple Computer Inc.'s Mac OS X.

And that was before most people had the chance to see -- let alone use -- what's now been christened Windows Vista.

Microsoft finally took some of the wraps off last week, releasing Vista's first major test version to about 500,000 programmers and tech professionals. The goal is to let them kick the tires, run their software on it and provide feedback.

Beta 1, as it's known, is far from complete but gives a taste for where the world's most widely used operating system is headed.

Yes, it does have more of a Mac-like look and feel.

And, yes, it's insanely late.

But it also gives users hope that some of Windows' most serious annoyances and dangers might be mitigated just in time for the holidays of 2006, when the final version is expected to be out.

The way Vista organizes and finds information tops the list of improvements.

In Windows XP, users often launch a program by clicking on the "Start" button and selecting from a menu that lists programs in order of how frequently they're used. If a program isn't on that short list, the user is stuck wading through a potentially long list that appears when the "All Programs" option is selected.

In Beta 1, the list of popular programs is still there but the "All Programs" link now triggers a much easier to navigate list. No more clumsy scrolling.

If you don't like that, you can search for a program by typing its name into a box built into the menu.

The search improvements do not end there.

If you want to find a document in XP, there's a search link in the start menu. Once the keywords are entered, a cartoon character -- a dog, by default -- does a little dance while the hard drive is scoured. Results appear in seconds -- and they include not just text documents but pictures, e-mails and any other type of file.

A mini search box also appears in the upper right corner of every window, so it's no longer necessary to return to the Start menu. As well, searches can be saved as a virtual folder. When opened, such a folder will retrieve any documents that meet the saved criteria. (Files also can have keywords attached -- something that will make nontext items easier to find if the time is taken to enter descriptive words.)

Mac fans are probably screaming. Yes, this is very similar to the Spotlight function in the recent update of Mac OS X. At this stage of development, Vista does bear a significant resemblance.

Mac lovers are also likely to fume once they see Vista's graphics. Green progress bars shimmer. The Minimize-Maximize-Close buttons look something like glowing Chicklets when moused over. Each window has a drop shadow while borders and title bars are slightly transparent. Folder icons now show the documents inside, such as a very small picture thumbnail for an image file. The icons also can be enlarged.

Finally, when a program is launched, its window doesn't just appear but pops open in a slick animation. When minimized, the window slides into the taskbar.

It remains to be seen whether the graphics capabilities will be turned into something more than eye candy. Apple has made great strides on this front, particularly with a technology called Expose that quickly tiles open windows with one key press.

Though improved searching and fancy graphics are nice, the biggest changes are in security.

Internet surfers will notice that the system's firewall now can block incoming and outgoing network traffic. Vista also has built-in tools for preventing viruses from being installed by infected machines on local networks. It will also have basic malware removal tools.

But the most noticeable change is in how Vista handles user privileges.

Previous versions of Windows let people designated as administrators do whatever they wanted. The rights carried over to the software they were running -- something that has caused countless headaches with spyware, adware, viruses and the like.

With Windows Vista's User Account Protection, even administrators are prompted for a password whenever anything is installed or a system setting changed. It's an extra layer of protection that's long been a part Unix-style operating systems, including Mac OS X and Linux.

The protection was not turned on by default in Beta 1, and it's not clear whether it will be in the final release.

The heightened security may be one of the reasons many programs failed to install. (Another reason may simply be some installation programs check the operating system and refuse to install if it's not recognized.)

Most backward compatibility issues will likely be resolved by the final release. If not, there could be a revolt at the same time that Apple -- for once copying the Windows PC industry -- builds Intel Corp. processors into its computers and updates Mac OS X yet again.

Though Microsoft is largely thought to have won the PC war, the biggest battle might just take place in 2006.
So, CNN recognizes what we've been saying all along.

I especially like that "insanely late" pun. :p

linque
 

ham_man

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Jan 21, 2005
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Glad to see that some improvements should be coming for those of our bretheren still on Windows...
 
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Eric5h5

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Dec 9, 2004
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Uh...under no circumstances would I ever use an OS that has cartoon characters doing little dances....

--Eric
 
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Daveway

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Jul 10, 2004
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New Orleans / Lafayette, La
I downloaded Vista for 2 days and used it for 1 hour. That's how disgusted I am with it. MS has this for half a decade and all they can manage to do is add a few features and a skin to XP. Congrats MS Vista is now much more complicated and harder to understand. The UI is terrible.
I can't believe Vista would ever be compared to Tiger. It's about time editors start noticing that Mac IS better than Windows and there IS an alternative.
 
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JFreak

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Jul 11, 2003
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Tampere, Finland
Daveway said:
It's about time editors start noticing that Mac IS better than Windows and there IS an alternative.
once macintosh is a common topic in various media streams, then there is a possibility that people notice. it's good thing they talk about it and make comparisons; expecially favourable ones like this, but even bad press would be good press regarding market share and conquering windows' dominance.

i want more :)
 
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munkle

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Aug 7, 2004
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If you want to find a document in XP, there's a search link in the start menu. Once the keywords are entered, a cartoon character -- a dog, by default -- does a little dance while the hard drive is scoured.
Is Clippy making a comeback?! :eek: :eek:
 
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Jay42

macrumors 65816
Jul 14, 2005
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What's gonna kill me is that when vista FINALLY comes out, everyones gonna rave about. Fewer viruses, quick searches, nice animations, etc. etc. They're not going to have any reasons to switch with all these new toys, even though Tiger is still going to be superior it seems. Never mind what 10.5 will bring.
 
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iSaint

macrumors 603
"Though Microsoft is largely thought to have won the PC war, the biggest battle might just take place in 2006."

uhm...what battle? Are all the Mac users going to go running to Vista with great excitement...while on the way buying $3,000 Dells? Oh, wait, it'll run on our Mactels! Oh, thank you Bill!
 
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michaelrjohnson

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Aug 9, 2000
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{sigh}

Ya know? Someday MSFT's treatment of customer needs is going to catch up with it. Maybe 2006 is the year! They just don't seem to understand a single thing about designing a good UI.
 
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diego2k7

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Aug 1, 2005
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munkle said:
Is Clippy making a comeback?! :eek: :eek:
NOOOOOOO!!! I think that instead of pushing this lame-o update of Win XP onto poor PC users M$ should ditch windows entirely and help Apple market and distribute OS X to all of the x86 ppl... fat chance of that happening eh? ahhh to early morning non-sense lol
 
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neildmitchell

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May 21, 2005
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gwuMACaddict said:
sounds like the same old windows tricks to me... make it look pretty, people think it's an upgrade...

:confused:
but its not even pretty, it looks like an uninspired marketing yes man stepped up to the plate to create the new "ground breaking" MS UI.

Instead of Vista, I think we need to call it something along the lines of...

Kellogs Perfo (The Road To Wellville) :D
 
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Thomas Veil

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Sharewaredemon said:
A dog does a little dance?
Heh, made me think...

Recently my daughter's Dell laptop was f'ed up. She couldn't find documents. If you tried to search, sure enough there came the dog, sitting there with bright eyes and wagging tail, and...nothing. No search box, no nuthin'. Just a stupid cartoon dog.

Makes me glad I'm a Mac user.
 
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Les Kern

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Apr 26, 2002
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A dancing dog doing searches? And THIS is a serious OS? It'll probably do a gack when it finds data, and spews it to the desktop for you.
 
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Abstract

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Dec 27, 2002
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In a way I'm glad that Windows will get better and more secure. I hope everyone can have that.

In another way, I hate that MS just copied Apple again, and I want to pee on Bill's leg.
 
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HiRez

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Jan 6, 2004
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Sharewaredemon said:
Moof!

Dancing animal helpers, hah! It sounds too lame to actually be something that someone seriously thought up, let alone something included in an OS shipping to millions. Did they learn nothing from the Bob and Clippy debacles? It boggles the mind that so many smart people with unlimited cash and resources can continually come up with such crap.
 
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