Wow. The next major version on Windows, to be released late this year, seems, well, rather different.
Aliased fonts were the first thing that struck me. (The rest of the new user interface was next.) I’m not quite sure if the interface design is comforting or intimidating. It does bear a marked resemblance to the recent Mac OS systems — especially those aliased fonts. As a friend of mine put it, "[Microsoft] stole the only thing [Mac] can brag about". In fact, this interface could even be more sophisticated than the Mac one.
Microsoft also thought new methods of window management, namely thumbnail views and the new "Flip 3D", would be useful. Well, who am I to argue? At any one time, I have between five and ten windows open (my taskbar is two rows high so I can read the window titles), so this would be useful indeed.
It seems to me that newer operating systems are meant to have everything within arm’s reach. From Windows XP, for example, the start menu was expanded to have frequently used programs in a second column on it. Vista’s new Windows Sidebar, I figure, has a similar purpose. Whether it clutters screen space or fosters accessibility is arguable.
If I were to comment on every detail I could find, of course, I’d be here all day. The best that can be said of the rest is that Vista seems to have a heck of a lot more features than XP does. A calendar, game censorship settings, Windows Defender, and incorporation of the Media Centre are among them. The truth is, I don’t care about the rest of it. You could say I’m judging a book by its cover, but, well, I guess I am.
Though it is interesting to note that six different editions of Vista, plus a starter edition (and two non-media editions mandated by European law) are planned, rather than the two (plus starter) done for Windows XP.
In any case, I probably won’t be using this version of Windows until we need a new computer, probably in five or six years when they release Windows 7.0.