After numerous woes with my upgraded Vista machine (IBM T43 laptop which I upgraded from RC2 to RTM) I decided last night to commit and rebuild my machine. The good news is that installation went without a hitch and that it found drivers for all the hardware (of course this doesn’t include any of the IBM software to drive the hardware buttons etc but then again I don’t have the overhead of poorly coded, often bloated vendor software). The bad news is that despite my best intentions to only install rtm’d products I once again found myself installing non-supported or beta software. The list of applications/versions I’m waiting on are
VS2005 SP1 (although VS2005 will run there are issues with UAC – which I am determined to leave on this time)
Live Mail Desktop (I need this as it seems to be the only RSS product that uses the IE7 common feeds store, doesn’t break Outlook2007 and has an unread items view – don’t ask me why IE7 doesn’t have this)
Virtual PC 2007 (for doing presentations and installing beta software 😉
OneCare (maybe – atm i have AVG installed and that works a treat. Why if i’m only using the computer for personal stuff would i pay for a OneCare subscription?)
VS2005 extensions for WPF, WF (to do work with .NET Framework v3)
SQL Server 2005 CE
Windows Mobile Device Center (so I can’t connect and establish partnerships from my WM device to Vista – replaces ActiveSync)
I must admit although this looks bad you have to remember that Vista is technically not shipping until early next year to retail customers. Whilst I’m sure that there will still be some teething problems I would suggest that most of these products will have shipped by then. The Test pass for a new operating system is much longer than for any of these standalone applications which means that their release cycle can be significantly shorter. This also means that Vista could be RTM’d without being delayed for these products to RTM.
One last comment on this matter. The reason that I try to avoid installing Beta software on my production machine is that MOST software vendors (including Microsoft) can’t write a good installer to save their lives. A good installer will not only correctly install the product it will uninstall the product and any traces that the product exists. If there are local data files that the application creates when it is run, there should be prompt in the uninstall process that allows the user to decide if they want to include those files in the uninstall process. There should be no registry traces of the application and the uninstall process should replace any files that were overwritten as part of the install process. Unfortunately for most companies the installer is the last thing to get built and is seldom tested with the same rigour as the product itself.