Lust, gluttony, greed, anger, envy, pride, and sloth – Microsoft’s new OS suffers from each deadly sin. Here’s what you can do to minimize the toll each sin takes
The seven deadly sins — for centuries, they’ve shaped the imaginations of poets, priests, and politicians, while giving the great unwashed a frame of reference: Do these things and you’ll burn for sure!
When it comes to software, few products have inspired as much debauchery as Windows. From lust to sloth to envy, Microsoft’s flagship OS platform has proven to be a source of manifold transgression. Zealots have praised it, and pundits have cursed it, while those of us in the IT trenches are forced to actually live with it.
So with Windows 7 just around the corner, it makes sense to examine the product through the prism of these 7 deadly sins. Just how does Microsoft’s new OS drive users to acts of iniquity? And what, if anything, can you, the IT administrator, do to manage the carnal impulses and aberrant behaviors this interloping force of nature engenders?
Lust: Beware Windows 7′s faux-Mac experience, which may drive users to the real thing
Windows 7 inspires lust. Specifically, it arouses an unhealthy yearning for a better computing experience. If you’re an IT administrator, you can see the signs easily: a lingering glance at a contractor’s MacBook Pro, an iPhone in use instead of the standard-issue BlackBerry, browser histories filled with links to macworld.com articles, telltale “my other PC is a Mac” bumper stickers adorning their cubicles.
Left unchecked, these primitive impulses can destroy office morale. Frustrated by the restrictions imposed on them by a rigid Windows-only regime, some employees may even resort to illicit workplace trysts. Many a naïve sys admin has made the unfortunate mistake of ignoring the signs only to later stumble upon a wayward user secretly caressing the object of his or her desire — a smuggled MacBook Air — in the back of a secluded wiring closet.
If your job description includes enforcing a Windows-only computing policy, keep close tabs on your charges during the Windows 7 transition. The faux-Mac experience of the Aero UI will no doubt serve to exacerbate their frustration and perhaps even inspire an increase in overt acts of salaciousness as users realize they’ve been duped by a poor imitation of their true Mac love. So stay alert. Be vigilant. And keep a hammer close by (for cracking Apples, not heads).
Gluttony: Windows 7′s piggy requirements require a lot of hardware “food”
Windows 7 continues Vista’s piggish ways with regard to RAM consumption and CPU utilization. Like its notorious predecessor Vista, Windows 7 consumes significantly more RAM than Windows XP, ostensibly to support its vastly expanded set of default services. As InfoWorld’s tests have shown, this latest version of Windows begins to perform adequately only when deployed on multicore hardware, and some of its “cool” features such as the Aero UI require new graphics hardware and/or updated drivers.
As OS debauchery goes, Windows 7 truly is the height of gluttony. It’s bloated and top-heavy, with an insatiable appetite for state-of-the-art hardware. Basically, it chews up CPU and memory capacity like it’s going out of style. But to what end? What is it, exactly, that Windows 7 does so much better than its leaner, meaner, pre-Vista ancestors?
These are the questions that will likely be directed your way as you begin the slow, painful process of squeezing another oversized Windows release onto your already taxed PC hardware. When confronted about this latest “upgrade,” deflect the inevitable criticisms by emphasizing how much more manageable all those RAM-hungry services will make your environment.
And if all else fails, play the security card: A slow PC is a small price to pay for peace of mind, whether that peace is real or (in the case of Windows 7) imagined.
Greed: Windows 7 will cost you, over and over again
Microsoft is a greedy company. Its obsession with preserving profit by stamping out software piracy has led to ever more onerous “Windows Genuine Advantage” (that is, copy protection) mechanisms, culminating with the albatross of a solution that plagues Vista and, to a lesser degree, Windows 7. Meanwhile, Microsoft’s determination to even out its revenue stream has led to the company denying critical management technologies, like the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) and Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V), to customers who refuse to bite the Software Assurance bullet, Microsoft’s expensive insurance plan that extracts an annual fee for every PC you have for the privilege of running the current Windows.
Another pickpocket tactic: Tying Windows 7′s few, tangible, IT-oriented benefits to the company’s server platform. Want to leverage technologies like Branch Cache or Windows Direct Access? Then pony up for some upgrade CALs (client access licenses) because the Windows Server 2008 R2 show is coming to town. Given how badly Microsoft dropped the ball with the nonexistent Vista/Server 2008 integration message, forcing IT shops that swallowed that bitter pill to now shell out for yet another upgrade cycle is simply unforgiveable.
Considering the company’s position as a monopoly, such behavior is all the more reprehensible. For good or bad, Microsoft’s responsibilities now extend beyond pleasing its shareholders to include providing leadership and direction for the industry as a whole. If the company foists a buggy, unmanageable platform upon what is effectively a captive audience, it is then duty-bound to provide affordable solutions for addressing the glaring deficiencies in that platform.
This is the mantle that a true market leader must assume — and as a veteran IT professional, you already know full well that Microsoft falls short of this ideal at nearly every opportunity. Your job, then, is to mask this moral weakness by emphasizing the various bogus “value” propositions Microsoft uses to pitch Software Assurance and Windows Server 2008 R2. After all, without SA you’re screwed, and without Windows Server 2008 R2, you get little more than a prettied-up Vista. So pony up and shut up. Or go Linux and spend the rest of your life debugging some pimple-faced teenager’s idea of a device driver stack. It’s your call.
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