I have to vent a little bit here. I'm back home for the holidays and helped my grandmother set up her new laptop with Vista on it. This is just venting, if you love Vista that's fine since everyone's got opinions. This is mine.
Vista = usability nightmare
If I was a product manager at Microsoft and someone came to me with Vista and said "we've been working on this for five years!" I would have taken them out back and had them shot. It has got to be the most user hostile environment I have ever come across. I say this having used CDE and Windows 3.11 extensively.
Tooltips - I do not need a tooltip to pop up over everything my cursor happens to rest on for more than a second. You can't just disable tooltips globally with one setting, you have to disable them for half a dozen different situations. Everything has a damned tooltip on it. I cannot think of a reason I would need a tooltip to come up if my cursor is on top of the "Internet" icon in the start menu. Notification balloons are equally inane and useless, unless you disable them Windows wants to let you know whenever it does the simplest of things, oh shit I plugged in a USB stick! Really? I wouldn't have ever remember that I performed that action a second prior without the friendly reminder.
Control Panel - It seems Microsoft rearranged the items in the control panel to be categorized in the least intuitive ways possible. Even the classic view of the control panel is oddly reorganized. Where's Add/Remove Programs? Oh it's "Programs and Feat...", awesome. I don't want to play a text adventure to find a particular control panel. If a control panel brings up a dialog box somewhere on screen it ends up being application modal so you can't access other windows without dismissing the dialog which has no physical association with it's calling window.
Wireless - While the wireless setup in Vista is marginally improved over Windows XP, why the hell do I have to go through multiple menus or the "Connect to Network" pane to connect to a wireless network? Give me a dropdown list of networks and let me choose one or type in a non-broadcast network name. Even better is dial-up and ethernet connections are available in the "Connect to Networks" pane. My grandparents are still on dial-up. Setting up the laptop at my parent's house with WiFi and getting the laptop to not break at my grandparents house was a chore. The actual DUN setup in Vista has not changed since the Windows 2000 days. That is to say it's needlessly complex and you have to click through multiple tabs and/or properties windows to set up multiple phone numbers.
Start menu - I've never been a fan of the start menu, it's just a hierarchal folder view with a bunch of submenus for subfolders. Not only is this a completely broken UI concept it is maddeningly unfriendly. Trying to show my grandmother how to launch Spider Solitaire was great fun. Click the Windows bauble, then click "Programs", then click "Games" (why did the menu change?), then click Spider Solitaire. I ended up making a shortcut on the desktop because the start menu is ridiculously complicated anymore.
UI ugliness - I can't understand why windows supposedly filled with text to be helpful have ten different font sizes with different background colors. It makes it supremely difficult to figure out which text in a window is important and which isn't. It's also difficult for an older person with less than perfect vision to figure out what is going on. That text has a beige background, it must be a warn...no it's just a general warning message that in no way pertains to the current situation.
Text selection - I'll admit I'm used to the Mac way of selecting text (single click in an inactive text field sets the cursor at the end of the line) but the Microsoft way has to be the dumbest I've seen in a long time. Selecting an inactive text box selects the whole text box. Pressing the ← key (left arrow) puts the cursor at the right end of the text. This makes no sense at all. It should put the cursor at the beginning on the line of text.
There's a bunch of other little issues I won't bother putting in bullet points. A lot of these issues can be fixed by tweaking settings in various controls panels and property panes but finding these is a chore and completely non-obvious to novice users like my grandparents. When they place the cursor over things and shit pops up under them they think they did something wrong because that sort of behavior is unintuitive and non-obvious. Out of the box I found my grandmother's laptop bordering on unusable. Without my help she would have never got her dial-up working or any of the trialware off the machine. I know a lot of people here might scoff at some of my complaints but really sit back and think about the amount of time it takes to make Windows just not suck. Wizards on top of convoluted interfaces does not fix the core issue of the interface being overly complicated.
Vista has its redeeming qualities. It's reasonably more capable and secure than previous incarnations of Windows but it has a hostile interface. I'm extremely glad that I do not have to use it on a daily basis and I feel sorry for those that do. I think a lot of the backlash against Vista is its interface sucks so damned much. Glossy translucent windows and soft focus animations during file copies don't make the system any more user friendly. They're just special effects on top of a movie with bad acting.
Rant over for now.
Maybe a couple aren't, but I can't remember off the top of my head which ones.
Control panel - Switch it to classic view, done. I'll agree that "programs and features" is stupid, but when you put it to classic view, the rest is pretty much the same as XP
Wireless - No comment, as I use Wired at home.
start menu - The Vista start menu is such an improvement over XP I hate using the xp start menu at work now. I don't even ever go into the "programs folder" if you want your grandma to find spider solitare, pin it to the top of the start menu for her(right click on it, then click "pin to start menu" it'll be near the top, and bolded), so it'll always be there. I dont' even go into programs anymore, just type the first 3-4 letters of the program I'm looking for, and within 4 seconds it shows up via the instant search.
UI Ugliness - It's different. I absolutely HATED the XP theme when it first came out, used windows Classic for 3-4 years. When the theme chantges a lot. Some people are so resistant to change. I agree that some things in the UI really piss me off, but 90% of it is just a different skin. Get used to it.
Text Selection - you admit you're used to a mac. Like comparing apples to oranges(no pun intended). Mac's and PC's do it differenty. someone who doesnt' use a Mac wouldnt' know any different. I know that in 10 years of computing it's never really slowed me down.
I've been using vista since launch, and there were a lot of things that I didn't like about it at first, but it really does grow on you, and you have to learn it. some things Microsoft changed for the sake of change, but a lot of it is "omg things have been this way in windows for 10 years, why did they change it?" Honestly, once you get used to it, it is not a bad OS. SP1, which is coming probably in early February, will be a HUGE lift for the OS. I'm running the RC now, and it had an immediate, noticeable performance improvement on my system. SP1 will probably be Vista's coming out party, just as SP1 was for XP as well.
Anti rant finished.
A "Flame on: Windows" thread would get much less attention than a "Flame on: Windows Vista" thread. See: Tech Blogs.
Why the fuck did this happen out of the blue? Doesn't matter, I'm formatting soonish anyway.
Use the pervasive Search box to find what you are looking for. Also, Classic View.
Right click on networking icon > Connect To Network. That's one menu. Also this beats the living shit out of Mac OSX which does not even the show signal strength until you connect to a network, and also freezes up the whole goddamn computer for several seconds when you try to connect to a network that's not in range.
I expect that Microsoft chose not to give any attention to this feature because nobody uses dial-up anymore.
All you have to do is type "spider", or even "spid" in the search box and hit Enter, and you're there. As with any other program. This is actually way easier than before, and they make sure to put search front and centre so novice users like your grandparents will know right away how to quickly find programs and documents, and why doing so is a good idea. Unlike Mac OS X which hides search under a nondescript, unlabeled magnifying glass icon, inexplicably named "Spotlight".
Okay, so press Home then. You think those keys next to the numpad are for show?
Windows Vista goes farther out of its way to ensure usability than any previous Windows version. Admittedly Microsoft didn't do the greatest job of this but hopefully Service Pack 1 will solve some of these problems. The fact is that computers today are more complicated, and do more things than ever before. It's hard to make an interface that caters to everyone, balancing simplicity with power. Experienced Windows users should have little trouble finding things that have been moved, and also becoming familiar with Vista's more powerful features. Most operating systems today -- OS X included -- remain quite impenetrable to computer novices, and do little to explain to this type of person why they might want to click on iPhoto or Windows Movie Maker. If I recall correctly, Mac OS X was not particularly well received at first, and for good reason. I think the more serious problems with Vista will be solved in the upcoming service packs.
My point about the start menu is it is a completely broken concept both in XP and Vista. Windows 95's start menu was equally broken. The start menu simply displays a folder hierarchy in the form of nested menus. These folders can contain shortcuts to anything, documentation, application launchers, or just URL shortcuts to vendor web pages. This is a bad idea from the start. What should happen is the start menu ought to be aware of executables in the Program Files directory and add menu items for each application. Something like the "Games Explorer" but for every kind of application. This is a good read for why things like the start menu can turn out so badly.
Saying Vista's UI is complicated because computers are more capable than they were ten years ago is a complete cop out. The same with not streamlining features that "no one uses". More than half of the households in the US are still on dial-up, my grandparents included. Making a dial-up connection simpler would not break anyone's back in Redmond but would make my grandparents' computing experience a lot better. Windows' shitty dial-up configuration is the reason ISPs have their own dial-up configuration apps.
As for the complication, you can have a good interface on top of a complicated process. Look at the Vista Photo Gallery, it doesn't pollute the interface with a bunch of esoteric options, it shows you photos and has buttons at the top to perform the most likely tasks (print, e-mail, burn to a disc, etc). It doesn't have a wizard walk you through looking at your photos or ask you twenty questions before it saves some settings. The UI gets out of the way for the task at hand. This is better UI design than most other parts of the system. The Network and Sharing Center on the other hand has a bunch of unused whitespace and needless graphics (the not always accurate network map) and tasks on the left side. If I'm on WiFi I either want to join a network or create my own having a "set up connection" task is superflous, just make the main display a join/create/status interface.
I've been using Windows for a really long time. I've used Vista as sparingly as possible since its release because I really do not like it as a product. I personally feel the Windows UI developers have been asleep at the wheel for the past five years. Someone somewhere has a hard on for Vista's "task based" UI which I find to be a complete waste of time. They need to revisit their UI and think long and hard about how people actually use their computers. If I knew it would do some good I'd buy them a couple of copies of Jef Raskin's The Humane Interface.
I would surmise that most of the households that still use dial-up probably aren't going to buy a new computer this year, hence the lack of a need for changing the dial-up connection interface, which has never been all that hard to figure out if you have two firing neurons and are capable of reading English.
Microsoft is probably well aware that they fucked up with Vista, and are likely spending most of their time trying to figure out how not to let that happen again. I think things like Movie Maker and Photo Gallery worked out alright because they're fairly removed from the development of the core OS, and each one got direct attention from a single team with a cohesive vision; whereas the network interface and the control panel are a complete mess because they were likely worked on by a dozen different teams with a dozen different ideas as to how the thing should work. I will be very surprised if Microsoft makes these mistakes again with the next Windows release.
I think Microsoft made a bad product. It happens sometimes.
Ok, here's my take...
I work as an assistant manager for a very popular custom computer chain store in the midwest. My store made about 21K in profits this year, and the company in general probably pulls in ~500K in bank between all the stores together.
Now, because we are a custom computer builder, we offer a choice between XP and Vista. What is striking is how many people come in, who know almost nothing about computers mind you, and by simply by word-of-mouth, have very negative things to say about Vista. These are not techy people by any stretch of the imagination. They are just consumers looking for a new computer. It really should be a simple process to sell a system to these people. Pick your system based on your budget, longevity requirements, with a dash of bells and whistles, and have a nice day (^_^). The fact that grandmothers and low-income families are giving a shit about the OS, I think is saying something.
Another thing that's quite odd was that MS was going to start to pull the $66 OEM licenses for XP this month, but extended it till June. (After that, the price of XP will go up to $120 if you want it pre-installed on a system)
Very recently, we had a Microsoft marketing guy come in, and gave us a dog-and-pony show about Vista. There was one stat that really jumped out at me. In the presentation, the current rejection rate of Vista has been hovering around 70%. I then went on about how it was OEM's job to educate and sell the system based on it's good qualities. This is true, and have no qualms about this. MS can only do so much and we, as retailers, have to educate the customer about our products. It's really retail 101 here.
But 70% rejection rate? By Microsoft's own words?
You can lay the blame several different ways on this. Microsoft says it's because the OEMs have not been doing a good job educating the market. You can also say that it's the "haters" that's causing the rejection rate to be so high.
Here's my take:
I don't run Vista. It's not that I hate it, but I simply don't have a need. My main computer is a 2.8 Pentium 4 with 1.5 gig of ram and an Nvidia 6300 AGP card. It's a quaint little system that does it's job. I have yet to hit any bottlenecks or issues. I can run the orange box OK with the settings turned down. It plays videos fine, and have no problems managing my piles of useless but enjoyable personal projects that waste my time.
The system simply isn't broken.
My laptop runs linux. I'm not out to try and convert the world with that statement. The truth is I needed the Windows COA from my laptop for my main computer. All the laptop does is run Openoffice, and I browse the web from by bed when I'm too lazy to get up.
So, what's the matter with Vista?
I'm not going to sit here an enumerate the problems with the OS. There are probably many more people who use Vista much more than I who can testify to the system's faults. I am going to lay blame though.
As an OEM, I am doing my job. I am educating my customers about the product, following Microsoft's guidelines.
The consumers are doing their job. They are looking at the market based on their needs and making the appropriate purchase. When 70% come in and say that the product is shit, then they are participating in the market like they should.
I'm sitting here and wondering though, who exactly did Microsoft make Vista for?
It wasn't for me, because my system works just fine.
It wasn't for the tech geeks, because they feel ham-handed when they are using it.
It wasn't for Joe Consumer, because they simply don't give a shit about the new features.
I think Microsoft made Vista for themselves, and I think that statement speaks volumes.
Do you live in an environment lacking the normal amount of oxygen to function properly? My ranting was based on helping my grandparents with their Vista running laptop. I was expressing my opinion of Microsoft's design for an application launcher and how I feel they've consistently failed since Windows 95 to do a decent job. You like to throw out insults but it seems you lack basic reading comprehension. You're making your mother cry.
As for dial-up connections the interface sucks and could easily be made better. The fact that dialers exist for most ISPs is a testament to that fact. It's a damn shame that Microsoft doesn't see fit to include decent dialing software with their general purpose OS. Again, stating some made up statistic about dial-up users not buying new computers has little if any bearing on reality. My grandparents just bought a new computer and have dial-up. No one asked if it was important to you, since Microsoft made the OS one would think they cared if it worked in situations end users might use it in like dialing up to the internet. Internet Connect on OSX hasn't changed much since 10.1 but it works very well and is easy for novice users to set up.
I wanted to rant about annoying aspects of Vista. This isn't about product A is better than product B, it's product V sucks more in many ways than all sorts of other products. As I said some people love Vista and I don't have any problem with that. I find a good deal of its behaviors to be completely unfriendly and borderline retarded. I would submit Vista as a counterexample to good design is a UI class. Microsoft has been making these sorts of design mistakes for almost twenty years now, I see no signs of them stopping now.
Windows 95's UI was a blend of existing Windows paradigms mixed with ideas taken from MacOS 7. Microsoft broke a lot of old behavior because they wanted to visually and behaviorally distance themselves from OS/2 as IBM had become an inconvenient partner once Windows revenues started to grow. Vista's UI is a blend of their backwards "task based" paradigm and visual glitz of OSX and even their own XBox Dashboard. The result as I have said is less than ideal. I don't think Windows 7 is going to really do much better in the UI department. There's too many cooks in Microsoft's UI kitchen and I doubt that is going to change any time soon.
I do like, however, how when something does go wrong, Viasta, 80% of the time, finds a viable solution for you.
"This CD does not have a usable driver, go here for the correct one"
Sure, on one occasion it sent me to the 32bit version. All I had to do was just click "download 64bit" and it worked perfectly.
It does not deserve the hate it receives.
MANY things are tweakable.
Still other things are due to driver support.. but that is hardly the case now
And yes, some things are just due to poor microsoft implementation.
We get it. Vista isn't popular. Some like it, others hate it. Many of the points in the OP are either easily fixed (tooltips) or its because you are doing it wrong (Start menu)
A better vista thread is how to get XP to mimic Vista features, or how to disable things in Vista to make it a better OS on the whole.
Librarians harbor a terrible secret. Find it.
All you have to do is click Start, then type Spider Solitaire in the search box right above the start button!
My gripe with Windows is, why is it so complicated to join a network with a hidden SSID? This applies to both XP and Vista. I should be able to just open up available networks and click "Join Other Network", type in the name of my hidden network and security settings and that's in. Instead, I have to dig through menus (in XP it's Wireless Network Connection: Change the order of preferred networks: 'Add' a network under 'Preferred Networks', put in all my security settings, then rescan available networks). Granted, you only have to do it once, but I have to do it for every Windows laptop someone brings over and wants to use my wireless. Is that really necessary?
or Brawl. 4854.6102.3895 Name: NU..
I'm not a huge fan of the Start menu either, but the search box is the best thing about the new Start menu. The fact that I can hit Windows key and type in anything I could put into the Run... command and have it work is great.
...of course, all you have to do in XP is press Windows+R to open up a Run box, so it's not that much quicker, but still.
or Brawl. 4854.6102.3895 Name: NU..
No OS is easy to use. That goes double for Grandma. Some are better (OS X). Some are worse (Linux). There is really nothing that any user could just sit down at and use. Most of your frustrations are probably from what has changed, but that does not mean the change is bad. The control panel has more items. To keep it from becoming a nightmare some things have to be pushed down in the tree. "Programs and Features" is really the most rational place to put "Add or Remove Programs."
It does more than Windows+R though. If I hit Windows+R in XP and type in "Hearts" I get an error message. A normal user is going to want to type in "Hearts" and get Hearts. They don't know that you have to type in mshearts or were to find that information. The search box is a damn quantum leap in usability over the Run dialog.
Sounds like a lot of work for an old lady to play a game of cards.
You don't even have to get the name exactly right. What is easier? Without the OS gaining ESP I don't really see how it could be improved.
It hasn't changed except for the fact that it no longer exists on Leopard... The new network preference panel more than makes up for it though.
Maybe its just me but I almost never connect to a wireless network based on how good the signal strength is. I connect to my network or the network at work. I figure that if the network even appears in the list I should be able to connect. Good enough for me. Also the interface hang is gone on Leopard and it seemed to only happen to Intel Macs on 10.4.
Hold the mouse cursor over the eye icon long enough and you'll get a tooltip stating the purpose of the icon.
Windows does a lot of things wrong with the UI. The general inconsistency is what annoys me the most.
I know it's more powerful, but seeing as my stuff is organized I hardly ever search (I don't use Spotlight for searching on my Mac either), so I mostly use it for the same stuff I use the Run box for.
or Brawl. 4854.6102.3895 Name: NU..
I can't tell you how many times I've tried to connect to a network on my Mac that is only close enough for SSID broadcast, and had to wait while it hopelessly attempts to handshake with a router that's out of range. Being able to see the signal strength of an SSID before trying to get onto it is really useful because it's rarely worth trying connecting to a network with only one or two bars of signal.
Mac OS X is hardly a paradigm of consistent, predictable interface behaviour, as evidenced by the green button which still does nothing useful. I mean -- how long has it been, six years? -- and they still haven't decided on a consistent function for that little green button.
The button either maximizes the window or makes the window large enough to fit the contents without scrolling. iTunes is the only app I'm aware of that does something weird with it.
The behaviour seems to vary from one application to another, although I pretty much have never gotten a useful result from pressing it. Also the + symbol on the button usually translates to novices as "make bigger", which it only sometimes does.
And the start menu has never bothered me that much. Some applications put too many icons on there for my personal liking, which doesn't mean somebody else doesn't find it useful. And the if someone is too computer illiterate to navigate the start menu, well yeah, that's what desktop icons are for. And in Vista, you can even make the icons so gigantic that you can see them from outer-space. If you tried to explain how to launch Big-Bang Backgammon in OS X to your grandma, I suspect she'd be just as confused as with the start menu.
And I have to agree, the little green button is horrible. I miss plain and simple maximizing.
Oh, and I think Jef Raskin's ideas are pretty silly.
Wait, what? On Ubuntu, if I wasn't trying to do a lot of crazy crap I would have zero problems overall. For a mostly novice user, on say, a fresh machine (with compatible hardware, which is most hardware these days), what's so difficult about it? You see, the average user doesn't have to do anything special, like open the command line, edit text files, or anything else. They want to use the internet or e-mail people they click the little menu button that says "Applications" and go to "Internet" and there is your E-mail and Web Browser. You want to use Office applications, there's something called "Office". Watch a movie? Something called "Movie Player". If you're missing something required to play one of those movies (or an audio file), a box pops up saying "You're missing something, press okay to install the thingie so you can watch your movie". The system has updates? There's a little icon that tells you, you click it, enter your password, and away you go. If you need to reboot it tells you without bugging you every 5 minutes, and the system is completely usable without that reboot until you're ready.
And when it comes to installing software, forget Synaptic, or Apt-Get, or anything like that. Forget searching the web for install files and double clicking them. See, because in Ubuntu there's something called Add/Remove Programs which does exactly that. It gives you a nicely categorized list of applications with descriptions and ratings and you click them and the system installs them and sets them up for you and tada you can use them.
And now there's Deskbar, which lets you search on the fly for anything on your computer, as well as launch applications that match what you typed, or search the web. It's all from one little button on your menu bar.
That's not to say I haven't broken my system a million times, but I do a lot funkier stuff than the average user, EG: using realtime kernels and setting up studio (audio) software/hardware, using beta display drivers, etc etc. So when my system breaks or does something funky I'm not normally surprised because I'm the one that did all of the funky things that can cause breakage.
Not to say things are perfect, mind you, I'm just pointing out that for the average person, it's not really more difficult than anything else, and maybe in certain ways easier.
Sorry to semi-hijack a Vista thread. I can't say much about it other than at Best Buy they had a large display with what looked to be an MCE version of it on a machine that was too slow to handle it, and it wasn't pretty. I didn't realize the adoption rate was that low. I suppose I can see it, most of my friends and myself still use XP.
Telling your grandma to go into synaptic and search for perl 5 if something requires it, then getting her to install it, is not easier than finding it on the internet.
And honestly, if something breaks in linux, it's gonna freak them out a lot more than if something breaks in windows. 99% of the time in linux if something breaks, you have to do at least something in the command line to fix it, and again, telling grandma to download and run an anti-spyware program is a lot faster than telling her to sudo apt-get install program x while ignoring dependencies. Or telling her to go click here to change a setting in windows rather than going into the CLI and opening a .conf file in Vi. Yes, I know that there are gui options for a lot of things in inux now, but I'm talking about when shit breaks, and when shit breaks in linux, for some reason the GUI is one of the first things to go.
This! This rings true. Though I'd say "made Vista for a vague mass of everyone" rather than themselves.
In my experience, this is the biggest problem Microsoft has is listening to customers without a goal or oversight between groups. This goes beyond "too many cooks", to the level that one team, product group, or unit will act completely unilaterally, often to the benefit of only their customers.
There is no one in the company empowered to say "You are listening to a customer. That customer is wrong and stupid, because of X quantifiable thing". No one does this on a large scale. Thus you end up with things like Sharepoint; an amazing set of products, that has a completely unique licensing model you have to research to figure out, Vista's schizophorenic UI, Vista's shitty, shitty marketing (that ignores all the actual good parts), and no oversight on where and how OEMs install Vista (Vista Basic olol).
Some groups, when they focus on customer segment, do better. Just watch; when Server 2008 hits full release, it will drive IT guys nuts with excitement. Windows Core, built in hypervisor support, and a million other focused benefits; and it's the same codebase of much-maligned Vista.
Windows desktop tries to be a consumer, entry-level, advanced, tech, small-business, enterprise, and whatever else product. As many of these are mutually exclusive, it manages to fail at many of each segment's requirements.
I was shocked at how very similar it was to WinXP. I thought it was going to be this radical departure. Other than adding compositing/transparencies and the sidebar (which, looking at the task manager, eats ram for breakfast) it's almost identical to XP.
There are the driver issues, and the fact that you need a DX10 card to get the transparencies (MS is allergic to OpenGL I guess). I don't know, it just seems like a waste of time/money.
Transparencies and stuff only require a DX9 card.
I'm looking forward to Windows 7 though. They put the guy who did Office 2007 in charge of Windows though, so that should be good news (I love Office 2007 and I think it's one of the best updates to Office ever).
20MB for an OS device is a bit much. I don't care how cheap ram is, software should use LESS ram over time through optmization, not more (apple is guilty of this too.)
By "improved indexing" are you talking about the indexing service? Because I always turn that off. How often does anyone use search? And how often is that search time-sensitive?
I'll give you that it is different.
If you don't like the normal file/edit/view interface that is used in every single other Win32 app in the world, then I can see why you would be impressed with it. I just found it highly confusing. And somewhat humorously Appleesque in it's basic aesthetics. Not the UI, though. I'm not sure what they were smoking when they came up with the UI. It may just take time to get used to, but seeing as how I am only ever in front of it at school, on the XP boxes (that is to say, when all the Macs are being used), I don't exactly have the opprotunity to learn the in's and out's.
As it is, I use Openoffice, because it's essentially Office 2000, but without that whole costing money issue. But I'm poor, so I might be somewhat biased.
And not all Win32 applications are the same. For many applications, the File-Menu stuff is just fine. But Office apps just have too many features that tend to get buried in menus. I feel the same way about Adobe Photoshop and other complex apps. A Ribbon-like interface just makes sense. If the interface is confusing initially, you get used to it quickly and I believe the vast majority of people find it an improvement, unless they're drastically opposed to change. I really hope they apply some of the r&d they got from making the Ribbon to the Windows 7 interface.
And OpenOffice is a steaming pile of shit, so I might be biased.
I'm afraid you've gone a bit over my head.
I have a screenshot of '07 that I took when I first used it.
Example: It took me several minutes to figure out how to print a file. The round icon on the upper left looks like embellishment, not like an actual menu. It has no text at all to explain it's function.
The styles thing takes up WAY too much real estate for something I have never used. I imagine/hope you could adjust that (but since I only use '07 at school there's no point since it all settings revert when you log off).
View, which is very important, was moved way off to the right. Why?
The tabs are nice, though. I generally approve of tabs.
Conversely, it took me a while to get rid of old Word habits, which slowed me down at first.
The Styles thing is fucking amazing. It will make your document look much much much much nicer. Seriously, it is fucking amazing. Styles needs to be there. More people need to use it. I realize I'm much more anal about how good my document looks than most people, but fuck me, Styles are awesome and people need to care more about how good their documents look. It's the easiest way to make your document look professional, without spending hours and hours learning Latex or some shit.
I don't really see why view is more important. I think most people just view (if they use it at all - I don't) once they're mostly done with the document and just want to see an overview of it. Also, most of the functionality of view is available in the little strip at the bottom of the window.
Add/Remove Programs is a frontend to aptitude/apt-get, and if something requires Perl 5 then it would automatically be installed.
99% of the time if you manage to break anything that requires you to do something in the terminal to fix it, you were fucking around with something in the terminal to break it.
Unless you're someone who upgrades the second a new release comes out (give it a week or two) or are participating in the pre-release process of testing the next version of Ubuntu, it is highly unlikely that a user is going to have to do any arcane voodoo. Ever.
I've been using Ubuntu since Breezy and have never had my desktop environment go boom. I think there has been one such occurrence during that timeframe that involved an update being pushed with one dependency not being uploaded at the same time, but I think that was during a late testing phase and not on the live distros.
I wouldn't say nothing ever happens as it is always possible that some hardware issue could crop up that I wouldn't be affected by, but I think you're generalizing too much on "Linux" (which is just a kernel) and your experience with various distributions and sticking them onto Ubuntu.