Thursday, February 01, 2007

The App Compat War

You know, there's a bit of a scuffle going on about Vista needing a good graphics card - apparently, Intel doesn't like the fact that nVidia chips are now more important to Joe Average-Windows-User.  I personally don't mind - more memory and a better video card were in the works for me anyway (Blender bogged XP down something fierce, and I wanted better graphics for Dungeon Siege and Neverwinter Nights anyway).  Seriously, if you want to bitch, bitch about app compatibility.

I've got a box at home that runs a non-MS operating system on it - yes, it's Linux, specifically Fedora Core 6.  What can I say - I'm a Unix guy from way back in college, and I'm a computer hobbyist.  This machine sits in my office along with the main XP machine, my W2K3 server, cable modem, and wireless router - only the XP machine is headed.  I RDP into the W2K3 box, and the router has an HTML interface I can hit from anywhere on the homenet - that leaves my Linux box.  I use Cygwin/X and XDMCP to connect to it from the XP machine.  But, if my wife is using the XP machine, that means I have to use my Vista laptop instead.  And here's where the trouble is...

Cygwin doesn't like Vista - or is it the other way around?  Anyway, bash won't run on Vista under Cygwin, and XDMCP just hangs there - apparently, the X Server won't start under Vista.  And it's not just Cygwin - I tried Xming as well, which is a lighter version of the same X11 server, and it doesn't nothing either (at least it's more responsive to close requests.

On a more virtual level, I ran the Vista Upgrade Advisor on my home machine - the HW is all good, but I got a bunch of software compatibility warnings.  To be fair, I get many of the same warnings on my work machine, but it's still worrying - it took me a week or so to get my laptop setup with Vista, and that doesn't count all the HW issues (it's a Toshiba Tecra M4 Tablet - requires a new BIOS and I had to wait for updated drivers for a few things to work right).  The laptop works wonderfully now, but my wife will have a fit if it takes me a week to get everything setup so she can read email and play her games again.  I'll keep you posted on the results...

I guess the practical upshot is: Don't sweat the new hardware.  Sweat the multiple downloads and the long hunt for updated drivers and software you'll be doing.  Adding memory and a PCI/X video card are cake in comparison.

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