Thursday, October 22, 2009

Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 and R2

Anyone who has poked their eyes out reading my crap knows what I think about Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008.  But, just in case you still have your eyes (translation: you haven't gouged them out to avoid the excruciating agony of reading my rants):

Windows 7 is, in a word:  FANTASTIC
I am not a direct, indirect or contract employee of Microsoft, nor for any subsidiaries under their influence or control.  I was not approached by anyone to voice the following views.  Nor was I compensated in any way for this work by anyone from anywhere at anytime whatsoever.  These views are purely my OWN and I take full responsibility for what I say herein.  If you do not agree with these views, you are free to kiss both cheeks of my ass in the midst of a serious stomach flu or the day after a major Mexican dinner.  The choice is yours.
The following is a verbose, bloated, gut-wrenching, eye-socket-gouging, sphincter-tightening, fist-clenching, jaw-clenching, brow-furrowing rant which may offend those of non-Microsoft faiths.  It may border on blasphemous.  It may result in you falling asleep at your keyboard and waking up with small square imprints on your forehead.  You have been warned...
I consider Windows 7 to be the best operating system Microsoft has ever produced.  I've been a regular user of Microsoft operating systems since Windows 3.1.  I went through 3.11 (WFWG), Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT (workstation and server) 3.5, 3.51, 4.0, Windows 2000 (professional and server), Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, and now Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008.  Taking the ultimate risk of alienating an entire race of beings:

Windows 7 is (to me) the best client operating system available today.

For years, I have worked extensively with UNIX variants such as Sun, Computervision, Intergraph, and many Linux variants including Mandrake/Mandriva, Suse, RedHat, Fedora, Slackware, and Ubuntu.  As recent as Windows Vista, I would still regularly split my time at home on Vista and some flavor of Linux within a virtual environment.  There were features in Linux I still preferred in both the UI and command shell.  I am still comfortable on multiple platforms, including Apple OSX Snow Leopard, which is very nice indeed.

I started into the Windows 7 evaluation cycle early on.  I jumped in during the alpha builds and progressed into the beta builds.  Like many others, I was doing a wipe-and-reload of my home computer with each new leaked build.  When the Release Candidate was posted I knew it was "it".  With the RTM release it was only fit-and-finish and even more impressive.  I have not even wanted to fire up any of my Linux virtual machines, nor bother upgrading them to newer versions (Ubuntu 9.10 was my latest).  Windows 7 is absolutely perfect for my needs.
All of the nay-sayer blabbering about the beta builds being faster because of "debug check code" and "disabled features", were completely and utterly full of shit!   By "full", I mean they were filled to capacity, including the vacuous cavity of skull volume that should have contained some sort of mammalian cerebral matter.  I will never again listen to those in-factual pseudo-pundits for anything, let alone technology advice.  If you read the tech mags, tech blogs and listen to the tech podcasts, you know who I'm talking about.

My computer, my wife's computer and my kids computers are all running Windows 7.  I love it.  They love it. And they RARELY love anything I love (except for our cat and dog of course).  It wasn't an overnight changeover by any means.  Let me elaborate here a bit...

Case in point:  I used my youngest kids for IT experiments to see if they really cared about using Windows over Linux or OSX.  I'd take them with me to the Apple store at MacArthur Mall in downtown Norfolk, and let them play with everything and watch their reactions from afar.  I'd ask them later what they liked and didn't like.  I have four kids, ages 10, 14, 17 and 18.  The 10 and 14 had their views. The 17 and 18 have theirs as well (and boy do they ever!).  All four like the animated interface of OSX and the pretty icons, but mostly they loved the large screen displays.  Once I got them using Windows 7 on a large screen they all seemed to discount the value of the animated interface goodies.

Then I replaced their desktop with a Linux desktop running Ubuntu with some Windows Vista desktop themes and also OSX themes and all the bells and whistles I could put on them that they tend to like.  The boot time was noticably slower than our Windows boxes (on the exact same hardware, by the way), and in the end, while they were fine playing online Flash games, none of their Windows games or apps would work and most importantly: iTunes was not available.  My older two use iTunes to shop and buy music and movies, which is (or was at the time) impossible with any of the iTunes clones for Linux (Floola included).  Synchronizing libraries was fine but they wanted more, and Linux couldn't satisfy their needs.

I put them all on Vista and they were borderline on that as well.  At times they would ask me to put them back on Windows XP, but I resisted, mainly to see if they'd "come around" eventually.  They did, but they were still not excited about Vista.

Then I put Windows 7 on their computers and it was like the room went from monochrome to color and someone turned the lights on.  Life is good.  Asteroids may come crashing into our planet, but we're just fine on the computer front for now.  All I heard for days was "wow!  this is cool! when did this get put in here?"

Windows Server 2008
Given that this came out in tandem (or near-by) with Vista, this was still a huge improvement over both Windows Server 2003 R2 and Windows Vista.  It's a rock-solid, easy to setup, easy to use, and extremely stable and reliable server operating system.  That's about the best way I can say it.  As with Windows 7, I jumped into the beta program early and never left.  People blabber on about how UNIX and Linux servers never need a reboot (which is utter bullshit unless you ignore patches entirely, and OH YES, they have their patches), and how "fast" they are.  A total crock of goat shit.  If you configure them to support an apples-to-apples comparison, Windows Server 2008 blows them away.  Pissed off yet?  Go back and re-read the sentence in purple again.

And Server "Core" is simply wonderful.  Sure, it stole what it does from what the Linux circus has been doing.  But the Linux circus has been stealing from the OSX and Windows world for years as well.  They all steal from each other.  Let's face it, the GUI was stolen from Xerox, so STFU everyone.

a_enzyte-manWindows Server 2008 R2 extends the vast array of improvements even further.  When most people who are familiar with Windows Server 2003 really dig into what's new in 2008 and 2008 R2 their jaws fall off their hinges.  When I used it for the first month I looked like Bob the Enzyte guy.

The list of features is like a late night infomercial wet dream.  Ok, a wet dream for IT geeks, but still a dream, and a wet one at that.  Reading about them doesn’t do it justice.  You have to SEE them and USE them yourself and you will walk away like you’ve been hit with a bolt of lightning.  If you don’t work with Windows or Windows Server it may be lost on you since your brain hasn’t been upgraded to handle this sort of incredible orgasmic synapsial activity boosting awesomeness.  Ok, maybe that’s a little over the top, but whatever.  I don’t care.  I passed another exam and I’m feeling pretty good.  And the weather outside is fantastic today.  What’s not to feel good about?

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