Longtime reader and correspondent Phil Daley, a developer for a software vendor, dropped me a line saying he’s three weeks into a four-week project to evaluate one of his company’s products on Windows Vista. The goal is to identify any problems and recommend changes and fixes.

Daley tells me his company has a dozen install issues, but they’re somebody else’s problem. On the other hand, he has just found one command (out of 140) that crashes in Vista but not in XP.

He isn’t surprised. “I don’t think you can expect apps written a year ago to support new [operating system] changes,” he says. Daley is being kind. Call me old-fashioned, but surely managing and supporting backward compatibility should be a foundational design issue for the next generation of the dominant PC operating system. No?

What’s really interesting is that he notes that with Vista, running as administrator solves a lot of application problems, as does turning off user account control. He concluded with: “It will be interesting to see what happens. If users get fed up with the new security measures, will they just turn them off?” This implies users would prefer to get work done rather than wrestle with security systems. Who knew?

Of course Microsoft is overengineering security in Vista.

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