Which Vista Version?

Today Windows Vista is available to customers in seven versions, and I’ve had some friends and family ask which they should buy:

There’s two answers to this question, one for the geeks and one for everyone else.

If you’re not a geek

OS X logo Buy an Apple computer with OS X. Seriously. You’d have to buy a new computer for Vista anyways (this applies to you even if you bought a computer this week). The Intel-based macs are excellent machines, OS X is easy, reliable, and can do everything you want do with your computer. You can even set them up to run XP alongside OS X for that one last program you can’t get your files out of.

If you don’t want OS X because you’re a gamer, you don’t want Vista either. Just get a mac and a Wii.

If you’re a geek

Ubuntu You want Ubuntu Linux. It’s darn easy, it’s great on laptops, and you can make it sit up and do tricks. I don’t need to elaborate on this one: you know Linux is the hands-down best OS for geeks, and Ubuntu is a great distribution.

Either way...

I’m not going to be supporting Windows Vista for my friends and family. I’ve limped along with a little XP knowledge, but I’ve never used it for anything but testing and a few games so I’ve never really learned my way around it. I’ll put up with Vista professionally, but I won’t be able to help you solve the problems you’ll have with it.

And you will have problems. It’s built to have problems: the anti-piracy protections will have it lowering image and sound quality, turning off features, and disabling itself altogether if it decides you’re doing anything hinky, whether or not you are. Editing your home movies may trigger it to think you’re editing Hollywood’s movies, and it’ll lock down on you. You don’t want a product that’s defective by design anywhere near your important files.