The Redmond Underdogs?

Well, I guess it’s happened.  The conventional wisdom in the OS world appears to be that Apple has truly won the OS wars.  Not from a distribution standpoint, of course, but from a “who makes the best OS?” standpoint.  (Of course, Apple fans will say that this has been the case since before OSX came about, but I would definitely not agree with that.  In fact, I would say that it was only after Apple decided to use Intel that the true power of OSX was apparent; PowerPC chips were pretty pitiful.  Would I have preferred Apple use AMD?  Yup, but you can’t have everything you want in life.)

Anyway, my point was that Vista has been a marketing failure, and a technological disappointment.  There are things under the hood in Vista that make it more than Windows XP SP4, but they are incremental changes that didn’t really change the way that people interact with the computer, the way that using OSX is such a change.  And the new “features” in Vista, such as always asking if you really want to do that, are just annoying as hell.  (Of course, if you’re running an aggressive firewall on your machine, you essentially get asked that question all the time, too, so….)  So, Vista as a brand is gone:  “Microsoft introduced what it said would be a slimmer and more responsive version of its Windows operating system on Tuesday, while unceremoniously dropping the brand name Vista for the new product.”  So sayeth the New York Times.  And the tone of the article definitely suggests the folks in Redmond have essentially conceded the best-OS argument, and now see themselves as the underdogs:

Mr. Sinofsky took the stage and issued an apology of sorts for the problems and frustrations associated with Windows Vista. He said the company had listened to and was responding to the feedback.

“We got feedback from reviews, from the press, a few bloggers here and there, oh, and some commercials,” he said, with a nod to a lengthy Apple advertising campaign that has mercilessly poked fun at Microsoft’s woes.

I don’t know if Windows 7 is going to be any good.  I happen to not mind Vista all that much, where I’ve worked with it, but it isn’t very interesting.  By the same token, I’m not that big a fan of OSX–it’s pretty and all, but there’s just something about it that doesn’t satisfy me, though if the OS were sold on its own, without being tied to the hardware, I might be tempted because of BootCamp and/or Parallels.  I’d be really interested in Linux distros–and since I don’t really do much gaming on my PC, that’s an option that could work for me–but there’s one thing that would be much more difficult if I went that route: having to use OpenOffice, which is a really good program in so many respects, but there’s one crucial flaw.  Do you know how difficult it is to make a Table of Authorities in OpenOffice, and how easy it is in Word?  From what I’ve seen, there may be a way to do it using the bibliographic function, but I don’t think it’s the same thing.  The best thing would be a triple-boot system where I could play with all three whenever I wanted.

Update:  I figured out how to do a Table of Authorities in OpenOffice. The How-To is here.