I run two PCs and a couple of laptops on a wireless network. I don't think I could be less interested in any of those features. But I know if I asked a dozen corporate IT managers what they wanted in an OS I'd hear that list read back to me 12 times.
I also know I'm going to have the megabytes of code and undecipherable registry entries those features require on my hard disk sooner or later. I know that some of it will cause me hours of trouble and lost productivity as I try to untangle default settings that keep me from doing what I want to do on my PC.But Microsoft operating systems are one-size-fits-all. You can't buy just as much Windows as you need, you have to install the whole package. And there will always be twice as much OS as you want -- the same way there are features in Word you'll never be able to figure out, let alone ever need to use. It's just the way Microsoft does software.
The problem is it's exactly what makes Windows manageable for businesses that makes it unmanageable for individual users. The small-office-home-office crowd, people like me who are their own tech support, need less OS, not more. We need to be able to read the registry in plain text, for example. We need to be able to turn off the administrator function completely. "My Documents"? Hell, they're ALL my documents. We need, in short, a very different operating system.
Vista will probably be fine for the corporate marketplace. But I don't want it. I don't want "Vista Home Edition" either. The split between "Windows XP Home" and "Windows XP Professional" is bogus, a way for Microsoft to differentiate the product for its markets, to offer two SKUs with different pricetags -- to make Windows cheap enough to hold the market for home PCS, while charging all the corporate traffic would bear.
In the end, I want exactly what the IT guys want: I want an operating system I can be in charge of. But that means something very different to me, the sole practitioner, than it does to an organization with 10,000 employees and hot and cold running admins.
It's time for Microsoft to think about splitting Windows into multiple products. Maybe there's a legitimate market for XP, even though I find its interface an insult to my intelligence. But I admit I'm overwhelmed by the impenetrability of Win 2000. There have got to be other alternatives, a "Shorthorn," maybe. Whatever you call it, it's an opportunity, and Microsoft could do itself a lot of good, I think, if it would recognize it.