So there's a lot of fuss and ado
about calling Vista RC1
a 'Release Candidate'. Lots of people
are claiming that Vista will not be ready on time and is in dire need of a Beta 3 build, or at the very least another Release Candidate before the product can be called finished.
Having used RC1 for a few days, I can indeed confirm that the product is far from finished. However, it is NOT the trainwreck a lot of people are claiming it to be. Far from it in fact, the system is extremely responsive (as fast as XP, if not faster) and the applications that come with it work without issue. In fact, the only driver I had to install was the audio driver for my Audigy2, because everything worked right out of the box with this build. And that is, quite frankly, incredible considering my machine is a Raid 0 box with SLI enabled (in other words, not your typical computer) and everything just worked (needed external drivers for RAID BTW).
Having said that, Vista isn't without its faults. There are lot of interface details
that need to be polished up (just wait till you try to find the 'back' button in the middle of a Vista Wizard) and various bugs that still need to be addressed (like why after adding album art to a song in the WMP library it simply dissappears if you update the song meta info). However, this is still far from the apocalypse everyone is predicting.
The biggest problem with Vista doesn't lie within the OS. The problem is with the drivers that are written for it. Or more specifically the LACK of drivers from many of the 3rd party vendors. The drivers are getting better, and now that RC1 is finally out, I'm sure they will step up the work being done on them, but they are not where they SHOULD be at this stage. One only has to look at the mess the 64-bit version of the OS is in to realize just how far behind the driver development process has fallen. If you're installing RC1, save yourself a lot of trouble and just ignore the 64 bit version. Don't even bother, it just doesn't work. The 32-bit version however is extremely useable.
On the whole, I believe Microsoft can actually hit their Jan 2007 release date target, because it seems all that's left is fit-and-finish issues to resolve. Now if only the 3rd party manufacturers would get with it and get some stable drivers out, we'd be in great shape!