As reported in my other blog, Tony Bove’s iTimes (“iTunes Pulls Over at Vista Point“), the iPod and iTunes software for Windows needs a patch to work with Windows Vista. But iTunes and the iPod are not the only media players, devices, and applications that break in Vista.
Three companies so far — Samsung, Cowon, and iRiver — have noted that a few of their players are incompatible with Vista (according to Gizmodo, each company will release new firmware to customers to update the players). Steven Warren writes in Window on Windows that his Sprint Wireless card, lacking a proper Vista driver, would not work unless he created a virtual machine of Windows XP to run it and access the Internet. He correctly identifies the culprit: the use, by many Windows XP applications, of the administrator user rights profile:
Prior to Vista, the default in Windows was to run as administrator. So vendors just programmed their software to work as a computer administrator with full user rights. The door was open; Microsoft’s lax security made writing code relatively simple for vendors. In fact, if you try to run as a limited user in Windows XP, for example, a lot of software will not work properly as Windows XP wasn’t truly designed to work this way… But the most talked about, under-the-hood change with the release of Windows Vista is its incredible improvement in security. And this has caused a challenge for vendors; they now have to rewrite their software to work as a user as opposed to an administrator.
After five years of propaganda and several months of beta, many vendors are still not ready for Vista. One might expect Apple to lag behind the others because it competes directly with Vista, but most other vendors don’t have that excuse — it’s the complexity of Windows security that costs these vendors delays. They would surely rather be making money selling products than spending money to make them work with new systems.
Thinking of upgrading to Vista and using your wireless Internet cards, music players, displays, and other devices that require software drivers? Good luck with that.