I recall reading someone from Microsoft say that Windows XP SP2 RC1 was really a beta release. Judging from the UI inconsistencies, annoying programs and missing functionality, I would call Windows Vista RC1 a beta release too. Especially
since the Media Center UI is half-way between where it is now (in Windows Media Center Edition 2005) and where the Media Center team wants to take it.
WinFS was supposed to make the search features more efficient, replace the registry and give developers a unified repository for storing data. Despite it being removed from Windows Vista and all of the Beta 2 news, I was still willing to call Windows Vista a good OS and buy it after SP1, but given all of the things that Paul Thurrott has highlighted, you guys can keep it. Windows Vista is no longer a compelling upgrade from Windows XP, and all of 3D accelerated eye candy will not make me think otherwise. I have all of the features that are missing in Windows Vista in Windows XP (especially Remote Desktop, which is missing in Vista Premium), logical, consistent interfaces and the ability to install backported versions of .NET 3.0, WMP 11, etcetera. What more could I want?
If Microsoft wants my money, Microsoft will have to ignore the RC1 designation, make the UI consistent, kill the annoying stuff and add the functionality that is missing. Microsoft really deserves a pat on the back for all of the good things I have read about Windows Vista RC1, but it still has a miniscule amount of work left to do. While I realize that the finished Media Center UI and WinFS will not be ready until around Windows Vista SP1, after all of the Beta 2 news, I had planned to wait until then anyway, but those plans will change if the things Paul Thurrott highlighted are not fixed, and I am sure that many more people feel the same.
By the way, I realize that people from Microsoft feel upset and underappreciated, as all of the good things they are doing are being ignored, but really,
just look at President Bush and Iraq, there are some things that need to be fixed and I will be one of the first people to say "thanks for the greatest OS ever" if you fix them.