As regular readers know, I have a Linux home network. However, being a linux noob, I am scared to commit my data to linux. I recently replaced my OS X file server with an XP file server. To make the switch I had to re-format my mac external drives to windows NTFS. Basically I have two external drives (usb2/firewire combos), one has my data on it and one is for backups. I have about 150 GBs of critical data, so while my backup scheme is not foolproof–it is cost effective.

So I formatted and copied my data over, everything seemed to go fine…but when I mounted the partitions in Linux, I had problems. Permission problems.

Easy enough, from Windows, right click the share and choose properties/security, right? Nope! That only works in XP Pro, and I have home. A quick yahoo search showed that I needed to reboot in safe mode and the security tab would be available. And it was. And I solved the problem and happy computing returned.

So what’s the problem?

I’m sorry, but permissions are a pretty basic function, to make them virtually inaccessible is fairly inexcusable. Is Vista Home Premium going to be crippled in a similar fashion? Is the user going to be forced to buy Ultimate edition? I ask this because, of the 5 SKU’s that mainstream Vista is shipping, 2 are available only to businesses. For home users, there is home, home premium, and ultimate. Is the home user going to be forced to choose between paying hundreds of dollars for ultimate or using a crippled version that does not have the basic functionality that one expects from a computer?

The pundits like to speak of the possibility of MS becoming irrelevent…mostly due to web services. But I have a more basic view. It is my belief that MS is busy making itself irrelevent. From poorly implemented WGA to crippled software distribution, MS seems to be their own worse enemy. While Linux is close to being an alternative, it is not yet there. OS X, due to Apples’s business plan, will not grow to be a true competiter. The game is MS’s to lose, and they seem to be doing what they can to accomplish that. I have a firm belief that Vista will never achieve the market penetration that XP has. And the reason lies solidly at the feet of MS, for they are their own worse enemy.