Songbird is to music players as Firefox is to web browsers for a very simple reason: they’re built on the same code base. Because of that, it addresses one of my main complaints with iTunes, which was the web browser. The one in Songbird doesn’t suck. While Songbird isn’t quite ready to replace your iTunes installation just yet, it will be soon, because of one thing. Extensions. All the extensions you could dream of, and a bunch that you can’t. Go download the alpha and check it out.
Well, I’ve downloaded and installed Vista Beta 2, and I’ve had a chance to play around with it a little. Admittadly, I have only spent about 15 minutes with the OS, but it was long enough to leave one distinct impression, which was:
It has taken Microsoft the last four years to develop this?
Don’t get me wrong. The eye candy is nice, and the installer is great. I mean really, really, totally awesome, compared to what we had to work with in the past. But overall, it feels like Windows XP on steroids. And not even good steriods, either. Just kinda run-of-the mill stuff. I know this is still a beta, and we should expect improvement, but I’m not holding my breath. The sidebar (or deskbar, or whatever the hell they’re calling it) is totally useless. The default desklets are an analog clock, a slideshow of stock photos (featuring open fields, babbling brooks, and blooming flowers, which are all things I associate software with), and the one useful item of the bunch, an RSS reader. Which really only opens IE.
It’s a competent operating system. I’m sure that it will perpetuate Microsoft’s dominance of the desktop market. But as far as I can tell, there is absolutly zero reason for any user to upgrade from XP.