Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur

Protecting the user by annoying the snot out of him

So today was my first day playing with Vista, as I begin to understand how it interacts with our system. And having spent half an hour playing around with it and trying things, I come to the conclusion that it is (a) very pretty; (b) much more secure than previous versions of Windows; and (c) pretty damned irritating.

The frequency with which it gets in my face to ask permission to do things is high. I understand *why* it chooses to ask permission when it does (indeed, an admirable trait of the OS is that, unlike previous versions, there is some consistent philosophy to it), but it's still too much to be pleasant. Worse, the questions it asks are often cryptic if you don't know exactly what you're doing, and sometimes just plain dumb. (Okay, granted, I think the version I'm using is a late beta rather than the release. But when I ask to run IE as an administrator, it warns me that this is an unknown program, by an unknown publisher! Oops.)

There are things that I like about the new system -- in particular, I believe that CardSpace (Microsoft's implementation of the WS-Trust standard plus supporting technologies) is a really clever and elegant architecture that will gradually make web browsing less of a hassle. But I suspect it's going to lose a lot of people in the setup stage.

Oh, and while I'm ranting: may I just say how nervous I am about the weak link in Microsoft's security story? Their architecture is quite beautiful in many respects, protecting everything behind your Windows password. But if that password is compromised, you are *screwed*. It's all designed so that *everything* is hidden behind there: your encryption keys, your online credentials, even potentially your credit cards: the whole nine yards. This may well be realistic -- most people can't be bothered to have multiple passwords -- but the architect in me cringes at the single point of failure...
Tags: technology

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