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Vista and music still chums

PR spin starts FUD about FUD

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Buried deep in the bumf for Microsoft's new Vista release is a line that says it handles sound very differently. This kind of jolly PR spin is enough to chill the blood of those who rely on Windows running their audio production software reliably.

Whenever a new version of Windows hits the street it tends to roil up the murky waters of the music and audio production world. Prospects of having to get new device drivers and new versions of otherwise perfectly reliable software is just a hassle most of us could do without. There has been some panic that it might be the case with Vista as well, but at first glance it doesn't appear to portend any major problems for music and audio software users.

For instance, Propellorhead Software (Reason, ReCycle et al) notes that its applications will work out of the box under Vista without modification. On the driver side, MOTU says all its Vista-compatible drivers also work under XP - which makes you wonder how deep the Vista make-over goes. It seems =the only problems that might arise are from the new, more secure, installation regime, which means that you might need to jump through a few hoops to get past Vista's new security requirements.

The crack about the way Vista handles sound is not complete moonshine, though. This refers to a new way of handling audio called "Media Foundation", which is clearly aimed at Media Centre type systems. This looks like it adds a lot of fancy audio processing stuff into the operating system. As most dedicated music production software avoids the operating system's built-in audio facilities, the impact of going "Vista" should be minimal for anyone working seriously with music.

In fact, there has been remarkably little FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Despair) associated with the announcement of this "radical new operating system" in the music/audio production world. Maybe it's just that the differences in Vista are more cosmetic than a redesign of the core of the OS.

Perhaps, in the same way that Windows 98 was simply a version of 95 that actually worked, Vista is just a version of XP that has a functioning set of corporate computing paraphernalia along with a few extra bells and whistles. ®

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