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.
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.
I especially liked the view that Vista was simply a version of XP that worked. Very droll.