Windows Machiavelli Review By: Richard Litke
Introducing the latest operating system for your IBM PC, Windows Machiavelli, slated for release 2003 first quarter. The first major change you'll notice is that it is written by Steve Jobs and features the Apple Computers logo at bootup and in all of the copyright statements. In addition, the bootup graphic screen has a "warm fuzzy" sentimental picture with the caption "bringing Windows back home to its loving father." Upon seeing this screen the first time, I inspected the boxes contents, hoping to find a vomit bag. No dice, apparently they only distribute them in the Windows Machiavelli Professional box. Also, absent from the caption was the word "alleged".
Using the trial version of this product, I realize just how ironic it's name really is. For instance, the irony runs so deep that it refuses to boot up with any "Titanium edition" video cards made by a certain major manufacturer. Similarly, any "gold edition" software causes major incompatibilities. For some reason Platinum editions escape this ironic conflict, but I've yet to figure out the elemental issue of it all.
The price really hits you in the wallet with an American dollar cost of $400 for the standard Windows Machiavelli and $750 for the Professional edition. So please forgive me for investing in the lesser of the two evils. To balance the high cost of this operating system, it is issued with a high-productivity guarantee. I found myself once again inspecting the box, shaking it violently in hopes of finding a gold ingot lodged in the bottom. It would seem, I am not a winner. Perhaps yours?
The high productivity of Windows Machiavelli seems to be rigidly enforced. Much like Windows 2000, this operating system will choke whilst trying to run most games and will not even permit the installation of any version of DirectX. Furthermore, it somehow managed to block out all uses of my expensive 3D video hardware for any purpose except AutoCAD and any Microsoft brand product. Said games *WILL* work but so frustratingly that I found myself cursing and quitting the games to get more work done.
Another productivity "feature" is the screensaver which is hardcoded to 2 minutes of inactivity. At such time, it blanks out the screen and has the face of Steve Jobs promoting the line of i-Mac computers and features other quotes from his days at Apple Computers which sound suspiciously like propaganda. Upons pressing a key to resume, I discovered that the screensaver had removed all other programs from memory as well as all documents, but was nice enough to start up Microsoft Office of its own initiative and a subtle hint that I should be working. Hmmm, I just noticed now that it seems to have also uninstalled my Corel WordPerfect Office product. I'm sure it's just a glitch, the operating system couldn't possibly know the difference. Right?
I decided to do a thorough review of Windows Machiavelli, and so took out my trusty hex editor to examine parts of the code and to look for security holes. Within minutes I uncovered something that couldn't possibly have been intentional. The name Microsoft kept popping up in the non-displayed copyrights in the code. Additionally, I discovered that if I went to the Start menu and selected "Log Off Richard Litke", then logging in under the name "Nicolo" that I was greeted by a popup window proclaiming "Hail to the Prince". I decided to further investigate this quirk. I soon found that all the asterisks that normally covered characters entered for passwords had been either removed or rendered transparent. I also found myself having "SuperUser" access on all of the computers on my network. For some reason this access was also given when I logged in under the name "Lisa".
So I conclude that if you want to increase productivity for your business or really work hard, then the iron-fisted Windows Machiavelli from Steve Jobs is for you. If you're more interested in playing games and enjoying yourself, I reccomend staying with Microsoft Windows 98 or XP. On that note, I'd like to add that Microsoft distributes a free download from their site that will remove and upgrade your Machiavelli operating system to Microsoft Windows Laureate edition. Ironically, I found myself developing a new appreciation for the Microsoft family of products and in my gratitude had all but forgotten the amount of money I'd wasted on Machiavelli. However, the worm in the apple is that even with a new name, Laureate operates identically to a buggy, early version of Windows XP. But I'm sure that's unintentional.
Review submitted by Richard Litke, July 2002.