I decided I'd give the SP1 install a shot Friday night, before leaving for Christmas activities. Boy was that a waste of time. First try, there wasn't enough space on the drive, which happens to be a Parallels virtual drive on my Mac. So I fattened it up with about five gigs to spare, and no love. Got the ever popular and incredibly useful error 2908. You know, the 2908! Duh! It was completely hosed after that, and I couldn't even start VS.
I was pretty annoyed. It took about an hour just to get that far. Seriously, how does this stuff ever get out of QA like this? Thank God this wasn't a consumer product, or everyone would have another excuse to start slamming Microsoft again.
Fortunately, being a Mac user with Parallels, I backed up the machine before starting and just started over. Same problem on second attempt, but I tried. The stuff I could Google was all from the initial launch of the product, and a lot of explanations that offered no real solutions.
So there are two things that suck about the installation experience (aside from the fact it simply doesn't work). The first is that you need lots of free disk space, and the installer doesn't bother to check it before doing its thing. Someone should be fired for that. The second problem is the absolutely useless error code. I've yet to encounter anything on the Mac that doesn't tell me why something is wrong when it breaks, but you get nonsense like this all over Windows.
This was very much the moment that I realized just how screwed up Windows really is. I've read some good explanations about why the SP takes so long to install, but the bigger picture issue is that most problems are related to the Windows architecture that Microsoft can't let go of. .NET itself is fabulous, but VS still has too many hooks to the OS, not the least of which is the damn registry, apparently.
I don't know what I'm going to do at this point. I don't really have time to keep fighting the OS. My MSDN incidents expired. I guess I'm going to go on un-SP'd. This does not inspire a lot of confidence at work either, where we were hoping to get some of the reported performance gains.