Troy Wolverton, San Jose Mercury-News, Pans Windows 8
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Troy Wolverton, San Jose Mercury-News, Pans Windows 8
It will likely be quite a while before I see Windows 8, so I follow the reviews sporadically. This writer was not impressed.
He finds Win8 actually gets in the way of getting things done on desktops and laptops.
While I think this interface has a lot of promise for tablets, on a traditional desktop or laptop computer, or even on a newer notebook sporting a touch screen, it's clunky and unintuitive. Metro often feels like a work in progress, because seemingly obvious features are unavailable. And worst of all, Metro makes it much harder than before to do everyday tasks and real work on your computer.
Who cares? I am done with Windows and for me the last good OS from Microsoft was Windows XP. The more recent OS are like putting lipstick on the proverbial pig. It is still a pig. IMHO I think the Linux OS is a better multi-tasking OS. You can choose your GUI implementation (I currently like Cinnamon, but could be swayed if something better comes along.) You can rebuild the root of the OS (kernel) without reinstalling everything.
When you try to do something on Windows 7, Windows Vista and I assume Windows 8, it hides so much detail of what it is doing, it is counter-intuitive. (Copying a file, configuring stuff, simple tasks that are made more complex by going through the GUI.)
With a modern Linux system, you can make it user friendly enough for your Grandma to use, but powerful enough to build software efficiently on.
I hear that Microsoft employees are making the most kernel patches by percentage of corporate users making kernel patches. Microsoft probably has a bunch of smart programmers that are working hard to keep the open source world working.
I generally agree with Troy's expressed sentiments.
Possibly the biggest mistake that I see MS making is that they're not consistent in their user-interface from one major release to the next. They have managed to release a rather long list of turkeys, with XP still being the only truly-successful release that they can lay claim to in the last decade(!). But, the marketing department is always coming up with some radical(!) new idea, such that one concludes that marketing's the ones who are really running this show.
People really don't want "radical new ideas." These are the systems that they use to get work done. To that end, Troy's comments are at once both very damning, and very apt.
Microsoft's bread and butter is the corporate user, with their SharePoints and Exchange and integrated network-wide system management ... all of which Windows, against all odds, still somehow manages to do well. But do you really want to subject all of those bread-and-butter earning installations to what is surely going to be merely the latest in a long series of Microsoft flunk-outs?
Answer: probably not. The inherent risks are obviously high, and ... well ... where is the ROI, really?
Yes, Microsoft may find itself once again forced to "extend" the license-availability of ... Windows XP.
P.S.: No, "replace everything with Linux" is not a feasible choice for the existing corporate deployments of Windows. The risk of that would be even higher, and much key functionality simply isn't there. The logical decision is to stay-put, and that once again is what Microsoft's users will do. The company is probably going to wind up "eating" the entire development costs of, if I count properly, the fifth consecutive "XP killer" they dreamed up. (Maybe, in all (half-)seriousness, they should just recompile XP for 64-bit, and sell that, forever. It looks like "lightning struck but once" in Redmond-land, and it's never struck since.)
Last edited by sundialsvcs; 10-23-2012 at 07:32 PM.
I must disagree somewhat with sundialsvcs. I think that persons are willing to accept radical new ideas when they believe there is something more to those ideas than window-dressing. But new simply for the sake of new appeals to the fanboys (look at the Apple-istas who stand in line for an incremental upgrade) and not to the general population.
I think Microsoft has fallen into the mentality that US car manufacturers had in the 50s and 60s.
The manufacturers thought that, whenever they came out with a new model, they had to make it not just be different and better under the hood, they must also make it look different on the outside, and not just some different, but lots different. Ultimately, they decided that the looks were more important that what was under hood and forgot to upgrade the OS (the mechanics) while emphasizing styling (the GUI).
In just the same way, Microsoft makes pointless changes to the GUI, rearranges the menu, and moves stuff around for no good reason because, well, if it doesn't look different, folks won't know it's the new big thing, now, will they?
And we know what that mentality brought to US car manufacturers, don't we?
It brought Volkswagen, followed by Toyota, then Datsun (Nissan for you youngsters), then Honda, etc., etc., etc., and so on.
Windows 8 is Microsoft's Edsel II, since they didn't learn from Vista (Edsel I). (Youngsters can Google Edsel.)
I agree with you Sundialcvs. Most corporations wait for a while on the Desktop Operating systems and change them with a change of the hardware, so they're is probably a 5 year life cycle on OSes. Microsoft have changed things behind the GUI to make things better, but they have hidden it from the typical user.
XP NTFS doesn't support symbolic links, while you can now in Vista and forward.
If your DVD drive supports it, Vista allows auto-play of Blu-ray Disc, HD DVD, Super Video CD and Video CD.
A Better backup solution was implemented. I do not have much details on this.
Security changes include User Account Control, Kernel Patch Protection, BitLocker Drive Encryption, Mandatory Integrity Control, Digital Rights Management, TCP/IP stack security improvements, Address Space Layout Randomization and the EFS and cryptography improvements. improved Windows Firewall which supports both inbound and outbound packet filtering, IPv6 connection filtering and more detailed configurable rules and policies.
Microsoft added more language support to Windows Vista.
Microsoft Windows 7 new features included improvements to the boot time. Most Windows 7 systems could boot in under 30 seconds.
Bluetooth support actually worked in Windows 7.
I think in Windows 7 they added a virtual machine to run a virtual Windows XP to run old incompatible apps. This might have also been in Vista, but I do not recall.
From what I have read Windows 7 is the last Microsoft OS to support the 32-bit chips. I think this is a non-issue for most corporate users as they get new hardware for their new OS. It may be a problem for old home users that have old hardware.
My employer never rolled out Vista and kept XP. Windows 7 is starting to roll out with new hardware, and my guess is they will probably skip Windows 8.
As much as I love Linux for the home hobbyist, it doesn't have much of a desktop market in the corporations. It is in the server rooms, and has a big foothold in the hosting solution market. I can't speak to the mega-internwet companies, but I think they are big Linux users, like Facebook, Google, etc. Linux is big in the supercomputer market.
I think it would be great if someone in a major corporation would do an experiment with something like Redhat, LibreOffice, Evolution, Google Chrome or Firefox, and see the Total Cost of Ownership versus Windows 7, Windows Office Suite, Microsoft Outlook, Internet Explorer. I guess the big value add of the Microsoft solution is if you have a problem you can hold one vendors feet to the fire.
It didn't work for IBM, as Microsoft ate their (OS/2 versus Window 3.11 at time) lunch.
The sad state of affairs is the typical home user is going to go to http://www.dell.com and order a new computer with Windows 8 on it. No thought of the cost or the Metro UI. I would bet that not many will buy a new PC with the old OS of Windows 7 on it.
They will more likely buy a phone with Android or an iPhone and the cost will be somewhat hidden by their cellular phone contract. The phone is the new PC.
I used to love Apples (back in the Apple II+ days), but I am a bit wary with their closed nature and their outsourced manufacturing practices.
Ouch. "Dr. Dobb's Journal" is saying the same thing ...
Andrew Binstock, editor-in-chief of what was once "Dr. Dobb's Journal of Computer Calesthenics and Orthodontia," writes this:
Windows 8: The Most Confused OS Launch Ever
After making a courageous and daring bet to rework its entire product line and push itself in a completely new direction, Microsoft's disorganized product launch threatens to overwhelm any chance of success.
I've attended dozens of OS launches — from Microsoft, IBM, Linux vendors, Novell, Sun, and a half dozen UNIX vendors. They all had one common element: Everyone sang from the same hymnal and that hymnal used clear terminology to express the important new features. Microsoft used to lead the way in this. Everybody at the company from the senior execs down knew the lyrics to the current release and could recite them without deviating one iota from the company line. Today, it's a chaotic scene that is, in all respects, a branding disaster — one brand with several names, incompatible OS versions, competing product names, confused design principles, and hidden features. I have never seen a major company so unprepared for a major product launch as Microsoft is today.
This just might cost Steve Ballmer his head. (Too-long a long time coming, if you ask me.)
The article proceeds to describe the present utter-chaos of the Windows brand ... what I would call You are in a twisty maze of not-so-little Windows, all different, even though he didn't. And, in so doing, I think he silently pinpointed the enormous technologic advantages that are inferred by Linux and by open-source: the many dozens of versions of Linux that run on "damn near everything" aren't different.
He concludes this way: (emphasis mine)
As I said earlier, this product release is an inflection point that is crucial to the company's long-term relevance. And the company knows that. And so they did the one thing we never see big companies do when their business is shrinking: They made a bold move, a brilliant stroke, and bet the whole company on it. Nobody has the courage to do that anymore! But, they did! And now, due to horrid execution, they appear to be blowing the whole thing. If Windows 8 fails, there is no doubt that, as the desktop franchise shrinks, Microsoft will be pushed into the smaller, server-side business market. There, it will be permanently consigned to the ranks of legacy software vendors. Ugh!
Being slammed by the SJMC might conceivably (but not too likely) be considered an expression of pro-Apple / pro-Valley bias, but Dobb's is quite another matter. This is one of the oldest (and still one of the quirkiest) still-surviving journals), and its opinions are very deeply respected. In this case, they should be.
But, the marketing department is always coming up with some radical(!) new idea, such that one concludes that marketing's the ones who are really running this show.
People really don't want "radical new ideas." These are the systems that they use to get work done.
That's exactly how i felt when I had to leave KDE 3 behind. It was the environment that helped me get work done. When KDE 4 launched for the first time I literally couldn't see the screen. Invisible transparencies, pulsing effects that made me feel queasy, windows that disappeared. Black docks that came and went on a black background. A task bar that formerly was drag-and-drop now required clicking on a stupid cashew, unlocking and locking again in order to put icons on it and move them where I wanted them. It fought me at every turn. I struggled for days to make it workable. Gaaaahhhh!
KDE 4 is stunningly beautiful, complicated eye candy. IMO the developers were so busy showing off their graphics skills they forgot about users who simply needed a decent work environment. Now I use XFCE.
That's exactly how i felt when I had to leave KDE 3 behind. ... KDE 4 is stunningly beautiful, complicated eye candy. IMO the developers were so busy showing off their graphics skills they forgot about users who simply needed a decent work environment. Now I use XFCE.
You're right on that one. Maybe that's why my Mac is still running Snow Leopard and probably always will.
People look at something that they've built and perfected, and wonder, "now, how can I change this?" (Y'know, to make it "better.") But they forget to ask the thousands and millions of users whether they want change, and if so, what they want those changes to be.
Automobile manufacturers learned a long time ago (in America, at least ...) to build "basically the same car" and to hang all sorts of window-dressing on the outside, on the dashboard and the steering-wheel center and so on to differentiate the different "brands," but it's always the same car and, most importantly, it works in fundamentally the same way. User interface designers (and the Linux world is not immune to this, nor is Apple nor is Microsoft nor is anyone else) constantly feel the need to change, well, everything.
Microsoft has never been willing to think, "well, what the customer really wants is a 64-bit XP, so let's build that." Fortunately for all of us, they've also refused to seriously enter any application-software market that does not presuppose the Windows OS. (And, their application software developers are still obliged to be "assuming XP," and they probably always will.)
When you are a corporation and you have millions of copies of an operating-system "set up and running well," what's the one thing you don't want? Change. Re-training. Gratuitous features that you didn't ask for and can't remove; instability if you try, because the product was so rushed to market that no one in Redmond had time to test that.
gnome-shell and KDE 4 are good examples of this being by no means a "problem" which is exclusive to windows.
When it comes to Windows I found Windows 95 through to Windows XP quite useable. But the GUI redesign mistakes in windows started in windows xp with the "fisher price theme", welcome screen, etc. Windows 2000/XP with the "classic" UI had the best GUI windows has ever had. It was never perfect, but for someone who just wants to get some work done, it was good enough.
Since then it's been one pointless bastardisation after another, with controls being moved around, removed altogether, changed/altered, buried, hidden, etc. I find windows vista/7 an unusable mess of hindrances and annoyances. In windows 7 everything I try to do is two or three clicks more than it was in windows XP.
Last edited by el chapulín; 10-29-2012 at 10:53 AM.