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Microsoft's Looming 'Single Windows Ecosystem'

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the it-slices-it-dices-it-bluescreens-occasionally dept.

Microsoft 163

jfruhlinger writes "Xbox on Windows 8? A shared PC-tablet OS? Hints have been coming fast and furious from Microsoft about what their next-generation OS strategy will look like. It may be that at its heart, Microsoft is doing what it should have been doing for the last 5 years: building a set of modular OS components for different platforms that work together when need be, rather than a group of competing and incompatible OSes with superficially similar branding. In other words, the company may be getting out of its own way, at last."

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It's no surprise (2, Insightful)

Flyerman (1728812) | more than 3 years ago | (#36780832)

Considering the strength of Windows comes from its backwards compatibility with a large field of Programs(before they were called Apps), it makes sense that Microsoft will want to leverage that over all available media.

It's a very good decision, which is surprising in it's own right.

Or it'll become bad like recent Ubuntu releases. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36780962)

What will likely happen is that it'll end up like recent Ubuntu releases. In case you haven't been following Ubuntu recently, they've apparently tried to support all sorts of devices, from netbooks to laptops to desktops to workstations to servers. The outcome hasn't been good, and many users have been very unhappy.

What works for one type of device often doesn't work very well for others. Take Unity, for instance. While it might be only slightly shitty on netbooks, it's not pleasant to use on laptops, it's hellish on desktops, and it's an absolute disaster if you're using a workstation. Sure, you can switch to some other desktop environment, but it's a pain in the ass that one shouldn't have to endure!

It's often good to specialize, and not be overly-generic. Being generic often means that you can't do anything well.

Re:Or it'll become bad like recent Ubuntu releases (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#36781110)

That's why it's modular. You wouldn't use netbook modules on a desktop.

"Modular". A word loved by know-nothings. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36781324)

"Modularity" is a concept and a term loved by those who don't have a fucking clue about software development. That's why managers, software architects and professors throw it around constantly.

They're sure that it's the solution to all of their problems. Managers think it'll let them reuse code more easily (it doesn't), and hire fewer developers (they won't be able to). Software architects think it'll let them mix-and-match their systems into existence using software written by somebody else (since they can't actually program by themselves). Professors think it makes them come off as enlightened (it doesn't).

The most miserable software users out there are those who have to use a "modular" software system. It's guaranteed not to work. It's guaranteed to be a horrid experience.

Re:"Modular". A word loved by know-nothings. (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#36781910)

Yeah, all those modular accounting programs... totally useless. It's much better to use one program for your GL, another program for AR and hope like fuck your AP and job costing software somehow manage to integrate.

Re:"Modular". A word loved by know-nothings. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36782060)

"Modular accounting program" is just a short way of saying "$200-million unusable boondoggle that makes some consultants rich, the accountants miserable, and the business uncompetitive".

Re:"Modular". A word loved by know-nothings. (1)

razvan784 (1389375) | more than 3 years ago | (#36782022)

Yes, I am sure that all modern operating systems where there's a kernel made up of many subsystems, a whole lot of drivers for tens of thousands of equipment types, a lot of standard libraries and utilities on top of that, a windowing system, a graphical shell, et cerea, are written by know-nothing manager types and unenlightened professors. They're a pain in the ass to use and generally idiotic. They'd better rewrite everything as a big, integrated, clean, streamlined, blob. Maybe make each application run on the bare silicon -- "Hey! It's my silicon, and I'll run whatever I damn please on it!"

Using other people's code! Never! (1)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 3 years ago | (#36782882)

Exactly. These modern folks have it easy!

Using code other people write is just lazy and shows your inability to code.

That's why I wrote the web browser I'm using in C, a C compiler in assembler, an assembler assembler in machine code, and my microcode I wrote in ones and zeros that I entered manually onto my CPU with a paper-clip, a voltage divider, and some double-A batteries.

(I have High Dexterity and Int. Very low Wisdom.)

PS - modularity has advantages and disadvantages. Use it when it's the right tool for the job. Sounds like you just had a bad experience with a professor or a project where the granularity of the modules created transaction costs that outweighed the benefits.

Re:Or it'll become bad like recent Ubuntu releases (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36781112)

It's often good to specialize, and not be overly-generic. Being generic often means that you can't do anything well.

Thanks for the generic advice about being generic. Very useful.

Re:Or it'll become bad like recent Ubuntu releases (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36781246)

Take Unity, for instance. While it might be only slightly shitty on netbooks, it's not pleasant to use on laptops, it's hellish on desktops, and it's an absolute disaster if you're using a workstation

1. They were a bunch of ass-hats for releasing a too early buggy as fuck version of Unity (v0.2 or something) for netbooks back in October.
2. They should be careful not to frighten their not so nerdy users by doing random not quite thought-through shit, since they are after all the only Linux-based alternative to M$/Snapple for normal users who don't want to make sweet love to their terminals.
3. That being said, I do think it is a good idea that they actually try to challenge the desktop environment conventions by trying to make something that doesn't look like Windows or OS/X, for the sake of avoiding walls of text I will not go into details with the interesting aspects of Unity.

Re:Or it'll become bad like recent Ubuntu releases (3, Insightful)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 3 years ago | (#36781386)

Actually, that Grub2 shit pisses me off more. Tried 11.04 on 4 PCs, Grub2 by itself made it fail on alf of them. On one, a very vanilla mb+CPU/IGP+RAM.HD (no fancy dual-booting stuff, mind you), Grub2 just hung. On the other one, a Nettop with too many partitions for its own good, Grub2 just listed at least one entry for each partition, including the data ones, the restore ones, in a random order. Talk about user-repulsing wall of text as a first impresison of Linux... and don't even dream about firing gedit and editing that menu into shape: it's the new, better grub ! You can't do that anymore !

It ain't broke... Let's fix it !

Then, and only then, do you get to that Unity other shit, where the dock just HAS to be smack in the middle of my dual-screen setup, 'coz letting put it on the side would just be.. .would just be... would just BE ! Next version will put the dock across the middle of the screen, 'coz it's so nice, people need to see it more ! And don't try and put folders on there, 'coz no one needs shortcuts to folders !

Re:Or it'll become bad like recent Ubuntu releases (2)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 3 years ago | (#36782058)

As the other poster said, that's why it's supposed to be "modular".

KDE is already like this. Underneath, the components are mainly common to all platforms, but it has different UIs for different devices. The one for regular desktop computers is basically the same as it's always been, with start button, task tray, pager for multiple workspaces, etc. But then there's a stripped-down version aimed at netbooks that you can switch to.

This is totally different from Unity and Gnome3, whose developers believe that the exact same UI should be used on all devices, to "reduce confusion" or whatever.

If MS follows KDE's lead, then it's a smart move. I, however, hope they follow Canonical's lead with Unity, so that they crash and burn.

Okay, but... (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 3 years ago | (#36780966)

Just one small question...

How will these modules break up? I mean, if you build an app for Windows 8 on one UI paradigm, how does it suddenly translate to another (without a huge pile o' multi-anticipatory bloat at either the app or API side of the equation)? Or, err, is it all going to be lowest-common-denominator (e.g. the WP7 Metro UI) and called good? ...and how will legacy apps actually use that if a module critical to said app is missing? I'll just table the whole architecture thing for the moment, because I don;t think anyone is going to seriously entertain the idea of loading {existing application} onto a Windows 8 x86 desktop, then expect to do the very same thing with the exact same install binaries on a Windows 8 ARM tablet...

Re:Okay, but... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36781330)

Don't sweat the little stuff. Magic pixie dust and Balmer's retirement will make everything magically wonderful, and reverse Microsoft's present footprint from Titanic Public Utility to nimble, cutting edge, relevance.

Re:Okay, but... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36781634)

I don;t think anyone is going to seriously entertain the idea of loading {existing application} onto a Windows 8 x86 desktop, then expect to do the very same thing with the exact same install binaries on a Windows 8 ARM tablet

Why not? Apple has a way to aggregate several binaries for different architectures compiled from the same source code for years now. Of course you do have to compile separately for every platform, but why would the developer care? He just clicks "Build" in Visual Studio, and it does it all for him.

Re:Okay, but... (1)

Mia'cova (691309) | more than 3 years ago | (#36781778)

There are multiple UI targets for the single OS platform. You can develop a native, rich, highly optimized, and awesome interface for the phone, xbox, or desktop if you want. The advantage is that everything else doesn't have to be rewritten. Simple apps will be more of a lowest-common-denominator with HTML/jscript-based UIs. That's more of your typical smartphone weather app example. On your desktop, you could just pin it in the sidebar. Developers would also want to think about touch and mouse/keyboard differently. If you want a gaming example, the Unreal engine is available on a ton of platforms: desktop, xbox, ps3, iOS.. In this case, they'd only need one main rendering path to target the 360, windows desktop, windows phone phone, etc. That's why everyone always says the 360 is the easiest to develop for. Not only is it familiar to PC developers, it's easy to try stuff out on PC hardware. But hopefully you'd see other things like your xbox friends list, voice chat support, etc on the phone and desktop as well. Give developers more free stuff on more platforms.

Re:Okay, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36782502)

Shut up. Nobody cares.

Re:Okay, but... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36782002)

Leverage? Paradigm? And not a single comment (rightfully) deriding you and the GP?

What the fuck is going on here?

Re:It's no surprise (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36780974)

It's also backwards compatible with HOSTS files.

You need to read my guide on securing Windows:

http://www.bing.com/search?q=How+to+secure+windows+XP+2000 [endoftheinternet.com]

It's the "ONLY ONE of its kind " because I am the computer god, and no one else has EVEN THOUGHT of writing such a guide. No one else knows anything that I do, because I am PERFECT. I MAKE no MISTAKES, evER.

...apk

Re:It's no surprise (2)

rbrausse (1319883) | more than 3 years ago | (#36781038)

not bad, but you're missing at least 100 lines of text to be a realistical substitute of the one and only apk

Re:It's no surprise (2)

Elbereth (58257) | more than 3 years ago | (#36781132)

Yeah, for a true apk post, it needs to be ten paragraphs of rambling, stream-of-consciousness ranting. Don't forget the attacks on Drinkypoo, Countertrolling, and gmhowell. Also, it never hurts to have some kind of bizarre, self-congratulatory "I WIN, BECAUSE YOU FAIL LOL ROFL" series of statements at the end, proclaiming victory and the ritual pwning of noobs. On the whole, it was a good first attempt, but the real apk is near irreplaceable. He may be an arrogant, pseudo-intellectual kook, but he's our arrogant, pseudo-intellectual kook.

Re:It's no surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36781200)

You're trolling Bing search results! At least use Google!

Re:It's no surprise (0)

webmistressrachel (903577) | more than 3 years ago | (#36781316)

Although I'd love to see a post by my favourite black-hat troll, this isn't one of them.

apk, where are you? What's the point of somebody HOSTing this thread if you won't attend? Rachel...

ps... check my posting history for lots of apk baiting goodness...

Re:It's no surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36781510)

Actually, I don't see how backwards compatibility with old Intel-based Windows applications is of much use at all. As a Windows Phone or Xbox owner, why would I care whether my device runs some old version of Excel? The UI associated with desktop applications is completely inappropriate to anything but a desktop.

On the other hand, I do care a lot about very low interrupt latency. Maybe Microsoft can maintain this with a modular OS. I haven't been terribly impressed with Windows 7 in this regard, though.

Re:It's no surprise (1)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | more than 3 years ago | (#36782924)

They were called Programs? All that time I thought they were Excees!

Kinect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36780846)

I predict Laptops and PC will start coming with Microsoft Kinect / Webcam.

You Mean MS's Sony Eye Toy Ripoff? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36780892)

Microsoft just had what most people have called the worst E3 in history thanks to their shitty me-too motion controls they bought from a company Apple, Nintendo, and Sony all passed on.

No one gives a shit about Microsoft's shitty motion controls bolted onto their laptop.

Re:You Mean MS's Sony Eye Toy Ripoff? (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 3 years ago | (#36781280)

I'm no big fan of the Kinect, but it was a great move by MS. It's boosted sales for the 360 up to Wii levels. The PS3 Move turned out to be the abject failure of last year's E3.

LOL! Stupid Xbots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36782122)

Microsoft blew 500 million dollar hyping their shitty Eye Toy ripoff.

Result?

Microsoft has sold 11 million Eye Toy ripoffs

vs

Sony selling 10 million Move controllers.

You fail dipshit.

Re:LOL! Stupid Xbots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36782224)

[citation needed]

Re:Kinect? (1, Offtopic)

poofmeisterp (650750) | more than 3 years ago | (#36781002)

That sounds correct. Whenever there is profit to be had by sale of personal information that they will rename "anonymous", Microsoft is competitive with Google.

LOOMING ?? NOTHING TO FEAR BUT FEAT, SMELLY FEAT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36780864)

Looming ?? Scared of this looming thing looming out there ready to unloom your ass ?? Just get on with things that matter !!

"building a set of MODULAR OS components for (0, Offtopic)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#36780872)

different platforms that work together when need be ...."

doesnt that already define linux ?

Re:"building a set of MODULAR OS components for (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36780978)

No in Linux they only work sometimes

Re:"building a set of MODULAR OS components for (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36781094)

It defines what they have been doing already. Reusing their investments in DirectX, .Net, SQL Server, the NT Kernel, Office and Avalon/WPF/Silverlight on different platforms and media. What else do you think "OS components" means? There's absolutely no news or big shift in direction here. This is basically pseudo-technical sounding marketing tripe.

The only ugly duck in the family was Windows CE, and it's dead. Let's move on, shall we!

Re:"building a set of MODULAR OS components for (-1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#36781288)

It defines what they have been doing already. Reusing their investments in DirectX, .Net, SQL Server, the NT Kernel, Office and Avalon/WPF/Silverlight on different platforms and media.

This is what we used to call 'bloat'.

The last thing a phone needs is having to support the best part of thirty years of cruddy old Windows APIs.

Re:"building a set of MODULAR OS components for (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36781902)

Not that dumb bloat word again. You realize a smartphone is orders of magnitude more powerful then a computer 30 years ago. They are even more powerful then computers from 6-7 years ago. This isn't some microcontroller that runs on a watch battery.

Re:"building a set of MODULAR OS components for (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36782110)

You mean my phone's powerful enough to run Windows 2000? Cool -- knew I was saving that CD for something.

Re:"building a set of MODULAR OS components for (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36782422)

Haha, yeah.. A kernel, graphics subsystem, api layer and window manager are all silly bloat things that nobody needs on their computer.

Re:"building a set of MODULAR OS components for (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36781226)

No, I think this does.

a group of competing and incompatible OSes with superficially similar branding

.

Re:"building a set of MODULAR OS components for (0)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 3 years ago | (#36781398)

Newsbreak: Windows decides to be more like Apple. Stay tuned.

How many times do I have to say it? (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#36780948)

The "Windows 8 will play XBox360 games" rumor is COMPLETELY FALSE. It's economically infeasible - emulating that system playably would require either a breakthrough in emulation, or a set of system requirements so high as to be unheard of (I'm talking "dual-socket server processors", something very, very few PC gamers have, let alone XBox gamers).

Now, maybe, just maybe, they'll be offering compatibility with the original XBox - that's completely feasible, although not very high-demand. Or, perhaps, they'll be offering a single programming environment for both, beyond the level XNA already provides, such that porting a game from the 360 to the PC requires just a recompile. Or maybe their next-gen console will be x86-based again, which would make emulation less performance-intensive. All of those rumors are plausible enough to believe, even though I doubt either would be true. But can we at least keep the physically-impossible rumors off /.?

Re:How many times do I have to say it? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#36780990)

While it may be false, it is not be economically infeasible ..I mean what you seem to think they need to do would make it economically infeasible ,but they don't need to do that at all.

Re:How many times do I have to say it? (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 3 years ago | (#36781006)

I suppose they could do some hypervisor (by way of Hyper-V) cookery, though they'd have to emulate the architecture as well.

But that said, and seeing how PPC emulation actually works on x86? Err, yeah, not really seeing it happen, at least not very efficiently.

Re:How many times do I have to say it? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36781052)

Not if they only let you play the Live market games they have in their game store. That sounds far more likely.

Re:How many times do I have to say it? (3, Interesting)

Hardhead_7 (987030) | more than 3 years ago | (#36781306)

What seems more likely to me is that the next Xbox will run on x86-64, and basically run a stripped down version of Windows 8. So there would be no emulation fakery required. Sure, the first generation of games would require very expensive PCs, but three or four years down the road, a decent gaming PC could boot into "gaming mode" and play Xbox games easily.

Re:How many times do I have to say it? (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 3 years ago | (#36781574)

That is the most likely scenario. OS unification is a forward looking task. It requires planning for the future. I can remember a time when MS was unifying corporate and consumer code bases. It seems to have worked out pretty good.

Re:How many times do I have to say it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36781356)

The claim that "Windows 8 will play XBox360 games" and "porting a game from the 360 to the PC requires just a recompile" are not mutually exclusive. In fact, that is the most likely scenario. Hosting ported Xbox 360 software exclusively in Windows 8 gives that OS a big selling point. The fact that Microsoft and it's customers aren't concerned with the fine points of porting verses emulation when they say things like "Windows 8 will..." is just a hangup on your part.

Re:How many times do I have to say it? (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#36782928)

Except that the average gamer is going to see "Windows 8: Now Compatible with XBox360 Games", and then wonder why their pile of game discs don't work. There's no way Microsoft will be able to get every developer to recompile their games - after 6 years on the market, many developers have gone out of business, or lost their license for whatever IP they used, or something else. Others have already ported their games to the PC (or wrote them originally for the PC, with the 360 version being the port), and might not want to cooperate.

Plus, a simple recompile won't fix certain issues. PC gamers expect and demand games to work with a mouse/keyboard setup. Very, very few 360 games do that - so you'd have to recode at least some stuff to get a decent port of earlier titles.

Re:How many times do I have to say it? (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 3 years ago | (#36782784)

Bullshit. Most of XBox 360 comes from the video card, the much faster intel chips are more than capable of emulating the xbox 360 chip, just need a compatible video card, and away you go. Even now, especially in the years it will take this to come out. (Have Microsoft ever released a new OS on time, and no, Windows 7 is not new, nor was XP, nor was 98. 95, 2000 and Vista we noew OS's, as much as the fanboys would like to forget).

Would they do it, that is the question.

Re:How many times do I have to say it? (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#36782906)

The problem is that emulation is NEVER equal in speed to the original. In fact, emulating PowerPC is usually

The GPU, however, is actually much easier to emulate. Especially given the non-ISA-specific nature of them - even the XBox uses the same shaders and functions that PC games use.

Re:How many times do I have to say it? (1)

quasipunk guy (88280) | more than 3 years ago | (#36783064)

I don't have a newish Mac but doesn't Rosetta translate PPC instructions to Intel/x64? I'm not so sure it's really so impossible (though I do think it's unlikely).

Re:How many times do I have to say it? (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#36783126)

That would be, because shader functions are backwards compatible. But you're sure not using shader v5 on a xbox.

Something about "One Ring..." (1, Insightful)

sillivalley (411349) | more than 3 years ago | (#36780984)

One Ring to rule them all...

Hey, at least it will make the jobs of the virus, trojan, and rootkit writers easier -- cover multiple platforms with a single zero-day! That's progress!

One OS (1, Funny)

gtall (79522) | more than 3 years ago | (#36781000)

One OS to rule them, One OS to bind them, One OS....to lead them all to perdition.

Re:One OS (2)

lucm (889690) | more than 3 years ago | (#36781774)

Maybe you mean one "iOS" ?

Oh my mistake. Same thing, different monopolistic company.

Re:One OS (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36782514)

Fortunately we have options compared to the abortion that is Linux.

Re:One OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36783096)

"Same thing, different monopolistic company"

eh, isn't that a contradiction in terms?

Re:One OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36781780)

Mod parent +3 Please!
"If carpenters built houses the way that programmers write programs, the first woodpecker would destroy civilization."
Can you imagine a Beowulf cluster of Windows zombies of these?
Now a script kiddie can infect everything you (p)OWN!

Re:One OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36783082)

Yeah, this is basically "Write once, exploit everywhere."

There, fixed that for you. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36782766)

One OS to rule them, One OS to bind them, One OS....to lead them all and in a patent bind them.

All funded by Android (4, Funny)

phonewebcam (446772) | more than 3 years ago | (#36781008)

based on Linux, a set of modular OS components for different platforms that work together when need be. Since 1991.

Re:All funded by Android (2)

MarcQuadra (129430) | more than 3 years ago | (#36782196)

Or based on Apple's success with iOS, which derives directly from OS X/Darwin.

There are really big advantages to keeping one solid, portable 'core' OS and building libraries that can be 'scaled down' for mobile devices. Just look at how Apple's small team of OS developers have things set up:

Darwin becomes OS X and iOS...
Webkit is the browser and JavaScript app runtime on both platforms.
The CoreAnimation API that accelerates OS X eye candy is used in iOS to do the screen drawing (ala DirectX on Xbox and WIndows).

A mobile developer can easily graduate to application development on the main platform, code can be re-used, and security and performance improvements correlate on both platforms. I'd say that there are 'monoculture' security issues, and I'm sure there are, but I don't think that most 'buffer overflows' can be cross-platform by their very nature, and these portable devices are running on ARM, while the desktops are amd64.

Re:All funded by Android (2, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 3 years ago | (#36782226)

It's cute how Slashdotters think Linux is the center of the universe. Linux on the desktop is so statistically insignificant as to be practically non-existent, and platforms like Android are based on APIs that simply run onto of Linux but were written by commercial companies like Google (a proprietary search and advertising company, no less).

Re:All funded by Android (3, Insightful)

grcumb (781340) | more than 3 years ago | (#36782286)

It's cute how Slashdotters think Linux is the center of the universe.

Linux is not the centre of the universe. Linux is the glue that holds the universe together[*]. Even Windows PCs would be a damn sight less useful if it weren't for the presence of Linux everywhere from Google to your home router.

Linux on the desktop is so statistically insignificant as to be practically non-existent, and platforms like Android are based on APIs that simply run onto of Linux but were written by commercial companies like Google (a proprietary search and advertising company, no less).

That's a non sequitur. Since when does liking Linux - and using it professionally or for fun - have anything to do with its commercialisation? Free is still Free. And for the less dogmatic among us, even proprietary software has a place in the Linux world.

----------------
[*] Albeit in a wonderfully inconsistent, semi-anarchic way. ObXKCD: http://xkcd.com/224/ [xkcd.com]

Re:All funded by Android (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36782568)

Shut up. no one gives a shit what you think.

Re:All funded by Android (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36783188)

I love me some windows (its my bread and butter). But I am not so myopic to realize that linux is EVERYWHERE. You dont see it. Linux is in everything from cars to tvs to routers to cheap pcs to dvrs to cell phones to ebook readers. Linux is moving numbers MS could only dream of.

On the desktop yeah it has no traction. The very utilities that linux is built upon came from the BSD world. The guy who was talking (the pulseaudio guy) is talking from his ass. BSD is still very relevant. Many of the better done systems in linux came from there and continue to come from there. The BSD guys actually seem to give a shit about compatibility and it working well. He is probably pissed off because the BSD guys told him to f off. As they care that things work *right*. It is their over reaching theme. He is right though that it relegates them to being 'toys'. As they spend too much time being 'right' and not enough figuring out what people want.

It will never happen (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36781012)

Remember all the promises Microsoft has made before Vista about Longhorn, and modular OS with object FS, and all that cool stuff.

In never happened. Any of it. ANY of it.

Re:It will never happen (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 3 years ago | (#36781076)

Well, to be fair they tried something similar back when they named everything not welded to the floor ".Net"...

Maybe this is just a reprise of that?

Computing power allows it now (5, Interesting)

msobkow (48369) | more than 3 years ago | (#36781028)

Once upon a time, handheld and portable devices were extremely limited in power, necessitating a special-purpose cut-down OS.

But with the advent of gigahertz plus and dual core CPUs for portable and handheld devices, it's now possible to run the same core OS on virtually all devices, enabling that common code base that allows a truly modular operating system. Sure Linux has been doing that already for years, but it was designed that way -- Windows wasn't.

Re:Computing power allows it now (5, Insightful)

scamper_22 (1073470) | more than 3 years ago | (#36781190)

"Sure Linux has been doing that already for years, but it was designed that way -- Windows wasn't."

You say that as if what Linux did was a good thing.

There's a reason MS dominated the desktop. They made the desktop work. While some Unix person would just deal with slow graphic performance on a consumer PC, MS did all kinds of tricks and integration to make it work. Just try windows 95 on an old computer. Then try Linux around that time. You will not find it comparable. Windows 95 produces a superior experience by far.

*nix might have been designed a certain way... but its why they lost the war on the desktop. They built it in an ideal manner and closed their eyes when things didn't work nice. They ignored their customers.

It's the same reason why Office became popular. MS did things like save the file in binary to improve save performance. A more *nix minded person would have insisted on a 'proper' file format.

Microsoft has plenty of smart people who were more than aware of the *nix way of building an OS... most of this stuff was figured out a long time ago.

And so MS begins the long transition to the ideal OS, dealing with backward compatibility... the whole works. Can they do it... who knows. Will it be successful... who knows.

But I don't think there's any to be proud of in saying Linux was designed that way.

Re:Computing power allows it now (3, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#36781240)

There's a reason MS dominated the desktop. They made the desktop work.

No, they made the desktop cheap. Windows 3.1 was a joke compared to Unix workstations or even Macs of that era, but a PC with Windows cost less than a Mac and far less than a Sun workstation.

Re:Computing power allows it now (5, Insightful)

cusco (717999) | more than 3 years ago | (#36781610)

Sure, a Windows NT machine was far less expensive than any of its competition (most large shops skipped 3.11), but what made it work was the simple fact that you could take something directly out of Excel and dump it into Word. You could connect Excel to your dBase or Paradox database, write a macro to do something with it, and print it in near WYSIWYG on any printer. Absolutely no one else could do that at the time. Not Sun, not AS400, not Linux, not Apple.

My mom's coworker had three computers on her desk, a Wang word processor, an Apple running VisiCalc for accounting, and some ugly CPM machine with the customer and case file database. To get data from the customer database she brought it up on the screen and typed it into the Wang. Forget KVMs, none of the three machines had even vaguely compatible plugs on the keyboards or monitors. You'll never hear her bad-talking Windows, because she remembers what her work space was like before.

Re:Computing power allows it now (1)

profplump (309017) | more than 3 years ago | (#36782742)

Microsoft originally wrote Office (or as it was sold at the time, separate programs for Word/Excel/etc.) for the Mac. It came out int 1984. The Windows version didn't come out until like 1989.

Re:Computing power allows it now (2)

rust627 (1072296) | more than 3 years ago | (#36782550)

There's a reason MS dominated the desktop. They made the desktop work.

No, they made the desktop cheap. Windows 3.1 was a joke compared to Unix workstations or even Macs of that era, but a PC with Windows cost less than a Mac and far less than a Sun workstation.

No, they made the desktop (relatively) cheap, if you bought it bundled.
They made windows ubiquitous.
and with an ecology that made installing and running programs a relatively brainless affair (click on "install.exe") that anybody could do.
Yes windows 3.1 was a joke compared to other stuff around at the time, but you didn't have to worry about "apt get" routines or broken dependencies
If a program didn't work it was a rare thing and most people stuck with commonly available programs and just lived with BSOD. This is just how computers were.
And while we all dreamed (and still do) of Linux on the desktop becoming more common, the reality is that as long as we don't have a simple unified ecology for installing ALL programs across ALL flavours of linux that we wish to see deployed in the common operating space, then Linux will continue to be seen as "too geeky" and our dream of Linux as an option for all is doomed to always being one step away.
This is another area where the mac way of doing things (sorry to bring religion into this) works.
a single unified system, Installing programs is a breeze, anyone can do it, even those who have trouble tying their own shoelaces.
Linux is seen as the third contender, but unfortunately we are taking the same route as the music industry. Instead of unifying under a common banner, we are dividing and deviating under multiple different banners and ways of doing things.
over the last 12 months i have heard of at least 20 different (and according to the fans) incompatible forms of heavy metal. the differences are subtle and the bands encourage it because it differentiates them from the others, but in the long run it hurts them all by dividing an already limited market into smaller and smaller subsets.
KDE, Gnome and Unity all introduce their own incompatibilities, some minor, some that are irrelevant and some that restrict which version of a program you can run. Then there is the question of which distribution you are running, Red Hat, Debian, Ubuntu, the list goes on, and now we are talking different install methods for different distributions.
So to create a program that "just works" for Linux, you need to make sure it works for all the different GUI's (not just your personal favourite), and has install systems for All of the different Linux sects, i mean flavours.
For anyone wanting to earn money for software, it is enough of a hassle to get a program up and running with equivalent functionality for both windows and Mac, and some companies don't bother with both.
to then expect them to spend more time creating a Linux version and create all the extras needed to make it work (and easy to install) across all flavours of distributions and GUI's for a miniscule section of the market,plus the testing time to make sure it works, even just across the common variations......
I am not saying we are losing the battle for the desktop, we are slowly gaining ground, but only with those who are open minded enough (and tech minded enough) to accept what we can provide, and the more we fork and deviate (no matter how valid the arguments), the more the management of Microsoft and Apple enjoy it. A small amount of FUD can then amplify the fear of the unknown in the generally technology fearing population. and they do not need to divide us to conquer the marketplace, We are doing that for them.
And yes, I know of all the stories of "I installed (insert favourite Linux Distribution here) on my ageing mother/father/uncle/aunt/cousins computer and they have never looked back", but that is the point, you installed it for them, overcame their fears and helped them through the process, and are available to guide them when they try to install photoshop and cant to explain why they cant and help them install gimp (or whatever program etc) and help them....... and help them.....
or they could have had a Windows machine and just put the photoshop disk into the drive and magically within a short time photoshop is working for them.

Re:Computing power allows it now (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 3 years ago | (#36781282)

There's a reason MS dominated the desktop.

Lots of different reasons actually, of which the one you listed was a rather minor one compared to the rest of them.

Re:Computing power allows it now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36781388)

You're right about there being a reason MS dominated the desktop, but they certainly didn't make it work well. The reason they succeeded is because they're a large organization with that goal. Period. GNU/Linux doesn't need to, and never has competed on that level. Things being done right may take a while, but it when it's done right it speaks for itself, and to any serious engineer that's ALL that matters. In the end WE will remain, while commercial offerings will slowly fade away.

Re:Computing power allows it now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36781530)

Actually, I used Linux back when Windows 95 was the state of the art. Granted, you had to yank the cover off the (486) box to get the brand info and jumper settings on the LAN and video cards in order to set it up (same as most ISA-bus OS's of the day), but one of the things I liked about Linux was that it booted faster than windows, required less memory, and consumed less of the CPU overall. And, for that matter, although the vendor support for hardware was dicier, the OS made up for it by producing more useful log messages as it booted up and ran.

The main reason that Windows dominated the desktop was that Windows was from Microsoft and Microsoft/IBM was the corporate standard. You couldn't get fired for buying it and there were these things called MCSEs beginning to pop us who could ensure that Windows would run reliably and securely. And because everyone knew that Windows was just a purtier DOS and everyone knew DOS.

Re:Computing power allows it now (0)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 3 years ago | (#36783000)

I think you are the sole person on this planet not named Bill Gates who could say "superior" and "Windows 95" in the same sentence with a straight face.

You have a short memory (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 3 years ago | (#36783214)

Win95 was so bad it drove me to linux. Win98SE was usable, but I challenge you to put bare first release Win95 on anything and see how crappy it was. For example, the drivers and the core behaviour of the thing were so bad it crashed me me every time I tried to close it down, simply because it decided to play an exit sound in a different way to all the other sounds it played.

Re:Computing power allows it now (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#36781334)

Saying that Windows is designed differently than Linux is like comparing a pickle to an orange grove.

Now that I used a stupid analogy, allow me to explain myself. The Linux kernel and the NT kernel are different, but they aren't as fundamentally different as you think. The GUI configuration of Windows that Microsoft ships is a lot heavier than many Linux distributions, but that isn't really about the design of the operating system.

Re:Computing power allows it now (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36781690)

Well, it is true. Windows NT was designed to be a true microkernel with user-mode application subsystems under which multiple platforms could execute and be managed concurrently and independently from one another. Linux was designed to be a monolithic kernel to run the GNU toolkit as a temporary solution while waiting on HURD. Both have come a long way from their origins.

Microsoft didn't intentionally design the mess that is Windows. NT was intended to run OS/2 as the primary subsystem, which it continued to support up through Windows 2000. The Win16/32/64 API was a mistake, something slapped together to fulfill an immediate need. MS didn't anticipate the success of Windows 3.x, but as NT could support additional subsystems they just formalized and packaged up the API and included it. That success translated into the Win16/32 becoming the predominant API on NT

Re:Computing power allows it now (4, Interesting)

Elbereth (58257) | more than 3 years ago | (#36781550)

Come on. AmigaOS, OS-9, and QNX all had amazingly modern features, back in the 1980s, running on, in some cases, 8 bit hardware. In fact, it turns out that RIM bought QNX Software Systems, according to Wikipedia. There's no reason for the OS to be special purpose or cut-down. The problem is with loading up the hardware with extraneous features, such as the ability to play DVDs or streaming media, while keeping the energy consumption minimal. The real innovation is that today's integrated hardware can easily play DVDs, while giving a useful life to embedded devices, thanks to both improved battery technology and energy consumption. It's not that the operating systems can finally have breathing space.

Seriously. Take a look at what the Amiga could do with a 7 MHz 68K CPU and 256KB RAM. Then, once your mind is blown by that, try out OS-9 on a 6809 CPU, dating back to the late 1970s. Both have features that only appeared in the 2000s, in more mainstream operating systems. QNX can even boot up a GUI environment, with a web browser and networking stack, on a 1.44MB floppy disk. Linux, Windows, and MacOS X can only dream about that (not that they are bad operating systems or anything -- it's just something they can't do).

It's a matter of priorities, really. Do you want to have your operating system coded in hand-optimized assembly language, with all the maintainability problems that brings? Or do you want an easy to maintain, C++-based operating system, that caches everything in the (presumably available) gigabytes of RAM of a modern PC? You can have features, performance, and low system requirements, but it takes a lot more effort than if you simply emphasize features. It also takes a lot more training.

Everything old is new again (1, Interesting)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 3 years ago | (#36781114)

A shared PC-tablet OS?

The submitter sees value in this, but I'm not sure why - apparently he wasn't paying attention for the past ten years. Microsoft did exactly this with Windows XP Tablet PC edition... and that fell flat on its face.

Seeing hints that Microsoft is still thinking the same way is not a surprise but a disappointment; and it shouldn't be construed in a positive manner by fans of the company.

Price is important (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36781176)

The tablet PCs were cost more than $800 when they were on the market. A decent, new laptop could be had for ~$450. A year ago, a tablet from APPLE could be had for $500. Now, it is selling for $400. The price of laptops have not changed much in the interrum.

Re:Price is important (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 3 years ago | (#36781662)

This [frys.com] Windows 7 tablet is on sale at this very moment for 549 dollars. Less than a comparable iPad. Yet, it collects dust on the retailers' shelves.

Re:Everything old is new again (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 3 years ago | (#36781584)

Agreed. Now, if they had announced that Microsoft Surface would be the common code base for all platforms, they'd really have something.

Re:Everything old is new again (3, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#36781642)

Tablet PCs failed because they tried to be PCs first and tablets a distant second. The UI was never properly optimized for touch, for example - it was assumed that a stylus and handwriting input is all you need. That is why it fell on its face.

Re:Everything old is new again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36781646)

Oh, it did fall flat on its face, no denying that.

And yet lots of people (myself included) are more-or-less happy with the Windows side of Windows on UMPC/tablet machines. Speaking for myself, my main gripes are the same as desktop Windows (I prefer UNIX of whatever sort, which is why I'm running a desktop Linux distro on my U820 now), and most importantly the sucky, sucky hardware.

  • x86 = sucky battery life
  • GMA500 = sucky graphics drivers (mildly sucky in WinXP, horrific in Linux, practically nonexistent for other UNIXen)
  • 90+% of devices = sucky screen resolution (100PPI is decades old, why is the small family of Fujitsu UMPCs (U820/UH900) the only ones >200PPI?!)
  • Mostly sucky input -- choose between resistive (pointy styluses work, but your hand can't rest on the display) or capacitive (palm rejection's good, but only sucky foam-tip jumbo styluses work), because nobody will put an active digitizer in.
  • and because they suck, almost nobody buys them, so low volume = super sucky prices!

If you can get decent ARM hardware out there and run a desktop OS on it with a reasonably touch-friendly skin, a whole lot of people will be happy. Not everyone wants to trade real, uncrippled desktop apps for a 100% shiny iOS/Android/whatever interface.

Re:Everything old is new again (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 3 years ago | (#36782604)

What application can be written for a Windows tablet that cannot be written for an Android tablet that actually makes sense for the form factor?

Re:Everything old is new again (1)

Mia'cova (691309) | more than 3 years ago | (#36781694)

Same OS doesn't mean the same UI. Examples: iOS = OSX, Android = Linux. This is more in reference to MS dropping the windows CE platform which I believe was the base for the 360 and WP7. You don't have to expect every edition to support the same features. The phone wouldn't have the 'standard' windows desktop for example. But at the same time, you'd want the phone to support the same audio, video, usb, etc drivers for simplicity. Then when you put an ATI chip in your phone, they don't need to rewrite everything. The games would all go through directx, etc.

Re:Everything old is new again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36781954)

You might want to have a look at the windows 8 demos before you say that.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYSSdSNFjhU

Shame on MS & partners. TabletPCs lacked promo (1)

N!NJA (1437175) | more than 3 years ago | (#36782792)

The TabletPC platform failed because of the lack of promotion. Microsoft and the OEMs (Dell, HP, Lenovo, Gateway, etc) have never -- to this day -- to advertise Tablet PCs. I have never seen a Tablet PC ad anywhere. Ever! Not even in brochures mailed by the aforementioned companies! They don't even appear on the Home Page of those OEMs. They've bastardized the technology from the start. Then they waited for someone with more vision and interest in it to fully capitalize on the idea. This someone turned out to be Apple, who, since Day-1, has made enormous fanfare about the platform. Let's face it, Apple's remarkable marketing machine could convince an eskimo to buy an iFridge. Kudos to them.

Shame on Microsoft and friends for their utter incompetence at showing people that they have had tablets for a decade and what such machines were like. And before someone starts bitching about the Tablet PC's initial reliance on a stylus (pen), know that Apple is currently working on a stylus for a future iPad. Once it comes out, people will think that Apple invented the tablet....and the stylus! Brilliant! :-D

- Proudly owner of TabletPCs (TC1100 and TM2) for 5 years.

possibly a boon for malware (3, Insightful)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 3 years ago | (#36781146)

All those connected platforms running one OS. This kind of exacerbates the monoculture drawbacks.

Finally (1, Funny)

Cajun Hell (725246) | more than 3 years ago | (#36781154)

Only read the summary, not TFA, but it sounds like they're finally switching to Linux.

When will they learn? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36781188)

This was Microsoft's previous failed strategy. Windows everywhere didn't work and they have failed to make any other compelling OS. So now it is back to Windows everywhere.

Microsoft is trapped by their own success. In order to make a truly modern, compelling OS, they have to dump the old stuff and break compatibility. It is that very compatibility that has been their success so far. The big risk to breaking it is that once people have to start with a new OS, they start looking at alternatives.

The hardware wasn't there 5 years ago... (3, Interesting)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 3 years ago | (#36781502)

and it's just silly to say they should have been doing this. It's only recently that a chipset that powered phones was beefy enough to run what people expect out of a desktop. Kudos to Microsoft for picking up on this as soon as they have. Android is a real threat. People love the idea of taking their phone, plugging it into a doc and having the same UI look & feel. Android + HTML5 apps + cloud is a credible threat to Microsoft. The cool thing is, they're moving on converging all the platforms as a result. Real innovation from competition.

Microsoft != Modular (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36782154)

They are the definitive standard for monolithic, spaghetti cluster-f*^& programming. The only way this can end is to make tablets crappy for everyone.

Isn't HP already doing this? (2)

Wormfoud (1749176) | more than 3 years ago | (#36782202)

With webOS on their phones, Touchpad tablet, and soon (as announced) on their PCs - isn't HP already moving in that direction?

Having Microsoft everywhere will be great (1, Funny)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 3 years ago | (#36782936)

We don't really need diversity in computers we should just learn to run Microsoft on everything from watches to mainframes because windows is the best operating systems ever. If it wasn't for Microsoft there would be no innovation anywhere so basically we should have a formal Microsoft tax and just pay Microsoft to own everything.

It's a good thing that Microsoft use their patent portfolio to stop anyone else in the industry from trying to make anything new because Microsoft would do it better anyway so why even try. Case in point, Google, they should just give up on android and give that market to Microsoft because android is owned by microsoft anyway.

All those dumb nerd who write that crappy open source software (that never works properly on anything) should be donating their time to Microsoft anyway, actually they should be paying Microsoft to be volunteers to write more software for windows. It's been proven in the past with IE6, the most successful and best web browser ever just how innovative Microsoft can be. Apple and Linux should just give up because everything Microsoft everywhere for everyone for ever will be good for all of us.

It's a world I look forward to every day.

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