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Gut-Check Time For Windows 8, Microsoft

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the you'll-feel-a-slight-pinch dept.

Microsoft 516

theodp writes "GeekWire reports that, for better or worse, the upcoming week is shaping up as one of the most pivotal in Microsoft's history, as the software giant makes its pitch for Windows 8 at two important conferences. First, Microsoft will be huddling with hardware and software developers beginning Tuesday at its sold-out BUILD conference ('BUILD will show you that Windows 8 changes everything'), where it's rumored that Samsung will unveil a Windows 8 tablet. And on Wednesday, CEO Steve Ballmer and other execs will be holding the company's annual Financial Analyst Meeting, which was delayed from its traditional summer date to allow the company to put its Windows 8 strategy in context for Wall Street. So, are we about to finally see the realization of Microsoft's vision for Information at Your Fingertips (Part 2), which Bill Gates introduced with a hokey video at Comdex 1994?"

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Keep Selling Windows 7 (5, Informative)

DanielRavenNest (107550) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372036)

Windows 7 is a nice operating system, and is selling well. If they don't do something stupid like stop selling it when Windows 8 is released, they will do fine.

Re:Keep Selling Windows 7 (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37372072)

Too desktop oriented. To keep up with current trends, windows 8 needs to feel like a tablet on your desktop. Man.

Re:Keep Selling Windows 7 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37372100)

Windows 7 is a nice operating system for toys, and its licenses are selling well.

There, fixed that for you. ;)

Re:Keep Selling Windows 7 (0, Troll)

jasmusic (786052) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372224)

Spare your bitterness and learn C++, and if you work hard enough maybe someday Linux will support networks without needing a text editor.

Re:Keep Selling Windows 7 (0)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372260)

Yes, that's true. There is no possible way to make Linux support networks without a text editor. Certainly not by plugging a network cable into a network interface and then the network is configured automatically by DHCP, exactly as it works on every other operating system.

Re:Keep Selling Windows 7 (1)

colinrichardday (768814) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372270)

Support networks how? I recently purchased a USB-ethernet device. I simply attached the device to my laptop and ethernet cable, and it worked.

Also, I prefer needing a text editor to needing a registry editor.

Re:Keep Selling Windows 7 (2)

no-body (127863) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372372)

Doing stuff in command line is several factors faster than Windoze mouse locate, point and click in server/admin environments. Same goes for regex find/replace in vi.
 
Or try cut/paste all file names from a file browser detail into an editor in your mouse/point/click environment and see what happens.
 
And how often has M$oft in their new OS money milking "features" removed useful stuff? XP -> W7: File browser up one level button, essentially no-longer-existing Network file search feature.
 
Go keep playing in your eye-candy mouse click dream world.

Re:Keep Selling Windows 7 (0)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372226)

Windows 7 is a nice operating system, and is selling well. If they don't do something stupid like stop selling it when Windows 8 is released, they will do fine.

Yes and no. Obviously they'll continue to collect the usual tithe for each new PC sold by most major OEMs, but if that's all they've got going for them then they're right on schedule for a slow decline into irrelevance.

Microsoft has to keep their customers on the upgrade treadmill, even if they're still getting paid for selling the old version, because they have to keep their platform a moving target. How are they supposed to keep Linux from running all recent games if half the gamers are still using Windows XP and in consequence some game developers continue to release games compatible with its older version of DirectX, which has better support on Linux than later versions? How are they supposed to make OpenOffice and LibreOffice users feel like they're in an alien environment if people keep using Office 2003 instead of 2007/2010? How are people supposed to stay locked into Windows on the desktop if they have iOS or Android on their phones and developers are making apps for mobile devices that once ran on desktops?

Yes, but don't abandon Windows 8... (5, Insightful)

Pollux (102520) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372368)

Windows trying to release Windows 8 with its tablet shell interface on a mainstream PC makes about as much sense as Apple release iPads with a command line shell. Here's what I mean; watch this video [youtube.com] (starting at minutes 15) where the presenter tries to show how Windows 8 is just as easy to use on a laptop as it is on a tablet. It makes no sense for any user to have to move the mouse around that much just to get to the object they want to select. Microsoft needs to stop taking this silly "one-size-fits-all" approach with its OS. Make one OS for the enterprise, another for laptops (primary PC machine purchased nowadays by home consumers), and another for tablets. Tailor the shell to fit the machine, not force the machine to fit into the shell.

Now, while I still have my administrative gripes about Windows 7 (bloated size of WinSxS directory, unable to easily unlock a workstation locked by a user, behavior of & driver support for legacy devices, etc.), but I would still recommend that Windows keep selling Windows 7 for the enterprise rather than try to force us to swallow Windows 8. We want something newer, and a lot of these gripes could be fixed w/ SP2. Stop with the one-size-fits-all crap. Market Windows 7 for the enterprise and tailor it for the enterprise. Let Windows 8 start and develop on tablets. If Windows 8 turns out to be a good OS on tablets, I would predict in a very short amount of time, laptops will start to ship w/ touch-screen interfaces to take advantage of the Windows 8 shell.

Re:Yes, but don't abandon Windows 8... (1)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372468)

They say the "Windows Classic" mode is available as an application inside Windows 8. I'm guessing the swipey stuff is just a different "explorer.exe" (the shell one, not the file browser one) on top of a pretty standard NT kernel.

Re:Yes, but don't abandon Windows 8... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37372512)

If Windows 8 turns out to be a good OS on tablets, I would predict in a very short amount of time, laptops will start to ship w/ touch-screen interfaces to take advantage of the Windows 8 shell.

Why would I want a shitty touchscreen interface on a laptop? You think I'm going to sit there all day poking the screen with my finger when I could use a keyboard and mouse?

Re:Keep Selling Windows 7 (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372384)

IMO... MS is trying to go back to the separated OSes. One for work, and one for home. Windows 8 looks more geared towards the home consumer, or at least the gadget consumer.
I dont see any business in their right mind purchasing Windows 8 for the workplace.

Re:Keep Selling Windows 7 (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372516)

If that is the strategy, Microsoft needs a better name for its product. Windows 8 is named like a replacement for Windows 7.

Re:Keep Selling Windows 7 (1)

Riceballsan (816702) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372478)

I don't believe microsoft has ever not used that tactic, even on the outright bombs of OS's like ME and vista. It helps show a giant boost in PC and OS sales for all the people that completely refused to buy a PC for the 2 years that you couldn't get a PC with a decent OS.

Re:Keep Selling Windows 7 (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37372532)

Windows 7 is a nice operating system compared to Vista and most else it has released before. I'm glad they took the time over the 20 plus years since Windows 1.0 to upgrade the games from Minesweeper to something maybe worth $9.99 on the bargin bin at Walmart, that they took the time to not make the copy/move dialog completely braindead, and that they took away the "Repair" option in the network "notification icon" away to replace it with a just as brainheaded "Troubleshoot..." function that takes five times as long to fix any issue as the old Repair option ever did, and that they decided that removing the names of the tasks on the task bar makes things less confusing. Nice to see the time was put to good use.

Really though, aside from the Aero theme, text of some dialogs finally rewritten, and some nice little apps, it's really not much different than XP.

I know there's lots of changes under the hood. Above the hood it's the same shit, different reflectivity index. Fuck Windows.

Tablets, Phones, and what's wrong with XP or win7 (2)

bobstreo (1320787) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372042)

I think Microsoft is gonna take it on the chin over the next few months.
Too little too late in phones and tablets
Please convince me why I need up upgrade?
If you give me a system with win8 on it (and probably only a laptop) I'll probably leave a partition for it so I can update the OS once
or twice a year...

Re:Tablets, Phones, and what's wrong with XP or wi (3, Interesting)

North Korea (2457866) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372084)

I don't think Microsoft is that late for tablets. Quite frankly, I think the current Android tablets still aren't worth using. That leaves you with iPad, so there's definitely some market open for tablets and what Microsoft has shown about Windows 8 for tablets it looks quite nice. On top of that you get the support for Windows apps, which is a huge deal.

But even on normal computer side, Windows 8 seems to improve many things over 7, which already is really good OS.

Re:Tablets, Phones, and what's wrong with XP or wi (1)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372266)

On top of that you get the support for Windows apps, which is a huge deal.

Even if Windows 8 runs on ARM processors, none of the apps will, so it doesn't seem like much of an advantage.

Re:Tablets, Phones, and what's wrong with XP or wi (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372354)

.NET apps might.

Re:Tablets, Phones, and what's wrong with XP or wi (1)

SpryGuy (206254) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372408)

The HTML5/CSS apps will. Others will likely require little more than a recompile.

Re:Tablets, Phones, and what's wrong with XP or wi (1)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372586)

The HTML5/CSS apps will run on everything, so it gives no advantage to Windows over its competitors.

And it takes a lot more than a recompile to go from a keyboard and mouse to a touchscreen interface, to say nothing of the things that contain x86 assembly or assume x86 processors in one way or another, or apps that are extremely poorly optimized for battery life, etc.

More to the point, even if all you have to do is recompile it, that assumes that you can recompile it. We're not exactly talking about open source software here. If the developer no longer exists, no longer supports the software, or is just waiting until Windows-on-ARM has a nontrivial installed base before they put in the budget to do a port, there is little you can do.

Re:Tablets, Phones, and what's wrong with XP or wi (1)

thopkins (70408) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372410)

I predict that it will be very easy for developers to port from Windows x86 to ARM. Yes, they will have to release separate binaries, but it will not be difficult.

Re:Tablets, Phones, and what's wrong with XP or wi (1)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372546)

Even if Windows 8 runs on ARM processors, none of the apps will, so it doesn't seem like much of an advantage.

.Net apps will since they run on the CLR and the underlying architecture doesn't matter.

Re:Tablets, Phones, and what's wrong with XP or wi (1)

GoochOwnsYou (1343661) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372596)

Most apps will work with a recompile, anything running Java, .NET or HTML5 wont even need that.

Re:Tablets, Phones, and what's wrong with XP or wi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37372494)

Why is the market open for tablets, when someone already has the optimal solution? Same reason why people use ARM CPUs rather than try to spend billions trying to make dies that are power-sipping, but have the oomph to power modern stuff.

There isn't room for another tablet maker -- who would have the apps, the support network, the user base, and the developers? Only Apple.

Re:Tablets, Phones, and what's wrong with XP or wi (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37372194)

"Too little too late in phones and tablets"

THIS.

The desktop PC Is a dying platform. The average person is increasingly moving to smartphones an iPads to get away from the viruses, driver problems, malware, and other crap that infests Windows desktops.

It's too late for MS. To paraphrase B5, the avalanch has started, and it's too late for the pebbles to vote. The world had a few decades of Wintel, and it doesn't want to have more.

Re:Tablets, Phones, and what's wrong with XP or wi (5, Interesting)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372228)

The desktop PC Is a dying platform.

No, it's not. The form a personal computer takes may change slightly, but it's not going anywhere. I think you'll just find an atrix/bionic or EEE Transformer style computing experience coming, where your phone/tablet becomes your computer, and when you bring it home you just plug it into a docking bay with a good ole fashioned keyboard and large LCD screen. and maybe even a mouse, cause there's no way that you're going to want to play quake 6 with touchscreen. That's mid-to-long term though. in the short term, nothing portable is powerful enough to replace a real desktop for real computing work. sending an email or reading a pdf is not the kind of work I'm talking about either.

The average person is increasingly moving to smartphones an iPads to get away from the viruses, driver problems, malware, and other crap that infests Windows desktops.

smartphones already have viruses and malware. try again. most phones even ship with bloatware already.

It's too late for MS. To paraphrase B5, the avalanch has started, and it's too late for the pebbles to vote. The world had a few decades of Wintel, and it doesn't want to have more.

You writing this on your iphone? or are you man (or woman) enough to admit you've got an x86 cpu on/under the desk?

Re:Tablets, Phones, and what's wrong with XP or wi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37372246)

Just because someone has a computer with an x86 CPU doesn't mean it's Intel nor that it implies Windows.

Re:Tablets, Phones, and what's wrong with XP or wi (2)

JRowe47 (2459214) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372394)

Statistics argue otherwise. More than 78% of desktops are running Windows. Even accounting for the fact that a lot of /. folks are huge nerds and eat, sleep, and breath linux, there's still a better than 50% chance that something running an x86 chip, posting here, is running Windows. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_operating_systems [wikipedia.org]

Re:Tablets, Phones, and what's wrong with XP or wi (1)

Intropy (2009018) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372398)

Perhaps not, but it very nearly implies a "desktop PC" which is what they were discussing.

Re:Tablets, Phones, and what's wrong with XP or wi (1)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372400)

Per Statcounter.com, The most recent monthly data shows that windows currently commands an overall share of the PC market of 91.39% when XP, Vista, and 7 are combined. OSX weighs in at 6.28%, and iOS has a whopping 0.9%. there is a remaining 1.43% of the market running something else.

per electronista.com, data from the second quarter of the year shows that intel currently has 79.3% of the overall PC market, with AMD covering 20.4%, leaving a titanic 0.3% to the rest of the market.

So yes, if you have an x86 CPU, it's quite likely you have an intel cpu, and a virtual lock that you have intel or amd (be real, the "wintel" platform includes amd cpus. they are 100% compatible and compete only on price vs performance, not on feature differences anymore).

Similarly, if you have an x86 cpu, there is a 91.39% chance you are running some flavor of windows NT based OS.

Re:Tablets, Phones, and what's wrong with XP or wi (1)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372486)

Are those new sales numbers, or all existing computers?

cell phone carriers may mobile use hard (1, Insightful)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372364)

By

* 2 year lock in

* CDMA VS GSM

* locking out wifi on some phones

* saying no to tethering or makeing you pay more it's like the old cable days where they did not want you use routers and or make you pay for more ip's to use more then 1 system.

* low data caps with slow down or high fees for going over.

* app store lock in

* custom carrier ui's and apps.

* locked OS rom's

* app store mystery censorship

* lack of a local corporate app store on some systems

* insane roaming fees.

HUrl (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37372046)

I woke up in the wrong universe today. Bill Gates? Microsoft? Microsoft died in 1996 in my universe. And this 9/11 thing? Wow. Need to get back to my universe, pronto! All hail GNU. Love live RMS!

Re:HUrl (0)

ThorGod (456163) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372182)

Yeah, I hear that. I haven't ran windows as my main OS for over a decade now. But, this is /. You'll hear any news involving OS/2, BeOS, linux, *bsd, Windows, and any other OS here.

Re:HUrl (1)

luke923 (778953) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372590)

Napoleon XIV, is that you?

Planned obsolescence treadmill accelerating (4, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372076)

When they rushed out Windows 7 after Vista flopped that was understandable, but now Win8 is coming out just as quickly behind Win7. It's like they're doing the famous trash-good-trash-good pattern on purpose. Rush out the next trash OS to get the next good one out sooner.

Re:Planned obsolescence treadmill accelerating (1)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372106)

The 'obsolescence' you refer to doesn't appear particularly rapid, Windows XP is over a decade old and is still supported. Vista didn't get a warm reception for obvious reasons but I'm not sure why you believe XP or 7 to be 'trash OSes'.

Re:Planned obsolescence treadmill accelerating (4, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372124)

XP and 7 are the good ones. Vista and 8 are the trash OSes (an app store, the ribbon disease spread over the whole OS and a tablet UI? Trash.)

Re:Planned obsolescence treadmill accelerating (3, Insightful)

North Korea (2457866) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372148)

Are Ubuntu and Mac OSX "trash OSes" too because they have app stores?

Besides, Vista was a good OS, but it changed the Windows fundamentals so much that many apps broke. But to advance, improve security and to use better driver model Microsoft had to do it at some point. There was nothing wrong with Vista but the old badly designed programs that stopped working with it when MS had to take the step forward.

Re:Planned obsolescence treadmill accelerating (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37372294)

yes.

Re:Planned obsolescence treadmill accelerating (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372352)

Ubuntu has an app store? It has repos with a graphical interface.

Re:Planned obsolescence treadmill accelerating (4, Funny)

SplashMyBandit (1543257) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372458)

The difference between an "app store" and a "repos" is that they get different points in Scrabble(tm).

Re:Planned obsolescence treadmill accelerating (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372500)

Lemme guess, you're an Apple user?

Anyone can add an app to a repo for free. The purpose is to make it easy to install apps, any apps. Sometimes there are stability or license criteria, but that's it.

A curated app store is just a retail storefront, to make the store operator money by selling apps. Including it with the OS is bloatware, even if the OS maker put it in themselves.

Re:Planned obsolescence treadmill accelerating (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37372488)

They're reworking the software center into an app store. Also synaptic was kicked in 11.10- or rather will be.

Re:Planned obsolescence treadmill accelerating (1)

bobstreo (1320787) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372620)

Yeah but the Ubuntu Software Center is pretty nice.

There was nothing wrong with Vista? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37372504)

With respect, saying that shows about as much ignorance as GameboyRMH's comment that Windows 8 is going to be a trash OS because of a few new features. Yes, Microsoft needed a better driver model and to improve security, but Vista wasn't a good OS. It was bloated to heck and ran poorly on machines that should have handled it wonderfully. Never mind that Microsoft didn't bother doing the right thing an approved machines as Vista ready that clearly never should have had it. End the cognitive dissonance. Your experience is just that, your experience. The mere fact that there have been tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands or millions of complaints about how Vista handled disproves any idea that it was a good OS. It means Vista failed on an absolutely critical element, the user experience. You were lucky Vista wasn't such a hassle for you, nothing more. Windows 7 is what Vista should have been, and we didn't lose out on those improvements you named. Which should emphasize just how great a failure Vista was.

I'm looking forward to seeing what Windows 8 has. I won't prejudge it without using it and I won't believe that just because I might have a good experience with it, that everyone will. I encourage you both to do the same.

Re:Planned obsolescence treadmill accelerating (1)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372160)

XP and 7 are the good ones. Vista and 8 are the trash OSes (an app store, the ribbon disease spread over the whole OS and a tablet UI? Trash.)

But you barely know anything about Windows 8 much less having used it to be able to form an opinion of it.

Re:Planned obsolescence treadmill accelerating (0)

Pete Venkman (1659965) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372190)

I think plenty of us have suffered enough from the ribbon in MS Office. Why don't you chill out?

Re:Planned obsolescence treadmill accelerating (1)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372296)

I think plenty of us have suffered enough from the ribbon in MS Office.

So Windows 8 is trash because of the ribbon in office?

Re:Planned obsolescence treadmill accelerating (1)

BobboBrown (541913) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372434)

Haven't you heard that Windows Explorer is getting a ribbon? I call that trash.

Re:Planned obsolescence treadmill accelerating (1)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372534)

I have, but i haven't used it. In fact most of the time i use the shortcut keys or context menus (which is also what most people do according that blog post MS did on the subject) so i rarely interact with ribbon anyway but when i have used it i haven't had any particular difficulties, what specific issues have you had with it?

Re:Planned obsolescence treadmill accelerating (2)

JRowe47 (2459214) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372452)

They apparently can't find the little button on every ribbon that lets them change it back to the old menu bars. God forbid we have any options in our GUIs. Or innovation. Or cross-compatibility between touch and mouse based systems.

Re:Planned obsolescence treadmill accelerating (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372366)

What is so horrible wrong with the ribbon?

Re:Planned obsolescence treadmill accelerating (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37372506)

I recently spent several hours training some office 2003 users to do fairly basic stuff in office 2010. I doubt they had to spend that much time getting familiar with the controls of the last cars they bought.

Re:Planned obsolescence treadmill accelerating (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37372548)

Everything.

Re:Planned obsolescence treadmill accelerating (2)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372552)

I think the ribbon is fine... it's every other aspect of Office that I find to be nightmarishly awful.

Re:Planned obsolescence treadmill accelerating (0)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372202)

XP and 7 are the good ones. Vista and 8 are the trash OSes (an app store, the ribbon disease spread over the whole OS and a tablet UI? Trash.)

We don't know much about 8 yet, and Vista is vastly superior to XP.

Re:Planned obsolescence treadmill accelerating (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37372232)

It is now. Vista wasn't when it first came out.

Re:Planned obsolescence treadmill accelerating (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372362)

Even now, the hardware requirements are ridiculous, Vista is noticeably slower than XP or 7.

Re:Planned obsolescence treadmill accelerating (4, Insightful)

North Korea (2457866) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372110)

Windows 7: 2009 Windows Vista: 2006 Seems they've taken three years release cycle, which is a really long time compared to Linux distros and Mac OS X. It's better than the time after XP anyway, which really started to feel like an outdated OS, by security standards and features too.

Re:Planned obsolescence treadmill accelerating (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37372206)

Windows 7: 2009
Windows Vista: 2006

Seems they've taken three years release cycle, which is a really long time compared to Linux distros and Mac OS X. It's better than the time after XP anyway, which really started to feel like an outdated OS, by security standards and features too.

I'm using XP on modern hardware and it screams. I don't feel the need for "modern" UI features that are nothing more than eye candy. The only reason I can see for moving to Win7 is SSD support (and additional RAM with 64 bit). Win 8? Haven't seen anything about it yet that looks interesting.

But to tell the truth, even with my "outdated" Velociraptor and Q8300, with XP 32 bit, this is a super fast and efficient machine. I'm not a gamer, nor am I into video on my PC. So I'll gladly trade a fancier UI for raw speed and stability.

My boot times could be a little faster, but I only boot up once a day. And app load times are less than 5 sec. even for Photoshop. Why would I care if they could be 1 or 2 sec?

And security may be important for the clueless, but I'm a careful surfer and haven't had a virus for years.

I'll only update when hardware requirements force me to -- that is, when my current machine breaks down. Or, when a vital piece of software forces the upgrade.

Re:Planned obsolescence treadmill accelerating (2, Informative)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372318)

Every time a Linux distro comes out it doesn't cost three digits to upgrade, the distro maintainers don't go out of their way to push me onto the new distro, and doing an in-place upgrade will work fine with just the occasional minor problem, whereas with Windows an in-place upgrade for anything greater than a service pack tends to leave the install totally fucked up.

So let's recap.

Linux upgrade: A few clicks in the Update Manager (or "sudo apt-get dist-upgrade") and wait.

Windows upgrade: Spend at least a hundred bucks, back up all data, clean-install & activate OS, reinstall apps, put data back.

OSX is cheaper than Windows but with the higher upgrade frequency I don't know which one's cheaper overall.

Re:Planned obsolescence treadmill accelerating (3, Insightful)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372510)

I think the idea is that Windows users don't have to upgrade. Apply the patches and service packs and it will work just fine until the equipment is replaced. Unlike the rest of them, where every time you turn around there is some dependency for an application that requires you to upgrade your OS.

Re:Planned obsolescence treadmill accelerating (2)

SexyKellyOsbourne (606860) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372558)

I don't know in what manner Windows precisely goes out of their way to "push you" into new major releases -- other than Windows Update nagging you to patch flagrant security holes to prevent Grandma's PC from becoming a botnet, there's nothing in the OS that does that.

As far it being a treadmill, perhaps that was the case in the 90's. But now? Windows XP came out in October, 2001 with an EOL in April, 2014. Windows Vista came out on January 2007 and has an EOL in April 2017. Given the widespread installations of Windows 7 both at home and in the office, one could expect a similar lifecycle.

As far as the ability to upgrade across major releases goes, watch this video. The guy goes from Windows 1.01 all the way to Windows 7 in VMWare. Other than having to convert to FAT32 and NTFS via LiveCD, the only thing it broke was his desktop background. Doom II still worked in all versions.

http://rasteri.blogspot.com/2011/03/chain-of-fools-upgrading-through-every.html [blogspot.com]

Re:Planned obsolescence treadmill accelerating (4, Informative)

saleenS281 (859657) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372136)

Rushed? Vista was extremely late because they tried to do too much (WinFS anyone?). They were on a 3 year cadence for just about every release prior to that. They're now back on their normal cadence. I get the impression your first experience with Windows was XP if you think this is "rushed" for Microsoft.

Re:Planned obsolescence treadmill accelerating (1)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372640)

And yet here we are with Windows 8 around the corner and no more info about "WinFS"... well, at least good info.

They need to update their filesystem (so does Apple come to think of it.) And Windows' version of "Desktop search" is pretty dated even compared to Apple's... (which sits on an ancient FS updated and patched together with duck-tape and bailing wire.)

Is there ANY possibility that when WinFS does come out, it'll be retrofitted to 7?

Re:Planned obsolescence treadmill accelerating (1)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372172)

you need to revisit microsoft's historic OS release schedule. 2 years after the previous OS is the -norm-. the XP to Vista gap is the exception, not the rule.

Re:Planned obsolescence treadmill accelerating (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37372274)

um...okay if they dont improve their operating system, they get dinged. If they do, then they get dinged. Exactly what do you want? FREE updates don't come from trees. No whizbang features for windows xp in 10 years. iOS has their update fees hidden in the app store and in hardware costs. Nothing in life is free man. I don't mind if it's a 30 dollar upgrade if it's worth 30 dollars.

Not that I think the windows 8 has a chance in hell of taking marketshare away from Apple's upcoming Jesus Operating System. If anybody is going to combine touch and PC trucks, it'll probably be Apple.

But its prolly better for sinovksy's team to produce something good and fast for once. I mean, seriously, msft takes forever to release stuff.

Re:Planned obsolescence treadmill accelerating (1)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372462)

Windows 95
Windows 98
Windows 2000
Windows NT
Windows Me
Windows XP
Windows Vista
Windows 7

other than XP->Vista , all gaps were less than 3 yrs AFAIK
(order of 2000,NT,ME may be wrong)

Re:Planned obsolescence treadmill accelerating (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372482)

MS Windows Vista was a long overdue and desperate attempt to rewrite the OS. Few upgraded because it was crap. MS WIndows 7 was an upgrade and gave many a reason to upgrade. I myself did only my fourth personal major upgrade in windows(3.11->95->NT->XP sp3->7), prior to which I was in MS DOS. Some vendors began to add functionality for Windows 7, something that was not widely done for vista.

The challenge with MS Windows 8 will be effect a large shift from XP. I just received a moderately large order of laptops, and they are all still running XP. MS has to put out an OS that will make a compelling argument for upgrade. XP was a compelling argument because it was the first adult Windows. The challenge is to create a truly mature OS that will bridge the WIMP and touch interfaces. As it is, MS Windows 7 looks more like a toy, but less so than Vista. MS seems to focusing on the consumer leaving enterprise to fend for themselves. If MS Windows 8 looked more like NT, they would have a great product.

sell who on what? (2)

ThorGod (456163) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372140)

Last I checked, they've got all sorts of contracts with every PC vendor out there (name brand). When Microsoft releases a new OS all their 'vendors' immediately update.

Granted, this is /. where the average user probably builds their own. But, the 'roll your own crowd' is not the majority.

Re:sell who on what? (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372448)

What are those manufacturer's other options? Last time someone tried to muscle in on it (Asus EEE/Linux) there were rumours of financial punishments, etc, for not being exclusively an MS manufacturer. They likely can't afford to make that gamble again with the tiny profit margins they make. I'd love to see someone team up with Canonical or Mint, but it's not likely to happen.

Re:sell who on what? (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372456)

Last I checked, they've got all sorts of contracts with every PC vendor out there (name brand). When Microsoft releases a new OS all their 'vendors' immediately update.

Great. So as soon as Microsoft's check to Dell clears, we can look forward to every catalog page stating "Dell recommends Microsoft Windows 8 Three-Bedroom, Two Bath Home Tablet (Left-Handed User) edition" and the like.

Wow (2)

Dan East (318230) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372142)

Um, I'm seeing a lot of things in that future prediction that were dead on. Making purchases with cell phones? Right around the corner. SMS like texting on a small PDA device? Bingo. Roku-like video on demand, controlled by a standard remote and a simple menu system? Exact match. Stylish, flat-panel LCD monitors? Yep. The kid was pretty much doing his assignment straight from Wikipedia (with a more simplistic and stylized interface). At one point the kid and his mom went into an art store to shop. That was wrong in the sense that they wouldn't have gone into an actual brick and mortar store and talked to a saleperson who showed them things on a screen - they simply would've done it from home (eBay, Amazon, etc). Tablet computers - check, but they got the interface all wrong - it had external controls, like a trackball with buttons. Obnoxious PowerPoint presentation? Yep, that's pretty realistic. They went overboard with the amount of Facetime-like video. Takes too much time, too engaging, doesn't allow multitasking, etc. SMS came to rule the communication mode that Sci-fi movies and predictions figured would all be video chatting. The other thing is a lot of the style and design shown in this flick were never brought to the market by MS or the companies embedding their OSes, but from Apple. Now THAT is ironic. Whoever did the prop work on this video should've been hired by MS.

Re:Wow (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372378)

The most ironic thing is that SMS/IM did more to damage languages (not just english) than video chatting ever could have done.

It won't be for lack of shills (0, Troll)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372152)

The paid M$ shills are at it already. They are quick on the trigger in this post. I wonder where Bonch is? Sleeping?

Yada yada "this changes everything" yada yada (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37372166)

It would be a different world if everything that was going to "change everything" actually did.change everything. Or even if some of it changed a few things for the better. Maybe the hucksters could find a different overarching statement to describe yet another attempt to push product out the door,

Sucker Punched (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37372198)

With the hype reaching astronomical proportions I'll bet that Balmer gets kicked in the nuts, Ding - Dong, and collapses to the stage floor gasping blood and in between gasps cursing his parents and Billie G, for his Blaster without Master role at M$.

Ding - Dong, M$.

--//[][]

Enterprise is just warming to Windows 7... (0)

Moof123 (1292134) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372234)

Ribbonization is a non-starter for me. My machine at work is still on XP-64 thanks to our IT just now allowing 7 on new machines.

Pathetic (-1, Troll)

J. L. Tympanum (39265) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372258)

After many years of working primarily with Linux, I am using Windows 7 in my new job. All I can say is, it is pathetic. Nothing works the way it should. I have to spend hours searching the web to find out how to do anything with it. The whole concept of "libraries" is ridiculous. It is so jumbled up I can never find where my files have been stored. Directories I never created just appear out of nowhere. Not to mention that both Excel and Word have crashed on me several times. And I'm not doing anything particularly interesting with them.

My assessment of Microsoft has not changed since the early days of MSDOS: it is a triumph of marketing over technology.

Re:Pathetic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37372336)

The problem is that Windows is too simple for the elitist Linux users who like to program their lives away to get the OS to do all the things Windows can do natively. And yes, Win 7 has weird files and folders show-up unannounced and is still a bit bloated. But I do love the way I can do anything and everything without installing a program to "allow" compatibility.That is the beauty of Windows. That being said, I do prefer my Ubuntu for my coding and running vm on And MAC, weel I cannot stomach having to use special aids to load the OS on my own build.

Re:Pathetic (3, Insightful)

J. L. Tympanum (39265) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372428)

No, the problem is that everything Windows does natively is done wrong.

Re:Pathetic (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372528)

Chances are, the PC you're using right now had its motherboard, hard disk, monitor, enclosure, and most other physical parts designed on a PC running Windows.

lot's of corporate uses is just rolling out 7 with (2, Interesting)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372298)

lot's of corporate uses is just rolling out 7 with lot's of stuff still stuck on xp due to software / old ie and maybe even some old hardware.

Now windows 8 new UI may be a big show stopper and likely have alot of software not work with it.

Re:lot's of corporate uses is just rolling out 7 w (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37372436)

(Score:3, Unintelligible)

MS record: every other OS version sucks (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37372300)

Based on past record, Win8 is scheduled to be another flop to the quality of WinME and Vista.

Windows 8 is another re-write attempt by MS .... meaning it will suck at release time and it will not be good for production usage until Win9 comes out as a paid fix.

Too little, way too late. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37372358)

All those people with iPods, iPhones and iPads have now used a computing device that's not sold by Microsoft. Not only are they now aware of alternatives to Microsoft-powered devices, but a lot of them don't need anything else than an iPad, period.

Microsoft should consider themselves lucky that Apple doesn't seem to want the business market.

The same dog-'n-pony-show (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37372382)

Microsoft has lots of money yet to be made. Lots of people will continue to buy Windows PCs because they have to; it's pre-loaded. Some will buy Windows because they're wedded to some piece of software or another. Fine. It's all fine by me.

But the days when Microsoft directed the computer economy, the days when they actually created cool new things, are over. Microsoft just doesn't realize it yet. The horse is gone, and Mr. Ballmer is still mucking out the stall.

Re:The same dog-'n-pony-show (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372438)

I'm confused. When did Microsoft ever actually create cool new things? I guess you've got to give it up to MS-BASIC, which certainly became THE BASIC interpreter in the old 8-bit days, though it wasn't the first 8-bit BASIC interpreter. But for the most part what Microsoft has been masterful at is strategic deals (PC-DOS on IBM PCs) and ultimately using its market muscle to smash its competition.

Some things never change (3, Funny)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372424)

Microsoft's consistent marketing strategy for Windows over the past quarter century can be summed up in a few lines:

int main() {
  int i = 1;
  while (true) {
    printf("Windows %d changes everything!\n", i);
    sleep(7e7 + ((double) rand()) / RAND_MAX) * 7e7) ;
  }
}

Re:Some things never change (1)

cdecoro (882384) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372508)

Wait a minute... they keep saying, over and over again, "Windows 1 changes everything," "Windows 1 changes everything," "Windows 1 changes everything"? I would think that they would at least want to start pitching their new version every once in a while. ;-)

Re:Some things never change (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37372540)

So, they're saying "Windows 1 changes everything!" over and over?

Re:Some things never change (1)

lakeland (218447) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372594)

You might want to add a ++ in somewhere or else people will get sick of hearing the same message...

Isn't Windows 8 the "Skip One" (1)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372480)

Don't we skip every second windows release anyway?

Windows 3.0
Windows 3.1
Windows 95
Windows 98
Windows ME
Windows XP
Windows Vista
Windows 7 ...

Re:Isn't Windows 8 the "Skip One" (1)

Ltap (1572175) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372602)

That's missing Windows 2000, which wasn't exactly a "skip" release.

Re:Isn't Windows 8 the "Skip One" (1)

R.Mo_Robert (737913) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372628)

But it was also released during the consumer legacy-to-NT transition period and wasn't really marketed for home use, as the others the OP mentioned were.

Re:Isn't Windows 8 the "Skip One" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37372634)

NT, 2000, 2003, etc etc. If you're going for clever, do it right.

Even if you only count some definition of "desktop windows", you miss 3.11 and 98SE

Tablets and smartphones for developers (4, Informative)

Dennis Sheil (1706056) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372496)

With the explosion of smartphones and tablets, HP announcing they're leaving the PC business and all the news being how Windows 8's perhaps main feature being tablet (and smartphone) ability, the mobile aspect of Windows 8 is what many people will be looking at.

I hear some Windows fans talk about how Windows 8 is going to come in and eventually dominate smartphones and tablets. However, Apple already has been in the smartphone space since mid-2007, and the tablet space since April 2010. Android has been around since October 2008 in the smartphone space, and Honeycomb came out in February of this year (and a few months earlier things like the early Samsung tabs were coming out). Developers have spent a lot of time learning these platforms and writing code for them. The App Stores and Android Markets are filling up with apps, which are being improved continually by updates based on user feedback. Over 550,000 Android smartphones are being turned on a day. Customers are familiar with the apps on their phone, and how to do various things on their phone or tablet.

What do we he hear from Microsoft? It's all just vaporware so far. Even if developers want to develop for an SDK with no device, there's no SDK out yet. Maybe it will be put out after this conference. Also - Microsoft has been saying a lot of it is HTML 5 and Javascript. I'm happy about that, but it doesn't really exploit all the code and experience for Visual Basic, Silverlight, .NET and so forth. I understand they backpedaled on this a little bit, although HTML 5 and Javascript will still be on it. They're kind of forced to do this - they can't force mobile developers to develop just for Microsoft, they have to hope that the popular iPhone/iPad/Android applications are easy to port to Windows 8 so they can get some applications that way. Microsoft's Windows 7 smartphone/tablet market share is very, very low, so due to the lack of any kind of monopoly strongarm, they're forced to open up a little bit.

The two things Microsoft has going for it is the existing Windows code base, and the ability for people to connect to their PCs, or PC formats (Word, Excel) or Microsoft servers at work (Exchange etc.). As people dump Microsoft PCs for iPads and Android tablets, this lock-in becomes less important. Also insofar as the Windows existing code base, both Apple and Android have had a lot of C++ OpenGL code which used to be primarily dedicated to Windows ported to Apple and Android mobile devices. Miguel de Icaza and company have even brought Mono to Android, so a lot of C# and .NET code can get on Android. As existing Windows code can often be used on Android, this lessens the advantage of Windows 8.

And then there's other things. Microsoft makes money selling Windows 8 to manufacturers like HTC and so forth. Google gives Android away for free, and makes money on the hook-ins it has for Google Maps and so forth. I guess with the Motorola purchase, Google will make some money actually selling the hardware as well. Microsoft has to sell an unwanted product to manufacturers, when a free, popular OS already exists, with a user base of millions, with an Android app market with hundreds of thousands of apps, and many developers working on creating new apps and improving existing ones.

I also wonder how hard it is to develop for Windows 8. For Android, I can download Eclipse on a Linux machine, and the Android SDK, make an Android emulator, develop code in Java (with a few calls to special Android SDK Java classes like Activity), pay Google a one-time lifetime $25 fee to put as many apps on Android Market as I want, and I'm all set. I can even release the app to a non-Market competitor site and save the $25. So the whole shebang costs $25 for life. What will Windows be like? Will I have to pay to get on their app store? Will I have to buy Visual Studio or something? If they don't make things real easy and cheap for developers, they're going to have problems. They might even have problems if they do make things real easy and cheap.

WHY . (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372560)

i am content with how things are. what i have works. there is no reason for me to 'change' things - especially things that are on the basis of a lot of other things as an operating system - and try to fix what was not broken.

why the hell should i disturb the running of my daily life, work, and whatever i am doing, just because some company wants me to replace working stuff to sell me more stuff to make their shareholders happy .....
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