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back to article Surface RT: Freedom luvin' app-huggers beware

“It’s the ultimate expression of a Windows PC,” says Windows chief Steven Sinofsky... or “a compromised, confusing product”, according to Apple’s Tim Cook, who has not used one. This is Surface RT, Microsoft’s first own-brand tablet, which went on sale today. Along with the fact that it runs Windows 8, there are two notable …

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Software costs?

"The inclusion of Office is not quite the bargain it first appears, since it is restricted to non-commercial use unless covered by an additional licence."

"I was able to write this review in Word..."

So could we have some details of the commercial usage licence costs? Presumably Libre Office will never get a place in the Windows store, so the cost to use this thing legally for business purposes may be a lot higher than the price tag on the box.

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Re: Software costs?

This non-commercial use of Office seems the craziest part of the whole concept, presumably the result of some internal turf war in Redmond. Nowadays we use our personal devices for all sorts and to have to consider whether a given document has commercial value or not is sheer madness. Something Microsoft need to be pressed on. Hard.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Software costs?

What is stopping Libre Office going to Windows store? Anyone actually know if its being ported yet?

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APJ
Windows

Re: Software costs?

There's no likely issue with Office use for the vast majority. Non-commercial use covers the home and student scenarios and Microsoft permit the use of Office 2013 RT for users who have access to the full Office suite via other licensed means:

"According to Microsoft, you will be able to obtain commercial use rights for Office RT via Office 365, Office Standard or Professional Plus 2013, a Commercial Use License (which will be detailed in the coming days), or through volume licensing"

http://www.winsupersite.com/blog/supersite-blog-39/office-2013-beta2/microsoft-relax-office-2013-rt-work-144541

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Software costs?

I thought everyone was saying there was no way they would use a touchscreen device for working in the office?

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Re: Software costs?

If you have a volume licences for Office with SA, then the commercial use licence for Office RT is already included, which was all I needed to know.

It's the small businesses that will get killed on this.

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Happy

Re: Software costs?

>since it is restricted to non-commercial use unless covered by an additional licence."

>"I was able to write this review in Word..."

I'm sure MS will overlook his license violation, since the 'hands-on review' could be summarised as "It might alright!" : D

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Re: Software costs?

Software cost for Office?

somewhere around 6$/month until you decide you don't want it anymore.

That's what I read, to aloow commercial use of Office on Surface, you have to "buy" an office 365 license, which is really more like renting it...

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Re: Software costs?

That is if your office license is 2013. I think a lot, most, probably are running older versions. Most of our office is running 2003 or 2010. We would not be able to use it.

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Re: Software costs?

> What is stopping Libre Office going to Windows store?

It is likely that Microsoft will be that. It has already said that other browsers need not bother to apply.

> Anyone actually know if its being ported yet?

It is being ported to Android.

There was a version of OpenOffice that would run on Nokia's N900 tablet which was ARM based, but Maemo was GTK based so it didn't need to rewrite the UI for that.

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Meh

Re: Software costs?

"What is stopping Libre Office going to Windows store?"

Microsoft is. They have approval of all apps in the store.

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Stop

Re: Software costs?

What is stopping Libre Office? Itself. It is pants for productivity and collaboration compared to a full featured version of MS Office. People who don't use Office everyday to make their living may not get how business works but in my little company of just 130 staff we couldn't be without real Office.

All my macros have to work throughout the staffs PC's & whatever they send me for approval has to "just work" as well . All the formatting must be according to a standard we decide and control. It has to be managable on a distributed network. YoU CanT WorK WHen EvrY1 Has the OptiN to TyPE bullshit responses in 22 size Comic Sans in four different colors.. It's a waste of time and money to give users too many options. They are there to work.

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Headmaster

Re: Software costs?

"Office everyday"?

Is this a new version?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Software costs?

All my macros have to work throughout the staffs PC's & whatever they send me for approval has to "just work" as well . All the formatting must be according to a standard we decide and control. It has to be managable on a distributed network

That list doesn't contain anything OO or LO cannot handle, with added benefit that you can leave users on any platform and your format will *STILL* look the same. Granted, the macro language needs learning, but at least it works consistently across versions and languages.

It's a waste of time and money to give users too many options. They are there to work

Although you don't exactly sound like fun to work for, I actually agree. But then ask yourself: are you prepared to have them fight with every new version that MS rams down your neck, the main change usually being enough to totally destroy productivity for months? The only bit in OO/LO that could really, really do with a change is the insane colour management. I don't want to have to name a colour for the 3 times in a month I use it. But at 130x nada for license costs I think it's something you may want to reconsider - you save enough money to pay for someone converting your macros.

Having said that - get decent software for that. Office macros are not exactly the most stable platform to base an organisation on..

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Happy

Re: Software costs? @ Big-nosed Pengie

"Office everyday"?

Is this a new version?

No. But that's a great idea! Someone should make that, maybe a fork, or you should at least try to register a trademark before someone does.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Software costs?

There's a question: What is stopping Libre Office [being available on Windows Store]?

There is also an answer: Itself. It is pants for productivity and collaboration compared to a full featured version of MS Office. People who don't use Office everyday to make their living may not get how business works but in my little company of just 130 staff we couldn't be without real Office.

But what the hell have they got to do with each other?

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Mushroom

Re: Software costs?

Lack of demand would be reason #1

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ROC

Re: "Office everyday"? @ Big-nosed Pengie

I think it used to be called MS Works ;-)

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Re: Software costs?

No other office apps and no other browsers. I'm surprised the EU competition committee haven't said something yet.

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Re: Software costs?

It's certainly possible other office suites would be permitted in the Microsoft Store, but that remains to be seen. There's a huge disincentive for any company to do that, since Microsoft isn't allowing Windows RT to be sold alone -- it's always bundled with Office Jr. (or whatever it's called, Home and School). Given that Microsoft has copied Apple on nearly every other thing, it's no shock to imagine they'll reject some applications they feel are overly competitive with things they want to sell you. But again, there's no obvious history on this -- though a few reports, already, of apps being rejected for "no obvious reason", just like Apple.

The other way Microsoft is limiting things is the private API thing -- only Microsoft applications can use Win32 calls in Windows RT. Everyone else is limited to WinRT, and WinRT was designed to be more restrictive ... one might even guess that "RT" means "Restrictive Technology", rather than "RunTime" as suggested by Microsoft (they wouldn't be the first company to play that kind of joke on their customers and developers). So you can't write a full fledged web browser under WinRT -- no way to turn data into code, so no JIT for your Javascript (you can use Microsoft's Javascript engine, but look at how that's handled in iOS -- apps get the older, slower Javascript engine, while only Safari gets the new one... permanent advantage to Apple).

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Re: Software costs? @ Big-nosed Pengie

"Office everyday"?

Is this a new version?

No. But that's a great idea! Someone should make that, maybe a fork, or you should at least try to register a trademark before someone does.

"Office Everyday: Because office suites are only suitable for the mundane and trivial"

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I actually want one...

I was going to hold out for the full fat version, but as a Mobile device, RT will be sufficient.

A friend (journo) was at an opening event, and was most enthusiastic, which is surprising, because I didn't think she could switch a machine on without assistance...

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Meh

Re: I didn't think she could switch a machine on without assistance...

The target market, right there.

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Re: I actually want one...

WinRT is Silverlight all over again. It will fail to get traction just like WP and in 3 years it will largely be dead. No way in heck am I buying a windows ARM device until they can be rooted and OS that will not be dead in a few years can be put on it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I actually want one...

If he got an invite, it's because he has been lured there to write nice things. It's a subtle form of press backmail. look at what you get if you write nice stuff/.//

Thankfully, it seems consumers have voted with their feet anyway, as Microsoft had to PAY it's staff to queue up outside stores to make it look like there was interest...

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/technology/2012/10/microsoft-fakes-excitement-its-surface-tablet-launch/58417/#

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Mushroom

Re: I actually want one...

TIFKAM is perfect for morons / the IT illiterate and very very easy to use, with all of the more complex options hidden. As the vast majority of 'home users' fall into this category it is bound to be a storming success....

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@RICHTO

> TIFKAM is perfect for morons / the IT illiterate ...

How many did you say you were getting ?

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Remote network access

I expect both ssh and vnc will be available in windows store, as they are available for winpho 7.5, so should be easy to use other routes to get onto remote networks / boxen

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Anonymous Coward

What happens.....?

So, what happens when you surf to a website for some software, click the download link, save the exe, and try to run it? Does it just say "Sorry Dave, I can't let you do that." -?

Isn't that going to REALLY annoy users?

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Re: What happens.....?

Good question. I don't like this trend, even if it is just a fancy version of aptget - at least you can install other repos. Winpho fires marketplace, gets the app and installs it. Obviously it needs to be in the marketplace.

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Re: So, what happens when you surf to a website for some software.....?

Or more importantly you go to a site that requires specific software installed to work.

ie a site you currently use a lot that has a player you have to install to watch videos. If there is no app for that then I can see a lot of people being quite upset.

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Re: So, what happens when you surf to a website for some software.....?

"Or more importantly you go to a site that requires specific software installed to work.

ie a site you currently use a lot that has a player you have to install to watch videos. If there is no app for that then I can see a lot of people being quite upset."

Except that those were the exact same arguments levelled at the iPad, which would supposedly be useless because it's web browser didn't support any plugins.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So, what happens when you surf to a website for some software.....?

Doesn't seem to have stopped people using the iPad. Or Android tablets for that matter, since AIUI you can't just download an run an exe on that either.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So, what happens when you surf to a website for some software.....?

Its been a while, but I seem to remember some Linux package managers having to be told explicitly to use other repositories than their default....

Seems to me the best solution would be a system with a walled garden for novices, but a walled garden it is straightforward enough to escape from for anyone who has the knowledge to safeguard against the potential consequences of doing so. Maybe a one time "Are you sure you know what you're doing?" sort of dialogue.

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Re: So, what happens when you surf to a website for some software.....?

You mean those nice sites that ask you to download and install malware? You making the argument for or against RT here? I can't decide.

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Mushroom

Re: What happens.....?

Yes - it tells you that the software is not compatible with your OS.

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ROC
Megaphone

Re: What happens.....?

Pretty much like doing that from a Linux PC (which is what I use for personal use on the Web - no Internet Exposer for me, thanks) - you learn to look out for Win exe files, and skip them. No Big Deal.

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I got to the end of paragraph 3...

and I got bored and confused.

Think I'll stick with what I've got.

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Re: I got to the end of paragraph 3...

Thank you, Mr. Cook!

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Re:Think I'll stick with what I've got.

a tiny attention span?

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Security advantages?

"The inability to install desktop apps will protect users from many threats,"

Threats such as people using their own machine with software of their own choice.

I suspect the only reason RT even has a desktop is because Office is such a large, complex piece of code filled with thousands of dialogs and legacy components that Microsoft was unable to port it to WinRT in time. So they shipped a stripped down, locked down desktop as a workaround hack.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Security advantages?

And I suspect we will see WinRT desktop apps further down the line on RT and 8.

Time will tell.

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Anonymous Coward

Time for a car analogy

The inability to install desktop apps will protect users from many threats

The inability to install accessories will ameliorate the fact that we fit crappy brakes.

Given the shabby/shoddy/crap [delete as applicable] workmanship over he years when it comes to security, I would not exactly lay the blame with the users. In addition, if all "apps run in sandboxes", why can't the user have their own sandboxes? Lack of confidence?

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WTF?

Re: Security advantages?

That's the first time I've seen a severe lack of functionality described as a security advantage.

That's like saying any bank has security advantages if it doesn't provide ATM/cash machines.

Just what is the point if the utility is scaled back so much as to make it inappropriate for the task for which it was designed? Or is this a cynical attempt to poison a market - as was done with netbooks by embrace, extend, extinguish?

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Re: Security advantages?

"That's the first time I've seen a severe lack of functionality described as a security advantage."

You don't follow Apple's proclamations on why iOS is so crippled, then...

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Re: Security advantages?

Not just for Office. Microsoft wants every other company to re-write their code for WinRT, but they don't want to have to do that themselves. And they don't want to follow the limits that WinRT is meant to impose on every other apps developer. So they have Win32 as a Microsoft-only API. And if you have Win32, you might as well include Explorer/Desktop, that's not so much extra code -- and some applications from Microsoft may actually require it (though the RT tablets aren't getting the pen interface that's apparently going to be common in full Windows 8 tablets).

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Linux

I guess you can write / download source code and compile it to run.

Maybe they're just copying linux a bit too closely .

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Mushroom

Re: I guess you can write / download source code and compile it to run.

Windows hasnt had as many security vulnerabilities as an Enterprise Linux distribution any time since 2003 so they are not copying that closely...

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Re: I guess you can write / download source code and compile it to run.

Can you actually get a compiler? Apple pretty much kept these away from the iPad -- they didn't want any other way for software to enter the device, than via the iTunes store. And that's clearly Microsoft's model -- no idea if they'll be meaner or nicer about these things than Apple, but they clearly want their own "tax" applied to everything sold for WinRT.

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FAIL

If you can't run a compiler on it

it's not a computer, it's a toy.

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