Re: @Trevor Pott "Learn to live with it, or leave." Is that kind of posting the way you normally..
@Arctic Fox: That wasn't a hostile post telling you off, sirrah. Explanation of the policy itself was not intended as an attack; I apologise if it was interpreted as such. It was merely a blunt explanation of Microsoft's policy.
"Learn to live with it, or leave." I chose "leave." Others are choosing "live with it."
I personally do believe you are being naive if you think for a second that "customer reaction" is going to mean a bent damn to Microsoft, but I'm not really going to hold that against you.
Some IT departments might deploy things like classic shell. Most won't, for the reasons I listed. The larger the org, the greater the likelihood they won't deploy it. Some will sit on Windows 7. The smaller the org, the more likely this is…up to a given point. There's a weird inflection point below which companies don't have IT guys. At this point, they will eat whatever is put in front of them; they have no choice, Windows 8 is what Best Buy sells.
Some of us are giving up on the MS ecosystem altogether. Joining the neckbeards on Linux, or the hipsters on Apple. For the overwhelming majority of end users, IT departments and so forth, however, Microsoft is all that exists, all that will exist and you will eat what is put in front of you and like it.
You have the same two choices I do, or anyone else does: "learn to live with it, or leave." I gather you don't like the binary option as presented. Gods know I don't, either. That said, in the real world, I do not honestly believe there is another alternative. Nothing you or I or even every single reader of The Register combined could do would make a big enough impact to even cause a Redmondian product developer to yawn.
They can lose every single one of us – and the companies we support – and not care. The only thing that matters to Redmont are CxOs. People who make the purchasing descisions for companies with thousands of seats and/or governments. They don't want to be supplying you Windows for your desktop, or your crappy little SME. You are a net drain on their bottom line, not a profit center.
The only people that matter at all to Redmond are the folks willing to stump up subscriptions – SA, preferably, but O365 and InTune will do – in huge volume. This is what Microsoft has bet the farm on, and it is the driving force of every single decision they have made for years.
That's why we're expendable. The kind of consumers who like Metrololo are the kinds of people who will buy Windows Xbox Live Gold Edition Subscriptions if Microsoft tosses a few episodes of The Guild in each month and allows them to stream the latest Halo over the interbutts.
Businesses with more money than sense will sign SA agreements because they are so deeply embedded in the Microsoft ecosystem that – like user of IBM mainframes – they aren't going anywhere for the foreseeable future.
So…the rest of us? Enthusiasts and power users and SMEs with capable techies and the ability to be discerning? We're the 80% of customers that bring in 20% of Microsoft's revenue. We're the long tail that Microsoft will gladly cut off if it can only increase the revenue from the other 20% by a few points. The costs of supporting us are astronomical, and we are never happy.
So Microsoft have stopped giving fucks. There are simply no fucks given whatsoever. Not by them, not by Apple, not by Canonical, nobody. Nobody gives any fucks about us at all. We have the technical competence to do use any vendor to accomplish our aims, and are just fickle enough to keep trying to play the various vendors against eachother. One by one they have all said the exact same thing:
Learn to live with it, or leave.
I can't – and won't – give you advice about which to choose. I will, however, tell you straight up that there are no other choices on the table. That you, or I, or any of the rest of us have a forum to have our voices heard is a fallacy. One that – quite frankly – most vendors don't even give lip service to any more.
It sucks, but what are you going to do about it? I know what I am going to do: I am going to ruthlessly abuse the contacts I've made as a writer for The Register to introduce the CEOs of various startups to one another. I am going to try to organise a conference of startup CEOs and build a fifth column within the tech industry. Instead of a handful of behemoths surrounded by a collection of intercompeting (and thus irrelevant) ankle biters, I am going to try my damnedest to organise the ankle biters into a serious threat.
I am going to expend every single iota of political capital I have ever obtained to get a few dozen startup CEOs in the same room and see if they can't hammer out the framework for something larger. I will most likely fail. Probably spectacularly and in a fashion that ensures I will never work in this industry again.
But I'm still going to try, because I can't learn to live with Microsoft's vision of the future, and Apple abandoned folk like me long ago. Google hasn't gotten its shit together and the open source world is a mess. I have no choice but to choose "leave," but in order to leave I first have to make a place to go.
If you've a better idea than that – or some concrete rationale you can use to demonstrate why you think regular joes have a snowball's chance in a neutron star of having our collective voices heard by the Microsofts or Apples of this world – I am all ears.
Because choosing "leave" is a truly exhausting amount of work.