back to article Big Windows updates may ship this summer – and every summer

Rumors that a major feature update for Windows 8 will arrive this summer have been flying around for months. But if the latest buzz is to be believed, what Microsoft is actually cooking up could be something much bigger than your typical Service Pack. According to an anonymous source who has been whispering in Redmond-watcher …

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So similar to apples model? Frequent, cheaper updates. Seems to make sense and might move away from the 'waiting for sp1' syndrome if releases are less clearly defined.

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Meh

Look at our new v9...I mean v10 model!

Well, not exactly. Apple, for some reason or another, has stalled on OS 10 for far too long. You really don't believe Apple actually has abandoned the numeral X for it's character representation do you? Companies are not going to abandon versioning now matter how it seems, because it is great when you need to sell that old thing as new again!

Microsoft isn't actually giving up versioning, but putting off innovating new things by stretching the old.

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IT Angle

Re: Look at our new v9...I mean v10 model!

>"Well, not exactly. Apple, for some reason or another, has stalled on OS 10 for far too long."

Funny thing - which company has the stale-looking and limited desktop that hasn't changed for over 10 years now. Didn't these guys used to be innovators? Now I guess all that effort goes into writing new jokes for Siri.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Look at our new v9...I mean v10 model!

People who would describe themselves as not being very good computers are often frustrated by even minor changes to the way their computers work. Often they learn a computer task like driving instructions, step by step. Unless there is a compelling reason to change their computer works, don't bother. The Macs today work how I remember them working 20 years ago, when we had LCIIIs in school. Sure, things have changed, but in essence the desktop looks and works the same.

The noises we've all heard re Win 8's missing Start Menu or Ubuntu's Unity DE suggest that some people get annoyed if features are changed or relocated. If new hardware technology calls for a radical change in the interface (like mice and windowed GUIs) then maybe it's better to give its own GUI, rather than mangle an existing one- the chances are that if an OS GUI requires changes to support new technologies, so will many of the applications that run on it.

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Popularity notwithstanding I think if you look at some of Microsoft's latest products it would be hard to argue a lack of innovation.

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Joke

Re: Look at our new v9...I mean v10 model!

Often they learn a computer task like driving instructions, step by step....

jeezuz, i hope you drive better than my lusers... luse???

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@GBL Initaliser: "Popularity notwithstanding I think if you look at some of Microsoft's latest products it would be hard to argue a lack of innovation."

Yes, I agree completely. Microsoft isn't a favorite of mine, but we all know our favorites fall into pitfalls, no matter who makes them. But yes, it does seem there is some innovation coming out of Microsoft today.

As far as your first two words, "Popularity notwithstanding", well that isn't something to be brushed by so quickly. Popularity seemingly came become more important than anything else. It was innovated to start using plastics to create objects, but due to the popularity of plastics, many things are just plastic junk now.

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Re: Look at our new v9...I mean v10 model!

@ Eadon

You deserve credit for putting some thought and justification into your argument (instead of simply telling jaded fellow commentards that an OS they might use regularly is just plain pants). Keep it up!

Here's the issue: How does someone with basic computer knowledge know which mouse-and-keyboard Linux UI might be best for them? Experienced users may have had experience of different flavours, and might keep abreast of developments, but what about the newcomer? Do they rely solely on the recommendation of a friend? How can you communicate the options simply to those you wish to attract to Linux? If they start using 'My First Linux GUI', how do you later manage the transition to something more advanced? Is being simple mutually exclusive to being powerful? Could any conventions the user learns on their Android phone translate usefully to a Linux Desktop GUI (unlikely)? Could it fall into the trap of trying to be familiar to former Windows users?

Please don't take these question as knocking you GUIs of choice, but that thinking about possible answers might further your aims. There are some features in Windows that appear to be answers to those sort of questions, yet annoy the hell out of people (Clippy, "Are you trying to...?" dialogues, split identity control panel, many more)

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Re: Look at our new v9...I mean v10 model!

@Eadon: "Monolithic orgs like Apple and MS don't really have that luxury that Linux..."

Oh, come on. Creative entities do not find failure a "luxury". Yes, I understand what you are conveying, but people who create and fail find no luxury in it. Remember that even if they want your wallet, not even the rich want to feel like failures. Plain and simple, nobody wants to feel like a failure. However, having lots of cash does ease the effect, but then what ease does Linux have? If anything, Linux hurts the most.

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Re: Look at our new v9...I mean v10 model!

@Dave 126: "Could it fall into the trap of trying to be familiar to former Windows users?"

Most certainly it does, more than anything else...if they are former Windows users. Linux had at one point in time tried poaching Windows users by copying their GUI, this is obvious. But over time, thankfully that stopped.

However, ask why it stopped and ask where is Windows today with their "new" GUI. If Linux stopped caring about poaching Windows GUI, and Windows changed their GUI, what does this say about GUI's? The apparent answer is GUI's need changing from time to time.

Last thing, which is a little wishy washy futuring, but who is Linux's users? Is it really a former Windows user, or someone who has grown up with Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS? I think Linux is succeeding due to the younger generation, which is not the ones who grew up knowing only Windows. Now similar to the GUI, what does that say about operating systems? Remember the TV brand you grew up with, which brand do you use today.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Look at our new v9...I mean v10 model!

If Linux was so good then everyone would use it as a desktop OS. But the fact remains that an OS runs applications and if there are none of a decent standard then it's about as much use as a chocolate teapot.

The Germans tried it and went back to Windows:

http://www.linuxjournal.com/content/german-open-source-experiment-things-not-going-plan

It's perfectly fine as a geek OS, for people writing open source, writing PHP or other web stuff.

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Re: Look at our new v9...I mean v10 model!

@Eadon

"I don't see a downside of having competing windows managers any more than I see a downside to having a choice of cars to buy or a choice of phones or cameras to buy."

I'm not sure the car is apt comparison since by and large the UI is consistent across makes and models. Sure every company puts their little spin on design details but the main controls are pretty much all located where and function as you would expect. Modern technology is allowing them to play with it again such as electronic keys and going back to a push button starter. Yes, I learned to drive in a vehicle with a starter button; it was on the floor near the accelerator pedal but I digress. I see the touchscreen as one of the problems with this if it isn't done right. In my current car the controls are easy to find with my peripheral vision and operate without taking my eyes off the road. That isn't true if the menu changes because I touched the wrong part of the screen. I think Tesla has done the right thing by fixing the main controls across the top and bottom of their screen although you don't get the same tactile feedback you do with physical knobs and buttons.

Granted computers are very different beasts and there aren't safety concerns about how the UI looks or operates as in an automobile but some consistency is generally a plus. I guess I would resolve the paradox of choice by defining those things that are potentially critical and attempt to make an industry accepted standard. So perhaps the brake pedal in the car or dialer on a phone may be deemed critical but tuning the radio and fetching email, not so much.

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> it would be hard to argue a lack of innovation.

there certainly is a lot of innovation in Microsoft's products, but it just happens to be other's innovations that Microsoft has copied.

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Re: Look at our new v9...I mean v10 model!

@Eadon

I was talking about barriers to mainstream desktop adoption and you reply with:

"Kids these days grow up with video games and are fairly computer literate, and they will appreciate the choice of UI's that Linux provide. "

I was not talking about the kids. India and Iran have a high proportion of people under 25 years of age, but we do not. I'm youngish and am happy to use what is presented to me - I've used Acorns, Spectrums, Macs, UNIX, DOS, Windows, UNIX, LINUX, Ataris, Amingas, OS/2 and numerous proprietary OSs. I am adaptable but I do not represent the mass market (Clue: I read the Register) - most users are not like me. Nor you.

>I don't see a downside of having competing windows managers any more than I see a downside to having a >choice of cars to buy or a choice of phones or cameras to buy.

No downside, but I know people who only buy Lumix cameras because they are used to how they work. Even if a competing Canon camera were better, they would still buy a Lumix. I wasn't saying there was a downside to choice, I was just asking you how the novice user knows which UI is best for them -uninformed choice is no choice at all. Generally speaking, people in doubt stick to what they know.

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Re: Look at our new v9...I mean v10 model!

@AC 9 Feb 17:40

Love it, love it love it. Every time this FACT is thrown into the fact of the Linux fanatics (especially on this board), they refuse the reality by downvoting the truth.

Linux fans has been promising "The Year of Linux!" since when I was trying out RedHat 5. It has never come. It *will* never come because Linux fans consistently deny reality and replace it with their own: IT'S THE APPS, STUPID. NOT THE OS.

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IT Angle

Re: Look at our new v9...I mean v10 model!

So, by your auspices, what is the difference between a Lumix fan not changing brands...and a Canon or Nikon fan? Why aren't you complaining when THEY don't switch?

Because, yes, people do indeed stick to what they know but there is a *reason*. That reason is called, in modern-day terms, "productivity". It can be business productivity - why a business will not switch to a different app - or it can be personal productivity, why a person won't change to a different camera. In today's busy and complex lives, some of us have better things to do than to spend tens to hundreds of hours to acquaint and adapt themselves to a DEVICE, a device that is *supposed* to make our lives "better". "Better" is *not* dedicating many hours, as well as other resources such as all-important funds, to the cause of simply changing a material object in our lives.

Some of us have more important, and more urgent, tasks to complete.

I gave up on Linux when I realized that I was spending many hours futzing and tweaking...and not getting any real work done. IMHO most Linux fans and users apparently have way too much time on their hands when they spend hundreds of hours attending to their inanimate machines, working to adjust the systems to meet their needs.

I just spent a week replacing a USB desktop RAID with a NAS RAID - way too much for my tastes. I have MANY other things to do around here than to spend countless hours with this machine in order to get it properly configured for its new home, with all legacy data transferred and all attending desktop and mobile apps correctly set up and tested. It had to get done...but it is not something I want to do every day. So all the other tasks I have to complete around here got pushed to the back burner, because there simply was not enough time in my day to get this NAS project as well as my other projects completed. Necessary repairs have not been carried out this week; you may have the luxury of lack of necessary things to do but I wish I could make that same claim these past few months.

I've discovered that so many of you (and, yes, I AM "tech") take it as a source of personal pride that you do indeed spend hundreds of hours to pound a machine in submission. I got past that point when I realized that these are just that - machines - and the only thing they are good for is for work. When I have to work more than necessary in order to get a silly machine to work, to do what it was designed to do - make my life easier - than something is MAJORLY wrong here.

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Apple have a deliberate strategy or releasing frequent incremental, sanely priced, updates to their OS. There are a few reasons for this. Nice even yearly cashflow is one. Another is the the OS evolves over time in nice little incremental jumps, theres no huge jump to something 'strange' every 3-4 years, less people hold on until the next SP etc. The downsides are people only really compare each OS to the last one so it seems not to change much. I'm sure there are more of each :)

MS in the past have left quite a few years between each release to make a 'big bang' with each release and have tended to charge at least $100 to upgrade. What tends to happen is a bunch of folks get freaked out by big changes and never upgrade, another bunch wait at least a year before making the jump and plenty more get sticker shock (yet the same folks probably won't mind paying $40 a year every year but would freak at paying $120 in one go).

Both companies have great products and not so great products. I put win 8 on a laptop to play with and once I got used to it, its pretty decent for playing around etc, metro works quite well (especially on a touchscreen) but I'm sticking with win 7 on work computers. I think MS missed a trick by not allowing you to have a 'classic' mode on win 8. It really wouldn't have killed them to do it and it would give it a wider range of appeal.

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Facepalm

Re: Look at our new v9...I mean v10 model!

This is really scary. I remmember am user, who called me with a problem.

User: "I don't know how to save a document with this new version!"

I: "But it is exactly the same! File menu, and the option is there!"

User: "No! It's not! Help me!"

There I go, to see what was going on.

The (brazilian) Microsoft Word had changed the file menu: From "gravar" (record) to "salvar" (save).

User: "See? There's no "gravar" anymore! How can I save this?"

True story

*sigh*

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Happy

Re: Look at our new v9...I mean v10 model!

"Here's the issue: How does someone with basic computer knowledge know which mouse-and-keyboard Linux UI might be best for them?"

Someone doesn't. How does someone with basic linux computer knowledge knows which interface (Microsoft or Apple) is better for him? One doesn't know until it tries. Would be great if we could know it beforehand, but...

"Do they rely solely on the recommendation of a friend?"

What's wrong with recommendation? We do it everyday! When I want to buy something in an area that I'm not familiar with, I ask around! Don't you?

"How can you communicate the options simply to those you wish to attract to Linux? If they start using 'My First Linux GUI', how do you later manage the transition to something more advanced? Is being simple mutually exclusive to being powerful?"

A new user to Linux is, usually, a Windows/Mac user. It is extremely uncommon to "virgin user" sinking his teeth on Linux first. So, I (personally) believe that KDE 4 would be the better option. It is (finally!) mature - the transition from 3 to 4 was awful. It is powerful, it is reasonably pretty and works close enough to Windows.

Case in point: My girlfriend. She is alright using computers - but it isn't his area of expertise, let's say. My computer runs OpenSuse and KDE4.

She is using it, no problems. Little questions, like "What is the text editor?", or "Where do I change the wallpaper?". And that's it.

So, no. I don't think something more advanced has to be more complicated. Usually the minimalists GUIs are aiming at the underpowered machines - and trade power for speed. Yes, yes. You can do a lot with them. Yes, yes. They are great, and can be a wise choice too. But, no. You will not tell me that XFCE has all the options and possibilities of KDE. To each its own.

Linux already felled in the trap of being familiar to Windows users. I don't think it should be different for being different - but they are going overboard.

And, no. An Android interface would be different. Thank <deity>! The desktop is quite different from the mobile. I would hate to use one interface on the other...

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Re: Look at our new v9...I mean v10 model!

You make a thoughtful and interesting point sir.

Now what have you done with the real Eadon?

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The only way that would work is by dumping backwards compatibility and making developer tools generate code for the latest couple of OS revisions so that users are forced onto the upgrade treadmill. I can't see that going down too well with people used to Windows.

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You mean like Apple have done since the dawn of their company? People seem to forget that sometimes innovation comes from replication. You copy something you like and make it better/prettier/more useful etc. Microsoft "invented" and "innovated" tablet computers for years but nobody wanted one. Apple copied it, gave it a stripped down OS and made it slimmer, et viola, market goes wild. But they didn't invent, they copied and improved upon.

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> Microsoft "invented" and "innovated" tablet computers for years but nobody wanted one.

Microsoft did _not_ invent tablet computing. It took an idea that had been around for years, including the Apple Newton, and stuck its Windows OS, with some minor tweaks, inappropriately into a touch screen. Most 'Tablet PCs' were only usable with keyboard and mouse which is why they failed.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_tablet_computers

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FAIL

Re: Didn't these guys used to be innovators?

A LONG time ago, perhaps, but these days, their innovation can be found in bogus patent applications and varied courthouses all over the world.

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Street Fighter II, Street Fighter II: Champion Edition, Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting, Super Street Fighter II, Super Street Fighter II Turbo, Hyper Street Fighter II, Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix... I did start wondering why they just didn't make 'III' already, and even started doubting if there had ever been a 'Street Fighter I'.

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Paris Hilton

I can't wait for...

Windows ME Turbo HD Hyper Horsemeat Edition!!!!

Paris because of the horsemeat reference!

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Headmaster

Re: I can't wait for...

<Pedant>

Whoresmeat

</pedant>

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Re: I can't wait for...

But horsemeat tastes good!

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Now we know what Gabe was up to before Steam.

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Re: I can't wait for...

oh, a homonym, how astute and erudite of you!

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Anonymous Coward

Another desperation move

Microsucks Biz model is obsolete. They can't fix the millions of security holes in their O/Ss. So now they will dump some more crap code into the marketplace to dupe the gullible sheep with their portable crapware. It's like taking money from the braindead. It works every time. Microsucks needs some ruse to fleece these people over and over again and Blue is it.

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Anonymous Coward

Redmond Roll...

Is this akin to a rolling release sort of thing? I mean, Mr. Gentoo was hired by Microsoft a few years back (if I recall correctly...).

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Big updates?

I've got an idea. Perhaps as a big update they could add a menu button to the desktop that could be a central repository for launching applications and controlling system settings or some such.

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Re: Big updates?

Don't be silly! That'll never work ;-)

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Re: Big updates?

Where do I begin?

Next you are going to ask that the proposed application launch menu should not take up the entire screen....

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Re: Big updates?

Tell you what, let's set up a race. You use Windows 7, I'll use Windows 8 and we''ll see who can open several applcations, switch between them for various tasks and record how many mouse clicks and how long it takes. I bet money Windows 8 is faster.

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Time to think beyond Desktop OS

This subscription/yearly update stuff is crap. That's not what consumers want. Something that works great and does what they need it to is what they want. If it takes you a few years to make something that is so much better that it's worth money again to your customers...good. It's on you to do better if you don't like it.

Adding an ever faster treadmill just reeks of desperation. Make something new that people want. Or you are just greasing your path down the slope on your race to the bottom.

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Windows

@Barbarian

"This subscription/yearly update stuff is crap. That's not what consumers want."

That depends on how you apply it. I'd be very happy to start a subscription with Microsoft if that would mean I can continue to use supported versions of Windows 7 & Office 2010 (on my desktop of course) well after their EOL at 2018.

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Re: Time to think beyond Desktop OS

but that's where the money is.

M$ are just jumping on the bandwagon that autodesk have been riding for years.

And it will work.

e.g.

when i produce a design drawing in acad2013 and send it to a contractor, who then has to ask for the drawing to be reissued in 2007 format (acad files are non backward compatible after 3 years) what does that say about the contractor?

I rest my case

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Re: Time to think beyond Desktop OS

While you are correct in stating what consumers really _need_, you are totally off-base in claiming that it's what consumer _want_.

Right or wrong, consumers WANT updates that give them the feeling of having the new shiny shiny. Just look for a moment on any thread about a mobile phone OS: someone will bring up the notion (wrong, as it happens) that Apple's iOS updates serve all their installed base, while Android updates don't.

Your point is correct: none of those updates fundamentally change whatever it is the device was bought to do: in some cases they improve the way it does things, in others, the opposite, but WordPerfect 5.1 on a DOS machine still let's you write as well as it did 20 years ago.

In sum, what you're describing is the conflict between the marketing drive and the technical solution. And that won't change.

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Re: Time to think beyond Desktop OS

I can't hear your claim of "subscription doesn't work" over the noise of the millions of people yelling "Shut up and take my money" at Apple.

OK they don't call it a "subscription" and it doesn't "expire" if you stop paying, but look at Mac OSX and its pattern of yearly updates at minimal cost. Apple have the majority of their users upgrading to the latest versions of their new releases very quickly after it comes out.

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Re: Time to think beyond Desktop OS

That works for Apple because they control both hardware and software side of things.

Eventually some new shiny bit of hardware isn't going to play nice with the older os and you either have to hit the forums to find a solution or upgrade.

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Re: MS copies Apple's release once a year OS update strategy

lol

mac is dead, just hasn't stopped twitching yet.

oaf

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