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back to article Microsoft leaks reveal 'Threshold' projects looming in 2015

Microsoft is reportedly planning to launch a series of updates in 2015 that could see major revisions for the Windows, Xbox, and Windows RT platforms. According to a report from ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley, officials within Microsoft are planning a series of updates that will take place in 2015. Dubbed "Threshold", the reported …

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So now there's a timetable…

…of the final switch to Metro and depreciation of Desktop Windows: 2015

I imagine they'll keep some elements in there for legacy, bit like DOS in non-NT Windows in the past; but Desktop's days are clearly numbered.

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Major revision to Windows RT will probably be to kill it

Arguably they have four different APIs now:

Classic Windows

Metro

Windows RT

Windows Phone

They can't kill classic Windows for many many many years, too many applications will depend on it forever. They can't kill Metro, because they've bet the future on it. They'll probably try to merge it with Windows Phone, hoping that applications will run seamlessly from phone to tablet, to desktop, but that's more based on hope they can leverage their desktop monopoly in the mobile world than actual consumer demand for this.

Windows RT is squeezed in the middle, with no place to go, making fools of all those who bought a non-Pro Surface. They'll be left with the Microsoft equivalent of a Blackberry Playbook.

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Re: Major revision to Windows RT will probably be to kill it

That's insulting to playbooks.

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Re: Major revision to Windows RT will probably be to kill it

RT devices wouldn't need to die... the hardware is close enough to winphone that the various API's could be merged and extended to run on both platforms... the same way ios runs on iPad and iPhone.

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Re: Major revision to Windows RT will probably be to kill it

You clearly cannot see it but there is huge value in windows RT. Haswell and Atom are fine for someone who wants full windows, but they come with all the problems full windows comes with, any number of third party programs and addins and toolbars can be and willb e installed, and slow thigns down and make it more liekyl to crash etc etc.

RT is brilliant, it has enough to get most of your business work on the go done, and for the rest just RDP to your main machine and have the added benefit of proper mouse support and a seamless transition from full windows 8.

simple familiar filesystem

thousands of peripherals that just work via their normal usb connection.

light and long lasting,

always on

compared to trying to crowbar an ios or android tablet into the work environment its painless and fast, and time is money.

I have tried all three, and yes the ipad is nice if you want to play, but painful if you want to work, android just tends to be painful and completely disjointed. Windows RT slipped right in with minimal fuss and maximum productivity. And its great when you finish work and want to view media, or browse the web or even play the odd game.

A lot of people who never tried one or even used one, seem to be very angry about its existanc, but in my experience, its the most complete tablet option out there. apps are building up, 130,000 + now just over a year since launch.

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Re: Major revision to Windows RT will probably be to kill it

True, but I use calibre and sigil a lot. Doubt if I'll see them in the app store any time soon.

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Re: Major revision to Windows RT will probably be to kill it

RT may be brilliant in your mind, but why should developers develop for it when they can target the Windows market and hit Surface Pro, or develop for Windows Phone?

Has the non-Pro Surface sold even a million yet? Microsoft is having a hard enough time getting developers to develop for Windows Phone, which has many many times more sales than the Surface RT. The Surface RT will never have many apps unless they merge its API with Windows Phone at some point (perhaps at Windows 9, though in keeping with Windows Phone 7 and 7.5, current Windows Phone & Surface RT devices probably won't be able to upgrade to it)

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Re: Major revision to Windows RT will probably be to kill it

Nice to see someone here that actually has an RT and understands the huge difference it makes in connectivity compared with an iToy. The memory expansion alone on Surface allows USB sticks for fast transfer of very large objects (or to detached systems) and semi-permanent SD cards for backup and expansion generally. Even the cheaper keyboard has a trackpad and buttons for a more laptop-like experience.

Surface Pro's are (very) nice, so are ultrabooks etc. However, All are more expensive, heavier, have less endurance and couldn't possibly turn on from standby more quickly than RT.

That Nokia RT beastie that is coming might do 16 hours of proper use with their keyboard attached, very useful when lugging stuff around is a pain as well as needing to find that power socket in someone elses environment.

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This *needs* to be Midori

Whatever these 'major overhauls' to Windows entail, IMHO if Microsoft doesn't take revolutionary advantage of the fruits of their Midori initiative soon, full-fat and undiluted, it'll be too late. It may already be too late.

There are only so many storeys you can build if the foundations are decaying.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: This *needs* to be Midori

I don't know a lot about Midori technicalities but these 25 year old kernel designs like NT and Linux surely need some modern competitors.

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Put them all on a diet!

I beg of you, if you have any influence on this, trim the fat.

Once upon a time you could get a whole server operating system in the amount of RAM we now have in a CPU cache. I have seen the code and it is bloat upon bloat upon bloat.

My 6502 machines (Apple and Atari) with only kilobytes of RAM and with CPUs much less than one thousandth the speed of a single modern CPU core would boot instantly. You turned it on and by the time you got your fingers on the keyboard it was good to go.

With more than 20GHz of CPU, 8GB of RAM, my current machine takes about a minute to boot from an SSD when the stars are aligned and ten minutes or more if Windows is choking on its updates.

I don't care what is happening under the covers, it should not take more than a trillion machine instructions to boot a supercomputer let alone a modest workstation.

The insane bloat has consequences. For instance, it means you need a whole bunch of different codebases for what should be essentially the same thing.

In fairness to Microsoft, they *do* have to deal with byzantine machine architecture and standards that are not entirely baked. However, they are a big player in this game and responsible for much of the mayhem.

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Windows

Re: Put them all on a diet!

Win32 is the problem, and look what happened when they attempted to replace it with WinRT. Of course, one possible course of action is to extend WinRT to allow it to be used in fully-fledged non-managed desktop applications and server services, rewrite Visual Studio, Office, Exchange, SQL Server etc. to use the new API and pay small (or large) hill of money to other companies to do the same eg. Adobe. Win32 applications is what keeps people and companies using Windows, and if there is no viable "next generation platform", Win32 will live on.

It would take many years to replace Win32, and there would be outrage again, since if one has to port his application, then why port to another Microsoft platform and not, for example, to Linux + Qt. I do not think Microsoft will be ever ready to take this risk - more likely Windows will slip into irrelevance, in the long term.

Also, they do not really need to do anything until businesses start migrating their desktops away from Windows and Microsoft notices this happening. We should see next year, when Windows XP is removed from enterprise landscape.

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Re: Put them all on a diet!

Firstly, even Windows doesn't need a reboot very often, perhaps once a month. Resume from standby is about a second, perhaps two, on my 3-year-old laptop.

Secondly, Windows 8 machines I have seen present a login within 10 seconds and are good-to-go a few seconds afterwards. Since my WIn7 machine with SSD is almost that fast, I imagine a Win8 machine with SSD is even quicker.

I see the bloat issue; I was paid for many years to write super-tight code in tiny devices - even having to automatically compress a compiler's assembler output and then assemble the result to 'trim the bloat' thus fitting 16K-and-a-bit of code into a 16K 8051.

But ridiculous hardware resources makes all that meaningless and wasteful of human resource. The thought of trying to re-write (say) Office in a super-efficient C-type language is patently absurd. This the resulting system is not as fast as it could be; it is however, easily fast enough to use.

I never have to 'fix' friends' computers because they filled their hard drives - hard drive capacity has outpaced bloatware by several orders of magnitude such that the size of any actual program is now almost meaningless; only vast games even dent the capacity. I also never have to upgrade them to a faster processor because the old one is just too slow. Technology to preload the important bits and map drives to memory (as well as vast memory capability) mean that the programs start easily as quickly or better than before despite their huge size.

The overall effect of this is that 'wasteful' programming techniques like OO and .NET etc., as far from the metal as could be, still work for most purposes - not to mention javascript. Even Silverlight and java work on phones completely acceptably.

That is why I have used a laptop for 15 years; I simply don't have to upgrade all the time to cope with demand.

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Re: Put them all on a diet!

@cambsukguy I absolutely agree with you that trying to optimize the size of binaries is going to yield very little. The size of binaries is not the problem. The problems is size of Windows sources (I've seen it). The amount of complexity there is staggering, and large parts of if are needed only to support Win32 APIs that few use, that are long obsolete and not recommended for any sane programmer to use (eg. IsBad* family of functions) or, most of all, are now redundant. Think of the number of APIs for drawing on the screen, of which very few perform well on modern hardware and with constraints such as RDP sessions or streamed games. And the number of COM interfaces present in any average system, with the memory required by the registry to keep the registration information alone for those. Think of test effort to make the slightest change in this interconnected ball-of-everything, or the lost opportunity cost not being able to implement specific new feature because nobody knows how to fit it into existing code. Or, perhaps most of all, all the security vulnerabilities sitting in the code that few people understand or in implied assumptions coupling parts of Windows that nobody thought could be coupled.

So no, it is not the optimization that is the problem. It is the bloat of the design and the underlying philosophy "backwards compatibility is sacred".

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Microsoft announce more FAIL

"We're not going to have three"

Because there really is no difference between a phone, a fondleslab, and a PC. Everyone uses them in the same way to do the same things right?

I don't give a shit about windows phones and no one gives a shit about windows fondleslabs. I use a PC every day and all Microsoft offered me in Win 8 is a layer shit I don't need or want obscuring the desktop and their future looks like more of the same.

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Trollface

Re: Microsoft announce more FAIL

Then you're sure to love Windows 9.0 Revolving 3D "Play Blocks" !!

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Happy

Re: Microsoft announce more FAIL

We're going to have six. Ha-har!

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Re: Microsoft announce more FAIL

Why are you using Windows 8 then? Almost all companies I see allow MBPs and even Linux as well as Windows.

And, for the record, the difference between a phone and a slab is that the additional keyboard makes the slab into a laptop. WP8 doesn't have a desktop layer; it doesn't have the ability to fully multi-task many programs at the same time with the possibility of displaying the all on multiple screens etc. I doubt one could usefully use a mouse on even a large phone; the list is endless.

The kernel is the only place where the code can easily be the same. Several APIs can be shared, albeit perhaps the API implementation may differ.

I can see WP9 being a subset of RT after a great deal of effort, without even seeing a subsequent benefit. Making the API converge regardless of implementation would be quicker I am sure. This can be done in stages allowing developers to more easily port as the APIs converge.

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My guess

Will be that they'll be standardising across WinPho, WinRT and TIFKAM (as that was kind of the point in the first place). So, they'd end up with 2 environments - Classic Windows and Boxville.

They also need to streamline management tools, with enterprise management being somewhat divorced from 'mobile device' management due to their insistence on using InTune.

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Stop

Poor Microsoft

They keep changing things purely for the sake of changing things and now they've discovered that maintaining a heap of different OSes and interfaces is a pain in the bum. My sympathy for their self inflicted pain knows no bounds.

But ok. I'm a nice guy. I'll help.

Toss out metro, win RT, dot net, jscript, and hang the dipshit who made the ribbon interface 'we just had to have'. Ta dah! Less stuff to deal with and maintain. If that's still not not enough, I'll be back tomorrow with more 'vitally important' stuff which you can chuck out without anyone noticing or caring.

As much as I'm not an apple fan, they did get one thing right - one OS for computers and one for small screen thingies like phones and tablets.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Poor Microsoft

Apple made the right call with a separate OS for small mobile devices when these used severely underpowered SoC designs compared with OSX hardware. Now performance and power management has improved considerably on modern hardware Apple also need to address the need for convergence, as do Google (e.g. ChromeOS v Android).

Skinning an app for a good UI experience on small/medium/large screens is substantially easier when all devices share a common API and this benefits all developers, not just the comparative few who work on the OS (however tedious some of their multi-version work might be).

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Re: Poor Microsoft

There is no need for convergence as Windows 8 has demonstrated so well. There might be a need for the desktop OS to run fondleslab/phone apps, but that doesn't mean the village should be destroyed in order to save it, all that's needed is a compatibility layer on the desktop OS. I do not expect my fondleslab or phone to run desktop apps as that just leads to an incredibly bad user experience.

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Anonymous Coward

Yes,

My enterprise server needs the ability to run games as fast as it can, along with all the security holes another pile of code brings with it.

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Meh

New feature on Xbox Patch Tuesday?

hmm I wonder if that'll mean they'll bring the Xbox OS in line with the Windows OS?

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Mushroom

Micro$oft yet again prove...

You can't polish a turd, but omfg they still bring out the industrial sized polishing machines.

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Developers, developers, developers!

This was Ballmer's big philosophy that he loved to express in public.

However, in reality it was "Developers please pay a fortune to develop software for our OS" which was always offputting when it meant that I couldn't run my dev tools on my home PC. (I spent a good 5 years writing Windows software before escaping to a world where development tools are free.....)

Now they're basically admitting that in 2 years time, most of the software you've developed for these variously shaped windows will become obsolete and need to be rewritten (reminds me of a techie version of Playschool..... Which window will we look though today children? Through the Server 2013 round window!)

So good luck if you're thinking of investing the next couple of years developing for one or more of these OSes, with the knowledge that you'll need to rework everything once this ill thought out experiment in incompatibility has failed.

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Can't have 3?

What is the deal with Microsoft's comment "We can't have 3 OS's"?

A smartphone is a totally different device than a notebook or desktop computer. iOS and OSX for example.

They want a *bloated* OS that also runs on old-school computers on a tablet PC? No wonder they are failing so hard.

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Sil

Microsoft axing RT seems logical since Intel now has a worthy ARM competing offering with Baytrail and tablets are in fact more and more Windows laptops in specs and functionality rather than gadget-like iPads (my prediction being that Apple will soon have to offer OSX based tablets or loose an even bigger market share. Ditto for Android having lived its life I can't imagine its users not wanting a Linux based tablet in the next few years)

Xbox on the other hand is wishful thinking. There is no way in hell Microsoft will force customers to change OS for a brand new product that will probably live 10 years.

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RIP Windows

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