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back to article Windows Metro Maoist cadres reach desktop, pound it flat

The revolutionary dogma of Metro is sweeping through the old Windows desktop, too, a new leak of Window 8 confirms. The leaked build, newer than the public release of a fortnight ago, abandons the 3D design elements introduced into Windows in 1990 for a resolutely two-dimensional world. The 'legacy' desktop in Windows 8 is …

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Re: They have to gut it

No they don't.

The version that is destined to run on ARM based tablets is Windows RT. Different version of Windows 8 than the Desktop version.

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Happy

Re: No they don't

Read some tech news... RT is pretty much identical, including the desktop. It is simply compiled for ARM, and therefore can't run any existing Win apps. The whole point of this debacle is that the tablet version is essentially being foisted on desktop users too.

Who the hell is going to custom-pimp their PC with all kinds of liquid-cooled goodness and juicy graphics cards etc, only to shovel a pile of steaming horseshit like this in the top?

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Re: They have to gut it

One of the upper management types at work has a Dell Latitude ST tablet. It's a $1,000 netbook with no keyboard. Came with Win7 Pro and it's a slug.

Installed the current Win8 release and it feels a lot faster, if only it had some useful aps it might be useful. Using Excel on it still sucks without a mouse / keyboard.

But even with Windows 8 it's still way too expensive to be anything but a management toy.

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Unhappy

Re: No they don't

Sadly you'll probably be surprised.

On a contrarian note, it might just be the basic, pared to the bone OS that gets you where you want to be i.e. running the latest FPS or whatever without sucking up all those CPU cycles so you are faster on the trigger. Can't see it myself, though MS MUST have a reason for doing all this. Surely it's not some kind of corporate death wish, is it?

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Meh

Re: No they don't

"...OS that gets you where you want to be i.e. running the latest FPS or whatever..."

Errrmmm...

FPS and most 3D games are usually played in full screen mode, and the complexity of the desktop's GUI shouldn't affect their performance at all. Other CPU-intensive apps shouldn't * be affected by desktop effects, unless the user is changing-resizing-moving windows at the same time.

* For well designed GUIs, OSs and graphical drivers, if such things exist. Sigh...

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Boffin

So it will run on a tablet

Probably a paracetamol.

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Has this become a bankruptcy race between Balmer & Elop?

I remember feeling proud of my drop shadows when doing a noddy menu system in Mode 4 on a Beeb in the mid-80s - seemed so grown-up & just like the photos I'd seen of a Mac. Ditto the overlapping windows. Unlike Aero these have both been clear & unfussy visual cues to the metaphor being presented on-screen.

Now MS has boldly blazed a trail back to the dawn of Windows - it's as if the design team are using octal and it wrapped around from 7 to null.

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Coat

Re: Has this become a bankruptcy race between Balmer & Elop?

Not only octal perhaps, but also Visual Studio with monochrome icons and ALLCAPS menus.

MS have zero idea about interface design.

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WTF?

Re: Has this become a bankruptcy race between Balmer & Elop?

Sweet Mary I hope they don't keep that allcaps thing. It'll make me ANGRY everytime I see it.

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Re: Has this become a bankruptcy race between Balmer & Elop?

Elop's the "Manchurian Candidate," same deal as the export to SGI was. Remember that debacle?

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Happy

Re: Has this become a bankruptcy race between Balmer & Elop?

@Antidisestablishmentarianist

"Sweet Mary I hope they don't keep that allcaps thing. It'll make me ANGRY everytime I see it."

OK by me just as long as they give me COBOL back to complete that 80s look.

:-)

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Pint

Z-Buffer who needs it.

The solution is simple. The active window is focused. Everything else is blurred-to-feck, thus making it obvious which is the top window.

Yeah, that'll work. MS, wanna hire me as your next UI Guru?

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Glad I'm not a Windows fan

Cos if I were, I'd be really upset at what MS are doing. It's interesting to note that the examples linked in the article suggest a deliberate policy to remove the word 'Window'.

Slow, but accelerating, suicide.

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Anonymous Coward

Experience learnt from Vista

MS have learnt from Vista that if you launch a really bad version of windows then the sales of the next "corrected" version are so much higher!

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FAIL

Re: Experience learnt from Vista

Until today I didn't think Microsoft could possibly fuck things up worse than they did with Vista, but it appears I was wrong...

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Big Brother

Re: Experience learnt from Vista

Is this like the reasoning where government money printing and resource burning on warcrap is supposed to reinvigorate a debt-laden economy?

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Anonymous Coward

"as if the design team are using octal and it wrapped around from 7 to null."

I think the problem is much worse than that. You knew where you stood with octal. No one know where they stand with MS UIs any more.

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WTF?

Great move!

It looks like only way to make Windows 8 any less popular now is to make it automatically ban 9-year-olds from taking photos of their food!

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FAIL

8? 3 more like it

Welcome to Windows 3.0

Big tiles to open your applications (Program Manager)

No start button

Flat controls

Though at least back then windows on a phone was something you opened to slide the bit of paper in with your friends phone numbers written in biro. Wonder if they'll copy that next? Windows 8 notepad?

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Don't care....

....as long as they spell "colour" correctly.

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Unhappy

Re: Don't care....

I know, it still grates even after all these years. And bloody 'favorites' too. Blech.

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Re: Don't care....

Blame Noah Webster.

An American who reportedly hated the British (he was alive during the War of Independence) so much that he deliberately used alternative spellings to those used by the British. i.e. program, center and so on.

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Re: Blame Noah Webster

It's not fair to blame the idiot. The blame lies with the entire population who listened to his nutty views and agreed to follow them. (A bit like Steve Sinofsky and Microsoft, really.)

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Happy

Re: Don't care....

It won't matter- they are working toward full monochrome for the next release...

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perhaps controversially

I really like it. It's clean and simple and fresh - all things which a pleasant alternatives to the overload of saccharine candy my eyes have been subjected to since compositing window managers arrived (which, in MS world wasn't that long ago).

I run a similar 'flat' theme on Gnome 3 and it's fine - I can tell which window is the foreground and so on, not a problem. Microsoft - maybe, just maybe - have UI testing labs which this style has done well in. Canonical's Unity interface, which you'd think was utterly despised if all you listened to was comments on the internet, scores really well with everyday non-techie users, I expect this is the same too.

Amazed Windows isn't more themeable though. The people who don't like it could change it.

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Linux

Re: perhaps controversially

The teenagers I teach can switch from Windows 7 PC (College computers) to iPad to Blackberry and whatever and just complete the tasks they want to. When I hand out my laptop with Ubuntu/Unity on it they work out how to get on guest wifi and start Firefox straight away; log into Moodle and then download and edit the assignment files and re-upload them.

I think johnnytruant has a point. The new stripped back interface meets the needs of 90%. The 10% will get stuff in Win9 and from 3rd party devs.

PS: what Gnome 3 theme was that? (posted off a netbook running Xubuntu with Alt-F11 on the Web browser)

PPS: surprise hit of the week, http://www.geogebratube.org/ on an interactive whiteboard. I'll hack a few up over the holidays to match the syllabus.

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Re: perhaps controversially

My GTK/Shell theme is currently Elegant Brit, it's up on Gnome-look somewhere. It's not quite as polished as it could be, but the flatness does make a nice change from rounded corners and shiny FX, which I've been a bit bored of for a while now.

I've noticed techie types are often very protective of their UI. I wonder if it's because we're used to having so much control over our computers, and building up lots of muscle memory about how to do favourite tasks (if I had a pound for every time I've typed ":w" into not-vi...) and then when someone else changes it we feel like our personal space has been violated, and our precious efficiency has been ruined.

For the Normals, computers are just magic boxes. If one day you power it up and the magic looks and works a little differently - who cares? It's not like you can do anything about it anyway, you just hunt around for a vaguely familiar icon or two and click it until the internet or email or photo app or whatever is in front of you.

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Meh

Re: I run a similar 'flat' theme on Gnome 3 and it's fine

But, Mr Truant, you don't have to wade through a lake of shit just to get to your desktop.

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Re: perhaps controversially

"For the Normals, computers are just magic boxes. If one day you power it up and the magic looks and works a little differently - who cares? It's not like you can do anything about it anyway, you just hunt around for a vaguely familiar icon or two and click it until the internet or email or photo app or whatever is in front of you."

Social skills of a thermonuclear device, there. You've just labelled every "normal" user of a computer (ie, 90% of the population) as a blithering half-wit.

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Re: I run a similar 'flat' theme on Gnome 3 and it's fine

Metro's search driven menu is actually very similar to Gnome Shell and Unity, so "hit start button, type, press enter" is pretty much the same operation for all three of them. Last time I used MacOS I ran quicksilver which was the same again. Fiddling around with the mouse just to launch stuff and find files isn't something I've done for quite some time. Obviously other people's milage varies, that's just me.

On desktops - I keep pressing ctrl-alt-downarrow (new virtual desktop shortcut in Gnome) in Win8 to get to a new, empty, desktop and it keeps turning the screen upside down. I can't believe that inverting the screen is such a common operation there's a shortcut key for it.

If Windows users don't like MS's shell, and particularly if they do like Gnome's one, I don't imagine it'll be long before Cairo is ported to Win8. http://cairoshell.github.com/

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Re: perhaps controversially

"You've just labelled every "normal" user of a computer (ie, 90% of the population) as a blithering half-wit."

Interesting interpretation you made there. I've worked in user-level tech support and seen some of the ways people try to get control of their systems - yet I don't think they're stupid, they're just busy. Even the guy who called me out because his mouse wasn't working (it wasn't plugged in) - not stupid, just focussed on something else. He was busy brokering sales/purchases for the company I was working at - a task which, as far as I'm concerned, is high-level voodoo. For him, IT was something which either worked or you called someone to fix it - and how many things do you have like that in your life?

You don't have to understand every aspect of a tool to be a tool user, and not doing so doesn't make you stupid. I don't. I can change a theme on my desktop, I can write a script to do x y or z, but ask me to write assembler or lay out transistors on a cpu die and I'm as lost as nearly everybody else on the planet. We all use magic, because lots of technology is sufficiently advanced these days - and that's perfectly OK.

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Re: I run a similar 'flat' theme on Gnome 3 and it's fine

@johnnytruant

"I can't believe that inverting the screen is such a common operation there's a shortcut key for it."

Inverting or rotating by 180 degrees? I could see the value of rotating for showing a screen to someone sitting across the desk from you.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: perhaps controversially

Remember the eight million different "program launcher" and "menu system" applications written in the 1980s for MS/PC-DOS?

We could have that again, but this time for Windows 8.

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Happy

Re: perhaps controversially

@ Mr Hagan

Actually, I have to agree with Mr Truant here. Sorry, but it *is* true. Puter nerds are really in the minority, and they (we) are really the only segment of the population who *get* computer. Trust me on this. I spend my life sorting out Joe Public's hardware. It ain't pretty.

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Re: perhaps controversially

Where's Perfect Office when you need it?

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Anonymous Coward

The reason for 3D was to sop up Intel processing power

Each new version of Windows was designed to do essentially the same old thing, but to require more and more CPU and graphics processor power. In this way, the consumer could be driven to buy each new generation of hardware. Meanwhile processor wattage went from 10 watts to 100 watts, and graphics cards did the same. This worked for desktops plugged into the mains and for laptops, which most plugged into the mains most of the time (or used in docking station).

But now that computing is being done on portable devices which are expected to be unplugged for days at a time, the software has to adapt to lower power processor and graphics chips.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The reason for 3D was to sop up Intel processing power

...then why do Android and IOS both look heaps better than Metro?

Granted I wouldn't want either as a desktop OS, but you're still talking shit. I think more correctly, Microsoft have found an excuse (with Windows on ARM) to ditch the buggy awful shite they've built up as a legacy and invent some new buggy, awful shite that will run faster because at least it's not running atop 7 layers of buggy, awful compatibility layers.

And for consistency, everybody's getting it, even on platforms where it really won't suit. Ho hum, nothing new. Just the other way around from when they tried to shoe-horn Windows CE onto portable devices.

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Anonymous Coward

I think people are forgetting what Aero actually is, Aero is the glass imitation effect.

you can still choose the color intensity and the lower the intensity the more clear it becomes, you still get a nice translucent effect. it will only look shite if you choose colors that dont work

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Anonymous Coward

No accounting for taste

Well, I rather like that. (Queue auto-downvoting because, god damn it, it's the wrong subjective opinion.)

I have no idea how it will impact usability because I find it's easier to try it rather than just look at pictures. Also, the only picture I can see is of a single window, so I wonder how it will look with several windows in the background.

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Aero certainly drags everything down

We got forced into Win7 where I work, and the UI is just sluggish.

But I just found the control panel to change it back to "classic windoze" and that took care of a lot of the desktop latency. It isn't great but it sure is better. I'll take the performance over shiny shiny nearly any day. When I tried to turn off the eyecandy items in a different control panel it really hosed up the tray at the bottom and a lot of the notifications... so MS has a ways to go there.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Aero certainly drags everything down

which control panel switch is that?

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Re: Aero certainly drags everything down

Right click the desktop > personalize > Basic and High Contrast Themes > Windows Classic

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Re: Aero certainly drags everything down

Have you tried removing the tablet components that are installed by default in W7? that helps with speed as well.....

Classic is the first change I make, followed quickly by killing stuff installed that I will never use (such as tablet components)

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Overlapping windows are so 90s

If we went back to Windows1.0 on a tablet with a tilt sensor you could arrange all your windows by just shaking the tiles around - like those daft "arrange 15 numbers in a grid" toys.

.... runs off to patent office ...

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They're not actually go to sell any, are they?

Ho hum, roll on Windows 9

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Unhappy

So less horsepower is used to render, due to more bloat-ware...

The moment I first saw the new Windows Phones with their flat look, and the Xbox 360 update with flat tiles too, I wondered if it was so save the effort required to produce the '3d' look and free up horsepower so they can write more bloated bloat-ware.

3D Aero was the only thing I liked about Vista (which we didn't use for long), and now enjoy on Windows 7.

I know there's a big UGH already posted, but many, like me, just think it's ugly, ugly, ugly.

It all looks so completely insane, it beggars belief that they, such an enormous company, are on this path to flatness, a stupid giant sized tiles interface etc. Have they not taken a moment to reflect, that when iOS and Mac OS upgrades are released, they don't quite attracted the hostility Metro has?

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Unhappy

Re: So less horsepower is used to render, due to more bloat-ware...

"It all looks so completely insane, it beggars belief that they, such an enormous company, are on this path to flatness,"

Remember the supposed saying of Louis XIV "L'Etat c'est moi" "I am the state."

When you have had almost absolute power for a long time you get to believe that what you say and do is all that matters. In MS case I think that they might come to realise that this is not always true.

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Anonymous Coward

A couple more moves like this

and Apple might just get to buy Microsoft.

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Anonymous Coward

AND I BET

And I bet this 'lesser' design will use more system resources to generate than Aero.....

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Re: AND I BET

And I bet it wont. Having tried both Win8 Release Preview and Win7 on the same hardware, Win8 runs very quickly.

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