back to article Microsoft gives Windows 10 a name, throws folks a bone

An impending Windows 10 release, Azure playing nicely with Google, and a blast through BASIC in the browser. It's the Microsoft round-up. Windows 10 gets a new build and a new name As the next version of Windows 10 lumbered ever closer to the desktops of everyday users, Microsoft announced that it would be called (drum roll) “ …

    1. Pat Att

      LibreOffice doesn't quite cut it

      For home use, and lots of business uses I'm sure it's fine. When I started my own business 4 years ago I tried to use it. I had to give that up because my business involves sending lots of documents to people where they need to be in a particular format. Things like page numbering and line numbering were a real pain to do, and I got calls saying things were going wrong at their end.

      Sadly it was just easier to bite the bullet and buy Word.

      1. Bitbeisser

        Re: LibreOffice doesn't quite cut it

        Ever I started to work on my own, I am personally use LibreOffice exclusively and never had just one case where I looked back. It does EVERYTHING I need, and a lot of things that does it better than the equivalent M$ Office product. Much less grey hair since I am using Impress instead of Powerpoint, likewise with Calc instead of Excel and Writer instead of Word. LO is not perfect, then no office suite is, but it definitely works for everyone, if they just get off their high horse (and out of M$ backside) and try it...

    2. PNGuinn
      Trollface

      LibreOffice only does a majority of what home users need?

      Clippy?

  1. Chronos Silver badge

    Crashy McCrashface?

    More like Snoopy McSpyface. Actually, why don't they just ask for permission to use Mr Schulz' beagle as their mascot?

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Crashy McCrashface?

      If you're going down the Schulz route, my favourite is Linus.

      1. Chronos Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Crashy McCrashface?

        Ah yes, blanket surveillance :-)

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Crashy McCrashface?

      I was thinking Flatty McFlatFace

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Crashy McCrashface?

        Shitty McShitface.

  2. MJB7 Bronze badge

    Re: LibreOffice

    I use both LibreOffice and MS Office. LO is OK, but in my view it's definitely not as user-friendly as MSO (and I'm a bit of a power user). Whether the difference is worth the cost? For a business - probably.

  3. Korev Silver badge

    Coming in at a gnat’s whisker under $100 per year, the subscription represents excellent value when compared to an equivalent perpetual licence purchase (in the short term at least.) When stacked up against something like LibreOffice which, frankly, does the majority of what a Home user needs, that value proposition is a little more whiffy.

    Or you could look at it from the point of view that you get a free Office subscription for roughly the cost of Dropbox Plus.

    1. elgarak1

      I do not need DropBox Plus, nor OneDrive.

      Currently, the only thing I would need is Word as a desktop app, and for that it's really way too much cash (besides, the terms and conditions MS has on the Personal, Home, and Student editions of Office are downright horrible.)

      Luckily, I'm using a Mac, and there are alternatives like Nisus Writer (€20 for basic, €80 for pro, no subscription) or Mellel (€50, also a one time). On Windows, you are effectively stuck with LO, which really is not an improvement except in price.

      1. AMBxx Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        >> I do not need DropBox Plus, nor OneDrive.

        Then don't buy it!

        I use Office 365 extensively with OneDrive as part of MS Partner Pack. If I had to leave the Partner Program and drop back to a personal licence, I certainly would. Just a pain you can't increase the storage beyond 1TB.

        This stuff isn't difficult. If you want it, buy it. If you don't, buy something else. Just stop shouting about your preference as if it's the only valid choice for everyone.

        1. elgarak1

          Re: >> I do not need DropBox Plus, nor OneDrive.

          Here's the problem: *Word is unavoidable.*

          If you work as a freelancer in certain type of text-related business (novel writer, translator, editor, proof-reader etc.) you are expected to send and receive Word files.

          The receiving end is no problem. If I get a Word file, I'll open it with something. It's usually good enough... there are minor issues, but I can live with them, work with them, or correct them.

          The problem are the people on the other side who cannot live with, work with, or correct the minor issues. So I need Word, and only Word, and only as a desktop app, and only to check how the files I _send_ will show up at the other people's end.

          There's the stand-alone Word for €135 one time (effectively every three years or so.) The next most expensive word processor for the Mac is Nisus Writer Pro for €80 (about as powerful, but _much_ nicer to use... except for the file sharing issues...) Still, MS does not bother to give you a legalese on the licensing there. They don't even tell you if it's "licensed for commercial use", as they do on the Office 365 subscription. And yes, if you need it for paying work, that _is_ an issue.

          1. LDS Silver badge

            "people on the other side who cannot live with, work with, or correct the minor issues"

            That's often, because the people on the other side are in a one-to-many relationship, and if you receive one or a few Word files, they could receive files from many different people, and the time to correct "minor issues" in each of them becomes too large, so it's obvious they'll set a standard people have to follow, especially if they are those the money come from....

          2. bombastic bob Silver badge
            Trollface

            Re: >> I do not need DropBox Plus, nor OneDrive.

            "The problem are the people on the other side who cannot live with, work with, or correct the minor issues"

            yeah, those other people need to get Libre Office and quit whining about it. Not like it would cost them anything...

            1. elgarak1

              Re: >> I do not need DropBox Plus, nor OneDrive.

              It's the other way round: *I* am forced to use Word. I would not, if Microsoft could be bothered to properly support a properly documented file format. Then no one would need to use a single program – everyone could use whatever the hell they wanted. But MS actively sabotages that by not properly supporting such a format, and not fully documenting their own (despite the fact that they managed to get a ISO 9001 certificate on said file format).

              Over on the graphics design side it works a helluva lot better. There are properly documented file formats supported by multiple applications that people can choose from, and the workers with those applications know that and where issues can arise and know how to avoid them, and how to deal with them if they are there, on both sides of an exchange.

            2. LDS Silver badge

              "yeah, those other people need to get Libre Office"

              Those other people often can't choose what software they use (and also don't pay for it), and often the same software is part of a complex workflows that can't be broken, because fixing it would be far more expensive than some copies of Office.

              The problem, as usual, are people who think their little world is alike the broader one... and they are the only ones whining about Office. The others uses it happily, have their work done without issues, and then go home spending their time happily instead of spending their life on forums telling people to use Linux or LibreOffice....

          3. Jedipadawan

            Re: >> I do not need DropBox Plus, nor OneDrive.

            >"So I need Word, and only Word, and only as a desktop app, and only to check how the files I _send_ will show up at the other people's end."

            If I may say here, obviously there is always the special case. I mean, the Mac users who go on and on and on about Photoshop and how Linux, say, is crud because it does not have Photoshop, Photoshop, Photoshop...

            But 98.86473% of users do not need anything like the power of Photoshop for their needs. But I know from painful experience that the Graphical artists working on Mac will INSIST that everyone does, indeed, need Photoshop. [I'm not accusing you of that, BTW, just giving the comparison. A lot of Mac users assume the entire population of the world are graphical artists. It's kinda weird.]

            Yes, in your use case it's Office. End of story. I can understand that. Ditto that Graphical artists needs Photoshop. It's a given because of the history of the industries and the software that was standarised upon long ago.

            But, contrary to popular opinion, the exception does not make the rule. Are the vast majority of businesses, leave alone users, using Office Macros to death? No. Yes, I lot of companies do but worldwide, and across multiple industries... no. We did not even use Office macros in the software house I was in back in the old country. Average user does not deal in complex documents or needing back and forth editing. If I really, really need to preserve formatting, I send as PDF. My students are also having to use Google Docs a lot for back and forth editing so Word does not come into the equation.

            The niches do not determine overall usability or price/performance. I grant that Impress is lacking on Office regarding multi-media support - not that I do slideshows anymore - but other than that I find LO does far more than not only do I need, my business needs but every user I know here personally.

            So, yeah, you gotta use Word. But the rest of the world...? Those running macros developed over the course of ten years; yes. But it kinda narrows down after that.

      2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

        > On Windows, you are effectively stuck with LO, which really is not an improvement except in price.

        Let Google be your friend:

        """The best free office software 2018

        LibreOffice. Everything you could want from an office suite, fully compatible with Microsoft formats and totally free to use – even commercially. ...

        Google Docs, Sheets and Slides. ...

        Microsoft Office Online. ...

        WPS Office Free. ...

        Polaris Office. ...

        SoftMaker FreeOffice. ...

        Open365. ...

        Zoho Workplace.

        """

    2. cambsukguy

      No, you get up to six Office subscriptions, all you need is someone to give them too, children, spouses, significant others etc.

      Or does Dropbox plus also allow six separate users of a single account.

      And, surely, for a non-business user, isn't 1TB enough? Video addicts/hobbyists or folks who have DLSRs and just have to keep everything in RAW excepted I suppose.

      1. Tom 38 Silver badge

        No, you get up to six Office subscriptions, all you need is someone to give them too, children, spouses, significant others etc.

        Would be nicer if they cut the price to $16.67 per user per year and then let us decide how many licenses we need. How does that conversation go anyway, "Great news Timmy, MS have given us an extra license so you no longer have to feel like we love the other 3 more than you any more (but we do.)"

        1. JDX Gold badge

          Would be nicer if they cut the price to $16.67 per user per year

          They do a single-user version. It's £60 IIRC per year, as opposed to £80 or £90 for the 5 user version (I forget the exact price).

          So it's more like you pay £50 for a home installation, then £10 per user on top. Of course, a single license is often enough for a family to share because you typically don't all want to use Word at once.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Video addicts/hobbyists or folks who have DLSRs"

        I think it's more pirates who downloaded the hell from everywhere, and trying to backup it to the cloud for free or almost... like they did use GMail as storage before.

        Heavy photo/video users are probably using a DAS/NAS and specific cloud backup offers, when needed, as they need something more reliable than services that could cut your storage at will.

        RAW is the only real option to store photos, 16-bit TIFFs are not usually smaller and already lost full sensor data, and JPEGs will lose too much useful data - it's just an output format for display.

        1. Alien8n Silver badge

          Re: "Video addicts/hobbyists or folks who have DLSRs"

          Hitting the nail on the head there, always store in RAW. For your average hobbyist JPG may suffice if you don't want to do any editing of the photo, or if you use Photoshop for editing, but for serious photographers it must be RAW and something that like Lightroom for editing. 1TB might be a bit limited though, I do about 1TB a year with 20Mb RAW files. The newest cameras are 50Mb + per file.

    3. Jedipadawan

      >"When stacked up against something like LibreOffice which, frankly, does the majority of what a Home user needs, that value proposition is a little more whiffy."

      Doubly so when you live in a country where the mean income is around $300 a month.

      And, if I may add, once you go Office you're going Windows or the even more expensive Mac. Windows requires shed loads more resource to run than Linux whilst charging you to play. Which means you need to pay for Windows and office AND pay for half decent hardware run at anything like any speed at all. Given my business needs multiple laptops running at nearly all times, the costs for hardware alone with going Microsoft would beggar me in a country where the cost to income ration of hardware is MUCH higher than the US or UK!

      As it stands, I have ended up standardising on the cheapest of the cheap dual core atom/celerons with 2GB or RAM and 500GB HD - er, upgraded my going on 5 year old Atom n2840 netbook to 1TB JUST before the old HD died from overuse - running Neon KDE with Libreoffice. All works a charm! I even have a half basked University student assembled single core n455 atom running the above and it still serves a purpose!

      Windows + Office, forget the software costs.. the hardware would cripple me financially here!

      I grant, my business does not require macros of reading in massively complex Office docs but most small businesses do not operate with such either. It's the tech firms or corps that have invested in such and can't get out. See COBOL in banking.

      For me, Microsoft is just a non-starter. But I can afford to live in a three bedroom house here when it was a flat in the UK, with my wife working with me as a first line manager in a tech company!

      1. Giovani Tapini

        You have just defined why Microsoft still makes so much revenue

        You only forgot that everying becoming "as-a-service" means that they can leach you continuously rather than keeping old versions running in perpetuity paid for only once.

        Its the, er, Microsoft Industrial Complex in action...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Took a look at small basic...

    ... lot's of goto-s. Not what I would want to teach new programmers.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Linux

      use of 'goto'

      FYI - 'goto' is a legitimate way to program although it should be used (mostly) for things *like* error cleanup [see lots of Linux kernel modules for examples - 'error_exit' and similar labels].

      In the world of userland-only coding, you can afford to be snobby about 'never use goto'. In the kernel world, you use it because it works better. Just pointing that one out, for those who don't know.

      1. JBowler

        Re: use of 'goto'

        It's a necessary techinque in a deficient language.

        An error exit is an exceptional condition and, given that language designers haven't yet found a way to prevent exceptional conditions being written, exceptions are the way to deal with that. "goto error_exit;" is a sad C epitaph.

        Once or twice I've felt I needed to use goto in C, but I've spent all my life rewriting more famous people's brown stuff.

        This is only a comment on your own response; basic is fundamentally steampunk and I completely get that. Of course basic can have exceptions as well; it's an interpreter.

        John Bowler

        1. John F***ing Stepp

          Re: use of 'goto'

          In school (a iong time ago) goto was concidered a no no in COBOL, while I agreed in principal I made the comment that we could do without the if then statement if we wanted to. Being called on that, I wrote the next semester's programs without if then statements. Not easy but worth it when my instuctor had to wade through 24 pages of flow chart per program.

          (also made the line printer play the rumba as a side affect)

        2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          Re: use of 'goto'

          > It's a necessary techinque in a deficient language.

          The problem with goto isn't the goto itself, that is perfectly clear what happens.

          The problem is that goto requires a label as its target. When you are analysing code and you find a label then the flow of control can now be arbitrary. Control can pop into existence at the label from almost anywhere and it will take a comprehensive search and examination in order to find all the points that may launch to that label.

          At least with C the label can only be accessed from within the current procedure unless particularly nasty coding is used.

      2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: use of 'goto'

        In the kernel world, you use it because it works better.

        No. Because ancient language + ancient tradition -> druidic traditions that should have been flushed long ago.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: use of 'goto'

          No. Because ancient language + ancient tradition -> druidic traditions that should have been flushed long ago.

          Nest 5-6-7 ifs to avoid goto if you must, but I won't buy a kernel from you.

    2. JDX Gold badge

      It's BASIC. BASIC uses GOTO.

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge

      GO TO has its place. Especially in most versions of BASIC...

      But what I was going to say was WTF have MS done to the PRINT command.

      1. Simon Harris Silver badge

        "But what I was going to say was WTF have MS done to the PRINT command."

        And EndFor? What's going on there? If this is supposed to be BASIC, the correct word is NEXT.

  5. tony72

    With the Lenovo Explorer now down to $132 (from an original $349) ...

    I'd buy a set at that price, but sadly the Atlantic price divide seems to be in overdrive here, they are still £380 (~$490) on this side of the pond, on Amazon at least.

    1. cambsukguy

      Re: With the Lenovo Explorer now down to $132 (from an original $349) ...

      And postage from a US supplier is? Even with VAT added it sounds like a lot less.

    2. Rob E

      Re: With the Lenovo Explorer now down to $132 (from an original $349) ...

      I'd also like to know where they can be had for $132

      Seems to be still pricey in the states as well. Maybe a typo on the price?

  6. WallMeerkat Bronze badge

    In your code snippet I would rename the loop counter 'i' as the 'l' looks to similar to '1'

    1. JDX Gold badge

      It's the standard loop increment var surely. i, j, k is very widely used. Perhaps choose a different font or rely on the tool to tell you it's not valid (no idea what options their tool has)

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        ii, jj, kk if you must.

        That way you can search and replace.

        1. JDX Gold badge

          re:ii, jj, kk if you must.

          >That way you can search and replace.

          If your loop is big enough you need to search-replace that's probably a code-smell in a language which supports subroutines/methods/functions.

      2. Loud Speaker

        Because I, J, K, L, M, O and P, and any variable with a name beginning with those, is an integer in Fortran, and we all learned Fortran in College before BASIC was invented.

        1. Norman Nescio Silver badge

          Re: Implicit typing of variables

          Because I, J, K, L, M, O and P, and any variable with a name beginning with those, is an integer in Fortran, and we all learned Fortran in College before BASIC was invented.

          I gave you an upvote, but FORTRAN implicit variable name rules were that variables starting with I-N were integers, everything else, reals, unless, of course, you declared IMPLICIT NONE at the start.

          The problem with implicit typing of variables is that if you misspell a variable name, it won't be caught by a compiler, so you can get quite subtle errors. As FORTRAN is case insensitive in the source, you can inadvertently substitute a lower-case L for a capital i and <vice versa>, so a variable named "loopcounter" can be confused with "Ioopcounter". If you couple this with the undefined value of an uninitialised variable - some systems set such undeclared variables to zero, others provide you with any old junk, you can get some pretty nasty behaviour.

          I've had to debug some pretty gnarly FORTRAN code in my time. Modern tools make this easier, but a lot of code used in academia is not written by expert programmers, but by experts in whatever field that happened to need to do some data processing. FORTRAN made it easy to write code, but unfortunately left the door open to writing nearly unmaintainable bad code.

          1. Someone Else Silver badge
            Devil

            You can write FORTRAN in any language!

            See title above.

  7. Czrly

    What's this Silverlight thing?

    I navigated over to the SmallBasic landing page out of nostalgia for all those things I made in gwbasic, a... while... ago. Sadly, it needs something called Silverlight to run and I couldn't be arsed. Is that like Shockwave Flash or something?

    In an era where complete emulators for entire processor architectures can be implemented in pure JavaScript, complete with VGA-compatible graphics adaptors and SoudBlaster 16 cards, this SmallBasic thing comes across as minimum-effort by relying on Silverlight -- a technology that should have been exposed at birth and is certainly dead by now, surely.

    EDIT: Some of it does appear to run without Silverlight.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: What's this Silverlight thing?

      Ah, Silverlight, even it's mommy disowned it before everyone else.

    2. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Re: What's this Silverlight thing?

      In an era where complete emulators for entire processor architectures can be implemented in pure JavaScript...

      But SmallBasic presumably runs in a different era.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: What's this Silverlight thing?

        Silverlight was like a better version of Flash that arrived as everyone was starting to decide Flash was a bad idea. As a developer it was pretty neat because you could write .Net code that got run in the browser and get more code re-use client/server, as a user it was one more plugin to install.

        Netflix used to use it because I think it had more security than Flash, when Netflix dumped browser plugins that was probably about the end for SL.

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