An impressive selection of features.
I wonder how many will work?
Remember Longhorn. That turned out well.
Much of Microsoft's marketing push for Windows 8 has focused on consumers, but Redmond took time at its annual TechEd conference in New Orleans to explain that its forthcoming Windows 8.1 update will include lots of new enhancements for enterprises, as well. For the first time, Microsoft confirmed that Windows 8.1 will indeed …
Of course the majority of these features have been implemented and have been in use by many admins of NT/Win2000/Server with the aid of scripting and third party apps for years. Nice of MS to make things a little easier.
Still, I'm happy that I don't have to support Windows and its users anymore..
It all sounds good.....on the surface. My question is how easy it will be to use these new "features" and what their limitations are. Is there a demo of 8,1 somewhere to try these?
Not bashing, but MS talks big but delivers small. People are wise to talk. they want to try it first. I'm with them.
WIDI (Miracast is to new for most companies) is not that uncommon. The receiver box is small and carrying one when visiting a customer is convenient. Plug the VGA from the beamer in and you have a fully mobile device for presentation or handing around the table. Same for house-internal use.
WIFI-Direct to a localized printer using WPA2 and a solid, regular changing key - sure why not. Have this for consultants/guests etc. The unit is NOT in the main network
...aye, I will tell everybody here that we will replace all their Android and iOS tablets, phones etc, with a bunch of Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone devices, solely to be able to manage them with MS-based BYOD-management solution...
...or I might just simply install the new BlackBerry Enterprise Services 10 for free and pay $99/device as I go and easily manage iOS, Android and BB10 devices, down to the last details (latter even supports isolated work and private areas so I can limit movements of my info, apps etc but cannot check those kinky pics of the wife)...
...hmm, I wonder which one I will choose...
...except those numbers were *US-only*, *estimated* based on phone interviews and most importantly *before* BB even launched their new BB10 OS and devices here in the US - it's all in the footnotes, you should make a habit of reading them, y'know.
FYI those new devices are shipping at an estimated rate of 1.5M/month since February (and much to my surprise their newest kb-sporting Q10 is reportedly *outselling* Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5 at least in the UK and France, by some decent margins - once again, Q10 will only launch tomorrow here, in the US.)
Read on, Vogon:
Bought a new Windows 8 laptop a short time ago. Then spent several days trying to make sense of the new layout. Completely unusable IMHO.
Then google'd the issue and came up with a software product called StartIsBack. Downloaded, installed and was instantly back in the land of happy camping. Familiar start menu and boot to desktop, without being bothered by Microsoft's awful start screen. Registration fee of $3 took nanoseconds to confirm.
I am not connected with StartIsBack. Just a very happy customer.
I installed W8 on my Macbook recently. It took me about 30s to figure out the new layout. Seriously are you that stupid you can't figure out a big scrollable screen full of icons... annoying perhaps but unusable, absolutely not.
Did you actually spend days trying to figure it out, or days deliberately not understanding so you could complain about it while I was getting work done on mine?
"Too bad the rest of the planet is not as smart as you are! You must feel so lonely up there!"
Actually, I'm up there with the super-geniuses too, apparently. And so is my mother who similarly managed to use Windows 8 fine.
Seriously, children are able to learn the Windows 8 interface easily in no time. You really want to argue that you're less intelligent and IT capable than them?
"Seriously, children are able to learn the Windows 8 interface easily in no time. You really want to argue that you're less intelligent and IT capable than them?"
You mean as long as the newly installed apps automagically appear on the start-screen and they don't have to figure out how to access the "All Apps" screen.
Oh and what's wrong with the "X closes the app"... come on.. dragging down the window to close an app... how stupid is that? And who would have figured THAT out?
And then there's the ridiculous amount of steps to close down the Windows... is that progress? Really? Oh Dear!
Sorry but windows 8 is NOT an intuitive OS when the majority of apes have been trained to use a start-button and a start-menu with a simple upwards menu (with easy accesable "All programs") and shutdown.
In fact if I really need to revert back to a 90's look of an OS then I'd rather use RISC OS on Raspberry Pi. At least THAT combo boots up insanely quick (and is really intuitive).
"Did you actually spend days trying to figure it out, or days deliberately not understanding so you could complain about it while I was getting work done on mine?"
This is the same reason the people bitch about Linux. No one want to relearn something they've been doing for years. Kind of Ironic isn't it?
I would venture to guess most Sysadmins/tech enthusiasts don't have problems, I don't envy people that have to support users though.
JDX said " annoying perhaps but unusable, absolutely not."
Why should I or anyone else use, much less PAY for an annoying product?
I've had Win8 for months. I'd try to use it... and yes, I know/knew some of the short cuts and where things are at... but Windows 8 is butt-ugly and just not enjoyable to use.
That wasn't the point. The point is IT people are claiming it is UNUSABLE for them. This is patently false. For a non-IT person, the missing start button can be considered unusable since they may literally have no idea what to do. But people here aren't speaking on behalf of their mum, they are saying they themselves find it unusable.
Really? You can install and configure Linux but you literally cannot use W8? Look up the meaning of the word unusable.
Fine to complain if you find W8 annoying or crap, but saying it is unusable is, I would claim, a flat-out lie. You do not deserve to work in IT if you can't figure out awkward software... because about 50% of software is annoying. How about all those Linux tools which rely on you memorising hundreds of shortcut keys?
"Fine to complain if you find W8 annoying or crap, but saying it is unusable is, I would claim, a flat-out lie."
I'm sure you could do a days work with someone standing behind you playing bagpipes. It's not impossible but how long could you keep it up before you kill something?
I have used Windows 8, but if the boss gave me a shiny new W8 touch screen laptop it would not be long before I killed something.
Well if you've got a monopoly, you'd be a fool not to make use of it.
However, I don't think anyone really needed the plan laying out for them, Microsoft are clearly trying to move towards owning more of the ecosystem and I can't say I blame them. Windows has to support 10+ years worth of crap legacy software, this isn't the reason for it's bloat but it's certainly a major contributor, they just have too many users relying on the OS to be able to do a complete rewrite and cut this crap out. By moving more software in to a managed store, they can better manage changes and I'm sure they hope to be able to rip out some of their legacy code in the long run.
Microsoft are never going to be number one in mobile, or even number 2, I think their long game is for number 3 which, in a multi-billion pound and growing industry, is still a good chunk of money. You don't have to be number one for it to be worth competing.
They also see that BYOD is happening, although god knows who is actually doing it as IMHO it's a terrible idea, and they're trying to make Windows a good option for that use case, same as any company would do. Like it or not, in a BYOD environment, desktop apps just aren't going to work that well due to their myriad of undocumented dependencies and conflicts with each other. I don't go anywhere near Metro apps, but if I was writing an app to work in a BYOD scenario, Metro is actually the more manageable and maintainable platform. They really need to make writing these apps easier as it is currently a complete pig.
Like it or not, I think we all know where you stand Eadon, Windows is the main business OS and to completely ignore new ways of working such as BYOD would only serve to reduce their relevance, which has already been damaged by the Metro debacle.
EADON STATING THE OBVIOUS FAIL
Windows is not the problem. The OS itself is way better than the crap you see bolted on top of it.
I maintain that the problem is Win32s or whatever the fuck the API is called.
That is where a boatload and more of the crap resides. Every bad design decision they ever made, and there are a lot of them. Try looking ito WinSXS directory some day and you will see the pig they have created. The underlying operating system supports is not responsible for this, it is MSs crap coders and developers who create the junk that resides on the OS.
"- That's never been a problem for Linux. If you have a good kernel with stable API's, then supporting legacy software is not an issue at all."
Which is exactly the problem, Windows doesn't have a good kernel, hence why doing any sort of major restructuring is difficult. There are tons of undocumented low level APIs that, in truth, no one knows how or where they are being used, this makes touching them very risky. AC @ 13.45 puts it better than I.
""they just have too many users relying on the OS to be able to do a complete rewrite and cut this crap out"
Again, so does Linux, yet Linux is not bloated."
I can't think of many businesses that have thousands of end-user desktops running Linux. Not bashing, simply stating fact, unless of course you have evidence to the contrary...
"Sorry? In a BYOD env the users software works fine for that user. Why would they conflict?"
What I was referring to was the fact that in BYOD, IT essentially has no control of what prerequisites or conflicting applications exist on these machines, meaning there is a lot of scope for conflicts and missing dependencies. With the app store model, everything is sandboxed and can't have any of these external OS dependencies, making it must more robust when the state of a device is not known.
"Again you are sacrificing the convenience of the user for the convenience of the sys admin or MS. The users are the ones that get work done, and Metro prevents that productivity."
I'm not sacrificing anything, I'm just saying that the Metro app store model works better in this scenario. Whether or not that is a worthy trade-off is a decision for each individual business.
"So you seem to be saying that MS are right to use Metro to support BYOD even though Metro is damaging the relevance of Windows as a business device. Yes that makes sense..... NOT!"
No, simply saying it's easier for that model. If you're not doing BYOD, then I see no particular reason to go anywhere near Metro. However, if you are, then it is worth evaluating as a possibility as it's sand-boxed nature could provide some benefits in the long run. Whether or not it is right is, again, a decision for each business to make. I think MS have made a really poor job of making Metro usable for businesses (I tried writing a LOB app in it, I gave up in pretty short order), and BYOD is a possible place where it could serve some purpose where the difficulties of writing the apps is paid for by the easier maintainability and reduce possibility of conflicts with piece of software X on employee Y's machine.
Not everything is black and white, good or bad. Some things work for some scenarios but not others, I'm simply playing Devil's advocate.
" Windows doesn't have a good kernel, hence why doing any sort of major restructuring is difficult. "
Actually Windows has a modern and flexible hybrid microkernel architecture. That architecture is more powerful and flexible and with a far smaller attack surface than a monolithic kernel model like Linux, so whatever Window's faults might be, the kernel design isn't one of them....
I would like to have a near computing monopoly even if it means:
"""Windows has to support 10+ years worth of crap legacy software"""
Right like that is the problem for MS and not ensuring they get another monopoly on the new platforms.
Some of our customers are looking into or are already buying Windows penables like the Latitude-10 and Thinkpad Tablet 2 for their mobile workers. Those users do not need much more than a tablet pc / penable for 75+ percent of their work and the dock will work for the rest. Choosing x86 based units and Windows (one will use Win7, one will likely go Win8) has the benefits:
Integrating perfectly in their Windows based client infrastructure (AD, Printers, Sharepoint etc)
Allowing them to use the tool chain including the Java Applications and / or Windows-based software
Pen-Support does away with fingerprints and the need for BT keyboards etc
Android or iOS won't work, they would require at least a massive re-write of the Application/Applet based Java software for one customer. And Linux has no support for Wacom penables(1) and HWR so that would require on screen keyboards. iPads got rejected for that by a customer already.
(1) Before some links get posted: That is support for external Wacom tablets - totally different kit
"Microsoft are never going to be number one in mobile, or even number 2"
Well Windows Phone is now on 5.6% market share in the US and 8.4% in the UK, and Microsoft already took over 7.5% of the global tablet market since the launch of Windows 8....I think they will make at least #2.
How do you or someone else figure that? About half of those phones are WP7 and older devices (they count) - so yes, WP8 is doing about twice as good as WP7... but compared to Android and iPhone... is nothing. So for every WP8 phone sold, Apple sells 100+ and Android grows by another 200+.
If only sold about 2million MS powered tablets are sold in the past 6 months... then they don't have 7.5% of the market. Apple sells about 42million iPads in the past 6 months and 85million iPhones. Then theres about 60million Android tablets sold 100+ million Android phones (I don't have that number). You DON'T get 7.5% with that many sold. According to a more reputable source (not YOU) - MS tablet sales are 3.7% in sales volume, NOT total market share. Understand the difference?
Since the Win8/RT tablets started shipping, it doesn't wipe out the sales of the millions of previous other tablets. Besides, those sales are mostly because its a NEW toy... but overall, MS and OEMs have tablets gathering dust. They came into the market with high prices and sub-standard screens.
Throw Win8/RT into the fire along with WebOS/TouchPad and RIM's Playbook... they are failures.
I suspect you're being a tad optimistic there. Having said that, I'll congratulate anyone who manages to get to the top 2 coming from so far behind the established market leaders, regardless of who they are.
Interestingly, while watching a Samsung or HTC advert for their latest Droid phone the other day, I couldn't help but notice how much their home screen resembled the Windows home phone screen...
The hardware on Lumias I think is beautiful and the metro interface definitely appears to work better on a phone than it does a desktop, MS just need carriers and retailer start actually advertising their phones. While looking for a phone late last year, I went in every phone shop in my home town (we have pretty much all of them, and every charity ship imaginable) and only one had a Windows phone on display, the others didn't even have the slightest hint that they had them.
The enterprise featureas are a +"Nice to Have" list of things.
But what everyone really wants is the damned start menu back to what is was and at least to give us the choice to use TIFKAM or not.
Windows 8 is probably ready from an "administrators" point of view it is not ready from the "Users" point of view. This is an OS that has been desinged for touch screen computing, how many office workers do you know that have touch screens ?
It's not hatred, it's frustration, two very different things. We want a new OS just not this one.
Could it be that all those enterprise options are far less useful in a business environment than having a more workable Desktop environment?
I know this will come as a shock to you, Desktop mode is what business want/need/use on Enterprise computers.
Look I can wipe your device remotely!, thanks it is a piece of crap anyway.
beyond absurd, but at times comic :D unreasoning hatred towards MS has been around almost as long as MS itself, nothing changes but the world still goes round and while it does most of us are still using MS products among others happily. bit like teenagers hoping for some form of revolution this lot will grow up and pass the IT graffiti can on the next gen sooner or later. Start the revolution now and down vote this post ... lol
True... almost.. But the world is a difference place now than... 8 years ago. There was only WIndows, 3% Apple Macintosh and a sliver of Linux on desktops. (Not counting servers) - Smart Phones were less than 1% of the total phone market (Windows CE) and Symbian.
The tablets and smart phone changed everything. By 2014, tablets will over take notebooks... ouch. In todays world, as long as you have access to the internet and not a business that requires MS-Office... you don't need Microsoft. For gaming? PC Gaming is very weak... with most games going to console, which look better on a 60: screen compared to a typical 24" display.
How many of these features will only be available in the more expensive versions? Will 'boot to desktop' be available in all versions, or just Enterprise?
It sounds as if they may be getting somewhere half decent with this version, now if only someone senior would honestly admit that the whole initial Metro thing was an appalling cockup and apologise and say they should have listened to user feedback in the first place, then they may well start to regain a bit of credibility, but not if they keep wriggling and pretending all was wonderful and no-one made any mistakes.
Normally I am not one to stand behind Eadon's comments, but WOW AND WOW! That one hit it right on the nose. Being a tech and having to work with these piece of junk laptops that customers are buying from the stores with Windows 8 on them is absolutely painful. Especially the MS-signed UEFI boot manager. Holy crap what a pain!
A big part of me wants to jam my foot up MS's rear for that one. Thanks for making our lives a living hell there guys. Having to use the Windows Boot Manager just to access the BIOS??? Seriously??? Having to use the Windows Boot Manager just to access the BIOS?!?!?!?!?!?! (Yes I am aware I am repeating myself, but it just seemed like such a huge point that it was worth mentioning twice. Thank you Kryten....:) )
At any rate, I REALLY REALLY hope that Windows 8.1 also removes some of the pains that technicians like myself are up against with having to support these new machines.
Not looking good there. Including device encryption is one step away from, enabled by default. At least now if someone does something goofy we can get a fair bit of their data back.
Last couple of windows 8 issues Ive had to deal with were windows component registration issues. The underlying file was ok, but the registration of it was corrupted so endless reboot loop. In the past this could have been fixed, correcting the registry, fixing the files. But as more of the system becomes encrypted, digitally signed theres going to be less that we can do.
UEFI was the first step, cant have us loading something before their stuff. I guess I'm a little surprised at the pace, 8.1 device encryption and finally on by default? When? At this pace the major update after 8.1.
At that point off line fixes will be no longer practical. You'll have to fix things the Microsoft way. I need a new job, FAST!
Choose your favourite:
XFCE, MATE, Cinnamon, Gnome Shell, KDE.
I know this is shocking to most non-linux users but even Gnome Shell is better than TIFKAM, and applications on Linux run as long as all the required dependencies are installed in the box, so it is only a matter of preference.
I personally do not like where Gnome Shell is going, but KDE, XFCE and MATE are excelent.
And making the effort to learn about Linux pays lots of dividends in terms of computing freedom, It costs in time and effort, but I have come to the point in which I can use any RPM/DEB based distro, if one becomes way too annoying I just simply jump to another.
Not everybody has the inclination to endure what it entitles to have freedom, and I respect that, but do not talk about stuff you do not know.
Linux UI not straightforward? maybe, not unified? depends. Broken, no sir.
They decided to include NFC printing in the span of 6 months, but It took them 10 years to get the memo that we should be able to Right-click on DHCP leases and "convert them to reservations" in their DHCP server (I wonder how many years we will have to wait until we can have overlapping Exclusion Ranges), who knows, in a few years maybe even their NPS server will allow integration for MAC Authentication Bypass through proper Active Directory objects instead of forcing us to create hundreds of MAC-named user objects and requiring us to reduce our password requirements just to accommodate non-802.1x device support. (hell I'd settle for the ability to change the outgoing MAB password being sent to AD to something of my choosing, or allow us to point the NPS to the DHCP server and allow MAB access if they have a proper reservation for the scope.)
Oh well, suits can print from their iPhone to a printer, that's what really is important.
I am far from a networking specialist, the opposite in fact. But reading your post which I will take to be the true state of affairs, one wonders whether MS actually use their own software in house? If things are so cumbersome, surely the internal feedback should drive these things to be fixed, if only to improve MSs own efficiency and bottom line?
I guess I have failed to recognise MSs customer centric mantra.
Um, explain how re-typing the same already existing information into 4 new fields instead of being able to simply Right-Clicking and select "Convert to Lease" is superior. That is one of the two ways you normally interact with that piece of software on a daily basis, and that simple act was 5 times less efficient than it could have been. It took TEN years to implement, clearly they could care less how well their software works, and what we use it for.
What, do you work for Microsoft?
"...IT departments will be able to control the layout of the Windows 8.1 Start screen to ensure that apps are available and organized in a consistent way..."
this will make a few people I know rather happy, given that their Win 7 migration has now been cancelled in favour of a Win 8 migration...
Yeah because the start screen/menu IS the windows UI. Oh wait it's 1% of the UI that you use a few moments of the day.
It is bewildering how many supposedly smart IT people are so stunningly stupid at learning how to use new things. Even if you don't like it, it should take about 5 minutes to figure out how to use it and get on with your work. Same with Ribbon... a few minutes and you're back to work, and yet supposed IT professionals still bleat about how they can't understand it. If you were regular users I could understand the difficulties but you're not... perhaps IT isn't the field for you and you should be looking at flipping burgers.
The UI is not better, it's worse. Why be ok with something that's worse. It is demonstratively worse, and they know it. Hell, they fired the guy responsible for sticking us with it.
If we all simply sucked down whatever Microsoft was willing to give us without a fuss, in two years HALF of our screens would be permanently filled with mandatory ads and you'd need to enter a credit-card number to pay for each login session.
Can we "deal with it", yes. Can you walk with your shoe laces tied together, yes, but are you going to smile about it, no.
It's not a matter of "learning". Or, just to cover off a couple of the other terms that get thrown out, being a "luddite" or "afraid of change". I have no problem with change, when it's for the better.
I spent plenty of time using the previews of W8, enough to know that a schizophrenic UI/UX that insists on taking over my entire screen is not an improvement when a compact menu a) works just fine and b) doesn't force me to context switch when I'm trying to work. Enough time to realise just how bad an idea hot corners are on a multi monitor setup. To name just a couple of my bigger annoyances.
Now here's the thing. It's not a problem for me. I've simply stayed on Windows 7 at work. At home I'm pretty much in the "post-PC" world already. But if MS were to introduce the option of a "classic" mode then I might upgrade. Given the numbers 8 is (not) selling in, you'd think the message might have got through.
You know what JDX, many of us are not "stunningly stupid". Some even have bits of paper and Mensa membership numbers to prove it.
a) We get tired of trolls like you impugning our intellect. Trust me, some of live on the right hand tail of the curve
b) I have flipped burgers for a living. I have also swept streets. I object to your demeaning comments about burger flippers, because some of my best mates were burger flippers before we found other careers. You are a smug self centered c*'t <- ad hominum
c) The ribbon is an abomination by itself. The combination we get in Office on the Mac is a better model as everyone who has to change between the two knows and not too gfew comment so here in this forum.
d) TIFKAM is a diabolical mess. Almost to a man, people whose profession it is to design UIs repeat the same message. I can learn to manipulate all sorts of arcane devices, especially if there is some reason to do so. TIFKAM offers no reason or "prize" for having done so - it remains a UI pig.
e) Start screen is not the point. It's absence is an unnecessary irritation. It was removed for design purity and to adhere to the underlying minimalistic ideals. The designers merely failed to realise that they were removing an essential and useful element.
Voting this way --->
Did you actually have a point to make Philip? Because nowhere did I say W8 UI was better than W7, or that it was good. Nowhere did I say Ribbon was good either (though I think it is).
What I said was that all this "W8 is unusable" guff is just toy-throwing bullshit. I can count on one hand the number of times W8 has caused me any problems actually using my PC or getting work done. It may be a step backwards, but anyone with a brain and IT experience should be able to adapt within a few hours if not a few minutes.
The OS, like the PC, is just a tool to get work done. Learn how to use it, don't lie about being too stupid to know how to.
And grubbing for votes on a site where "M$" is enough to make people titter, how low you sink sir.
Dude (Philip Lewis),
If you need to collect pieces of paper or Mensa membership numbers to tell you how smart you are, guess what? You really aren't that smart. (Mensa? Really?) You need only be smart enough to succeed. You'll know when you've gotten there, without the papers or memberships. Honest.
Many of these are designed to facilitate a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) environment, such as the ability to print using Wi-Fi Direct, share the screen using Miracast, pair with printers using near field communication (NFC), and have Windows 8.1 devices act as Wi-Fi hotspots via built-in broadband tethering.
Huh? Just how much BYOD FUD is being paid for around here?
Print using Wi-Fi Direct... most useful for tablets and laptops to print to non-domain or non-local printers. i.e. go to a friends house, print something on their printer. A BYOD system in an office environment will connect to the local network and be given access to printers through the carefully controlled access to printers functionality that the BYOD sellers are selling.
Share a screen with Miracast. Nope, I'm at a loss. This is particularly related to BYOD how?
Pair with printers using NFC? Sounds like basically the same as Wi-Fi Direct...
Windows 8 Wi-Fi Hotspots... so, useful for the home, bugger all of use in a corporate environment and nothing to do with BYOD.
Interesting that Micro$oft is doing a *slight* backpedal on the Start button/menu issue -- not enough, but at least a little bit. But it doesn't matter.
The best Windows for business is NO Windows at all. We have truly entered the era of "Network Computing" that was touted by forward-looking technologists in the late 1990's, but ridiculed by Windows-centric pointy haired types. Although the name has changed (now it's called "Post-PC Era") the concept is the same.
Any business type who continues to put Windows on the desktop is spending too much. We old geezers who remember the days of a *terminal* on every desktop also remember how easy it was to support.
Biometric authentication is baked into the OS, so that users can authenticate with their fingerprints anywhere within Windows.
Does this mean that it is incorporated in the way that the IP stack was with NT (see: Ping of Death), that there are APIs to support biometrics, or that some common drivers come preloaded? Assuming number two (a safe bet, it seems with Windows 8), how does this offer an advantage over existing implementations of this security measure. At this point, there have to be drivers installed, hardware hooked up, and software that is aware of it for fingerprint readers (or any other security measure) to be useful. Isn't that how it is now? How much will this integration effectively change anything?
see: Ping of Death:
IBM AIX, WindRiver BSDOS, HP HP-UX, SGI IRIX, Linux Kernel, Sun Solaris, IBM OS2, Microsoft Windows 95, Data General DG/UX, Microsoft Windows NT: 4.0, Microsoft Windows 98, Novell NetWare, SCO SCO Unix, Microsoft Windows 98SE, Microsoft Windows 2000, Cisco IOS, Microsoft Windows Me, Compaq Tru64, Microsoft Windows XP, Apple Mac OS, Microsoft Windows 2003 Server
Actually caused in Windows because Windows used some crappy UNIX code from BSD....
People seriously make that comparison? WTF !?!?!?
Android should be compared to IOS and windows phone not windows 8.
When someone else creates a better product Microsoft will learn, until then, "get what you're given and like it" I believe is the situation!
This is where all the linux fanbois down vote me and flame about how awesome it is but linux is only a kernel ... show me a version of linux that isn't riddled with issues and i'll conceed defeat ... that's actually a trick question since the linux community is incapable of agreeing on anything thus all versions of linux built on the kernel have to deal with excessive indecision below them and thus are limited in their ability to anything of serious value.
I believe the closest to this are canonical and red hat, neither of these companies have produced an entire enterprise grade desktop to datacenter environment that has stood up when compared to Microsoft offerings and yet that list of garbage complaints about Microsoft continues ...
Begin down voting - Linux fails!
I gave up Windows in about 2007 having dabbled with Linux for a few years before that. I used to 'Dual Boot' between the two but after a while I found I was running Linux almost exclusvely, rarely booting into windows. As Head of Physics in a busy College, I don't have time for playing with IT or putting my preference for Linux first - I just want to use a computer effectively and efficiently to do what I need to do.
As such, I need reliability, simplicity, and no hogging of resources, viruses etc. No, I'm not claiming Linux is 'perfect' but purely on useability, it is my OS of choice as it works so well, without the problems long time Windows users are used to. I want my OS to enable me to work, and play, with ease - not be a means into itself. Incidentally, if you boot up a PC just to admire the OS and what it does (or doesn't in the case of Windows 8) then might I suggest you go out a little more....
Paraphrased from a comment on the BBC website
"I can look at the screen and see facebook and the weather, don't know what everyone is complaining about, Windows 8 is lovely"
The majority of people will go to windows 8, it's just that the MS sheepdog has a lot of sheep it needs to send in a new direction.
However on a brighter note, I have been working with a number of NGO's and charities of late and they are starting to 'get it' they may use windows OS, but they are mostly using open/libre office, as they cannot justify the cost of MS Office when there is a free product that is suitable for their needs, because of this experience they are now 'open' to open source.
"It's good to see orgs switching to LibreOffice. It's not only free and gives freedom, but it actually BETTER than MS Office. It has no ribbons to frustrate the user."
Can't say I have seen a single user of a non Microsoft version of a desktop install of Office yet and i'm involved with a LOT of companies. As to better - how exactly? It has a lot less functionality, and costs a lot more to support. If it was better, then surely companies would be rushing to it, but in reality Microsoft's Office division grew in revenue last quarter....
If ribbons frustrate you, it just means that no one ever bothered investing anything in training you. I guess you work in a Linux monkey farm? The Office ribbons are faster and more functional than the previous versions once you understand the concepts and location of the core functionality!
Decisions in the industrie are (at least partially/mostly) done on "what is needed" not on "What does the great toeCheese eater decree today". And if you need features like VBA - then you use MS Office. Even if you are a "Li(m|n)ux using city" - that's what Citrix and taxpayers money is for.
Windows 8 Professional with Mac-style desktop, Nexus dock, Start8 w/XP Start button. Essentially a quicker Windows 7. One thing I hope they address in Blue is the wifi connection manager, which doesn't exist in Win8Pro... Wifi8 is available but why would you remove it in the first place?
This form over function is going a bit far.
All the marketing hype in the world and even via hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising and paying technology media shills to propagandize will not change facts on the grouns that Windows 8.1, 9.0 or even 11.0 - if based on same OS infrastructure, of Windows have inherent weak security and reliability/scalability issues that wont be addressed.
There is a tried and true saying - (paraphrasing) - that you can put lipstick on a pig, but you will still not get a Miss america, or even a brilliant one.
For too long corporate America, as well most large organizations here, the US educational system and even the States and Federal governments have thrown almost all of their technological eggs in Microsoft's basket, leaving the company to pry hundreds of billions of dollars from these customers without necessarily providing the best solutions - technologically or in Return on Investment (ROI). These actions have come back to haunt the country via the severe vulnerabilities of technology intrusions experienced recently that President Obama and every one else blames mostly on the Chinese government and is attempting to mitigate this dilemma by "negotiating" with the Chinese "not" to so easily hack our Microsoft infrastructure.
Richard Clark, who was The US Federal Government Cyber Czar under Presidents George Bush and President Obama for a short time, lay much of the blame for this US technological weakness squarely at the feet of Microsoft software. Almost every technology evaluation of software, particularly Operating Systems (OS) have shown that Windows is a very poor choice as compared to for example, UNIX (including *BSD) and particularly Linux, whether for desktops, servers or mobile devices. The results speak for themselves in entities like NASDAQ and other Financial Stock Exchanges and Wall Street operations, NASA, most European municipalities and countries' governments, Russia for their entire education and most of government operations, a majority o countries in South America, Netflix recently and even South Africa and Cuba moving a significant portion of their software away from Microsoft.
It is therefore not surprising that USA is in one of the most fragile positions internationally regarding software security, not because much fantastic technology does not exist or was not created here on this soil, but because of the country's destructive addiction to using failed technology from a large US company. just because the company's founders have risen to be the most wealthy in the world and this makes a fairytale story for the USA to propagate.
What then are the twenty first century benefits in “exceptional” security and great reliability of Windows 8.1 for business (not readily available in Apple Mac OSX or RedHat Linux) ?
"Windows have inherent weak security and reliability/scalability issues that wont be addressed"
Uhm - I guess you dont know that Windows has built in layered security and auditing throughout the OS from the bottom up since NT3.51? It is actually Linux that requires bolt-ons like SEL Linux and NFS 4.1 experimental filesystem to even approach the security model of Windows....And Linux still isn't capable of the advanced constrained delegation models and features like Dynamic Access Control that Windows has...
If you want to criticise Windows, at least pick something that's accurate....
"Uhm - I guess you dont know that Windows has built in layered security and auditing throughout the OS from the bottom up since NT3.51? It is actually Linux that requires bolt-ons like SEL Linux and NFS 4.1 experimental filesystem to even approach the security model of Windows....And Linux still isn't capable of the advanced constrained delegation models and features like Dynamic Access Control that Windows has..."
Sounds rather like VMS to me.
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