back to article 'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux

New videos of a "Windows 9" variant have emerged, and to this hack's eyes they look to have brought Windows up to speed with tricks that various desktop flavours of Unix have had for a decade or more. The feature in question is being described as “multiple desktops” and looks an awful lot like the “workspaces” that have been …

  1. Hans 1 Silver badge
    Windows

    Meeeh

    I have had that in gnome for as long as I can remember ... with 3d moving cube transitions since about 2004 ?

    Does it have some fanzy transitions ? Probably in 10 more years ;-)

    1. Hans 1 Silver badge

      Re: Meeeh

      CDE had that in the 90's - I cannot remember if you could have a different backdrop on each, I think you could on Solaris 8, iirc.

      1. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

        Re: Meeeh

        Before CDE HP-UX had them in VUE, and I'm sure they'd been around before then. Now HP's VUE is where MS got 3d effect windows from, HP & MS had agreed on making various things common in appearances and many of the keyboard shortcuts. These then became available in Windows 3. So its taken them a long time to implement the rest... like 25 or more years.

      2. JEDIDIAH
        Linux

        Re: Meeeh

        The earliest Window managers had virtual workspaces and a pager to make switching between them pretty seamless. A 1994 style pager seems to be the big thing missing in a lot of these MS/Apple attempts at recreating 20+ year old Unix ideas.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Meeeh

        Ummm, Windows XP had this also. Not installed by default but a free download from MicroSoft.....I was running it before Vista came out.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Meeeh

      Had that on SGI Unix (pre CDE) back at the start of the 1990s.

      1. Trigonoceps occipitalis

        Re: Meeeh

        Back in the day I had two sides on my clay tablet.

        1. Jim 59

          Re: Meeeh

          When I run out of fingers on one hand, I have another whole new hand, which I then switch to ---

      2. RealFred

        Re: Meeeh

        And it was never very useful

    3. Colin Miller

      Re: Meeeh

      IIRC, Tom's Virtual TWM had multiple desktops since 1994 or so.

      1. Ian Emery Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Meeeh

        I am fairly certain this was a feature on the abacus back in 1527BC.

        1. RealFred

          Re: Meeeh

          Not in the original, it was in the abacus update version 1 in 1500 BC

      2. I Am Spartacus

        Re: Meeeh

        So, we can clearly say "Prior Art" when Microsoft issues a patent on this, can we?

        1. danielbUK

          Re: Meeeh

          It hasn't been invented yet untilit is released and patented by Apple you mean. It must be some sort of witchcraft if it appeared before they release it.!!!!!!!!!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Meeeh

          That was already done: a suit against RedHat about Virtual Desktops was dismissed when the 'prior art' was shown in court, running in an early 1980's Commodore Amiga!

          But you may want to read about Xerox Rooms for Windows, (c) 1989-1992!

          http://toastytech.com/guis/xrmw.html

          This one is running under Windows 3.1, but I remember that it could run unde Windows/386 2.01, also.

          1. Kepler
            Thumb Up

            Xerox Rooms for Windows (was "Re: Meeeh")

            "But you may want to read about Xerox Rooms for Windows, (c) 1989-1992!"

            Very interesting! Thank you for posting!

            I never heard of Xerox Rooms for Windows before. (Nor of its companion, Xerox Rooms for X Windows (sic).

            http://toastytech.com/guis/xrms.html

            I clicked on the first screen shot and verified, it really does say "Rooms for X WindowS" — twice! — instead of "Rooms for X Window", as it should.)

            On balance I prefer the implementation of virtual desktops in PC Tools for Windows, from Central Point Software (may it rest in peace — gone, but not forgotten!).

            http://toastytech.com/guis/cpdesk.html

            Judging from the descriptions and the screen shots of each, and my memory of using the "Central Point Desktop" in PC Tools for Windows ("PCTW"), the latter was a more polished and fully developed implementation of virtual desktops than that in Xerox Rooms. In particular:

            * Each individual desktop in PCTW was fully, easily and awesomely customizable, using menus right there in the desktop (and using right-click menus as well, if memory serves). (According to the link Anonymous Coward provided above, Xerox Rooms required use of the Windows Control Panel to change things like desktop backgrounds. Its own built-in controls were limited.)

            * And PCTW provided — in my opinion — a better mini-view of all open desktops, and more and better (on balance) ways to navigate and switch among them. (You can switch desktops either by selecting a different desktop from a pull-down menu in the top right corner of the screen, or by clicking on the appropriate image in the mini-display of open desktops. I forget what that display is called, but it is fully customizable, resizable, reshapeable (e.g., in the case of 6 desktops: 1x6 horizontal, 2x3, 3x2, or 6x1 vertical), and repositionable.)

            (Click on the links, read the descriptions, view the screen shots and judge for yourself, if you are interested. The fact that PCTW provided a full-blown replacement for Program Manager — whereas Rooms for Windows did not replace Program Manager at all — and the integration of PCTW's multiple desktop capability with all the other features and aspects of its replacement shell, give PCTW a huge advantage.)

            But the two implementations (Xerox's and Central Point's) appear to be quite similar, and more alike than different. More proof that virtual desktops were perfectly possible under Windows 3.1 or earlier!

            So why has Microsoft waited until now to offer them itself?

    4. h4rm0ny

      Re: Meeeh

      >>"Does it have some fanzy transitions ? Probably in 10 more years ;-)"

      Ugggh. I hope not. I remember all those wibbly-wobbly windows in KDE and rotatable cube desktops. It was fun to see for about five seconds and then you turned it off.

      This is a little late for me as these days I meet my needs with multi-monitor set-ups and I have 24" monitors, too. But it used to be the biggest thing I missed when going from using my *NIX box to someone's XP/Vista machine with a single 15" monitor. That felt really constraining. Nowadays it's much less of an issue. But still nice to see.

      I could do without the Start Menu back. I wish MS would for once in their existence have the guts to stick with their vision despite angry internet commentators. XB1 - entirely digital with discs only as a distribution medium, share games across the entire country without ever meeting. "Nooo - we want to exchange grubby and breakable plastic and connecting once a day for five seconds even over a tethered phone is too much for us!". Simple swipe down in Metro to close an app. "Nooo! We're confused without a little minimize icon. Give it back to us! (even though it's meaningless in an environment where you switch between apps rather than a windowed environment you have to close a program out of the way)". Hit windows key and type the first few letters of the program you want / move the mouse a minimal distance to select the much larger target of grouped icons, about forty to a screen? "Noooo - we want to navigate up and down a small hierarchical menu for the dozen or so programs we commonly use. It's always been that way and should be that way forever".

      MS - great ideas, backbone of a jellyfish.

      1. mrmond

        Re: Meeeh

        We get it, that's what you like. But trust me, a lot don't.

        My daughter had a new laptop last week, she tried to get used to it, she even liked some of it. In the end I installed an add on that gives her the traditional menu and/or the Metro interface.

        And that is what most people do want. The choice.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Meeeh

          Actually that is one of the problems. When MSFT say "this is the new Windows and it works in a slightly different, but much faster, way" all the WiFanBois scream "where's my start menu button?".

          Henry Ford once said that when he first demonstrated the Model T a lot of people would ask "where do I put the hay in?"

        2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Meeeh

          Mm: "...what most people do want. The choice."

          No. Impossible. You'd have to invent a check-box technology, and something like a Registry or similar data structure to store the user's preference. This is all completely impossible. Computers OSes must contain hard coded decisions, and it is impossible to offer any user options whatsoever.

          Right?

          </Sarcasm>

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Meeeh

        small hierarchical menu for the dozen or so programs we commonly use

        So let's slap a full-screen window in their faces to they can find them better?

        I don't think either solution is all that great. I think Linux has it right with the categorised menu*, rather than each company (and therefore peice of software) having their own sub-menu.

        In windows, I almost always have to search in the start menu. In Linux, it's easy to click on it, when I'm in "mouse mode". I wish Windows could copy that, but I guess it's too late.

        *I know you can make it happen in Windows, but you need to manually organise it. I gave up on that since Win95.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Meeeh

        "MS - great ideas, backbone of a jellyfish."

        No. Appalling ideas, arrogant until it hurts them. The customer is always right[*] - they're the ones paying for and using the damn thing. They will change whatever it is they have to in order to make more money, regardless.

        Perhaps if you didn't blindly cheer Microsoft's crappy ideas so then you wouldn't need to U-turn when they do.

        [*] Please don't waste my time with a Ford mis-quote.

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: Meeeh

          >>"Perhaps if you didn't blindly cheer Microsoft's crappy ideas so then you wouldn't need to U-turn when they do."

          I haven't U-turned in the slightest. I wrote about how I liked Start Screen when it was the way things were done, I'm writing about how I like it now when MS appear to be retreating on it. I have always been consistent except during the developer preview before I'd gotten used to it.

          I am always consistent. It is MS that have changed directions which is why I now criticize them whereas before I was saying how good it was. This doesn't match up with your insults about "blindly cheerleading" at all.

          And no, the customer is not "always right". Anyone who has ever worked in programming for a week knows that.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Meeeh

            > And no, the customer is not "always right". Anyone who has ever worked in programming for a week knows that.

            If you presented a prototype/beta to a customer, and they said "No, it's a piece of fucking shit, I want a bell on it" - would you insist it's the best thing ever, and force them to use and pay for it?

            Would you say to your client "You're just holding it wrong, dumbass! You just don't get it, do you? I've spent months working on this and you will use it because I know better"?

            When they are paying for it, you advise them, then it's up to them to take your advice. You then just give them what they want.

            Anyone who's been a developer / software engineer for at least a year knows that.

            1. Rob Gr

              Re: Meeeh

              "Would you say to your client "You're just holding it wrong, dumbass! You just don't get it, do you? I've spent months working on this and you will use it because I know better"? "

              Seemed to work for Apple.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Meeeh

              Hmm, in my experience you have got the developer down to a tee - 'my software is perfect, you the user are just too dumb to use it'

            3. h4rm0ny

              Re: Meeeh

              >>Would you say to your client "You're just holding it wrong, dumbass! You just don't get it, do you? I've spent months working on this and you will use it because I know better"?

              Seems to have worked pretty well for Apple so far.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Meeeh

            "I haven't U-turned in the slightest"

            Sorry, I guess I was ranting at fanboys in general.

            You haven't, and I did target you personally when I shouldn't have, so I accept your first two paragraphs.

          3. Someone Else Silver badge
            Coat

            @ h4rm0ny -- Re: Meeeh

            I have always been consistent except during the developer preview before I'd gotten used to it.

            I am always consistent.

            Something about stubborn, and hobgoblins, comes to mind....

        2. Psymon

          Re: Meeeh

          The customer is NOT always right. Especially not in groups. We only need glance at the bland, boring and inane releases of the focus group driven car designs during the turn of the millennium.

          At the end of the day, the final decision needs to be made by one person who is brave enough to stick to a vision. It's what saved Apple from their floundering inwardly collapsing business.

          I see by your attitudes you are clearly mired in the 90s, and still hold resentment against 'Microshat' for what you deem to be his evil deeds that held down the "clearly superior" operating system, which would have OBVIOUSLY been the dominant OS of choice in business...

          Except, that isn't the case, is it? Apple had Jobs (on and off, and it really shows his influence was what made the company a success), Microsoft had Gates, who, admittedly, did let the sheer scale of the monster he'd created get the better of him for a while, but in 2002, really started to turn it around.

          Linux has what? Linus? Not really. While I may have respected him some time back, he's merely a self centred bully, and really doesn't have the vision or the power to pull the meandering behemoth in the right direction.

          "Linux can now support 1024 CPUs!"

          "Great. Will it finally work with the wifi card in my laptop?"

          It's truly ironic how this article has picked up on a somewhat redundant and gimmicky feature and said "Hey, we had this for ages!" Personally, I look at the Linux GUIs as "nearly there", and "not quite". And, it's not just me. Corporations aren't stupid. There's a reason they pay gigantic licence fees for Microsoft products.

          Having multiple desktops is cute, but Microsoft's Clipbook algorithms have been so far in advance of everybody else', we don't even think of it as a feature anymore. The Linux community should be collectively hanging their heads in shame. It's over a decade since I had to admit that it was the best at copy and paste out of all the OSs, and they've remained ahead of the game since.

          "What do you mean, I can't right-click an image in a webpage, copy it, then flick to a remote desktop, and paste it directly into a random third party application running on a machine the other side of the world?"

          Linux has a great, and brilliantly designed core, and given its royalty-free, which has allowed it to survive almost exclusively as the core that runs the Internet Of Things but guess what? Microsoft are catching up, FAST!

          Linux might always have the Free thing, but as we are now seeing, the vulnerabilities in IOT devices are starting to become a real problem, and when it comes to security, Microsoft have been leading the world for quite some time...

          1. Maventi

            Re: Meeeh

            "Linux has a great, and brilliantly designed core, and given its royalty-free, which has allowed it to survive almost exclusively as the core that runs the Internet Of Things but guess what? Microsoft are catching up, FAST!"

            The freedom aspect is primarily what has made Linux successful here - the 'royalty-free' aspect is simply one of many consequences of that. It's the fact that there are no restrictions on how you can use it, and that you can modify it in any way you like. If Microsoft are going to go anywhere of consequence in the IOT space they need to radically overhaul their licensing models and really let things go. They have taken a few steps in that direction over the years but I don't think they have the cojones to take it as far as it needs to be.

            "Linux might always have the Free thing, but as we are now seeing, the vulnerabilities in IOT devices are starting to become a real problem, and when it comes to security, Microsoft have been leading the world for quite some time..."

            I would argue that rushed implementations and marketing trumping engineering would be the bigger factors here. There are excellent security features in both Linux and Windows but it seems that most of these problems are due to these either not being implemented properly or at all in favour of development time.

            1. h4rm0ny

              Re: Meeeh

              >>"The freedom aspect is primarily what has made Linux successful here"

              Well no, the free (as in Beer) aspect is an enabler of success. In that if it cost a lot of money that would obviously have held it back. But it's not the reason GNU/Linux has been a great success. It's because it's very capable of doing the job. Evidence: it is free as both a server platform for websites and as a Desktop OS for end users. But it is massively more successful as the former. Ergo, whilst its low cost helps allow it to be taken up, it's the tremendous suitability that has really established it. Also, anecdotally, I work with clients who would be perfectly willing to use Windows Server and pay the costs if that's what the admins told them was needed, but the admins have said "we're putting in some new CentOS servers" and the higher-ups have simply nodded and signed off pretty much the same way they would have if the admins had said "Windows Server, sign here". I genuinely think that the cost (free as in beer) aspect of GNU/Linux is a secondary factor for its success to its actual capability and reliability. And this is coming from someone who likes Windows Server 2012 quite a lot, btw!

              >>"It's the fact that there are no restrictions on how you can use it, and that you can modify it in any way you like."

              Well, the GPL2 does have restrictions and they're every bit as enforceable as any other copyright-based law. Also, there are practical restrictions on what you can do. The vast majority of Open Source code works in a friendly and compatible way without forking, especially something as fundamental as the Linux kernel or the GNU tools.

              "If Microsoft are going to go anywhere of consequence in the IOT space they need to radically overhaul their licensing models and really let things go."

              I actually don't think that's necessary. People are willing to pay an extra for things if they like it. Technically OSX is free, but in practice you pay for it as part of buying a Mac. Microsoft suffered badly as a consequence of the Race to the Bottom that most OEMs pulled between 2000 to 2010. It took a while to come home but when it did, Macs savaged Windows laptops badly and Google found a way to monetize people, meaning they could attack the bottom end as well. MS and its OEMs only good way of fighting back against this is not to cut costs, but to raise quality. They're not going to win on price because they can't and because people are actually willing to pay for quality (laptops are being bought and kept for much longer now, as the pace of technology power is hitting Good Enough, and so seen as more of an investment worth paying for).

              So changes to licencing the mobile area can help encourage OEMs, but overall, MS need to focus on high quality. Anything else is a strategic mistake, imo.

          2. AlbertH

            Re: Meeeh

            MS products frequently fail to work with modern hardware, and MS's worthless and expensive "certification" process doesn't make it any more likely that a third-party driver will actually work. MS' marvellous clipbook algorithms are copied wholesale from Gnome circa 2003....

            MS are (roughly) five years behind Apple and more than ten years behind Linux and BSD. They will continue to play "catch up" for the rest of their (short) existence. Large corporations, governments and other institutions are now asking why they are blindly paying exhorbitant licence fees to MS for products that NEVER work properly - ever more of them are migrating away from Windows.....

            Just remember: Microsoft have NEVER released ANY product that works properly.

            1. Kepler
              Boffin

              Credit Where Credit Is Due (was "Re: Meeeh")

              Just remember: Microsoft have [sic] NEVER released ANY product that works properly."

              DOS 6.0 and especially 6.2 both worked quite well. (Scandisk was rock-solid.) So did Access 2.0 (live views, and the incorporation of the Rushmore indexing technology acquired with the Foxpro purchase) and some early versions of Excel (pivot tables, etc.). And for that matter, even Multiplan was actually pretty good in its day. Microsoft tended to do good work when it faced serious competition and was not already the market leader.

              There also was a lot that was good in early versions of Windows NT (4.0 and earlier — especially 3.5), and in Microsoft's contributions to OS/2. (HPFS for sure. The serialized message queue, not so much.)

              But in the past 20 years . . .

      4. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: Meeeh

        H4rm0ny, I really can't tell whether that third paragraph is a joke or not, because nobody with half a brain could possibly hold that view.

        Swipe down - will that scroll? Will it close and lose my work? Minimise and keep my work? How do I tell what will happen before it happens?

        An icon that I can click on or poke has a thingy called a tooltip. Once I've read that tooltip, I know what it will do. (Or rather, I should).

        Gestures cannot be labelled, and as they depend on context they are completely undiscoverable.

        Watch this video. Labels matter.

        The "half dozen" programs I commonly use pop up in the first level of the Windows 7 Start menu.

        The hundred or so programs that I don't use very often but still need to have show in a hierarchical menu structure that lets me put "like with like".

        I can already hit "windows" then type to search. Guess what - it simply doesn't work. It's a fundamentally bad concept because it does not match with how people think.

        For a concrete example - I use IBM ClearCase. The application for it used to be called "Remote Client", and it's now called "ClearTeam Explorer". If I search for "IBM", "team" or "clearcase" it's not found.

        With the old name, searching for "remote client" or "explorer" it's found, along with half a dozen other programs with almost identical names - with the old name I had several where the only difference was the icon.

        How do you search for something when you do not know what it's called?

        On Windows 7 I can follow the menu Programs > IBM Rational ClearCase > and bingo!

        At home I can search for a fork - kitchen > cutlery drawer > bingo!

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: Meeeh

          >>"H4rm0ny, I really can't tell whether that third paragraph is a joke or not, because nobody with half a brain could possibly hold that view."

          I make a joke here about one day a year. Today is not that day.

          >>"Swipe down - will that scroll? Will it close and lose my work? Minimise and keep my work? How do I tell what will happen before it happens?"

          You can tell because it does the same thing as last time, and every time. Might as well ask how you would know what the little flat line is supposed to do if you've never clicked on it before. Swipe down close, swipe from left to switch between apps. Or just Alt+Tab if using a keyboard. Very easy, no need to clutter screen with window bars or icons - more screen real estate.

          >>"Gestures cannot be labelled, and as they depend on context they are completely undiscoverable."

          There are four directions you can swipe. That's pretty easy and once learned, you know. There are a dozen things just as unknown to you about your current OS but which you assume are obvious because you've grown used to them. Where is the tooltip on your double-click?

          >>"The "half dozen" programs I commonly use pop up in the first level of the Windows 7 Start menu."

          Start Screen holds five or more times that without having to resort to nesting or scrolling. Thus is better for anyone who uses forty or less programs regularly.

          >>"The hundred or so programs that I don't use very often but still need to have show in a hierarchical menu structure that lets me put "like with like"."

          They are still easily findable with the Start Screen either by scrolling down to the full list or simply typing. It is far better to optimize for the 90% of the time than the 10% of the time, so all those "hundred" programs (seriously) aren't cluttering up your normal usage. I'm a power user and I use about twenty programs routinely, and that's significantly more than most people. So why make people hunt for them in a menu with a small target area?

          >>"I can already hit "windows" then type to search. Guess what - it simply doesn't work"

          It does. I do it all day long. Win key, "ex" and return, I'm in Excel. Four key strokes quickly entered in less time than it would take to reach the mouse.

          >>"How do you search for something when you do not know what it's called?"

          In that minority case, you scroll down to the full list of programs and read.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Meeeh

            The advantage of a GUI is the discoverability. With all the secret handshake gestures you've just mentioned, the discoverability wasn't there.

            How did you "discover" these gestures? By clicking your mouse at random until it did something? Did you have to google it? RTFM?

            1. h4rm0ny

              Re: Meeeh

              >>"How did you "discover" these gestures? By clicking your mouse at random until it did something? Did you have to google it? RTFM?"

              How did you discover double-clicking did something? How did you discover holding down the mouse button on a window bar and dragging moved the window around?

              Honestly, you know you can swipe / drag from the side, I do, everybody here does. But I forget - the attitude on El Reg that we're all special people with great technological gifts. Perish the thought that Ordinary People could learn to do this quickly and easily.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Meeeh

                How did you discover double-clicking did something? How did you discover holding down the mouse button on a window bar and dragging moved the window around?

                Sigh, strawman...

                In program manager, I clicked it once - it didn't work. Clicked twice... tada! Dragging the title bar for some reason was obvious to me. I had never seen or used a GUI before, but I read that windows can be moved about and sized - figuring out how to do it wasn't difficult.

                Now, mouse/finger gestures just aren't obvious, unless you randomly drag/stroke until something happens? They might be cool for extra functionality, or when there's already a well established method to perform the same task.

                Perhaps I'm just thicker than the average Windows grunt but even though, until recently, I've been developing GUI apps since 1992/3 (for Win3.0) I couldn't figure out how to get rid of metro apps (or shutdown) without slamming every key until something happened. Yep, I've been out-smarted by Windows.

                If my software required some special knowledge for basic operations, it would get uninstalled and they'd move on to competing products.

              2. Martin-73 Silver badge

                Re: Meeeh

                Making swiping/swirling gestures was tried in web browsers in the early naughties I believe. It failed because it's non-intuitive. Why ANYONE would think it;'s a good way to do basic tasks in an OS, I have no idea.

                And please don't assume anyone's using a touchscreen, they failed for desktop computing in the 90s because of 'gorilla arm', which is why they'll fail now

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Meeeh

                  >>And please don't assume anyone's using a touchscreen, they failed for desktop computing in the 90s because of 'gorilla arm', which is why they'll fail now

                  Also it would be pretty inconvenient for me to get up from my couch to touch my TV to interact with it.

              3. el_oscuro
                Linux

                Re: Meeeh

                Double-clicking and dragging windows around with the mouse have been pretty universal GUI interfaces since the 1980's when mouses came into general use. I am pretty sure they were documented in the printed manual that came with the Windows floppy disks that you bought at egghead back then as well. Sort of like knowing how how to dial a telephone number. What, what, phones don't have dials anymore? How do I call someone?

                By contract, these "Gestures" are not universal, not obvious, nor is there a nice printed manual that came with Windows to describe them.

                1. h4rm0ny

                  Re: Meeeh

                  >>"Double-clicking and dragging windows around with the mouse have been pretty universal GUI interfaces since the 1980's when mouses came into general use"

                  Not what I wrote. My point was that double-clicking is not inherently discoverable. Most mouse use isn't. My point is that they're known through familiarity not their obviousness and therefore supposed lack of discoverability of the active sides in Windows 8 can't be dismissed for a reason that is common to both.

                  Also, it's "mices". ;)

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Meeeh

            Sorry to point this out but I don't want to live in that world

            and I'm not going anywhere.

          3. Peter Simpson 1
            Childcatcher

            Re: Meeeh

            I don't know where you learned about user interface design, but they taught you some bad things.

            Microsoft has pretty obviously mislaid any good interface designers they had, and you can tell that by the way the UI changes with every release. Hell, the UIs aren't even consistent among Office products (Visio is a perfect example). Yes, I realize Visio was purchased in 2000 from Visio, Inc., but you'd think 14 years would be long enough to get its UI into conformance with Microsoft's nominal "standards" (which they seem to revise way too frequently).

            UIs should be simple, obvious and unchanging. You can always add optional features, of course, but the basic UI shouldn't change. And when adding features, DO NOT enable them by default. Because many of your users will be confused. Those of us who use computers in our daily work, don't like to have to waste time learning a new UI with every OS release. We're trying to use a tool, not enhance our Windows experience. We most certainly don't like to play hide-and-seek with gestures, until we find the one that does what we want.

            OK. Rant over.

            1. Arbiter

              Legacy

              If you change the UI to be in line with the rest of Office, they would please a small number of Office users, be ignored by most Office users and piss off the entire installed Visio user base. So they didn't. Lucky for the Visio users you weren't in charge.

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Meeeh

            "Swipe down close, swipe from left to switch between apps. Or just Alt+Tab if using a keyboard. Very easy, no need to clutter screen with window bars or icons - more screen real estate."

            Invisible UI is very obviously NOT GOOD.

            What's the thought process here--"hey, there isn't any indication of what's going on with the system or what you can or should do with the software or how to do it, but we've reclaimed 2% of the screen real estate!" Has there ever been a case in software design priorities being so completely backwards?!

            I have Windows 8 on my HTPC. I mostly just use it to run a web browser (Chrome) in the Desktop mode. I try to use my mouse as I normally would. I would say about 2-3 times per day, my mouse movements get misinterpreted as swipes and cause things to happen that are completely foreign and undesirable to me. I get UI bars inexplicably appearing from all different directions and I have to figure out how to make them go away before I can continue doing what I wanted. I don't see how anyone could justify this UI design as good.

            1. largefile

              Re: Meeeh

              It's pretty easy to turn off many of the mouse/swipe movements in the UI if you dig a little. Windows 9 is said to be more aware of the computer's capabilities as well. A computer with no touch and only a mouse should be recognized and behave differently than with those features.

        2. RealFred

          Re: Meeeh

          But the cutlery draw isn't labelled, so you won't find the fork unless you search through every draw until you find the right one.

      5. Indolent Wretch

        Re: Meeeh

        I was almost with you until you used the word "swipe".

        I have a mouse.

        An icon is helpful.

        1. keith_w

          Re: Meeeh

          I swipe with my mouse alt the time on the non-touch screen I have on my desktop. I swipe with my finger, the pen and the mousepad on the touchscreen device I use.

      6. Jim 59

        Re: Meeeh

        I sort of take h4rm0ny's point about people preferring to stick with what they know and react badly against what is new. But is isn't really like that with computers and GUIs. Users really do like good stuff, and dislike bad stuff. They are excellent judges, which is a main plank of Apple's success. Give them something nice and the like it straightaway.

        I still remember how delighted the public was with the Windows 95 GUI, and how it was such an improvement over 3.1. We immediately loved the shiny new right-click context menus, and the start button menu. I never heard a single voice want to go back to 3.1.

      7. Lars Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Meeeh

        "Ugggh. I hope not. I remember all those wibbly-wobbly windows in KDE and rotatable cube desktops. It was fun to see for about five seconds and then you turned it off."

        I agree on that, and I turned it off too, but I admit it was fun to show it to Windows users sometimes.

        The “problem” is that if you don't have “bling” like that you are considered old-fashioned and it's probably quite fun to program too.

        Sun tried something similar, and quite good looking, stuff too, it was called looking glass. We are very easily influenced by what we see, and that includes cars and women and what not. I remember a girl I showed a Linux desktop, she was very appalled by it, but it turned out the reason was the background I used.

        Next we will learn on TV how new and fantastic the Windows 9 is.

      8. TechnicalBen Silver badge

        h4rm0ny

        Upvote for mentioning the wibbly-wobbly rotatable desktop cubes as fun but not very useful (I fail to remember if I got Lunix up and running, or if I just watched the videos on it).

        Downvote for suggesting MS should ditch the start bar, for any reasons!

      9. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        Re: Meeeh

        h4rm0ny: the internet champion of "fuck democracy, choice, or anyone else but me. The rest of the world should be forced to used things the way I like them, and given no alternative option!"

        But other than that, he's really a great guy.

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: Meeeh

          >>h4rm0ny: the internet champion of "fuck democracy, choice, or anyone else but me. The rest of the world should be forced to used things the way I like them, and given no alternative option!"

          That's it, let the hate flow. It's good to turn an argument personal, isn't it?

          1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

            Re: Meeeh

            "That's it, let the hate flow. It's good to turn an argument personal, isn't it?"

            Your argument thus far has been "I, h4rm0ny, believe that the Start Screen is superior and new. Because I, h4rm0ny believe it is superior, and because it is new, everyone else should have the choice os using what they prefer removed from them and be forced to use what I, h4rm0ny, believe to be superior."

            How the metric fuck is that not personal? Calling you out for being a self-centered jackass isn't remotely out of line, when you've offered quite literally nothing as argumentation that isn't personal except the assertion "newer = better". And I categorically reject that assertion*.

            So no, this one's on you. You made it personal from the outset by offering nothing except "I like it so fuck you all, you don't deserve choice" as an argument. And I absolutely will call you out on that one. Because you're nobody, and the day your opinion of what's "good" is allowed to limit my choice is the day the fucking rebellion starts.

            *See; Edsel, New Coke, and eleventy squillion other examples.

            1. h4rm0ny

              Re: Meeeh

              >>"Your argument thus far has been "I, h4rm0ny, believe that the Start Screen is superior and new. Because I, h4rm0ny believe it is superior, and because it is new, everyone else should have the choice os using what they prefer removed from them and be forced to use what I, h4rm0ny, believe to be superior"

              I've given numerous reasons why the Start Screen is better here and elsewhere and not one of them has been "because I believe so", I've talked about the number of programs commonly used, I've talked about mouse movements. None of my arguments have been subjective, all have been on direct demonstrable facts. You can argue with the reasoning if you wish, but you cannot legitimately claim that I have ever fallen back to an argument of "because I say so".

              As to my "dictating" as you said, my post began "I for one could do without..." and stated I would prefer we kept the Start Screen that's the closest you'll find to me saying other people should not have a choice. Where is your angry response to all those people saying the Start Screen should be killed with fire or removed forever? Your angry post to me is because of my arguing the merits of the Start Screen. If I had argued for its obliteration you wouldn't have attacked me for 'setting my opinion up above other people's.' Don't pretend otherwise because there are countless posts here doing exactly that you ignore or mod up, because they share your preference.

              I've long said the chief usability advantage of the Start Menu is familiarity. You'll find I never dispute with people when they say it's easier to stick with what you know. My position is that this is not an argument that something is better in itself and that this attitude is a block to improvement.

              >>"How the metric fuck is that not personal? Calling you out for being a self-centered jackass isn't remotely out of line"

              It's quite a lot out of line, actually. Calling me names carries no actual weight as an argument. It's just you venting. And as I pointed out, it's a gross double-standard as there are far more posts on El Reg doing little more than insisting the Start Menu should be obliterated that you ignore and with far less objective reasoning given than my arguments.

              >>"when you've offered quite literally nothing as argumentation that isn't personal except the assertion "newer = better"

              More strawmen. I invite you to find anywhere I have said that something is better because it is newer. And if you can't, how about an apology for all the personal insults and strawmanning my position? If you have intellectual honesty you will check and accept that I have never made such an argument. What I have done on occasion is criticise wanting to stick with something just because it is familiar and that's a very different thing and also often a reasonable criticism.

              >>"So no, this one's on you. You made it personal from the outset by offering nothing except "I like it so fuck you all, you don't deserve choice" as an argument"

              I think you don't understand the purpose of quote marks. I never said anything like that and you can only barely twist what I have said (I don't want to see the Start Menu back, the Start Screen is better) into "fuck you all, you don't deserve choice" with considerable effort.

              >>"Because you're nobody"

              :D See, if I post something like 'people who use more than 20 programs on a desktop computer routinely are a tiny minority and you can easily fit 20 programs on the Start Screen, thus meaning no menu navigation, just flat access, whereas even pinning things to the Start Menu you only get a dozen tops and thus have to navigate...' Well then you could respond by saying something like 'No, if I want more programs I could just pin them to the Desktop itself as shortcuts' and then you would be making an actual counter-argument. (Though a bad one as you'd now just be recreating the Start Screen on your desktop without the advanced features of it). But at least it would be an argument. But the above is just personal insult and an attack on a position I never made. Again, find anywhere in my posts at all, where I have argued something is better because I believe it so. I back up everything.

              So again, stop making it personal and either actually engage in argument or stop strawmanning me. And less anger would be helpful also.

              1. h4rm0ny

                Re: Meeeh

                It's also interesting that I wrote a thirteen paragraph post and it was modded down twice in under 60 seconds. Too many people vote based on their instinctive dislike of a poster or position rather than actually reading and considering. That's not helpful to anyone other than those pushing an agenda or satisfying a grudge. Less of a football team mentality around here would be a good thing.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Meeeh

                  "Too many people vote based on their instinctive dislike of a poster or position "

                  So post as AC then?

              2. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

                Re: Meeeh

                @h4rm0ny

                "and stated I would prefer we kept the Start Screen that's the closest you'll find to me saying other people should not have a choice. "

                Bullshit. You have stated several times that you wish Microsoft had "stood it's ground" and forced the start screen to be the only launcher option for Windows, usually wrapped in a "because I like it." That's pretty fucking blatantly saying "fuck you to everyone who wants choice", bub.

                "Where is your angry response to all those people saying the Start Screen should be killed with fire or removed forever? "

                In several places throughout the forums. Let me be perfectly clear: I think anyone who says that start screen should be abandoned entirely are utter peckerheads. I have said on multiple occasions that it is a great thing for tablets, that it could be awesome for newbies and that I'd love to pin the thing to a second monitor as a "live tile" contining replacement for quick launch. (but I still want my start menu).

                Calling for the removal of choice in UIs by anyone is going to get a swift kick in the gonads from me.

                "It's quite a lot out of line, actually. Calling me names carries no actual weight as an argument. It's just you venting."

                Yes. Exactly. I was not attempting to argue with you or debate you. I was calling you out for being a jackass because your comments absolutely, 100% come across as reading "the start menu should never have been allowed back in any form because the start screen is great and I like it". I'm not going to argue with that sort of fanboyish lunacy. I'm going to kick you in the shins and move the fuck on.

                "it's a gross double-standard as there are far more posts on El Reg doing little more than insisting the Start Menu should be obliterated that you ignore and with far less objective reasoning given than my arguments."

                First, I am not wading through 250+ comments to find each and ever single fucking one that irks me and posting some reply to it. I made it about 5, maybe 10 comments in, read your "remove their choice" tripe, kicked you in the shins and abandoned the thread. I don't need the blood pressure rise.

                As for the rest of the asshats saying "obliterate the start menu" or "obliterate the start screen", I hope both sides of that debate get cholera and shit themselves to death. Choice is what matters. Not forcing one's beliefs on others, and not running around with the GUI bible in hand and converting the heathens.

                "I never said anything like that and you can only barely twist what I have said (I don't want to see the Start Menu back, the Start Screen is better) into "fuck you all, you don't deserve choice" with considerable effort."

                Bullshit. The instant you say "I don't want the Start Menu back" you are saying " I don't want you to have the choice of a start menu". Period. If you do not want the software to have this feature you are saying that nobody else should be allowed to have access to this feature. That's fucking binary.

                You could say "I don't see a need for this feature, and I hope they let me turn it off". You could even say "this is a feature I will turn off" or "I think the Start Screen is better, and I'll be using it instead."

                Nope, you said "I don't want the start menu back", which is an explicit call for removing that choice from others. If the feature is not in the software, it can't be used by others, and I am not remotely okay with that.

                "So again, stop making it personal and either actually engage in argument or stop strawmanning me. And less anger would be helpful also."

                No. I'll do what I'd like. That's choice. I wasn't arguing with you. I wasn't debating. I wasn't trying to counter your shit. I was calling you a douche, and doing so because you explicitly said that you believe that the start menu should not return, thus others shouldn't have choice.

                I don't give a rat fuck that you like the Start Screen better. Have fun with it. Go rub it on your gonads and screen at the sky. I really do not care. Not even a little.

                What I care about is that people have the choice to use what they want. Anyone who makes statements that boil down to "remove that choice from others" - especially when the rational for the removal of choice is "because I like it" - deserves to get belted.

                You may well have done a great job of explaining why you like it. I don't give a rat fuck. What I care about is that you said "don't bring the Start Menu back", and gave the fact that you like it as the closest thing to rationale for that statement as "because I like the Start Screen".

                At that point, there is no arguing about "what's better". There is no "why you like that Start Screen and dislike the Start Menu". None of that remotely matters. What matters is that your personal philosophy includes the removal of choice from others simply because you like one of the two options, and in my view that makes you a horrible person.

                Like what you like. But you'll no call to force that preference on me and mine.

                1. h4rm0ny

                  Re: Meeeh

                  Trevor, mostly what I got from your post is that you use the word "gonads" a lot and you're big on making Internet Threats. Reminds me of when you said you'd do everything in your power to find out the real identity of a poster here. You don't seem to care that you're making the forums here a hostile place for people.

                  And when I point out that all your "quotes" are things that don't sound remotely like what I said, you respond with outright saying you don't care, that "Yes. Exactly. I was not attempting to argue with you or debate" and that "I wasn't arguing with you. I wasn't debating. I wasn't trying to counter your shit. I was calling you a douche".

                  What is the point of that?

                  I asked you to find where I had written anything that matched the strawmen you keep posting in your supposed quotes, and the best you can do is tell me what I really meant by something else.

                  You also lie. I pointed out that of all the posts here you attack me for being 'anti-choice' (your strawman), but not any of the people calling for the Start Screen to abolished. You respond that you don't have time to go through all the posts in this thread. But in all these posts I think mine is the only one that argues why the Start Screen is better. And yet it's the single one you attacked with a load of personal insults. Logic suggests your reasons are not what you paint them.

                  What is the point of my debating with someone who explicitly says they aren't interested in discussion, but just wants to 'kick me in the shins'?

                  It's just pointless, it's intellectually flawed and it makes for a hostile environment. And honestly, it's just silly.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Meeeh

                    Look, you (an anonymous forum user) supported draconian mentality, and someone called you up on it. Get over yourself.

                    And stop using other's strawman arguments as your own strawman arguments.

                  2. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

                    Re: Meeeh

                    "You also lie. I pointed out that of all the posts here you attack me for being 'anti-choice' (your strawman), but not any of the people calling for the Start Screen to abolished. You respond that you don't have time to go through all the posts in this thread. But in all these posts I think mine is the only one that argues why the Start Screen is better. And yet it's the single one you attacked with a load of personal insults. Logic suggests your reasons are not what you paint them."

                    And this is how I know you're so full of shit your eyes are brown. I didn't lie anywhere here. If you feel like taking enough time to troll through my extensive commenting history, you'll see several instances of me defending the Start Screen myself...and hell, I even agree with you on some (but not most) of your points about it's utility.

                    What's more I simply have no reason to lie. Yours was the first serious anti-choice post I ran across, and so I absolutely poked you in the eye over it. After that, however, I went back, and just couldn't make it through another post. I closed out the tab and moved on.

                    Now, there is a link called "My Topics". It's here: http://forums.theregister.co.uk/my/forums/. This is always open in a tab on my home VM. with a fair amoung of custom scripting tacked on, too. When someone responds to one of my posts, I see it. I don't always have time to respond - like, for example, when I'm at VMworld - but I usually try to make the effort.

                    As for making the forums a hostile place, well...you're probably right about that. Call it a character flaw if you want, but I absolutely abhor people who call for others not to have choice. I even hate myself sometimes, when - in very human fashion - I find myself being one of the voices calling for others' choice to be curtailed.

                    Understand that I grok fully the concept that the needs of the many must be balanced against the needs of the few. Freedoms and rights all have limits; places where we need to curtail the ideological and practical purity of the individual's rights and freedoms for the good of the many. Where that limit lies and the practical aspects of implementing checks and balances are the very nature of the most bitter disputes our species has ever had.

                    If you only ever understand two things about me, understand these two things:

                    1) I believe in the right to choice as being as near sacrosanct as any right can be. I hold those who seek to deny others choice - regardless of the means they employ - to be contemptible. And yes, I lie awake at night pondering those instances where I have been the instrument of the removal of choice, wonder what could - or should have been done differently, where the greater evil lay, and how to atone for my actions.

                    2) I am quite possibly the laziest person alive. As such, telling a lie is highly unlikely for me. Oh, I'm not saying I don't tell lies, but they are rare. The truth of the matter is that if you tell a lie then you need to track it. Sometimes you need to tell other lies to cover it up. And then you need to track those. Soon you are tracking a huge collection of lies across you whole life that become a true jumble of a problem. I can't - and won't - deal with that.

                    Now, that said, I will on occasion toy with someone on an internet forum. (I'm an internet troll at heart.) This is usually to see how they'll react. Poke the hive, see what the ants do. If you have 12 functional brain cells to rub together you can usually detect that's what I'm up to right away. I'm honestly trying to cut back on it. For the most part I have even been successful; that little incident with the Apple thread notwithstanding.

                    As for your "What is the point of my debating with someone who explicitly says they aren't interested in discussion, but just wants to 'kick me in the shins'?", I didn't invite you to debate. I called you a name on the internet in order to express my contempt for the philosophy of choice removal you espoused in your comment. Debate was not sought.

                    finally, regarding this little element: "And when I point out that all your "quotes" are things that don't sound remotely like what I said"

                    My "quotes" (should that be double quoted? Will you get an old lady with a +3 book of pedantry to hunt me across the plains?) are paraphrasing back to you my understanding of your words. And no, I wasn't interested in a debate. I was calling you a douche, pretty much end of. If you feel that what you were trying to express was radically different to what I interpreted there are two rational thought processes that follow:

                    1) I interpreted you wrong because I am unable to read properly or

                    2) You expressed yourself poorly.

                    Instead of choosing Hanlon's razor and picking one of those two, you decided that I was...what? Singling you out of the crowd based on {unknown}. Allowing a personal bias against Metro to cause me to call you - and only you - out? That's irrational.

                    If I had to guess I would say there are no less than hard core Microsoft fanboys running around this thread pooping on everyone else and singing the praises of Microsoft, plus the Anonymous Coward who was sent from hell. There are 12 individuals I would classify as "rabidly pro Microsoft" in these forums, and in a thread this big I'd expect at least 8 to show.

                    I do not include you in the "rabidly pro Microsoft" group, but I have traditionally classified you as "borderline rabidly pro Microsoft, with occasional non-Microsoft-related gems of technical insight". Based on this, I haven't put you on my "ignore" list. (Gold badge folk have this feature.)

                    If you ever got to the point that you made me so overwhelmingly angry that I would consider singling you out of an entire thread to attack - versus what actually happened, I posted one post and said "hell no", and walked away - why wouldn't I just "ignore" you, like I do Bryant, or jake?

                    No, I respect you because you use your name. It may be h4rm0ny instead of your real name, but it's still an identifiable moniker, with your posting history attached. You have more honour than that worthless anonymous refuse pile and offer more useful content than those on my ignore list.

                    Let me be perfectly clear: there is only one individual who haunts these forums I dislike enough not to simply "ignore" if they piss me off. That is the redmondian anonymous crotch rot. And the rationale for that is simple: I honestly believe him to be using the tools and techniques of psychological manipulation.

                    The first and foremost tool is sheer volume of posts. The second is repetition and being "on message". No growth or diversity of thought beyond the published Microsoft PR line. The third - and most important - is the use of "anonymous coward" instead of a traceable moniker. I honestly believe this is done purposefully, so that the comments are not traceable back to a single source; in this manner proving what the individual said previously is difficult (if not impossible), and a pattern of behavior/messaging difficult to establish.

                    I believe the anonymous coward in question is behaving dishonorably. So I am building a case against him. When I have enough evidence I will bring it to those in charge along with requests for action that I believe will limit his ability to engage in the most flagrant techniques.

                    Now, if you still honestly believe that instead of my deciding to walk away from the thread after reading your post I read this whole (or even the first page!) of this thread and only responded to you, because of some bizarre personal vendetta...that's possibly the biggest ego I've ever encountered. And I interview technology executives for a living.

                    Make of that what you will.

                    1. h4rm0ny
                      Pint

                      Re: Meeeh

                      Trevor - some of what you say in your post I respect, other parts, I obviously disagree with. My interest here is constructive debate and a welcoming tone, not winning a pissing match. And I now believe you on the issue of not singling me out because of bias as my post was on the first page and so it is reasonable that you might have simply reached my post as one of the first and not gone farther to reach the others. So let's draw a line under this.

                      For reference, the parts that I disliked in your post were two - firstly, online threats to people are silly and remain silly. Making them will always mark your post down and likely get me responding with how silly I find them. I don't like a threatening tone and if you don't realize you sound threatening, let me tell you that now. Even in the unlikely event of violence taking place, it would still prove nothing. It simply has no place in a discussion. If you're under the impression it is humour, it isn't. I hope you'll take this as just feedback as to why this has turned into such an ugly mess from my point of view.

                      The second thing, and the reason you got such a strong response is because you stated I had said the Start Screen was better "because I said so". I never make subjective arguments. If I do say something subjective, I call it out myself to clarify. I respond to accusations of subjectivity about as well as you respond to accusations of lying. If you had confined your post to saying: "there's no reason both Start Screen and Start Menu can be optional, it's false to argue there should only be one preference", then you would have got an agreement from me.

                      You didn't do that. You went from my saying "I could do without the Start Menu back, I wish MS would stick to their vision for once" to calling me the "Champion of Fuck Everyone Else" and issuing threats. What response did you expect if not a rebuttal? You could also have simply pointed out that the Start Screen isn't being removed which is revealed in a blink and you'll miss it moment near the end of the video and which I hadn't seen. But instead you didn't do that - you went straight into war mode. You'll note that my initial response wasn't even objecting you saying there should be choice. I agree choice is usually good. All I wrote in my initial response was a criticism of your aggressive turning of things personal. Which I think is reasonable enough.

                      So, TL:DR; I apologise for calling you a liar (though your Hanlon's Razor defence missed a rather obvious third option, btw) as I can now see reasons why you might have singled out my post simply due to the order they appear. But making things personal and threatening is absurdly hostile and nowhere have I argued Start Screen is better just because I say so. So anyway, you have made a peace offering with a few nested But I'm Right Anyway's . I'll extend the same courtesy and this is my peace offering (with a few appended But I'm Right Anyway's ;) ). Hopefully we can be amicable and put an end to it for the sake of good discussion, now and I extend the traditional Beer icon to you. :)

                      Though I do have a few opinions on IPv6 whilst you're here. ;) :) (I kid! I kid!).

                      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge
                        Pint

                        Re: Meeeh

                        "My interest here is constructive debate and a welcoming tone, not winning a pissing match."

                        I call bullshit. If you were interested in anything other than a pissing match you wouldn't be in every Microsoft thread about Metro pissing up a wall against the overwhelming tide of dissenters. But you are there, like clockwork.

                        "For reference, the parts that I disliked in your post were two - firstly, online threats to people are silly and remain silly. "

                        My comment was thus:

                        h4rm0ny: the internet champion of "fuck democracy, choice, or anyone else but me. The rest of the world should be forced to used things the way I like them, and given no alternative option!"

                        But other than that, he's really a great guy.

                        You then proceeded to lose your shit. I told you that you're a poopie head and I want to kick you in the shins. I see no threats.

                        "The second thing, and the reason you got such a strong response is because you stated I had said the Start Screen was better "because I said so"."

                        It doesn't matter what your reasons are to say the start menu shouldn't return. You could have a million reasons why it's better. There's a overwhelming response from more than just "commenters on the internet" calling for the return of the Start Menu.

                        If the powers that be said "Red, Amber, Green" needed to be replaced by "Orange, Green, Violet", the people rebelled en masse and you stood on the corner with charts in your hand screaming into the void at anyone who would listen, you would still be basically saying "because I said so".

                        The point is that by standing there with your charts in the face of the mob you are quite obviously ignoring and/or invalidating the feelings and opinions of others. One might even accuse you of cheery picking to support your preconcieved ideas. The end result either way is the same.

                        When there is a binary option "this or that", by all means have a grand old debate as to why. When there is zero need to constrain the option to "or", choose "and" and move the fuck on. Everyone can be happy, and we can all make our own choices about what's "better", and why.

                        In case you hadn't noticed, the furor over Metro had as much - or more - to do with its imposition by fiat.. You are standing on the corner, charts in hand saying "why does anyone care about emotions, I have graphs!" A doesn't come without B in these sorts of scenarios, and demanding that everyone abandon their feelings on the topic in order to talk about your graphs is going to make them want to kick you in the shins.

                        "You didn't do that. You went from my saying "I could do without the Start Menu back, I wish MS would stick to their vision for once" to calling me the "Champion of Fuck Everyone Else" and issuing threats. "

                        No, I didn't. I called you the champion of fuck everyone else, and said that otherwise you're a really nice guy. A single, snide one-liner. You rose to the bait and told me to let the hate flow. So I told you I would dearly love to kick you in the shins.

                        In case you aren't aware, shin kicking is an actual thing. The expression "I want to kick you in the shins" is an expression of disgust with the individual, typically with very childish overtones. Think "you, me, by the bike racks after school," but with more of an apathetic "I don't actually want to fight that person, I just want them to stop being stupid and go away."

                        If you feel that's a threat, that's your boo-hoo. A desire to kick you in the shins isn't a threat any more than sticking out my tongue and saying "neener neener". With about as much serious involved and about the right level of childish tone.

                        "What response did you expect if not a rebuttal?"

                        Well, if you had been anyone other than a crazy person on the internet I would have expected you to say "no you're a stupid poopie head", probably with a wry smile, and followed by "and your mother smelt like eldeberries!"

                        At the very least, that is exactly how most people I spend any time with would respond. They would take my commend as a mostly good-natured ribbing, poke me right back in my eye and move on. You're the one that took a throw-away snark to heart and decided it needed a serious response. I simply responded to you in kind.

                        "All I wrote in my initial response was a criticism of your aggressive turning of things personal. Which I think is reasonable enough."

                        This isn't debate club. This isn't drawn charts at dawn. This is a forum. There's logic. There's humour. There's emotion. There's snark and sarcasm and wit (both failed and actual). There are personal remarks - both small and large - and when you write a commented filled with your personal opinion and your personal feelings aimed at invalidating the opinions and feelings of others, you shouldn't be shocked is someone snarks your way.

                        There was nothing aggressive whatsoever about what I said in my first comment. I have no idea how you even read aggression into that. Dismissal? Sure. Exasperation? Maybe a twinge. But we're not even up to antipathy, let alone aggression in that comment.

                        "But making things personal and threatening is absurdly hostile "

                        Making things "personal" to the tune of "a small snark" is not remotely hostile. (Unless you have some sort of bizzare social anxiety, in which case any social conflict that is directed at you would cause your adrenaline to spike.)

                        In addition, saying "I want to kick you in the shins" is not threatening. Having a desire and seeing it fulfilled are totally different things, especially when the "desire" is a matter of common parlance or "slang".

                        For example: I desire to have a gigantic rock from space hurtle down upon the Microsoft Licensing building, with all the little worker bees still inside. I would laugh, and cheer, and roast marshmallows upon the fire. That doesn't mean I am going to cause a rock from space to fall on them.

                        Similarly, I'd love to kick you in the shins. That doesn't mean I will, or would if we were face to face. (Though in all honesty that is only because it is illegal.) It does, however, mean that in my minds eye, I am absolutely kicking you in the shins. Mental catharsis.

                        And I really do think that you should know that. Why? Because if you are aware of the antipathy you generate - as well as the how and the why - you are more fully equipped to make choices about language, tone, and other forms of social engagement. It informs my future interactions with you.

                        As for me, well, I'm perfectly aware of the antipathy my comments generate. (Most of the time, anyways.) That's sort of the point in making them. To illicit a result.

                        The purpose of the first "snarky" comment was to inform you that your comments had been interpreted as devaluing all those of us who still want the street lights to be "red, amber, green". It was to inform you that I, personally, don't appreciate that...and to give others a vehicle to demonstrate agreement - or disagreement - with that viewpoint by up/downvoting.

                        The purpose of the rest of the comments was to attempt to drive home that A) you don't seem to be getting it and B) There is no room for "drawn charts at dawn" debate about this topic. None. The issue moved on well past any technical merit and is one of powers and principalities; of the rights of the customer versus those of the corporation. It is an issue of choice, politics, philosophy and individual relevance.

                        Even if we were all robots, able to discuss such an emotive topic with nothing but charts and statistics, you won't win your point. You place different levels of value on different things. You are highly dismissive of items that matter to others, but not to you. (For example, I do remember a previous thread where you were quite dismissive of the fact that I need to see the underlying windows while I select my applications, hence why a non-full-screen application selector was important.)

                        That's why this isn't a charts-at-dawn topic. It is about individual needs and preference. And about the fact that humans are diverse; our cognition is not universal. We think differently, interpret the world differently, have different skills and strengths and flaws.

                        If you really want a truth here: I loathe the charts-at-dawn mentality of Microsoft. The concept that everything can be quantified by looking at data. The idea that we are, all of us, best served by designing software that fits a statistics curve.

                        Everyone is different...and we are all of us on the edges of quite a few curves. You can't design software - especially interfaces - by looking at numbers. Emotions matter. Convention, upbringing, social constructs, disabilities, cognitive variation, lapses in memory, consistency, repetition, exposure therapy...all of it matters.

                        We're talking about something as fundamental, as ingrained, as cultural and embedded in our childhoods and muscle memory as "red, amber, green"...and you are dismissive and derisory towards the feelings, opinions and desires of the overwhelming majority.

                        ...just like Microsoft.

                        Now, given that people aren't robots, and that the overwhelming majority of our species doesn't have aspergers, I want you to contemplate the depth and impact of saying "I wish Microsoft didn't bring back the Start Menu, grew some balls, and stood up to the majority of our species who use computers and wanted the old interface back." Please, try to understand the arrogance of statement, the casual dismissal of virtually everyone reading these forums and the blatant consignment to irrelevance of the essential humanity of all us people...in the face of your interpretation of which charts where most important.

                        Perhaps, now that I've blown 1700+ words on this, you'll understand why a single snarky comment about your is far from "hostile".

                        Cheers, and beers.

                        1. h4rm0ny

                          Re: Meeeh

                          Well it's nice to know that even though the only reason you honestly don't assault me is because it's illegal (your words and emphasis on actually meaning it)... and that you say you'd love to do so (more of your words)... Oh, and that you've elsewhere said you'll do your best to find out someone's real identity; that your post is "far from hostile". That's very good to know.

                          Another interesting contradiction is where you say I "lost my shit" in my initial response to your comment. My original response to your barrage of name calling was a one line suggestion not to make things personal: "That's it, let the hate flow. It's good to turn an argument personal, isn't it?"

                          "Lose your shit" is not one of my phrases but I don't see that my one line post above really counts! Whereas your fourteen line response to my one liner calling me further names and making up quotes from me, I think that better qualifies as "losing your shit" than mine. To say nothing of the latest thirty paragraph post (and that's excluding the quotes from me) and all the other personal insults and threats elsewhere.

                          Seriously, if you're now going to add the whole 'You mad?' style of personal attack to your other bits of rhetoric, I think you should realize that the one who is posting constant name calling, expressions of how they'd like to do violence to the other poster and made up quotes, is the one who appears to be "losing their shit", in all honesty.

                          My last post I suggested we drew a line under this. Apparently not good enough for you. You'd rather attack me further. I said right at the beginning of this that aggressive personalized attacks and name calling had no place here, that they make the forum a less welcoming place and are detrimental to good discourse. You responded that "This isn't debate club". Doesn't have to be. People can be polite in all sorts of situations. But really, you can take or leave that. The main thing is that you're taking a couple of lines of mine, putting your own vastly exaggerated spin on them with your own phrasing and going berserk over it. There's no point. It's just being silly and contributes nothing.

            2. keith_w

              Re: Meeeh

              How much more choice do you want Trevor? If anything W8 gives you more choice than W7, or XP.

              My spouse is one of the least computer literate persons I know. We use separate IDs on this desktop machine. I configured it to navigate directly to the desktop when she logs on, I pinned Outlook, Word and Excel to the task bar exactly as I did when we were on W7. Those, along with IE are the only programs she uses.

              I use both the Start screen and the Desktop with those programs pinned to the task bar as well.

              Even corporately with W7 people did NOT want to search the start menu, so everything was either pinned to the taskbar, on the desk top or both. People just want to get stuff running as fast as possible and W8 does that much better than W7 did.

              People did not like the change from XP to W7, they did not like the change from 9x to XP, they will get used to it and in the end, they will bitch when the change to whatever desktop environment W9 uses.

              and at least Harmony wasn't personally insulting as you have been.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Meeeh

                I'm unsure how you can comment on someone's persistent arrogance without being personal.

      10. Colin Ritchie
        Windows

        Re: Meeeh

        Great backbone, ideas of a jellyfish. FTFY

    5. Gordan

      Re: Meeeh

      I'm pretty sure virtual desktops date back to _at least_ 30 years back. OpenLook Virtual Window Manager (OLVWM) has it and I remember running that on my Sun3 machine in 1994 (which was already well deprecated back then - Motorola 68020 bases, pre SPARC). And I remember using similar virtual desktops long before then.

    6. Jim 59

      Re: Meeeh

      As Reg editors well know or could have found with one Google search, almost every windowing system ever written has had multiple desktops. Either built in or with a bit of freeware. Remember Bigdesk on Windows 3.1 ? In fact, multiple desktops were more heavily used then due to the low resolutions in use.

      1. JEDIDIAH
        Mushroom

        Re: Meeeh

        I remember a number of those attempts to bolt on added features to Windows. They tend to be a disaster. Windows isn't exactly designed with that in mind.

        Trying to compare those things to a proper window manager is a sad joke.

    7. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Meeeh

      It was also a 'Power Toy' available under Windows XP; free from Microsoft IIRC.

      We had it installed for so long that I'd forgotten that multiple desktops wasn't a built in feature.

      1. Swarthy Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Meeeh

        Also a function in LightStep since Win9x.

        (Which seems to still be in development-ish)

        1. Mayor Boris

          Re: Meeeh

          [DllImport("user32.dll")]

          private static extern IntPtr CreateDesktop(string lpszDesktop, IntPtr lpszDevice, IntPtr pDevmode, int dwFlags, long dwDesiredAccess, IntPtr lpsa);

          [DllImport("user32.dll")]

          private static extern bool CloseDesktop(IntPtr hDesktop);

          [DllImport("user32.dll")]

          private static extern IntPtr OpenDesktop(string lpszDesktop, int dwFlags, bool fInherit, long dwDesiredAccess);

          Etc.

          Feature has been hidden in windows for years, I've written a few implementations of this for personal use over time, and there are many 3rd party apps which make use of the above.

      2. Green Nigel 42

        Re: Power toy

        The power toy was not only on XP (which I still enjoy, thanks to W7 not being compatible yet with mission critical systems (dig @ MS)), but also Vista.

      3. goldcd

        Indeed

        Hoped somebody had pointed that out before me.

        Wasn't just this one as well - I loved/used a significant number of the powertoys. Always assumed they were the product of disgruntled MS devs who'd given up on presenting for management buy-in and had just written the damn thing.

    8. Oh Homer
      Headmaster

      Re: Meeeh

      As much as I'm a big GNU/Linux fan, sadly the award for virtual desktops probably goes to the Commodore Amiga.

      1. Kepler
        Pint

        Virtual Desktops — Who had them first? (was "Re: Meeeh")

        ". . . the award for virtual desktops probably goes to the Commodore Amiga."

        Almost certainly! Unless someone I don't know about had them even earlier.

        I forget whether the Amiga supported multiple "Screens" from the get-go, in July 1985, or only introduced them a year or two later, but it had them long before Linux even existed. (Wikipedia's "Virtual desktop" entry indicates that the Amiga supported multiple desktops from the get-go, with 1985's Amiga 1000.[1]) And thanks to the hardware support, different "screens" or virtual desktops could have different resolutions! (just like different windows could on the Amiga) — a feature no other virtual desktop system I know of has had.

        Furthermore, PC Tools for Windows offered virtual desktops in 1993 or 1994 (March 1993, it turns out, in version 1.0[2]) — under Windows 3.1! (and maybe even 3.0?) — and OS/2 introduced virtual desktops with version 4, in 1996.

        And of course BeOS supported virtual desktops, with its "Workspaces" . (Don't know in what year Workspaces were first introduced, but I know it had them by the Summer of 1996. Wikipedia says BeOS was "first developed . . . in 1991", but dates Developer Releases 1 through 5 all to October 1995.)

        Virtual desktops have been available under Unix through the X Window System for quite some time, but I cannot tell just how long. (The last time *I* used Unix — on a PDP-10 or -11 (I forget which) — was some 4-6 years before X was even invented!) According to Wikipedia, the fact that X Window makes window management a separate function allowed third-party developers to introduce a host of features to the X Window System, including virtual desktop capabilities. However, Wikipedia does not indicate what window manager was the first to offer virtual desktops under X, or in what year they were offered.

        Surprisingly, OS X did not introduce virtual desktops until late 2007, with version 10.5 ("Leopard"). (Did NeXT never offer them under NeXTStep or OpenStep? Does anybody know?)

        .

        [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_desktop

        .

        [2] http://connection.ebscohost.com/c/articles/9312292500/virtual-desktops-dress-up-pc-tools

        http://www.nytimes.com/1993/03/16/science/personal-computers-better-late-and-better-for-being-late.html

        http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1993-03-22/business/1993081008_1_norton-desktop-pc-tools-desktop-for-windows

    9. Pookietoo

      Re: Meeeh

      I had a freeware app to do that in Windows 95, but MSFT has become so out-of-touch with the real world I suppose we shouldn't be surprised that they think its an attention-worthy innovation.

    10. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
      Coffee/keyboard

      Re: Meeeh

      My mainframe TSO session will allow me to have to 16 virtual screens, and while it does not have a 'start' button, you have to type 'start' on the command line to create the new screen.

    11. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Meeeh

      "Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux"

      Yep - Microsoft haven't quite reached 1% market share yet...

  2. Woodgie

    And Mac OS X has had it since 10.7 (3 years or so).

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Spaces was in 10.5 IIRC.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        They were… Not sure about 10.4, but certainly 10.5.

        As for Linux, it's been a feature of the window manager you use. FVWM has had virtual desktops for years, I remember them back in the late 90's.

        It's nice to see Microsoft has finally acknowledged the usefulness of a feature that users of other platforms have enjoyed for decades.

        1. Paw Bokenfohr

          2006 on MacOS. 10.5.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spaces_%28software%29

          1. Woodgie

            OKOKOK, 10.5 :-)

          2. Kepler
            Coat

            "Spaces" in Mac OS X

            Spaces was/were announced in 2006, at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, on August 7, but the feature was not actually released to the general public until October 26, 2007, in Mac OS X version 10.5 ("Leopard"). The latter date is when most people would say the feature was actually "introduced".

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spaces_(software)

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mac_OS_X_Leopard

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OS_X#Version_10.5:_.22Leopard.22

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_desktop#Mac_OS

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      And Mac OS X has had it since 10.7 (3 years or so).

      Well, "ish" - I dislike that they latched that onto the logon system. I would have preferred it if I could use it as a desktop cube to change desktop as I've had for years in Linux. Their use is a wholly pointless gimmick.

      1. JEDIDIAH
        Thumb Down

        Almost but not quite

        I found the method for changing between virtual desktops with Apple's version of this feature to be disruptive and clunky. It was not a all a proper replacement for any of the Linux window managers.

  3. LaeMing Silver badge
    Boffin

    Noob!

    Workspaces in Linux predate both Gnome and Ubuntu by a good many years!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Noob!

      exactly, and Ubuntu doesn't provide that either. It's Gnome or KDE or whatever window system

      1. Cookieninja

        Re: Noob!

        Ubuntu does support Workspaces with Unity, but it is disabled by default. There's a box to tick in one of the system settings, Display settings I think but if not then Google for the right one.

  4. Timfy67
    Pint

    A little help required from somebody with a better memory ...

    Didn't OS/2 have the whole multiple desktop thing going on?

    It was certainly on AmigaOS, but may have been a third party add on.

    Beer because......... why am I here again?

    1. Phil W

      Re: A little help required from somebody with a better memory ...

      I beleive GEM on the Atari520/1040 had this as well, though my memory is a little hazy.

      1. JeeBee

        Re: A little help required from somebody with a better memory ...

        You might be thinking of the Amiga which offered Screens back in 1985.

        Of course, Screens were more like how current Mac OS X does full-screen applications rather than a giant desktop you can view a certain area of at one time. Arguably this is more sane - you only have as many screens open as you need at any time, and only one desktop (Amiga: workbench) screen for things you want to do within the OS, tools, config, etc.

        1. Stuart 22

          Re: A little help required from somebody with a better memory ...

          "You might be thinking of the Amiga which offered Screens back in 1985."

          Which they probably copied from Concurrent CP/M and its predecessors. Guess Gary Kildall wasn't too smart on the patenting front.

    2. JeeBee

      Re: A little help required from somebody with a better memory ...

      It was built-in to AmigaOS, even in the original hardware back in 1985.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A little help required from somebody with a better memory ...

      On the Amiga you had the concept of screens, not workspaces.

      Each application could open a screen, in the different resolution too. Then you could just cycle through them. Or drag down the screen by the menu bar and look at the screen behind it.

      1. John Sanders
        Holmes

        Re: A little help required from somebody with a better memory ...

        """On the Amiga you had the concept of screens, not workspaces."""

        Wrong, you had public screens which applications could share, thus in effect acting as a workspace.

    4. M. Poolman

      Re: A little help required from somebody with a better memory ...

      Multiple work spaces (or screens - the concept was pretty similar) were built in, not a third party add-on, at least on the later (A1200ish) amiga models. I seem to remember that it wasn't as easy to jump between as it was on various *nix systems that followed.

    5. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      Re: A little help required from somebody with a better memory ...

      OS/2 did have it integrated around the mid '90s. There was also a GPL replacement for WPS that provided virtual desktops along with some other niceties.

      As pointed out above lots of others had similar setups going back two or more decades. It's nice to see Microsoft join the club but it does make me wonder why both MS and Apple didn't have this at the turn of the century as it could easily have been baked right into the initial versions of XP and OS X.

      1. monkeyfish

        Re: A little help required from somebody with a better memory ...

        As another has already pointed out above, you could indeed have multiple (up to 4) workspaces with XP. You just downloaded the relevant XP power toy. I used it once, before deciding that my 384MB of RAM limited laptop (that was the maximum upgrade!) could barely handle one desktop. I miss the XP power toys, the calculator was the best, and was disappointed to find they had not been carried over to 7.

  5. Phoenix50

    Whats this?

    Upcoming operating system may have copied features from a rival operating system?

    Come on Simon, try harder.

    1. Woodgie

      Re: Whats this?

      I don't think the story is "Upcoming operating system may have copied features from a rival operating system!" I think it's far more "World's most prevalent Operating System finally gets feature everyone else has had the advantage of for a very long time, what took them so long?"

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Whats this?

        The funny thing is that Windows can create new desktops since a long time ago (at least since Windows 2000, see http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/ms682124(v=vs.85).aspx). The Winlogon "screen" and the screensaver "screen" actually run in different desktops.

        But for really unknown reason Microsoft never made available a functionality to allow multiple user desktops easily as other OS had for a very long time.

        There are utilities that creates true Windows desktops (i.e. http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/cc817881), while others just hide/display windows and icons pretending to display multiple desktops.

        But true desktop utilities were hampered by strange limitations, as the ones indicated in the Sysinternal page, i.e., there was no API to move a window among desktops.

        It took 2015 it looks to enable that functionality fully... better late than ever...

        1. tempemeaty
          Facepalm

          Re: Whats this?

          Isn't that just so Microsoft, buy a wrench to make a hammer...

  6. Richard 81

    OK, so they're playing catchup, but the important thing is START MENU!

    As long as the upgrade from Win8 isn't too pricey this might even be a day-one purchase for the wife's laptop.

    Unless there's a very good reason, my Win7 machine can stay as it is. I'll probably wait to see what impact it has on games anyway, particularly older ones.

    1. Paul Shirley

      Not so sure about that upgrade. It looks suspiciously like they've made a deliberate effort to inject little annoyances designed to nudge users away from using the menu. There was more scrolling in that 2 min video than I've had in all the years I've used the Start Menu, far too much crap injected into it's top level. And it looks just as fugly as everything Win8.

      And WTF is the point of putting live tiles in the start menu? Either put them on the desktop where they can be some use or drop them. And that won't happen because they'll have to address the ongoing inability of any version of Windows to leave desktop furniture where the user puts it.

      They haven't given up trying to foist the Metro crappery on us, just got about 1% more subtle in enforcement.

    2. Kunari

      There is the thing, how much is MS going to charge for the upgrade from Win 8x? From Win7?

  7. Vociferous

    Still really really ugly.

    Looks like it still also use the "search for everything"?

    So what's new here?

  8. Charles 9 Silver badge

    Caught up with Linux? What about true and ubiquitous symbolic linking?

    1. Hans 1 Silver badge
      Windows

      I am among the first on here to #!/bin/bash MS, but they do have symbolic links, yes, yes, they do ... junction points since Windows 2000, iirc, and now look at this, symlinks, with the usual MS bugs, but still, laud the effort:

      http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/aa363878%28v=vs.85%29.aspx

    2. Piro

      Windows does have sym links, unless I'm missing the point here

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        They're not really all that good, certainly not ubiquitous.

        You have to be Administrator, and there's no GUI way of creating one. Most applications probably don't understand symlinks - if you delete one that points to a directory, does it recursively delete the directory's contents or just delete the symlink? What about infinite loops? Is there a built-in way to resolve a path containing symlinks to the "real" path?

        1. Paul Shirley

          "there's no GUI way of creating one"

          ...until you install Link Shell Extension

          http://schinagl.priv.at/nt/hardlinkshellext/linkshellextension.html

      2. sawatts

        Try including a WIndows symlink in a path and see how far that gets you.

        NTFS does support "proper" symlinks (or hardlinks?) - you can create these through the cygwin tools, which are then transparent to native windows applications.

      3. jake Silver badge

        @Piro

        DOS has had sym links since before DOS3.0, IIRC. See: SUBST and JOIN.

        Not a Redmond fan, but let's play fair.

        (Yes, I know, for small values of sym links, but what do you expect from a simple non-networked, single-user, mono-tasking program loader?)

        1. sedrez

          Re: @Piro

          SUBST and JOINT are not sym links: they are loopback mounts.

          They are not filesystem features: they are operating system hacks. Their effect only subsists until the next reboot.

    3. DrXym Silver badge

      The thing I hate most about NTFS is not the lack of symbolic linking but its case insensitivity and the inability to overwrite a locked file. Case insensitivity causes no end of issues with source control systems like Git and locked files cause most of the ubiquitous "You must restart for this update to take place" issues.

      1. Def Silver badge

        Re: Case Sensitive File Systems...

        ...are a pain in the arse for the average user (more so on command line based systems, less so in GUI environments), and only exist because programmers are lazy. (It's entirely possible that the processing power didn't exist to efficiently perform case-insensitive string comparisons, but that's not really an excuse IMO.)

        Consider this: If you received a letter addressed to you, would you only open it if the casing of the name and address matched what you considered to be "correct"? Would you throw it in the bin because you're DrXym, not DrXYM? I didn't think so. So why would you expect a file system on a computer (a tool that is supposed to make your life easier) to be so pedantic?

        The only people such a system benefits are the programmers. And don't get me started on Git.

        As for not being able to replace executable files that are locked, that's a side effect of how Windows loads executables. Basically all executable files and DLLs are memory mapped instead of being copied into memory. While it can be annoying, it does have the added benefit that the system swap file will never contain executable code. (Instead of swapping executable code back out to disk, Windows knows it's already on disk, so the code is just dumped and remapped from the original disk image when needed again.)

        1. cambsukguy

          Re: Case Sensitive File Systems...

          They are also a PITA for programmers, even file lists mean you can miss a file because it is listed later because person capitalised the name out of typing habits.

          Even if you feel that way about it, case sensitivity can, at most, be described as a user preference like an editor. Since *nix doesn't offer the choice to be case insensitive, it is not better than Windows in this respect, just different.

          And Linux doesn't have File Streams, so there.

          And Linux doesn't have Fibers, yah boo sucks to you.

          And Linux doesn't have Wait-on-multiple-events easily. Using a sockety IO thingy which only works for file-like objects or you have to use some kind of list at the end of a pipe.

          Nevertheless, I know Linux is a completely acceptable OS, I use it often, in anger, and I see the benefits where there are benefits.

          I also know that I use Windows on my home machine for a reason. Just because you prefer it one way doesn't mean I should.

          And, not that it is critical or means I am right per se, but more PC users agree with my view on which OS they use - even when it costs them money to do so.

          1. Vic

            Re: Case Sensitive File Systems...

            Since *nix doesn't offer the choice to be case insensitive

            Most filesystems can be mounted case-insensitive. It's an option.

            Vic.

            1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

              Re: Case Sensitive File Systems...

              The only task I've seen that needs a case-sensitive filesystem to work is building the Linux Kernel. You can't check out the sources on a case-sensitive FS because some genius thought it'd be neat to have files with the same name, differing only in lettercase, in the same directory.

              This achieves nothing except illustrate confusion between the words "can" and "should".

              But those filesystems also don't canonically decompose Unicode names: just try to find out why fopen("amadán") isn't finding a file named "amadán" without using hexdump on the output of ls.

        2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

          @Def - case insensitive file systems

          Most of the users I have met have difficulty typing file name at all. They click on file names, so there is no issue with them typing them with the wrong case. In the unlikely event that a user ever types a file name, the mail user agent or word processor or whatever could do a case insensitive search if a case sensitive search fails. By all means, put such functionality into the file selector of whatever tool GUI tool kit you like so applications behave consistently. All of this can work fine, without the file system driver knowing a thing about unicode.

          Now take a look at what happens when some utterly clueless PHB says that the file system driver has to do case insensitive matching. For example 'dz'. If your browser and font system are reasonably modern, that example should look like 'dz', but if you try to select just the d or z, you should get none or both at once because dz is a single letter. If you capitalise a whole word that includes dz, you need a DZ. If you only want initial capitals then you need Dz. Things go rapidly down hill when you come across dž, ʥ, ʤ and ʣ (look closely and you will see the letters are closer together in ʣ than in dz). Unicode has plenty of stuff like this, and the number of corner cases grows with each version.

          Outside the Microsoft ghetto, operating systems can handle dozens of different file systems. Putting this crap into every file system driver would be insane. Even worse, when a file system driver updates to a new version of unicode, some things that used to match will stop matching and other previously distinct names will match. Piles of automated software that used to work fine will start breaking depending on the file system in use, the version of its driver and the language used to name files.

          Years ago, Microsoft software put the clocks back an hour at the end of daylight saving time. Because Microsoft thought is was a good idea for the system time to be the same as local time, an hour later they put the clocks back again, and again... That bit of stupidity caused a day of pandemonium in each country that uses daylight saving time until the problem was fixed. On the plus side, the failures were sufficiently widespread and synchronous to hit the news so people understood what was going on, and how to deal with it. Case insensitive file system drivers problems do not hit entire countries on the same day, so they do not make the news. There are still people out there who do not understand why that badly designed feature is such a can of worms.

          1. LDS Silver badge

            Re: @Def - case insensitive file systems

            And how do you handle differently two file names with the same human semantic but different one for a file system in a shell or index? And how the user can understand which is the file he or she really wants, when presented with different files just only different in case?

            Even OSX file system is not case sensitive unless you change its default - because even Apple knows it's better for users and most users are not programmers.

            Case sensitive file system are the classic application designed by a programmer to make his job easier, and the user one more difficult. Application should be designed for human users, not computer and their programmers. If a programmer can't master cases, Unicode and other basic string management task it's time he looks for a different job, the days of 1970 Unix and ASCII7 are over.

            And BTW: Windows can handle different file systems - you just need to write drivers for them. If you didn't notice, it already supports NTFS, different version of FAT, and CD/DVD file systems.

            Just nobody wants the mess of different file systems Linux is....

            That's explain while Linux is still stuck at 1.4% market share on desktops - very few users wants a system designed for programmers and sysadmin still rooted in in 1970.... and unable to understand what "user friendly" means.

            1. John Sanders
              Trollface

              Re: @Def - case insensitive file systems

              If only I could down vote you again...

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @Def - case insensitive file systems

              Windows can handle different file systems - you just need to write drivers for them

              Erm.. heh.. so it can handle them, but the code just hasn't been written, yet?

              Well, beat this: My OS can control the thoughts of a small group of people - you just need to write the drivers for it.

              Just nobody wants the mess of different file systems Linux is....

              That's explain while Linux is still stuck at 1.4% market share on desktops

              oh dear, what a numpty.

        3. DrXym Silver badge

          Re: Case Sensitive File Systems...

          "case Sensitive File Systems... ...are a pain in the arse for the average user (more so on command line based systems, less so in GUI environments), "

          The problem here is you're conflating how the file system works and how the user interface presents it to a user.

          Let's break down how a user interacts with their computer.

          1. Most users point and click through a file explorer or some app gui. It makes no difference to them if the FS is case sensitive or not since they just click on the file they have made previously in some way.

          2. What about the command line? The command prompt can do case insensitive autocomplete automatically. Or it can even be a flag. e.g. in bash do this - "set completion-ignore-case on" and now autocomplete is case insensitive. Was that hard?

          3. What about file search? Same again, make it case insensitive.

          Moving the case sensitivity up to the UI means issues like upper/lower/title case is handled in a layer best suited to handle them. Baking it into a low level driver is a terrible idea, e.g. is the FS supposed to know the upper / lower case of cyrillic characters. What other Unicode tables have case folding rules. Why is this all happening in a driver?

          File systems should be as unambiguous and precise as possible. Second guessing malformed paths or names (such as those with the different case in their path from the ones on disk) just adds complexity and weird edge cases in a part of the operating system which can ill afford to have them.

          1. LDS Silver badge

            Re: Case Sensitive File Systems...

            "1. Most users point and click through a file explorer or some app gui"

            Absolutely false. User type the file name when they create files, and they may send them around and get them back after they've been modified - if the file for some reason change case they may screw up when saving it back.

            Face it, humans are not case-sensitive, only bad written applications are, because programmers are obsssed with optiomizations, don't know about collation tables, screw up with characters outside the ASCII7 set and so on.

            "File systems should be as unambiguous and precise as possible."

            Yes, but for their human users, not for some bad written applications that can't understand what human means. Sure, case-sensitivity is much, much easier to code, if you limit the user only to ASCII7 even more, and if you limit to just uppercase letter from ASCII7 even more. Just, it shows how bad programmer you are.

            1. JEDIDIAH
              Mushroom

              Re: Case Sensitive File Systems...

              > not for some bad written applications that can't understand what human means.

              Second guessing the user?

              That's a deep dark rabbit hole where you won't stop falling EVER.

              Also, it's deeply ironic to see someone arguing against a simplified layered programming approach on the Internet.

            2. Fibbles

              Re: Case Sensitive File Systems...

              Absolutely false. User type the file name when they create files, and they may send them around and get them back after they've been modified - if the file for some reason change case they may screw up when saving it back.

              That's such a ridiculous example. If the file name is different then it will be saved as a separate file. The user won't have lost any data, they'll just have "file1.txt" and "FILE1.txt" both existing in their file system.

              Imagine a situation where the user sends out "file 1.txt" and receives back "file_1.txt". Would you suggest that the file system should conflate underscores with whitespace?

            3. John Sanders
              Trollface

              Re: Case Sensitive File Systems...

              Yet another IT person who thinks the world started when they became self-aware, and that everything wrong happens because people are stupid.

        4. Rob Carriere

          Re: Case Sensitive File Systems...

          I'm afraid your explanation of the executable files gaffe is factually incomplete. The reason is that Windows memory maps AND is incapable of allowing existing accesses to a deleted file to continue for the life of the relevant process, something that all flavors of Unix have been able to do since the 70s. As you say, there are advantages to memory mapping. There are no advantages to being incapable.

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Case Sensitive File Systems...

          " Re: Case Sensitive File Systems...

          ...are a pain in the arse for the average user (more so on command line based systems, less so in GUI environments), and only exist because programmers are lazy. (It's entirely possible that the processing power didn't exist to efficiently perform case-insensitive string comparisons, but that's not really an excuse IMO.)"

          Can tell you're a primarily English speaker and writer simply from that statement. I am too, but I've had to write multi-language programs, and let me tell you, case insensitive wording is NOT as easy as you make it sound; it only seems that way to those who only deal with the standard Latin alphabet. When you start getting into extended characters, defining what is "case insensitive" becomes a huge PITA.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Case Sensitive File Systems...

            defining what is "case insensitive" becomes a huge PITA

            If you think it's just a PITA, then you've severely under-estimated it. ;-)

            Multi-lingual case-sensitivity involves characters that a westerner couldn't even recognise again the next day, the differences between the same character "set" could depend on what language it's written in, the culture it's from, or even based on opinion. The built-in Windows calls that are supposed to perform this are even broken.

            You really don't want to start implementing this yourself. It's not a matter of being lazy.

            You especially don't want to be bothering about this when all you want to do is access a file, or prevent access to one but forgot about blocking the upper-case "bongawonga" character.

            (incidentally, NTFS is actually case-sensitive - it's just that Windows disables it)

            1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

              Re: Case Sensitive File Systems...

              @ the AC who said: "Multi-lingual case-sensitivity involves characters that a westerner couldn't even recognise again the next day"

              Case conversion isn't a big deal, actually, because most of the world's writing systems are actually single-case. It's the various flavours of Roman/Greek/Cyrillic scripts that have this oddity of using a big and small version of the same letter in a way that conveys additional meaning (e.g. "he helped my uncle jack off his horse" does not have the same meaning as "he helped my uncle Jack off his horse.")

              The idea of two coded symbols with the same semantic value is a peculiarity of European writing. Blame the Christian monastic copyists, who found it too tiring to write the angular Roman and Greek letters and instead developed a rounded script more suited to faster transcription of those texts. Cyrillic stems from Greek, and thus are also coded as a two-case script. Armenian is the only other cased script, and there's (tenuous and contentious) claims that its writing system stems from Greek, but in any case its writing was also part of the Christian tradition of monks copying Latin and Greek manuscripts.

              There are some unexpected case conversions, but only really within Latin, because it's used for so many languages. The traditional capitalisation of the Dutch word "ijsbeer" is "IJsbeer"; The German word "Fluß" when written all-caps is "FLUSS", and if you're Turkish, 'i' and "I" are two separate letters, whose opposite cases are, respecitvely, 'İ' and 'ı' (that latter one catches most naive text processors, and people who accidentally imbue their C code with the user's locale...). You can code canonically for each of these (even the Turkish example can be unambiguously accounted for by coding 'i' as "dotless lowecase letter I", "combining overdot").

              But my point is that once you get outside the reach of the Christian monastic tradition, you find that just about every other language gets buy with just one letter case, once you realise that rearrangement (Indic scripts), clustering (Indic and Thai) and presentation forms (Arabic) are not letter cases, but rather different appearances of the same letter.

          2. h4rm0ny

            Re: Case Sensitive File Systems...

            >>"Can tell you're a primarily English speaker and writer simply from that statement. I am too, but I've had to write multi-language programs, and let me tell you, case insensitive wording is NOT as easy as you make it sound; it only seems that way to those who only deal with the standard Latin alphabet. When you start getting into extended characters, defining what is "case insensitive" becomes a huge PITA."

            Was just watching this sub-debate as I can see strong merit on both sides of it. But the above appears to me to be an argument for letting the OS / Filesystem handle case insensitivity rather than at the application level. As your post appears to be presented as a counter argument to Def's, I was wondering if you were intending it as such or meant it otherwise.

      2. LDS Silver badge

        Case insensitivity is good for most user. Most people doesn't really care about the case of a file, for them FILE1, file1 and FiLe1 are the same file. Most human languages are not case sensitive (thanks to god...)

        Case sensitiviy would just allow them to create different copies of the same file and lost themselves in them.

        Only C programmers and their offsprings like case-sensitivity because they can't fit a true collation table in 16 bytes of memory and lookups are less efficient than a single CMP assembly instruction...

        If Git can't handle case insensitive files it's just because it's the usual tool written with just one OS in mind by lazy programmers.

        Raymond Chen did explain why Windows choose to block replacement of locked files: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/2008.11.windowsconfidential.aspx

      3. JEDIDIAH
        Devil

        Something slightly else.

        My big annoyance with Windows is not being able to READ a locked file and having a long running file copy BAIL because of that. It takes a trivial operation that could easily be the simple poor mans backup and makes it useless for that purpose. The result is the addition of unnecessary arcana and complication.

  9. Andrew Hill

    Come on - I've been using multiple desktops under Linux/Unix since the mid 90s, and I'm pretty sure they'd been around a while before that.

    It should be noted that various Windows addons (notably freebies with graphics cards) have also been doing it for a few years.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Indeed, I've seen it in Windows at least 10 years ago. Not sure if it was an add-on, or part of the graphics drivers support.

      It's not really that useful a feature for most people.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        It's useful for many people, especially power users working with many different applications at once.

        They should have enabled it years ago, never understood why they didn't. Make it optional if you don't want to confuse some users.

        1. JDX Gold badge

          >>It's useful for many people, especially power users working with many different applications at once.

          Maybe a large number of people, but relatively a very small segment of Windows users. It's niche enough that people who need it could buy an add-on.

          However I would've thought these days, more and more people would be using VMs to meet the same goal rather than running hundreds of applications on one PC?

          1. janimal
            WTF?

            @JDX again

            However I would've thought these days, more and more people would be using VMs to meet the same goal rather than running hundreds of applications on one PC?

            What do you suggest one or two cores per desktop perhaps?

            I do use VM's, but not to achieve the same functionality as virtual desktops - the overhead for each VM is much more than running an application on the host machine, but on a virtual desktop.

          2. Archaon

            There is of course potential to run Linux VMs or evaluation versions of Windows, but for long term use of Windows VMs with normal licenses you'd have to licence multiple copies of Windows 7/8/Whatever to do it

            There's also the resource use of multiple copies of the OS and therefore needing more expensive hardware alongisde the increased licensing costs. In the context of a desktop it costs more to host things in individual Windows VMs than to just run everything in one Windows OS.

            PS - I assume that we're talking applications rather than background services, since I don't think workspaces really benefit backgroundy-type services.

      2. janimal
        Go

        @jdx

        It's not really that useful a feature for most people.

        I have been using Dexpot for my virtual desktops on win XP & win7 for years.

        It is both excellent and really very very useful.

        When I'm working I tend to have a lot of code & browser windows open, but if I want a five minute news break etc... I switch to another uncluttered desktop view to browse the web etc.. check e-mail.

        My machine is hooked up to two monitors and the lounge TV via HDMI, I can set dexpot to not switch desktops on one or more monitors, so I have it set to not switch the TV screen. So when we are watching a movie etc.. I can still flip between desktops on the other monitors without affecting what's on TV.

        It's also useful if you want to look at something saucy, but might want to switch to a non-naughty desktop at the drop of a hat - like a more useful boss key.

        virtual desktops rock.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @JDK

        "It's not really that useful a feature for most people."

        Until they use it. Going back to not having it is like going back to black and white TV but, yes, many people watched B&W for years happily.

        1. JDX Gold badge

          Re: @JDK

          I've used it and didn't find it a must-have.

          And for typical PC users, they would just end up lost "where's my internet gone". Alt-Tab is a power-feature to the majority of Windows users. Expecting them to find applications they can't even see on their screen anymore... you're kidding. As IT people, it's easy to forget just how low the common denominator is. It's not a criticism on users, just an observation.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @JDK

            As IT people, it's easy to forget just how low the common denominator is

            But I don't want to use a system that's designed for the lowest common denominator.

    2. cambsukguy

      Indeed, I have installed VirtuaWin on many work systems where I want to keep stuff separate - even when I have multiple monitors.

      It is tiny (like 400k tiny) and reliable. I have found it preferable to the (stock) Linux ones too. It has the required ability to show always, move this windows left/right etc. and (most usefully) allows keyboard assignment to jump to specific displays and switch left/right. It is also free.

      I am sure the MS system will be elegant and reliable and I won't need VirtuaWin but any windows user wanting the feature has had it available for a very long time.

  10. EddieD

    Solaris in '96

    Even under the most basic WM.

    I never used it though, and there are many, many third party addons if you do want this for Windows. I just tend to add extra monitors.

  11. regadpellagru
    Pirate

    MS always bleeding edge ... not

    First time I saw the concept of multiple workspace was early nineties, I think with the twm windows manager. I think, from memories, it was also available on SunOS 4 SUN workstation ...

    So yeah, good job, MS for bringing those ideas in 2015 ...

    1. Conor Turton

      Re: MS always bleeding edge ... not

      First time I saw the concept of multiple workspace was early nineties

      Windows had multiple desktops in the 90's....

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. JDX Gold badge

      Re: MS always bleeding edge ... not

      I bet Windows has loads of features Linux doesn't and vice versa. For instance, Windows has a really sucky command line... but for 99% of users it's not a problem, whereas a much higher proportion of Linux users use the command lineor even rely on it.

      If you try and add every feature everyone has, you get a big mess, not a perfect OS.

    4. roger stillick
      FAIL

      Re: MS always bleeding edge ... not, re=Commodore 64...

      Every Commodore 64 could do a dual workspace, just not very big...RS.

  12. Semaj

    Meh

    It looks like they've sorted out some of the issues of Windows 8 but frankly it's going to take more than the implementation of obvious features that should have been in the predecessor (at least) to bring me back to Windows.

    I already switched to Mint on my low powered laptop (though the poor thing needs putting out to pasture tbh) and my Desktop install is starting to get a bit more unstable so it's gonna get the Linux treatment too when I can be bothered.

    I'm just sick of the MS bullshit. It's going to take something special to bring me back, especially when the alternative doesn't cost anything.

    1. codejunky Silver badge

      Re: Meh

      @ Semaj

      I too appreciate the ability to run linux on systems that cant handle even win7. I have a laptop here with the full mint cinnamon install working at full performance while being barely able to run the win7 it came with. I was unwilling to buy a win8 laptop so I bought something cheap and cheerful but moving completely to linux was the right thing for this machine.

      Surprisingly Ubuntu 12 worked fine on an old system with 512 mb ram and 1GHz celeron. If I didnt need it to play certain games I would have got rid of my windows partition completely by now. It has literally exists just to play games. And with steam supporting the games I have of theirs I am using windows less and less

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Meh

        @Sema, @codejunky;

        I'm with you both.

        I originally a Windows dev. I used to be Microsoft's biggest cheerleeder.

        But I've grown tired of the constant churn of new versions with very little improvement (worse, in some cases), using a dumbed down interface designed for grandma. Buying new computers to support latest version, and seeing no performance increase.

        There's now an app store, because they also want to take a chunk out of every piece of software you buy - on a consumer device (phone/tablet) it's not so bad, and it was there from the start. But not on Windows, what we use professionally, that mainly grew so popular because of it's open market (as in, you can install what you want).

        And it's not just Windows, it's the entire culture and ecosystem. The software is bloated, always nagging and trying to capture your attention, every piece of software has a different way of checking for updates (and phoning home), bundled crap and sleaze, bandwagons, and the feature/improvements and versioning methodologies are skewed solely to extract more money from you.

        I'm on Linux Mint now, have been for well over a year. Haven't looked back, I feel free in so many ways. I deleted my Windows partition 6 months ago, I only booted it once and it felt grim. I still haven't needed the space yet, either. It's not a money thing, either - I've donated to many projects that I use, because they've provided something I actually want to pay for.

        There is nothing Microsoft can do. They can cobble together certain things that Linux (and others) have been enjoying for years, but they still wont be as refined. It's a culture problem with the entire Windows ecosystem.

        Windows 9? Meh... it's only for fanboys, and those who think they're locked in.

  13. Sarev

    Windows had this back in the days of XP

    It was one of the XP PowerTools. And yes, other OS have had this for decades. I implemented this feature on RISC OS back in 2006 and there were already several pre-existing apps that did similar.

    1. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Re: Windows had this back in the days of XP

      It was one of the XP PowerTools. And yes, other OS have had this for decades. I implemented this feature on RISC OS back in 2006 and there were already several pre-existing apps that did similar.

      Your One of those same Guys that would tell everyone to buy Startisback too huh?! Forgetting the point that pretty much anyone, and everyone has had this as STOCK for the best part of a Decade now. Or, in some cases even longer. Boy if this is the best MicroSoft can do... Then look out! They really will be lucky to make it out of this Decade alive!

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: anyone, and everyone has had this as STOCK for the best part of a Decade now

        No they haven't. About 5% of people have. Because that's (being generous) how many people aren't running Windows.

    2. Conor Turton

      Re: Windows had this back in the days of XP

      It was one of the XP PowerTools.

      Earlier than that Windows 98 had it with Powertoys from Microsoft.

  14. Vince

    Oh god. Not the start menu back again. I hope I can choose to keep the modern interface.

    1. Piro

      I guess you didn't watch the video.

      Try again.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Wow, I thought the face slapping start-screen was the best thing since sliced bread? And now they're getting rid of it? I thought MS was always right.

    3. VinceH Silver badge

      @Vince

      "Oh god. Not the start menu back again. I hope I can choose to keep the modern interface."

      Comments like yours scare me.

      Because I see your name and worry that people will think it's me making the comment.

  15. Mort

    Caught up with Linux

    So I guess the prediction is that 2015 will be the much anticipated year of "Windows on the Desktop"?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Windows on the Desktop

      Not on mine it won't be

  16. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    FFS!

    I was using vtwm on UNIX in 1990. Both CDE and OS/2 Warp had it from 1994.

    Vtwm was interesting, because rather than separate 'desktops', what it gave you was a scrollable/snappable window over a much larger desktop than the size of the screen. This meant that you could have a huge window that you could move the visible screen over. Coupled with hotkeys to control the window manager rather than on-screen buttons, it made a very usable and flexible environment. I did find the source for it a while ago, and compiled it up again, but I'm afraid that I'm now corrupted by the need to support freedesktop extensions from more modern window managers.

    And IIRC, the AT&T 5620 Blit had some rudimentary multi-view extensions to Layers in the mid '80s.

    I can't remember whether the Sun 3 that I played with in the early/mid 80's had a virtual extension to SunView. I think that they preferred icon boxes to contain multiple minimised windows that you could open and close as a group.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: FFS!

      > I think that they (Sun) preferred icon boxes to contain multiple minimised windows that you could open and close as a group.

      The Apollo offering at the time was similar - icon groups. Functionally identical to multiple desktops, but the latter is a more elegant concept.

    2. Gerhard den Hollander

      Re: FFS!

      wasnt it tvwm (Toms Virtual Window Manager ) ?

      OpenLook on Solaris had an olvm in the early 90s

      I started using fvwm in late 1993 because I wanted something on Linux that gave me what I had been using on Solaris (or maybe even SunOS).

      So, from personal experience, I can say this has been around for at least 20+ years

      The windows ``desktops'' solution does not even come close to the flexibility and ease of use of a real VWM

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Re: FFS!

        vtwm is normally described as the virtual tab window manager. The relationships between the various twm family members are documented here.

    3. jake Silver badge

      Re: FFS!

      SunTools had the capability in early 1984ish.

      Still running on my 1988 Sun 3/470 "Pegasus".

  17. Ole Juul Silver badge

    News to me

    I've not used MS-Windows since 3.1 so was not aware that it was still a single desktop. That would be pretty hard to deal with. I guess it just goes to show how patient many people are.

  18. Amorous Cowherder

    OSX has it, Linux has it, heck didn't the Amiga Workbench have a hack like this once? About time Windows caught up.

    1. Conor Turton

      About time Windows caught up.

      Windows had multiple desktops in Windows 98. It was enabled by installing Powertoys which Microsoft made a separate downloadable. So few people bothered with it that they discontinued it.

  19. nichomach

    Windows has had multiple desktops for bloody years

    Honestly, OK via a free Microsoft supplied add-on (cunningly called "Desktops" - well-hidden, eh?) but it's been there since XP/2003. I would suggest that anyone who *hasn't* found that probably hasn't been looking very hard. Of course there're other options like Virtuawin and so forth, but suggesting that Windows has "just caught up" is just flipping stupid.

    1. Anonymous Bullard

      Re: Windows has had multiple desktops for bloody years

      But they have been absolutely shite. They're just hacks that hide specific Windows.

      The built-in "hidden" multiple desktops are also unusable because they're almost like having a completely different login session.

      1. TKW

        Re: Windows has had multiple desktops for bloody years

        Anonymous Bullard, some may be implemented as a ShowWindow hack, but the functionality has been around since at least NT4 to create proper desktops and this is the method that the SysInternals tool used. Documented at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/ms682573(v=vs.85).aspx

        1. Anonymous Bullard

          Re: Windows has had multiple desktops for bloody years

          TKW,

          Yes, I've looked into that method too, but it's no better than having different login sessions (from a usability point of view).

          I've actually used that feature when developing a kiosk application a few years ago. Since learning about it, I've always wondered why they couldn't slap a user interface to it like they possibly have now (if they're doing it this way).

          Anyway it's too late now, I've move away from Windows.

      2. Maventi

        Re: Windows has had multiple desktops for bloody years

        "But they have been absolutely shite. They're just hacks that hide specific Windows.

        The built-in "hidden" multiple desktops are also unusable because they're almost like having a completely different login session."

        Why is this downvoted? It's entirely true. When I was using Windows XP and Ubuntu side by side for a few years the fact that the Powertoy virtual desktops were a hack was painfully obvious. Some apps using strange window behaviours really didn't behave well with it either, such as ones that hide the taskbar icon when minimised.

        I gave up on it entirely in the end, and I still use multiple workspaces in Ubuntu and OS X to this day. Even with multiple monitors it's an incredibly useful feature. It's nice to see Windows 9 including it properly and I don't care how long it's taken.

    2. JEDIDIAH
      Mushroom

      Re: Windows has had multiple desktops for bloody years

      > I would suggest that anyone who *hasn't* found that probably hasn't been looking very hard.

      ...or they have higher expectations and aren't satisfied with that crap.

      The fact that Windows has had less than half-assed clones of this feature for a number of years is nothing to brag about.

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Windows has had multiple desktops for bloody years

      >I would suggest that anyone who *hasn't* found that probably hasn't been looking very hard.

      Until reading these comments I had totally forgotten about the sysinternals 'Desktops' toy. I gave up on running multiple desktops under Windows years back, after playing around with them on various versions of Windows. With Win 3 and probably all versions of Windows including XP, whilst CPU performance and memory were major constraints. Additionally, I found the biggest obstacle was the stability of Window's itself - with multiple desktops on a single system, when Windows crashes which it frequently did it created a big mess. It was simpler and more stable to run several Windows boxes through a KVM or Remote Desktop - but then work was paying...

      Obviously, with significant strides having been made in Windows stability (since XP-SP3) and platform performance, Windows 9 might just be capable of running multiple desktops in primetime.

  20. Piro

    Was that so hard, Microsoft?

    This is definitely a good 'start', so colour me more interested in Windows 9 than 8 by far. Start and applications in windows? What a thing!

    Not to mention the fact that Stardock was ahead of the game as they offered both of these, but oh well.

    Hopefully they've fixed the other problems with 8, like lack of ClearType, missing Windows Experience Index, COMPLETELY screwed backup system, missing Shadow Copy UI, etc.

    The problems with 8 are legion, but at least they are listening.. maybe?

  21. Michael B.

    New Feature or a tidy up and bundling of one of their own utilities?

    As a successor to the XP Power Tools's Virtual Desktop Mark Russinovich et al created Desktops around 6 years ago.

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-gb/sysinternals/cc817881

    1. Silviu C.

      Re: New Feature or a tidy up and bundling of one of their own utilities?

      You should read the limitations that it has. It's pretty ridiculous. The fact that this utility existed 6 years ago doesn't mean that people even knew that Windows was able to do multiple workspaces. It was never advertised and for anybody else, this feature never existed... it was never used.

  22. Kraggy

    I was using multiple desktops in Windows 3, albeit with a third-party tool. The fact M$ didn't implement it in the O/S doesn't mean this is a new feature.

  23. AndrueC Silver badge

    There have been third party add-ons to do that since Win3.x at least. Even OS/2 had one written by StarDock I think. I never really liked the idea, couldn't get on with it for some reason.

  24. Truffle

    Says more about Reg readers

    Who cares that Microsoft is now implementing this?

    Its not like people have been screaming for it to start with, and by the looks of things its not Microsoft who are hailing it as some revolution like the numerous commentards above suggest.

    These are leaked videos from unofficial sources.

    Now, if Microsoft have a big fancy launch event and regale us with how this is the 'next wave in desktop' or whatever, then i retract my remarks but at the moment this is more about Reg readers seeing an opportunity to get on their high horses than M$ Marketing hyping up a non-feature.

    1. jason 7

      Re: Says more about Reg readers

      Must admit I've never known I've needed this feature after using Windows for over 20 years.

      Never heard anyone else mention it either in all that time.

      This is more likely MS looking around for anything they can throw in to make more 'value add'. I cant say I'm desperate for any particular features. I just install an OS and slap the stuff I need into it and I'm done.

      I look forward to all the support calls from the baby boomer customers asking me why their desktop has swapped to an empty one. There could be a reason why MS never bothered with it.

    2. Hellcat

      Re: Says more about Reg readers

      I had multiple desktops through the ATI driver package way back when (Windows 2000 or XP?). I probably thought it was a cool feature to have, but I found just ALT+TAB was more efficient. I've never since found myself thinking "I wish I had more desktops".

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Says more about Reg readers

      I use it quite often in Linux, mainly when I'm working on several projects at once - I can have an IDE along with terminal/browser/etc windows pointing at the relevant places for each job I'm doing, without having to close/re-open things, and keeping irrelevant stuff still open because I don't want to re-start it, as I switch between jobs.

      But imagine the disk thrashing and CPU burning that would happen if you tried that with Windows and VS. I tried the 3rd party virtual desktop hacks on Windows, but Windows just can't handle having more than one "work session" at a time - that's a fact I've painfully learned over the years.

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: Says more about Reg readers

        I'm not really following what you're saying there. What do you mean by 'work session'? Are you talking about something like the xIX virtual terminal where you can log into your computer multiple times (what Windows calls user switching)? I'm not sure that's what's suggested here. It's more like they've increased the desktop size then subdivided into screen sized pages. That's just a bit of fairly trivial GDI trickery.

        And if you're trying to suggest that Windows struggles with multiple versions of VS running at the same time then I can only assume you've been doing it on machines with too little RAM. I've done it lots of times. I currently have VS and Eclipse open (and MySQL WorkBench) and everything is responsive without any disk or CPU thrashing. I have 8GB of RAM of which just under 2GB is currently available. I just did a quick user switch and fired up VS as a different domain user and it's fine. Flip back to my normal user and that's fine as well.

      2. janimal

        Re: AC

        But imagine the disk thrashing and CPU burning that would happen if you tried that with Windows and VS. I tried the 3rd party virtual desktop hacks on Windows, but Windows just can't handle having more than one "work session" at a time - that's a fact I've painfully learned over the years.

        This is also one of several uses I have for multiple desktops. IF you want it on windows you should look up dexpot - it does an excellent job of multiple desktops & several other things too, You can even make it do the cube (I don't bother). I have had no performance issues with it.

  25. Ol' Grumpy
    Coat

    I wonder what Eadon would have made of these developments =P

    1. h4rm0ny

      >>"I wonder what Eadon would have made of these developments =P"

      The usual troll response is to condemn MS for any feature it doesn't have, and then when they add it complain because it's not original. An attitude that would take us from having three well-rounded mainstream OS/s to having three near useless ones each of which could do about a third of what you actually need.

  26. DrXym Silver badge

    New start menu

    If that's what it really looks like then I'm comfortable with that - a mini metro that appears over the desktop is much better than the brain fart inducing context switch out to another screen. And metro apps which live as windows on the desktop.

    Both basically mean that start menu could be switched off completely for those who don't like it. I think the start menu is fine for tablets and some people may still prefer it on a desktop.

    1. SteveK

      Re: New start menu

      "And metro apps which live as windows on the desktop."

      Isn't this just resurrecting the ancient Active Desktop that MS bundled in the days of IE4? I remember having to go round turning that off as one of the first things on installing a new Windows 98 machine...

      1. WylieCoyoteUK
        Holmes

        Re: New start menu

        Yes, Live tiles, Active desktop, 3D films, Video phones, all "cool features" that offer little except additional visual noise and rapidly become irritating.

        I haven't used Microsoft software at home since 2008.

        At work, I support Win, Lin and Mac.

        Try using over a hundred applications with stupid manufacturer based names.

        Search just doesn't work, because lots of them start with the same 8 or 9 characters, and TIFKAM was just a mess.

        A nice hierarchical menu which I can customise is just easier.

        I expect that the next thing will be Windows watches with step counters in them.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: New start menu

      "If that's what it really looks like then I'm comfortable with that - a mini metro that appears over the desktop"

      A mini metro? Why would you want a 1980s car in the way of your icons?!

  27. Lostintranslation

    Enough with the Lego interface already.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Just you wait

      Until they make you login via some minecraft wizzadry....

      The likes of Eadon will go---> {see icon}

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    SO.....

    ....will they offer a cheap n smooth direct upgrade path from Win 7? without the aggro of win 8 or whatever?

  29. Cipher

    Forget about multiple desktops, has MS (in Win 7), fixed the folder sizing issue that Shell Folder Fix takes care of? Or implemented a native windows rollup?

    Or the infamous "Must Refresh to see changes to the desktop" on folder creation/deletion or downloads to the desktop? Literally thousands of posts over the years on this and no MS fix...

    Additional monitors, IMO, are much better than multiple desktops. This minor feature, unused by most and likely to stay that way, isn't going to change minds...

    1. revdjenk

      If you are at a wide desk, and stay there with your machine, multiple monitors can be a sweet setup...

      ...however, on a laptop/tablet having multiple desktops with each dedicated to a selected job/theme can be a wonderful way to work.

    2. janimal

      Additional monitors, IMO, are much better than multiple desktops. This minor feature, unused by most and likely to stay that way, isn't going to change minds...

      I like to use multiple monitors and multiple workspaces personally.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    workspaces are useless

    I can't see why MS would think that would help sales. I never use them.

    I wish people would stop adding crap music to videos. If you don't have anything to say, fine, but don't make me listen to your shit music.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What is the functional difference between multiple desktops - or just switching users in W7? The latter stay logged in and apparently updating their applications - while you can simultaneously run applications as a different user.

    Presumably multiple desktops have single key switching - whereas switching users might need a login password.

    1. Khaptain Silver badge

      Network rights, the time it takes to change, having to set up multiple accounts for the same thing, etc etc etc etc I can easilly presume that you are also not on corporate network

    2. Fibbles

      I don't know how MS have implemented it but on XFCE I can have, for example, a web browser and file manager open on one desktop whilst having an IDE and and command line open on another. I then just use the mouse scroll wheel over an exposed area of desktop wallpaper to switch between them. That's far easier than switching users.

  32. wisewellies

    Solaris?

    If memory serves, I'm pretty sure that multiple workspaces (desktops) were available in Solaris circa 1997, if not before...

    1. oldcoder

      Re: Solaris?

      Goes back to around 1989 with solaris... Though you had to install X yourself.

  33. FF22

    Windows had multiple desktops when Linux didn't even exist yet

    I remember having multiple desktops already under Windows 3.1 - years before even Linux 0.1 came into existence.

    All you had to do is was to install a small 3rd party program. Of course similar programs were and are available for all versions of Windows ever since.

    So, what exactly is the point you're trying to make there, besides Windows-bashing, of course?

    1. janimal
      Flame

      Re: Windows had multiple desktops when Linux didn't even exist yet

      technically having to install something else to provide the functionality means it is not included in Windows.

      Are you going to claim Windows has CAD software because you can pay Autocad several thousand quid & install it?

      1. FF22

        Re: Windows had multiple desktops when Linux didn't even exist yet

        It was a free utility, and Microsoft themselves also provided such a utility for free. Guess you just like to beat a straw man.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unix not linux. Please don't be so narrow-minded.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Throw it at a wall and see what sticks.

    That seems to be Microsoft's strategy on Windows.

    This looks like I will still be sticking on Windows7, as that Start Menu looks like another tragedy.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    one thing ...

    Who cares about multiple desktops!

    Wobbly windows or gtfo!

    1. revdjenk

      Re: one thing ...

      ...or flames when you close them!

  37. Alan Bourke

    And does anyone actually use this in Linux?

    Especially in these days of multiple flatscreens? I doubt many do.

    1. h4rm0ny

      Re: And does anyone actually use this in Linux?

      >>"Especially in these days of multiple flatscreens? I doubt many do."

      I do. I have one screen which is my main development environment with several tabbed bash terminals. Then I have another screen which is my SSH's into live sites / clients I'm working with. I should be safe against mishaps but putting them on a different desktop is that extra layer of segregation. And then I use a third desktop for tailings of logs, unit tests, etc. so that I can easily flip between dev work (mostly reviewing other people's work these days) and monitoring for any warnings / violations on the test desktop.

      I'll occasionally open documentation et al. in a fourth desktop, but all of the above is running on a Windows 8 host in a Debian VM so I use the Windows host for my emails, browsers, etc.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: And does anyone actually use this in Linux?

        Same here. I use it when I'm working on different jobs at the same time. It's not the same as having multiple monitors.

        I used to try this on Windows with VirtuaWin , but having that many applications running at once seemed to stress Windows. I hope they've improved this or this "new feature" would be a waste of time.

      2. janimal

        Re: And does anyone actually use this in Linux?

        I use it all the time, in both Linux and W7 (via 3rd party software) even though I have 3 screens

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And does anyone actually use this in Linux? Especially in these days of multiple flatscreens?

      But I can't afford that many flatscreens - either money- or space- wise. -)

      The four screens I use at work isn't really enough, y'know.

      1. JEDIDIAH
        Linux

        Re: And does anyone actually use this in Linux? Especially in these days of multiple flatscreens?

        The existence of a useful usable virtual workstation feature has made me far less interested in setting up multiple monitors. While I like the idea of grouping Windows by task, I rarely find that I need more than on set of them visible at any one time.

        So for me, adding another monitor would just be something to stave off boredom and to see what all the fuss is about ( the feature, the trolling surrounding the feature...).

    3. codejunky Silver badge

      Re: And does anyone actually use this in Linux?

      @ Alan Bourke

      I have a 1 screen laptop, 2 screen desktop and a 3 screen desktop and I do use it on occasion. So does the linux guy next to me. I know some people who dont bother with multiple workspaces but I know a few who do too.

    4. Steven Raith

      Re: And does anyone actually use this in Linux?

      Just to add to the list of people rolling their eyes, my Macbook has six virtual desktops, and my home workstation has eight (two rows of four) to segregate jobs, tasks, personal and work related activities.

      Makes managing my workflow (and skive time) far, far easier.

      Steven R

    5. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Re: And does anyone actually use this in Linux?

      At work I support four separate HPC clusters. I have one virtual desktop allocated to each so that I can have all the windows on each cluster grouped together. When you have hundreds of nodes, most of which should be identical, but often have specific problems

      I have another four, one for a full-screen mail session, one for a full screen web-browser (with multiple tabs), another for various monitoring tools, and one used for anything else that takes my fancy (typically local windows on my workstation).

      Counting the open windows I have today (which has been a quiet day), I have 18 windows open, scattered across all 8 desktops. On busy days, I can have between 30 and 40 open windows. I can switch between workspaces easily and know that all of the windows open on one desktop relate to one particular facet of my work. I would hate to fit all of that into even 2 or 3 monitors, even if I were prepared to sacrifice the desk space.

      I've been working in a similar fashion to this for nearly 25 years!

      I use virtual desktops at home as well on my personal laptop, mainly to separate out different things I am doing at the same time. For example, at the moment I am working out how to typeset music while referring to on-line tutorials (full screen musical notation editor without intruding window decorations in one desktop, browser in another, rapidly switching between them by pressing two keys).

      Honestly, unless you are incredibly single-minded and can really concentrate on just one thing at once, I believe that almost anybody could benefit from multiple desktops.

  38. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Linux

    Still some catching up to do...

    Windows will have caught up with Linux when the following occurs:

    -There are no more "helpful" pop-ups telling us every 2 minutes that something can perform faster, isn't secure, "a problem was detected", etc.

    -Microsoft learns to make applications truly not steal focus from each other, which is probably my number one pet peeve with all versions of Windows.

    -When Windows begins to hold a candle to Linux in frugal use of resources and just plain performance, all other elements of the same system being equal.

    -When my computer is idle, it is truly idling, waiting for my next command, not grinding away at my hard drive re-indexing or doing some other pointless background task on the off chance it may speed something up that I do twice a year, if that.

    -When windows updates don't take aeons to install, require a reboot, then another period of installation at the next reboot, followed by 2nd reboot "Preparing to configure windows"...

    -When I no longer receive pointless warnings such as "Do you trust this printer?" or "This action contains an unspecified security flaw." What?? Are you just trying to make me paranoid?? (I wouldn't leave that printer alone with my kids, but other than that, I'll vouch for it..)

    -When IE doesn't market to me at every opportunity such as "Suggested Sites" whether I want them or not, "Web Gallery", etc.

    -When Windows can figure out what to do with a file by what it contains, not its extension.

    -When I can boot up a Windows box without just plain feeling like I sold out on what being a geek is all about.

    Not that Windows doesn't have a few innovative features that Linux can learn from, and Linux does have some failings, but not bad for a totally free (as in both beer and speech) OS.

  39. BOBSta
    FAIL

    Allways on Top

    Why, oh why, oh why is there still not a standard, built-in out-of-the-box "Allways on Top" feature available in M$ Windoze? I just want to be able to keep a Word doc in the foreground while having other apps and docs behind it. More things that Linux has been able to do for years.

    The only app I use that does this on it's own is Notepad++.

    And WHY hasn't M$ upgraded it's standard notepad to have more of the features of Notepad++? Or just BUY Notepad++.

    1. Unicornpiss Silver badge

      Re: Allways on Top

      You don't want MS to buy Notepad++ If they do, you will begin paying $29.95 for it or at least be prompted to upgrade to the "Pro" version to use more features, and it will stop working if it cannot contact "the cloud"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Allways on Top

        Actually most media players also offer this option, wmc, vlc, mpchc, notepad2 etc.. etc... The functionality is there, its the app developers choice to implement it, ok it could be done at the window manager level, but its not as if its not possible at the moment.

        1. BOBSta

          Re: Allways on Top

          "As a standard out-of-the-box" feature in the Window manager so all apps have it by default. Like the Move, Size, Close options that have been there since Windows 3.0 (or before).

          Sure, I guessed there would be more apps out there which use the feature (I forgot about VLC for instance). However, AFAIK, the fact that none of Microsoft's own included-with-the-OS software and its flagship Office applications do not use it is a joke (IMHO!)

          Strange that both VLC and Notepad++ are available for multiple OSes and both use the allways on top feature... ;)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Allways on Top

      Because Linux was developed by it's own users.

      Sometimes I think MS just sit on Windows features so they can spread them out over each version to give people a reason to upgrade. Or am I giving them too much credit?

  40. 45RPM Silver badge

    No POSIX

    Until Windows is POSIX compliant, has a terminal and command line that doesn’t utterly suck (I had high hopes for Powershell, and I was disappointed), and plays nicely with other operating systems out of the box (UFS support, SSH, SCP and so forth) rather than expecting other OSes to play nicely with it (Samba, etc), I’d say that Windows has a very long trek ahead of it to catch up with Linux.

    1. Sandtitz Silver badge

      Re: No POSIX

      "Until Windows is POSIX compliant"

      When will Linux be Windows compliant?

      has terminal and command line that doesn’t utterly suck (I had high hopes for Powershell, and I was disappointed)

      I'm not going to tell you either why I hate bash/ksh/zsh.

      There are other shells available for Windows. HTH.

      and plays nicely with other operating systems out of the box (UFS support, SSH, SCP and so forth)

      And if MS included all those + xeyes - you and your friends would accuse Windows of "bloat", or claim that they weren't good enough and accuse Microsoft of just ticking boxes. Download putty and winscp and whatever and deal with it.

      1. 45RPM Silver badge

        Re: No POSIX

        @Sandtitz

        Why should Linux be Windows compliant? POSIX is an open set of industry standards, designed to improve interoperability. Windows is a closed Microsoft 'standard'. It would be easier for Microsoft to fully implement POSIX compliance than Linux implement Windows compliance. In any case, taken as a whole and including the tablet / phone ecosystem, servers and so forth, Windows is haemorrhaging market share - so, in many ways, it's more important for Windows to comply with the industry standard (POSIX) than for Linux to comply with the ersatz industry standard (Windows)

        There are other shells available for Windows True. They aren't commonly used though - and it's even less common for Windows to have a halfway acceptable terminal app installed. Doubtless you're wondering why this matters - after all, you could just download and install your own alternative. In a secure server environment though, systems are locked down - and it isn't possible to just install the shell / terminal app / text editor of choice. *nix systems typically come with a vast selection of options preinstalled, thereby overcoming this problem. Furthermore, it doesn't matter what shell or terminal you install, Windows still can't be 100% configured / controlled from the command line and it's inherited CP/M's idiotic confusion over / and \. As to choice of shells, the same applies to *nix. On *nix masochists can even opt to have a Windows cmd shell, complete with confused slashes.

        your friends would accuse Windows of "bloat" In my view, bloat isn't about providing a plethora of functions (which is a good thing, provided that said options can be hidden from the noobs). Bloat is about software which is far larger than it needs to be to fulfil its functions. For example, if a fizz buzz program takes more than a few hundred bytes to implement then it is (in my view) bloated - and there'll be many people here who would consider my code bloated, overblown and baroque. As stated previously, it isn't possible to 'just download' in a secure environment (although I have, of course, done so on my Windows box at home).

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: No POSIX

          >>"POSIX is an open set of industry standards, designed to improve interoperability. Windows is a closed Microsoft 'standard'. It would be easier for Microsoft to fully implement POSIX compliance than Linux implement Windows compliance. "

          POSIX was designed to bring some consistency to UNIX operating systems and its family. I'm not even sure much of it applies to Windows.

          >>"and it's even less common for Windows to have a halfway acceptable terminal app installed"

          ISE comes as standard on WIndows 7 and 8. It's actually very nice. Also includes a built in debugger.

          http://blog.soporteti.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/powershell_ise_gui.png

          >>"Windows still can't be 100% configured / controlled from the command line"

          Can you give an example of something that can't be managed in Windows via Powershell? Especially, as you're using this as a comparator to GNU/Linux, something that can be done on that other system.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: No POSIX

            > Can you give an example of something that can't be managed in Windows via Powershell?

            Top of my head (that I'd like it to do):

            - Move/resize/switch Windows?

            - Change the background image, or user's profile image?

            - Download and update a major OS upgrade?

            1. h4rm0ny

              Re: No POSIX

              >>Move/resize/switch Windows?

              Bit of an unusual thing to want to do from the commandline, but everything in Windows is an object so you can manipulate them from Powershell. For example:

              Set-ForegroundWindow (Get-Process -id $pid).MainWindowHandle

              >>Change the background image, or user's profile image

              Again, everything in Windows is an object. Here is someone changing the wallpaper: Link. Of course they've written an entire class to do it, but you can see the simpler and essential part of it in the user's initial question.

              >>Download and update a major OS upgrade?

              We're good so far. :) But as I mentioned - it's objects all the way down and everything is accessible. If you can write a program to do it via the API, then you can do it from Powershell without any need of special programs.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: No POSIX

                If you can write a program to do it via the API, then you can do it from Powershell

                Thank you for that. As a scripting language, it's OK - nothing special, apart from the fact it's (almost) ready out-the-box on Windows. For the interactive command line, it's quite crap (in my opinion).

                1. h4rm0ny

                  Re: No POSIX

                  >> As a scripting language, it's OK - nothing special,

                  What makes you say that? Here is a list of nice extras it has that TheVogon posted a while back (and which I have shamelessly stolen from Link).

                  !--Not my words below here

                  1) Object oriented pipes so that I don't have to format and reparse and be concerned about language settings.

                  2) Command metadata. PowerShell commands, functions and even *script files* expose metadata about the names, positions, types and validation rules for parameters, allowing the *shell* to perform type coercion, allowing the *shell* to explain the parameters/syntax, allowing the *shell* to support both tab completion and auto-suggestions with no need for external and cumbersome completion definitions.

                  3) Robust risk management. Look up common parameters -WhatIf, -Confirm, -Force and consider how they are supported by ambient values in scripts you author yourself.

                  4) Multiple location types and -providers. Even a SQL Server appears as a navigable file system. Want to work with a certain database? Just switch to the sqlserver: drive and navigate to the server/database and start selecting, creating tables etc.

                  5) Fan-out remoting. Execute the same script transparently and *robustly* on multiple servers and consolidate the results back on the controlling console. Try icm host1,host2,host3 {ps} and watch how you get consolidated, object-oriented process descriptions from multiple servers.

                  6) Workflow scripting. PowerShell scripts can (since v3) be defined as workflows which are suspendable, resumable and which can pick up and continue even across system restarts.

                  7) Parallel scripting. No, not just starting multiple processes, but having the actual *script* branch out and run massively parallel.

                  8) True remote sessions where you don't step into and out of remote sessions but actually controls any number of remote sessions from the outside.

                  9) PowerShell web access. You can now set up a IIS with PWA as a gateway. This gives you a firewall-friendly remote command line in any standards compliant browser.

                  10) Superior security features, e.g. script signing, memory encryption, proper multi-mode credentials allowing script to be agnostic about authentication schemes which may go way beyond stupid username+password and use smart cards, tokens, OTPs etc.

                  11) Transaction support right in the shell. Script actions can join any resource manager such as SQL server, registry, message queues in a single atomic transaction. Do that in bash?

                  12) Strongly typed stripting, extensive data types, e.g first class xml support and regex support right in the shell. Optional static/explicit typing. Real lambdas (script blocks) instead of stupidly relying on dangerous and error prone "eval" functions.

                  13) Real *structured* exception handling as an alternative to outdated traps (which PowerShell also has). try-catch-finally blocks.

                  14) Instrumentation, extensive tracing, transcript and *source level* debugging of scripts.

                  15) Consistent naming conventions covering verb-noun command names, common verbs, common parameter names.

                  !--My words begin again

                  These are awesome things that really put it high up. Unless perhaps you're comparing it to Python, but compared to old school scripting languages such as Bash, it's phenomenal.

                  >>"For the interactive command line, it's quite crap (in my opinion)."

                  Well the bare default terminal is, that's why I pointed you at ISE which comes installed on all Windows 7 and 8 boxes by default and includes things like an integrated debugger!

                  EDIT: For some reason I lost my link to performing Windows updates via Powershell from my earlier reply to you. I've closed the tab now, but yes, you can do this also.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: No POSIX

                    Thank you for going through the trouble.

                    However, I wasn't comparing it to specifically bash (perhaps my fault for being AC), although I do believe bash is excellent for an interactive shell but ropey for large/complex scripts - the reverse of Powershell. They can't be compared like-for-like. It depends what you're doing.

                    The features you+TheVogon mention aren't anything special - PHP or Dart (wild/thoughtless examples), support most of that (plus more), and the others are specific to what you'd use Powershell for.

                    1. h4rm0ny

                      Re: No POSIX

                      >>"The features you+TheVogon mention aren't anything special - PHP or Dart (wild/thoughtless examples), support most of that (plus more), and the others are specific to what you'd use Powershell for."

                      That's fine. My own point of comparison if you wanted something "better" would be Python. I was answering mainly in the context of the ongoing Linux vs. Windows silliness that is going on here. Remember, the question I asked "what can't you do in Powershell" was a direct response to someone saying the lack of decent scripting on Windows put it behind GNU/Linux.

                      I find Powershell very capable and very well suited for its role. I don't think Dart is really a like to like comparison. Nor is PHP, imo. Which is why I referenced Python. Perl could also be a good comparison basis if someone wanted, but I have no experience with Perl.

                      1. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Re: No POSIX

                        I agree, but "I find Powershell very capable and very well suited for its role"

                        Role as a Python/Perl level scripting language, sure.

                        Role as an interactive shell... not for me - and I have tried to like it

  41. Defiant

    Bias

    "Microsoft has caught up with Linux"

    Nothing like a biased article. The FACT is you can't even give Binux away

    1. h4rm0ny

      Re: Bias

      >>"Nothing like a biased article. The FACT is you can't even give Binux away"

      Good to see that there are ill-informed trolls on both sides.

      Or not.

      1. frank ly Silver badge

        Re: Bias

        But ... but ... lots of people and organisations give Linux away. That's how I got mine.

      2. Defiant

        Re: Bias

        Ah bless I don't agree with the Binux geeks so I must be a troll, shows how pathetic they are

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Bias

          >> Ah bless I don't agree with the Binux geeks so I must be a troll

          Im a Bindows user, and i also think you're a troll

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Great improvement.... ALL APART FROM THE INCLUSION OF LIVE TILES, i dont want that tonker toy rubbish, hopefully you can just turn them off completely.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      And what's the obsession with showing the weather and share prices (that I don't have) constantly? So your developers can turn a button into a rudimentary RSS reader? Big deal.

      It's the kind of stuff you only need to find out once or twice a day (if at all), and when I want to know it I'll fucking google it and get a more up to date and reliable result. And why are there still disgustingly eye stabbing bright/animated "LOOK AT ME!!" so-called buttons, so large I feel I have to use my hold hand to click on?

      I use my start menu as a launcher, not to keep up to date with my pathetic life when I'm trying to work. Get out of my fucking face, Microsoft! I don't want to use your crap, I have to - at least leave me the fuck alone when I'm trying hard to endure it..

      I really hope Start8 can still disable this piece of shit, that only the most loyal of fanboys will like (the same people who loved the full screen Metro but will change back to the start menu because MS have).

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can sense...

    .. a future deluge of calls for help from friends and relatives - "All my stuff has vanished, I don't know what I did, how do I get it all back again?"

    Oh wait, sorry, no, those friends and relatives are now using iPads. Phew!

    (and it's kind of useful on the Android phone to have several screens of shortcuts, but on Linux Mint on my old netbook it's infuriating that a slip on the mousepad sends me off to another workspace that I never use and I then have to alt-arrow to get things back again. Most annoying and unwanted - if there's a way to turn this off for an old Gnome (Mint 7!) please feel free to tell me how. And, no, I can't be facing the joys of upgrading the OS and trying to get WiFi and screen brightness control working again)

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: I can sense...

      You'll probably find that your wifi and screen brightness work a lot better with a more recent kernel - you can always try it from a live DVD or USB stick to test those features out before installing.

      1. AceRimmer

        Re: I can sense...

        As a full time (at home at least) Mint 16 Cinnamon user I can assure you that they don't work a lot better

        Bluetooth is still hit and miss (mainly miss as the lack of Bluetooth connectivity to my external speaker will testify)

        You still need to remain intimate with the command prompt.

        Touch pad settings are sometimes applied, sometimes not.

        Laptop runs twice as hot under Linux than Windows

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: I can sense...

          @ AceRimmer

          That is an odd list of problems. For running hot am I right guessing you have an AMD graphics chip? Unfortunately AMD dont support linux very well and I have heard of that problem before.

          I am not sure what you are doing which requires intimacy with the command prompt. I use it for ssh and scp but that is my choice. Beyond that it is only when I choose not to use the GUI (I am on mint 17 but previously 14/15).

          As for the touchpad what is it doing? It is possible that you may need to do some config stuff in the terminal to rectify it but I have never encountered that. There is probably a fix online. Or try mint 17

          1. AceRimmer

            Re: I can sense...

            I am on Mint 17 - My apologies, the "break from convention" for the new release naming confused me and I'm typing this at work not on the laptop in question.

            Laptop has a nvidia graphics card - I tried installing Bumble bee which was supposed to help, it didn't

            Touchpad works great except for the rather crucial "turn off when typing" setting which prevents accidental clicks with ones palm when typing.

            Command prompt is necessary for when the GUI options don't work. Notable instances:

            Trying to fix touchpad and bluetooth

            Installing Chrome (GUI fails for some reason)

            Installing Spotify (If it could get an official release then I agree, it would be in the repos)

            Installing anything which fails dependency checks. Typing "sudo apt-get install" is now muscle memory.

            Fixing permissions on files (although there may be a GUI method which I don't know about)

            Opening anything as SU (Again I might have missed something)

            1. codejunky Silver badge

              Re: I can sense...

              @ AceRimmer

              All of the terminal things except SU can be done in the GUI. SU can be done in the gui by using the switch user option if you click menu->logout->switch user. However obviously the gui version will take much longer than a quick terminal. Installing software is the software sources/software manager stuff but I know some people prefer synaptic (think that is right?).

              How does the gui fail for chrome? I have it installed on 3 machines using the software centre although a friend prefers to download the .deb. Both of ours work so hopefully we can find out what is wrong. (Since you do know the command line you could apt-get install chrome and see what it says). Also is it chrome or chromium (shouldnt make a difference, I have both)?

              I dont know what your problems are with bluetooth and I only have my laptop with bluetooth (mine worked out of the box) but there should be a solution I would think.

              The touchpad thing I have never had that feature so I have no idea sorry. For graphics I assume you have an onboard and nvidia chips to need bumblebee? Otherwise I would have thought standard drivers would have worked.

              As for the release naming I cannot stand it. Give me a number and I can instantly see if it is above or below my current version. Obv had the same problem when I used ubuntu.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I can sense...

          Laptop runs twice as hot under Linux than Windows

          That'll be a problem with Cinnamon, not Linux. I changed to LXDE, problem solved.

    2. janimal

      Re: AC

      Linux Mint on my old netbook it's infuriating that a slip on the mousepad sends me off to another workspace that I never use and I then have to alt-arrow to get things back again. Most annoying and unwanted - if there's a way to turn this off for an old Gnome (Mint 7!)

      I don't know about mint 7, but on later Mint's you can certainly turn off the hot corner for workspace switching - it's the first thing I do on any Mint install. You could try a later Mint, using the Mate desktop & see if it runs ok, or install a lighter GUI?

      I have found Mint pretty good. I have an HP Elitebook which came with Win 7, however after a re-install of the OS - including all the correct HP drivers, W7 wouldn't recognise any of the hardware or fn buttons - whereas in Mint 14 and later they all work fine, including bluetooth & wi-fi (and the hardware & fn buttons to control them)

      1. roger stillick
        Happy

        Re: AC, mousepad slips,

        Fn-f1 turns OFF mousepad until you kill the session...at least on my laptop.

        I use a USB / NFC mouse as I'm old and cant use a mousepad correctly...RS.

  44. chivo243 Silver badge
    Windows

    Better than the last offering

    Looks ok, that's all, ok. Better than the Underground or Metro or what ever is in W8. I think our AD users will be able to cope with the new interface.

  45. IronMaiden65

    Windows didn't need multiple desktops, in the original unix you needed multiple "windows" to run multiple "programs"... guess what... Each "windows" in Windows actually allows you to do this!!!..

    Ok maybe simplistic view of it but apart from customisation to fit either programming layout, or games layout, who actually needs multiple desktops in this day and age?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      who actually needs multiple desktops in this day and age?

      People where Windows is adequate for their needs certainly don't.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Are you talking about before Unix got a GUI?

      X has always had support for multiple windows.

    3. janimal
      Flame

      Reading back through the thread would answer your question.

    4. Pingviini

      I need multiple desktops this day and age. I can have on one desktop a program "full screen" on second I can have three programs side by side etc. and switching between is just one click or mouse roll away. Comparing to my work mates, waiting them to "by the pixel" adjusting 2-4 programs side to side to see what's going on or when using new win7 or w208/12xx dialogs where the text don't even match to the dialog space and you have vertical/horizontal scroll all the time. That's pain to watch and wait for.

      So, who actually needs multiple desktops in this day and age? The short answer: everyone.

  46. Richie 1

    Hopefully they'll introduce tabbed Windows Explorer windows too

    As seen in most Linux window managers for years.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Hopefully they'll introduce tabbed Windows Explorer windows too

      Hope they'll let me put the tabs where I want them, like down the side of the window (and allow me to have the text orient down the page) rather than across the top - just like a paper file, organiser and Lotus did years back.

      And yes as a leftie who can use both hands! - I want to be able to organise the window furniture how I want it, and not have to constantly make allowances for the limitations of developers who is unable to think outside of the right-handed mode of operation.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Looks good to me

    Hate Metro on my standard touchless laptop and use Start8 & Modern Mix to fix it and make it bearable with the mouse.

    Love Metro start screen on my touch screen Venue Pro 11 tablet and using Metro "apps" with touch.

    Looks like Windows 9 finally allows you to chose how you want to use Windows on your device and that can only be a good thing.

  48. Matthew Booth

    This Linux user thinks it looks good (genuinely)

    I was using multiple workspaces on Linux in the mid 90s. However, just because a feature has been available on platform X for a long time, doesn't mean it's well implemented. Case in point: I'm currently reading El Reg on my Gnome 3 desktop and I have 5 workspaces configured. However, I almost never use them because the implementation is so poor. I used them in Gnome 2 and fvwm vastly more. At first glance, this Windows implementation of workspaces looks considerably better than anything I have used in Linux. It's still innovation if you take somebody else's idea and make it better. And as for workspaces on a spinning cube: please! I had that configured for a few weeks when it first came out because I'm a nerd and you just have to. Then I switched it off because it's stupid and a total distraction.

    TL;DR The 'Linux has had this for years' argument is specious. Fair play to Microsoft for improving their product, regardless of where they got their inspiration. I look forward to giving it a go.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This Linux user thinks it looks good (genuinely)

      'Linux has had this for years' argument is specious

      Yep. Just because Windows finally gets it, doesn't mean it's no good

      1. ShadowedOne

        Re: This Linux user thinks it looks good (genuinely)

        "Yep. Just because Windows finally gets it, doesn't mean it's no good"

        Strawman. No one is saying that it's no good. They're talking about how late MS is in implementing it (without requiring a separate download).

        1. d3vy Silver badge

          Re: This Linux user thinks it looks good (genuinely)

          "They're talking about how late MS is in implementing it (without requiring a separate download)."

          Pretty sure if users had actually asked for it they would have included it earlier.

  49. Nigel Steward

    Start Menu

    MS really should offer the option of a Start Menu - if they don't I won't be upgrading from Windoze 7 - Android is getting better & better and I may find that I simply don't need a desktop operating system in a year or three.

    NJSS

    1. Piro

      Re: Start Menu

      What are you talking about? Most of the article was about the start menu in 9.

  50. itzman

    It probably IS linux,

    dressed up to look microsoftish.

    Because thats what I would do If I were microsoft. Make a microsoft window manager, and a mechanism for windows apps to interface to linux. Sorta super-wine

    And get selling.

    1. h4rm0ny

      Re: It probably IS linux,

      >>dressed up to look microsoftish. Because thats what I would do If I were microsoft. Make a microsoft window manager, and a mechanism for windows apps to interface to linux. Sorta super-wine

      And get selling.

      Seldom have I seen such a level of ignorance on software development. Do you honestly think (a) building an entire layer of fake windows on top of GNU/Linux would be less work than doing multi-desktop for real, (b) think the legions of developers who work with Windows wouldn't notice that suddenly they weren't developing for Windows anymore or (c) the huge, huge numbers of Windows users wouldn't notice that all their programs stopped working?

      "method for Windows apps to interface with Linux"

      You have no idea what you have hidden behind that sentence.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Alt Pin, Ctrl Pin

    Did anyone else when watching the time consuming "Pin to Start", resize, juggle dance want to see an option to "pin at X size" Maybe not another drop down level but perhaps pin to command while Alt held or some other key combination to pin small.

    Same with pin anywhere, if I am going to use the thing I want to be able to select five things at one go, Pin to start, size small.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Obviously X has had multiple desktops for ..decades? but I saw that and thought how similar it is to Apple's implementation in Mission Control. But then I remembered this was The Register and I suspect writers are banned from suggesting Apple is good in any way. :)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=9f2JwBzClOY#t=53

  53. Conor Turton

    Stupid author

    Author is obviously completely unaware that Windows 98 had multiple desktops with the Powertoys addon

    1. janimal

      Re: Stupid Reader

      Seems confused about the term "add-on", which does not mean included

  54. Barracoder

    Windows has had this since 2006.

    Mark Russinovich wrote a multi-desktop add-on ages ago.

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-gb/sysinternals/cc817881.aspx

  55. Tristan Young

    If these videos reflect how Windows 9 is going to look, I'm going to avoid Windows 9 as well as Windows 8.

    I really don't mind staying with Windows 7 for another 5 years.

    This new flat-boring appearance is absolutely horrid. I hate tiles, no matter how Microsoft implements them. I know there are people out there that love this stuff, but I very much prefer a GUI that looks more exciting.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > Windows 7 for another 5 years.

      And then what will you do? Win10? what if that's just as shite?

      Just upgrade now, you know you'll have to eventually - the more you bitch about it, the harder it gets. You should be used to it by now.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. janimal

        Or the fewer people that upgrade, the more pressure there is on Microsoft to provide a quality OS informed by 40 years or so of HCI research, which allows the user to configure the desktop(s) to suit their aesthetic and workflows instead of an OS designed by marketing whose sole purpose is to increase sales of their other products by manipulative and anti-competitive strategies.

        However at least 9 looks more useable than 8 even if at this stage it still looks bloody ugly. Including multiple work-spaces is a step in the right direction (although very late to the party)

        I still can't understand why they don't copy linux at a more fundamental level and increase separation of the GUI from the the core.

        This would allow them to sell GUI's targeted at different user groups on top of the one core OS.

        Business users might be happier to fork out more often for improvements to performance if they could do so without impacting the user experience. Much the same for many home users I should imagine?

        I'm sure they could bank masses of goodwill by creating an OS that allowed the user to choose how it looked & behaved, you know like an Operating System (designed to allow you to operate your hardware the way you want / need to) instead of forcing new GUI paradigm's and aesthetics down your throat because marketing says they need something new & whiz bang or that they need to transition the operating system to simply a consumer device.

        Admittedly such a scheme is not simple and takes a lot of design & planning but I'm sure the MS folks consider themselves some of the best developers in the world.

        Sadly MS is much more defined by its marketing strategies than decent software design. It has always seemed to me that they have some marketing troll in the basement who doesn't understand that you can compete by providing really excellent products instead of treating users like cattle and exploiting their market dominance. It seems to me they have no confidence in their own abilities.

  56. Steve Martins

    win8 needs the internet...

    to find out how to use it.

    Its the first UI i've not been able to figure out completely by playing with it. i mean, "Close a metro app by swiping down"... But i already tried that, look, I swipe down and it reacts! what? don't stop? but its already responded to my input!, nope, ignore that keep going, further, further, yes, all the way to the bottom of the screen... oh, there we go... sheesh.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Multiple Desktops for Windows first for Windows XP..?

    PowerToys

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_PowerToys

    Virtual Desktop Manager allows switching between four virtual desktops from the taskbar.

  58. emmalopez

    Judging by how crappy Win8 was and how much they have improved it since... I can only hope that Win9 comes out of the gate as a really solid OS like Win7 was after Vista. http://goo.gl/Yuoubl

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Making it worse would have required substantial effort.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Here's a funny screenshot of Windows 9: http://goo.gl/NWkthr

  60. Richard Crossley
    Holmes

    Casting my mind back to when beer was somewhat cheaper.

    Way back in 1991 I was at University working on Sun IPC (or IPX) and Sparstation workstations. Most of the time they ran OLVWM which was a virtualised desktop; i.e. you could scroll around the desktop. I think Open Look's predecessor, SunView had something similar, my boss at the time preferred it, I didn't and it looked "old hat".

    I also played with TWM, but I don't remember whether it had workspaces/desktops or was simply virtual.

    On Windows 3.0 and 3.1 at home, I installed "BackDesk" which implemented a large virtual desktop; Big Desk; and Back Menu which provided a right click menu on the desktop. I even used this as my shell rather than Program Manager.

    Moving forward a few years to 1994 CDE on HPUX and probably other implementations, had a multiple desktop feature, which included different wallpapers. HP Dashboard, Windows 3.1 also provided a similar look and feel on Windows.

    Multiple Desktops have been on Windows since Windows 2000 and as discussed earlier there are Power Toys etc which can be downloaded to make this happen. Unfortunately MS are of the ilk where they like to receive $ for extra features and multiple simultaneous users is one of those features. Whist Windows has had this functionality in some form or other for some time, it's not widely documented and poorly implemented. For example there is no API to move a window between desktops.

    Big Desk & Back Menu: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/comp.os.ms-windows.misc/Te1gXAwjhSo

    HP Dashboard: http://home.comcast.net/~mernykdesign/BgHP3.htm

    Windows Desktops: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/cc817881.aspx

    Request 1:

    Multiple desktops, yes please it would prove very when tailing sets of log files for multple process in different environments and still work on other issues.

    Previously there was a Power Toy called "X Mouse". Originally this was a single "ini file" hack in Windows 3.0 / 3.1, then the Power Toy and finally several registry hacks.

    http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/9000-mouse-hover-makes-window-active-enable.html

    I ended up with Option #3 but the values were different for me.

    Request #2:

    Can MS please implement "Focus Follows Mouse" as well, and make it configurable in a way that it's usable.

    Request #3:

    El Reg, can I have a "grumpy old man" icon?

  61. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Let's hope its a bit more responsive than the Raspbian distro for the Raspberry Pi. I learned to right click and select as a mouse habit since the double-click is so quirky and unreliable on that GUI no matter how much I played with the config.

    It got a slight bit better when I ran the mouse through a powered USB hub rather than the onboard ports, (but then I had the power sneaking through the hub and preventing the cpu from shutting down properly issue).

    And everyone has Jeep Owner syndrome* on the forums: "Nope, not an issue, never see it".

    * - A Jeep is the perfect vehicle until it is sold, whereupon a raft of issues will be complained of by the former owner.

  62. RobbieCrusoe
    Facepalm

    My faith in humanity wains when I read this site sometimes

    My god, what a bunch of whingy little kids we have on here (been on El Reg for a long time, so I should be used to it, but please....)

    "I don't like the start screen"

    "OpenMetroOSXAmigaDOS had multiple desktops in 1952"

    "Windows is crap"

    "Linux is crap"

    "OSX is the best"

    For fucks sake... who cares? Personally, I use Windows 8.1 as my main OS on multiple PCs with varying amounts of monitors, at first the Modern interface was kind of jarring, but you know what? I got used to it. Now, I rarely see it, as I work on the desktop, but my head does not explode when I see it.

    When Windows first came out, did the DOS addicts cry and whinge because they now had to use a mouse, and the command line was hidden? I can't remember that happening, but there will have been a few I suppose, but, and here's the rub, they will have gotten on with their jobs / hobbies and learnt how to use it, as I did, or just didn't use it - their choice. The web wasn't around at the time, so thankfully we didn't have to put up with the whining and gnashing of teeth.

    So you only use Linux, and will never use Windows? Then don't post comments in a Windows related article! I use Linux from time to time, and I like it, but at the end of the day my job and my interests mean I use Windows. I don't turn up in articles on here or other sites letting everyone know that I will only use Windows because Linux doesn't have Powershell or such, simply because no-one cares!

    The start menu was taken away? Oh my god, what a disaster! Windows 7 - Hit start, type Word, then enter, Word starts. Windows 8 - Hit start, type Word, then enter... guess what? If you have so many programs that you cannot remember what is installed on your machine and have to read through lists, you need to look at reducing that count if possible, or even better, rename some of the programs so it is easy for you to get to what you want... eg "Letter Writer" for Word, or "Kitchen Budget" for Excel.

    Multiple desktops are nice and all, and I miss that feature in Windows 8, but I can live without it. I really don;t give a flying rats anus what operating system had it first, or who stole the idea of who, it's nice that MS have (possibly) finally built it in to the OS, but if they don't, there are still ways around it, as there are now.

    Moan over, I'm going back under my rock.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My faith in humanity wains when I read this site sometimes

      People will discuss things they are passionate about. Preventing that is draconian.

      You're free to dislike this.

      1. RobbieCrusoe

        Re: My faith in humanity wains when I read this site sometimes

        I am not trying to prevent a valid and enjoyable discussion, but there is passionate, and there is whining. And a lot of the whining comes from Anonymous Cowards. Just saying.

        1. janimal
          Facepalm

          Re: My faith in humanity wains when I read this site sometimes

          Sadly you instantly negate any point you might be trying to make by generalising all criticism by labeling it as just 'whining'. Do you not consider your own post to be 'whining'? I do.

          What sort of things do you expect people to post on a discussion forum?

          Maybe you should spend all day just waiting for a new article to be posted and then get in there with a 'First!' followed by your list of acceptable viewpoints?

          Anyway two points...

          1) People, especially IT professionals, these days tend to spend an inordinate amount of time interacting with a computer. For me personally it is very close to 'every waking moment'. So it is understandable that changes to that interaction, whether an improvement or not are going to provoke a reaction.

          2) This is a discussion. I can only assume you have some kind of learning disability, because it is clear that you have visited some of these things before. Evidently however, despite your intimate knowledge of the same old comments which appear time after time, you still felt the need to read them (I am generously assuming you have read the thread) and then tell us all how pointless they are. Well done.

          If you can't see the irony in your own post there's really no fucking hope for you. Or are you just trolling? If so I guess I made your day.

          I'm not usually so belligerent, but people who use the whining "argument" deserve a special hell of their own.

        2. Stevie Silver badge

          Re: And a lot of the whining comes from Anonymous Cowards. Just saying.

          So, is RobbieCrusoe your first or your last name?

      2. Chika

        Re: My faith in humanity wains when I read this site sometimes

        People will discuss things they are passionate about. Preventing that is draconian.

        You're free to dislike this.

        You are free to express yourself, much as any of the whingers are doing. :)

        To be honest, I've restrained myself from commenting about this, mostly because I'd be repeating what I've said in other places. I'm interested to see what will become of Windows with this new iteration in that I can admit that I was one of those that complained bitterly about the changes in W8 (so I W8'ed and stayed with Windows 7 and various versions of openSUSE) although I do have a bit of freeware doing my multiple desktops on W7.

        The thing is that I always viewed the use of windows to organise work where I need it, so the use of more than one screen or desktop isn't something I often make use of. It would have been more useful back when I was working on CLI based systems, for example working on RSTS/E on the various PDP-11s I used to work on or maybe my old BBC Micro. While it's nice to have the option now on KDE or Windows, it doesn't get much use.

        If anything, this just strikes me as another function that Microsoft have noticed elsewhere and have added to try and justify the cost a bit more over previous versions, much like the compression system they put in MSDOS 6.22 (I'll say nothing about "Stacker") or the zip-a-like function in Windows XP.

        As far as the whole thing goes, as long as the system gives each user what they want and need and Microsoft don't try to ram the thing down everyones' throat like they tried to do with W8, it could work. The big thing that Microsoft needs to learn is that PCs are lasting longer and need the requisite support so pushing users to change OS every three years is no longer viable.

  63. Carlie J. Coats, Jr.

    at least half a decade??

    My desktop, 1993: SPARC-2, OLVWM, 6 desktops, virtual=physical=1280x1024 screen sizes

    1996, RedHat-4.1, FVWM, 8 desktops: 1600x1200 physical, 2048x1600 virtual.

    Today: Mageia/KDE4, 10 desktops: 2560x1440 physical, 3200x2048 virtual.

    Win9 _still_ doesn't do virtual > physical...

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: at least half a decade??

      Bet also Win9 doesn't have any concept of physical desktop size: so in sizing desktop display items it assumes that a desktop of 1600x1200 is on a 20" monitor and not on an 8" tablet...

      Plus it is unable to understand that whilst the physical desktop may be 1600x1200 I actually want it to size display items as if I'm using a 1024x768 resolution display, but use the additional pixel count to anti-alias. (This capability is very useful to make displays readable to people with poor eyesight)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: at least half a decade??@Roland

        Win 8 scales the displays like that out of the box. My 14" laptop display is set at 1920x1080 but everything is very readable in Firefox or email without resorting to zooming.

        On another note... (and this isn't aimed at your comment) I find it ludicrous when people (here and other forums) whine about low resolution display (1366x768) on new 15" laptops when I often see middle-aged users cranking the display resolutions "to bigger setting" in their FHD 20+" displays - meaning 1366x768 or even lower...

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: at least half a decade??@Roland @AC

          Thanks for the comment, next time I get a chance to play with a Win8 laptop I'll investigate. What really provoked my comment was playing around with 8" Toshiba Win8 tablet in it's out-of-the-box configuration - which is set to use the native 1280 x 800 resolution screen as if it were on a 19" display with no obvious way of changing settings using the fingers...

          With respect to your comment about laptop displays, the issue I perceive is more about the dot/pixel pitch - something that doesn't get talked about very much. I suspect for most people for a work display, provided the raw pixel pitch is at least as good as an old high spec CRT then the overriding concern is the physical size of the display. Hence why on a modern 20" LCD display I like to see 1680x1050 or better, because I'd like those users who want Windows to display at 1280x800 (on a 20" LCD) to at least have a legible display that doesn't look like a game of pacman.

          A secondary issue with display resolution, is what assumptions have developers made, remember the netbook problem: many Win7 control boxes were longer than 600 pixels and hence couldn't be easily navigated. I would hope with Win8 and/or 9 that specific problem has been resolved.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: at least half a decade??@Roland

          On another note... (and this isn't aimed at your comment) I find it ludicrous when people (here and other forums) whine about low resolution display (1366x768) on new 15" laptops when I often see middle-aged users cranking the display resolutions "to bigger setting" in their FHD 20+" displays - meaning 1366x768 or even lower...

          And for those of us who don't have crummy eyesight and want to fit a decent amount on our displays?

          I chose my laptop (Panasonic Toughbook CF-53) on a number of criteria. Amongst the things I chose it for was for legacy device support (PCMCIA, RS-232), a large number of USB ports (2x USB2, 2x USB3), modern niceties like HDMI and well-supported hardware components (Intel graphics, Intel WIFI).

          Sadly, one area I did have to compromise on was the display. I wasn't after "Retina Display" level resolution, but 1600×1000 would work okay. Or better yet, 1600x1200 (you know; 4:3). That'd give good-enough resolution, and I could make the fonts big enough to make text nice and clear. More to the point, it'd match what external monitors do.

          Right now if I hook a projector up, and want to have the same thing on my screen as the projector, I have to sacrifice horizontal resolution and set both to 1024×768 or put up with things being off-the-edge of my laptop screen to compensate.

      2. Arbiter

        Using the additional pixels to antialias

        I have Win8 installed on a MacBook Pro and I have reduced the resolution. It used the extra resolution to antialias. I find it implausible that Win9 doesn't also do so, given that it is an incremental update with no fundamental changes of technology.

  64. sisk Silver badge

    Multiple workspaces was a firmly established feature in Red Hat 7. That's Red Hat Linux, not RHEL, released way back in 2000. That was the first distro I used.

    1. JEDIDIAH
      Linux

      It Unix, not just Linux.

      > Multiple workspaces was a firmly established feature in Red Hat 7. That's Red Hat Linux, not RHEL, released way back in 2000. That was the first distro I used.

      This feature predates Linux entirely.

  65. Bladeforce

    Wow so much copying Microsoft..

    ..what next? A tabbed file browser?

    Microsoft have NEVER invented anything

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wow so much copying Microsoft..

      It's not about inventing things but implementing things.

      All X windows managers have pretty much copied the Windows 95 Start Menu look and feel and I'm fine with that.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wow so much copying Microsoft..

        I seem to recall FVWM2 existing a little bit before Windows Chicago (to use the name it had back then) and featuring a task bar and start menu.

        Then again, maybe I recall incorrectly. Someone like to clear this up?

    2. janimal

      Re: Wow so much copying Microsoft..

      As long as they copy the useful things it's not a problem is it?

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Concurrent Dos anyone?

  67. Craig M. Ling

    Concurrent Dos anyone?

  68. bjb1959

    and it has what unix doesn't....

    millions of viruses and malware and spyware and blue screens of death etc, etc....

  69. JustNiz

    Yeah. Whatever X-based window manager I was running on SunOs/Solaris back in 1989 had it, as does every distro of Linux I have ever used since.

    I have to say, its ususally one of the first things I turn off.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Whatever X-based window manager I was running

      I seem to remember there was an X-Window manager for Dos/Windows - DESQview and DESQview/X

  70. Doug 3

    back in the 80s with multiple work spaces

    Ctl-Alt-F1, Ctl-Alt-F2, etc

    ok so they were not GUI but having multiple work areas were so common on UNIX back then that I would not doubt it to be why it was standard when X displays started showing up. And that was in the late 80s and early 90s.

    So pretty late Microsoft and just how old is the author to even think it's something from this century?

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    goScreen app for Windows is best 3rd party solution IMO

    Stays out of the way as much as you want it to, configurable page transitions, global hotkey config, etc etc.

  72. yossarianuk

    Wayland

    By the time this is out Linux desktops will be running Wayland (or Mir..) which will put it ahead again by about another decade from windows.

    I liked compiz, messing about with the amount of friction the windows had at work was fun...

  73. Timpatco

    Catch-up?

    Really?

    Let me know when Linux runs all my apps on every Form Factor

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Catch-up?

      >> Let me know when Linux runs all my apps on every Form Factor

      If you're using a desktop, laptop, server, phone, tablet, smart tv or set top box/dongle/media player, NAS, router, watch, game console (including hand-helds), or a javascript enabled browser, then today is that day.

  74. J J Carter Silver badge

    Virtual desktops are pretty much useless for boosting productivity compared to multi-monitor

    1. janimal
      FAIL

      Apple v Oranges

      They are not the same thing.

      I use both together and feel technologically crippled by the absence of either

    2. oldcoder

      All depends on how you use them.

      While I was working, we setup a single display... with up to 64 root windows, one for each system being monitored, plus one for a summary display. The largest number of active systems was about 30... 5 primary (supercomputers), plus one for each of the supporting systems, with a common console log for ALL systems.

    3. Fluffy Bunny
      Thumb Down

      "Virtual desktops are pretty much useless for boosting productivity compared to multi-monitor"

      I've tried multi-monitor. It is pretty much useless. Multiple desktops works far more effectively.

    4. Maventi

      "Virtual desktops are pretty much useless for boosting productivity compared to multi-monitor"

      And when you are not at a desk? I personally find the two complement each other nicely when I'm docked or using an office desktop. When I'm traveling I don't normally pack an extra display with me so it's nice to be able to use multiple workspaces on the laptop.

      Top marks to MS for deciding to implement this.

  75. roger stillick
    Linux

    WIN 9 Leak - LINUX OS Clone ??

    Never Happen... MS simply does not allow multiple strings...or their customers / user to even see multiple strings... EVER...IBM had to kill the UNIX like OS-2 OS b/4 they were allowed to bundle MS DOS into their IBM PC eq...

    IMHO= MS simply (in this WIN 9 leak) offers a UI screen that looks 'similar' to a generic Linux UI screen, and the hapless MS customer will think that all is well in the MS world...RS.

  76. oldcoder

    virtual desktops have existed ever since swm (Solbourn Window Manager) in 1990.

    So now MS has finally gotten to the level X was at... 24 years ago.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not quite. X works over a network almost transparently.

      RDP isn't quite the same experience.

  77. Fluffy Bunny
    Thumb Up

    Windows NT has had that for ages. It is how the CRTL/ALT/DEL screen works, ie a custom desktop that only appears when the user gives it the three-fingered salute.

    As one of the freebies you get with NVidea video cards, you also get some software that allows you to set up and manage multiple desktops, including custom activation keys and screen backgrounds.

  78. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    i ve been into computers since left 4 dead 2 came out so i do know a thing or two about them and this multiple desktop hasn t been done before.

  79. Arbiter

    FFS it's just a shell

    If you don't like it, change it. Once upon a time I did this. You can probably still do it.

    I'm sure all you MS-haters are about to say something asinine along the lines of "evil empire is oppressing us by making shell selection an undocumented registry hack" but the fact is that the average user is barely able to cope with one shell when everyone else has it too.

    If they let people mix things up Windows would be a pig's breakfast like Linux. The people most likely to use this successfully are the people least likely to buy the product. So they hid it.

  80. Chris2812

    This OS looks like it has been designed for children. Can imagine this OS in a primary school, this simplicity design technique has gone too far! OS X now looks far superior, I wouldn't be surprised if OS X takes a lead on top OS next year!!

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Ever thought that, technologically speaking, the average Windows user IS on par with a child? How else do you make an OS for the technologically-illiterate?

  81. Simone

    I might have missed this, but to those of you suggesting that the maker is correct to provide new ways of doing things without considering user acceptance I suggest this.

    Go back in time to a point where there were no Japanese motorcycles. There were plenty of British brands leading in the market. To start them, you set it ready, then pushed the starting lever with your foot (or jumped on it if you were light weight)

    Go forwards a bit. Japanese bikes appeared in the UK. To start them you turned the ignition key and pressed a button. This is clearly and demonstrably easier; the Japanese took a lot of the market

    Now, take the current desire (in all things) to have a clean and uncluttered layout. Logic might say it is better, but when people struggle to find things that have been hidden, they don't like it. If it is something that they don't do very often then they forget what they did the last time. Microsoft can do what they want, but they do seem to be dismissing a lot of user feedback. Ignore that and they risk losing market share to others who do offer what people want. Their choice; their risk; their unhappy users

  82. Jack's_Rage

    "Thank you for fixing my leg that you broke."

    "Thank you for your money." ~ xoxo Microsoft.

  83. No Quarter

    Transparency

    What happened to a bit of see-through?

  84. This post has been deleted by its author

  85. Simon Taylor 1

    Shame it's Linux

    Cool, a feature I might use (even though I've had it on Windows for years). Shame you have to put up with all of the Linux nonsense to get it. Linux ready for consumer desktops? Please, I'll hurt myself.....

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