back to article Happy 2nd birthday, Windows 8 and Surface: Anatomy of a disaster

This weekend marks two years since Windows 8 and Surface were launched at a press event at Pier 57 on the Hudson River in New York. The invitation for the Windows 8 launch in October 2012 “It is today that with great pride we unveil this new generation of Windows. Starting at 4.01am worldwide, the next era of Windows …

  1. captain veg

    Sinofsky

    First the Ribbon, then Metro.

    What a guy!

    -A.

    1. asdf Silver badge

      Re: Sinofsky

      No good deed goes unpunished. He pretty much uses his blog unsuccessfully even two years later to argue he is not the biggest asshat in tech (meanwhile even Ballmer at least has a basketball team to distract him).

    2. Levente Szileszky

      Re: Sinofsky

      Uhh, don't forget VP Belfiore, he's might have done more damage than Sinofsky. From the outside he's the classic archetype of the all-too-common unmitigated Ballmerian managerial disaster, that still just keeps rising and rising - no matter how big of a clusterfuck he produced Joe just keeps getting promoted: IE4, Windows eHome, Windows Media Center, Zune and the current ongoing royal fuckup called Windows Phone, with its missing features, continuously non-upgradable iterations year after year... aye and he's the reigning "UI design king", don't forget whenyou think about your current UX. =)

      1. asdf Silver badge

        Re: Sinofsky

        I can one up you on incompetent Microsoft executives who get promoted for god knows why. Roz Ho.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sinofsky

        I was actually fond of Windows Media Center.

    3. zen1

      Re: Sinofsky

      I call foul on Microsoft's touting Windows 8 being the most successful release. What bullshit. The only reason it's done as well as it did is because OEM's were not allowed to ship windows 7. If I had a captive market like that, I certainly wouldn't be proud of the way it was received. I'm glad Sinofsky resigned and hopefully Apple hires him as he will be forever known as one of the key figures in the decline of Microsoft. (along with Balmer and a cast of other idiots)

      1. tomtexas

        Re: Sinofsky

        The point about not being able to buy Windows 7 is key, I think, MS had retailers clear the shelves of Win 7 machines within 3 months. People did not know you could buy win 7 on some web sites and so they didn't buy anything.

        I think the other major factor is that older people and most people, for that matter, don't like change and win 8 had way too many. I advised my clients to stay away!!! and they did.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Sinofsky

          >The point about not being able to buy Windows 7 is key

          Windows 7 end of retail life is definitely an interesting factor.

          As of 30, October 2013 MS stopped selling retail versions of Windows 7. Since then you've only been able to purchase Windows 7 pre-installed on a system. However, it does seem that MS (back in December 2013) have broken their own convention (defined in 2010) by retracting the 30, October 2014 cut-off date for OEM's. Currently MS have committed to giving a one year notice on when it will set a new cut-off date, so currently OEM's can install Windows 7 until at least October 2015.

          However, I note the major OEMs seem to only supply Win8.n in their "home" ranges, for Win7 you have to visit the 'business' pages and select a "Win7 pre-installed through Win8 downgrade rights" system.

    4. Bruce Ordway

      Re: Sinofsky

      >>a fat toolbar called a ribbon, or the “Fluent user interface.

      Didn't realize W8 and the ribbon came from the same guy.

      I've totally avoided W8. None of the companies I work with have shown any interest in allowing W8 in.

      100% Win7 or XP(still)

      Forced to work with whatever version of Office available at a site...I did adjust to the ribbon but... I still HATE it.

      Maybe W10 will win me over?

      I have wanted to buy new PCs for a couple years now but... couldn't accept what was offered by MS.

      1. Merchman

        Re: Sinofsky

        On my work PC, where I was forced to update to Office 2010, I rebuilt my Excel 2007 menu-bar in the quick-access bar and then hid the ribbon. It made my life so much easier.

      2. Nofiwr

        Re: Sinofsky

        The ribbon's best feature is that one can hide it! I never see mine in Word, Excel or Powerpoint.

        I use instead the 'Quick Access Toolbar' - with all my common command buttons added to it, it's better than the old menus and gives more screen 'real-estate'.

    5. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Stubborn arses...

      I bought a used Gaming PC a few months ago, came without any OS. Went looking for Windows 7 Professional FPP (full retail), didn't want OEM as the PC is an unknown quantity. The bastards don't sell it. One can buy OEM version, but FPP does not exist.

      Found someone offering genuine New sealed Old Stock. Counterfeit of course, blocked volume license key. Paypal thankfully forced a refund. You can see that Microsoft has a role in this.

      Gaming PC ended up with Linux. Steam can be streamed over LAN, so that works for the kidiots.

      Sinofsky and/or anyone else involved in these decisions is a stubborn arse. Ass hats.

      1. Daniel B.

        Re: Stubborn arses...

        Found someone offering genuine New sealed Old Stock. Counterfeit of course, blocked volume license key.

        There's an interesting trick around MS not selling Win7 licenses, and you were already halfway there. Install Win7, get the "Windows product not original" message. You will be sent to a site offering to buy a legal license for your OS ... and yes, they will sell you Win7 Pro or Win7 Ultimate, whatever you did install on your PC. I was able to get XP this way long after MS did the same thing with Vista, and I'm pretty sure that Win7 licenses are probably still available through this channel. WGA is probably more concerned with legalizing pirated Windows versions than trying to push the unloved Win8; at this point, users will rather deal with pirated Win7 than get reamed with Win8. MS is better off getting revenue from Win7 rather than no income from pirated Win7.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sinofsky

      I see that Surface 3 sold nearly $1 billion last quarter and is profitable with sales growing rapidly. It look like Microsoft succeeded in the end.

  2. Jess

    Windows 10 is fugly

    Appearance wise it looks like I'd imagine Windows 95 would have looked like if the styling had stayed somewhere between that of Windows 2 and 3.0

    Apart from that it seems OK, but nothing I'd rush out and buy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Windows 10 is fugly

      When I was installing the latest 10 Preview build, watching the continual colour change as those nice people retrieve your apps for you, I was reminded of using the batch I used to have for cycling through the foreground/background combinations courtesy of Ansi in DOS. I thought 'are they showing off how far they've come?' You know, it was like an epiphany. Here I am as ever in Windows 7. I've got Mint 17 (and have tried all the main distros at one time or another) and a couple of examples of recent OS X - and Windows XP, 8, 8.1, and 10, and I think Windows 7 Aero is easily the prettiest, yet not only did Microsoft throw that away with 8 - and go back to something aesthetically nearer 3.11 than Windows 7 - but apparently, going on the Tech Previews, they don't plan to reverse that.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. keithpeter
        Windows

        Re: Windows 10 is fugly

        "BTW, Windows 2000 may have been the best OS MS ever made. If only it had a firewall it would have been a great consumer OS."

        I liked Win2k as well. I used a desktop with it on at work for a couple of years. Absolutely no drama, just cranking the work out (Celeron, 256Mb ram, large crt monitor).

        So upvote for that

      2. Sandtitz Silver badge

        Re: Windows 10 is fugly@BillG

        Windows 3.1 dud

        Windows 95 dud

        Those were very succesful Operating Systems (or GUI if you prefer).

        Your list also omits Win98SE (not a dud).

        Windows 2000 may have been the best OS MS ever made. If only it had a firewall...

        ...If it also had Cleartype, MUCH faster boot times, remote desktop, shadow copies (system restore), , Wi-Fi management, and it was called say, Windows XP, it would have been even better! :-)

      3. gary27

        Re: Windows 10 is fugly

        Mostly agree except Windows 95 - this was ground breaking 32 bit release - their first gui that actually worked without crashing every few minutes - 16 bit could not handle graphics

      4. Steve Brooks

        Re: Windows 10 is fugly

        Actually you've made a serious mistake, I will fix it for you;

        Windows 7 SUCCESS

        Windows 8 dud

        Windows 9 Success

        Windows 10 DUD!

        So since they skipped windows 9 althogether we are aactually getting dud/dud, not dud/success

      5. c:\boot.ini
        Windows

        Re: Windows 10 is fugly

        Anyone who hates Vista has to hate 7 ... because it is the same shit - the only thing they fixed between the two is a humongous memory allocation bug that affected Vista.

        Windows 7 is dog slow, compared to my Linux box on outdated hardware, or Windows 2k for that matter. Boot time of 2k is long, I grant you that ... but not nearly as long as it takes Windows 7 to "prepare a file copy". I do not know about you, but I happen to copy files more often than reboot ...

        I agree with you on w2k, XP probably had USB2 and "wifi manager", however, the windows firewall is crap. Note, also, that it was introduced in SP2 ... XP needed twice as much RAM as Windows 2000, at launch, all that for a FisherPrice ui. There was only one year between the release of the two.

    3. Wade Burchette

      Re: Windows 10 is fugly

      One of the most requested features by the W10 test community is Aero. I myself have requested it. I am going to install the latest update and request Aero again. I have also requested a customizable start menu so that users have a choice between WinXP style, W2000 style, or WinVista/7 style.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Windows 10 is fugly

        And I am sure that they will listen to you.

        Tell them you will escalate your request to the CEO, if they don´t.

        Or, you can warn them that you will move your desktops over to Linux.

        That will teach them!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @That will teach them!

          Hi Steve.

          This is exactly why your company is in the dogpile.

          Kind Regards and Best Wishes to the family,

          -

      2. Kiwi Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Windows 10 is fugly

        One of the most requested features by the W10 test community is Aero.

        Given how MS reportedly handled user requests for the ability to choose to have a start menu in the Win 8 previews, I'd suggest a slightly different tactic - demand that they don't ever consider putting Aero back in.

  3. Longrod_von_Hugendong
    FAIL

    Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

    All M$ had to do was the option to change between metro and a start button and it would have been a great release. Let that be a lesson to all of us in software. Give people what they want, not what you want to give them.

    One pig headed manoeuvre and bam - epic fail.

    1. Ralph B

      Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

      > Give people what they want, not what you want to give them.

      However ... “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses” as Henry Ford said.

      What I find more interesting here is how Ballmer, Sinofsky and Nadella are all so, erm, follicly challenged. Is there a Conspiracy of the Bald in charge of Microsoft? Or was Ballmer such a leader that all his minions chose to shave and polish their heads in emulation? Or is it just chance that the last three middle-aged white males at the top of MS have been slap-heads?

      1. Anonymous Dutch Coward
        Coat

        Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

        What people want is obviously not the same as what they say they want.

        Even for men.

        Yes, that's my coat, with the gender stereotype badge...

        1. Captain DaFt

          Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

          "What people want is obviously not the same as what they say they want."

          You'll find that most people want what they're used to, with the new, and a chance to chose between the familiar parts or the new parts that may work better.

          Win 8 provided neither familiarity or choice. That's why it failed.

      2. Frankee Llonnygog

        Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

        I thought the same - a bunch of lightbulbs

      3. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

        Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

        "However ... “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses” as Henry Ford said."

        Bah. Henry Ford was not bold enough, or not Modern enough, to push out the product with bright-coloured square wheels. Had he done it, history would have been very much different.

        1. JLV Silver badge

          Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

          > bright-coloured black square wheels

          1. Captain DaFt

            Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

            Apparently someone unfamiliar with history downvoted you.

            Ford regarding the model T:

            "Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black."

            1. HelpfulJohn

              Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

              Wasn't it possible for the *customer* to paint the thing?

              Y'know, like personal customisation and that. Like we do with *personal* computers?

              Or was such thinking not prevalent in the 1900's?

      4. This post has been deleted by its author

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...@ Ralph 8

        Or is it because the culture at MS is so obtuse that you pull out your own hair in order to deal with it?

        1. 080

          Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...@ Ralph 8

          The Mekon was bald, I wonder if he would be working at Microsoft if he were around these days

      6. JEDIDIAH
        Linux

        Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

        > However ... “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses” as Henry Ford said.

        Except this isn't some primitive physical item that is still inferior to what it's trying to replace.

        This is software. It doesn't wear out and it's easy to change. Enabling your "Model-T" doesn't require shooting everybody's horse.

      7. cyrus
        Trollface

        Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

        God only made so many perfect heads. The rest, he put hair on.

        I have plenty of hair, in case you're wondering.

      8. Tom 35 Silver badge

        Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

        “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses” There is no evidence that Ford ever said that, it appears to have come from some focus group idiot.

        Ford didn't invent cars, he just made them cheap enough for more people to buy.

      9. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

        "...as Henry Ford said."

        Henry Ford didn't take away the horses whilst foisting steam engines on the population.

        There's such a thing as letting people see it's better and change over when they're ready.

    2. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

      And therein the problem: the UI is too deeply embedded in the OS. There isn't the equivalent of the Linux trick of 'don't like Unity? Try Cinnamon. Or KDE. Or...'

      With an OS separated from the UI, or even delivered with a choice of UI, or just come with the W7 UI, it would probably have flown - at the very least it would not have crashed and burnt the way it has. But MS seem to believe that the punters won't believe it's new unless it looks different - and so everything has to look different and work differently and a lifetime's learned reactions go out of the window... I mean, 'windows S' for search, when everybody and his granny have been using ctrl-f for find since the year dot?

      1. Neil B

        Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

        @ Neil Barnes "and so everything has to look different and work differently and a lifetime's learned reactions go out of the window"

        And yet you're preaching a UNIX-like separation of OS and GUI? It hasn't worked to push Linux into the mainstream, why would it work here?

        1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

          Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

          Bit of a straw man argument there, Neil? The fact that Linux isn't as mainstream as Windows has a lot more to do with the fact that the average punter buys a computer and it comes with Windows on it, unless he goes into an Apple store.

          I'm just proposing a mechanism that could have been used to offer W8 without the apparently largely reviled UI; the fact that the UI and the OS are so deeply intertwined makes it difficult to run a different UI.

          1. Ken Darling

            Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

            The fact that Linux isn't as mainstream as Windows has a lot more to do with the fact that the average punter buys a computer and it comes with Windows on it...

            No, the reason it isn't as mainstream is that it's a darn sight harder to use.

            Last time I tried Linux and attempted to install Firefox I first had to find an installer for the distribution I was using. Then I had to decide from a swathe of nonsensical file types, gar, tar, bar har-de-har-har (with no explanation of what they meant or do). Finally I had to go through the rigmorole of 'unpacking' them, and typing a load of cryptic command to try try to complete the install.

            I know this will be downvoted by those too blind to see that if Linux is to succeed in making it to the desktop of Joe Average, it will have to get a lot friendlier. We are used to double clicking a file to install it, so don't make us jump through hoops. EXPLAIN things, don't keep it a closed shop for those who laugh through their noses.

            I would drop Windows at the drop of a hat if Linux was more accessible to the uninitiated.

            1. Vociferous

              Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

              How to install Firefox on Linux:

              sudo apt-get install firefox

              1. P. Lee Silver badge
                Trollface

                Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

                Wow. Good Troll!

            2. Remy Redert

              Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

              That does sound hard. Of course the last time I tried to install Firefox on a Linux machine (Gentoo) about 5 years ago, I opened the program manager, selected browsers and clicked Firefox at which point it duly informed me that it would also install a few prerequisites for me and please enter your password here to complete the install.

            3. JLV Silver badge

              Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

              I don't do desktop Linux but how recent is your experience?

              Most distros come with a pretty nifty package manager a la apt/yum. On the command line it will be something like apt-get firefox. And... drum roll... a desktop distro is bound to have a gui front end for it.

              I think you are right to bash the old style installers you are talking about, but they're mostly gone now. Try again?

              Having said that the constant flux in Linux GUIs is what drove me off. KDE 3 was good enough.

              Choice is _not_ a panacea, for core, needs-to-be-used components, especially wrt to newbies.

              For example, Python suffered greatly from an overabundance of GUI toolkits. Newcomers had no obvious, elegant and mature default GUI toolkit to work with and were told to evaluate the choices themselves. Just where you want to be as you finally jump into a brand new technology.

              This cycle started up again with web servers, until Django got general acceptance and became the default to use. Not to take away any credit from good alternatives, like Flask, but a good-enough default also forces the wannabe challengers to up their game in terms of power, useability and stability. I've had the displeasure of working with several crappy, buggy, immature Python web servers and GUI toolkits which should never have been widely recommended as choices and it does a great job in undermining your confidence in the system as whole.

            4. Chemist

              Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

              "Last time I tried Linux and attempted to install Firefox I first had to find an installer for the distribution I was using."

              Strange that as I've installed OpenSUSE for years (and years) and Firefox was included as one of the default browsers - no need to specifically install at all - that's part of the ease of use of a full-featured distro. Even installing a program that isn't in the distro is often a 1-click job

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

                " I've installed OpenSUSE for years (and years) "

                Same here. On the whole, subject to occasional hiccups (usually in dark corners), it works fine. I never cease to be astounded by the lack of coverage. Hey ho.

            5. This post has been deleted by its author

            6. hplasm Silver badge
              FAIL

              Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

              "Last time I tried Linux and attempted to install Firefox..."

              Meanwhile, in the 21st Century...

            7. Nigel 11

              Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

              Last time I tried Linux and attempted to install Firefox I first had to find an installer for the distribution I was using. Then I had to decide from a swathe of nonsensical file types, gar, tar, bar har-de-har-har (with no explanation of what they meant or do). Finally I had to go through the rigmorole of 'unpacking' them, and typing a load of cryptic command to try try to complete the install.

              That was either a long time ago, or a very obscure distribution. I'd suggest it's time you try again. No hassles like that with Fedora. (Ubuntu neither, from secondhand reports).

              Linux builds on past experience. Microsoft just takes a wrecking ball to anything old, because if people have got it already, they aren't making any money out of it.

              1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

                Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

                "That was either a long time ago, or a very obscure distribution."

                Probably Debian.

                1. Rule of Thumb

                  Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

                  > Probably Debian.

                  @KenHagan, Debian long ago deprecated the har-de-har-har package format, so you were installing FF the wrong way. Every time I get a new Windows 7 desktop, I have to google "win 7 enable quicklaunch" and copy that god-awful string. So, every OS has something that's difficult; don't whine to me about Linux, which I find quite easy to use.

                  Microsoft strong-arm tactics, the fact that the cost of pre-installed non-Linux OS's appears to be $0, enormous inertia, and a lack of key applications (games, MS Office, etc.) are the things that have prevented any non-Windows operating system from taking the desktop world.

                  And none of this is even remotely relevant to the story about how Windows 8 and the Surface are two steaming piles of unholy mess -- about which, virtually everyone agrees.

                  1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

                    Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

                    "@KenHagan, Debian long ago deprecated the har-de-har-har package format, so you were installing FF the wrong way."

                    If you check the OP, it wasn't me trying to install it. However ... for the benefit of all the down-thumbers mocking the OP and my own reply, here's a transcript of what happened 30 seconds ago on my machine running a fully patched Debian Stable:

                    me@ACER:~$ sudo apt-get install firefox

                    [sudo] password for sudo-root:

                    Reading package lists... Done

                    Building dependency tree

                    Reading state information... Done

                    Package firefox is not available, but is referred to by another package.

                    This may mean that the package is missing, has been obsoleted, or

                    is only available from another source

                    E: Package 'firefox' has no installation candidate

                    me@ACER:~$

                    You see, when I made my "Probably Debian" remark, I knew about Iceweasel and I assumed that most of the Linux fans on El Reg forums would be aware of it too. Since quite a few clearly aren't, let me spell it out for them: Installing firefox on Debian is blocked by default.

            8. JEDIDIAH

              Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

              > Last time I tried Linux and attempted to install Firefox I first had to find an installer for the distribution I was using.

              It sounds like you were going out of your way to make things harder than necessary.

              Although Linux download file types are really no worse than comparable WinDOS equivalents. Something like Firefox works the same way. If you are whining about Linux being hard then you're whining about WinDOS being hard.

            9. This post has been deleted by its author

            10. James 132
              WTF?

              Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

              In most threads where Linux ease of use is discussed, there's a post like this.

              I wonder what distro people used; virtually anything mainstream has a graphical front end (like an app store, to use an Apple analogue) for the package manager.

              And yet there's always someone saying they were working with tarballs and/or compilation, like this is typical of modern Linux distributions.

              It's so weird. Linux hasn't been like that for years.

              1. Vic

                Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

                And yet there's always someone saying they were working with tarballs and/or compilation, like this is typical of modern Linux distributions.

                I've seen quite a bit of this.

                There's a meme that, to use Linux, you have to compile everything. Just look at the number of times people will claim to have had to recompile their kernels, and that is why they gave up using Linux.

                And so new users, when wanting to install a package, ignore the advice they were given and go hunting for tarballs.

                I still cannot fathom why people give more credence to anonymous posts found on Internet fora than they do to their own support staff...

                Vic.

              2. Alan Brown Silver badge

                Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

                "And yet there's always someone saying they were working with tarballs and/or compilation, like this is typical of modern Linux distributions."

                Of course. Those posts are from FUD merchants trying to make out that Linux is hard.

                If my 85yo grandmother can happily use it, I don't see an issue.

            11. keithpeter
              Windows

              Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

              "Last time I tried Linux and attempted to install Firefox I first had to find an installer for the distribution I was using."

              When was that and what distribution?!

              Most 'recent' (like Ubuntu 5.04 onwards) you just load a package manager and search for Firefox then type in your password (or root password if root account enabled).

            12. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

              Last time I tried Linux and attempted to install Firefox I first had to find an installer for the distribution I was using. Then I had to decide from a swathe of nonsensical file types, gar, tar, bar har-de-har-har (with no explanation of what they meant or do). Finally I had to go through the rigmorole of 'unpacking' them, and typing a load of cryptic command to try try to complete the install.

              obligatory Jobs paraphrased quote: You're installing it wrong.

              Correct method would be to get familiar with the package repository manager you use and its frontend. If it's Debian based the package repository manager is called apt and there'll be a GUI frontend called Synaptic Package Manager. Ubuntu has its Software Centre. I'm not sure what it's called on Red Hat derived distributions other than it'll be based on yum.

              You fire that up, look for Firefox, click install and it downloads and installs it for you. Not much different to the Apple App Store or the Google Play store, except that apt predates both of them by nearly a decade (late 90's versus 2006 for the iPhone).

              Going to a supplier and obtaining a package manually is the old DOS-way of doing things that Windows inherited. It's not user friendly as you discovered, and haphazard installers mean the process is not guaranteed to be a smooth one.

            13. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

              Hmm.. the last time I tried Linux, Firefox was already installed.

              Perhaps you should have used a mainstream distro.

              There's lies, damn lies, then el reg forum posts.

            14. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

              "Last time I tried Linux and attempted to install Firefox I first had to find an installer for the distribution I was using."

              Citation needed.

              "I would drop Windows at the drop of a hat if Linux was more accessible to the uninitiated."

              Try the GUI flavour of almost any mainstream Linux from the last few years. You might be pleasantly surprised (even if it doesn't do everything *you* want, it'll do everything Joe Average wants). My favourite is the little-written-about OpenSuse, but others are available.

              If someone can cope with a tablet which doesn't look like their previous Windows box, or a Windows box that doesn't look like their previous Windows box, they can probably cope with a Linux that doesn't look like their previous Windows box.

              "if Linux is to succeed in making it to the desktop of Joe Average, it will have to get a lot friendlier. "

              If Linux is to succeed in making it to the desktop of Joe Average, it needs to be readily available on consumer kit from the likes of Dell, HP, etc. And that isn't going to happen because of MS' ability to manipulate the volume market, even though those companies' business-class kit (laptop, desktop, server) is typically certified for a selection of Linuxes.

              1. Roland6 Silver badge

                Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

                >If Linux is to succeed in making it to the desktop of Joe Average, it needs to be readily available on consumer kit from the likes of Dell, HP, etc. And that isn't going to happen because of MS' ability to manipulate the volume market, even though those companies' business-class kit (laptop, desktop, server) is typically certified for a selection of Linuxes.

                Well as I've said before, Linux has a window of opportunity: the enterprise market have committed to Win7, yes a few will dabble in Win8 etc. but there wil be no significant refresh business until circa 2019 when W7 comes to the end of its lifecycle. Linux has a few short years to get it's house in order or be shut out for another cycle...

            15. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

              >Last time I tried Linux and attempted to install Firefox I first had to find an installer for the distribution I was using.

              Don't know about that, but the last time I tried Windows and attempted to install Netscape, I had to find a magazine cover disk which included the Netscape installer then find out I how to install a TCP/IP stack which was on a different cover disk and then dig into all those user unfriendly .INI and hosts files ...

            16. Cirdan
              Linux

              Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

              "Last time I tried Linux and attempted to install Firefox I first had to find an installer for the distribution I was using. Then I had to decide from a swathe of nonsensical file types, gar, tar, bar har-de-har-har (with no explanation of what they meant or do). Finally I had to go through the rigmorole of 'unpacking' them, and typing a load of cryptic command to try try to complete the install."

              Linuxmint.com... download and install.

              (MATE for me)

              click on the little shield with the exclamation point and upgrade the packages.

              Newest firefox for that edition ...poof!

              Wanna live on the edge?

              Linux Mint Debian Edition... Cutting edge stuff with most of the bleeding removed.

              FYI, all new Mint editions (except LMDE) will be based on Ubuntu LTS versions, so LONG TERM SUPPORT. Kind of like Red Hat/CentOS, but with recent packages.

              Try it again, you'll like it!

              ...Cirdan...

            17. This post has been deleted by its author

            18. Alan Brown Silver badge

              Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

              "No, the reason it isn't as mainstream is that it's a darn sight harder to use."

              Must've been a long time ago. Many of the current distros are more plug-and-play than windows.

            19. c:\boot.ini
              Windows

              Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

              Last time I tried Windows 8 and attempted to install a program I first had to find an installer for the platform I was using (32-bit, 64-bit). Then I had to decide from a swathe of nonsensical file types, zip, exe (with no explanation of what they meant or do). Finally I had to go through the rigmorole of 'unpacking' them, and typing a load of cryptic command to try try to complete the install.

              On Windows:

              Google > skip ads in result, skip unsafe websites > search again with "official" suffix > skip ads > locate official website > locate download section > find the bittiness of windows release > locate correct download button amongst a gazillion "fake" download buttons > wait > wait > wait > locate file and execute it > find out you need .Net 3.1, where you have 3.5, locate that on Microsoft website (alternative, you need some obscure c++ runtime) > install runtime > install the other app, untick unwanted toolbars, remove from startup folder/Run registry key > enjoy.

              On linux:

              ui: Software > search > Install

              cli: {yum|apt-get} install <program>

          2. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

            > the fact that the UI and the OS are so deeply intertwined makes it difficult to run a different UI

            It also makes it difficult for MS to change the UI, hence why we can expect W10 to retain much of whats in W8 since it will be based on the W8 codebase rather than the W7 codebase.

          3. Jack of Shadows Silver badge
            Thumb Down

            Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

            Sorry, that isn't the driver here. The fact that it runs Office just like the machine at work as well as all the supported architecture (ActiveDirectory, MSEven school-a VPN, ...) is telling.aged kids need access to PowerPoint presentations. (Pardon me while I throw up.) I sacrificed a license so the nephew could do the school work.

            Windows is incidentally a requirement so long as the lack of anyone else being unable to run the full suite without a major effort being required. And no, the substitutes keep the fanboys happy but still aren't true substitutes. Macro much?

          4. Gartal

            Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

            HP and Dell tried selling machines with Linux on them several years ago. They gave up. People wanted what they used to and not what various aficionados said they wanted.

            Agree with you about decoupling the GUI from the OS. *NIX I think does a better job of modularising the system than VMS based Os's like Windows, witness the use of teeny weeny linuxes running just enough of themselves to play music a la MP3 players before the iPaid.

            1. Vic

              Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

              HP and Dell tried selling machines with Linux on them several years ago. They gave up

              Of course they did.

              I don't knbow about HP's offerings, but Dell were shipping lower-spec kit on the Linux machines - you could have a cheaper and/or better bit of kit by buying it with Windows on and installing Linux yourself.

              And we did.

              Vic.

            2. Alan Brown Silver badge

              Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

              "HP and Dell tried selling machines with Linux on them several years ago. They gave up. People wanted what they used to and not what various aficionados said they wanted."

              Correction:

              HP and Dell tried selling old hardware 2-3 generations behind the curve with linux on them at a substantial markup over the rest of the range (usually double the price of the windows equivalent)

              No one was stupid enough to fall for that stunt. It was a path taken to "prove" nobody wanted linux and it succeeded for its intended purpose.

        2. VeganVegan

          Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

          @Neal B: the Mac OSX is built with a separate UI built on top of a customized version of UNIX (Darwin), with a middle layer of Apple-specific 'services' providing those features not directly available in UNIX.

          I suspect that the vast majority of Mac users have no inkling of this.

          1. TheOtherHobbes

            Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

            >I suspect that the vast majority of Mac users have no inkling of this.

            The vast majority of Mac users don't need to care.

            Mac: it's a car!

            Linux: it's a car with extra access panels!

            Windows: it's a car with a windscreen wrapped in Lego!

          2. Frankee Llonnygog

            Re: I suspect that the vast majority of Mac users have no inkling

            I suspect most computer users think there's a mutant mathematical inclined gerbil inside the box.

        3. JEDIDIAH
          Mushroom

          Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

          > And yet you're preaching a UNIX-like separation of OS and GUI? It hasn't worked to push Linux into the mainstream, why would it work here?

          The total LACK of a GUI never stopped WinDOS from being ripped out of the mainstream.

          Linux not being in the mainstream has nothing to do with it's particular characteristics. MS-DOS had the market completely tied up before a single line of Linux was ever written. Actually it was the dominance and crapulence of MS-DOS that inspired Linux to begin with.

          No. People have always been too fixated on running things like Lotus-123. They tolerated MS-DOS in order to do it even when better and cheaper options were legion.

          The Windows 8 debacle even demonstrates how this is the case. The majority tolerate Windows for it's ecosystem despite the fact that the OS itself is a festering pile.

          Microsoft BARELY has to acknowledge the needs or desires of it's customers.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        separation of OS and GUI

        Back in the early 90's, people used to berate Microsoft because the GUI (Windows 3.1) was separate from the OS (MSDOS). They said that Apple was better because it had a graphical OS.

        Now we have the exact opposite situation, you criticize Microsoft for having a graphical OS, while Apple is running a separate GUI on top of a unix-style OS.

        1. lambda_beta
          Linux

          Re: separation of OS and GUI

          100% correct. It's funny how things change hands, but not really. The original Apple was open, open, open with the 6502 and open hardware etc. while IBM was a button down closed and expensive company. Then we change ... IBM buys off the shelve components and OS (DOS) to make it's PC while Apple closes it's OS and steals stuff from the Xerox Star computer. Now we have the Mach kernel (from BSD and Next) running the heart of Macs with a GUI on top, and IBM running a integrated OS. Then we have Appletalk, LAN manager and SNA which give way to UNIX ip. And all the while the IBM big machines run Linux.

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: separation of OS and GUI

            It's funny how things change hands, but not really. The original Apple was open, open, open with the 6502 and open hardware etc. while IBM was a button down closed and expensive company. Then we change ... IBM buys off the shelve components and OS (DOS) to make it's PC while Apple closes it's OS and steals stuff from the Xerox Star computer. Now we have the Mach kernel (from BSD and Next) running the heart of Macs with a GUI on top, and IBM running a integrated OS. Then we have Appletalk, LAN manager and SNA which give way to UNIX ip. And all the while the IBM big machines run Linux.

            What now?

            Calling IBM "closed" is a sophomoric gloss. IBM published the spec (the PoOp) for its biggest product line, the S/370, and Amdahl cloned it - in the mid '70s. Prior to 1969's "unbundling", IBM shipped most software at no additional charge and in source-code form, as was common in the industry at the time. And of course IBM's let a few inventions be picked up by competitors - things like disk drives, DRAM, ATMs, UPC... While IBM has always been fiercely protective of its markets, the "open" nature of the 5150 PC (OTS components, the information published in the Technical Reference, etc) was not a significant departure from IBM's historical behavior.

            Apple certainly did move to a more "closed" model with the Mac - the "1984" commercial is a splendid example of the Big Lie - though again that's an oversimplification. As for "steals stuff from the Xerox Star", that's so absurdly reductionist and prejudicial that it's not even worth commenting on.

            The Mach kernel comes from CMU. BSD has nothing to do with it. The NeXTSTEP kernel was based on it, true; and OS X's is as well, though it's rather a distant descendant.

            I have no idea what "IBM running an integrated OS" is supposed to mean. IBM is a company that sells a wide range of computing systems, and a good number of OSes.

            IP isn't a UNIX protocol - UNIX systems were just its first big users. And while IP has displaced a host of other network protocols, including Appletalk, there's still quite a lot of SNA around (I was just pouring over my copy of SNA Formats a couple of hours ago), and LAN Manager was not a protocol. And IP saw UUCP - very much a UNIX protocol - out the door. So I'm not sure what the point is supposed to be here.

            As for "the IBM big machines run Linux": well, yes, some are running Linux. Many are running zOS;1 some are running VSE or VM.2 Depending on what you mean by "big machines", some run iOS3 and some run AIX.

            (Also, it's "off the shelf", and the possessive pronoun "its" does not contain an apostrophe.)

            1Or System z or z Series or just plain z or whatever IBM is calling it today.

            2Arguably all the zSeries machines run VM, since that's what the LPAR hypervisor is descended from.

            3echo $note1 | s/z/i/g

          2. Chas
            WTF?

            Re: separation of OS and GUI

            Oh FFS, the old sawhorse that Apple "stole" from Xerox is not only tiresome, but totally wrong. Aside from the fact that Apple PAID Xerox $1 million in stock for some of the IP, there are vast differences between the two systems.

            Here's an essay from someone who was actually there:

            http://www.folklore.org/StoryView.py?project=Macintosh&story=On_Xerox,_Apple_and_Progress.txt

            =:~)

      3. User McUser
        Windows

        "the UI is too deeply embedded in the OS"

        While "explorer.exe" is the default GUI, you can use something else by changing the value for "Shell" in the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon to some other executable.

        That said, I'm not aware of any serious replacement GUIs for Windows, though I've setup Kiosk style systems using a custom MMC console before.

        1. Mage Silver badge

          Re: "the UI is too deeply embedded in the OS"

          Though having a different shell last worked reliably on NT3.51 and NT4.0 (3.51 did have Explorer Preview and running Filemanager possible on NT 4.0 and /or Program manager instead of Explorer Shell)

          It would be truer to say that on NT4.0 they stupidly made some stuff needed by GUI move into Kernel and on Vista and later they messed up the conventional GDI / WinAPI to make the newer GUI components work faster and put a performance penalty on the old way of doing Windows via API.

        2. Lyndon Hills 1

          Re: "the UI is too deeply embedded in the OS"

          And there is also embedded. If we skip to server versions, you can install server 2012 without a gui at all. This gives you a server OS that you manage and configure, preferably using remote scripting via powershell. Just like *nix admins have been doing for what, nearly 50 years....

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

        @ 'windows S' for search

        Yeah. Or 'Windows + E' for 'Home'. Delete the Favorites (sic) and the rest of the gubbins and it just opens to an empty folder. If anyone knows how to change it back to "explorer.exe ,n" I'd appreciate your telling me! btw Autohotkey only seems to open to 'Documents', so only gets it back to where previous versions needed changing from (even though replacing the File Fucker Taskbar shortcut with Explorer's plus switch does work).

      5. This post has been deleted by its author

      6. Nick De Plume

        Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

        It definitely us not the choice in ui, or the package format.

        It's support for the non-techie. Despite what the clueless say, stability is no longer the gnu/linux forte. All modern and modernish os'es are very stable once you have stable hardware and its stable drivers.

        Example: I needed a skype appliance on a shoestring budget, sans the budget. I got a free old laptop, slapped on a "lite" popular distro. Barely a year later due to changes in skype protocol it failed its primary role so i had to update the application. which is just fine, the package was readily available. Thing is it had dependancies that were part of the os which were no longer updateable, as my version was eol 'ed 8 months after I installed it. Lovely. Took me the geek four hours to get it going again (and had to use my phone to configure the usb stick, thanks to the otg cable i had in my bag)

        Example: Was using this nice dual xeon and upper-end model quadro equipped machine running Finux , mainly for some light houdini and heavy maya work. who cares if flash videos work in false color, right? One day after one innocuous security update however, I'm back in the textscreen terminal - apparently there is a clash with nvidia drivers as well as some permission issues with my striped drives. Yeah, day wasted on recovery, saying ferdammt with it, going back to everything works Windows 7. Even wacom works properly. Bliss.

        Example: Was setting up this spanking new i5 laptop with no os pre-installed, as a daily driver for an elder relative. Photo storage, web, email, the usual. Just the linux thing, malware threat level being so low. So I did, clean and friendly ubuntu i think it was. Until one day he buys this all-in-one printer scanner thing. Yeah. The one driver that's recommended is erratic, the other one won't scan, the third needs batch scripts to change roles. Yeah, back to Windows plus mse (must say windows is reasonably safe without admin rights, though google chrome isn't).

        what was the question again?

        1. Rule of Thumb

          Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

          >Example: [I was happily using an old version of Skype and Linux until I was rudely forced to upgrade and it was a huge PITA to update my EOL'd Linux]

          >Example: [shitty nvidia drivers bit my ass and now everything works Windows 7]

          >Example: [Ubuntu worked fine except not with an all-in-one and now Windows works]

          >what was the question again?

          @Nick De Plume, what is your point? None of these are really Linux-specific problems. The common theme seems to be a lack of foresight, although elder relatives can be excused. But my elder relative story is about how a new Windows didn't work with her all-in-one, so that issue goes both ways.

          As for EOL'd OS's, see how many Windows XP users are sympathetic.

          And I've had plenty of problems with drivers on Windows. nvidia was a poor choice on your part; Google "torvalds nvidia" to see what Linus thinks of nvidia and why.

          1. Jos

            Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

            Well, even with nVidea Torvalds is not that angry anymore:

            http://www.cnet.com/news/torvalds-gives-nvidia-software-thumbs-up-not-middle-finger/

        2. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

          @Nick De Plume - Two of your examples are a chicken-and-egg problem, with a cuckoo chick in the nest (have I tortured this metaphor too much?).

          The exception is the Skype appliance - is there even a Windows alternative for that scenario? Good luck installing a new version of Windows on an old laptop (after magically extending your non-existent budget for the licence).

          The other two are a problem of availability of 3rd party drivers. The manufacturers get the Windows drivers right, because that's where the biggest market is, and the non-techies don't move to Linux because the drivers are buggy or unavailable: chicken and egg. The cuckoo is Microsoft, making sure the non-techie Linux installation always has another problem to deal with.

          1. Vic

            Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

            and the non-techies don't move to Linux because the drivers are buggy or unavailable

            This is the bit that always frustrates me: drivers are available to all manufacturers at no cost to themselves. There is an open promise from the kernel team to write a professional driver for any piece of hardware where the manufacturer will supply enough information for that to be possible.

            We can only wonder at why a hardware manufacturer prefers to have a smaller market available than to hand over a datasheet...

            Vic.

            1. big_D Silver badge

              Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

              @Vic, often the "trade secrets" can be in the driver, not the hardware, so handing that over to an open source team, where their competitors (or prospective competitors) can then access the code is not an option.

              1. Vic

                Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

                often the "trade secrets" can be in the driver, not the hardware, so handing that over to an open source team, where their competitors (or prospective competitors) can then access the code is not an option.

                No-one is asking them to hand over a driver - just enough information to write one.

                If all the performance is in the software, then the hardware is useless.

                If the hardware is actually doing something, they simply need to detail the interface to it and let the FOSS guys figure out how to drive it without needing to see to super-sekrit info in the proprietary driver.

                And if the FOSS drive ends up better - the manufacturer can always ship it under the terms of the licence. That means less ongoing maintenance work for the vendor and a superior product. Happy days!

                Vic.

            2. Alan Brown Silver badge

              Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

              "We can only wonder at why a hardware manufacturer prefers to have a smaller market available than to hand over a datasheet..."

              Making the datasheets open means that competitors can analyse how things are done, which means they might realise you're infringing on their patents.

          2. Bob Asic

            chicken-and-egg problem

            sorry but the answer is clearly egg. Unlike a catch-22...

          3. big_D Silver badge

            Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

            @Allan George Dyer, how old is old? I put it on 2 2010 vintage Sonys and they both run Windows 8 fine - in fact they are more responsive than when they ran Windows 7.

            1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

              Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

              @big_D - well, Nick De Plume's scenario was "a skype appliance on a shoestring budget, sans the budget", so I'd say any machine that could run skype when it was new, and still works today. For example, I've got a couple of AmazePC netbooks from about 2007 running Ubuntu 14.04 LTS here, could you install Windows 8 and run skype on them today? For additional points, explain how to do it without exceeding the budget ($0) or breaking the law ;-)

              There is clearly a market segment that Microsoft is not addressing, though as the projected revenue is $0, perhaps that is to be expected.

          4. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

            "The manufacturers USUALLY get the Windows drivers right"

            There, FTFY.

            I've had to dump a number of pieces of kit over the years as windows ceased supporting them. They often ended up attached to my linux boxes instead.

        3. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

          "Until one day he buys this all-in-one printer scanner thing. "

          Without bothering to check compatibility. Does he do that when he buys tyres too?

          The odds are pretty good the windows driver is crap and broken in a number of ways too, but windows has trained people that the best way to fix a problem is turn it off and turn it back on again.

          1. Vic

            Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

            Without bothering to check compatibility

            I must confess - I rarely check for compatability these days, I've gotten used to hardware just working when I plug it in, without having to trawl the manufacturer's website for additional drivers. Occasionally, I'm disappointed - but not often...

            Vic.

      7. ScottK

        Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

        @ Neil Barnes.

        Sorry, but your statement that the UI is too deeply embedded in the OS is wrong.

        You have always been able to change the UI in NT based versions of Windows. Just change this registry value for your shell of choice:

        Key: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon

        Name: Shell

        Type: REG_SZ

        Value: Explorer.exe

        This changes it for everyone on the machine. Replace HKLM with HKCU if you want different shells for different users.

        There are alternative shells out there. Not many people use them though as (up to Windows 7 at least) users were generally happy with Explorer.

        I have used this to deliver Windows based thin clients using a cut down shell to launch server based sessions.

        You can also use this to get yourself out of trouble if you have completely mangled your Windows install. Do a recovery boot, edit the registry and get Windows to start something else such as the command prompt or a tools suite.

      8. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

        "And therein the problem: the UI is too deeply embedded in the OS"

        There used to be a small range of desktop UIs for windows. Are they still around?

        I used to use litestep on w2k and liked it.

    3. dotdavid

      Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

      "All M$ had to do was the option to change between metro and a start button and it would have been a great release"

      I completely agree, but from what I've read there's a great resistance within Microsoft to making everything configurable because it is claimed that too many configuration options may just confuse users.

      Still an optional "Advanced" setting would have been nice, better still only enabling metro if a touchscreen was detected.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Holmes

        Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

        "All M$ had to do was the option to change between metro and a start button and it would have been a great release"

        All MS had to do was nothing and let Classic Shell take over the desktop menu. Which is exactly what happened for any intelligent user of Win 8.

      2. Tom 35 Silver badge

        there's a great resistance within Microsoft

        Windows 8 beta had a registry setting to turn off Metro. It was taken out back and shot for the final release.

        To paraphrase a line that Ford actually used (even if long after the fact in his autobiography) MS said we could have any UI as long as it's Metro, oops Modern.

    4. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

      At work we have about 50/50 of people choosing Windows 7 over Windows 8 on their new machines. And those that do take Windows 8 don't generally install a Start Menu replacement utility.

      The same for the friends and family that have bought new machines in the last 2 years. They have all bought machines with 8 installed and they seem to like it, not one of them has installed a Start Menu replacement. Some have even said that it is the first time they've "understood" Windows; one was proud, after 10 minutes with Windows 8, at having installed their first ever app for themselves! Until then, they had had to get somebody else to install Windows applications. The app store gave them a level of independence they had never experienced with XP or 7...

      Windows 8 isn't for everybody, but it was a positive move for some.

      1. jason 7

        Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

        I rolled out quite a few Windows 8/8.1 machines to baby boomers and a few XP hold-outs back in April May this year.

        I have to say they went down pretty well with the users. I just spent 15-20 minutes with them going over the differences between XP and 8 and it was fine.

        Whilst the initial design of 8 was flawed in some ways, the basic rule of "if you go in thinking you'll fail before you try", then getting to grips with it would be an uphill struggle. Those that I trained with few pre-conceptions got on just fine. "I don't know what all the fuss is about!" was a oft used phrase.

    5. SouthernLogic

      Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

      Yet that is what Apple does. So as Microsoft tries to remake itself more like Apple should ignoring and eliminating current functionality in windows 7 for the tiles of windows 8 surprised anyone?

  4. AndrueC Silver badge
    WTF?

    He wanted first-class support for native C/C++ code

    That'd be a clever trick. No version of Windows has ever had support for 'native C/C++ code' whatever that is.

    Presumably what he meant was first-class support for the Windows API and x86 family of processors. There are many languages that developers use to generate 'traditional' native Windows applications.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      There are many languages that developers use to generate 'traditional' native Windows applications.

      Right. And "C/C++" is not among them, because that is not a thing that exists.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hubris

    To summarise the attitude of Sinofsky and crew in one word.

    Personally, I regard much of what came with Windows 8 a step forward from 7, although I admit I never cared much for the start menu that apparently means so much to so many. The problems were down to some, in reality minor, details originating in the philosophy 'we know best, we want none of those traditional options that made Windows the success it is'.

    Never before had Microsoft introduced a new application model not made available on the previous version of Windows as well. Even more importantly, as early as Windows 3.0 showcase applications (e.g. Microsoft Office) were seen as crucial to success of the product, not just to engage potential users but to show developers what the platform was capable of and to thrash out details of the API. Its surprising that Gates and Ballmer allowed leadership of the Windows group ignore the past so resolutely.

  6. GBE

    What is "the Windows client"?

    The author makes repeated referencs to "the Windows client". I don't use MS Windows much, and my ignorance may be showing, but to what does "the Windows client" refer?

    1. Forget It
      Joke

      Re: What is "the Windows client"?

      Duh

      It's the guy looking thru it to see something better

      1. roger stillick
        Joke

        Re: What is "the Windows client"?'Forget it' is correct...

        Joke Alert= IBM stuff came with 'Forms' that folks 'data-filled' the open boxes... folks maintaining IBM stuff had a way to modify those forms w/ boxes (some called the boxes windows)... MS was at DOS 2.5 ?? (the one B/4 DOS 3.0) running mostly on clerks desktop machines and the UNIX folks were quietly laughing...

        Some of us UNIX folks tried helping the IBM folks move around and modify the boxes and we quickly found the whole thing was tied to a proprietary IBM combination of spreadsheet and database written to by a left handed typing program, or, = 'this is stupid, i'll pass'... back to my UNIX.

        MS had some very smart folks that looked at the IBM forms stuff and rightfully concluded that if they did it right, they could make desktop DOS into a universally simple forms / Windows screen that wouldnt scare any office worker just trying to use a computer as the boss hates paperwork... soon hand written forms morfed into a copy machine making 2 extra copies of the computed, printed out slowly, document...soon the output of entire paper mills was for copy paper for a growing number of in-house filing cabinets...

        Joke Alert= Governments worldwide discovered they could just seize the files and fishing expedition / troll the data for possible criminal behavior... MS client-server stuff ended this with central data storage... desktops got new windows systems as the older systems kit filled up w/ no data retention wanted locally by company folks burnt by too much bad stuff found in local filing cabinets...Big Iron, Big Data, the Cloud all make sure no local filing cabinets ever start to fill up, ever again, done.

        IMHO= MS had 16-bit Zenix (UNIX clone), and a really well made NT Kernals from 3.1 to 5.2... then Kernal 6.0 (Vista, failed to be loved by anyone) and later went in too many directions to be usefull to anyone... MS is still in this failure mode and the company directors are simply too close to the problem to see the results of their honest effort as worthless for any ongoing use...REF= WIKI, Comparison of Microsoft Windows versons.

        caveiat= this will be my last MS-WIN comment as i've finally acheived my Y2K goal of Running no MS stuff, in any form on anything i have, using only UNIX / C stuff..LINUX... i really tried NT kernel stuff, MS didn't support their own kernel...Absolutely World Class Failure...RS.

    2. Vociferous

      Re: What is "the Windows client"?

      The author makes repeated referencs to "the Windows client".

      It might be a reference to the line of thinking that the Desktop is an app running in a sand box, not a graphical interface for the OS?

      That kind of talk was very common in the run-up to Win8's release. The "Desktop" app was "bundled" with the OS so users could run "legacy applications".

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What is "the Windows client"?

      To answer your question seriously, Windows Client is the version of Windows that isn't Windows Server.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Next up, Jony Ives?

    Each version of OSX is just a little bit uglier, but none more so than Yosemite. It looks like something a 3rd-rate Linux distro hacked together the night before a release.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Next up, Jony Ives?

      " It looks like something a 3rd-rate Linux distro hacked together the night before a release."

      You've got me puzzled. What does a 3rd-rate Linux distro hacked together the night before a release look like? Apart from Yosemite, of course.

    2. Joe 48

      Re: Next up, Jony Ives?

      It gets worse.

      On my Macbook Pro in all versions of Mac since Lion I get downloads that stall out after a few minutes and the worst USB copy speeds ever. Boot it to Windows 8.1 (with a 3rd party start menu I might add) bootcamp partition and all the lovely apple hardware works a treat! How the hell did that happen??? MS making the Mac hardware work better than Apple!

      1. Irony Deficient

        Re: Next up, Jony Ives?

        Joe 48, if you boot into the Safe mode of OS X, are your download and USB copy speeds still just as slow? If they speed up under Safe mode, and you have an OS X antivirus package installed, then my guess would be that the antivirus software is to blame for the slowdowns.

        1. Joe 48

          Re: Next up, Jony Ives?

          Irony Deficient, thanks for replying. I've tried everything. It works fine in safe mode. However even with a full wipe and fresh install the issue is apparent immediately after the the first setup, with no AV or 3rd party apps installed. Hard to tell but even the reinstall seems slower than it should be 5+ hours, where as on my connection it should be around 2 hours for a circa 5GB download. So the issue is even apparent whist restoring the system.

          I get the same issue in Safe Mode too, and I've spent too much time trying to fix it and Apple were no help whilst in warranty, a touch less help now its out of warranty. I do have the default Apple AV product XProtect running but never found a way to turn it off. Firewall off I've tried.

          I'm beyond caring. At some point I'll replace it with a later model but I'll be damn sure I test both USB and Wifi first to ensure the 'bug' isn't around any more. Seems to be quite common on the Apple forums with early 2013 models.

          1. Irony Deficient

            Re: Next up, Jony Ives?

            Joe 48, if you have an Early 2013 MacBook Pro, then it originally came with Mountain Lion installed, so I’m not sure what Lion has to do with it. Given the slowdown that you’re seeing on a download for a clean reïnstallation of OS X, and that the slowdown happens in regular mode immediately after a clean installation with no third-party software installed, my suggestion would be to try replacing its internal SATA cable to see if that makes a difference. I’m not familiar with Retina models like yours, but faulty internal SATA cables are a surprisingly frequent problem with some non-Retina models.

            1. Kiwi Silver badge

              Re: Next up, Jony Ives?

              but faulty internal SATA cables are a surprisingly frequent problem with some non-Retina models.

              I have seen this in some slighlty older models. Weird because the cables are screwed and taped into place, very unlikely to move.

              They can do some weird things when they start to fail.

              I have been told (but have yet to test!) that you can wrap the SATA cable in tin foil where it passes under the drive, and that can bring them back to life (whether by sheilding from some form of interference or just moving things enough to make a broken connection work I don't know - or even whether it is reality or something else I don't know!)

              HTH someone.

              1. Hans 1 Silver badge

                Re: Next up, Jony Ives?

                > but faulty internal SATA cables are a surprisingly frequent problem with some non-Retina models.

                I suspected that on a mac, then switched to a Samsung Evo SSD (Samsung Pro works wonders as well) and the issues were gone.

                Not sure what it is, but I updated firmware on mac, on SSD all to no avail, plugged ssd into another mac where it worked fine ... not sure, but I switched to the evo and that seemed to just work wonders.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The irony is

    The reason consumers are abandoning PCs and laptops in their droves is entirely down to MICROSOFT! Burned with viruses on XP, terrible performance on Vista, and even Windows 7 can become a malware and toolbar ridden cesspit is it any wonder consumers have bought tablets? Well done Microsoft you've given the consumer world nothing but a load of s*** for the last five years and people don't want it any more!

    1. Neil B

      Re: The irony is

      @AC, yes people are buying iPads because Windows 7 had too much malware. Riiiiight.

    2. Richard Jones 1
      Happy

      Re: The irony is

      As I sit here, a 32bit Vista portable is running my specialised scanner and delivering the results to my Windows 7 desktop where the flow of scanned negatives is now well over 5,000 and the scanned slides a number of thousands more, I now know the answer to my problem. After all I should be using a tablet with capacity for few hundred files and no useful software. Oh how did I go so wrong?

      Oh hang on, I am also reading the news and writing this response at the same time as editing the image files on my 23inch screen, dang it all there must be a fault! Why am I not using a 7 inch device; perhaps because it is totally useless?

    3. Paul Shirley

      Re: The irony is

      The move to simpler devices has nothing to do with Microsoft, although their complete failure to spread their OS monopoly into mobile/tablet removed one obstacle to adoption. Few ordinary people need the power of a PC for the 'work' they do on them or a huge bloated OS stack to do it. The moment tablets and phones became good enough they stopped needing an overpowered PC.

      Microsoft created the whole Win8 fiasco because they realised too late they had no presence in the post-PC world and no monopoly leverage because of that. So the Windows monopoly was abused to bludgeon us into accepting the crap they threw together for mobile. Hasn't worked so well, the users they targeted had already jumped ship to IOS and Android and have no problem using multiple OSes - the right one for each device.

    4. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: The irony is

      "The reason consumers are abandoning PCs and laptops in their droves is"

      Because consumers don't give a shit about the OS, they care about the applications they used and that the UI doesn't get in the way.

  9. Mage Silver badge

    Pulled off on MS Office?

    No they didn't. They inflicted the STUPID ribbon.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: Pulled off on MS Office?

      Upvoted for insufficiently abusive adjective.

    2. xerocred

      Re: Pulled off on MS Office?

      Yeah, I used to be quite competent in Excel. Now with the stupid ribbon even the most straightforward action has me googling 'how to...'.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Pulled off on MS Office?

        @xerocred: Do you still remember the old menus? I ask because the corresponding keyboard interface is still supported, so you can (for example) bring up the Edit Links dialog by typing Alt+E followed by K. Bizarre, I know, but MS apparently implemented all of the old UI alongside the ribbon and then hid it.

      2. Anna Logg

        Re: Pulled off on MS Office?

        Much the same here; having used MS Office most working days since '96 it took me a couple of years to get my MSO 2010 proficiency up to MSO 2003 levels. The only small advantage I can think of to 2010 is the live preview of the potential results of a copy/paste action. Frickin' ribbon crammed with dumb ass templates / styles that seems designed to make my boring data analysis look like a Disney storyboard...and for some bizarre reason the ribbon defaults to the top of the screen, reducing the working area on widescreen monitors, which seem to be the only choice these days.

      3. Merchman

        Re: Pulled off on MS Office?

        Yeah, I used to be quite competent in Excel. Now with the stupid ribbon even the most straightforward action has me googling 'how to...'.

        I rebuilt my Excel 2007 menu-bar in the quick-access bar and then hid the ribbon. It made my life so much easier.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pulled off on MS Office? (@Mage)

      Yeah,

      only the stupid can't figure out the "Ribbon". Only took a few minutes for me.

      1. keithpeter
        Windows

        Re: Pulled off on MS Office? (@Mage)

        "only the stupid can't figure out the "Ribbon". Only took a few minutes for me."

        OK, what is the secret? I spent two working days recently chained to MS Office 2010 hacking out a series of Word documents of moderate but not outrageous complexity. Tonnes of googling.

        One example: the command to select paragraph(s) of text and put a box around it(them) catches me every time, hiding in plain sight like a le Carré pavement artist.

        The Management have recently installed OpenOffice 4.1 (why oOo and why 4.1?) to considerable rejoicing.

      2. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Pulled off on MS Office? (@Mage @AC

        >only the stupid can't figure out the "Ribbon". Only took a few minutes for me.

        According to history, it also took Bill Gates a few minutes to figure out the "Ribbon" interface ...

        and then asked for the old menus to be included so users could choose...

        As he had stepped back from running Microsoft he decided not to push the point and permit the managers to make decisions...

    4. JLV Silver badge

      Re: Pulled off on MS Office?

      Upvoted!

      and the ribbon is a showcase of why Sinofky & co are idiots wrt to user choice and a clever (hah!) Ballmer should have seen it coming*.

      Within 3 weeks of installing Office 2007, I had found a 3rd party plugin that restored the menu, albeit in really skeleton form. So it can be done, easily.

      I get that the ribbon may have better useability for some other people, I do.

      But how difficult, if some hacker could do it, would it have been for MS to provide their customers with an option of choosing menus? Keeping in mind that some users seem to want to stick with Office 2003 until you pry it from their cold, dead, hands, precisely because it still has a menu?

      Our way or the highway indeed. Well, that highway sure looks crowded now.

      * I think Office sales are more entreprise driven and run on different cycles than Windows entreprise upgrades so the ribbon issues may not have been as apparent in customer adoption metrics. Of course, when Metro got universally panned in beta, it was apparent. And apparently ignored too.

      1. Kunari

        Re: Pulled off on MS Office?

        "...Of course, when Metro got universally panned in beta, it was apparent. And apparently ignored too."

        Oh MS knew full well that people didn't like the Metro interface, they went out-of-their-way in Beta to disable the Registry Keys and other ways beta users made to boot direct to desktop. They ignored multiple calls for an option to enable the start-menu, etc. MS earned the whopping it got from the Win8 launch fiasco.

        1. c:\boot.ini
          Windows

          Re: Pulled off on MS Office?

          >Oh MS knew full well that people didn't like the Metro interface, they went out-of-their-way in Beta to disable the Registry Keys and other ways beta users made to boot direct to desktop. They ignored multiple calls for an option to enable the start-menu, etc. MS earned the whopping it got from the Win8 launch fiasco.

          And the very reason those reg keys existed was for Microsoft employees to disable the crap ...

  10. Radelix

    Echoing start menu

    That trick they pulled with the surface 3 where it switches between tablet and desktop depending on the presence of a keyboard, that is all I wanted. Win 8 has been really solid for me but the touch UI goes unused even though I have a touchscreen laptop. At least I know my important keyboard shortcuts so its largely a non-issue for me.

  11. Mage Silver badge

    Microsoft now embraces an “any device”

    No they don't

    it's the same crap they ever had. They did Excel and Word for Mac before Windows!

    Once upon a time they tried to Make Server, NT Workstation, Win On Dos (Win 3.1, Win9x ME), Win CE, etc be all the same as desktop (either Program Manager or Explorer).

    They are still doing this nonsense, Servers, Workstations, Phones, TVs, Media Centres, Game Consoles etc might in many cases have related Kernels. (Though sensibly CE wasn't, stupidly a Phone is supposed to migrate to same Kernel as Server/Workstation). But One App for all and common branding and common GUI is stupidity and arrogance.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Cloud first. Mobile first.

      Desktop last.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Cloud first. Mobile first.

        Desktop Our existing customers last.

  12. kmac499

    Broken Windows..

    Whatever the anti skuemorphs say a desktop computing environment creates and mimics the real world in a virtual space. Windows 8 broke that contract, plus it broke the contract with legacy users by changing the interface so drastically it made many years of muscle memory redundant.

    I can only presume the reasons why was just blind stubbornness on behalf of Sinofsky et al.

    I haven't seen Win10 yet not even sure I want to bother...

  13. Kev Beeley

    Having used Windows for 25 years now, it really speaks volumes that I had to look up what the hell the "Charm Menu" was...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Strangeness abounds

      Is there a Strangeness menu as well as a Charm menu?

      Is this something to do with Quark?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYVx178VlZ8

    2. John H Woods Silver badge

      Charm menu ... grrr ...

      Now *THAT* is poor interface design: the charm menu slides out of the MIDDLE of the right hand side of the screen, but only when you put the mouse in the TOP or BOTTOM right hand corner?

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: Charm menu ... grrr ...

        That's because you don't have a touchscreen, like you're supposed to have.

        On a touchscreen, after somebody carefully shows you all of the gestures, you forget them and random stuff happens when you accidentally do one of the swipes or swirls or whatever.

        This eventually results in you closing Modern and never using it again.

      2. Adam 1 Silver badge

        Re: Charm menu ... grrr ...

        @John H Woods

        It is even less sensible when you have a second monitor on the right.

  14. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Windows

    Pride commeth before the fall....

    "Microsoft and in particular Sinofsky saw that the Windows client was losing to simpler, safer, more usable devices like Apple’s iPad, especially in the consumer market."

    But instead of offering this, MS over-engineered and delivered a user interface that Windows users found confusing and irritating!

    And the ribbon interface was not a victory. Just because MS had something of a mortal lock on the office productivity suite market at the time and 95% of users had nowhere else to go does not make a gratuitous, poorly documented redesign of the UI a success!

  15. Colin Miller

    Best Version of Windows

    Hasn't every version of MS-Windows been announced as "the best, most secure version yet"?

    1. Frankee Llonnygog

      Re: Best Version of Windows

      Yes. And it's been true every time. If that progress continues, they will one day attain 'good' and 'secure'

  16. Arctic fox
    Windows

    Re "............for which Sinofsky and his team will deserve credit..........."

    No he fucking won't and I speak as someone who has had very little problem with Win 8. However, from the point of view of his company and its relationship to both its enterprise customers and the "great unwashed" of the retail sector Sinofsky's utter refusal to adjust his "vision" regardless was a serious downer for Redmond. Even though I personally got on well with Win 8 I am not blind to the fact that it has been a dog on the market and for various reasons succeeded in offending many very loyal MS customers. Sinofsky deserves no credit what so ever for his "contribution" end of.

  17. russell 6

    Following fashion rather than function

    As the owner of a laptop which has Win 8.1 installed but no touchscreen functionality it seems the OS has a split personality. Trying to make the same OS work on a tablet and a desktop/laptop was never going to work for the simple fact that tablets are designed for the consumption of media rather than creating work, which needs a different approach.

    I'm a phototographer and writer who could not imagine having to work with a tablet OS, it would drive me to distraction and at times the way 8.1 works has this effect. If you need to get work done then you need a mouse and keyboard, until they can come up with something better. Touchscreen is never going to be the nirvana for the work I and many others do.

    Now that the tablet market is reaching saturation, people are going to start asking, what comes next? To my mind, tablets were always a flash in the pan for the simple fact you are restricted by how much useful work you can do with them. All they are really good for is consumption. Win 10 needs to return to it's roots of being useful to people who need to do actual work.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Following fashion rather than function

      >Now that the tablet market is reaching saturation, people are going to start asking, what comes next? To my mind, tablets were always a flash in the pan for the simple fact you are restricted by how much useful work you can do with them.

      Suggest you pick up a Dell XPS 18 it is both a tablet and a desktop! Really good piece of kit only problem is that because it is both tablet and desktop, it really exposes the limitations of Win8/8.1 to a much greater extent than a non-touch laptop/desktop or a 8 inch Win tablet do. Certainly it becomes clear MS have a lot of catching up to do, but at least it does support automatic screen rotation!

    2. Big Ed

      Re: Following fashion rather than function

      Agreed. Seems Apple figured that out when they gave ios a distinct personality from OS X.

      I love my MAC, my iPad, and my iPhone. Sure it would be nice to have one device that does it all. But the reality is that I use each one of them for uniquely different purposes. To be sure it's nice to have some shared function across the platforms. But somehow I just can see holding my MacBook Pro up to my ear to take a phone call.

  18. Tikimon Silver badge
    Devil

    Our users just want to get their work done

    They don't want to have to relearn Windows and Office every few years to suit some hare-brained business plan.

    "Office 2007 removed the pull-down menus... replaced them with a fat toolbar called a ribbon.. Despite some grumbles, sales had been fine and users adjusted."

    WRONG, you moron! Thanks to Office lock-in, users were stuck with an Office they would rather not have had and still hate the Ribbon to this day. Proficiency dropped and stayed down, as once-common functions were obscured and busy users gave up looking.

    Would anyone buy a car where the manufacturer could periodically rearrange your controls and dashboard to suit itself? Hell, no you would not. Learn to drive again every three years? Bazmeg!

    1. Darryl

      Re: Our users just want to get their work done

      ...and yet sales are fine. As for users, my users did grumble and complain when they got their first ribbon-ized Office, but they adjusted. Their proficiency may have lowered while they relearned it, but occasional users learned how to use the ribbon and power users didn't even notice it was there because the keyboard shortcuts still work.

      That's one of the reasons Win8 is really bad. I think people can deal with a bit of a jarring UI change, as long as it still does what you expect it to do when you hit Ctrl-F, for example.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Our users just want to get their work done

        ...and yet sales are fine. As for users, my users did grumble and complain when they got their first ribbon-ized Office, but they adjusted. Their proficiency may have lowered while they relearned it, but occasional users learned how to use the ribbon and power users didn't even notice it was there because the keyboard shortcuts still work.

        That's only true if:

        - you happen to be a power user that remembers every key combination

        - you ignore the fact that for many people, alternatives do not exist¹

        ¹: Yes, I'm aware of LibreOffice/OpenOffice. I do use them, and it's the standard office suite at my workplace. I do also note that the package is occasionally buggy and doesn't support features that some find useful.

      2. Big Ed

        Re: Our users just want to get their work done

        Arrogance nearly destroyed the US auto industry in the late 70's. And if Microsoft is not careful they will find themselves needing a lifeline.

        Microsoft has never fully embraced that there are two distinct groups of customers; businesses and home users. I really love getting error messages on my home computer telling me to contact my systems administrator when things go wrong. I am the effing systems administrator; you can tell me what's wrong.

        As a business user I buy a lot of sh*t from Microsoft in my ELA; desktop OSes, Office, Server OSes, MS-SQL, ... And I don't have to retrain my user community when I go to a new version of SQL. But I have to spend a sh*tload of money to retrain my users for inconsequential upgrades to the desktop and Office, and another sh*tload of money to train my helpdesk to field calls.

        Unless the fools in Redmond stop costing me tons of money by doing some stupid sh*t like pulling Windows/XP away from me - hey fix the damned OS and leave me my UI; someone disruptive like the Japanese did to the US auto industry will come along and snatch to desktop away, then goes Office, MS-SQL, and Server OSes....

  19. chivo243 Silver badge
    Pint

    Do you hear that?

    It's Micro$oft listening to their pockets, rather than what users need and can really use.

    Speaking of something you can use, how bout another pint?

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Do you hear that?

      "Micro$oft listening to their pockets"

      Not even that, since the cheapest way to get a familiar Windows UI on a phone would have been to run vanilla Windows on the phone. This would have had the added advantage of already running all the customer's existing software (licences permitting).

      No, this was Microsoft listening to ego-manical execs who wanted to "make a name" for themselves and had the whole company to play with for too many years.

    2. Big Ed

      Re: Do you hear that?

      Users are NOT Micro$oft's customers. Why else do the Redmond Boys continue to do stupid stuff and get away with it? Loved it when the Chief Boy insulted half the planet and got away with it; they insult the other half of the planet too with their stupid ways and it doesn't matter.

      I'm frustrated as hell with Windows 8 because I can't operate it as easily as Windows/XP, and I don't want to waste my time learning it; I switched to OS-X, and Boys aren't going to loose any sleep over it.

      Micro$oft's pockets are lined with ELAs that bundle Windows with, Office, Exchange, MS-SQL, Server, along with other toys. And OEM monopolistic agreements to install Windows on virtually every Intel box they ship.

      So for every 1000 customers that switch over to OS-X or Linux, the Boys will raise the price of the ELAs to continue raking in cash. And businesses that buy them will bitch but know that they have no other choice because MS products are soooo pervasive in their orgs and the cost to displace them is too high.

  20. recordmaker

    How to get wide Windows 10 adoption

    If MS really wants to make Windows 10 quickly adopted, then work into it the ability to do in place upgrades from ALL versions of WIndows from XP Forward! Yes, there are always going to be incompatible applications, BUT MS KNOWS which ones they are. Give the user a full list of what WILL and WILL NOT auto transfer to the new install. That would be the biggest step to getting XP out fo the market.

    1. Kiwi Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: How to get wide Windows 10 adoption

      Another little issue around that too.. Win XP-7 the "Files and Settings Transer"/"Easy Transfer Wizard" program gave you the option of "This is my Old PC" and "This is my new PC". H8 only gives "New PC".

      Er, what if I want to transfer to a new machine, or am about to do a re-install, or....? There's no way to go from 8-8 using FAST/ETW, unlike on XP-7.

      Come on MS. Want to keep customers? Make their lives easier, NOT harder! The more sucky you make your OS, the more people are going to leave..

      Er, on second thought.. Come on MS, make Win10 even worse than h8!

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows 10

    Seen nothing so far that changes my mind that Microsoft is the new IBM. Long past it's sellby date. Relying on revenue from old product lines, and all their new stuff sucking badly. You only have to look at their current lineup of disasters: Xbox One, Windows Phone, Surface, Surface Pro, Windows 8, Windows 8 RT, Office 365.

    I guess there are loads that have failed so hard, I have even forgotten about them.

    How long will the share price stay good, until the market sees that not only Windows 8 has failed, but Windows 10 too, and the world has moved onto tablet computers that Microsoft aren't even remotely relevant in.

    1. Radelix

      Re: Windows 10

      MS's recent numbers seem to contradict your comment. Are their devices achieving the success that Apple devices receive? No. Is there growth in their lines? Yes. As a frequent reader of many tech news sites (El Reg, you are still my fav), I see even techcrunch, who constantly has their olfactory organ squarely up Apples' posterior, even praising MS for what they are doing with their various hardware lines. In short MS is selling hardware and shocks of shocks someone is actually buying.

      TBF I do want a Surface 3.

      1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

        Re: Windows 10

        According to Microsoft's results , Surface is now a profitable business unit... considering the phenomenal writedown on the Surface RT last year, that indicates there's been a lot of interest in the much better 2nd generation and Pro3 models.

        The Pro 3 in particular is a very nice computer, and I feel that my current MacBook Air will eventually be replaced by one...(I believe brand loyalty is for fools: I use mac, windows and linux for work, and already have a Surface 2RT for casual web browsing duties) I only use the macbook for mail, web, terminal and ssh,, so might be time to look into a linux VM, MinGW or Cywin (is that still alive?)

  22. Vociferous

    "Heart of Windows 8 lives on in Windows 10"

    That's a shame.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Heart of Windows 8 lives on in Windows 10"

      It had a good heart.

      Shame it got implanted into a monster.

  23. Nigel 11

    That's a shame

    Oh don't be silly. The Windows 8 kernel is at least as good as the Windiows 7 kernel, and there are a few new features with 8.1 for which those of us who build and manage Pcs in corporate networks are quite grateful.

    It's all down at a level where 97% of users will never venture and 2.5% will screw up messing with things that they oughtn't to have messed with.

    What wrong with Windows 8 is the gratuitous changes to the Windows XP / Windows 7 user interface. If they fix that properly on 10, so that a dopey secretary can carry on using what was learned ten years ago on XP, and so a clued-up sysadmin doesn't have to keep thinking about what he's typing rather than what he's *doing*, then it'll be a success.

    Otherwise, I'll be time to write Microsoft's epitaph.

    1. ScottK

      Re: That's a shame

      It would be very nice to be able to roll out my old pre Win 8 GPOs to manage Windows 10, instead of spending days trying to work out how to manage the new version as I have had to with 8/8.1.

      As a great example, which total dribbling moron decided that it would be a good idea to put the configuration for the 8.1 start button right click menu in a folder called WinX in the LOCAL part of the users' profile? The upshot of this is that with roaming profiles that clear the cached copy at logoff, the second time a user logs on the menu disappears as the folder no longer exists! I had to put a GPO in to recopy it back out to users at every logon.

      It is idiocy like this that makes me want to shake Sinofsky warmly by the throat.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Windows 8 has sold in large numbers"

    No it hasn't. It has been forced on millions by the lack of any alternative in retail outlets.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Indeed, it's Windows 7 that sold those millions, used under the "downgrade" rights of the Windows 8 licence.

  25. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Doing it wrong

    "No, the reason it isn't as mainstream is that it's a darn sight harder to use."

    Really it's not. The things that give (most) Linux distros a strong edge in ease of use over Windows is they don't get viruses, spyware, and ad-ware at random intervals (my friends Windows box spontaneously decided to not even boot to a desktop because of some spyware that claimed it was a "Chrome update".) Unlike Windows, Linux won't decide to just execute some random executeable it's pulled off the internet, because downloads do not have the executeable bit set. You also don't get hassled by all sorts of software decided to let you know it has updates like in Windows. I can plug in scanners, printers, or whatever, and have them just work right out of the box. It's not what it was 10 or 15 years ago.

    "Last time I tried Linux and attempted to install Firefox I first had to find an installer for the distribution I was using. Then I had to decide from a swathe of nonsensical file types, gar, tar, bar har-de-har-har (with no explanation of what they meant or do)"

    I don't know what you were doing, but (if firefox weren't already pre-installed, which it usually is), you go to your installer, type "firefox" in a search box, and choose install in most distros. Windows? if you're going to pretend picking the package for your distro is confusing -- well, I've seen plenty of Windows apps where they have an .exe, a different .exe, a .msi, with no description (you know, unless you read the text on the web page) of which to pick.

    ========================

    Back on topic -- I don't know what the hell Microsoft was thinking with Windows 8 (well, I do, but I don't know how they possibly thought it'd work out.) Thank goodness it at least appears that Windows 10 is backing out of this.

    1. Stretch

      Re: Doing it wrong

      "Linux distros ... don't get viruses, spyware, and ad-ware"

      Lies. And Windows doesn't get MULTI-DECADE OLD ZERODAY EXPLOITS that have probably been in use since the beginning. Did you miss all the stories on this very site in recent weeks or something?

      1. Kiwi Silver badge

        Re: Doing it wrong

        And Windows doesn't get MULTI-DECADE OLD ZERODAY EXPLOITS

        You mean like...

        http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/08/20/oi_rip_van_winkle_patch_already/

        Or this one from 1993 which affected everything up to and including Win7 (despite how we're told they're complete re-writes!). That's almost longer than I've been using PC's!

        http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/01/19/microsoft_escalation_bug/

        Damned truth.. Always ruining things..

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Doing it wrong

          Indeed, and have Microsoft supplied patches for Windows NT 3.1, 3.5, 4.0 and Windows 2000 yet?

          There's one Ubuntu 8.04 machine I look after, and it has been successfully patched for Shell Shock.

  26. Uncle Ron

    Seven

    I'm sticking with Win 7 until the very last dog dies. By then, I'll have laser LED's implanted in my eyelids--or something. Win 7 is the last. It's the end. I'm done. MS has gotten it's last pfennig out of me.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Seven

      People say that about Windows XP… and said that about earlier OSes too.

  27. Admiral Grace Hopper

    MS on multiple platforms

    MS was born supporting multiple platforms. After cranking out versions of MS Basic for any and every machine that came along, they cut their teeth in GUI programming by writing Word for the original Mac platform long before Windows appeared. Word, then Office, has always been written and supported for Apple OSs.

  28. Stretch

    Beyond that macs do not dominate

    Your narrow journo wine bar life has caused you to miss the most important set of PC buyers outside corporate. Gamers. And we spend thousands and thousands each on PCs that are SIGNIFICANTLY better than the shitty overpiced low sampled crap that you spend even more on.

    MS has Direct3D and so wins.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Beyond that macs do not dominate

      "we spend thousands and thousands each on PCs that are SIGNIFICANTLY better than the shitty overpiced low sampled crap that you spend even more on."

      Of course you do.

      That said...

      How many gamers are there and how many PCs a year is that in total, how much total annual profit?

      How many Joe Averages are there in the consumer and business markets and how many PCs a year is that, how much total annual profit ?

  29. Kepler
    FAIL

    Far too kind

    This article explains things nicely, but it is far too kind. Sinofsky deserves to die!

    </hyperbole>

    The only thing worse than a moron is an arrogant moron, for his arrogance blinds him to his own foolishness and presumption.

    1. Vociferous

      Re: Far too kind

      > Sinofsky deserves to die!

      Let's not get carried away, but teamed with Ballmer he did form a kind of perfect storm of idiocy. Vista, the Ribbon, and TIFKAM -- now there's an impressive resumé!

  30. Jason Hindle

    I think Microsoft's critical strategic misstep

    Is actually with the development tools and APIs. Clearly, they've not made it easy to target both traditional desktop and Metro/Modern. Because of this, a lot of apps are missing; Spotify, for example, and those exiting desktop apps that have made the transition to Metro/Modern are often poor (Evernote springs to mind).

    Windows 10 addresses the problem of those users who can't or won't adapt, but I don't think it will help Microsoft in getting more tablet style apps developed.

  31. Tom 7 Silver badge

    W8 been out two years?

    and I've still not seen anyone running it!

  32. Candy

    Windows and Surface?

    Consider me puzzled....

    I know that both Surface and W8 are now 2 years old. But the article is anatomy of why Windows 8 hasn't blazed a trail through the heavens. Not much about Surface at all. Or RT.

    So, in essence, this is yet another where MS went wrong with Windows 8.X article. Or did I miss something?

  33. fLaMePrOoF

    Sinofsky was an ass hat, he was saved only for a time by the Juggernaut like momentum of the corporation as he killed menus and forced ribbons and Win8 on an unwilling public.

  34. Miss Config
    Windows

    Windows with Tiles

    My own original 'error' regarding Windows 8 is a symptom of the disaster it became.

    There was a time after the initial release when part of Microsoft's sales patter

    was about how big a deal this new idea of 'tiles' was.

    ( Were windows themselves going to become '20th century technology' ? )

    So I wondered in all seriousness how soon before 'Windows 8'

    would ALSO be known as 'Tiles 1' ?

    The more ridiculous that idea seems now, the bigger the failure of Windows 8.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Research" went into Metro? That's funny.

    Microsoft user interface research is basically them running rigged tests on subjects and then interpreting the results such that the PMs ("program managers") can make whatever interface/changes they felt like making before the "research."

    They do employ some people who are qualified to do user interface research but if those people disagree with the PMs too much they are fired or transferred to different groups.

  36. PeterFV

    The pull-down menus are still there. In Office 2011 - for the Mac.

  37. riparian zone
    Angel

    Accessibility, anyone?

    Just a thought, amidst the usual Linux vs Windoze debacle I thought I would mention that I utterly dislike W8, but its the most accessible Version yet produced by MS. Flat colours, large fonts, full screen magnification with high contrast colour schemes (a dismal failure in W7 as it couldn't do full screen without Aero which didn't *do* High contrast). Yes, I've looked at Vinux as I work with the Visually Impaired, but the synth voices and magnification are pretty poor - technical support is even more so. VIPs (Visually Impaired People) tend to be older as MD is part of many people's getting older...and yes, I had to install Classic shell because VIPs need a desktop too.

    Now I'm wondering if there is a retrograde step and I have to start recommending W8 to clients..the pain.

  38. c:\boot.ini
    Joke

    Windows 10 DataSense

    Windows 10 finally ships with DataSence, for those on dial-up.

  39. J 3
    FAIL

    Still

    "[interface] sufficiently extreme that users had difficulty using apps and navigating the operating system"

    Still seems to be the case, at least from my admittedly anecdotal evidence. I hadn't seen Windows 8 until about a month ago, when I went to a scientific conference where the laptop that was being used to feed the projector was running W8. Or maybe 8.1, don't know. Either way, it had that accursed tile interface.

    What kind of surprised me was that everyone but one or two guys in the audience seemed to be baffled by the thing. Considering that it has been out for a couple of years, I had expected more people would be familiar with that. But whenever people accidentally fell out of PowerPoint, they would have no clue what to do to get somewhere familiar. Not even the "AV support guy" who was there seemed comfortable in it -- and the guy from the audience who knew would tell them from the back where to click. It would be funny if it hadn't been annoying.

  40. Chika
    Mushroom

    Apology accepted?

    To be honest, this article sounds like an apologists' reasoning for all that happened with Windows 8. Yes, there were improvements under the bonnet but this ignores the fact that the main reason why people objected to its use was the wholesale change of the front end and the blanket refusal by Microsoft to provide any half way solution despite the fact that such a solution existed early in the development lifecycle. We heard the company chants of "cloud first, mobile first" and knew that all was not well. Sinofsky and Co. deserve credit? No freaking way!

    This was just yet another example of Microsoft playing it safe when the legwork was being done by others, in this case by Apple and Google and their contractors, then attempting to swan into the market to try to cream it off. In that respect S&C don't necessarily deserve all the blame, but they can't avoid some of it.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019