Subject: Windows 8 developer preview: first impressions
I took a look at the Windows 8 "developer preview" yesterday. Not surprisingly, I found it quite cumbersome and annoying. Once again, Microsoft has built something that is more suited to their marketplace goals than to the needs of the end user. Having failed for years to sell anyone a phone that looks like the Windows desktop, Microsoft will now make the Windows desktop look like their phone. It's backwards but that's Microsoft for you.
By now you have probably heard Microsoft say that everything is now going to be a "Metro style" app (in other words, a Windows Phone app) and that the "classic" desktop is still there if you need it. Upon trying out Windows 8, one quickly realizes that this is somewhat disingenuous. The desktop is still there, and it still works exactly the way it did before. What they've actually done is replaced the Start menu with a Windows Phone ("Metro") environment. When you first boot up, you will see Windows Phone.
If you select a "regular" Windows application, it switches you over to the desktop, which behaves exactly the way it did in Windows 7. But once inside the desktop, if you click the Start menu, instead of seeing the Start menu appear, it switches the whole screen back to the Windows Phone interface.
Most of the "tiles" in the developer preview are mockups. They don't do anything on-screen, and they don't do anything when you click them. However, it makes Microsoft's intentions clear: they are going to force Windows Phone down the throats of Windows PC users everywhere, similar to the way they enslaved Windows 98 users to Internet Explorer with the "Active Desktop" design that everyone hated (especially Netscape users). And of course, the fact that most of these "tiles" lead to Bing destinations, demonstrates that Microsoft's first priority with Windows 8 is to "kill Google" and "kill Android." The entire user interface is designed around the concept of putting as many clicks as possible between the user and a Google destination, while providing as many Bing-based detours as possible along the way.
You may have also heard Microsoft talk about how Windows 8 will run on both Intel-86 and ARM processors. This is true, but only if you write "Metro style" apps. In other words, if you write only to the new API's (yes, Microsoft has once again provided you with The API To End All API's, And This Time We Really Mean It) then your program will run on Windows 8 Intel and Windows 8 ARM (and perhaps on Windows Phone, who knows), but not on Windows 7 or Windows Vista or Windows XP, etc. Microsoft will be fighting against the very legacy that has kept its desktop monopoly in place all these years. Are developers going to write Metro apps, or are they going to write software that runs on all versions of Windows? Are consumers going to buy ARM devices that won't run their existing Intel-86 Windows software?
Conclusion: Windows 8 as it currently stands is half-baked, misdirected, and annoying. Of course, this could also be said for most of Microsoft's existing products.
They will not be using Flash for their "Metro" version of Windows 8. (LINK)
Poor Adobe, they have the nicest little platform-in-a-box and the rest
of the industry is always ganging up on them to try to eliminate it.
It must be pretty good, everybody knows you can't get the good tech win.
Although I've never looked at it myself, from what little I heard years ago, it was pretty unpleasant to write for.
But maybe things have changed.
And we all know that OEM's don't really have the ability to make "decisions" when there are millions of dollars in kickbacks from Microsoft on the line that depend on doing things Microsoft's way.
I wonder how long it will be before DVD Jon publishes Microsoft's signing key.
To me, this sounds like the TPM jadda jadda from some years ago. Seems that nobody uses it, only a few manufacturers even built them into their boards and only some linux geeks (at least I know only about those) are using the functions.
Personally, I like that Secure Boot feature, but since it is my system under my administration, I want to control the whole key/cert stuff. If they come up with some homebrew stuff, it will be cracked like the bootloaders of the Wii, the PS3, mobile phones and what not. Also I think someone will leak/hack/whatever the master key.
Also, though I don't know any real windows fanboys, I believe that people are not really crazy about getting/installing a new windows. Maybe they can trick in a few gamers with some DirectX 3000 bundled only with win8, but the rest is fed up enough with their win7/vista stuff. So, conclusion: Long before MS will be able to dictate it, Apple will seal their beautiful machines with it, in order to not soil their machines with inferior OSs.
But weren't people thinking that the world was going to end, all privacy abolished, all content DRM'ed, etc back when TPM was introduced? And nothing like that happened.
I understand that they could lock out anything else with Secure Boot, but major companies like Dell, etc. are those companies that sell laptops without preinstalled Windows right now and I think they know why. They could easily say No to some OEM deal forcing Secure Boot. MS might be desperate and they might have some more raving lunatics like this Elop guy on board of their burning oil rig, but I really doubt they will be able to force this to the mass market.
In their subnotebook/netbook OEM spec they defined that 12" display and 1gb ram is the maximum in order to get their cheap winxp (home) licenses. So manufacturers shipped with 1gb ram, but also with an additional slot to put on 2gb more ram. Problem solved, they will do something similiar with Sec. Boot: make the board "Secure Boot Ready" but they won't activate it.
In the meantime, Microsoft built a media player that uses what they call "secure" media paths involving signed drivers and a handshake with the TPM, while the rest of the world simply used YouTube.
UEFI Secure Boot means that "someday" is now coming very soon. This is the scenario they warned us about in 2003, that we would eventually be faced with hardware that can only boot a "trusted" operating system, despite the wishes of the hardware's owner.
It may even be the reason why the RIAA has been less aggressive in recent years. Microsoft and Apple may have told them "relax, we are exterminating software that is capable of piracy."
Oh, and forget about Hackintoshes; Apple will be all over this even more than Microsoft.
Although they will continue to provide funding and programmers, Nokia and non-Nokia contributors will be on equal footing.
This is a good thing. I'm willing to bet that someone inside the company knows that Nokia will eventually get assimilated into Microsoft, so they want to make sure Qt does not become a Microsoft product as part of that process.
(hmm ... Skype is a Qt app, isn't it?)
Didnt they do something similiar with some version of Symbian earlier? Then they closed it down and you could get the open source code via CD copy and had to sent patches alongside Permit A38 (only with the blue form!!!) as well as a copy of your blood type sent to the transilvanian embassy?
As much as I like my Symbian^3 (Anna) phone, I find their politics confusing.
And of course Qt is released under the GPL nowadays, isn't it?
But yes, I do agree that Nokia has a habit of acting inconsistently and erratically.
There are probably a lot of different factions in that company with different attitudes. And it's probably a good guess that there are people in that company who know that Elop is a servant of Redmond and they need to make sure that important assets like Qt can't be used to hurt the free world.
Even if you're not a KDE user (and I am not) -- Qt remains an excellent way to write cross-platform applications, and it must not fall into Microsoft's hands.
otoh, I like the Idea of mono getting swapped away by a c-carpet qt binding...