back to article Metro, that ribbon, shared mailboxes: Has Microsoft lost the plot?

In a previous piece on Office 365, I discussed how difficult it was to enable public folders. The reality is that Office 365 doesn't support public folders in the traditional sense. Instead, to achieve a similar functionality to the most common use for public folders – a storage point for group emails – Microsoft have offered " …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Demand that you must hold a windows licence on the device you are using as an RDP client

    Good luck with that - one of the final needs we had for Windows was remote access for my wife to her school's Windows system. Having sorted out OpenVPN on Linux the Linux RDP solution was faster AND more reliable than using Windows. The last copy of Windows on our 6 machine network got binned.

    1. Miek
      Big Brother

      Re: Demand that you must hold a windows licence on the device you are using as an RDP client

      Yeah, Microsoft seem to forget that not everyone uses Windows. Does anyone have any insight on how one would check that an RDP client has a valid Windows license without changing the RDP protocol and leaving all the changes undocumented in order to break cross-platform compatibility thus forcing everyone to install windows just to manage .. erm ... Windows?

      1. Rob Carriere

        Re: Demand that you must hold a windows licence on the device you are using as an RDP client

        @Miek: Which, you will notice, they have done. Not that it has worked, there are now open source clients that speak the latest version, but they have tried.

        Now, if you're looking for technical measures that wouldn't break compatibility, RDP is complex enough you should be able to open a covert channel. For example, server embeds a challenge steganographically in the low bits of the desktop pixels, client sends response by jittering the timing of mouse and keyboard events.

        But, in a business environment, the main bugbear probably isn't technical at all: the legal threat of a compliance check.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As always,

    I can't help thinking that if Microsoft had been broken up by the DoJ last decade as a result of its antitrust naughtiness, the various surviving bits would seem likely to find themselves in a better state today than their cohesive whole seems to be.

    The little tiny nuggests of genuine brilliance and innovation are too easily lost in a tidal wave of mediocrity and product infanticide.

    When is Ballmer going to be put out to pasture?

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Re: As always,

      Agreed. At the moment there's always all of these small divisions and ideas around all fighting to get noticed so they get funding. There's also politics where one team tries to block or knobble the other teams product.

      At least if they were all separate they could all fund their own ideas and there would be a big price for failure.

    2. Captain Save-a-ho

      Re: As always,

      Couldn't agree more. Upvote if you think Ballmer should have been fired long ago.

      1. Suricou Raven

        Re: As always,

        I think he shouldn't have been fired. But then, I *want* Microsoft to fail. It is not good for one company to define an industry.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: As always,

          How about not wanting MS to fail, but wanting other companies to do better?

          What does MS failing do? It means lots of people are out of work, it means that lots of customers have no way to keep their software current. RHEL or Apple or whoever doing better would be a much nicer thing to wish for.

          But that is a certain class of FOSS enthusiast all over, they want MS to die, more than they want FOSS to succeed.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Ferk them all - they are evil.

            No I am not kidding.

            >But that is a certain class of FOSS enthusiast all over, they want MS to die, more than they want FOSS to succeed.

            No, I do want FOSS to succeed a lot.

            But that does not preclude my visceral loathing of ms and their evil ways.

          2. Paul Shirley

            @AC:How about not wanting MS to fail, but wanting other companies to do better?

            Why do we want MS to fail? Because until they do MS remain willing&able to *unfairly* prevent other companies benefiting from doing better.

            I don't want other companies to just do better at creating products. I want other companies to do better AND survive to share the benefits with me. That's not happening right now in any meaningful way. MS defines an industry in a coercive and obstructive way, that's what needs to change.

          3. Richard Plinston

            Re: As always,

            > What does MS failing do?

            It would reduce business, government and private costs by 80 billion per year.

            > It means lots of people are out of work,

            Many will find work as other enterprises grow to fill the gap instead of being suffocated by the monopoly.

            > it means that lots of customers have no way to keep their software current.

            Their software will not stop being 'current'. XP and Win7 will keep running just as it is until users switch at their leisure to better things, or not. Unless of course you are saying that MS could pull a 'death switch' in which case everyone should get rid of it as soon as possible.

            > RHEL or Apple or whoever doing better would be a much nicer thing to wish for.

            And the thing stopping them doing better is ...

            > they want MS to die,

            Yes, that is the only way that MS will stop killing, or trying to kill, the things they like.

            The GPL has become what it is though evolution, the survival of the fittest. The MS carnivore has killed off almost everything else through buying up, stealing, monopoly practices, 'partnerships' and various other mechanisms. The GPL has made FOSS the shrew like mammals of the dinosaur age.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: As always,

        @captain save-a-ho

        This isn't YouTube. Asking for up votes. Please

        1. wayward4now

          Re: As always,

          Asking for up-votes reminds me of a tyke doing the pee-pee dance...

          "Mommy! Mommy! I jus' GOTTA!"

      3. Fatman

        Re: Upvote if you think Ballmer should have been fired long ago.


        I feel that Ballmer should have experienced a Career Trajectory Re-Alignment a long time ago.

        IMHo, that re-alignment should have been accomplished by putting him in one of these and, yanking his chain.( http: // )

    3. Mikel
      Thumb Up

      Re: As always,

      I like where Ballmer is leading the company. I hope he stays until he finishes the job.

      1. Mike Row

        Re: As always,

        He can't even kill it at a proper pace.

    4. beep54

      Re: As always,

      Uh, have you seen vids of Ballmer 'performing'? It is just not him that is out of control, it is the whole goddam M$ company. They've lost it. But then, dinosaurs are notoriously hard to kill. Just look at Yahell! or AOL or....

  3. Peter Simpson 1

    Starting to act like a company whose time has come...

    ...and gone.

    $DEITY, I hate that ribbon...

    1. SilverWave

      I actually like the ribbon, took a week or two but...

      Yeah if I use a old style Office now its a miss :-)

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Starting to act like a company whose time has come...

      I have tended to view anything Microsoft as drinking a bucket of week old warm vomit.

      So this statement - just you know.... "Duh"

      "There's a problem in this thinking; it is focused entirely on how Microsoft would like us to use its software (so as to maximise revenue potential) and has absolutely no connection to how people actually use it in the real world."

      In a lot of ways, the best Microsoft Office ever got was 2003, and sure there is room for growth and development - as technology and communications change....

      But when you look hard at it, almost all of the REAL development was just scummy, "Move with the times" crap of Office 2007 - and the Ribbon interface, the Docx scandal of rigging the ISO voting system etc., etc., etc...

      And it was all designed to keep on pushing the new repackaged old product onto the table while pushing last years product off the table and killing it with backward compatability issues.

      It was just all a cynical effort to keep everyone on the perpetual upgrade / cash cow / money grabbing cycle - for software that has really not evolved much at all...

      It's just playing dirty and greedy and being manipulative and lying - through manipulation and coercion - "Last years model doesn't work with this years model - so you had better upgrade now OR you will be left behind."

      Kaching! Kaching! Kaching! - go MS's cash registers....

      I was given a set of Office 2007 CD's and I tried my best to use it and - it was so buggy and such a piece of stupid shit.... I threw the CD's in the bin....

      I thought, "Naaaaaa you people in Microsoft are that stupid that you move garbage software like this into the market? Seriously defective software and the only major "improvement" is that idiot ribbon that takes up 30% of the screen space - and can't be gotten rid of - back to plain menus? - Fuck? Really?"

      And they call it an innovation?

      I call it a cynical respray of the same crap with new badges.

      If they had of made their number one objective, of really refining and adapting and developing great software, they could have earned the reputation as a quality product producer - but they just got more and more insanely greedy and focused on manipulating the market for the share prices...

      And doing really stupid shit in order to keep that scam running...

      Now everyone hates them, people have left in droves for Linux, Open Office / Office Libre, Apple Macs etc.

      People are just getting sick and tired of being sick and tired of Microsoft and their stupid cash grabbing bullshit.

  4. That Steve Guy

    When is Ballmer going to be put out to pasture?

    Come back a year after Win 8 has been released and we'll see if that has been the case, or if people are calling for his head.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: When is Ballmer going to be put out to pasture?

      If Win 8 fails, Balmer will through chairs around and blame someone else. It will *never* be his fault.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: When is Ballmer going to be put out to pasture?

        If so, then Steven Sinofsky will be the most likely candidate as scapegoat. I bet Ballmer hasn't forgotten how Sinofsky screwed up the Surface presentation.

      2. Solly

        Re: When is Ballmer going to be put out to pasture?

        I knew Balmer had a tendancy to throw chairs - I didn't, however, know that he was 'though' about it - did he throw ALL the chairs?

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: When is Ballmer going to be put out to pasture?

      I don't think he'll be given a year. The two quarterly reports following a Win 8 launch ought to be decisive. Given the lack of dramatic success with Windows Phone 7, Microsoft is going to need some big, poster child success with Windows 8 tablets to convince investors that it has got the right strategy.

      1. jai

        Re: When is Ballmer going to be put out to pasture?

        if Win8 fails?

        why didn't it happen after Vista?

        1. IHateWearingATie
          Thumb Up

          Re: When is Ballmer going to be put out to pasture?

          "Why didn't it happen after Vista"...

          My view is beause although Vista didn't sell as well as hoped, customers generally didn't spend and stuck with XP - they lost specific licence sales but people kept within the Windows family. This time, because so many corporates are coming to the end of life with XP, there is a much bigger danger that if Win8 is rubbish they may start to plan a world without Microsoft.

          Do I think there will be mass defections to Linux etc? Probably not, but if Win8 fails there will be enough to make Balmer lose his job.

          Oh, and that's before I mention consumers - if Win 8 sucks on the desktop then there is less UX & brand leverage for a WIn Phone, Win Tablet, Win Laptop etc etc.

          1. SilverWave

            nah its a pretty safe punt (win8) everyone is going win7 64bit and no further.

            Win7 is good enough for the next 5 years easy.

            They get a free beta with win8 and sort it out for win9.

        2. blackjesus

          Re: When is Ballmer going to be put out to pasture?

          Vista's failure equated to Rather large profits. All of the bad mouthing Ballmer gets seems to forget that no matter how you frame his time at MS, the company has never been so successful. Yes, Apple has taken a huge lead in mobile and tablets and google is way strong in mobile, but if windows 8 sells as good as vista it will still be huge and will create a big ecosystem for app developers with metro. This isn't a fanboy blowing smoke up your a$$. This is basic math.

          If you look at the size of the desktop and laptop markets which MS owns and think if 3/4 of all of those sold have some kind of win8 on them from fall and afterward, it will still be massive if this is a "failure" like vista. All the posts here completely lack perspective and are thoroughly biased with selective use of facts and figures.

    3. Miek

      Re: When is Ballmer going to be put out to pasture?

      Why waste the pastures when you can take him to the barn and ...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Rooting around in the dark magic of its own relevance"

    Nothing new about that, which has always been a hallmark of Microsoft. It's just that enterprises now have better options, so Microsoft is frantically rooting around to find the relevance it once had.

  6. banjomike

    outside of a few Excel power users ...

    Don't forget Access. None of the freebies come near it.

    1. jai

      Re: outside of a few Excel power users ...

      and for good reason. no serious enterprise should still be using Access

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: outside of a few Excel power users ...

        I used to like working with Access. In the right hands it's reasonably powerful and up to a lot of tasks. However, that's all changed after I've seen the way it's been used in my current place. It's actually forced me to re-evaluate my own knowledge base and to take steps to move to other technologies.

      2. Spoddyhalfwit

        Re: outside of a few Excel power users ...

        What exactly should they be using?

        We're not talking about big multi user systems... What about those small systems that are required to be working in a couple of days?

        1. BlueGreen

          Re: outside of a few Excel power users ... @Novex, Spoddyhalfwit

          I was really replying to Stevie who from his platform of ignorance was telling the world it was a great product.

          It suits his needs well so for him it #is# a great product. Clearly he's doing little but basic stuff and if it gets his (and your) job done, bully for him (and you), don't let me put you off, just don't extrapolate that to what the rest of the IT world needs.

          It has its form and other UI stuff, which can be handy but not part of a database functionality. Try and do anything that *does* involve db functionality like some halfway complex processing - where the real value of a DB lies - and you will start to bleed from the ears.

          It's reasonably stable if you don't push it too hard but please make daily backups if you're developing. Trust me on that.

    2. Stevie

      Re: outside of a few Excel power users ...

      "Don't forget Access. None of the freebies come near it"

      Trudat. Ignore the downvoters. Access is a wonderful prototyping tool for proof-of-concept, a great fast development tool for small admin databases and it is still (just) ahead of the pack.

      To me, the fact that it once allowed me to pull reports out of the air concerning a huge mainframe upgrade and show the complete tw*t in charge that I had better things to do with my life than do his idiot make-work puts it in the hall of fame. I can make useful applications in sparrows fart time and make them look good enough to draw attaboy comments from those that shoulder surf. It has some issues, but none that have been show stoppers for this one-time mainframe DBA.

      I use OpenOffice for most things now, but I often wish I didn't. From the formatting woes I get in Writer which wants one and only one page format throughout a Writer-authored document to the bizarre formula lock-ups in Calc that require me to restart the workbook to clear them, to the truly demented Base need for an autonumeric primary key on any table you want to use in a foreign key relationship with another.

      1. Richard Wharram

        Re: outside of a few Excel power users ...

        If you spend any amount of time writing documents then even going back from Word 2010 to 2007 is a big wrench. I'd hate to think I had to spend hours every day in Writer. It's great for a free tool but Word 2010 saves me loads of time with useful features and I'm used to the Ribbon now.

        The paste-preview is magic. I can't live without it :)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: outside of a few Excel power users ...

          > The paste-preview is magic. I can't live without it :)

          Given MS's long record of 'improving' features from one release to the next, I'm very sorry to hear of your impending death.

      2. BlueGreen

        Re: outside of a few Excel power users ...

        > Access is a wonderful prototyping tool for proof-of-concept, a great fast development tool for small admin databases

        Are you serious?

        I guess you've never used anything halfway decent then. If you like limited drag-drop-and-draw stuff then it's ok, if you need anything complex then the syntax is unusable (if things are even possible) (and made worse by MS deliberately obstructing you), you can't dump stuff out in a reliable way so you can't version control it except by backing up the entire db, it crashes and corrupts (tip: make a copy of entire db every day, this will save you some pain) and the documentation is truly abysmal. It's awful, godawful. It's perhaps the worst development environment I've ever used.

        I guess for simple stuff it will do, and it integrates well with external data sources such as excel (but not csv because MS don't own that, don't push it too hard with csv). It's a toy, much better than excel for storing and processing data, but a toy nonetheless.

        1. Novex

          Re: outside of a few Excel power users ...

          The obvious follow on question is: what is a good (and I mean a good) alternative to Access for a single file, database application development application?

          I've used Access for years, but with all the recent fails coming through from MS I'm now seriously looking to get away from MS based machines where that's possible.

          Linux Mint seems to be the logical choice, but the reasons not all can go that way is that there is always some piece of hardware (either recent or legacy) that doesn't have anything other than Windows drivers, or a piece of software that only comes in a Windows flavour. Outlook was one, but I think I can probably live with Evolution (I prefer a one stop shop for email and PIM).

          Access doesn't have an alternative to the best of my knowledge (which isn't much), so I've been looking into working out how to put together HTML5 based apps, but to do so securely with all that javascript on the browser front end requires far more knowledge and effort than Access (not that Access is in anyway a secure application development system, far from it!)

          1. Medium Dave

            Re: outside of a few Excel power users ...

            Kexi looks interesting: Still a bit beta-ish for real work, but YMMV.

            I'd agree that Access fills - or filled - a useful little niche for those who want a small, quick and dirty DB for tracking stock in their small business, or cataloguing their Bob Marley CDs. Sure, you'd be mad to hang your multinational on it but there are other types of people out there.

            These days it throws a snit about being run on a single computer, making it kind of pointless.

          2. Anonymous Coward


            HTML5+Postgres+PHP/Perl/Python clearly is much more complicated than an Access kludge for small-scale things.

            Why don't you go with Lazarus and Postgres ? Both are rock-solid and you will quickly have something useful by doing a fat-client approach. Client/Server setups are always more expensive, so if you just need a little, relaibale database app, use a fat client approach.

            You could also use Java/JDBC and Postgres, but Java is a slug...

        2. david 12 Silver badge

          Re: outside of a few Excel power users ...

          >I guess you've never used anything halfway decent then

          Everything I could do with Access I can do with Java Beans and a team of 15 developers.

          1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

            Re: outside of a few Excel power users ...

            Everything I could do with Access, I could do with PHP and MySQL while drunk out of my mind and in half the time to boot.


            Anyone who complains that Access is "just easier" is simply someone afraid to take the ~4 hours out that is required to learn PHP. Once you learn that, you'll never - ever - go back to Access.

            Microsoft Access is Velcro, invented by committee and implemented by wage slave who view the end user as the enemy.

            PHP/MySQL is proper shoelaces. Still not the best, but a damned sight better than most alternatives, and easily understood by the common man.

          2. wayward4now

            Re: outside of a few Excel power users ...

            I haven't owned a copy of Windows since 3.1 I've been using Linux since the floppy disk installs back when. But I have to begrudgingly admit, Access is easier than hell to use to set up a small database and get screens setup in very little time. I just tried Libre Office Base again, for the umpteenth time to do that. It is not intuitive. Access is. I have Mysql jumping through hoops, and run a virtual box running 3 webservers. BUT! I cannot find one single easy-to-use report/query/input page generator anywhere for the average computer literate user. THAT I want to see happen.

    3. That Steve Guy

      Re: Don't forget Access. None of the freebies come near it.

      You do realise most end users use excel for tasks for which they should use access, monolithic end user spreadsheets are the bane of our IT Department, Hate Excel.

  7. Stuart Castle Silver badge

    It seems to me as if Microsoft has lost the plot..

    Take their stupid instance on the Ribbon interface. I have been using Office for longer than I care to remember (well over 10 years), and have used it for various projects, both large and small. Up to Office 2003, I could do most of what I wanted or needed to do quickly, and with little need to go to the help system.

    Now, with Ribbons, I frequently find myself having to spend a minute or two looking for an option, or in extreme cases, look it up on the help system

    With Windows 8, along comes Metro. An interface that seemingly ignores 20 years of Human Computer Interaction research seemingly based on some vague idea that Joe Public loves the Windows Phone interface and would love to see it on his PC. Guess what? The WP interface is good for phones. It's probably fine for tablets (I'll be honest, I've never used in on a tablet).

    There are a couple of problems I have with Metro.

    1) It's not obvious how to bring up the start screen, the control panel, or even how to shut the computer down safely. I'll admit, even as a OSX fan, that OSX doesn't make those things obvious, either. This means it might be difficult for an inexperienced user to find their way around a system. It's not obvious that if you want to start another application (or switch to one), that you need to let the mouse pointer hover over an area of the screen. It's also not obvious that you need to touch an area of the screen. OSX at least has the dock at the bottom of the screen, and virtually any Finder window has an Applications shortcut on it.

    My point is that people are used to buttons and switches. They've been in use since before the first computers were even conceived. There is something physical (or at least visual) that you can push, and there is usually a visual or auditory notification that it has been pushed. Even touch sensitive controls on modern electronics still have clear markings showing you where to touch. Windows 8 Metro doesn't appear to offer that. OSX offers that. So do most of the flavours of Linux (although with Unity, Canonical appear to be dragging Ubuntu down the Microsoft route UI wise). So do earlier versions of Windows.

    2) Ergonomics. Steve Jobs rightly (IMO) pointed out that touch screen PCs do not work for long term use. Try holding your arm up and touching your PC screen for 20 minutes, and I suspect you'll agree. After a while, you will start to lose feeling in the arm. Now, I did see suggested on another forum that people would be using a touch screen monitor on it's back. With today's generation of monitors that is a staggeringly bad idea. Quite apart from the fact that the heat from the electronics in the back of the monitor would rise, and possibly damage the LCD of the monitor with prolonged use, even thin monitors would require the user to hold their hands several centimetres above the desk. Something that has been linked with RSI. That's with a monitor a few centimetres thick. Now imagine the problems caused by someone with an All in one PC that can be anywhere from 5 to 10 centimetres thick.

    All I can say is that Apple must have looked at Windows 8, and are currently rubbing their hands with glee over the number of potential mac users that are actively looking at other platforms.

    Maybe Apple used some of that huge cash pile to buy a large share of Microsoft to run it into the ground?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It wasn't just Saint Steve that pointed that out.

      "Gorilla arm" has long been known as a serious obstacle to touch screen adoption. Wisdom from the eighties, at least in my memory, but probably older than that. Yet now-a-days you can hardly buy a phone without a touchscreen.

      Your examples of what "isn't obvious" are actually a larger point and that is that "intuitive interfaces" aren't. Compare the old saw "the nipple is intuitive, everything else is learned" and then consider the irony in the frustrated young mothers that can tell you in more detail than you'd care to know that, no, the nipple isn't "intuitive" either.

      So what we have here is a bunch of smartarses that take the things you (and lots of other people) are used to, and turn them on their head. That by itself is highly risky, but you know, people have gotten used to interfaces based on poorly-thought-out metaphors before. The point to take home is that our "intuitive" interfaces really rest on other things we're assumed to already have learned.

      This is rather insidious as the particulars of some arbitrary mapping of function to metaphor isn't obvious for everyone; the end result is that there's people who *don't* get it and they feel themselves given a dunce hat and a corner to stand in because supposedly everyone else does get it. Now ask yourself, who designs these things? Are we all such people? Do we even have comparable backgrounds?

      As you point out, other systems have a different methaphor mix, and hey, people still get by. So any particular mapping isn't universal. Realising this opens the door to, well, trying something new, and hey, they brought this to market. That is innovation.

      I'm no redmond fanboi by any means, but that doesn't change that what they did is indeed innovative. You can ask whether it's a good idea, as "being innovative" by itself does not guarantee that at all. It might not be, but then again, they might have enough market power yet to make us like it regardless of what we really think. That would be sad as it means the idea didn't (need to) stand on its own merits. We've seen that before, too.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It wasn't just Saint Steve that pointed that out.

        > "Gorilla arm" has long been known as a serious obstacle to touch screen adoption.

        Given that Ballmer's knuckles drag along the ground behind him anyway, we can hardly have expected him to understand this.

      2. Richard 12 Silver badge

        @AC 03:33 - They are ignoring decades of HCI research

        For example, one of the basic fundamentals of HCI has been to make elements that you can 'click' on or 'touch' to activate look vaguely like physical buttons, using things like outlines, shading and drop shadows.

        This has long been considered critical to a discoverable GUI interface, so much so that you'll even see that on the printed overlay for physical touch interfaces like microwave ovens.

        Another is that anything 'hidden' must have an indication that it exists and how to get it - for example, comboboxes have that arrow indicating more options are available, all windowing systems allow windows to be partially covering others, and since the mid-90's the vast majority include a way of seeing the currently running applications (eg the Taskbar)

        Metro is the very first GUI that throws away these fundamental ideas.

        I cannot believe that every HCI researcher since 1970 was really that completely wrong.

  8. TeeCee Gold badge

    You think MS don't know this?

    ...Software as a Service woke the world to the idea of HTML5-delivered applications that could run in any modern browser, on any operating system.

    Yup, MS themselves are well aware that the Desktop OS market ain't going to be a big deal for much longer, hence Metro, WinRT and Surface. What's really amusing is that the answer to the question you pose was published here about three hours ago. If they succeed (and that looks like a really big if) and really do end up being the only seamless desktop to laptop, to tablet, to phone game in town, the other players are going to end up looking a bit eggfaced.

    Don't write those bastards off. History teaches us that they have a nasty habit of turning things around, coming up with the right answer and winning in the long run. I reckon they'll hit the corp market hard with this "one size fits all" approach in 9 once the consumers have found all the real pain in 8 for them and they've fixed it.

    ....and I like the bloody ribbon. It's Marmite, live with it.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: You think MS don't know this?

      I have enterprise Apple deployments in the real world. I even have Linux-on-the-desktop and a trail of Android-on-the-desktop.

      For Microsoft to stay relevant, they have to prove to be offering superior value, even in the enterprise. Their name is mud. It is associated with lock-in, change to promote more lock-in, high prices and product differentiation that promotes more lock-in.

      Maybe you like their interface choices. Good for you! Most don't. Even if you do - and that's a smallish chunk of people - you have to balance that against hard economic questions. "Is this a company that I am willing to bet my business on? Will they screw me? How hard?"

      You advocate faith in Microsoft. I think that's certifiably insane. I don't have faith in a deity, why would I have faith in a corporation? More to the point, why would I have faith in a corporation that has done nothing to earn my trust and everything to take advantage of me and mine for decades?

      Microsoft isn’t the default or the de facto solution anymore. And they are ill equipped to compete in the new world. Novell took a long time to die, too. And RIM is still twitching. But both are shadows of their former selves.

      I believe that short of a dramatic overhaul in "listening to (and not screwing) customers," Microsoft is locked irrevocably on the same course.

      1. Chemist

        Re: You think MS don't know this?

        "I even have Linux-on-the-desktop"

        I know what you mean Trevor but it kind of gives the impression that business doesn't use Linux on the desktop. My last few years before I retired were spent using Linux workstations for heavyweight scientific purposes like protein modeling, quantum mechanics and 3D graphics and the company I worked for had 200 such systems spread around the world (and several 1024+ node Linux farms) - these were replacing SG workstations as the performance/cost was so much better.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: You think MS don't know this?

          @Chemist: Using linux for 3D graphics, protein modeling and quantum mechanics, is hardly mainstream. Like it or not - and I am speaking as someone who has a desktop with a Windows and Linux workstation on it - Linux just doesn't cut it for ease of use and administration as a desktop in a corporate environment. File sharing and printer serving is still ropey, directory services still not as easy or powerful as AD and there still isn't an equivalent of Group Policy. Hell, most Linux filesystems don't even support ACLs for permissions, something which is generally relied upon by any SME and above company.

          I really want these things to be available, it'll at the very least make MS up their game, but they just don't seem to be coming through. I can't imagine why, because these are the things that SMEs say that are the killer apps in Windows systems again and again.

          1. Chemist

            Re: You think MS don't know this?

            Whilst I accept that my work is not mainstream for many people adding together other users in academia, image processing and video it's clear to me that Linux is on the desktop if only in niche areas - not necessarily as easy for administrators I admit although I've never heard of any problems with print serving, file-sharing ( I have my own print/file/compute server)

          2. eulampios

            Re: You think MS don't know this?

            >>Linux just doesn't cut it for ease of use and administration as a desktop in a corporate environment.

            Put it like this, Linux doesn't chew it up and regurgitate, as some Windows admins would expect. Discover the POSIX acl package for yourself if you are not satisfied with POSIX permissions and chattr. There is also AppArmor that can act as a more granular extension of the latter.

          3. eulampios

            lies about CUPS

            >>printer serving is still ropey

            What exactly is so ropey for you? The fact that you don't have to reboot after a printer install or that is a piece of cake to set up a network printer both server and client?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: lies about CUPS

              "...What exactly is so ropey for you? The fact that you don't have to reboot after a printer install or that is a piece of cake to set up a network printer both server and client?..."

              Priceless, I laughed so much a little bit of wee came out.

              Wrong on both counts.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: lies about CUPS

                Why do you think you need to reboot after installing a printer ??

                Last time I set up a new CUPS based system it was easy and the clients all spotted the new printer and configured themselves.

    2. Ian Johnston Silver badge

      Re: You think MS don't know this?

      Why would seamless be important? Apple are selling iPads by the ton despite their having an interface completely unlike any desktop or laptop. Nokia sold a squillion Symbian phones to Windows users. What evidence is there that having a similar interface on different classes of device actually matters to people? There is no reason why a motorbike shouldn't have a gearlever just like a car, but the Velocette LE was a dead end.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You think MS don't know this?

      > Don't write those bastards off. History teaches us that they have a nasty habit of turning things around, coming up with the right answer and winning in the long run.

      Logic fail. Doesn't mean it was the 'right' answer.

      > It's Marmite, live with it.

      Want to force me to eat something I don't want to eat, then don't bleat when I vomit all down the front of your shirt.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft doesn't even like public folders

    I think they would have removed them from the latest version of exchange if they could have got away with it.

    I personally don't mind if they do remove public folders - so long as they provide something else that does the same job - they can call it a shared mailbox if they want but it should do what the purchaser wants not what MS think the puchaser ought to have.

    And if MS thinks it knows what the end user wants, they should still check before implementing it.

    The big plus for MS ought to be that everything works well with everything else. Outlook + Office + sharepoint + exchange should be be much more than the sum of its parts.

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: Microsoft doesn't even like public folders

      For years MS have been trying to ditch public folders, in favour of pushing all users towards something quite horrific instead - i.e. Sharepoint. Even the most backward MS lackeys have realised the danger in this and how so many organisations rely on public folders that removing them in an upgrade would just kill the upgrade.

      As for Sharepoint, all recent MS Office "upgrades", as in a marginally different interface on the same bugs, have featured a growing creep of "push the users onto Sharepoint". Sharepoint, on the other hand, is the same grossly inefficient bug ridden IIS extension that doesn't really know what it wants to be. Some things it does fairly well however unfortunately most features are at best acceptable. Again, the last few upgrades have done little more than tweak the user interface slightly on the same bugs while not removing any of the enormous frustrations, for example trying to do something devastatingly complicated such as relational data in a Master > Detail relationship.

  10. Amonynous

    "Virtualisation, App-V and similar technologies provide a way of running legacy Windows applications on a non-Microsoft operating system."

    Which is exactly why Microsoft bought up App-V (Softricity) in 2006 and only license it as part of MDOP, which in turn requires you to be paying SA on your Microsoft desktop.

    Alternatives do exist, but MS are great at churning out new license agreements and product use rights documents that make the "MS Way" the path of least resistance for overworked corporate IT departments.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Eventually, someone with very deep pockets is going to scream antitrust...and this time it'll stick. Microsoft walk a very fine line with these shenanigans.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I'm struggling to think of any names in the software industry with deep enough pockets to try who could honestly claim to be above reproach enough to get away with it - Google, Apple, Facebook, Oracle, etc, could all have similar allegations levelled at them from what I've seen and you can bet that MS would return fire if someone openly went for them. Glass houses and all that.

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: struggling

          Does it need to be someone in the software industry who has the deep pockets? If there is an anti-trust case to answer, then it is Microsoft's customers in all industries that are getting stiffed, and any one of them could presumably put up the cash for lawyers.

          1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

            Re: struggling

            Unfortunately, antitrust is like antiporn. There is *always* a case to answer, and whether it is vigorously pursued or not and morally defendable or not depends wholly on the current political atmosphere.

            Better rely on choice by consumer's wallets. And to make that possible, loosen the Neverending Intellectual Property Fecal Matter Delivery Express.

        2. Mikel

          Allegations are one thing.

          And then there's Public documents from their court cases.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    MS didn't lose the plot...

    They simply lost their mind, that's all.

    Wrt Outlook; I tend to agree with the author but to a certain extend. Without the calendar and public folders (I don't use the latter) there's still the Office integration which I personally think is quite good.

    For example; I use Outlook to keep all my contact information (customers and such) and when writing letters in Word (using an own developed template with mucho VBA) I can retrieve the contact information right from Outlook. That makes the whole "Office experience" a lot better for me.

    This setup seems more difficult to achieve when using OpenOffice (or LibreOffice). I think it should be doable though but I honestly don't know for sure and how you'd set that up.

    1. Wibble

      Re: MS didn't lose the plot...

      I'm a Mac user who turned his back on Windows when Vista was announced. The usual words: "version N is the greatest, far better than version N-1", so I thought I'd skip a generation as their current version would turn out to be rubbish in comparison with the next version (for which I am not even capable of calculating its operational parameters, etc.).

      Needless to say, I've no intention of trying version N+1, N+2 or any other forthcoming version. Once changed, forever gone.

      The one thing I still use is MS Office, albeit the Mac version. They updated this last year and changed their all-in-one mail/calendar/contacts application called Entourage for an inferior "all new" Outlook. This spurred me on to change to the vanilla Mac mail, address book and iCal applications.

      Here's the point; I actually think that it's better with separate applications. They all work together and I just don't miss Outlook.

      It's a long process, but one can wean oneself away from Microsoft. I've only PowerPoint and Excel to go! For true MS development work, e.g. Visual Studio, there's always VMs, which are great.

  12. Spoddyhalfwit

    Some of the anti MS stuff on here is hilarious. Anything said In their favour hit with a wall of down votes.

    The fact is most users love windows. It's not about lack of knowledge of availability of other options... More windows users are using Firefox and chrome than IE.

    Windows delivers what most users want... That is why it is on so many desktops and servers.

    Sure windows 8 looks like a disaster and MS has lost its way with ballmer at the helm. But down voting every suggestion that MS might have done something right, and suggesting that Linux is the answer for every user is boring and deluded. It might win up votes here, but it won't change the facts out there in the real world.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "most users love windows"

      Most users don't get any choice - it's STUFFED down their throats 'cos it's on almost anything they can buy apart from macs.

      1. Spoddyhalfwit

        Re: "most users love windows"

        And if its so bad they can install Linux... It's free after all.

        Or maybe they can't, because it's too complicated for them?

        Or maybe windows is just fine for them?

        I drive a very rare car. It's very nice, not the easiest thing in the world to drive, and it's left hand drive too. But I'm a very experienced driver. I'd never drive something bog standard like an Audi or a BMW.

        But millions do. Because for them a bog standard mass produced car like an Audi or BMW does everything they want it to do, because they aren't highly skilled at driving and something more complex would be wasted on them.

        Cue the next round of downvotes.

        1. eulampios

          not true

          >>Cue the next round of downvotes.

          not from me

          >>Or maybe windows is just fine for them?

          Maybe they just don't know about anything else. They get it at school, at University, at work, at the shop -- and everyone pays for it.

          >>Or maybe they can't, because it's too complicated for them?

          You're very wrong. Anyone who tries it doesn't find it any more complicated than Windows, maybe even find it more straightforward. Remember, they do not have to worry about AV, the system is good enough to protect itself, updates and installs is taken care for them too, much fewer reboots are needed plus kernel has many thousands of drivers as loadable modules.

          If Windows is so good why not compensate to everyone who wishes to return. You can do it any kind of commodity, hence Windows is crap, not a commodity.

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. eulampios

      a runner competing against no one is always a winner

      You cant' judge whether Windows delivers anything until you put it against the rivals in a fair competition. This will happen when MS gets nailed for the closed-door negotiations with the OEM's. However, pretty much whatever MS delivers is either messed up or done 20 years later after other have done it: e.g.:

      * PowerShell (2005 vs 1980-s of other POSIX shells)

      * Windows Server Core, the stripped down version of Windows Server with 3GB of disk and 256-512 MB ram of HW reqs. Copare this with noX Debian of 1GB disk space and 64MB RAM

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. Shanghai Tom

    Linux AND Windows

    I bought a new pc revently, and yup, I'd already paid for a windows 7 license that I didn't want.

    90 minutes later I had lnux on it and my veteran windows xp running in a virtual machine for those things I can't yet do outside of windows.

    Why ? well, I have very little worries about hacks / virus / worms etc, backup up or restoring windows is as easy as moving the 8gb file containing the virtual XP.

    The VM has windows up and running and ready for me to log into in less than 10 seconds, and it goes like greased whatsit off a teflon shovel.

    I also get as many virtual Linux desktops as I want, so I keep my work organised on a screen basis and just slide the mouse around to get the desktop I want.

    There's a little freebie for windows users called Virtuawin, it's very useful and I used it a lot before transferring the majority of my work to a Linux base, gives you virual Windows desktops, great for laptops.

    Accessing my office environment is by tunnelled RDP, and although the Linux version of Citrix Receiver isn't as polished as the Windows one I have no real issues with it now that a 64 bit version is available.

    I'm not a fan of Mint, I have tried it and I suppose the idea was to make a clone of the windows XP layout, but I prefer not to have that, heck, I even downgraded the XP desktop to the Win2000 desktop because it was simpler to ude and look at.

    If metro is really so differen,t and from what I have read - a pain to use, maybe there will be many more people like me, running old windows software and enbracing the linux desktop at the same time.

    1. eulampios

      Minted Debian

      Agree with everything but Linux Mint. Installed LMDE of Mate and Cinnamon. Noway it is a copycat of XP. Can't resist good 'ol gnome2. Themes and compiz are awesome, stable and snappy. Cinnamon is very beautiful too, it is not as configurable and snappy though just yet.

  14. Peter2 Silver badge


    I don't care about the Ribbon. We have a large pile of 2003 licenses that can be pried out of my users cold dead hands by anybody who feels up to the task.

    No, it's the sodding exchange system manager that gets me. Every time I have to log into it instead of making a change in two seconds from the active directory tab I plaintively ask myself who signed off that particular decision, since it's a monumental pain in the ass.

    I would really, really like to know who came up with the idea. And if they still have a job or not.

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Ribbon

      Two weeks after a forced upgrade to 2007, and all our users complaints about the ribbon had disappeared, and 3 years on, I think it would take a crowbar to get them to go back to all those bloody buttons.

      People don't like change basically, but it doesn't take long before the horrid nasty changed thing becomes a known, reliable quantity.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    M$ is a licensing company

    It all makes sense once you get it into perspective. M$ is, and always has been, a company that sells licenses. It doesn't much matter what they're for, effort is made to ensure that lots of them are sold - once that's achieved no more is necessary.

    It's just unfortunate that these licenses are attached to bits of software, that provide the consumer with the illusion that they've bought something. Some people even expect the software to work - others even think it's useful stuff to use for proper business processes. This is all a tribute to magnificent license marketing.

    If a company has such huge strength in the promotion and sale of licenses, why expect it to be good at anything else?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Hah hah, another one of Trevor Potts ‘objective articles’ I see. I am sure that MS get it Trevor, you do not like them. They will also be getting the fact that you do not even know how to use half the software you so regularly slag off. But they will certainly not care what your opinions are, nor the little cabal of freetards that flit around your posts like flies around ……

    Anyhow, reading the dross you spout makes me wonder why you write the stuff. It is not news, it is opinion, and twisted opinion at that, so it has little value to the average reg reader looking for news. You are also never going to get work in the mainstream IT press when you spout such conjecture and bile so I guess you are not gunning for a IT journalism job. I am guessing that the reg pays you for each ‘piece’ you write. Maybe 50 or 100 pounds per ‘article’? So, the question is, are you such a bad IT consultant that you need to scrape around these small sums of cash or do you feel that you are somehow building yourself in to a figurehead in the reg freetard community? If it is the latter, I take my hat off to you. We are always encouraged to have big, bold, goals in life but you are really shooting for the top with that one!

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: Yawn

      Where have I ever stated that I don't like Microsoft? More precisely, where have I ever stated that I dislike Microsoft specifically, as though with prejudice? I like plenty of people who work for Microsoft. I like many of the departments, divisions and products produced by Microsoft. I believe Microsoft to be in many ways one of the more ethical actors in the IT landscape; for example, the license all their patents to competitors, instead of keeping them tightly tucked close the vest, as bludgeons to prevent competition.

      But you can like many aspects of a multinational corporation while loathing others. You can like certain actions or choices made by the body corporate whilst still believing that the larger corporate direction is flawed. In this case, I honestly and earnestly believe that the decisions made by Microsoft will rain down ruination upon not only Microsoft proper, but the entire Microsoft ecosystem, from partners and resellers to the very systems administrators that are paid to support their product.

      I don’t write much in the way of “news” here on the register. I periodically write in depth reviews of some products, and I do some technical deep dives into things. But the Systems Administrator’s blog is just that: a blog. It isn’t “news.” It isn’t the latest feeds and speeds and regurgitated press releases.

      As I see it, the sysadmin blog is a discussion of “things” that affect systems administrators. These could be products, they could be legal issues. The “things” we need to care about could the direction of a corporation or a security vulnerability resulting from an unforeseen interaction between two applications.

      This isn’t a place to simply reword some press releases. You have a whole rest of the website for that. The kind folks who publish my articles helpfully label my opinion column as a “sysadmin blog,” in case you are offended by something other than the bland delivery of pre-vetted fact.

      I do try for objectivity in my writing. There are limits to objectivity however; when dealing with theoretical or opinion, the prognostication involved extends beyond the mere reporting of fact. This has been the basis of opinion columns since we have had mass publication. I present to you what I believe to be true…and why I believe it to be so. I will even engage with you in the comments if you feel I am mistaken…and I have had my arguments defeated soundly before.

      Rhetoric, however, simply will not sway me. The plaintive cries of a wounded ego of the visceral evocations of emotive “reasoning” will not alter my opinion. If you wish to alter my views about the world – and by consequence what I write about – then you must make a sound logic argument grounded in unimpeachable logic and backed by clearly verifiable fact.

      I will then engage you in some debate. Probe the logic you display. What assumptions underlie your arguments; what values underpin the judgements you make? Raw science shouldn’t require value judgements and here my opinion is shaped by fundamental science and repeatable, peer-reviewed works.

      But economic and ethical arguments become trickier. I believe very strongly in the following:

      The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, but the needs of the few outweigh the desires of the many. The fact that most people are not capable of separating need from desire is where most strife occurs.

      If you fundamentally disagree with my ethical viewpoint above, then many economic, ethical or political opinion topics will never be resolvable between us. We simply disagree at too fundamental a level for any of the higher order operations to work themselves out.

      If however we can agree on that fundamental basis of ethics, then productive debate is possible. We simply have to follow the flow of logic from this basic assumption to its application in the current environment.

      But that is how opinion columns work. They are distinct from news. If you want to prevent my opinion from being aired you have two choices:

      Convince me that I am wrong, or appeal to The Powers That Be to censor me.

      Calling me names on the internet and saying Mean Things however is not going to dissuade me.

      tl;dr: Bitch please, I’m from the Internet.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Yawn

        Ye Gods. I did not ask for war and peace. But, umm, thanks anyway.

        Your views on MS appear to be

        'Their name is mud. It is associated with lock-in, change to promote more lock-in, high prices and product differentiation that promotes more lock-in.'

        Now, the funny thing is, I talk to very senior IT people at big companies on a daily basis. Their views on MS are diametrically opposed to your own. They see MS as cheaper than their incumbents (IBM, Oracle, VMWare etc) and better integrated across different product areas. They also like the fact that MS has excellent product support and that there is a large pool of skilled people who know how to implement the stuff and get it working for them. CIOs are concerned about supporting their businesses with IT systems that do what they need to do for the business to succeed. This is the big picture.

        You see the small picture. You are obsessing about ribbons and features and license models and blah blah blah. You post about how you advise your 'clients' to do this, that or the other based on your obsessive views/opinions. I reckon I would not want to be one of your 'clients' on the receiving end of your advice.

        The point to my post is that you should go out and educate yourself about what really matters in the IT industry. Broaden your horizons. Start to think like a grown up rather than a junior sys admin. Start with the question of 'why do companies spend money on IT in the first place'. Hint, it is not so they can provide a geek with the chance to play around with the latest trendy flavor of Linux.....

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          Re: Yawn

          Companies spend money on IT so that IT can solve a problem. Solving that problem in a manner cheaper than paying a human to do the same task, either because it performs the task faster, with fewer errors, or both.

          They do not pay for IT because someone told them they should. They do not buy a specific product because an astroturfer or marketer told them to. They pay for IT because the specific solution at hand meets the requirements of the task, is the cheapest solution that does so and won't endanger future productivity by limiting options or compatibility.

          There are wide ranging considerations to all aspects of IT. I advise my clients to think about many things. I don’t simply say “Microsoft is bad.” Indeed, I push Microsoft solutions when and where they are appropriate, which is to nearly every client I have.

          I do not however push Microsoft’s client operating system or office package. Why? Because there is simply no need to do so. It isn’t something my clients absolutely must have, and it isn’t necessarily the best fit for their requirements.

          Which has been the whole goddamned point of my recent articles, including this one. Microsoft is falling away from “the default, de facto item.” At the fringes first (SMEs,) but this will spread. I am starting to see it now even in large deployments.

          The endpoints can be whatever the user wants. Windows. Mac. Linux. Android…who cares? As long as the apps can be found to do the job…the choice of OS here isn’t nearly as relevant today as it was five years ago.

          I don’t need my client to “give me the opportunity to work on something I think is cool.” Writing for The Register does that. I can ask a vendor; they’ll usually let me try their latest widget.

          In addition, I run my own company. If I wanted to use the latest Linux/Mac/Windows/whatever, I simply choose to do so. Don’t be so presumptuous as to believe that I would force my predjudices upon my customers or advise them to choose something simply because I “like a company” or “dislike that other one.”

          That’s bullshit, and you know it.

          If Windows is the best OS for a customer, I’ll tell them to buy Windows. If it’s not, I’ll tell them to buy something else. In almost every case however, I am in the position to ask the customer “what do you want to use?” Because those customers’ needs can be met by any modern operating system.

          And it’s a great thing to live in a world where that is true.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Yawn

            In fact, the freetard view is even more disingenuous than it first appears. Freetards would like companies to stop spending money on MS software, and redirect that spending towards themselves. MS software generally just works, and users, generally, can work out how to use it. However, there is a license fee.

            People like Trevor, would much prefer to that companies do not spend money on licensing (as they receive none of it themselves). They thus propose complex solutions stitched together from random obscure OSS components running on top of some trendy at the moment linux distro. When it goes wrong, as it invariably does, they can then charge a small fortune in ‘support fees’ whilst satiating their egos around their superior technical skills.

            I cannot be bothered to find the post where Trevor was banging on about Access being crap and advocating some MySQL Heath Robinson job but it is a case in point.

            1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

              Re: Yawn

              I never said that you should "spend money only on open source." I said - very narrowly at access - that everything I've ever had to do with it I can do faster and easier with MySQL and PHP. When I need a real database for real things, I use Microsoft SQL.

              Just because I advocate open source for particular use cases does not mean I advocate it for all.

              What unbelievable prejudice and narrowness of thinking you have. Don't reject a solution simply because you dislike the company or economic model behind the product. Consider all solutions and choose the one which does the job with the best balance of ease-of-use, compatibility, extensibility and price.

              Just don't go whinging on the internets because the sweet spot is more and more "not Microsoft." Go agitate for change inside your preferred vendor instead. It is far more helpful.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Yawn

                Hah hah, is that what you think you are doing? Agitating for change within MS? Quite a powerfully arrogant statement but it may come as a shock to you that you will not have any effect on their thinking. The words lunatic and fringe would probably be used if that idea was ever discussed. Love the way in an earlier post you said that their licensing will not be sorted out ‘until they fly you to Redmond’. Ummmmm, yeah, again, sorry to shatter the ego here but again unlikely to happen. You would not have the first clue on how to construct license programs. All you know is what you would like to get for free.

                Finally, you may not have realised but the Reg is an English website and most MS policy decisions are made in the US. Rather than kid yourself that you are changing the world (MS), why not admit that you are writing articles to please a few frothing at the mouth OSS fans whilst at the same time seriously enhancing their/your own conformation bias around your views on MS?

                My advice would be to give it up and do something productive?

                1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

                  Re: Yawn

                  Your prejudices and preconceptions about people and their motivations blind you to the truth evident in simple discourse.

                  No, I do not believe that I am agitating for change within Microsoft. I suggested that you could do so. If you - as you claim - talk every single day with IT representatives from the world's most powerful companies, then you are in a position to agitate for change should you desire it.

                  I however am in no such official position. I run a consulting company aimed at small and medium enterprises; the company itself being a small business. Whatever influence I have in this world comes entirely from the influence my words may – or may not – have on my readers here on The Register...and the conversations I have with my friends in the Seattle area when I drive down for inebriation and merriment.

                  The Register may be English, but I am Canadian; a Canadian who lives within easy driving distance of Redmond and who happens to be more than familiar with the ins and outs of licensing.

                  In addition to systems administration and writing for The Register, I have extensive experience in project management…some of which has included designing licensing programs alongside my clients; the software some of them provide being industry-essential within their niche, and utterly unique. Some even make quite a bit of money, despite being small businesses with a handful of staff. (Though growing, in most cases.)

                  In short: you have demonstrated a remarkably deficient understanding of “who I am” and “what I do,” despite this information being readily available. You make assumptions about my motivations, beliefs, philosophies and technical practices based upon nothing more than blatant misinterpretation of printed information and your own cracked view of reality.

                  I am sorry to inform you but people – myself included – do not always easily conform to the pre-canned formulae which you seem to believe govern human thought. That a person believes one thing – or advocates a thing – does not mean they believe some other thing that you have convinced yourself must inevitably be related.

                  Of course, there remains the possibility that you are not in fact subject to a fractured conceptualisation of the basic functionality of human dynamics. You could simply be an internet troll, attempting to get a rise out of me in a truly banal and unskilled attempt at trolling.

                  In that case, I would like to politely request that you bugger off. I have nothing against trolling whatsoever, but please either do a good job or go home. A proper troll should seem credible at first glance, and again at second. They should be nearly impossible to tell from someone who is dead serious.

                  A troll’s argument should be well structured, logical, backed by a mountain of evidence that is difficult to pick apart…but purposefully built upon a single faulty premise that they then utterly refuse to acknowledge. They should seem completely rational with the exception of that one faulty premise; without a doubt it is the most successfully in driving individuals raised to respect critical thinking completely fucking batshit insane.

                  The problem here is that I don’t detect anything even resembling critical thinking in your posts. There is nothing other than ad homenim attacks backed by rhetoric and vitriol. Your “arguments” are possessed of innumerable logical fallacies.

                  In short, your posts aren’t witty or well grounded enough to be part of an amusing trollish back-and-forth, nor are they actually broken enough to be the basis of a flame-of-the-week. Instead, they are merely annoying; resurrecting dead threads so that you can get the last word in a vain attempt to obscure the amount of sheer butthurt you are experiencing over being so utterly, abysmally wrong.

                  That’s inconsiderate to the other Register readers who have posted in this thread. When they check their “My Topics” page, this damned turkey keeps coming back to the top, with nothing new nor entertaining. Simply butthurt on your behalf.

                  For my part, I’m calling an end to my participation in the thread. With any luck, you respect your fellow Register readers enough to do the same.

                  Cheers to you, and many apologies to the other members of this thread. Sorry for resing it this one last time, but the sheer mediocrity of these posts has irritated my inner troll.

                  A pint for you all.

                  1. This post has been deleted by its author

                  2. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Yawn

                    Meh. You are calling me a poor troll in the circa 4000 word article you just wrote in response to my last post. Ummm, if I was troll, I would be pretty pleased with the level, and indeed sheer amout, of self justification you felt you had lay down in response to the arguments I raised.

                    Anyhoo, with regard to your other points, I spent years working at MS in WWLP so I kinda do know what I am talking about. And although I do not work there anymore, I can assure you that you do not have the faintest clue about how the people at MS construct licensing programs. You look at bizarre edgecase scenarios. WWLP looks at the mass market. You are not the mass market. That is why MS make 70 or 80 or whatever billion dollars a year......and you have to write 'opinion' articles on some two bit news site to keep the lights on.

                    Over and out.

                    Cheers :-)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Yawn

          You have obviously never tried to get support for SQLServer. Only the very seriously masochistic have the time, patience and just plain orneriness to withstand the blather that the first 5 lines of illiterate (they cannot actually read) and ignorant (they do not understand what a database is) support offer. I have first hand experience and recently and I have 25+ years of industry experience with just about every database vendor of note, past and present with which to compare.

          While there are surely some talented and knowledgable people in the organisation, I have yet to run into one, and I have tried REALLY hard to find sentient beings there!

          1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

            Re: Yawn

            Well there's the issue then; I've only had to contact Microsoft for support regarding SQL Server twice, and they were acceptibly mediocre about support both times!

  17. P. Lee

    a bit OTT

    While I love a good MS bashfest as much as the next person, I have to think that this probably isn't as much of a deal as we like to think.

    Corporate is MS' big market and they are likely to have both exchange and sharepoint. Re-allocating the cost between the two is unlikely to have an impact. I can't imagine share mailboxes being a massive feature - its calendaring and rights management in calendaring and mailboxes which are the killer features for exchange.

    As far as metro goes, it might be ugly, but people will work around it. They'll put all their frequently used apps on the desktop or first metro page (as they do on phones) and get on with life. A recent upgrade to W7 is a far better reason not to do the upgrade than what the staff think of the UI.

    Important to techies, not so important to business - at least not important enough to leave windows and the massive upheaval that would entail.

    1. Spoddyhalfwit

      Re: a bit OTT

      I think its possible that Windows 8 will create a push towards alternatives. But I think its most likely Microsoft will react to the chaos and restore the start button, windows 7 menu etc.

      The fact is most users are perfectly happy with Windows 7 - i mean non techies out there in the real world. Having played with Windows 8 there is no way on earth I'm going to use it - I'd stick with Windows 7. Eventually MS will be forced to sort out Windows 8, else they really might start to lose users to Linux and other alternatives (which work more like Windows used to).

  18. Potemkine Silver badge

    Suicidal tendencies

    When we wanted to externalize our Exchange server which was costing us a lot of time to make it run smoothly, especially with the BES server for the Blackberry fleet, we had a look to Sharepoint. To make it work we would have had to update all the Office installations we had from Office 2003 to Office 2007+, a cost unjustified for a SME like ours. So instead of Sharepoint we switched to a solution five times less expensive and which didn't need to buy for 20K€+ of software: Google Apps. We use it for one year now and everybody is very happy with it, it offers a lot of functionality for everyone. It also let people use whatever mail interface they want: Outlook, Thunderbird or the web-based interface (often through Iron, a good alternative to Chrome). Now people know they can do without Outlook, and for some even without Office, Google Apps providing enough tools for many. Thanks to its idiotic policy, MS threw ourselves into the arms of Google - Side effect, we don't use Blackberry anymore, but Iphone or android devices, now people can make their choice, and they are very happy with it. Freedom to the people! :-)

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "a vexatious software ecosystem focused on lock-in."



    That's what it is! THANK YOU!

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well, they've got to do something at the end of the day...

    In order to keep on selling their stuff, they need to either enhance it or change it. At some point they run out of things to enhace or change in a meaningful way, because it already works roughly the way everybody wants and they can't think of new things to add (easily), so they have to start changing stuff just for the heck of it.

    Most famously Paint Shop Pro did this as well and went downhill rather quickly...

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh Dear Oh Dear

    The disappearance of public folders has been on the cards since Exchange 2007. Any sysadmin that has kept up will be aware that Microsoft have flagged up that public folders were a legacy product. Most Exchange admins will have been advising managers to get out of public folders for a long time.

    Any sysadmin that has been seriously advising people to use public folders since 2007 hasn't been reading whitepapers or blogs.

    The preferred MS solution for years, if you need shared access to documents, is Sharepoint. It's not news or a surprise or a new revenue stream.

    Small Business Server has gone. If people dont like that then Sun/Oracle or RedHat and others produce servers for business. SBS wont stop working and business can move to other solutions if they dont like the MS strategy. Some people seem to have almost religious zealot views about MS.

    It seems to me that Microsoft are creating cloud operating systems and cloud services. If small businesses dont like that they can keep running the legacy systems they have bought and transistion to other vendors products.

  22. Lghost

    Re: Yawn

    "I believe very strongly in the following:

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, but the needs of the few outweigh the desires of the many. The fact that most people are not capable of separating need from desire is where most strife occurs.

    If you fundamentally disagree with my ethical viewpoint above, then many economic, ethical or political opinion topics will never be resolvable between us. We simply disagree at too fundamental a level for any of the higher order operations to work themselves out."

    Once again Mr Potts..Trevor, if I may ? ..

    I raise my glass to you..

    Long may you continue to write here..

    Long life and good health to you Sir :)

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: Yawn

      Why thank ye. If you're ever in Alberta, stop by, I'll buy you a jar. (Also, I'm going to be in Palo Alto second week areound Aug 7th, if you are anywhere near there.)

      Inebriation and enjoyment to you!

  23. Lghost

    One day maybe :)

    Brittany ..North west corner of France..looks a lot like home => Ireland originally..

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like