back to article Windows 8: An awful lot of change for a single release

Microsoft released Windows 1.0 on 20 November, 1985, a year later than first promised. Now, nearly 27 years on, Windows 8 is on the shelves. The operating system was chugging away full-steam ahead as Windows XP established itself - then it jumped the tracks at Vista. Where is Microsoft's OS going now and where did it come from …

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  1. MarkB

    Digital Research?

    I thought Mr Cutler came from Digital Equipment Corporation, where he'd been developing DEC's VMS operating system...

    1. Geoff Campbell
      Boffin

      Re: Digital Research?

      He did indeed. And to assert that security was some sort of afterthought in the NT design is patently ridiculous.

      GJC

      1. Jared Vanderbilt

        Security

        Security was given a low priority, though it was not Cutler's decision. That was a management decision. Baking in a secure kernel and separate address spaces was strongly recommended by the development team. Ultimately the management rejected it due to the increased cost and time to market.

        1. RICHTO Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: Security

          Complete and Utter Rubbish - NT right from 3.1 had securtiy as a design prioity and has a secure kernel and a seperate address space for it. And full ACLs throughout from the ground up - not as an after thought - like for instance in UNIX type OSs.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_NT_3.1

          The second goal was reliability: The system should no longer crash due to a faulty application or faulty hardware.[70] This way, the operating system should be made attractive for critical applications.[30] To meet this goal, the architecture of Windows NT was designed so that the operating system core was isolated and applications could not access it directly.[71] The kernel was designed as a microkernel and components of the core were to run atop the kernel in a modular fashion; Cutler knew this principle from his work at Digital.[72] Reliability also includes security, and the operating system should be able to resist external attacks.[70] Mainframes already had a system where every user had their own account which was assigned specific rights by the administrator, this way, users could be prevented access to confidential documents.[73] A virtual memory management was designed to thwart attacks by malware and prevent users from accessing foreign areas of memory

          1. Steve Knox
            Thumb Down

            Re: Security @RICHTO

            The system should no longer crash due to a faulty application or faulty hardware.

            Yeah, and Windows NT 3.x+ NEVER crashed due to faulty software or hardware. Back in the real world, for performance reasons, many drivers, including the graphics, ran in kernel space with full privileges -- this is why you could bring a Windows NT box to its knees just by enabling the 3D screensaver.

            Security and stability may have been two of the goals, but they were regularly compromised to meet performance and usability goals as well.

            1. Chemist

              Re: Security @RICHTO

              Certainly I remember that Windows 2000 crashed frequently using large Excel sheets or complex Word documents

            2. mad physicist Fiona

              Re: Security @RICHTO

              Actually NT 3.x was a relatively pure microkernel system with external device drivers. It was only with NT 4.0 that the video driver was moved back into the kernel to boost performance.

            3. GerryMC
              Unhappy

              Re: Security @RICHTO

              I know from personal experience with NT4 that a (accidentally) corrupted Word document could consistently cause a BSOD, on multiple machines (but possibly all the same basic Dell Optiplex system)

              1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

                Re: Security @RICHTO

                I know from personal experience with NT4...

                NT4 saw a huge change in the system architecture, as others have noted: the HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer) was gutted and graphics, among other things, pushed into Ring 0, where there's no protection. It's difficult to prove this, but it seems likely that most crashes in NT4 were the result of Microsoft's violation of the separation of concerns in the NT 3.x architecture.

                In other words, they demonstrate that most of the kernel-level reliability and security issues [1] are the result of Microsoft undoing Cutler's security model, rather than it being an "afterthought" on his part.

                [1] As opposed to those at the UI level, particularly the utter lack of attention to users' need to switch between privileged and non-privileged access. It took Microsoft years to deliver an equivalent to UNIX's su utility, and when they did, for a long time it was an add-on (part of the Windows Resource Kit; Windows Services for UNIX also had an su implementation). That, and a failure to encourage application developers to get their privilege models right, led to the "run as administrator" culture mentioned in the article, and ultimately that has been one of the two or three greatest Windows security weaknesses.

          2. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

            Re: Security

            And full ACLs throughout from the ground up - not as an after thought - like for instance in UNIX type OSs.

            I don't know what you have in mind when you say that Unix only has security as an afterthought. It was built from the ground up to be multi-user, with strict separation among those users (both for in-memory applications and on the file system). It also had the novel setuid mechanism and associated su and chgrp functionality pretty much from the outset. I think that the creators actually got a patent on the setuid mechanism, possibly combined with its use with the passwd program which effectively allowed each user to change their own password in a single system file while not allowing it to change anything else there.

            Almost anything that can be implemented using ACLs can also be implemented using the user/group and setuid/setgid mechanisms. About the only area that I can think of where Unix is perhaps more permissive than it should be (for a paranoid sysadmin) is in allowing network access for all users (*). But then again, Unix wouldn't have been such a resounding success without networking, I think. If the designers had wanted to include some sort of "access rights" for the network, then they'd basically end up with something like VMS's security model instead. But then, it obviously wouldn't be the Unix that we know and love :)

            * Actually, I realise that this can be done in modern Linux using an iptables command to drop traffic based on userid. I don't actually know how early Unix implementations implemented network access. For all I know, all the network access functions might have actually used a device file at the lowest level. If so, then it actually would have been possible to restrict net access on a per-user basis using the standard user/group security mechanisms...

      2. Christian Berger

        Re: Digital Research?

        Well the main selling point of Windows NT was that it ran all Windows 3.x and 9x Software (as well as OS/2 and Posix, at least initially). However this was the 1990s and both programmers and API were preety bad by then. It was not uncommon for Windows 3.x and 9x Software to directly access the hardware since that was actually simpler than using some barely documented API. I remember a Telnet-Server for Windows 3.x which even brought its own Scheduler along.

        So in the 1990s it was normal for your software to need administrator rights. For example if you had a POS system it somehow needed to talk to the serial ports. Few programmers back than managed to do that without running as Administrator, so everybody using a Windows 2000 system productively was essentially an administrator.

        Then there are problems which weren't foreseen back then, like the application distribution problem. There simply were no software repositories with trusted software, or package manager. You were supposed to get an executable, run it and it is supposed to put all the necessary files onto your system.

        Windows NT is not insecure because of Kernel design. It's insecure because of the Ecosystem around it which it inherited from Windows 3.x 9x.

        1. Richard Plinston

          Re: Digital Research?

          > Well the main selling point of Windows NT was that it ran all Windows 3.x and 9x Software (as well as OS/2 and Posix, at least initially).

          It certainly did not run _all_ 3.x and 9x software. Most of it maybe. In particular many Windows 9x games did not run until XP.

          The OS/2 personality was text mode only. No presentation manager. What they called 'POSIX' was not.

    2. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Digital Research?

      There had to be at least one thing that slipped through the net. Yes, he did come from DEC. I should have clocked that. It's fixed.

      C.

      1. Nigel 11
        Devil

        Re: Digital Research?

        ISTR the rumour was that NT 3.5 was every bit as secure as VMS. This meant that the graphics performance was seriously limited, and that it would be almost impossible to put a Windows-98 style interface on top of it with the hardwarre of the day. Microsoft wanted to blow holes in its security to do so. Cutler said over his dead body. Microsoft overruled him and he resigned. Thus NT4 was created. Microsoft then blew more holes in it to make Windows 2000 and yet more to make XP. It wasn't until XP SP1 that they realized Cutler had probably been right. By then they'd made such a mess of the code base that they had to start again with what became Vista (and then 7).

        1. asdf
          Thumb Up

          Re: Digital Research?

          @Nigel 11

          a most excellent synopsis of what really went down. well done.

      2. No, I will not fix your computer
        Alien

        Re: Digital Research?

        An interesting omission, perhaps coincidental but add 1 to the ASCII of VMS and you get WNT (which, one story says is why NT is NT, and "New Technology" was just convienient). Although denied, a similar theory was turning IBM into HAL from 2001 (IBM -1), probably another coincidence, the explanation that HAL stood for Heuristic ALgorithm works well, but doesn't explain SAL from 2010 (and of course doesn't work with a +/- 1 either).

  2. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
    FAIL

    Pre-95 & NT Windows weren't OSes!

    Windows was only a GUI, dependent on DOS for the boring OS stuff, until 95 & NT!

    1. Rebecca M

      Re: Pre-95 & NT Windows weren't OSes!

      Not that old chestnut again. Consider the tasks performed by an operating system: managing processes and memory, controlling devices, managing the filesystem... Windows 3.1 did all of these. Dos was little more than a boot loader. You may as well say that Linux isn't an OS - it's dependent on GRUB after all.

      1. Uwe Dippel
        Thumb Down

        Re: Pre-95 & NT Windows weren't OSes!

        "Dos was little more than a boot loader. You may as well say that Linux isn't an OS - it's dependent on GRUB after all."

        I hope you don't believe your own words. Linux the kernel can be loaded in a number of ways, grub is not needed. First. Once the kernel is loaded, grub is not running any longer. Second. W[1-3] was an application running on DOS. Remove the underlying DOS, and Windows goes to its knees. Third. An Application that controls resources and has been loaded by a program loader is not necessarily an operating system.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. the spectacularly refined chap

          Re: Pre-95 & NT Windows weren't OSes!

          First. Once the kernel is loaded, grub is not running any longer. Second. W[1-3] was an application running on DOS. Remove the underlying DOS, and Windows goes to its knees. Third. An Application that controls resources and has been loaded by a program loader is not necessarily an operating system.

          It isn't as simple as that. For a start, none of your criteria are in any formal definition of an operating system I have ever seen. All of these highly dubious criteria also apply equally well to the relationship between e.g. Solaris and Sun's OpenPROM monitor (on Sparc, obviously). In some respects even more so: one of the first things Windows did was to unload command.com: with OpenPROM the whole shebang remains in memory and indeed it is still running in the background, which is why you can get back to the monitor at any point from the system console. Is Solaris not an operating system?

          Also consider that as pointed out elsewhere Windows 9x still used DOS, only it came packaged with Windows rather than in a separate box. If we accept that this inclusion suddenly turned Windows into an operating system the definition becomes essentially a marketing rather than technical one. You may find it comforting to put DOS and Windows into neat little boxes where one is an operating system and the other is not, but in reality any subjective technical assessment shows that this abstraction is not a clean one, indeed it is so messy as to be essentially meaningless.

      2. Richard Plinston

        Re: Pre-95 & NT Windows weren't OSes!

        > managing the filesystem... Windows 3.1 did all of these

        No, you are wrong. From Windows 1 through 3.11 the filesystem was controlled via the underlying MS-DOS (or DR-DOS). Windows 95 changed this by using VFAT which was part of Win95. Though the underlying MS-DOS still resided under Win95 it was only used for very minor functions dictated by compatibility issues.

        1. the spectacularly refined chap

          Re: Pre-95 & NT Windows weren't OSes!

          Actually, you are both wrong. 32-bit file access was introduced in 3.11. That completely bypassed DOS for filesystem access.

    2. Daniel von Asmuth
      FAIL

      Re: Pre-95 & NT Windows weren't OSes!

      Windows 95 was a disaster. It consisted of a somewhat hidden MS-DOS 7.00 on top of which ran Win16 on top of which ran a Win32 adapter.

      Windows NT did not drop DOS, but added a DOS subsystem, a 16-bit Windows subsystem, a 32-bit Windows subsystem, a 16-bit OS/2 subsystem and a POSIX subsystem. It ran without crashing for days or even weeks on end.

  3. Sir Lancelot
    WTF?

    Not that Digital!

    "It turned out Microsoft, having hired kernel guru Dave Cutler from Digital Research in October 1988, was already hard at work on Windows NT."

    Wrong - Cutler used to work for Digital Equipement Corporation where he was one of the main OS designers (RSX, OpenVMS, ...).

  4. EddieD
    Coat

    Cairo...

    I think it was this very organ that pointed out that XP in Greek is Chi Rho...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    sooner or later...

    Sooner or later the UI will change and evolve, I just hope its for the better, looking at the NT4/Win95 up untill win7 there hasn't been much change in the way the GUI works except for extra bells and whistles, osx had the biggest change from Mac os1 though to 9 and even then they still maintained the menubar thing at the top. I think for new PC uses it might actually work quite well as for people that have been using PCs for along time its going to be a very odd transition (I still use WindowsXP x64 on my new PC even though Win7 is the newer OS (I still use it with the classic win2k interface).

    1. Nuke
      Facepalm

      @AC, 11:17 - Re: sooner or later...

      Wrote :- "Sooner or later the UI will change and evolve, I just hope its for the better, looking at the NT4/Win95 up untill win7 there hasn't been much change in the way the GUI works "

      The UI has changed in the story of PCs AWAY from a plain desktop with app icons. Take another look at that Windows v1 GUI and you see that Windows 8 has returned to the same primitive look. That is not progress, it is going in circles.

      Most people were dumb about computers in 1985, and a dumb GUI was needed to appeal to the mass market. Now MS are assuming we are dumb again if they are advocating Win 8 for desktops - as Gates is in fact : http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/10/22/gates_windows8_phone8_merger/.

      Try this link for a good summary of the situation, from which I quote "Windows 8 totally pisses in the face of over 30 years of user interface research" :- http://toastytech.com/guis/win8.html

      1. Pirate Dave
        Pirate

        Re: @Nuke

        "Most people were dumb about computers in 1985, and a dumb GUI was needed to appeal to the mass market. "

        I disagree. If you were using a computer in 1985, you had to know a few things. There wasn't a universal pointy-clicky Crayola interface, you had to use DOS. So you had to know how to do things like copy files, delete files, change your current directory, etc. You had to worry about the commands in your config.sys and autoexec.bat files. And you had to learn things like how to get a printer connected and working in each of your programs, because each program (Lotus, Aldus, WordPerfect, etc) had it's own "drivers" and funky way of setting up and communicating with your printer. So you had to learn which port the printer was on, what IO address it used, etc. And if you were really fancy, you had a modem and could dial into a BBS, or even the Internet, so that was more port and IO information that you had to figure out, not to mention figuring out the rat's nest of jumpers on your internal modem so you could make sure the modem knew to use the same port and IO that you had Telix set to use. And if you wanted to hear music on your PC (later in the '80's, iirc) then you had to do all that again with a Soundblaster card.

        So, no, you couldn't use a computer in the 80's and be "dumb". You had to learn stuff. There was no Plug-And-Play, no unified driver model, none of that. Actually, "dumb" users couldn't come on the scene until at least Windows 95, and even then Plug-n-Pray wasn't too good, so it was more like Win98SE before the true dumb-asses could start using their CD tray as a coffee-cup holder.

        But I do agree with your larger point about Win8. It's a total mess and another step in the absolute dumbing-down of the WIndows interface that really kicked off with WinXP.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: you couldn't use a computer in the 80's and be "dumb"

          yeah, well said. They weren't called the good old days for nothing - people would pay me to set the jumpers and i/o addresses for their cards and peripherals. Gimme back my livelihood, missa gates!

        2. keithpeter
          Boffin

          Re: @Nuke

          "So, no, you couldn't use a computer in the 80's and be "dumb"."

          Early Acorn user here. I was pretty dumb. Most things sort of worked. It got much better after RISC-OS instead of Arthur. Just about the tail end of the 80s I think...

          I take your point: no way could you do much with an IBM PC without help or a lot of knowledge.

        3. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: @Nuke

          "I disagree. If you were using a computer in 1985, you had to know a few things."

          That's the point. Few people used computers and those that did, had to know things.

          The vast majority of people were scared off by the command line, etc (GEM had a lot of fans and was easy to use, but it got litigated out of existance in the GUI wars)

        4. Nuke
          Facepalm

          Re: @Nuke

          Hi Pirate Dave, AC 13:46 and Alan Brown:

          I said "Most people were dumb about computers in 1985, and a dumb GUI was needed to appeal to the mass market"

          Pirate Dave replied (and the other two concurred) "I disagree. If you were using a computer in 1985, you had to know a few things"

          You are right, but I think you missed my point. When I said "most people were dumb about computers in 1985" I did not mean that most people using a computer (2% ?) were dumb about them, I meant "most people in the general population" were dumb about them. Indeed, most people had never even seen a computer.

          My point was that a relatively dumb GUI was a pre-condition to getting the other 98% of the population on board, before MS, Intel and others could massively expand their market.

        5. Tom 13

          @Pirate Dave: No, there were still plenty of dumb people using computers back then.

          It was just that because there were more things you needed to know to set one up, there were more garage mechanics around then only we called ourselves IT techs. And we could all get together and share information without violating NDAs, patents, and/or trade agreements. Even more pointedly, when we shared information we did so in plain ordinary English (pond side aside) because the more people who knew how to do it, the less harried we were. The secretary who could barely remember to type wp.bat for the C:\ prompt was as common as the person who doesn't know what the Start button is in Windows 7.

        6. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: @Nuke

          If you were using a computer in 1985....

          ...there's a good chance it wasn't an IBM PC or compatible. The Commodore 64 had 30-40% of the personal computer market, and there were other popular non-IBM PCs. There were many brands of UNIX workstations, widely used in academia and industry, and UNIX servers used through LAN or dial-up connections. Minicomputer and mainframe systems from IBM, DEC, and other manufacturers had a large presence.

          Some of those were much friendlier than MS-DOS, and while many of them weren't, users often knew just how to use a handful of applications - they never dealt with things like directly manipulating files.

          So, in fact, you could "use a computer in the 80's and be 'dumb'", if by "dumb" we mean "not particularly informed about the technical details of the system".

      2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        @Nuke: Half in the Bag!

        http://toastytech.com/guis/win8.html

        You are now reading this in the voice of Mr. Plinkett ...

  6. Paul Hampson 1

    Wo there are so many issues with this :

    "Many users did not go onto the NT range until Windows 2000, the first popular version for business and consumers."

    -No that was XP, 2000 could never really be described as popular with consumers

    " Windows 7 has failed to win users back from Macs, whose market share has continued to increase, though even in the US Gartner estimates Apple's share as only 13.6 per cent.

    A bigger Apple factor is the touch user interface which evolved from iPod to iPhone to iPad"

    -13.6 perecent is now not then it was much lower then. And so far as touch interfaces go the iPod didn't have one until 2007 when the iphone came out, where as MS had pocket PC, windows mobile and windows tablet PC (not finger touch because of the hardware but stylus tocuh) by the time the iPhone came out so your point about "A bigger Apple factor is the touch user interface which evolved from iPod to iPhone to iPad." is nonsense. It makes more sense to say that MS blazed the tocuh interface trail which apple then extended when the hardware to remove the stylus became available (capacitive touch screens). please don't expect people who used tocuh interfaces for years before the iPhone to buy into the Apple invented touch interfaces junk.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      >when the hardware to remove the stylus became available (capacitive touch screens).

      That, and the use of multi-touch gestures to allow fingers to express more, thus making up for the drop in accuracy that ditching the stylus entailed. Obviously, the UIs of the OS and software had to be designed to take advantage of it... No one says Apple invented multitouch, just that they bought the company that made a good go of it for RSI reasons. Microsoft must have been aware of them, since they too were in the Human Input Device game:

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

      A FingerWorks device built into a Microsoft keyboard: http://www.dustyneuron.com/fingerworks/images/small_photos/retro_split_sm.jpg

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "It makes more sense to say that MS blazed the tocuh[sic] interface trail which apple then extended..."

        Only if you completely disregard the work done by Apple and Palm and others in the late 80s and early 90s. Windows PDA's blatantly rode on those coat tails.

        1. Paul Hampson 1

          I'll accept palm, (and also PSIOn before them) but not the newton, that was a dead end that lead nowhere and sold few. But I wasn't saying that MS started the touch interface, but windows mobile definitely provided many of the links in the chain between the palm 3 and the iphone.

    2. BillG
      Go

      Windows 2000!

      > 2000 could never really be described as popular with consumers

      But for many, Windows 2000 was the best OS Microsoft ever introduced. Solid as granite and stingy CPU usage. Needs less RAM than XP, too. Many viruses refuse to run on Windows 2000.

      I have an old Windows 2000 laptop with 512M RAM and 800MHz processor that controls a security camera 24/7. It's been eight months since boot and it still runs like a champ.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Windows 2000!

        "I have an old Windows 2000 laptop with 512M RAM and 800MHz processor that controls a security camera 24/7. It's been eight months since boot and it still runs like a champ."

        By the time W2K came out, I had linux boxes with uptimes passing 3 years. Don't forget that in its early iterations W2K would crash at 42 days because a clock overflowed.

        W2K was NT with a decent GUI and virtually all of 95's security holes (trying to run as a non-administrative user was difficult) but it was STABLE. I could see which way things were going even then and moved my remaining windows equipment off 95/ME onto w2k (It's virtually impossible to go entirely windows free. I have to boot the laptop into windows every few months in order to run xyz software which isn't available for any other environment.)

        Windows security and stability is better than it ever was, but I still wouldn't trust it with mission-critical services.

        1. BillG
          Boffin

          Re: Windows 2000!

          I have had absolutely no security issues with Windows 2000. The secret is one reason why it wasn't a consumer hit - Windows 2000 shipped with no firewall and so stability depended upon installing a good one, which most consumers didn't know how to do. Also, on very first boot Windows 2000 doesn't have a nice configuration wizard to setup user accounts and options like XP has.

          Another important security issue is that on both Windows 2000 and Windows XP, the daily logon needs to be either a LUA or Power User. Without that you are just asking for trouble.

          Longest I've gone with Windows 2000 running is 2 years because I had to shut it down while moving to a new house.

      2. Paul Hampson 1

        Re: Windows 2000!

        Not the issue really, Windows 2000 was much bteter than Windows NT4 , but was not a consumer hit.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "but that for some long-term Windows users it is simply too different"

    Not at all. I see what you did there, you pretended that the problem is with the USERS, not Windows 8 UI itself.

    I am not a cretin, I know what I want, and it's not a mobile phone OS of tiles on my 24in desktop monitor.

    I am also not a "linux nutter", as Microsoft like to pretend that everyone who hates Windows8 must be. I also hate Unity with a passion too...

    I will be sticking on Windows 7 for the forseeable future, as Win32 and Start Menus are here to stay for me. I won't be buying surface, nor Windows Phone, nor Zune, nor Xbox. There are better alternatives to ALL of those product lines, that don't try and railroad me into be dependent upon Microsoft.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: "but that for some long-term Windows users it is simply too different"

      You're just looking for a fight. They don't blame the users, they simply state users don't want so much change.

      Get over yourself.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "but that for some long-term Windows users it is simply too different"

      I totally agree, the Win 8 security gains may be useful, but the MS style mobile display is horrid on anything else and the obsession with forcing it on users is NOT a user problem. It is a problem FOR users.

      The real shame is that Windows 8 should be a welcome visitor, it is faster and should be more agile, but is being hamstrung by the silly presentation fixation and MS's Taliban style approach to people's reactions. Why prevent desktop users having a workable system by their standards?

      As for the mobile interface. On my mobile I have had a list of numbers function for years, a green button to make a call and a red one to end the call. Stick that on a PC? I don't think so!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "but that for some long-term Windows users it is simply too different"

      It's been mentioned on el Reg before that Microsoft always touted the familar Windows interface as being a major selling point when looking at upgrading.

      So now they're admitting that was a lie, and I hope people look at Linux distros and Mac when they do upgrade, "because I'm worth it".

      :-D

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "but that for some long-term Windows users it is simply too different"

      "I am also not a "linux nutter", as Microsoft like to pretend that everyone who hates Windows8 must be. I also hate Unity with a passion too.."

      Unity != linux, so what is your point ?

  8. Eponymous Cowherd
    Meh

    Of Ghosts and Bathwater

    "With Windows 8, Microsoft is trying to exorcise its ghosts"

    Yes, but are they throwing the baby out with the bath water?

    The thing with Windows is that it is familiar, comfortable, even. Change it too much and people may view the task of learning Windows 8 isn't any less onerous than learning to use certain fruit or penguin based operating systems.

    Perhaps the ghost they should really be worried about is the ghost of Steve Jobs rubbing his wraith-like hands together in glee.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Of Ghosts and Bathwater

      "The thing with Windows is that it is familiar, comfortable, even. Change it too much and people may view the task of learning Windows 8 isn't any less onerous than learning to use certain fruit or penguin based operating systems."

      Exactly. Try this experiment. Take a bog-standard Gnome 2.x GUI and skin it to look and feel like XP. Then sit an someone who is used to XP at the machine and let them have a go. I have done this for customers who moved to Linux but complained that the GUI was too foreign, however they happily splash about in Gnome 2.x when it is skinned to look like XP.

      The folks (average XP users) who felt Gnome 2.x was foreign, will melt-down trying to use Unity, Gnome 3, or yes, the new Windows 8 GUI. If they say otherwise then they are lying.

      1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
        Linux

        Re: Of Ghosts and Bathwater

        Luckily there are many more XP-like GUIs to choose from with Linux, like Cinnamon, XFCE, LXDE, IceWM or even FVWM95...

        1. keithpeter
          Linux

          Re: Of Ghosts and Bathwater

          XFCE4 with one panel and the single application menu at the left hand end: I can hand my laptop to students and they can get stuff going (Firefox, LibreOffice). So I keep that one on the hand around machine (it is actually UbuntuStudio).

          Ubuntu Unity 12.04: I can hand to students and they can get stuff going, they suss out the icons at the side. BUT they try to close the (maximised) windows by clicking on the System Settings icon (cog wheel, right hand top) and find the hide and seek menus hard to deal with.

          It will be quite interesting to see what the reaction is when the new PCs start arriving with TIFKAM on. Might work, might cause a lot of confusion...

        2. FrankAlphaXII
          Thumb Down

          Re: Of Ghosts and Bathwater

          >>Luckily there are many more XP-like GUIs to choose from with Linux, like Cinnamon, XFCE, LXDE, IceWM or even FVWM95

          These XP looking environments don't behave like Windows XP though do they?

          No, they behave like Linux. Looks aren't very important honestly, your Desktop Environment may emulate Microsoft's efforts, but the underlying OS does not. Its a fragmented disaster at best when everything's playing nice. Its an unusable non-functional monster when things are not working well.

          Its fun for hobbyists, and I like it being that way, but most computer users are not technically inclined anymore at all (and spare me the ridiculous "Its so easy my grandmother can do it" claptrap because you're insulting my intelligence if you think I believe it). Hell really, What do you think accounts for Apple's popularity? It aint people who like to tinker or what we would have considered a "Power User" in the 1990's that's for damn sure. Its people who would have never been allowed within 150 feet of a computer in the so-called "Glory Days" that are buying locked in pieces of pretty (read: Overpriced) shit because they're easy to use status symbols.

          Behavior is the key here. And if you think you can replace a Windows installation with Linux for most users, you're smoking crack. Penguinistas need to get out of their stupid little self-deluded dreamland, get fucking real, and fix the multitude of issues revolving around that OS so maybe Joe Blow wants to install it and use it without spending a full day configuring it.

          A Windows user isnt going to want to play around with bash for three hours trying to get something working, nor are they going to appreciate the "wonderful" Linux method of having 150 different ways to accomplish one task.

          I use both Windows 7 and Fedora 17 with KDE, I like both OSes and Desktop Environments for very different reasons. But honestly if I want to just get things done quickly with no faffing around and no bullshit, I don't boot into GRUB.

          Of course, this is all heresy and its unlikely to win me any friends, but its the truth and truth hurts.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Of Ghosts and Bathwater

            " because you're insulting my intelligence"

            I don't think we need to try too hard !

          2. GrahamsTenPenneth
            FAIL

            Re: Of Ghosts and Bathwater

            "No, they behave like Linux. Looks aren't very important honestly, your Desktop Environment may emulate Microsoft's efforts, but the underlying OS does not. Its a fragmented disaster at best when everything's playing nice. Its an unusable non-functional monster when things are not working well."

            "Of course, this is all heresy and its unlikely to win me any friends, but its the truth and truth hurts."

            Speaking(typing?) as someone who deploys Xubuntu to every Windows user who comes with problems I can say this is NOT the truth.

            I suggest Linux to most people who have problems with Windows.

            These are your average non-tech users, like mother's of young children, psychiatrists or church members who want a stable machine to show and play hymns.

            All of the above have apprehension when I set up dual boot and I demonstrate how it works.

            All of them have long since abandoned Windows (even though it is still easily available) and are still using Linux exclusively through their own choice.

            When I ask them, they sing the praises of the fast OS which doesn't lock up, crash out or get viruses and just keeps working.

            These test cases alone show that give the user a real choice they go for the stable, secure OS which will work tomorrow as it does today.

            1. Lamont Cranston

              @GrahamsTenPenneth

              It's been a couple of years since I last had Mint running on my desktop machine (wanted to see if it was worth ditching the pre-installed Vista). Has Linux (any distro) got to the point that plugging in, say, a camera or MP3 player, will prompt the system to find its own drivers and then let you browse around whatever you've just plugged in? It took me quite an effort to get even the most basic functionality from my Zen when plugged in to Mint (it was about the same when plugged into my Win2k laptop), which put me off recommending Linux to anyone else (I'd like to put my dad on it, as it's just too easy for him to riddle his Vista desktop with endless malware), but I just can't do it (endless phonecalls would ensue).

              I've currently got Puppy running on an old laptop, and something as simple as disabling the lid close/sleep button eludes me still. If an enthusiastic amateur like myself can't get off Windows, what hope the general population?

              1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

                Re: @GrahamsTenPenneth

                When you installed your Vista system, did it come with a driver CD? If it did, then you are comparing apples with oranges. Try using your camera or MP3 player without installing the driver. They would work about the same as on Linux, or maybe slightly worse.

                I would be surprised if any modern camera or MP3 player (iPods excepted) did not configure as a storage device that would allow you to browse the media. And with an iPod (admittedly I've not tried with anything later than a 5.5G iPod Video) as long as it was first used with a Windows PC or you have the HFS+ filesystem added to your Linux system, you should still be able to browse the filesystem. Won't do you much good, however, as iPods have their own database that obfuscates the track names, making it difficult to identify the files.

                If you have something like Rhythmbox or Amarok installed, there is a good chance that they will handle even the iPod database.

                The fault you are blaming Linux for is actually a problem with the vendor of the media device, not Linux or the Linux community.

          3. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

            Re: Of Ghosts and Bathwater @ FrankAlphaXII

            In this context, there is no such thing as truth, merely observed behaviours, and these are conditioned by your perspective. I don't regard you as a heretic, more like a hardened Windows user who dabbles with Linux and believes that they know how all Linux advocates think.

            Even though you state that you use Fedora and KDE, yours is a very coloured view of Linux, and IMHO is out of date. If you install Fedora yourself, you will know that it is easy, and, by contrast, Windows (from scratch) is difficult. Windows drivers are hell, especially if you don't have all those shiny round driver disks that you end up needing. Much of modern Linux distributions running on modern systems works out-of-the-box.

            Please examine 'ordinary' users for a while. I think that you will find that they will be running a browser, and possibly an email client. They will launch applications that would run just as well on top of any modern OS if they are available. That's about it. There is very little that most of them do (outside of the vendor application lock in) which could not be done on any modern OS (and the adoption of iOS on iPads demonstrates this).

            For a majority of users, the Gnome or KDE interface (or even Unity) is all they need to launch their browser, play their media etc. It's point, select and click, and that is all they need. I admit that to get the maximum out of Linux, it may sometimes (but very rarely) be necessary to resort to a shell, but then you need to jump into the registry in Windows once in a while as well. The only thing that Windows users benefit from in Windows is familiarity, and Win8 may break this.

            I mentioned the vendor application lock in. This is the real crux of the matter. If you exchange information with someone else, then the fact that MS Office is so prevalent will mean that there will be problems. And when purchasing media, it's Apple who are not interested in making an iTunes client for Linux. Same for Sky, Netflix, LoveFilm etc. It's not a Linux fault, nor should it be the communities responsibility to make up for the fact that vendors (who often have irons in the OS fire) or strict DRM requirements that will always be difficult to handle in OpenSource software, are not prepared to work in the Linux space.

            But this is not a Linux problem, it's that Microsoft and other vendors have been allowed to dominate areas of the application landscape.

            In the reality that I see, there is no technical reason why users cannot be trained to use any UI. There are commercial reasons, but that is not what you claim.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Of Ghosts and Bathwater

      "The thing with Windows is that it is familiar, comfortable, even. Change it too much and people may view the task of learning Windows 8 isn't any less onerous than learning to use certain fruit or penguin based operating systems."

      Given that the hardest thing about transitioning from Windows to Linux is "unlearning" your windows bad habits, this may well be prophetic.

  9. Anonymous John

    Re:and Apple was so impressed it announced a lawsuit

    The windows had rounded corners?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Re:and Apple was so impressed it announced a lawsuit

      No, they thought that MS were copying all the ideas they'd nicked from Xerox so they sued them for handling stolen goods

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re:and Apple was so impressed it announced a lawsuit

        Apple really thought they'd win as well - they'd already ruined GEM by successfully suing Digital Research.

    2. VinceH

      Re: Re:and Apple was so impressed it announced a lawsuit

      The more things change, the more they stay the same.

  10. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Steady decline

      Linux is a kernel. It has no pre-installed apps either!

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    2. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Steady decline

      You cannot simply state that closed source == bad.

      But thanks for the patronising suggestion anyone who likes Windows just hasn't seen anything better. I've been using Macs quite a lot recently and have to brush against Linux for work, and I'd chose Windows every time.

      1. Nuke
        Holmes

        @JDX - Re: Steady decline

        JDX wrote :- "But thanks for the patronising suggestion anyone who likes Windows just hasn't seen anything better. I've been using Macs quite a lot recently and have to brush against Linux for work, and I'd chose Windows every time."

        He is generalising of course. But it is true that the vast majority of people have only ever used Windows on a PC and either believe there is no alternative, or that alternatives are somehow disreputable, or that they a rip-off like the Mac.

        I used computers before Windows 3.0 exploded on the world (and we were all issued with Windows PCs at work) and I was disgusted by its shoddy quality. But most of my workmates and people outside said something like "GEE WHIZZ!!! A computer, it's fantastic, isn't Bill Gates a genius!" and so on and so-forth. And they have clung to that "Gee whizz" attitude for every successive upgrade of hardware and Windows software ever since. Such people are the bedrock of Microsoft's business model.

        Of course, Windows today (XP and W7 anyway) is vastly better than back then and suits many people fine, like yourself. I have no argument with that.

    3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Steady decline

      Oh so true. I threw Vista off the laptop for a Fedora 17, which is supposed to be worse. Well, it's not. It works better. It makes sense. It is controllable. It is faster. There are apps for it. Even the Synaptics touchpad is less flaky.

      W2K was the "last know good" for me. Entropy just increased afterwards.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Steady decline

      hmm troll....... Windows is an easy to use OS for the general population, as is Apple's OS hence why they both kick Linux into the geeks OS realm.

      In the Productivity vs security debate... linux, secure but poor productivity, constant twatting about with sudo and command lines. Windows, secure enough but excellent productivity.... unless you are browsing the dark side of the internet or open strange looking attachments then you wont have an issue. That is easier to implement than Linux. Hence why close to zero organisations use it as the default desktop for their staff.

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        1. Gr0nk

          Re: Steady decline

          "In the old days you needed sudo and command lines but not any more (unless you're a power user and use them to increase productivity over mouse clicking)"

          Bollocks. You need sudo to fix the broken updaters; you need sudo to get things like popular wifi adapters to work. I'm not going to spend time remembering the other things I've resorted to sudo for lately, but of all of the popular current distros (beyond Slackware, Arch and *BSD) the only ones I haven't eventually removed as not fit for purpose are Mint and Fedora. I particularly like Mint, though even that has more issues than Windows. I'm running 64-bit XP , Windows 7, Windows 8, Mint 13, and VMs of Windows 7 x86, XP x86, and Fedora 17 x86_64.

          Before XP SP2 there were lots of problems with Windows. Windows 7 is essentially trouble-free, which Linux certainly isn't. FFS.

          1. Gr0nk

            Re: Steady decline

            Oh yes, and openSUSE on the laptop (along with Windows 7 HP, of course).

          2. Chemist

            Re: Steady decline

            "you need sudo to get things like popular wifi adapters to work"

            Not on Opensuse. I've used if for years with all manner of hardware and hardly ever use sudo or indeed root other than to authorize updates or system changes. I'm currently running 4 wifi adaptors and a 3G dongle without any issues

      2. Jim 59

        Re: Steady decline

        The GUI is more productive than the command line ? Is that really what you think ? Well, for beginners and casual users, perhaps. But if you know the shell, it outperforms the GUI a hundredfold. Fortunately, Linux has both, so the choice is yours.

        Want to search your photo collection for duplicated pictures ? One command, or ten thousand clicks, it's up to you.

        Want to remember how you did that other thing last week ? No problem, there is the command you saved in a file. Oh you used the GUI ? Don't know then, you will have to research it all over again. Productive.

        1. Lord Voldemortgage

          @Jim 59

          "The GUI is more productive than the command line ? Is that really what you think ? Well, for beginners and casual users, perhaps. But if you know the shell, it outperforms the GUI a hundredfold. Fortunately, Linux has both, so the choice is yours."

          So does Windows.

          Powershell is really, really good.

        2. RICHTO Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: Steady decline

          Windows has Powershell - which is far more capable and powerful than UNIX shell scripting.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Steady decline

        Windows is an easy to use OS for the general population, as is Apple's OS hence why they both kick Linux into the geeks OS realm.

        Then explain why my wife was always swearing at her top of the line Windows 7 running desktop PC, and now prefers a six year old Dell laptop running Fedora 17?

      4. Chemist

        Re: Steady decline

        "constant twatting about with sudo and command lines. "

        FUD

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Steady decline

      I rarely get called or visit my customers on Ubuntu Linux LTS editions.

      Check everything is OK after a new release and that's it.

      8-)

    6. RICHTO Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Steady decline

      You just show your ignorance here.

      Open source = more vulnerabilities, more likely to be hacked: http://www.zone-h.org/news/id/4737

      The registry is a transactional logging database - more resilient and fault tolerant than say flat text files.

      Windows has a less bizare and more intuitive directory structure than say Linux - where all devices are part of the structure!

      Windows has a number of basic apps installed versus Linux which has zero - unless you use a distribution - which is the same as buying a Windows PC with say Office preinstalled - which still doesnt have a fully functional equivalent on Linux - unless you run it under WINE!

      Windows Installer is a decade ahead of anything available on Linux - You still have to compile most things! For instance go try the Install of Office 2013 evaluation - It gives you a running application in less than a minute and installs the rest in the background via application streaming. There is simply no equivalent to this on Linux.

      Windows 7 is a better option for the vast majority of users than any Linux distribution.

      1. squilookle
        Facepalm

        Re: Steady decline

        "You still have to compile most things!"

        Yeah, if you opt for a distro like Slackware.

        I have only ever had to compile things when playing with distributions like that because I was curious about them. During my day to day use on my previous Suse and previous and current Ubuntu systems, I have never had to compile anything. But you can go down that route if you want to, and that's part of the beauty if the thing.

        Regarding Eadon's original comments, I agree that the average Linux distro is more use from the first boot because of the installed software, but i would argue this is a case of the Linux distro's going above and beyond, and not a failing of Windows or MS.

        I'm a fan of Linux and keep both Linux and Windows boxes at home. However I would argue that Windows has, despite the blue screens, security scares, and certain versions being widely acknowledged as worse than others, done a good job for the vast majority of it's users for a lot of years now, so in that sense, it is not a bad OS.

      2. MacroRodent Silver badge
        Linux

        Things have changed long ago

        "Windows Installer is a decade ahead of anything available on Linux - You still have to compile most things!"

        Oh, no. Sounds like you haven't used a Linux distribution during the past 15 years or so.

        The reality is that when you use a mainstream Linux distribution (Ubuntu, Red hat and so on) you can install ALL applications for most common uses of a PC either from the distro repositories with a few mouse clicks (or by a short command-line command if you prefer - I usually do, but that is just a preference), or from a binary package from some other site that you can install with the package manager of the distribution. Compiling yourself is needed only if you want to try a "bleeding edge" version of some application, or the application is so specialized that nobody has got around to making distro-specific packages.

        Curiously, Linux fans often suffer from the reverse form of ignorance, picturing the security and stability of Windows being what it was in the Windows 98 timeframe. When I started using Linux, Windows was so unstable it frequently crashed if one just looked at it the wrong way, and Linux was vastly better. This is no longer true, but the impression lingers.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Steady decline

        http://www.zone-h.org/news/id/4737 :-

        "But we should not speak only about the Linux servers, the Win­dows Servers are also in the stats, (not) sur­pris­ingly still hacked by the same flaws like in year 2000 and early. Every year we also recorded a high num­ber of the web­dav and shares mis­con­fig­u­ra­tion attacks. For web­dav there are tons of the updates, for shares too, admin­is­tra­tors just need to put their hands on it and update and/​or change the con­fig­u­ra­tion."

        1. RICHTO Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: Steady decline

          Windows Server might be in the stats - but a far lower number than Linux servers - even if you adjust for market share of webservers....And most issues are configuration related - not exploit vulnerabilities like Linux.

      4. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        1. RICHTO Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: Steady decline

          Almost everything you say is incorrect:

          Enterprise Linux distributions have had more highly critical vulnerabilities (i.e. remotely exploitable) that on average have taken longer to get fixed than current Microsoft OSs every year since 2003. (2002 was the year Bill Gates made security Microsoft's #1 priority). This can been clearly seen in internet facing servers where even allowing for market share, you are several times more likely to be hacked running Linux.

          The registry absolutely is a database. You clearly don't have a clue here - are you thinking of Active Directory perhaps?

          Windows does not 'mix user and system files' they have their own seperate locations - which for user files can also be controlled by group policy if you dont like the defaults. You are correct that the top level directory names occassionally change between major OS versions, but symbolic links point from the old names to the new ones so there is no confusion if you used the older names.

          With Linux there is no choice other than a crippled Office suite. Unless you run Office Web Apps, or use MS Office via WINE.

          Windows installer does exactly what you tell it to do. And removes it all again afterwards if you chose. Windows has the App Store as a repository - far more user friendly than anything Linux has to offer. Installation on Linux is a nightmare - often refusing to instal due to some one word named dependency that you have to hunt around finding an obscure respository that requires you being online to sync it to the OS and download and compile something (For instance native ERLANG support being dropped in CENTOS 6). And as i said the fundamental capabilities of Windows Installer like streamed downloads and run anywhere dont even exist on Linux. Ditto enterprise control over it via App Locker - Linux equivalents are simply not enterprise ready solutions, or even secure and effective in many cases.

          Mac user numbers might be growing but Linux user numbers are not. It sits where it almost always has at circa 1%

          1. Richard Plinston

            Re: Steady decline

            > you have to hunt around finding an obscure respository that requires you being online to sync it to the OS and download and compile something (For instance native ERLANG support being dropped in CENTOS 6).

            Whereas for erlang on Windows all you need to do is: hunt around finding an obscure download site that requires you being online to sync it to the OS and download and compile something.

            Well actually you don't need to compile anything for CentOS or Windows because they provide prebuilt packages for many distros.

      5. Chemist

        Re: Steady decline

        "Linux - You still have to compile most things!"

        @RICHTO - you usually claim that you have 'evidence' for the rubbish you spout.

        I call on all fair-minded, informed users here to refute the nonsense that is you claiming that most things need to be compiled to install Linux. Almost all installs of Linux require NO compiling and that's for the complete system (OS and applications).

        You really are pathetic !

      6. Nuke
        Facepalm

        RICHTO - Re: Steady decline

        Richto wrote :- "Windows Installer is a decade ahead of anything available on Linux - You still have to compile most things! "

        How seriously misinformed you are, and yet accuse others of ignorance! I have been using Linux for 10 years, various distros, and confess that I have never once compiled anything.

        Perhaps you were just joking? I don't know, I just despair.

      7. Steven Raith
        WTF?

        Re: Steady decline

        Windows Installer is a decade ahead of anything available on Linux - You still have to compile most things! For instance go try the Install of Office 2013 evaluation - It gives you a running application in less than a minute and installs the rest in the background via application streaming. There is simply no equivalent to this on Linux.

        Hey, for the last few years I've been surfing the web and checking my emails etc while the whole fucking operating system installs.

        Benefits of having an OS that's clean enough to run statefully from a USB pen while it installs to the HDD.

        I'm also enjoying uinstalling applications from Windows PCs, it says it's finished, going to uninstall something else, at which point it tells me that I can't remove another application while another install/uninstall process is ongoing.

        <insert slow handclap here>

        Oh, and my bro - who cares not for computers, geekery, and command line gubbins, has been running Ubuntu 10.04 since release day, without any problems other than a broken (literally- the hardware died) wifi card.

        On a now near ten year old laptop - late P4, 2gb RAM, i845 (!) GPU, 120gb HDD.

        Is windows better for most users? Yeah, but then a 1.8 Mondeo is a better car for 'most people' than a BMW 335i, that doesn't mean the Mondeo is actually objectively the better car. Just that most users wouldn't be able to take advantage of what it offers, and will continue to dawdle in the outside lane at 55mph when they could be doing it better.

        Shame, as with motorway lane discipline, most users just don't care, eh? :-)

      8. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Steady decline

        RICHTO dares to say "You just show your ignorance here."

        This is the most stupid gunk this week, even for RICHTO, professional astroturfer from Redmond.

  11. Steve Lee

    Cutler didn't write NT from scratch. Much of NTs core code was os/2 lanserver 2.1 - when IBM and microsoft went thier own ways they each got a copy of the (mainly IBM coded) base code which they could develop from. NT is os/2 with microsoft extentions and a new gui.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      NT 3 kernel like the OS/2 2.1 kernel?

      [Citation needed]

    2. Richard Plinston

      > Cutler didn't write NT from scratch. Much of NTs core code was os/2 lanserver 2.1 - when IBM and microsoft went thier own ways they each got a copy of the (mainly IBM coded) base code which they could develop from.

      That is complete nonsense.

      Cutler did not write NT from scratch, that is true, but it was not based on anything that was OS/2 (except the project was for a short time named OS/2 NT), it was based on his previous work at DEC for a VMS replacement. In fact DEC threatened to sue MS over this and they settled.

      http://www.windowsitpro.com/content1/topic/windows-nt-and-vms-the-rest-of-the-story/catpath/windows-2000

      > (mainly IBM coded) base code

      The base OS code of OS/2 was written by Microsoft, the very early builds of which were referred to, and displayed, 'MS-DOS 5' (not to be confused with the much later MS-DOS 5. IBM wrote Presentation Manager at Hursley lab.

      > NT is os/2 with microsoft extentions and a new gui.

      NT is _NOT_ OS/2 - except the project was briefly named that and it did have an OS/2 text mode 'personality'. NT 3.1 did not have 'a new GUI' it had the Windows 3.1 GUI which is why it was numbered as that. NT 4 did get a new GUI.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    NT - security as an afterthought?

    Nope, NT's approach to security was way ahead of anything else at the time. You can blame the legacy of the 16-bit derived arm of Windows for the "run as administrator" approach (that, and lazy devs writing line-of-business apps).

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Title correction

    "A lot of awful change for a single release"

    There - fixed it

  14. Mondo the Magnificent
    Paris Hilton

    Where do you think you are going today?

    I've used most MS OSes over the years, but my fave will always be XP, the stepping stone OS that paved the way for USB, SATA/SAS, the Terabyte + file systerm, Wireless and of course, 64 Bit.

    To quote the article "In addition, Microsoft improved Windows security with a system called User Account Control (UAC), enabling users to run with lower privileges most of the time and protect the operating system from malicious application code"

    Well all UAC did was frustrate the bejeezus out of people, but Vista got more than just a facelift and MS cleverly called it "Windows 7" (V[ista]-II) and again it seems to do the job well, a-la XP.

    I think there will be resistance to Windows 8 because it's a massive paradigm shift in the way we'll be interfacing with our beloved PCs.

    Who knows, in a few years we'll be used to it and accept it, or perhaps MS will revert back to the old guard Task Bar type Windows interface?

    Time will tell I guess...

    Paris: Because change is inevitable

    1. Uwe Dippel

      Re: Where do you think you are going today?

      I was at first glance thinking you were joking. It read so nice.

      I for one remember the opposite: no support for USB initially, trouble with WiFi, SATA considerably late, large file system (and large file) support very very late. My systems for one had most of those features *before* they appeared in Windows.

    2. Richard Plinston

      Re: Where do you think you are going today?

      > Well all UAC did was frustrate the bejeezus out of people

      No. It did have a very useful function for Microsoft: it changed the blame.

      Before UAC the blame for security problems was Microsoft's. Users were often forced to run insecurely. The UAC changed that, if the user agreed then it was his fault.

  15. Kirstian K
    Devil

    Windows HE (Holo Edition)

    moving forward,

    when we all have hologram monitors on our desks (as seen im many SciFi movies/Tv series) this touch shenanigans will also be a thing of the past, and people will say:

    do you remember looking back at the first touch windows (8 i think it was) everyone was up in arms about the change, and look where we are today, re-written (again) from scratch (again) and god i dont want to have to fondle a hologram, why oh why did we have to change.

    at the end of the day, computer workers/technitians will always have a keyboard (or maybe a voice interface i guess) and need more from a computer. And home / casual users will not need the same as the hard core users (this is where apple have it right i think). they are 2 seperate markets. simples.

    MS NEED to get into tablets, i think their approach is brave. But i would not be supprised if versions split in the future for clarification, (the RT/Intel option will confuse many im sure)

    im just wondering what Apple will do when they decide to change their OS (as peple are already complaining ios6 is just the same again etc and want a bit of new) but if they do change significantly, they will hit the same walls as MS is now, oh why oh why..

    worst case scenario MS goes bankrupt, everyone is either Apple / Google OS.

    big whoopdy doo...

    i will be on the beach with my flying car powered by google if you need me, with my holo porn on hard light.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Amount of change

    I think the key point of the article is definitely right - too much change.

    I hate to bring up Apple but with OSX they are masters at bringing in just enough change in a release without alienating the user base. They could be a bit more bold with iOS though, that's pretty stagnant in some areas.

  17. Wibble
    Facepalm

    Every dog has it's day...

    That user interface will have it's outing soon. The plebs will have their hands on it and the plebs will speak.

    I know my opinions about the UI, I'm really hoping that the rest of the world will concur; it's the GUI that keeps you guessing and rarely shows you what to do. Maybe they translated it to Guessable User Interface?

    Down Fido.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    " The risk in Windows 8 is not lack of innovation, but that for some long-term Windows users it is simply too different."

    But moving to a different OS would be totally different again!! Bit silly really.

  19. envmod

    that's a point...

    windows 8 hasn't got any windows. why is it called windows? they should have called it boxes v1.

    1. P. Lee Silver badge
      Coat

      >windows 8 hasn't got any windows. why is it called windows? they should have called it boxes v1.

      It has one window, with lots of pains.

  20. janimal
    FAIL

    General Computing Device

    I think win 8 is a big mistake although none of us can be sure until we see take up (and discard) numbers. It does seem as if Microsoft are trying to emulate apple by creating an eco-system rather than an operating system. In doing so however I feel that they are in danger of discarding their USP.

    The very reason I use both linux and windows at home is because of their versatility. Because they enable your computer to be a truly general computing device not a media consumption device. I do of course use my machine to surf the web, communicate with family. play music, watch movies and play games of course. I also use it for programming, database design, db server, webserver, graphics design, 3d modelling, as a recording studio etc... etc...

    Sometimes I even do some of these things at the same time.

    It is precisely because the hardware & OS are so customisable that I choose these over apple. However if I did actually want a more locked in eco-system then I wouldn't choose windows 8 because apple already does it better - they have been doing it for ages.

    The main problem with win 8 is that it is unfinished. If they had got to the point where you could spend all your time in the desktop or all your time in Metro and effectively never ever encounter the other unless you specifically choose to I don't think it would have been a problem.

    I can't understand why they don't architect the OS to allow the user to choose a GUI paradigm which suits their workflow. Windows would be undisputed king if the user could choose from multiple GUIs to suit their style in linux fashion.

    Business would be happy, power-users would be happy, consumers would be happy. Apple would be sad.

    Microsoft have never really got their heads around the concept of enticing customers with excellence rather than forcing customers to accept mediocrity.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: General Computing Device

      Unfortunately MS's approach looks very much like marketing decisions rather than anything constructive.

      Winforms support is needed due to the thousands of legacy apps out there, otherwise they would alienate the desktop market, but what have they done, made it less usable in a desktop environment and alienated them.

      Office hasn't been updated for the new GUI, so why would anyone else update their software just because MS decided to pull a 1570deg turn on their GUI?

      I understand the principal of merging all their platforms, but this looks like someone has gone: "it will be completed by this date" and everyone panicked!

      But this is the flaw in your argument, MS has tried to bring out several new graphics technologies in the last few years all have generally flopped, now they're trying HTML5.

      Winforms while it is not pretty by modern standards and still has bugs, it's fairly easy to use and most developers know it.

      New and different GUI's will cause more fragmentation, poor support and other issues, not only for MS, but for the developers. It will make the problem worse.

      1. janimal

        Re: General Computing Device

        er... I was talking about GUIs not the technology they are built with. It wouldn't matter to me if they used win32 libraries, C, C++, winforms -whatever as long as it is fast and doesn't get in the way of what I am actually using the computer for

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: General Computing Device

          But the technology they are built with is critical to their use!

          Their acceptance is based on effectively how many useful applications are available for them, a different GUI would create fragmentation and the applications would need to be adapted to run with the new technology.

          Exactly what we are seeing here with Windows 8.

          The applications need to be either re-written or at least adapted for the new technology, this takes time and costs money, even if it's open source and as the technology has changed.

          There is a learning curve for those performing the changes, which adds further time and cost.

          This is the thing, it WILL get in the way of what you are using the computer for, you've got your nice funky new GUI, but no applications to run on it, because it's either not supported or not fully supported.

  21. James 47

    Been running Windows7 on a laptop for over 3 years now and can count on one hand the number of BSODs I've seen. All were caused by shitty graphics drivers from AMD.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Been running Linux on various classes of machines for over fifteen years now and can count on one thumb the number of system crashes I've seen.

      1. keithpeter
        Happy

        Crashes

        OK I'll join in...

        Mac OS X (Tiger): pulling out the USB adsl modem while connected to the internet got that rather nice multilingual smoked grey kernel panic screen every time. Nothing else was as effective. Used to get the beachball sometimes.

        Linux (Ubuntu mainly): kernel panics when testing alpha and pre-alpha releases on a range of hardware. Nowt else. Uptime in weeks on the desktop, I usually hibernate. Reboot on some updates.

        Windows 7: Doesn't like you removing USB devices while data is transferring, not much else. Goes very slow sometimes, but it was on an old Thinkpad T60.

        Moral: My needs are simple, the hardware I use is fairly mainstream, and most OSes work.

      2. RICHTO Silver badge
        Mushroom

        But I bet you have seen plenty of hung consoles and ghost processes, or Linux boxes unuseable from memory leaks. I certainly have. Seen plenty of kernel panics in my time too, so If you claim not to have in 15 years i find that surprising...

        1. Chemist

          "Seen plenty of kernel panics in my time too"

          Not seen any since the days of having to compile the kernel - so late 90's ? - ghost processes, or rather zombies - sometimes but that's generally other software not the OS and indeed they get reaped anyway.

          You really should keep up-to-date or better still silent !

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "I can't understand why they don't architect the OS to allow the user to choose a GUI paradigm which suits their workflow."

    they do, you can still use the "desk top".

    1. janimal

      Except when using not-metro there are times wen the desktop suddenly needs to appear and vice-versa - which is why I called it unfinished.

    2. pixl97

      Yes, you can use the desktop, but it doesn't work the same way as W7 and previous. Want to view your 'start menu' and desktop at the same time? Better have dual monitors. Funny for a 'touch screen' based operating system I find my self using the Win+R key or cmd prompt to run programs more then ever since Metro send you thru more mouse clicks and running across the screen with your mouse to get to what you need to. I did something where the tiles on the Metro screen wouldn't launch the applications when I clicked on them for a time, still trying to figure out what I hit, since I know some customer will call me in the future with the issue. It would have been nice for the OS to give me some clue as to what 'mode' it was in.

      The interface is half baked. All the good features of W8 will be overshadowed by the craptacular interface that makes it harder to get your work done if you've had any experience with Windows before now.

  23. Criminny Rickets
    Facepalm

    Missing a version

    I don't see any mention of Windows ME in the article. It's an interesting article so would be nice to see how ME fit into the release cycle.

    1. NukEvil
      Flame

      Re: Missing a version

      I would say that Windows ME "fit" into the release "cycle" about the same way that tacos from Taco Bell "fit" into the digestive system, SHORTLY before being squirted into the toilet where it "cycles" its way through the septic system.

      Flame because, if you had the misfortune to add their Hot Sauce onto their tacos, that's what it feels like at both ends.

    2. squilookle
      Thumb Up

      Re: Missing a version

      Windows ME was great(ish). On the one hand, it irritated me to the point I finally decided to go and tried Suse Linux, which was a good thing.

      On a serious note, I have very happy memories playing Grand Theft Auto 3 and Vice City (and other games from the same time) on my Windows ME PC at the time. It was also my first DVD player. I was a student and had no television, so that computer was everything - work machine and my only source on entertainment. I ended up dual booting it with Suse for work and ME for games.

      I think I'm trying to say it was actually crap, but that I have happy memories using it.

      1. Piro

        Re: Missing a version

        Maybe it's like most people's first car - a piece of shit, but it gave you some good times nonetheless.

  24. DaveNullstein
    FAIL

    Oh Please....

    "This is Microsoft's third major attempt to fix Windows security, if you count Windows XP SP2 as the first, and Vista's UAC as the second. It brings in a new platform in which apps are sandboxed and installed from Microsoft's store, imitating Apple's model. "

    If you think we're getting the Microsoft store due to security concerns you are delusional. Any security benefits will be purely incidental. Windows 8 is far more about giving Microsoft what it wishes it had than it is about giving users what they want.

  25. Netman
    Megaphone

    What no-one is saying is

    That the Start Menu even on Win 7 is ungainly and most people never use the treeview style interface to get at programmes. Remember with XP going all the way to the side of the screen and back again with levels inside the start menu?

    What the new interface provides is a clever way to group the programmes you use most into intuitive groups. It's genius. I know, I've been using RTM for 2 months now, on both touch and non-touch PCs and Laptops.

    Half the people who moan about Win8 have never used the RTM and have not bothered to see if it will fit before casting their dispersions. Win7 caused me disorientation the first time I used it because things were subtly different, Win8 was no different. After use would I go back - Give me the Win8 Start menu any day.

    Give over with the gripping and get on with it.

    1. pixl97

      Re: What no-one is saying is

      XP and previous start menu sucked when it exploded over your screen. Vista and 7 did it right and reminded me more of the way Mac displayed programs. Win7s start menu works rather well and is anything but ungainly. If you want ungainly find the magic pixel and then have the damn thing take over your screen. Sometimes you want to look at your start menu and desktop, without having dual monitors. Oh, yes lets also 'hide' all your shit with a right click too. Oh and make it so you can't group the shit the way you want to. Oh, and lets make it so when you do get in Metro editing mode, a) you don't realize it, b) you get no hints on what your doing.

      Yes, Microsoft moved some crap around in W7 that was weird, but all interface is picked up pretty quick. The W7 interface doesn't interrupt the workflow you are used to with XP, other then UAC. Now take a default W8 install and stick at XP or W7 user behind it and see what happens. I've been using W8 for months now and it still surprises me with odd shit it does to this day.

      1. Netman

        Re: What no-one is saying is

        "Oh and make it so you can't group the shit the way you want to."

        Yes you can. That's the whole point.

        "Win7s start menu works rather well and is anything but ungainly."

        That's why MS analytics show that most people are typing what they want and pinning, not hunting through a layered treeview.

        "Sometimes you want to look at your start menu and desktop, without having dual monitors."

        Like when?

        "I've been using W8 for months now and it still surprises me with odd shit it does to this day."

        Likewise, but surprising? Like when a toaster pops and the bread sticks out at an odd angle and you say "Wow! I didn't know it did that!"

        The point had been made time and time again that people do not like what they are comfortable with, that does not make it bad/wrong/crap. The RTM is much better than any of the preview releases and there's nothing surprising... unless you want to elaborate, perhaps?

  26. Mage Silver badge

    Windows NT 4.0

    Negative:

    GDI moved into Kernel: Graphics and Printer drivers able to crash OS for first time.

    The next iteration of PCs added more performance than that change. It was a mistake. There was even a perfectly good Explorer shell (preview) just before NT 4.0 that ran on NT3.51

    Positive

    NT 4 enterprise could access 16G of RAM, breaking 2G limit

    NT 4 enterprise supported cluster on standard HW if you had a 2 channel SCSI, SCSI repeaters on both PCs and two external SCSI shelves mirrored across the channels.

    NT4 as well as x86 supported Pentium Pro (rubbish running 95), MIPS, Power PC, Alpha and 64 bit Alpha.

    CE was based on NT. Only the GUI of CE was stupid for small device. Zune fixed that.

    The demise and then dismemberment of DEC by Compaq, then disastrous HP take over (ditching some of the best of both companies) was bad.

    DEC ARM designs live on in Marvell though after Intel took them and resold them.

  27. Daedalus Silver badge
    Trollface

    Those who forget history....

    Windows 1.0 was a blocky, pathetic-looking imitation of the Macintosh.

    Windows 8 is a blocky, pathetic-looking imitation of the iPad.

    Bwahahaha!

  28. NukEvil
    Trollface

    INB4...

    I predict a massive comment thread, most of which is retorts and insults thrown about by fanbois, fandriods, and apologists of their respective OSes, and about how Microsoft stole patents from other companies, blah blah blah.

    Oh, it's already started?

  29. h3

    The thing that is bad about it is 20 years from now there will be no way to run Windows Store apps at all.

    I am indifferent to the Metro UI but I quite like the rest of the changes (Powershell 3.0 / Hyper-V / Speed Improvements / explorer improvements / mount iso built into the OS).

    What I don't like is there is no way for me to set Metro IE and Desktop Firefox (The first time I ran the Browser Choice thing I ended up with Firefox and Metro IE which is what I want but MS doesn't seem to want people to do this.)

    Metro IE was quite nice for internet banking.

    Don't see why browsers get a free pass either there should be a choice to make an app using the same interfaces they use that can just be normally loaded. (That isn't a browser).

    1. MacroRodent Silver badge
      Linux

      Mount ISO

      > mount iso built into the OS

      Yeah, nice Windows finally got that. Linux has handled it for what, almost 20 years...

      mount -o loop -t iso9660 diskimage.iso /any/directory/you/want

      (OK, it has to be done as root, or with sudo). Loop mounts actually handle any kind of file system the Linux kernel supports, so you can mount floppy or hard disk images the same way.

      1. david 12 Silver badge

        Windows finally got that. Linux has handled it for what, almost 20 year

        Linus started Linux in 1991, and in 1992 it was "(just a hobby, won't be big and professional like gnu)".

        In 1992 I couldn't get it to recognise my video card, let alone a disk image.

        1. MacroRodent Silver badge
          Linux

          Re: Windows finally got that. Linux has handled it for what, almost 20 year

          That's why I wrote "almost", because I was not sure when loop mounts appeared. But it is a very old feature. After a bit of digging, discovered it seems to have appeared in at least Linux kernel version 2.2.9 (the encrypted loopback file system documents say it requires at least that version). 2.2.9 was released in May 1999. OK, let's say Linux has had supported for 13 years. That is still 13 years longer than Windows...

          1. david 12 Silver badge

            Re: Windows finally got that. Linux has handled it for what, almost 20 year

            >That is still 13 years longer than Windows...

            But, and here's the critical point, in 2001 I was mounting ISO's in Linux because I still couldn't get my CD drive to work.

            Which reminds me of a DOS/Windows friend who brought an early CD drive into the country. He joked that what bugged him the most wasn't that he couldn't get the SCSI drive to mount. What bugged him most was that when he plugged it into the back of a Mac, it just worked.

            1. MacroRodent Silver badge
              Linux

              Re: Windows finally got that. Linux has handled it for what, almost 20 year

              > in 2001 I was mounting ISO's in Linux because I still couldn't get my CD drive to work.

              I suspect it was one of the drives with a proprietary interface. They used to be common in the early days of CD-ROM drives. Linux supported some of the oddball interfaces but not all. I had less trouble in 1994 with a SCSI drive on Linux, in fact installed Yggdrasil Linux with it. I recall the leaflet accompanying the CD contained special instructions for installing with some kinds of proprietary CD-ROM drive interfaces, which was the reason I went for a SCSI drive, even though it was a bit more expensive. It was the only real standard interface in those days.

      2. RICHTO Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: Mount ISO

        Erm yes, but you still have to do that with CDs as well::

        mount -t iso9660 -o ro /dev/cdrom /cdrom

        Whereas Windows has done that automatically for circa 20 years....

  30. Roland6 Silver badge

    Bets on a XP Second Edition ?

    With Windows 8 the question is not so much about where Microsoft is going but will their existing users go with them in sufficient numbers to keep Microsoft on top, particularly as they have grown used to the relative stability of the XP years and the benefits that has brought.

    It would be interesting to see Microsoft put out an XP SE release, effectively consisting of SP4 and functional enhancements not implemented in XP due to commercial considerations, in parallel to Windows 8 and which product people are prepared to spend their money on. Yes it won't look sexy but what we are seeing is the divergence between what business needs and consumer fashion.

    1. Zmodem

      Re: Bets on a XP Second Edition ?

      you only need windows 7, after install, you do the following steps http://nullnuke.netai.net/wiki.php?nxt=entry&entry=20 and its all good for 10 years

  31. earl grey Silver badge
    Devil

    I, for one

    Welcome our new Win9 overlords. May they be more in line with my trusty Win7 and Xp masters.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    thanks

    for that review-lite of the development of windows - brought back the whole roller-coaster of reactions to windows. I had Windows 2 - boot DOS and run windows, or not, as you wished. When it was run, unless you had additional memory that windows could address, you couldn't do much with it.

    Pretty though, and obviously the future of computing rock n roll.

    Windows wasn't the first GUI to run on DOS and being able to do stuff by mouse did open computers up to less tech minded people. Windows was great with printers (who remembers writing ASCII code translation tables, or how long it could take to get rid of the extra CR character?) and device management. When these were done by jumpers and I/O settings defeated most of the common herd.

    Win 3 was my first serious engagement with windows, or do I mean windows 3.1, or windows for workgroups (3.11). What was the difference? Who knew, but you had to keep up to date, the future was calling. Yeah, a few OS upgrades you missed out there - perhaps my brain shut them out, but... W95 OSR2, W98 pre adn post Y2K compatibility, Millenium Edition ... I changed OS more often than my underpants in the run up from 1995 to the sanity of WIndows 2K, and MS Office upgrades were filling up the other half of my week. That's why XP has been something to love, nearly 10 years of clean underpants, and we totally passed on Vista - W7 doesn't cause us problems so why, and this is missing form the article, why should I want W8?

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cutler to blame for NT non-security?

    A severe case of historical revisionism going on here ...

    "Support for extended memory allowed users to break through the 640KB DOS barrier. Application vendors, including Lotus and WordPerfect, rushed to support acres of new RAM space. As a consequence of this success, Microsoft publicly lost enthusiasm for OS/2"

    Lotus and WordPerfect caused Microsoft to trash OS/2? (f*****g gobsmacked)

    "At the outset of the NT project, Cutler treated computer security as an afterthought, another item on a long list of features".

    No he didn't, Cutler was fired over disagreements about moving GDI to ring 0. He was rehired back on again as they couldn't complete the project without him.

  34. Zmodem

    there is nothing more hostle then typing letters and making pie charts

  35. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    It seems very clear to me that Microsoft, Apple, Google, Canonical are all hell-bent on turning computers into pure content consumer devices. The question is, who will make the systems needed by those of us who create that content?

    1. GrahamsTenPenneth
      Thumb Up

      That would be the Linux system engineers

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Implications are Wrong

    There is an implication in this article that Windows NT was or is somehow damaged from the start because it did not "enforce complete separation of application code, core operating system code, device drivers, and application data".

    It's not at all clear what you mean. Which of these are you claiming should be separated that are *not* separated by Windows NT? Are you suggesting that NT should have been a pure microkernel architecture?

  37. Paul 129
    Windows

    Interesting note about Vista

    xp-64 bit. To handle 64 bit applications a concept of registry redirects was brought in. The concept appeard to be that is you had some 64bit code you could have independent configuration in the registry that could be simply redirected to 32bit configuration. So the 64bit subsystem could co-exist with a 32bit without any drama.

    Well we all know what happens with a messed up registry. xp-64 bit was not we supported by hardware and seemed unstable. Come vista there was more of a drive to 64bit, and hardware support. But they still supported the registry redirects. Thankfully the concept was killed off with windows 7, instead of registry redirects (now depreciated) you actually have the 64bit registry branches.

    IMHO this is a BIG reason for issues with Vista compared to Win7. But hey I have no empirical evidence.

  38. david 12 Silver badge

    Support for extended memory

    .. allowed users to break through the 640KB DOS barrier.

    It also entrenched the position of Intel in the market, giving us not just Windows, but, as you may rember, WIntel.

    Specifically, MS supported only Intel 386 extended memory, decisively cutting all other extended memory managers, based on non-Intel chipsets, out of the market.

    Intel was in exPanded memory at the ground floor (LIMS EMS), but it was late to exTended, which was being offered by mother-board chip-sets with enahanced memory drivers. MS Windows 386 killed that whole business for a bunch of people.

    1. Richard Plinston

      Re: Support for extended memory

      >. allowed users to break through the 640KB DOS barrier.

      MS-DOS did not have a '640Kb barrier'. Several machines, eg S100 based, could run MS-DOS with 1Mbyte of RAM. It was the IBM PC design that put the video RAM at 640Kb that imposed the limit. non-IBM-PC did not have that limit.

      > Specifically, MS supported only Intel 386 extended memory

      MS-DOS 5 had HIMEM.SYS for 80286 systems, granted it was a couple of years after others had done it.

      > cutting all other extended memory managers, based on non-Intel chipsets, out of the market.

      It certainly didn't 'cut out' DR-DOS's EMS and XMS managers which were significantly better that MS-DOS's. It may have killed others but that is just the risk that company's take when they enhance MS products. If it works then MS will take the business from you.

      1. david 12 Silver badge

        Re: Support for extended memory

        >It certainly didn't 'cut out' DR-DOS's EMS and XMS managers

        Digital Research was not a hardware company. They did not make mother board chipsets.

        Certainly MS's decision to only support Intel XMS offered a market niche for DR-DOS, but not one that allowed Windows 3 to run on non-Intel hardware.

        I don't think that I would consider Intel to be just in the business of enhancing MS products even now.

        1. Richard Plinston

          Re: Support for extended memory

          > Certainly MS's decision to only support Intel XMS offered a market niche for DR-DOS, but not one that allowed Windows 3 to run on non-Intel hardware.

          I am not sure what you are trying to say but it seems to be complete nonsense. I ran Windows 3.x on SiS and VIA chipsets in all its modes. I ran Windows 3.1 in an emulated environment on multiuser systems (DR-Multiuser-DOS) and on OS/2. It did not require Intel hardware.

  39. The Alpha Klutz
    Thumb Up

    im already not missing the start button

    it and its associated menus are so shit. its okay in a nicely package managed OS like Linux where a menu works but on Windows its a pile of shit even the bits linking to other bits of the OS are kludgy and you can click 6 links just to do some basic crap and its all worded like your a corporate whore in an office clicking links on the company dime. disgusting really. in start menu every company has its own menu systems --like your really gunna memorise the names of every company who makes every software you use. um no you are not. disgusting. it would be like Linux expecting you to memorise the names of Linus' family before you can open your browser.

    1. GrahamsTenPenneth
      Linux

      Re: im already not missing the start button

      Yeah me too.

      I think mines called "Applications".

      Oh and all my office applications are grouped in a sub-menu called "Office"

      You can see how this would confuse people because it doesn't have the word "Microsoft" in front.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: im already not missing the start button

      You do realise you can rearrange the menus so they make sense for you and don't fill the screen twice over?

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: im already not missing the start button

        What is this 'Start Button' you speak of?

  40. Nameless Faceless Computer User

    Windows 2000 was the only decent operating system with the Microsoft name on it - and, that was written by IBM.

  41. The answer is 42
    Coat

    Load of Brick Glue!

    They even named it after the stuff- Windows CE ME NT.

    When our company got to Win 2000, we still had to supply a major customer with all files readable in Office 4.3 format, running on Win 3.1 as they wouldn't trust anything new (or couldn't screw it down tightly enough!)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Windows CE ME NT

      love it! :)

  42. Inquisitive
    Unhappy

    Those were the days (tongue in cheek)

    Windows 3.1 will have a place in my heart forever, I know, no good for the internet era but then Bill Gates didn't wake up to the fact of the internet until someone bellowed in his ear. But 3.1 was a simple clear piece of software, no good in today's world I know and 3.11 added networking again not sure if that version was good or bad for the networking community.

    I had a 386 computer in those days, and even though the mobile phones of today would knock the 386's specification for six I had very little trouble with my machine for the tasks in hand. A dot matrix printer and everything was grand, with the Windows 3.1 floppy discs to reinstall if anything did go wrong. But not for long once the online phenomena started, then it was curtains and an upgrade to a 486 machine, it was a never ending upgrade cycle from then on.

  43. tin 2
    WTF?

    O RLY?

    Windows? Pre-emptive multitasking? Do me a favour! Maybe for the process that draws the mouse pointer but that is all.

  44. Sean Miller

    When I first installed the W8 Consumer Preview I was a bit taken aback by the lack of the start menu, the "Metro" icons etc. but it didn't take me long to adapt.

    I spend 99% of my time in the Desktop, the apps etc. mean nothing to me. However, I could see that were I using a touchscreen they would be far more intuitive than "emulating a mouse with fingers", in the way one would have had to have done in Windows 7.

    Microsoft have been brave in that they've decided, unlike Apple, to come up with one unified operating system for both touch and desktop whereas the ghost of Steve Jobs still has two streams, the OSx and iOs which "seldom collide".

    Which of the two have got it right remains to be seen. But it's early days yet... personally I like W8, despite the fact I don't have a touchscreen. None of the changes from W7 have particularly impacted my productivity, so I say "bring it on"....

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Fascinating

    It's articles like this that I come for at The Register (well, often)! Thanks.

    PS. That wasn't supposed to sound sarcastic.

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