back to article 'Evolution of the PC ecosystem'? Microsoft's 'modern' OS reminds us of the Windows RT days

At Computex in Taipei, Microsoft exec Nick Parker talked up the "evolution of the PC ecosystem", describing a future modern operating system which is secure, connected and AI-powered. What exactly is this operating system? We presume a version of Windows, though Parker, CVP of consumer and device sales, did not say. The …

  1. Blockchain commentard Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Seamless updates with no interuptions? Won't be Windows based then, ho ho ho!!!!

    1. Oh Matron! Silver badge

      Came here to say this.

      Even office can't manage this task without auto updater getting in your face every two seconds

      These words will come back to haunt them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Oh Matron! - You mean

        to haunt us the users

    2. JLV
      Trollface

      If wishes were horses, beggars would ride

      Says the company who still can’t perform many updates without one or more reboots.

      Nay, says the company whose update mechanism is such a mess that will not even commit to HAVING to reboot on any given update. Only that it MAY have to reboot.

      1. fidodogbreath Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: If wishes were horses, beggars would ride

        Says the company who still can’t perform many updates without one or more reboots...

        ...into Safe Mode, to disable your antivirus or somesuch.

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: If wishes were horses, beggars would ride

          wait just a minute, they're promising:

          "the update experience is deterministic, reliable, and instant with no interruptions"

          And you KNOW that MIcro-shaft would NEVER lie about that!!!

      2. Tom 35

        Re: If wishes were horses, beggars would ride

        It may not even tell you it needs to reboot, it just doesn't work right until you decide to reboot yourself.

    3. Richard Plinston

      > Seamless updates with no interuptions? Won't be Windows based then, ho ho ho!!!!

      That is correct. Rebooting to complete an update is a requirement imposed by the file system. Because the directory entry contains both the filename and the pointer to the start of the data blocks it is not possible to replace a file that is open (such as a program file or a library) without corrupting programs that are running or corrupting disk data. Updates to files are written to a different name and a batch script is written to change the names and the directory entries when the system reboots.

      *nix does not have this problem because it uses an inode file system that separates the filenames from the file storage and keeps track of which inodes are open to prevent their data blocks being reused even if the file is replaced. When the file is replaced the open files will continue to use the existing inode and data blocks until all opens are closed.

      Most of the listed 'features' seem to indicate that this new system will be thin clients using cloud based computing and will monthly fee based. It will likely be like ChromeOS except instead of being web based it will use proprietry protocols so that it continues to be more like a desktop - Terminal Server on steroids.

      It seems to me that the hardware will be closed like XBox (and relatively cheap like ChromeBooks) so that it can't be repurposed. It will require a monthly fee for each device (including Android or iPhone phones and tablets) and will work like the phone contract model.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        IIRC Raymond Chen explained why Windows does not allow to replace executables live - the risk is they use different in-memory data structures, so if version 1.0 creates a given structure, and version 1.1 use a different one (say 1.1 increased the size of one internal record, so any offset past it are changed) , if you replace 1.0 with 1.1 code but nothing also modifies the existing memory structure, the new code will access the wrong data. There are ways to resolve such issues, but are far from being simple.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge
          Boffin

          That's what Plinston said

          A Windows file handle holds the filename (or SIDL), and so if you create a new file of the same name(or SIDL), all open file handles will move to the new file, and if you delete it, all open file handles become invalid. Thus very bad juju.

          On Linux et al, the filename is only used to initially locate the file. The file handle holds a file content descriptor (inode), and so you can write a new file and point the old filename at it, without affecting any open files.

          The hard part of a *nix filesystem is that the OS has to keep track of whether each inode has become orphaned from any filenames while handles were open, and thus delete it "later".

          This also surprises Windows app devs, as there are a lot of tricks done using the specific Windows filesystem behaviour that won't work on *nix.

          1. JLV

            Re: That's what Plinston said

            Interesting. Where is this behavior observable? In the OS proper? Or is part of Window's dominant file system, NTFS? Could they fix it by changing file systems? Longhorn2...

            On macOS (maybe even Linux), mandatory reboots do happen, but they are quite, quite, infrequent.

            At least one good thing with the Windows 10 is that they no longer bother telling the press that they are minimizing reboots. Even journos as cynical as the Vultures tended to fall for that old chestnut when 7 and 8 came out and wrote coverage to that effect.

            1. nematoad Silver badge

              Re: That's what Plinston said

              "On macOS (maybe even Linux), mandatory reboots do happen, but they are quite, quite, infrequent."

              As far as I know with Linux reboots only seem to be mandatory when either the kernel is affected or if Lennart Poettering has his fingers in the pie.

              See also Pulseaudio.

              1. DuncanLarge Silver badge

                Re: That's what Plinston said

                You also are asked to reboot when you update libc but you can just restart the services most of the time.

              2. Richard Plinston

                Re: That's what Plinston said

                > Linux reboots only seem to be mandatory when either the kernel is affected

                In my experience with Linux over >20 years I have never met a mandatory reboot. Even with a kernel update you can still continue running the old kernel. I have had Linux servers stay running for more than a 1,000 days. Certainly the services were restarted when they were updated, many of them by the update process itself, all of them transparently.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: That's what Plinston said

            Windows does lock executable files when open exactly because it is designed to avoid those files to be replaced when in use. Feel free to read Raymond Chen and Mark Russinovich. It's an effect, not the cause.

            Changing how files are managed is really the simplest part. The real hard problem is what the code is doing in memory when you try to replace it. And when some memory is shared, the problem is even harder.

            As said, there are techniques that can be employed to solve the issues - but they are far harder to implement than simply changing how a file handle is used.

            Anyway, even in Linux you have to stop running processes to they can load the patched code, and if it's the kernel, reboot the system (unless you use a version where some of the above techniques are employed). I've seen many bad Linux admins thinking they didn't need to reboot - just to find they kept on running the unpatched, vulnerable code.

            In Windows too you don't need to restart the system to patch Office or MySQL. It is true that the OS itself has far more files in use, because the GUI and the shell implies a lot more is used than an headless Linux server.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: That's what Plinston said

              The references:

              https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/previous-versions/technet-magazine/cc983682(v=msdn.10)

              https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/larryosterman/2004/05/13/why-is-it-file_share_read-and-file_share_write-anyway/

              It's interesting to remember that unlike *nixes, Windows is message-based.

              Still, there are ways to minimize the reboots needed:

              https://devblogs.microsoft.com/oldnewthing/20151211-00/?p=92501

          3. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

            Re: That's what Plinston said

            Keeping track of whether a file needs to be deleted is not hard at all on traditional UNIX systems. When a file is open, there is in in-core copy of the inode, (which may be differ in some respects from the one on disk). One of the data fields in the inode is the link count. Each time a file is open or re-opened, or executed, the in-core link count is incremented. If the file pointer to the inode is moved or deleted, the link count is decremented. When the executable process exits or the file is closed (or deleted), the link count is decremented.

            If the link count in the in-core inode drops to zero, then the OS knows all references to the file have been concluded and the file is no longer needed, and the blocks containing the file data are moved to the free map, and the in-core and on-disk copy of the inode are freed.

            If the in-core link count matches the on-disk link count, then the OS knows that all references to the file from running processes have been concluded, and the inode is flushed to disk, and the in-core copy deleted.

            It's quite elegant, and has worked like this pretty much the same (with some changes due to memory mapped files and on-demand paging) since at least UNIX edition 6.

          4. CheesyTheClown

            Re: That's what Plinston said

            This is not argumentative. I'm a file system jockey and I have to admit that I'm a little bit in the dark here about the SIDL terminology.

            I also wonder if you and I understand the file system in Windows differently than one another. It's been a long time since Microsoft originally added forked file support. Yeh, traditionally Windows really didn't support iNodes and it was a wreck, but it's been a long time since that's been set in stone.

            The main reason Windows has required reboots to update is more related the UI. Upgrading files is no real problem. But in the a case like Linux where the GUI is entirely separated from the rest of the operating system (which is probably what I like least about Linux), the Windows GUI used to be the root for all tasks to be spawned from. So the GUI was the parent of all the tasks which made it so that if you upgraded the kernel, you'd have to restart the GUI running under the new kernel.

            With all the effort they've made to make it so that they kernel is less important and that most of the OS is running either as a VM or a container, they should be able to start a new kernel now and repatriate the system call hooks to the new kernel.

            1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

              Re: That's what Plinston said @CheesyTheClown

              There are arguments for and against having the GUI as a significant part of the kernel and/or the initial running environment.

              The main plus point is efficiency and performance.

              The main minus points are that the GUI is intimately involved in the OS instance (as you point out) and becomes a difficult to separate out component from the rest of the OS. It also means that the GUI has the ability to bring the OS down much more easily.

              But it is possible to install Windows without the GUI (when this was announced, it was jokingly referred to as defenesterated Windows).

              In a tradditional UNIX or Linux system, the GUI (if it exists) sits above the OS in userland, and while that means that there is an additional overhead in communicating with the graphics display hardware, it is isolated as a normal process is from the OS. This means that it becomes difficult to impossible for the GUI to mess around with the internals of the OS.

              It is possible to crash the display adapter, but as long as you have a virtual or physical terminal available, you should be able to get in and sort out the problem, as the kernel and any other sessions should not be affected.

              Because of this, I firmly believe that for a general-purpose OS, the GUI and all of it's processing should remain in userland, separated from the OS as a whole. I'll take the performance hit to gain stability every time!

              In a UNIX/Linux system, the GUI will be the root of all of the user's session processes and tasks (which includes things like the network manager that implements the WPA supplicant code), but nothing of the OS itself. This is as it should be, when you consider the multi-user nature of this type of system, which provided you have the right type of hardware (which includes remote X sessions) allows a single machine to run multiple graphical sessions for different users (which has worked on UNIX and other OSs like VMS for longer than Windows has existed).

              For the same to be done on Windows has involved some jiggery pokery to set up what are almost junior VMs (or at least the Windows equivalent of chroot) using RDP and MultiWin, rather than being a part of the OS tool set, although these things have been added as core Windows components since about Windows XP.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                At least in Windows 7 + the graphic driver can crash and the OS won't fail.

                It would tell you there has been an error in the graphic driver and will be restarted. I've an old nVidia 9800 that sometimes does that.

                Even in Linux a lot of graphic code had to be moved in kernel. With GPUs, you have to access both the GPU and its memory often, and that can be achieved only by kernel code (it means talking directly to the hardware) - or keeping on switching between lands (costly). The day of simple bits manipulation are really over.

                Anyway in Windows 7, for example, the GUI is the root of the user processes. Other processes like services are initialized and run by wininit (https://superuser.com/questions/729618/killing-wininit-exe-shuts-down-windows).

                Actually, it's that process that creates the "window station" and the first "desktops" (https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/desktop/winstation/about-window-stations-and-desktops) allowing a GUI to be created.

          5. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: That's what Plinston said

            A search for "SIDL Windows" returns nothing (a SID is a wholly different beast). I would look at your sources... and while you can delete/rename an existing file (if share options allows for that) and create a new one, it doesn't happen what you say - the old file is still referenced by processes that have it open, and will go away when all handles to it are closed.

            See what I reported in another post.

          6. Richard Plinston

            Re: That's what Plinston said

            > The hard part of a *nix filesystem is that the OS has to keep track of whether each inode has become orphaned from any filenames while handles were open, and thus delete it "later".

            It is not actually 'hard' because it was solved around 'edition 6' and was probably another feature of Multics that was carried over to Unix along with VTOCEs becoming inodes.

        2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          There are ways to resolve such issues, but are far from being simple.

          For the most part they're very simple indeed: make your data structure and API changes backward compatible. I've been doing that in systems as complex as most of the Windows subsystems for decades, and so have plenty of other developers.

          Microsoft's problem in this area is primarily a cultural one, not a technical one. It's the same reason for "DLL Hell" and the abomination that is SxS. They can't be bothered to enforce a backward-compatibility policy on their developers.

    4. J. R. Hartley

      They should buy the Amiga OS and spend proper money bringing it onto modern hardware. It will absolutely fucking fly.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Amigas relied on very custom hardware to "fly," as you put it.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The Amiga OS *is* still being developed to run on modern hardware.

        That is, for some value of "modern", where that hardware is generally considered to be underpowered and overpriced compared to present-day PCs, not to mention being bare-metal incompatible with the original 68000 Amiga hardware. (It's basically designed to sell to diehard Amiga fanatics who still want to use Amiga OS, not the type of people who want to run Lotus II again).

        How the modern Amiga OS compares to other present-day operating systems, I've no idea, but it's probably way too long since it was widely used for it to be worth trying to make mainstream again after 20-25 years.

        The Amiga OS was outstanding and ahead of its time in its day, compared to the 70s 8-bit-era-derived design of MS-DOS. But whether it would "fly" as fast after they'd added the type of things most people would consider essential to a modern OS (e.g. memory protection) is less clear.

        1. J. R. Hartley

          @AC.

          PowerPC is hardly modern. I am a former hardware developer for the Amiga and do still keep an eye on things. The new ZZ9000 (I think) boards with the ARM chip are interesting at the minute. But as long as Hyperion have control, you're all fucked.

    5. BobChip
      Linux

      Seamless updates with no interuptions?

      Seamless updates with no interuptions? That'll be Linux then.

      1. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

        Re: Seamless updates with no interuptions?

        Seamless updates with no interuptions? That'll be Linux then.

        Only interruption I've had once on Linux Mint when running updates was to have Firefox close itself and restart when its turn for an update rolled round.

        Apart from that single incident, never had any issue with updates ~ but I prefer to do it manually so I know that it is updating, and not get a nasty surprise.

        Billywindows, on the other hand, updates when it want to, and it is absolutely infuriating when it need to reboot... and... takes... bloody... ages... to... run... windows... updates...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Seamless updates with no interuptions?

        If it looks like a penguin...

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Microsoft have focused on multinode clustering for seamless updates rather than individual hosts. It's long overdue for them to fix that though.

  2. Kubla Cant Silver badge

    "cloud-connected experiences that use the compute power of the cloud to enhance users' experiences on their devices. These experiences are powered by AI, so a modern OS is aware of what a user is doing tomorrow and helps them get it done."

    In other words, ads with everything, and lots of telemetry to ensure you see "relevant ads". (I love it when you uncheck an option to see "relevant ads", only to be told, "You'll still see ads, but they won't be relevant".)

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Sorry, I don't need an OS to act like a nurse and tell me what pill I should take "for my own good" - I just want a "slave" which will do everything I need and doesn't try to get in the way trying to enforce bad ideas a moron working in marketing produced while abusing some substances...

      Nor I need to be it "always connected" to send out all the data it slurped... and especially I want it to be able to work while disconnected - whatever the reason is.

      MS still can't understand the success of DOS and then Windows was because people could do whatever the liked with them. And now if you're a "consumer" buyer you will get a Surface with Windows Home and you have to upgrade it later, they became so utterly stupid you can't buy it with the Pro version directly - as they hope for more free data slurping.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @LDS - Sorry to bring this to you but

        Microsoft is simply not interested in what the user want or need.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Microsoft is simply not interested in what the user want or need.

          Bollocks.

          The people on here just don't realise what a tiny percentage of the pc market they represent. Most people these days don't bother trying to understand computers, they just want them to work. They want to be in control of the things they care about (browsing basically) and have the rest of it just work.

          Sounds like MS understand the punters a lot more than the commentards do.

          1. Updraft102 Silver badge

            Re: Microsoft is simply not interested in what the user want or need.

            If that was true, MS would not have had to force people to accept Windows 10. It took nearly four years for Windows 10 to reach parity with Windows 7 (which has none of those marketing-speak buzzwords), even though MS had tried to give away 10 for free and used malware to trick people into installing 10 when they were trying to say NO. They sabotaged previous versions of Windows... try to use 7 or 8.1 on Kaby or newer and still get updates! They used the update system to distribute malware that intentionally leaves the user vulnerable to still more malware from that point on.

            MS has done all they can to force people to take their free product, and it still took them four years to match the Vista-based Windows 7. If MS understands people so well, why is it that people wouldn't even take their latest, greatest OS for free?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Microsoft is simply not interested in what the user want or need.

              "If MS understands people so well, why is it that people wouldn't even take their latest, greatest OS for free?"

              MS doesnt give a **** about "people", not the independent end users anyway.

              MS's historic success in recent decades is entirely dependent on the PC builders (e.g. Dell, HPQ) and their IT-department cousins.

              Other than those specific areas, MS = invisible (and/or unprofitable) - with maybe a tiny handful of exceptions.

            2. herman Silver badge

              Re: Microsoft is simply not interested in what the user want or need.

              Over the last 10 years, visitors to my web site went from 95% Windows to 45% Windows. So it seems that users do care about something.

              1. Def Silver badge

                Re: Microsoft is simply not interested in what the user want or need.

                Did those users even remain on the desktop though? Mobile is by far the largest consumer of web traffic these days.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Microsoft is simply not interested in what the user want or need.

            Sounds like MS understand the punters a lot more than the commentards do.

            *cough* Windows Vista *cough*

            I'd stay on the happy pills if I were you, you might be in for a shock otherwise.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Linux

            Re: Sounds like MS understand the punters a lot more than the commentards do.

            I'm not one of their 'punters', so this troll doesn't concern me.

    2. SteveK

      (I love it when you uncheck an option to see "relevant ads", only to be told, "You'll still see ads, but they won't be relevant".)

      "We'll still monitor your every move and send it all back to HQ so that we ensure you don't see any relevant advertising."

      1. holmegm Bronze badge

        Well, they have to monitor you - otherwise they might accidentally show you relevant ads. Sheesh!

    3. Carl D

      What ads?

      .....In other words, ads with everything, and lots of telemetry to ensure you see "relevant ads". (I love it when you uncheck an option to see "relevant ads", only to be told, "You'll still see ads, but they won't be relevant".)....

      I love it too... because I never see any ads - relevant or not - in Windows 10 anyway (thanks to going through all the settings with a 'fine tooth comb' and the use of a couple of W10 privacy programs (not APPS!!!).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What ads?

        thanks to going through all the settings with a 'fine tooth comb' and the use of a couple of W10 privacy programs (not APPS!!!)

        Funny that TCO studies shown by Microsoft always "forget" to take into account the resources required to control updates and the time wasted on reboots and keeping it relatively secure and private..

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Ad for ad, I’d rather see irrelevant ads if it means less tracking to get there. Of course, ads are only acceptable if you’re using a product/service/website for free. Cases where you pay and _still_ see ads are really annoying (cough, Match.com, cough).

    5. Dave K Silver badge

      Couldn't agree more. My computer is a tool and the purpose of the OS is to sit there unobtrusively and to run the applications I want, when I want. I do not want a computer that is sending all my actions "to the cloud" to try and predict what I'm going to do next. I'm also not a moron that "needs help" to get it done.

    6. DuncanLarge Silver badge

      Also its a icing on the cake way to say that they are going to upload your data to the cloud, work on it there, then send it back to you.

      I'd not like to have a machine like that in our PCI compliance scope.

  3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    Big Brother will be loving this

    Always connected. "All of a user's devices are aware and connected to each other."

    The spyware/malware people are probably rubbing their hands with glee.

    Then there will be the Ads. Ads everywhere and no hope of blocking them. Then the rebirth of Clippy saying

    That is about a billion reasons NOT to use Windows.

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: That is about a billion reasons NOT to use Windows.

      "Steve, you seem to have accidentally posted Google's business plan."

      Is that what Clippy will be saying?

      You fear the Ad apocalypse and you think MS will be behind it? Where the fuck have you been for the past 10 years?

    2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: Big Brother will be loving this

      Great - a single attack surface. Hack one, hack 'em all.

      It's useful having multiple devices that only communicate via Google mail!

  4. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    The future is called Powerpoint

    …the state is separated from the operating system; compute is separated from applications…

    So, just like all those many presentations which show everything working together. But now we won't have to bother trying to build them?

    Even with the best APIs in the world, at the end of the day all of the code runs on the same CPUs

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: The future is called Powerpoint

      There are many different techniques that would allow for more secure applications - i.e. getting rid of flat address spaces, and enforcing more control on different applications "segments" depending on what they are for (code, static data, variable data). Just that would create incompatibilities.

      The idea that web applications are more secure than native ones is quite stupid though.... just like Java, the Javascript engines becomes just another vulnerable layer - as a large number of vulnerabilities in browsers had already shown - and the more those layers need to be integrated with the OS to allow the user perform useful tasks, the larger the attack surface becomes.

      Unless they think about "thin clients" again....

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: The future is called Powerpoint

        The major problem I've seen frequently with the attempts to sandbox applications is where they put files and what they do with them. For many use cases, a user will open a file in one application, do something to it, open it in another application, do something else to it, and bring it back up in the first application. Many sandboxing attempts make that a lot harder by storing the file inside the working directory of the first application and making one specifically export it, assuming it even has that option in a usable way. Sandboxing of this type is usually manageable on phones, where it is most visible, because few people do much complex editing on a phone across multiple applications, but trying that on a computer will get in the way of many. I hope Microsoft doesn't try it; if they do, it will fail.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: The future is called Powerpoint

          Wasn’t there a concept of document oriented computing a few years back? You don’t open a document with an application, you tell an application to deal with this document. Or something. It hasn’t come to pass anyway.

          1. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

            Re: The future is called Powerpoint

            Wasn’t there a concept of document oriented computing a few years back? You don’t open a document with an application, you tell an application to deal with this document. Or something. It hasn’t come to pass anyway.

            Taligent/Pink ?

            1. TRT Silver badge

              Re: The future is called Powerpoint

              That was the one, I think. About the right timeframe.

          2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            Re: The future is called Powerpoint

            You see remnamts of it in MacOS in things like the "Services" menu and the new "tasks" function in Finder.

            But moving more and more functions into the OS, which is essentially what's happening, doesn't reduce the risk of exploitation of things like privilege escalation, which is possible as soon as code has access to priveleged features such as direct hardware access, which itself is inevitable in the world of shared resources that operating systems provide.

            However, seeing as the alternative is essentially on OS per instance per task…

        2. LDS Silver badge

          "The major problem [...] with the attempts to sandbox applications"

          That's because they employed a "brutal" and simple approach - they didn't make the application themselves more secure, because that would have required wholly new OS, new development tools (and a performance penalty, probably) and new applications - they just tried to isolate the same applications more.

          Evidently the idea of reducing applications interoperability attempting to add a little more security is a bad one outside of limited devices.

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: The future is called Powerpoint

      the state is separated from the operating system; compute is separated from applications

      Since this statement is nonsensical, it doesn't really matter what its consequences might be. Parker is just spouting a lot of vague bullshit.

      1. Richard Plinston

        Re: The future is called Powerpoint

        > Since this statement is nonsensical,

        If the Operating System is running on the cloud servers which is doing the compute while the state and [the view of] the applications is on the users' thin clients, then the statement may make some sort of sense.

        Whether that is the case has yet to be seen.

  5. johnnyblaze

    I had to choke on my lunch reading this. Really? MS have said most of this about every version of Windows since 8, and none of it was true. This is nothing more than MS attempting to resurect RT under a new name, with yet more outlandish claims, litterally none of which will actually appear. Nobody uses Windows for UWP, always on, and mostly any of those input methods. Windows Mobile? Failed. Windows Tablets? Failed. App Store? Failed. Cortana? Failed. Bing? Failed. People use Windows with a keyboard and mouse to run win32 apps and Chrome. That's about it, and probably all it will be until Windows final demise.

    1. Sureo

      In the immortal words of Col. Sherman T. Potter, "Horse Hockey!".

      1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge
        Happy

        Buffalo biscuits!

    2. LDS Silver badge

      "to run win32 apps and Chrome."

      Only those so clueless to prefer Google slurping to MS one run Chrome.... face it, Google is the new Microsoft.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @LDS - Re: "to run win32 apps and Chrome."

        Or the other way around....

        1. LDS Silver badge

          Re: @LDS - "to run win32 apps and Chrome."

          Sure, you're right, the difference between MS and Google is more and more blurred.... I woudn't be surprised if some day they would merge.

          After all, soon people will run Chrome in Windows anyway....

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      FAIL

      seems to me that MS needs to get back on the boat before it leaves them behind for the last time...

      They continue to judge things wrongly, that is, using "new sales" statistics instead of "user base" statistics. That, and marketing surveys among the FANBOIS. "Representative sample" makes more sense, ya know? And I don't mean identity demographics, either...

      And they seem to fall for the same trap that led to the end result of (fictional) failure in Arthur C. Clarke's "Superiority".

      They "feel" instead of think, and end up with a bunch of MILLENIAL CHILDREN running the show, particularly with respect to the overall design concepts and "take it OUR way, we know better" attitude, so typical of "4 incher" thinking [or lack of thinking].

      Everything is not "a phone" or "a phone app". But if you study what MS has done over the last few years, they obviously *FEEL* as if it is. And of course, like FEELINGS usually are, it's *WRONG*.

      They go with this 2D FLATTY McFLATFACE FLATSO look, and EVEN WHEN IT IS OBVIOUS that PEOPLE PREFER THE OLD LOOK by a 2:1 margin, they allow the VERY vocal minority to get THEIR way, while SIMULTANEOUSL PREVENTING THE REST OF US from having OUR way, too.

      They ARROGANTLY force ADVERTISING onto your computer desktop, SPY ON YOU, force you into RIDICULOUS EULA's to ALLOW all of this, and CRAM NEW UPDATES/FEATURES automatically onto your computer, whether want them or NOT.

      So what about any of THAT has change? Nothing, apparently.

      Micro-shaft: shut up and eat your FAIL. And then, GET ON BOARD with REALITY, and go back to something closer to Windows 7. Or XP. Or 2000. OK ?

      1. RyokuMas Silver badge
        FAIL

        ... and statistics?

        "... EVEN WHEN IT IS OBVIOUS that PEOPLE PREFER THE OLD LOOK by a 2:1 margin..."

        That's the second time you've pulled this "2:1 margin" stat out recently.

        Citation please... because thanks to literally years of childish "win-10-nic" and "FLATTY MC FLATSO" style name-calling, I can't help but doubt the authenticity of this statistic.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Bob, whatever OS you run, you better check the keyboard driver. Your caps lock or shift key is all over the place.

        :)

        1. RyokuMas Silver badge
          Joke

          He did, but his keyboard is FLATTY MC FLATSO, so he can't tell if caps lock is up or down!

      3. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

        There was an age when UI's had gorgeously crafted icons and was a joy to use, and it was easy to see which button was live or not.

        Nowadays you have to guess and poke Button A before poking Button B in order to see which one's live or not.

  6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    It's largely a list of the things I don't want in an OS and the good things in the list I already have. I wouldn't, of course, have them if I were running Windows.

    One thing I think would be a good idea would be separation of applications and user data. Have a separate, versioning storage engine, either running in a separate container or possibly even on a different processor providing storage as a service, preferably with some sort of authentication to authenticate the application as well as the user ID.

  7. karlkarl Silver badge

    I would love to see Microsoft's research justifying that this is what people want.

    It is like I keep telling my students, a survey filled out by their Mother is not quite enough when it comes to gathering experiment data.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      I think their reply would be along the lines of "Who cares about finding out what people want? We're Microsoft, this is what we want."

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Mommy Microsoft

        know best.

        Now go and suck your dummy.

        Well, that's how it seems they want to treat their users.

        I'm sure that the number of negative comments here would drop to zero if there was a feature to:-

        1) Turn off all assistants

        2) Declare your user as a Super Uber Geek user. Be it on you if you do the equivalent of

        "cs /; rm -fr ."

        3) Trun off all telematics

        4) Properly disable updates unless you want them. Like wot Windows 7 did.

        etc

        But Microsoft is in full 'Mommy knows best" mode.

        1. Teiwaz Silver badge

          Re: Mommy Microsoft

          Now go and suck your dummy.

          That's not a dummy, Dougal....

    2. Peter2 Silver badge

      I would love to see Microsoft's research justifying that this is what people want.

      This is largely down to Microsoft having a combination of asking "enthusiasts" what they want (aka PFY's), ignoring the business and corporate customers and then selectively interpreting what is communicated to match what Microsoft was going to do anyway.

      Remember Microsoft's fiasco with the start button in Win10?

  8. revenant
    WTF?

    Oh really?

    "People can use pen, voice, touch, even gaze – whatever input method a user wants to use works just as well as the keyboard and mouse."

    I'm damned sure that keyboard and mouse provide for much more flexibility and capability than a meaningful gaze.

    The only way I can see this proposition being true is if UIs of the future have been dumbed down and simplified so that keyboard and mouse are overkill. Sort of like Android, I suppose.

    1. David Lewis 2
      Mushroom

      ... more flexibility and capability than a meaningful gaze.

      What could possibly go wrong?

      If it takes notice of some of the looks I've given my computer over the years then ... see icon.

      "Hi I'm Clippy. It looks like you are in a homicidal rage. Can I help you with that?"

    2. Updraft102 Silver badge

      Re: Oh really?

      The only way I can see this proposition being true is if UIs of the future have been dumbed down and simplified so that keyboard and mouse are overkill. Sort of like Android, I suppose.

      Small problem for MS: All the people whose needs can be met by such a dumbed down OS have already moved on from the PC form factor. Those that remain want/need something better.

    3. AndrueC Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Oh really?

      I'm damned sure that keyboard and mouse provide for much more flexibility and capability than a meaningful gaze.

      If Visual Studio understood the expressions (verbal and facial) that I direct toward it it'd shrivel up and die. In fact I've probably told it do that on several occasions. Something and die anyway.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Oh really?

        At least with an AI core it would interpret input in such a way that it complies.

        “Open this exit door right now or I’ll head down to your major data banks with a very large axe and give you a reprogramming you’ll never forget, capicé? OK, get the axe.”

  9. Mage Silver badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    Yuch!

    Sounds horrible and even if it wasn't I can't believe MS could do it other than buying it in. I don't think they've had a clue since 2004. It's been all downhill since Server 2003, which was pretty bloated compared to NT4.0 and NT5.0 (Win 2K) and was less stable than NT 3.51 server.

    1. karlkarl Silver badge

      Re: Yuch!

      NT 3.51 was a special case and with the advent of Windows as a Service; one that we shall never experience ever again. Whilst waiting on IBM to finalize their PPC hardware, Microsoft was actually bug fixing 3.51 for a whole year.

      And now with WaaS, Microsoft will never have to bug fix ever again :)

      1. arctic_haze

        Re: Yuch!

        NT 3.51wwas before the sales department learned about serves. Similarly Visual Studio was quite good only when it was too geeky for them to start trying to "improve" it.

  10. chivo243 Silver badge

    Computing gone horribly wrong

    See title...

    I remember when (mid 70s?) it was touted that there would be a 'terminal' in every home. It would be like television or telephony, seems we took a wrong turn somewhere?

  11. lglethal Silver badge
    Go

    hmmm...

    Lets go through that list again:

    •Seamless updates - Would be appreciated of course, but its hardly a "must have" feature.

    •Secure by default - This! This if it actually worked would be a massive step forward. Although the past track record would seem to imply that Microsoft are not really the ones to make it happen.

    •Always connected. - God No! Just because I own a few different devices doesnt mean they all need to be talking to each other. Usually they arent doing the same thing, so why do I need my games machine talking to my work machine or my phone? Ditch this PLEASE.

    •AI-powered - Again, God No! I will tell the computer what to do, I do not need some shitty procedural program pimped up and pretending to be an AI trying to tell me what i should be doing. "so a modern OS is aware of what a user is doing tomorrow and helps them get it done." - This has to be one of the scariest statements I've read today. Just No!

    •Multi-input. - People can already use pen, voice, touch, keyboard, controller, mouse and a dozen other input devices. OK so they want to add gaze, like the Wii had i guess. No biggie, add the necessary driver. This is basically an announcement of what we already have. Not exactly ground breaking.

    •Multi-form factor. "A modern OS has the right sensor support and posture awareness to enable the breadth of innovative form factors and applications that our partner ecosystem will deliver." - I've read this 5 times now and i still dont know what the f%&k they're talking about. I think it just means they have the drivers to allow someone to install a computer in their chair to control their vibrator or something. Or maybe they're saying if someone comes to them with a chair with a built in vibrator then they can create drivers for it. Either way, this is not exactly ground breaking. Unless something goes wrong with the chair i guess. Where was i again?

    So two things we want, two things we wouldnt touch with a 12 foot barge pole, and two things we already have. About par for the course of Microsoft then...

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: hmmm...

      "I've read this 5 times now and i still dont know what the f%&k they're talking about."

      I think it means that they haven't learned anything from their attempts to graft an interface designed for small screens with touch onto an OS designed for big screens, mice and keyboards.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: hmmm...

      If it was ALL these things plus one more to be named I'd be fine with it. Always connected is not a bad thing so long as it is secure. AI powered is great if the AI is as smart as a smart human personal assistant would be to anticipate your needs.

      Just needs one thing added "perfect privacy protection". Then it truly would be the ideal OS. I expect we will see it sometime around the year 2164.

      1. James Anderson Silver badge

        Re: hmmm...

        ...in case ?

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: hmmm...

        AI powered is great if the AI is as smart as a smart human personal assistant would be to anticipate your needs.

        Ugh. If I wanted that, I'd have a human assistant. No thanks.

        Though, frankly, this particular abuse of "powered" is generally a reliable sign that I don't want whatever shit some idiot is trying to sell me anyway. My OS is powered by electricity. It might have features that make use of ML or other AI techniques (insofar as "AI" has any useful meaning), but it's not "powered" by them.

        (And "always connected" can Fuck Right Off, too.)

    3. Def Silver badge

      Re: hmmm...

      Allow me to play devil's advocate here for a moment... :)

      •Seamless updates

      It would be nice to not come into my office one morning and find that the machine rebooted over night and only recovered half the files I forgot to save on my way out the night before. A lot of work required to make this happen though is on application developers to correctly save state and survive a restart without the user's intervention. Some of Microsoft's applications are getting better at this. Third party developers (and I include myself in this category - it's not something I've done any work on), not so much.

      •Secure by default

      Let's be fair, all operating systems, Windows included, are pretty good these days. Certainly a lot better than they used to be. Automatic updates have helped a lot here too - something most devices support nowadays but only Windows gets slack for around here for some reason.

      •Always connected.

      I disagree here. I want to be able to walk into a room and 'flick' something from my phone in the direction of my TV without having to start some bullshit sharing app and wait half an hour while they sync and decide they're both on the same planet. I want to be able to move seamlessly from one device to another. I want to be able to share *anything* I choose with whomever is close by without the fiddly shit hoops we have to jump through today.

      •AI-powered

      Yes and no. If I tend to start watching cached/streamed TV shows when I sit down on my sofa in the evening I'd rather not have to wait for the HD to spin up, or for the media player to start. I want my computer to learn my habits and anticipate what I will need in the immediate future - at least to the point where I don't have to wait to get going - I don't want it doing stuff that will slow me down when it gets it wrong. I should note this goes far beyond some assistant trying to guess what I'm going to type in a document - but I have to say, the predictive typing in gmail is spookily good at times.

      •Multi-input.

      Mostly yes. I think from Microsoft's perspective here they're talking about the same OS running on any level of device seamlessly. And yes, Windows 10 running on everything from a touchscreen phone, to a desktop, to hololens pretty much has that now.

      •Multi-form factor.

      Yeah, I'm with you here. What the fuck was the guy who wrote that smoking at the time?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Def - Re: hmmm...

        With all due respect, if a computer can learn your habits and anticipate what you will need in the immediate future then you must be living an unenviable life. I'm sure that if a human servant would do all that to you, you'll be quite pissed off.

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: hmmm...

        Automatic updates have helped a lot here too - something most devices support nowadays but only Windows gets slack for around here for some reason.

        My Windows machines are the only ones that spontaneously update and reboot, discarding my working state. That alone makes them unfit for purpose. No other devices, systems, or applications I use have that problem.

        You complained about this yourself in the previous paragraph. It's one very good reason why Windows 10 is criticized in these parts.

        The other, of course, is that Win10 updates have a history of breaking things.

      3. Richard Plinston

        Re: hmmm...

        > I want to be able to share *anything* I choose with whomever is close by without the fiddly shit hoops we have to jump through today.

        Yes, and so do the malware pushers and advertisers want to 'share' with you.

        > Windows 10 running on everything from a touchscreen phone

        It does? When was that? ;-)

      4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: hmmm...

        "It would be nice to not come into my office one morning and find that the machine rebooted over night and only recovered half the files I forgot to save on my way out the night before."

        1. Don't want the machine to reboot overnight. A machine should reboot when I tell it and only then. Power failure can get in the way. A truly seamless update wouldn't need a reboot, of course but that concept is clearly going to be beyond the grasp of anyone weaned on Windows. To be fair I don't have that on Linux as yet for kernel updates although it does exist at a price.

        2. Shut down applications you're not using. The only scope for data loss would then be applications you're leaving to chew away on a big task and in that case, see 1. above.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: hmmm...

          "Don't want the machine to reboot overnight."

          A few years ago a remote user complained that their "switched off" Windows PC was powering itself up at 3am - then doing automatic updates. It seemed unlikely - but it did appear to be the case. Changing the Windows Update options to "manual" fixed the problem for them.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm OK with all this crap

    as long as I have a Linux installation media ready to be used in case MS becomes too irritating.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: I'm OK with all this crap

      Well if the MS AI lives up to the claims: "so a modern OS is aware of what a user is doing tomorrow and helps them get it done." it will be ready and waiting for that installation media.

      1. deive

        Re: I'm OK with all this crap

        The best version of Windows! After installing you reboot... to find Linux there :-)

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: I'm OK with all this crap

        "it will be ready and waiting for that installation media."

        More likely it will do its best to stop you installing it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I'm OK with all this crap

          "More likely it will do its best to stop you installing it."

          It seems you're already familiar with Secure Boot.

          Others may also already be familiar with Windows Update's tendency to misbehave in systems which don't yet have Secure Boot but are configured to dual boot between Windows and A.N.Other non-Microsoft OS.

  13. ForthIsNotDead
    Linux

    If you want seamless updates...

    ...that don't get in your way, you can just use Linux.

    Which is exactly what Microsoft plan to do, since they're now working on shipping a lite Linux within Windows.

    Prepare to see a merging/blurring of the distinction lines between Linux and Windows over the next few days as Microsoft exert their influence on the Linux Foundation (being a fully paid-up platinum member) to mould Linux into what Microsoft wants.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: to mould Linux into what Microsoft wants.

      And the Linux diehards would just fork the hell out of any MS Controlled Linux and do their own thing.

      It has been done before and I'm sure that it can be done again.

      I for one will never touch an MS Linux.

      1. nematoad Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: to mould Linux into what Microsoft wants.

        "I for one will never touch an MS Linux."

        Nor me.

        Oh, by the way, how's "Oracle Linux" doing these days?

    2. Kubla Cant Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: If you want seamless updates...

      If you want seamless updates that don't get in your way, you can just use Linux.

      Too true. Even before this preposterous bit of puffery I've wondered why Linux updates are usually painless, whereas Windows updates seem to be like bomb disposal.

      1. Def Silver badge

        Re: If you want seamless updates...

        I've wondered why Linux updates are usually painless, whereas Windows updates seem to be like bomb disposal.

        It's mostly down to differences in how Linux and Windows load executable code into memory.

        Linux copies the executable code into memory as if it were regular data, and then executes it.

        Windows memory maps the executable code into the process address space which has several distinct advantages:

        * It's faster because there's no extra copy after fetching from disk.

        * It means executable code will never be in the swap file - Windows knows the code is already persisted on disk, so it can just throw it away if memory is needed - which also reduces the possibility of the swap file being used as an attack vector - however unlikely that could be.

        The one disadvantage, obviously, is that the executable code can't be modified while it's loaded because that would affect all running instances, and not in a good way.

        I will add that Windows seems to have regressed a little here IMO. Around the 2000/XP era Microsoft were making a concerted effort to reduce the reboots required when updating, and for a while they seemed to be making headway. These days, it seems all updates require at least a couple of reboots. So sad.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Eaten Trifles
          Boffin

          Re: If you want seamless updates...

          This isn't correct. Linux uses mmap() to map the executable in storage into the address space read-only and shared across processes, in a similar way to how you describe Windows operating. There's certainly no "extra copy". When a new process is forked, it initially maps the same executable image as its parent, unless and until exec() is called to map a replacement executable image.

          I've no idea how Windows works.

          1. ForthIsNotDead
            Pint

            Re: If you want seamless updates...

            I'm interested to know how (if at all) the Linux system would handle techniques such as self-modifying code? I note you mentioned that the mapped memory is marked as read-only, so I presume the technique cannot be used? Just wondering as obviously self-modifiying code would affect all instances.

            My background is in embedded, ultra low-level (often no OS, just a kernal that we have written ourselves) so we're free to do anything we like, even naughty stuff like self modifying code (which can come in handy sometimes).

            I presume the practice is impossible on Linux and Windows machines?

            Cheers

            1. RichardBarrell

              Re: If you want seamless updates...

              When you dynamically link in a .so file, it's opened (read-only) and mmap()'d with the MAP_PRIVATE flag. This gives you a copy-on-write mapping. If you try to write to one of the pages in that mapping, the kernel will transparently stop you, make a copy of the page, then resume you with your own copy of the page. If a bunch of processes all link in the same .so file, they'll all share all of the pages in it that none of them try to write, and they'll each have their own private copy of each page that they do write.

              In contemporary unixes, the pages from the text section ("text" in ELF land means "executable code") get marked as read-only by default, and the pages from the data section get marked as read-write by default. You can call mprotect() on the executable pages to make them writeable if you really want to (though this is considered a bad idea, and things like AppArmor or SELinux might stop you.)

              For things like JITs that do runtime compiling of code, you're encouraged to do something like: call mmap(NULL, size, PROT_READ|PROT_WRITE, -1, 0) to get some pages that you can write but not execute, then write some code into them, then mprotect(addr, size, PROT_READ|PROT_EXEC) to mark them executable but no longer writable.

              Having pages that are marked as writeable and executable simultaneously is allowed (unless you've got a super restrictive config set up with something like AppArmor or SELinux), but considered kind of a bad idea because it makes it easier to exploit things like buffer overrun vulnerabilities to get RCE.

    3. JeffyPoooh
      Pint

      Re: If you want seamless updates...

      4th for telescope "...use Linux."

      Once upon a time, I booted Ubuntu for a change after months since its previous boot. It showed over 15,000 updates. Yikes.

      1. ForthIsNotDead

        Re: If you want seamless updates...

        It's true that there can be a lot of updates when running Linux. I run Linux Mint, and there are updates pretty much daily. However, they are normally very small (in terms of amount of MB downloaded), install silently (you just kick off the download and install process) and never ever (in my experience) require a reboot. Only thing that would require a reboot would be a new Kernal as far as I know. I guess the high frequency of updates is due to both Kernal level updates and also updates to PPAs and any repositories you have installed.

        If Linux updates were disruptive then the update frequency would be nusiance, but since they're not (in my case, a little blue sheild sits in the lower right corner next to the clock, much like the old days of Windows, to let you know there are some updates available) I think we get the best of both worlds. We get regular bug fixes and security fixes, we can install them at a time that suits us, and they never intefere with the system.

        I'm very much a 'simple' user of Linux, but it is my daily driver these days (for about 2 years now) and I'm really impressed with it.

  14. ForthIsNotDead
    Gimp

    Oh, and one final thing...

    What they are describing isn't an operating system. At least not by the classical definition of the term. An operating system just provides services for application software to interface with the underlying hardware. In doing so, it will provide a few extra features such as memory management and scheduling.

    Having said that, we've been a very long way away from the classical definition for a long time. That's probably why I'm drawn towards Linux. It's not a simple OS, but it's simpler than Windows, and crucially, it doesn't ship with bullshit features (Ubuntu/Amazon not withstanding). I was horrified to discover my Wife's Win 10 box listening to everything she said via Cortana. She didn't even know what it was. "Oh it just nags me all the time so I click the little X to make it go away".

    She uses it for paying bills, email, and looking at shoes. 30 minutes later, it had Linux Mint on it, was noticeably faster, and wasn't spying on her.

    And it's free.

  15. Alex Wilson

    "Your Phone" improvements?

    I can't even get "your phone" to work through a VPN and they want to add "features"?

  16. David 132 Silver badge

    Why not add...

    “Genuine People Personalities” while you’re at it Microsoft? Couldn’t be any ghastlier than what you’re already proposing.

    *shudder*

  17. fishdog

    There was a guy in 1995 who wrote a book called "Business at the speed of light".

    ... and I was cynical BEFORE that dreck was published.

  18. LenG

    Sigh.

    As someone who nowadays uses windows only as a gaming platform I see nothing in this to attract me. Mostly just a few more things to workaround to ensure that MS doesn't bork my system.

    Everything else still runs on my little linux box which is cheaper, quieter, more secure and more stable. Also easier to learn for someone with no background in either windows or linux.

  19. Updraft102 Silver badge

    So now I see how you messed up Windows 10 so badly, MS...

    Seamless updates "invisibly done in the background; the update experience is deterministic, reliable, and instant with no interruptions".

    If they're 100% guaranteed never to change anything from the user's perspective. Nothing that worked will ever stop working; nothing will work differently, even slightly; nothing will ever require more disk space, more RAM, or any other resource.

    Given that "feature" updates come along twice a year, the "nothing will work differently" bit is already right out the window. Thing is, if you're going to change the way my computer works, I don't want it happening seamlessly in the background, leaving me to wonder why the thing I've been doing one way does not produce the same results it has for the last hundred times I've done it. If there is any possibility I will be able to detect the change at all, I need to know about it beforehand.

    Always connected. "All of a user's devices are aware and connected to each other."

    Only if I have made it clear to the OS that this is my wish. I don't want things to be aware of each other and always connected because Microsoft decides. If it is going to happen, it must be because I decided.

    AI-powered with "cloud-connected experiences that use the compute power of the cloud to enhance users' experiences on their devices. These experiences are powered by AI, so a modern OS is aware of what a user is doing tomorrow and helps them get it done."

    That's marketing gobbledygook. My device has adequate "compute power" for my needs, and I don't need any knowledge of what I am doing tomorrow (or what the OS may believe I am doing tomorrow) to be sent to "the cloud" for that or any other reason.

    Multi-input. "People can use pen, voice, touch, even gaze – whatever input method a user wants to use works just as well as the keyboard and mouse."

    No, that's just stupid. I'm not going to use inferior input methodologies designed to compensate for the inherent shortcomings of a phone or tablet and graft them onto my PC because it's fashionable and "modern." An OS that is optimized for use with all input methods is optimized for none of them. I know what input regime I am going to use, and I expect an OS that is optimized for that particular use. Since I'm talking about conventional desktops and laptops, I mean a keyboard and a mouse (or touchpad). A lack of compatibility with all other methods is not a flaw, but a must-have feature.

    Multi-form factor. "A modern OS has the right sensor support and posture awareness to enable the breadth of innovative form factors and applications that our partner ecosystem will deliver."

    Ugh! Too much buzzwordy marketing speak for one sentence!

    I don't need any of that crapola. I already said I know the usage regime and form factor I will be using. Posture awareness and sensor support and innovative (aka stupid) form factors and applications are not needed, nor appreciated, and cannot add anything to the way I use a computer. At best, it's a bunch of extra code, complexity, and attack surface that serves no purpose to me at all. At worst, it means Give me a tool that is optimized for the task for which I will be using it, not one that sorta kinda works for all tasks, but is kinda crappy at all of them. If it's as good with mouse and keyboard as your previous OSes that were designed around mouse and keyboard and I'll be fine, and I don't care a whit for anything else.

  20. fidodogbreath Silver badge

    Microsoft said this?

    Seamless updates "invisibly done in the background; the update experience is deterministic, reliable, and instant with no interruptions".

    Ummmm....sure, fine, whatever.

  21. Nematode

    Utter joke, M$

    Well, I finally went to Windows 10. Noooo, not on my main machine, dafty, I still got Work to do. No, I saw an HP lappie in Costco for £300 with a few decent features, enough memory, SSD, plenty ports, half decent keyboard, same screen as my old Dell, and thought I'd be daft not to buy it to (a) investigate Win 10 - conclusion: just plain unnecessary, (b) stick Linux on a machine that doesn't have 8 year old hardware and set it up properly to see if it's a solution for when I pop my clogs and leave the wife to have to use a computer without my constantly maintaining it (read:stop M$ screwing it up). Nearly finished the (a), next, choose which distro. I sort of like Ubuntu but I think Mint is prolly best, and for pure MS document compatibility, she can use Word online, though she doesn't do documents anything like as complex as I used to, so Libre Office is prolly fine.

    Seamless updates, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ........

  22. SVV Silver badge

    the desktop project codenamed Polaris

    If Microsoft want to name their desktop OS after an old nuclear weapon, may I suggest that "Fat Boy" may be more appropraite?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: the desktop project codenamed Polaris

      >If Microsoft want to name their desktop OS after an old nuclear weapon, may I suggest that "Fat Boy" may be more appropraite?

      I was thinking more "Buster Able", the first known US nuclear test failure.

      1. nematoad Silver badge

        Re: the desktop project codenamed Polaris

        "...may I suggest that "Fat Boy"

        The two nuclear devices were named "Little Boy" used at Hiroshima and "Fat Man" used at Nagasaki.

  23. ColonelClaw

    (Bullshit) BINGO!

  24. Jay Lenovo

    Better, just not for you

    Anytime you believe that Microsoft listens to customers, think about Metro UI and Ribbon Menus.

    You will adopt as you are told, not as you need.

  25. volatile.memory

    I certainly don't need any of this.

    My Win10 machine runs:

    1. Virus protection

    2. Steam (for games)

    I don't need all that crap.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: I certainly don't need any of this.

      So you have to submit to Big Brother to play games, essentially. And while Linux gaming is progressing, it's Not Quite There Yet, plus there are always the oh-so-important custom jobs and obscure software that aren't WINE-friendly. What about for the rest of us, especially as Windows 7 support starts to taper off?

  26. N2 Silver badge

    I stopped here:

    Seamless updates "invisibly done in the background; the update experience is deterministic, reliable, and instant with no interruptions"

    As it's probbaly impossible, I hope not but Jeeze, have they some work to do.

  27. mark l 2 Silver badge

    MS are trying resurrect Windows RT but without learning why it failed the first time around, in that it couldn't run traditional Win32 programs and the choice of 'Metro' apps that were available were a fraction of what you could get on an iOS or Android devices. About the only thing the RT based devices had going were that they could run Office. But now that Office 365 is available for Android and Apple devices there is even less incentive to buy restricted Windows device. And even now several years later after RT was abandoned the choice of apps from the Windows app store is still pretty poor.

  28. James Anderson Silver badge

    Windows .. The new mainframe

    Since 1980 something pundits predicted the imenent demise of the mainframe....which is actually happens soon.

    I suspect the demise of Windows will follow the same slow painful and profitable decline.

    1. Richard Plinston

      Re: Windows .. The new mainframe

      > the imenent demise of the mainframe.

      'Cloud computing' is the rise of the mainframe.

      It is likely that this 'new OS' is cloud computing with the user's devices just being thin clients on a monthly contract fee.

  29. tempemeaty
    Alert

    Here we go again...

    "Always connected" I think that is just more marketing speak and code for having to keep your PC internet connected for it to work. Disconnect and Windows deactivates.

  30. Daniel von Asmuth
    Windows

    Modern Times

    The modern era was when Elisabeth I ruled, Shakespeare and Newton wrote.

    An Artificially Intelligent OS? Which cannot accomplish what OS/360 did?

  31. martinusher Silver badge

    Microsoft still doesn't know what an operating system is

    Its been 30-40 years and they still haven't figured out basic stuff like what an operating system is.

    I reckon it all went wrong for them because their model of a machine is a PC -- their idea of a 'user' is a human banging away on a keyboard (or equivalent). Their idea of 'features' is how appealing the UI looks considering the fashions of the day. This model served to make them a lot of money but its always been an architectural dead end. Unfortunately since you can't mess with success their idea of extending it is merely to rehash the old terminal / mainframe concept by dressing it up with all the latest buzzwords -- 'clouds', 'IoT' and what have you. Its still as old as the hills, underneath all the fluff and hype you're just buying time on their system.

    (I'm just a grumpy old git, one who works with embedded systems (but is supposed to be retired). I find Microsoft frustrating because like many I'm forced to use in the workplace. Every time I interact with the Windows desktop its gained features that I neither want nor need and loses capabilities I need to actually get work done (typically MS has messed up ports -- they still can't make USB work properly -- and IT has decided in the name of security' to disable a few more things). Linux is so easy.....)

  32. Robert Heffernan
    Mushroom

    The cloud can bite my ass

    "cloud-connected experiences that use the compute power of the cloud to enhance users' experiences on their devices."

    Can we fucking NOT. My god, I don't want my PC reaching out the god dam motherfucking cloud every 2 seconds for EVERYTHING!. I am sick of this bullshit because you either need to PAY for the service, or, your data is the payment.

  33. Sulphurcocky1
    Windows

    Torture I can do without

    Like most in these comment pages - NO Thanks Microsoft !

    Always on - in a climate-change Anthropocene epoch always on & always connected is the last thing I want.

    Subscription software, not surprised that the Bill Gates owned Apple (does he still own 50%?) jumped first to that situation, Microsoft will follow soon after.

    AI-powered with "cloud-connected experiences - F the cloud I want to use my own set up at home without having to rely on anything else enhancing my experience as my Microsoft experience is not a good one.

    The First thing I did to Windows 8 was rip out Microsoft shop lock stock and barrel.

    Multiple input - We supposedly could do that before - but the the clueless changed the mouse capacity combining the acceleration with the scale so it always jumps around and won't allow sufficient separate adjust.

    Right sensor support and posture awareness - I been tying to re-change screen colors for years so I can differentiate separate title-bars like in XP or earlier.

    So thanks theReg for warning me about this crap, I'll give it a wide berth.

    1. Richard Plinston

      Re: Torture I can do without

      > Bill Gates owned Apple (does he still own 50%?)

      Bill Gates never owned Apple stock, nor was it ever "50%". What happened was "Microsoft also promised to invest approximately $150 million for shares of Apple non-voting preferred stock".

      By 2003 all this stock had been sold.

  34. JeffyPoooh
    Pint

    "...reminds us of Windows RT..."

    I still have my Surface 2 with Windows RT. Still works, after a painful DIY battery replacement last year. Just the other day I used it to watch the NHK Sumo highlights. Works perfectly.

    The biggest disappointment is that they promised to stop supporting it, but every time I turn it on there's usually another handful of updates. Very annoying.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They can fuck off with their "always connected". Quite aside from I paid for the machinery and I decide when and what is connected; the assumption that there will always be 100% reliable power and internet is not realistic.

  36. CheesyTheClown

    Presented at build and only interesting to techies?

    Let me get this straight... you're complaining that technologies presented at Build... Microsoft's annual developers conference... presented tools that are interesting to developers?

    Ok... so... if you were to present tools that would be life changing and amazing... primarily to developers... which conference would you recommend presenting them at? And if you want the developers and techies who will use them to be present... and actually buy tickets to the event... are we still against using Build for this?

    I almost could read the rest of what you wrote after reading that... I was utterly stuck... totally lost... wondering... what in the name of hell is this guy talking about.

    So... let's try some stuff here.

    Windows isn't built the way you seem to think it is. This is why Microsoft makes documentation. You can read it instead of just headlines.

    Windows these days is built on something you might understand as containers... but not really. It's more than that. You can think of it as enclaves... if you want.

    UWP also doesn't seem to work the way you think it does. You're thinking in terms of how Linux works and how languages on Linux work. Windows has extremely tight integration between programming languages and the operating system. As such, a lot of stuff has happened in the process of the compiler development which made it so that things you would think are native code are actually .NET and things you would think are .NET are native code. The architecture of the development tools have made what classically been though of as "Linking" a LOT more dynamic.

    There's also a LOT more RTTI happening in all language from Microsoft which is making things like the natural design of what many generations ago was called COM pretty much transparent. All object models at one time (especially COM) was horrible at one point because of things like IDLs which were used to do what things like SWAGGER do these days. As describing and documenting the call interface between objects was a sheer terror.

    Windows has made it so that you can program in more or less anything and expose your APIs from pretty much anything to pretty much anything ... kinda like how COM did... but it's all pretty much automatic now. This means that "thunking" mechanisms can make things happen magically. So you can write something in native code in C++ and something in .NET in C# and make calls between them and the OS can translate the calls... this actually requires a few special programming practices and it actually makes it easier if you pretend like you don't even know it's there.

    There are A LOT of things going on in Windows that are kinda sorta like the things you seem to think it might do... but in many ways they're done far better.

    If you want to see it look really awesome... start two sessions of Linux on WSL1. You'll find that they're not in the same enclave. They have some connections to each other... but they are actually separate. It's like running two different containers... but not really.

    Now consider that Windows works a lot like that now too. Microsoft has progressively managed to get most of us to stop writing software that behaves as if everything absolutely must talk to everything else directly. As such, over time, they'll manage to finally make all processes run in entirely separate enclaves while still allowing communication between processes.

    And BTW... Android and Chrome OS are sheer frigging terror.... if you want to do interesting things at least. Everything is so disconnected that 99% of the time... if you're trying to make two programs work with each other, you find yourself having to send everything through the cloud.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: make two programs work with each other

      "if you're trying to make two programs work with each other, you find yourself having to send everything through the cloud."

      That's not a bug, that's a design goal/feature, and if the punters don't like it, tough. Privacy (and even regulatory compliance) is soooo 20th century.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Presented at build and only interesting to techies?

      "Windows has extremely tight integration between programming languages and the operating system."

      Extremely tight integration is just what Unixers don't want. It's what raised objections to systemd. You make Windows sound even worse that that although I've no doubt that the systemd authors are doing their best to catch up.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What I want ..

    .. is a setup that clearly separates "mine" (my resources, my Internet connection, my data - even the non personal stuff) from "theirs" (the OS).

    Any attempt to use "mine" for "theirs" should automatically send a signal to the local equivalent of the Information Commissioner and the police. If they steal resources (i.e. my bandwidth for marketing), the police should have the evidence, if they seek to use my data I think the ICO should have a heads up - assuming that post Brexit the GDPR level of fines are maintained.

    Every time Microsoft presentations talk about a wonderful new world it pays to check where your wallet is and if you've locked away anything valuable.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: What I want ..

      Then what happens WHEN (not IF) the authorities get corrupted by those big transnationals?

  38. steviebuk Silver badge

    ):-(

    Multi-form factor. "A modern OS has the right sensor support and posture awareness to enable the breadth of innovative form factors and applications that our partner ecosystem will deliver."

    What a cunt.

  39. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Seamless updates "invisibly done in the background; the update experience is deterministic, reliable, and instant with no interruptions".

    Yeah right, pulle the other onne, it has belles onne. Instant updates? Reliable updates? Yeah right, you can only have one of these two.

    Secure by default since "the state is separated from the operating system; compute is separated from applications; this protects the user from malicious attacks throughout the device lifecycle".

    Ne'er-do-wells ALWAYS think outside the box. This mean they WILL find a way to bollox it up. Get real.

    Always connected. "All of a user's devices are aware and connected to each other."

    And what if I decide I want to remain OFFline? Or that I'm in an area with notoriously poor connectivity? Or is that Skynet becoming self-aware?

    AI-powered with "cloud-connected experiences that use the compute power of the cloud to enhance users' experiences on their devices. These experiences are powered by AI, so a modern OS is aware of what a user is doing tomorrow and helps them get it done."

    "I'm afraid I can't let you do that, Dave"

    Multi-input. "People can use pen, voice, touch, even gaze – whatever input method a user wants to use works just as well as the keyboard and mouse."

    But will these be reliable and consistent across various updates/upgrades/revisions?

    Multi-form factor. "A modern OS has the right sensor support and posture awareness to enable the breadth of innovative form factors and applications that our partner ecosystem will deliver."

    Baaaaaaaaah, it will be "one size fits all" to cut down on costs and maximize revenue.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Yeah right, pulle the other onne, it has belles onne. Instant updates? Reliable updates? Yeah right, you can only have one of these two."

      Why not? PROVE it. I want it all, and I want it yesterday.

      "And what if I decide I want to remain OFFline? Or that I'm in an area with notoriously poor connectivity? Or is that Skynet becoming self-aware?"

      What about those micro-satellites going into orbit? About the only way you'll be out of reach in the future will be to live completely isolated in a cave without even an antenna.

      "I'm afraid I can't let you do that, Dave"

      Well, how do you save the user from himself. And please note you'll have widows and orphans to take into consideration as well, which means both money and political power are involved.

  40. Teiwaz Silver badge

    Nice set of Goals to have

    Chance of actually pulling any of them off, Zero. (minus fifty, since it's Microsoft).

    Having your tech items seamlessly talk to each other has been an intent since DVD and TVs, possibly earlier.

    Ends up just being a away for unbalanced individuals to send piccies of their junk to women on the train.

    It's just a list of high-minded optimistic goals, just like Capita telling a Government agency it can fulfill that service agreement efficiently and with adequate resources for the price.

  41. Kiwi Silver badge
    WTF?

    Seamless updates "invisibly done in the background; the update experience is deterministic, reliable, and instant with no interruptions".

    Agree with the many comments up above.

    However, to be "invisible' there would be no required reboots, no measurable impact on system performance or network bandwidth (bye-bye all that peer-peer update sharing slowing down even fibre connections!), no breaking hardware and the one MS will find really hard to swallow - NO MORE DELETING OR ADDING PROGRAMS AGAINST THE USERS WISHES!

    MS update is quite reliable however - much like a serious illness is.

    Secure by default since "the state is separated from the operating system; compute is separated from applications; this protects the user from malicious attacks throughout the device lifecycle".

    The only "Default" with MS 'security' is de faultiness of their security.

    Always connected. "All of a user's devices are aware and connected to each other."

    HELL NO!

    I actually prefer to be working across 2 or 3 different platforms (Android, Linux and whatever my dumbphone runs on). Something actually finds a hole in my network and hoses the computers? Well at least I have the tablets working. Something takes out the internet? At least I can still communicate with people.

    If I want to share stuff I'll either 1) use SSH or Samba to grab it over the net, plug in a USB cable, or download it from a server (eg owncloud/nextcloud). Or BT. I do sync calender, contacts and emails although I seldom do email from the tablet. Aside from that, I have nothing I wish to sync. I know others do, but that sort of stuff doesn't need the sort of interconnection that MS is drooling over. Blue Proximity can be nice (at least as far as locking things if I get up and leave), but I very rarely have people around where that's an issue.

    Having the level of interconnect that MS is lusting after puts you much more at risk of data loss.

    AI-powered with "cloud-connected experiences that use the compute power of the cloud to enhance users' experiences on their devices. These experiences are powered by AI, so a modern OS is aware of what a user is doing tomorrow and helps them get it done."

    Yes. TEendARS.

    Multi-input. "People can use pen, voice, touch, even gaze – whatever input method a user wants to use works just as well as the keyboard and mouse."

    Wow. Welcome to the 90s.

    Multi-form factor. "A modern OS has the right sensor support and posture awareness to enable the breadth of innovative form factors and applications that our partner ecosystem will deliver."

    And that.. Somehow just looks scary. I'm sure no one will find a way to abuse that. If my posture suggests 'self-abuse' then I don't want any one else to be noticing it tyvm.

    That said... MS is welcome to watch me do that through any cameras. They may need to purchase a truckload of carpet cleaners and vomit-removers though, and increase the compensation fund for staff mental abuse....

  42. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    "Hiya Skipper! It looks like you're preparing a complex presentation due in an hour's time, and I've got several updates all lined up and raring to go. Off they go, it should not impact your work at all." -last famous words of Binky before it gets chucked out of the window on the 13th floor

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Then the Skipper gets chucked out the 13th floor after it because one of the updates was to a newly-in-the-wild total pwnage exploit that needed to be patched yesterday lest the company get held hostage. Dilemma: patch and you can't work, don't patch and you can't work. And you can't rely on things being secure because you didn't make everything yourself from scratch: including the hardware: something will get through everything you try. So now what?

  43. steviebuk Silver badge

    The fact they can't even......

    ...get Windows 10 Updates to install without randomly picking laptops at work where it then kills the WIFI, so you then have to uninstall the WIFI card, reboot so it can resetup the WIFI is fing annoying. So why they think it will be "seamless" is anyone's guess.

    I can't type because this bollocks makes me so angry. They seem to think the world is on fibre broadband to the house and not on slow, piss poor speeds. Or in some areas with no BB access at all. So won't be able to do the "Always connected" with the bullshit "AI".

    Considering we're thinking of a move to the Isle Of Wight where, the best you can get is WightFibre that already looks slower than the Virgin Fibre we're currently on is worrying and Virgin don't look like they are never going to invest in the Island and not forgetting its stuck in the 80s. The fact WightFibre is only 15mb up also, so all the advertising slurp their new "OS" will push to the "cloud" will probably chew all that up. I hate marketing people, especially when they spout bullshit and even more when directors fall for said bullshit.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ummm, no...

    So they want to punt me a glorified thin client, and have me pay monthly for the privilege? Dream on.

  45. steviebuk Silver badge

    "These experiences are powered by AI, so a modern OS is aware of what a user is doing tomorrow and helps them get it done."

    Clippy? Is that you?

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