back to article Engineer grumbles and user gripes do little to slow down Nadella's trillion-dollar Microsoft

While Microsoft basked in the warmth of soaring digits last week, former technical evangelist and engineer James Whittaker was there to tip an icy scorn bucket over Windows and the culture lurking behind it. Those with long memories will remember the Microsoft of old, blighted by the "toxic management style" of the Bill Gates …

  1. J. R. Hartley


    Why the fuck couldn't they just leave the Control Panel as it was.

    Meddling bastards.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Settings

      You do realize Satya can only introduce the caste system into Microsoft - so the little endians can be squeezed for results whilel the big ones bask in glory like at in his home system?

      All part of the global effort to somehow apologize to India for their own corruption - and import it elsewhere if at all possible (because by importing Indian corruption of spirit we will somehow manage to be better and bigger than the future China).

      The good old days of paying actual developers millions for their hard work are gone - by default, in the mainstream, you are meant to get peanuts now, and feel like a hero for a good product - but in no way allowed to profit from it, that's reserved for the retiring generation.

      So the US gets great employment figures while running a large deficit - paying peanuts you only waste money because nobody is interested in heroism - but the boomer generation won't have it any other way (because gee-whiz, they suffered, and must impart it on the future so we're all equally pained while they get and keep the money and kids do nothing sensible of useful except value and pay for the boomer suffering).

    2. Tilda Rice

      Re: Settings

      The Control Panel? Seriously. The new settings menu = much better.

      (Besides, control panel is win32)

      Another day, another El Reg piddle on MS. So passe.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Settings

        How in the world do you define "much better"??

        1. deive

          Re: Settings

          There is 2 of everthing in different places??

        2. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Settings

          Why, full of pointless white space, oversized and confusing GUI widgets, and easy to get lost in, and every third button you press produces a spinner for 5 seconds followed by "Hey, buddy, wouldn't ya just know it, something went wrong" in red text. Doesn't everyone define "much better" like that?

      2. Updraft102 Silver badge

        Re: Settings

        Control Panel was designed for mouse and keyboard users.

        Settings was designed for touchscreen users with limited screen space, where the buttons and controls have to be grossly oversized to work with fingers and tapping (which allows no positional feedback before sending the click event).

        Now that Windows mobile has been abandoned, why are PC users still expected to tolerate inferior phone UIs to cope with platform problems (small screen, having to work with touch using big soft fingers) that don't even apply? The migration to "everything's a phone" continues unabated, even on PC versions of applications and PC operating systems for which touch is not a good ergonomic fit.

    3. Carl D

      Re: Settings

      >> Why the fuck couldn't they just leave the Control Panel as it was.

      Meddling bastards. <<

      Change for the sake of change. If they weren't making the never ending mostly cosmetic and useless changes to Windows 10, they wouldn't have a job.

      Same reason why we also have the never ending security updates (no security issues = no jobs for the "security researchers").

      Same reason why browser makers (I'm now looking at you, Firefox) keep adding useless features and accelerated release schedules.

      Its all about money and jobs.

  2. fedoraman


    Its the random switching between modes that gets me, TIFKAM still lurks not far beneath the surface, and when it reappears its horribly jarring. And why must the "File" menu on Office applications look so fucking shite? Its awful! And why can't windows have borders anymore, you have to hunt really hard to see where your window edge stops and the desktop begins. Yes, I'm an old fart. In my day, windows had visual clues as to where they began and ended, it really saved the cognitive load in trying to work out what the hell you were looking at!



    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Why.....

      "why can't windows have borders anymore"

      Oh, god, I couldn't agree with this more!

  3. Blackjack Silver badge

    Small Basic?

    Anyone has used it?

    The only BASIC I ever used was the old BASIC since it let you code for MS DOS 2.0 and public libraries and schools tended to have a few of those old machines before the Y2K.

    After that I made webpages for a few years and that was it.

    How different is Small Basic from old Basic?

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Small Basic?

      Small Basic is intended by Microsoft as a teaching tool. It bears little resemblance to the original BASIC -- it's more like a stripped-down version of Visual Basic.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft, Poundstretcher quality, Waitrose prices.

  5. LDS Silver badge

    The "toxic environment" brought us Windows 2000, XP, 2003, 7...

    ... with the notable exception of Vista, of course.

    Now what we got? Windows 10 and its increasingly confusingly UI and release schedule, bad built-in apps, and luser-oriented settings and configurations?

    Plus all the data slurping, of course. Give me back the toxic environment, thank you.

    Nadella shutdown the mobile business and kept the executive running it into the ground? Not really a smart man, then - and that's what usually makes an environment toxic, people rewarded even when they utterly fail - just because they're the boss' friends.

    1. P. Lee Silver badge

      Re: The "toxic environment" brought us Windows 2000, XP, 2003, 7...

      There was a point when they needed to let win mo-pho die, but I agree, they probably shouldn't confuse a spike in earnings with strategic success.

      The whole cloud thing is basically the command-economy argument: we will appoint experts and get economies of scale. It will be 1970's IBM again with every app running on the cloud mainframe. It will be different this time because IT is so all-encompassing, it is harder to break free. However, prices will rise, libre software will gain features and better GUIs and the power given to big tech will be further abused.

      Personally, I'd like to see libre containerised CDN and identity management. I think it's coming. That will be good.

  6. SVV Silver badge

    Woohooo!! I never thought we would see Link to "Windows" top on Android

    No, you all thought you'd see it on the "Microsoft Phone" didn't you?

  7. Updraft102 Silver badge

    You say 'boring' like it's a bad thing

    "The unsurprising result is that Windows continues its tradition of boring, buggy software, and consistently fumbled updates."

    It's an operating system. It's supposed to be boring. The expectation that it could or should be otherwise is a big part of the problem here. MS is trying to make Windows 10 exciting with its twice-a-year feature updates, and that's a big part of why it's crap.

    The only time an OS would be exciting would be if the old one was so bad that everyone is excited at how the new one actually does what an OS is meant to do, which is to make other software look good and to generally be invisible. That's why 95 was such a big thing... Windows 3.x was so bad, UI wise, that having an OS that made sense was exciting.

    Give me as much 'boring' as possible in an OS. An OS that installs updates whenever it wants, is constantly changing the feature set whether I want it to or not, and seeks to control my PC, requiring me to erect all sorts of defenses to maintain a modicum of control over my own property, is not boring. An OS with a weird UI that keeps changing between PC and phone, with the ribbon on many of the PC bits, and with so much flatness that it's hard to tell what is what is a lot of things, none of them particularly good, but it's not boring.

    Wrestling alligators every day before I can get to my front door wouldn't be boring either. Exciting? Certainly, but that doesn't mean I would want to do it. Boring would be a huge improvement.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: You say 'boring' like it's a bad thing

      I see your point, but I'm not sure I agree, at least in the case of Windows.

      I found moving from MS-DOS to BSD with a decent shell (I was using tcsh at the time, later ksh and bash) pretty damn exciting. Command line use and scripting became much less of an exercise in working around the rather pathetic limitations and awkward misfeatures of the tools, and much more a matter of doing things in convenient, sensible, consistent ways.

      I believe there's plenty of room for that sort of exciting change in Windows. Like, oh, not spontaneously deciding to install a bunch of updates and reboot, for example.1 That in itself would be an exciting change.

      1The "metered interface" trick alas doesn't work for me, as my IT Overlords have disabled it via Group Policy.

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