back to article Move fast and break stuff, Windows Terminal style: Final update before release will nix your carefully crafted settings

The last major update for Windows Terminal prior to version 1.0 dropped last night but be warned: there are some breaking settings changes. Microsoft's open-source Windows Terminal has come along in leaps and bounds since its first tentative steps last year. With (the now virtual) Build event due next month, users would be …

  1. e^iπ+1=0

    How about a poll?

    "1 is the magic number" brigade and the "0 is the only true way" acolytes.

    I vote for zero (0).

    Neg for 1, upvote for zero.

    Suggest another number if you like (does not apply to physicists).

    1. Someone Else Silver badge

      Re: How about a poll?

      "1 is the magic number"...

      And most decent coding standards have an admonition about putting magic numbers in your code.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: How about a poll?

        To be fair, Redmond has never really embraced the concept of a magic number ... they still use meaningful filename extensions, which is mind-bogglingly brain-dead behavio(u)r for a modern operating system.

        1. boltar Silver badge

          Re: How about a poll?

          It is stupid behaviour , but unfortunately its not limited to Windows. Try using clang (and IIRC gcc as well) to compile C or C++ code in a file with an extension it doesn't recognise.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: How about a poll?

            There is a big difference between an OS acting on a file based on it's extension regardless of that file's actual content, and an application expecting specific extensions for certain operations.

            1. Luiz Abdala Bronze badge

              Meaningful extensions.pif

              The most annoying part about meaningful extensions is trying to rename some of them. Try to rename a .pif or .lnk IIRC and windoze won't let you.

              As in:

              - If you have a "file.pif" and try to rename it "file.txt" it will put "file.txt.pif" which is beyond stupid. You have to go to DOS to do it properly, and maybe even DOS won't let you.

              And, who hasn't attached a "executable code.txt" to an e-mail ever before in their lives to dodge antivirus and e-mails settings?

              And whoever hides files extensions on purpose should be SACKED immediately.

        2. tin 2

          Re: How about a poll?

          AmigaOS .... Still one of the features I'm not sure how the wider world didn't learn.

    2. simonlb Silver badge

      Re: How about a poll?

      Zero is the logical place to start: You measure electricity from zero volts and you measure altitude from sea level and go up or down from there. Ignoring zero and starting at one makes no sense as the first number in any counting system - binary, octal, decimal, hex - is always zero.

      Mind you, the Americans seem to insist on calling the first floor of a building the second floor so I can see why they may get confused about it...

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: How about a poll?

        To be fair, the Brits (and some derivations) in their infinite wisdom walk into the bottom floor of the building & call it the "ground floor". Then they go up to the second level and call it the first floor. The third level is the second floor, etc. To me this sounds suspiciously like a little thingie that us computer nerds call an off-by-one error.

        1. hmv Silver badge

          Re: How about a poll?

          Ah! $work used to manage even better than that - one building you would walk in on the ground floor[0] and climb the stairs to floor zero.

          0: This assumes that one of the windows hadn't fallen out, and you'd constructed a bridge to walk in on a floor higher than usual. And yes they were known to fall out on occasions.

        2. John Robson Silver badge

          Re: How about a poll?

          No Ground is just another name for the zeroth floor of a building.

          Mind you my Father used to work in a nine storey building, seven of which were ground level. Big hill, decent sized building.

          1. simonlb Silver badge

            Re: How about a poll?

            another name for the zeroth floor of a building

            Just like the Zeroth Law of Robotics, as defined by R Giskard Reventlov

          2. phuzz Silver badge

            Re: How about a poll?

            At Exeter Uni there's plenty of buildings where you can enter on the ground floor, climb multiple flights of stairs only to walk along a corridor into the basement of another building.

            I did used to live in a house where the front door was three floors above the backdoor, which was still above a single storey garage.

          3. jake Silver badge

            Re: How about a poll?

            But there is no "zeroth floor".

            Ask the proverbial man-in-the-street to count tins of soup or nuts. Does he start with 0? Or does he start from 1? Obviously, he counts from one because zero indicates no soup or nuts.

            Likewise, you have one floor of a one story building. You can't have zero floors of a one story building. It's completely illogical to suggest otherwise. Ground level itself represents zero, or the absence of a floor.

            Add a floor, and you have two floors of a two story building. The first one you enter at ground level is logically the first floor. The next one up would be the second floor. And so on.

            Going down, the first level below ground is the first basement, ad infinitum (All the philosophers have been wrong, actually ... it's basements all the way down. Don't believe me? Hand me that shovel ... there is always a new basement, just keep digging ...)

            Building on a hill? Live in a split-level[0]? The main entrance becomes "the first floor" by default ... unless the occupier decides otherwise, of course.

            ANYwho ... arbitrarily deciding that the floors of buildings are counted differently than anything else in our day to day lives is perverse. But a good excuse to have an argument. This round's on me :-)

            [0] My suggestion is to avoid split-level housing at all costs. It may look pretty at first glance, but wait until you have to vacuum the bastard ...

            1. John Robson Silver badge

              Re: How about a poll?

              Of course you count from zero, every time you add an object you add one.

              1. AGeezer

                Re: How about a poll?

                0 | 1; Great arguments both ways. They are about to release their first release as 1.0. Should the first version be 0.0?

                1. John Robson Silver badge

                  Re: How about a poll?

                  First release should probably be 0.9.

                  Then your first “stable enough for general use” can be 1.0 (well, 1.0.3)

                  1. jake Silver badge

                    Re: How about a poll?

                    0.96 Beta ... anything prior to that is Alpha or Pilot.

            2. boltar Silver badge

              Re: How about a poll?

              So going from floor 1 straight to floor -1 (basement) without a floor 0 is logical is it? Thats about as sensible as all those superstitious developers who dont have a floor 13. Well they do, they just call it 14.

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: How about a poll?

                "So going from floor 1 straight to floor -1 (basement) without a floor 0 is logical is it?"

                Yes. It is. Out here in the RealWorld, zero is a place-holder denoting nothing. Any so-called "floor zero" mathematically would be the plane between the spaces occupied by floor 1 and floor -1. And as we all remember from Jr. High Math(s), a plane is a two dimensional surface with no volume.

                Putting it another way, if you have zero quid and four children, and you split your money equally between them, how much money does each child receive? Fortunately zero pence is EXACTLY the rent on a quarter of the zeroth floor ...

                For extra credit: If your youngest child is a boy living in a quarter of the zeroth floor, will he grow up to be a quarter of a man?

        3. katrinab Silver badge

          Re: How about a poll?

          No. You enter at the ground floor. When you go up to the first level, that is the first floor.

          A lot of lifts (elevators) have the floors numbered 0 for ground, 1, 2, 3, ... for floors above ground level, and -1, -2, -3, ... for floors below ground level.

          1. Luiz Abdala Bronze badge

            Re: How about a poll?

            I love that analogy, being an Engineer.

            To top that off, my father (a Civil Engineer) says that elevators in Hidropower Dams use their ALTITUDE MSL as a floor number.

            So, if the Dam is built 500 meters above Mean Sea Level, being the top of the lake at 700 meters, on the lowest level the elevators will show level 500, and the top one will display level 700, which is neat.

            Not only it shows how high it is, it also gives a notion of how long a trip on it will take you.

    3. Paul Johnston

      Re: How about a poll?

      Better still vote for your choice of number then multiply them all together and see who wins.

      I'll start voting for 0

    4. hmv Silver badge

      Re: How about a poll?

      Just to be awkward: NaN

      1. tin 2

        Re: How about a poll?

        You can't have NaN cos by definition it's NaN.

        1. The other JJ

          Re: How about a poll?

          “Should array indices start at 0 or 1? My compromise of 0.5 was rejected without, I thought, proper consideration.” - Stan Kelly-Bootle

  2. Vector


    It's seems we're seeing more and more of this kind of lazy update from developers throughout the industry.

    In this case, if the fix for the settings is "copy the settings file outside of the install folder then copy it back," it seems to me that you could take care of that in your damn install script instead of posting the idiotic workaround on twitter. If there are potential issues, inform the user and let them choose particularly with something like terminal which is generally only used by tech sophisticates.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Really!?

      The fix is "Want us to make changes to your profile settings? If yes, we'll store a copy of your old file in settings.json.old just in case you change your mind. If no, we'll leave your settings alone and place our very well commented, self-documenting version in for your perusal ... Either way, we will not touch the now legacy file profiles.json, so you'll always have a copy to refer to as needed."

      But that would be helpful to the enduser, so Redmond won't do it. Corporate policy, don'tcha know. Sorry lusers.

      1. hoola Bronze badge

        Re: Really!?

        It is called Agile..

        Create stuff that looks good but is bug ridden really quickly then at some point in the future go back and fix the worst of the broken bits.

        The hope being that if you leave it long enough people have got used to the broken bits or foudn workarounds so that the developers don't need to fix it.


    2. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

      Re: Really!?

      Jesus H Tapdancing...Microsoft, which claims to be a software company, cannot get a terminal program right?

      I weep for humanity.

      (at least, the portion of it that uses computers)

      1. AGeezer

        Re: Really!?

        I think we all know that its the third release of anything from Microsoft for it to become useful and usable. Perhaps we should way for release 3.0.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Really!?

          Perhaps we should wait until it's vaguely usable ... maybe wait until there is an update to release 3.11 nearly a year later to almost bring it up the standard the rest of the world has been using for decades? They could code-name it Weasel or Stoat. Or Polecat.

    3. Jon 37

      Re: Really!?

      There is a finite amount of programmer effort assigned to the Terminal project. Do you want some of that effort:

      A) Spent writing fancy settings-update code so that all the old settings get upgraded automatically, in a clearly labelled pre-release version where people using it have been warned there may be breakage, OR

      B) Spent actually implementing new features or fixing bugs?

      Most people would say B.

      (And for the record, it's *not* fixable in the install script, because Windows is multi-user and networked. So you have to cope with a program being installed while user X is logged into a completely different PC, then later user X logs in and his/her user profile is copied from the fileserver to the local PC, then user X runs the new version of Terminal. So the settings upgrade code would have to be part of the Terminal application, and run as one of the first things the Terminal application does when you launch it).

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Really!?

        a) One competent coder should be able to write that bit of code (including comments), test it and re-write the man page to reflect the changes all before lunch.

        b) un*x has been a multi-tasking, multi-user, networked system for decades, and has had absolutely no trouble implementing that kind of thing in install scripts.

        c) Warning people that there may be breakage in Beta code does NOT give the programmer carte blanche to intentionally break user settings simply because they are lazy.

        So tell me, Jon 37, what flavo(u)r was the koolaid?

  3. IGnatius T Foobar ! Bronze badge

    It's actually decent

    It's actually a pretty decent terminal program, and I like that it has a dialing directory just like every other terminal program. Would be nice if we could fire off RDP and VNC sessions from the same terminal. One thing I don't like about it is that when you copy text from this terminal and paste it elsewhere, it brings along the color and style used in the terminal -- most of us just want the plain text.

    Interesting that they made it open source. I wonder if it's possible to port it to Linux and Mac, so those of us who use multiple platforms can have the same terminal experience everywhere. I'm getting awfully tired of trying to remember whether paste is Shift-Insert, Ctrl-V, Ctrl-Shift-V, or the right mouse button on whatever terminal program I happen to be using right now.

    The font they built for it (Cascadia) is interesting. I've been using it as my terminal font on both Windows and Linux. The low height of the cross-strokes reminds me of the look of fonts on old 8-bit computers.

    1. 9Rune5 Silver badge

      Re: It's actually decent

      Use ctrl+shift+v to perform a plain text paste if the formatted text is a bother.

    2. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge

      Re: It's actually decent

      It has nothing to do with the program. As someone mentioned above, it has to do with the development team being too lazy to write about two or three lines of script for the installer.

  4. Mike Shepherd

    Not the end yet

    Some were hoping that Windows Terminal was the sequel to Windows 10.

    1. Claverhouse Silver badge

      Re: Not the end yet

      Some were hoping Windows 10 was the terminal to Windows.

      1. Khaptain Silver badge

        Re: Not the end yet

        It is...

  5. Dwarf Silver badge

    If not exist

    Because testing if a file exists before doing things to it must be very difficult for Microsoft developers

    If this is a yard stick for their developer capabilities then it shows why the OS and apps are a bag of nails

    It also shows why they need a test team. I wonder when they will learn that lesson again.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: If not exist

      Everything always exists in the perfect lovely magnicifent wonderful world of Windows at Microsoft.

      Out in the real world... things are somewhat different as we all know.

    2. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: If not exist

      "We like to think of our customers as the final step in our Quality Assurance process"

  6. nick2020

    Forgetting Credentials

    Microsoft software is crap at remembering settings - SQL Server Management Studio, Skype randomly forgets all my settings (not just username/password but also, the audio devices config as well), OneDrive too, just to name a few.

    Some phone apps are also dreadful - once I was working away on business and needed to pay an important bill from my business account bang on the deadline date. No problem, I thought, I'll just use the online banking app on my phone, as usual. How wrong I was - the bank had updated the app, and I was greeted with a "Welcome to online banking, please enter your 160-digit online banking reference and secret code" nonsense, none of which, I had with me at the time. Thankfully, I found a physical branch of the bank in the city I was staying in, and sorted it that way.

    Every time I see a message that says "Welcome to the new XYZ, we've got an enhanced login experience", my heart sinks. I don't want videos on the login page, nor animated shiny smilies that beam at me, I just want an app that keeps working, I don't care how boring that is. I'm a developer myself, this really isn't hard to do, it's just sheer laziness and lack of consideration - some spotty idiot probably thought "sod 'em, I can't be ars*d, the user can just re-enter all their details again". I'd love it if the same person who made these decisions, took their car to the dealer to get it serviced, only to find out that the dealer had changed all the locks and remote fob, and the only way for them to give you a new key, was to get a taxi home to get your V5C, insurance documents, recent MOT and so on...

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