Barney's Rubble

Windows 8 Wishes

Vendors that listen to customers tend to succeed -- and those that don't, fail. I've met many CEOs who made beaucoup bucks just doing what IT asked them to (too bad there are no kickbacks to the great admins and CIOs who come up with all these ideas).

I'm not sure if it's too late, but you, the Redmond reader, have a few things to tell Microsoft about Windows 8.

You sure as shootin' don't want another Windows Vista, nor do you want a modest upgrade to the OK-but-certainly-not-stunning Windows 7. You want a nice upgraded look but, more importantly, an eminently stable and elegant OS -- no more weird hitches!

I've been following Windows since version 1.0, and while there have been thousands of new features, there has yet to be a true revolution. Some of you want a sea change in the interface, but by far most of you want the fundamentals handled properly. While a Lamborghini is nice, a reliable diesel truck is preferred for the grind of day-to-day computing.

Reader Bruce backs me up. "They don't even have Windows 7 well done yet and now they're doing Windows 8? And they're changing the UI again? Are they totally nuts? My next tower will not be run by Windows, it will be Linux or a Mac," Bruce says.

Security is job No. 1. "The biggest problem with Windows is that it doesn't protect itself," notes reader Lou.

"Windows must not let any user software intermingle with Windows. This means that all Windows folders (like System32) must remain inviolate. The Registry must also be limited just to Windows entries. Of course, an OS is no good without applications, so there must be application interaction. However, the same logic that allows libraries could allow two separate but equal SYSTEM32 folders -- one for Windows use and one for applications to use."

Some are excited about Windows 8 running on tablets. "As long as a 'Windows for ARM' tablet can use Internet Explorer to get to Microsoft's cloud offerings, the only other thing that such a tablet would need is local removable storage -- an SD-Card slot, for instance -- and thin/virtual client access to a full Windows desktop," says regular reader Marc. "If Microsoft is smart, they'll also allow Google and others to port their applications to such a tablet, just as Apple and Android have done."

The tablet version may finally bring about a much-desired slim and stable version. "The fear is that it would be successful and many people would realize they don't need a lot of the extra bells and whistles Microsoft touts as amazing and indispensable -- just a good OS. That's the way most people feel about Microsoft Office," notes one reader.

What do you want from Windows 8? Let me know your thoughts at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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Reader Comments:

Mon, Oct 24, 2011 Ben Milwaukee

I am an android tablet user and windows developer. My attraction to the concept of Win8 for tablet is when used with a laptop/tablet hybrid like the asus transformer. To be able to have the Metro interface with tablet gestures while in "tablet mode", but then dock the tablet onto a windows 7 like environment for development with mouse and keyboard would be my perfect world.

Mon, Oct 24, 2011 Mark Van Noy Colorado

So far, what I have seen in using the Developer Preview of Windows 8 is that the Metro paradigm is a rehash of Windows 3.1x. All of your programs will fill the screen and be organized into groups. That is exactly what the Windows 3.1x environemnt was with the small detail that each group back then was a separate window. Most people organized the windows so they would not overlap. Metro has been universally loathed at our workplace using a mouse and keyboard. We do not use touch input devices for our day to day desktop computers. Unless Microsoft makes a major change we will likely wait for Windows 9 or whatever the successor is. Right now I would categorized Windows 8 as being in the same league as Microsoft Bob; not good at all from an interface perspective.

Mon, Oct 24, 2011

@LINUXUNIVERSE Microsoft is not the one stopping you with it's stance on UEFI & secure boot but rather the motherboard manufacturer would be the ones you should direct this complaint at. Furthermore, it would only be a problem if the motherboard *disables* the ability to turn secure boot off - which no motherboard manufacturer would ever do (nor has done) or people like you would not buy it. You are complaining to the wrong person about a non-issue.

Tue, Sep 27, 2011 Possom LinuxUniverse

I can't buy a computer from the store anymore because Microsoft UEFI and uninstall Microsoft Windows 8 and replace with the much better Ubuntu Linux operating system. Thanks Microsoft for locking me out and forcing me to shop at system 76 or building my machine. I am sure there are many linux users who hate you now!

Wed, Aug 3, 2011

"And they're changing the UI again? Are they totally nuts?" -- My understanding is that the current Windows desktop UI can be used instead of the new touch UI if you like. So it's a choice that can be made (I hope).

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