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Windows 8 Early Build Hints At Apple, WebOS Competitor - EWeek 375

Posted by Roblimo
from the always-steal-ideas-from-your-most-creative-competitors dept.
Microsoft's next Windows could be a cross-platform OS in the style of Apple's iOS or Hewlett-Packard's webOS, if supposed early builds are to be believed... "Bloggers Rafael Rivera and Paul Thurrott, in a series of April postings on Rivera’s Within Windows blog, have described the various features of what they claim is an early build of Windows 8: an Office-style ribbon integrated into Windows Explorer, complete with tools for viewing libraries, manipulating images and managing drive assets; an unlock screen that harkens to the 'Metro' design style already present in Windows Phone 7; an 'immersive' user interface and a built-in PDF reader they call 'Modern Reader.'"
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Windows 8 Early Build Hints At Apple, WebOS Competitor - EWeek

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  • by Iamthecheese (1264298) on Saturday April 09, 2011 @03:41PM (#35769320)
    TFA is full of empty speculation and even if Microsoft were trying to do this their extensive history of withholding key, drastic hardware control level features at the last minute argues against the idea they could carry it off. There will be no pan-fundatio Windows 8.0
    • "Pan-fundatio"? That even confused Google.
      • pan-FUDatio is what first come to mind on a MS thread.

      • by jez9999 (618189)

        Perhaps:
        pan- : across
        fundatio : fundamentalists?

        So, 'across multiple fundamentalist things' (presumably referring to the various fanatical proponents of their respective platforms)

  • Flaming (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jorl17 (1716772) on Saturday April 09, 2011 @03:44PM (#35769342)
    I be flaming.

    Microsoft should just keep pushing good stability features for their crappy OS. Every single OS release is an "oh we got this new x and that new y (both available in other decent OS for ages, except for the occasional innovation)" moment, instead of a "We have increased security and enabled you to fully control your computer. If you are not a computer expert, this OS is great, as it always has been, but if you are a computer expert, then now we have given you the ability to fully manipulate your computer" kind of thing. That's what Windows should do -- add powerusers to their marketshare (I mean real powerusers). Also, it isn't FLOSS (I just had to troll :D)
    • Re:Flaming (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Cinder6 (894572) on Saturday April 09, 2011 @04:38PM (#35769682)

      Microsoft is usually damned if they do, damned if they don't. Let's say they added multiple desktop support, a la every other worthwhile OS. Everyone would laugh at MS for being late to the party. If they don't add it, then people will mock them for its omission.

      I use a Mac and Win 7. There are some damn nice features that 7 has I wish my Mac would copy. Namely: snap to sides. Unfortunately, I doubt that Apple will ever add this, because they seem to refuse to admit to anyone else ever having a good idea. (We did get Spaces eventually, though, so perhaps there is hope.) I also really enjoy how the new start menu works. It's sort of an enhanced dock with the ability to preview and close windows without having to open them. Apple already does have similar functionality (sans the closing windows bit, and it's a little more cumbersome), but there are aspects of the Windows implementation that I prefer.

      You could look at how Apple handled Snow Leopard. For the most part, it was an "under the hood" update, which is basically what you're asking for. And yet, even though it technically did bring a lot of new features, there were a lot of people who were mad at Apple for producing a "weak" update, even though it only cost $30.

      You just can't please everyone.

      • by Jorl17 (1716772)
        Or anyone, for their matter.
      • by nxtw (866177)

        There are some damn nice features that 7 has I wish my Mac would copy. Namely: snap to sides.

        This feature is in BetterTouchTool [boastr.net], which I recommend if you use a Magic Mouse or a mutlitouch trackpad on a Mac (even without the snap to side feature).

      • by jkabbe (631234)

        Microsoft has too many "partners" to sneak in a new version 18 months after the previous version (like Apple did with Snow Leopard). As a result, they'll probably be tied into their recent 3-4 year schedule.

        I think the sadness over Snow Leopard being weak was due to the fact that Apple had been shipping major new releases every 12-18 months for four straight upgrades. And then along comes Snow Leopard on the same schedule, but mostly under the hood. So yeah it was disappointing, but necessary (so no comp

      • by xlsior (524145)
        Let's say they added multiple desktop support

        They already did, a decade or so ago - see Virtual Desktop Manager.... Except it's an optional (free) powertoys download,and not bundled by default.
    • by nxtw (866177)

      Microsoft should just keep pushing good stability features for their crappy OS. Every single OS release is an "oh we got this new x and that new y (both available in other decent OS for ages, except for the occasional innovation)" moment

      The Windows 7 graphics stack is still more capable than anything in Linux when it comes to features like switching between GPUs and replacing GPU drivers without closing programs, logging out, or rebooting. This feature greatly reduces the impact of graphics driver crashes

  • if supposed early builds are to be believed... "Bloggers Rafael Rivera and Paul Thurrott, in a series of April postings on Rivera’s Within Windows blog, have described the various features of what they claim is an early build of Windows 8: an Office-style ribbon integrated into Windows Explorer, complete with tools for viewing libraries, manipulating images and managing drive assets; an unlock screen that harkens to the 'Metro' design style already present in Windows Phone 7; an 'immersive' user interface and a built-in PDF reader they call 'Modern Reader.'"

    Northing here is about why it should be a cross-platform OS.

    I may be kind of drunk right now, but I sure know when I read a bad summary!

    • by SpryGuy (206254)

      Sounds like the goal is to provide the ability to write a game once and it'll run on WIndows desktops and laptops, the XBox console, and their phone OS.

      Which is almost doable right now, but I guess they hope to broaden the class of apps with which this is possible, and lessen the differences between these various platforms.

      • by Blink Tag (944716)

        Sounds like the goal is to provide the ability to write a game once and it'll run on WIndows desktops and laptops, the XBox console, and their phone OS.

        Wait ... you're saying their new OS will allow you to write code once for both desktops AND laptops if both run Windows? No way! That would be so cool .....

        [/snark]

  • So... (Score:2, Insightful)

    ... basically, according to Thurrott and Rivera, Microsoft's "vision of the future of Windows" is - OS X?

    • How did you get to that conclusion? Does OS X have a tablet mode similar to Windows Phone 7's UI, or a ribbon interface?

      What a strange troll...
      • by ceoyoyo (59147)

        "Does OS X have a tablet mode similar to Windows Phone 7's UI"

        Yes, they call it iOS.

        "or a ribbon interface"

        I still don't really see how a "ribbon" is different than a toolbar. OS X has lots of those.

  • i hate ribbon (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nadaka (224565) on Saturday April 09, 2011 @03:54PM (#35769392)

    It is the most terrible difficult and unintuitive development in ui I have ever seen. Give me my damn menu's back, he'll I would prefer vi over ribbons.

    • Indeed (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Saturday April 09, 2011 @04:19PM (#35769556)
      As far as I can see the sole purpose of the ribbon is to keep all the training companies that train office workers on Microsoft products happy, and to make it harder to change to Open Office for people used to the ribbon.

      But this is the company that has made Wordpad an unusably over-complex piece of garbage - and I say that even though Windows 7 is a vast improvement over XP; installed on my laptop because XP was giving up with too many programs open, and now all those programs run nicely together.

    • by John Allsup (987)
      Office used to be better on Windows until MS came out with their flouncy bouncy ribbon thing. On the mac they weren't able to get rid of the menu bar and so the mac version has the best of both worlds while the Windows version has the worst. It seem MS may be trying to spread this mistake through the rest of the OS.
      • by krenaud (1058876)
        I've used every Word version since 3.0 for DOS and I think that the 2007/2010 interface is the best yet. It requires some relearning, but one that hump is done it is easier to use. Learning keyboard shortcuts is easier - just press ALT and the key combinations light up and if you are used to ALT-whatever+Letter menu shortcuts from 2003 and earlier they still work.
      • You may think the Mac has the best of both worlds. I think they've merely combined crap and trash. Both approaches are UI disasters, and having mixed paradigms in the same software for that sort of thing just doesn't work well, which is why I stuck with my old copy of Office 2004 for Mac while trying to make the transition to using iWork. I'll take one broken paradigm over two any day, and iWork is great, though I've been so used to doing things the MS Office way for so long that it's taking a lot of habit

  • I think the ribbon is O-K. It's not fantastic (not the amazing revolution MS seems to think it is) but it's usable. I think it works OK in Office 07 at least. But... why in explorer? Explorer isn't complex enough to justify it. Office warranted it because it has oodles of menus and features. Explorer is comparatively simple though, which makes me think this is just overkill.

  • Please, give me oversized text that stretches off the screen so I can't read it - such a great feature of WM7!
  • the list of functionality sounds like a perfect recipe for absolutely every major software company under the sun to begin anti-trust lawsuits, to me. oh, and patent infringement cases, too...

  • Does anybody apart from Microsoft, actually think the ribbon is a good thing? I would consider removing it to be a feature.
  • Out of the gate, they're already behind. That is, if this isn't just some pathetic attempt by Microsoft to drum up some stock interest with a paid blogger doing a PR puff piece.

    Both iOS and webOS have made a lot of strides over the past few years. A big part of how they do things is user experience...Microsoft gets too geekily technical about some details, and the fact is, those details aren't as popular with the wider population than they'd like to admit. It's been the same story since Microsoft first ventured into the mobile space years ago.

    Personally, I really, really like how fast and accurate the built in search is on webOS. I know a lot of other guys who left the platform and came back because once you get the bug, it's hard to give up. Especially if you figure out how to really use the platform well. Instead of swiping and scrolling through silly little screenspace consuming icons, you pull out the keyboard, type a couple letters, and it'll give you contacts, apps, you can mod it to do a wikipedia lookup, imdb, whatever. It's pretty sweet. It's like taking all the best things about a CLI and all the best things of the standard GUI and putting them all together. That's something, to me, I can deal with using 2 year old hardware on a day to day basis when I know there's better hardware out there...and I could even get it for free. And unless my provider would let me install webOS on that other phone and all my apps work, I'm not going to switch hardware. I'll duct tape my first gen Pre together if it comes down to it, and if that doesn't work, I'd be spending plenty of time trying to make it work on other hardware.

    The reason I say all that is that if you're releasing a new mobile OS, you aren't going to "get me" to give up my apps, my preferred workflow, my cash, just to switch if you're playing catch-up. Just because you're Microsoft or Apple or Google doesn't impress me. Its whether or not your stuff does what I want, and if your software can't do it like I want, then either you pay me to use your stuff, or give me some features I can't live without. And no, I'm not going to switch just to "get" with a paid third party app something I already have well-integrated and free on my current platform of choice. Plus, it's all got to work well with what I currently have, or it's not happening. Not only that, but I stopped writing software for Windows Mobile about 3 years ago. You know what I really liked about it? It was a fairly powerful (if not a little quirky) platform to code for. I like .NET. It's something that Microsoft did very well. Unfortunately, in their effort to "be more like the other guys", I feel like they're abandoning a lot of the consistency of development between Windows apps, Windows web applications, and Windows mobile applications. They're still using ".NET technologies" to do things, but the basic design philosophies and approaches are getting really scattered and confusing, while .NET itself keeps jumping all over the place in basic application design philosophy with each new incarnation. They really need to find a few basic approaches to developing applications for their platforms and stick with them. Unless I'm using Silverlight as my standard, out of the box presentation layer for desktop applications as well as web applications...and that's all I'm doing from now on, then fine. But pick one approach and stick with it, you know?
  • They should just make that work and release it :)

  • by QuietLagoon (813062) on Saturday April 09, 2011 @05:22PM (#35769974)
    ... before it is released. Once the software is released, it rarely lives up to the pre-release hype.
  • The Office Ribbon GUI is one of the worst GUI changes ever forced on a significant number of people.

  • by chord.wav (599850) on Sunday April 10, 2011 @01:45AM (#35772208) Journal

    Microsoft's next Windows could be...

    I stopped reading right there. It could be a lot of things. I was expecting a more informative "going to be"

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