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Windows 8: Do I Really Need a Single OS? 344

Posted by Soulskill
from the do-i-really-need-seventeen-of-them dept.
gManZboy writes "If you skip Windows 8, you lose the appealing opportunity to synchronize all of your devices on a single platform — or so goes the argument. If you're skeptical, you're not alone. OS monogamy may be in Apple's interest, and Microsoft's, but ask why it's in your interest. Can Microsoft convince the skeptics? 'If the hardware and software are the same at home and at work, one can't be "better" than the other. It would help if Microsoft convinced users like me that their platform is so good, we'd be fools to go anywhere else,' writes Kevin Casey."
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Windows 8: Do I Really Need a Single OS?

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  • by roidzrus (2739093) on Saturday October 13, 2012 @11:39AM (#41641719)
    To me, having multiple operating systems on a computer is like having multiple wives--there's no tangible downside to it, but it just feels wrong.
    • by PieMokz (2751997) on Saturday October 13, 2012 @11:44AM (#41641745)

      To me, having multiple operating systems on a computer is like having multiple wives--there's no tangible downside to it, but it just feels wrong.

      I agree on the multiple wifes part. Now, having one wife and multiple girlfriends on the side, well, now we're talking!

    • by gerddie (173963)
      It only feels wrong because of your moral perspective, just ask Phlox [memory-alpha.org].
    • Ya, the only reason to have two is so that you can seamlessly transition to your second OS if your first fails for some reason. Otherwise you cannot use them both at the same time and all OSes do basically the same things.

    • by couchslug (175151)

      "To me, having multiple operating systems on a computer is like having multiple wives--there's no tangible downside to it, but it just feels wrong."

      I want many and to be master of all. Many OS in VMs suit this goal.
      Like an Ottoman Sultan I can delete anything which displeases me then replacing it with a Snapshot of a younger version.

    • Well sometimes I feel like a really fast (spinner) OS, that just goes and goes... Sometimes I want a nice full figured^Wfeatured OS with big boobs^Wdisk space.
    • Well it sounds great in theory. I was watching a documentary on a Mormons who actually practiced polygamy. The guy in it flatly told the camera something to the effect: "Guys think it must be cool to have multiple wives. Let me tell you one thing. My cell phone never stops ringing. One wife is always unhappy about something and bitching at me."
  • Not in my interest (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 13, 2012 @11:43AM (#41641739)

    I would much rather have a variety of operating systems or platforms which use common protocols and formats so that I can switch between them. Technology evolves, operating systems change. Locking one's self into one platform at the exclusion of others is not a good idea. At least not for the consumer, it just makes it harder to switch when the existing platform falls to provide the quality demanded.

    • I would much rather have a variety of operating systems or platforms which use common protocols and formats so that I can switch between them. Technology evolves, operating systems change. Locking one's self into one platform at the exclusion of others is not a good idea. At least not for the consumer, it just makes it harder to switch when the existing platform falls to provide the quality demanded

      I think you are confusing platform lock (the ability to migrate data from one platform to another) with platform interoperation (running multiple platforms at the same time). Those are quite different things -- migration involves a looking at the data a solid blob to move form one place to another, interoperation is largely about synchronization. Consumers absolutely want the former, but usually can't be bothered for the latter.

      For example, Chrome stores bookmarks in HTML making them very easy to migrate fr

  • by slashdyke (873156) on Saturday October 13, 2012 @11:43AM (#41641741) Homepage
    Single source OSs or anything else. If they manage to get it right, the perfect OS that satisfies every user, meets all of our needs. Then what happens? Does the world stagnate, or do they go ahead and produce something that may be totaly crap, and we are all locked in, so we all adopt the crap. No thanks, I like variety, choice, and options. I like being able to decide what I want, and what I do not want. I hope the patent situation around the world does not kill inovation, and I do not want this, as it would do the same.
    • by westlake (615356)

      Single source OSs or anything else. If they manage to get it right, the perfect OS that satisfies every user, meets all of our needs. Then what happens? Does the world stagnate, or do they go ahead and produce something that may be totaly crap, and we are all locked in, so we all adopt the crap. No thanks, I like variety, choice, and options

      I take this to mean that you like variety, choice and options, so long as they are all second-rate.

      To put it another way: I don't know how the geeks successfully stands in the way of an OS becoming the standard --- baseline OS --- the dominant OS --- because it seems to meet everyone else's needs perfectly well.

  • Except that on Slashdot it's: "If it's not Linux, it's crap!"

    • At least we can see the source code in the Linux camp.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      That's not necessarily true. There's love for BSD here, too.

      Since now you can get everything running Linux (phone, palmtop, netbook, nettop, notebook, blah blah blah up to server, cluster...) you can actually live the dream

  • Infoweek blog crap. Everyone has opinions; most aren't worth listening to. Especially true at infoweek, pcworld, and others.

  • by gmuslera (3436) on Saturday October 13, 2012 @11:54AM (#41641823) Homepage Journal
    Some kind of devices and activities are better suited for some kinds of interactionl. Screen size, to have or not touchscreen, keyboard, mouse, that you must hold it or use it on a surface, are between the factors that make one user interface better suited than others. In Linux you have a lot of different user interfaces, is not the same playing with Meego, Unity, KDE, Android or Sugar, but is all the same OS (or at very least, kernel and basic toolchain) with different user interfaces that are meant to fit to certain range of hardware.
  • Well, aside from the obvious risks of everyone being beholden to the same OS if a security hole suddenly arises (but I'm sure that won't happen with Microsoft) there are reasons to build your skills with other OSs on your own.

    Where I work I am already the Windows goto guy for light IT support because calling Bangalore is like going to the dentist only less productive.

    However recently I changed groups and lo and behold, the designers use both Windows and Red Hat Enterprise. They already have a dedicated Linu

  • Not really... what I need is x86 hardware in a tablet form factor that uses the same amount of power (or preferably less) than current ARM tablets, with a decently bright high contrast display, a decent stylus and a big battery. I'll still be carrying my laptop (Windows 7) and smartphone (Android) around in addition though...

  • Most of the people don't even bother to wonder: they buy something they've known for a long time / from the office, i.e. a PC. And what OS comes with it? The last Windows == 8. It reminds me of the recent iphone 5 discussion: despite iOS6 and Maps problems, lack of innovation and a satellited price people just buy it. It's a trend which path takes years to get affected. Unfortunately, slashdotters are, by far, a minority.
  • If you skip Windows 8, you lose the appealing opportunity to synchronize all of your devices on a single platform — or so goes the argument.

    No I don't! I'll just use another platform for them.

  • by Bananatree3 (872975) on Saturday October 13, 2012 @12:01PM (#41641869)
    If I want a single OS platform, I'd go with Apple. For all the handwaving Apple fanbois do, Apple actually does the unified experience pretty darn well. I'd own an iPhone, MacBook and an iMac to keep things concurrent.

    If I wanted to, that is. I don't , and will stick with the mix thats's proven to be effective for me
    • I loved my Apple products, right up until i couldnt share something on my phone with to my Nexus 7. There is NO REASON i shouldnt be able to transfer files between these devices out in the field seamlessly and NATIVELY.
    • by Dan East (318230)

      How are you considering iPhone and Mac as the same OS? This article is talking about application portability, and of course iOS apps don't run on OSX or vice versa. iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch are all mobile devices, and the only family of hardware on which iOS runs.

      Yes, iOS is based on OSX in some way deep down, but in the context of "A Single OS" they are not the same.

  • If you skip Windows 8, you lose the appealing opportunity to synchronize all of your devices on a single platform
    Linux(Ubuntu/Fedora/Arch/etc+Android)
    • by afgam28 (48611) on Saturday October 13, 2012 @02:23PM (#41642875)

      That's not a single platform, that's a single kernel, which is not the same thing.

      You can't run an Ubuntu app on Android or vice versa. However you can run Microsoft Office on both a tablet and a desktop PC.

      I kind of see Windows 8 as Microsoft's version of the Motorola Atrix - i.e. a dockable tablet. This might not appeal to everyone, but I'm sure there are users out there who would appreciate it, particularly in office settings.

      Imagine you're editing an Excel spreadsheet at your desk. Outlook reminds you that you have a meeting, so you undock and walk over to the meeting room. Then you discuss the contents of the spreadsheet during the meeting, and make some small changes. After the meeting, you decide you want to make some bigger changes, so you go back to your desk and dock your tablet so that you can take advantage of the mouse, keyboard and bigger monitor.

  • Apple's interest (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jbolden (176878) on Saturday October 13, 2012 @12:09PM (#41641939) Homepage

    Just to point out here the assumption of the question is wrong. Apple is proposing the exact opposite of ubiquitous computing. They instead have two products iOS and OSX which evolve semi-seperately so that data can pass between similar applications but that the applications are quite different.

    Microsoft conversely is proposing a shift to ubiquitous computing that applications and devices can alter themselves based on the way they are used, the form factor of the human. ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6cNdhOKwi0 [youtube.com] ).

    What the author is proposing is different from either one of these, the current situation where there are loose standards for moving application data and different applications.

    current: loose standards
    apple: seamless data portability
    microsoft: seamless application portability

    Apple's views and Microsoft's views shouldn't be confused.

    • Well put.
      The MS approach is quite different from Apples. I'm not crazy about the extra mouse clicks required to get some things done under Windows 8, but a seamless experience across all my devices (or screens) feels like a net productivity gain. I ve tinkering with Linux and even OSX, but I still use Windows everywhere I want to get things done. Linux has some great components, but 2 copies of the same distribution aren't even guaranteed to be binary compatible let alone sharing a common structure. At the

      • by jbolden (176878)

        Understood. I'm an apple guy but I fully understand the appeal of Microsoft's strategy if they can get it to work.

        Linux is a yet another model... The ability to construct an environment for any hardware platform. Linux long ago decided for source compatibility (and they've done a good job) not binary compatibility.

  • that the argument is more for the developers than the users. There is a bit of overlap with things like iWork on iPad and Mac, and Office on an ARM tablet and PC but for the most part the argument from MS at least has been: learn metro run your code everywhere. So why does the user care? Does a user really want a 20"+ screen that is primarily geared towards touch (sounds like a good idea until work starts feeling like a workout)? Does it make sense to lobotomize a desktop app to make it interaction friendly

  • Didn't work before (Score:5, Insightful)

    by roc97007 (608802) on Saturday October 13, 2012 @12:22PM (#41642015) Journal

    And it still doesn't. Microsoft has for decades tried to sell us on the idea of one bloated, legacy-crap-filled OS on all devices, it was just a matter of the hardware catching up with their requirements. When they were finally convinced that a KVM interface didn't work on touch devices (giving us wonderful mind-numbing features like a "Start" button and walking menus on a 3 inch phone screen) the solution was obvious -- run a touch interface everywhere, using ideas, rebranded, that have already been successful on other platforms (example, "tiles" instead of "widgets") and convince the computing public that they will love a touch-based interface with huge sliding tiles on a 1920X1200 screen, unless they're some kind of communist.

    And a few people will buy into it enthusiastically, as always, and some people will put up with it because it's a requirement for whatever they need to do, and because of Microsoft's lock on PC manufacturers, some people will put up with it because they bought the computer like that and they don't know what to do about it, and that might be enough to maintain their 60-odd percent market. And the rest of us will use something else.

    I do have to use windows for some things I do. But I'm just now migrating to 7 from XP, and I have no intention of buying another copy of Windows until I see what 9 looks like. And maybe not even then, if a few companies get off their collective butts and port their products to some other platform.

    • by roc97007 (608802)

      Oh, and I'd like to thank everyone else for beta-testing new versions of Windows for me. By the time I pick up a new version, service pack 2 or 3 have already been released, and the platform is usually stable enough to use. I couldn't do it without you.

  • This is the logic that MS used when trying to push server software. That is was useful for support and ROI to have the same OS running on all machines. Some people found it useful, some did not.

    The reality was of course that MS Windows was not a single OS, but a number of related OS with similar user interface. In the days before MS WIndows XP took over the world, there was chaos. MS did two things to alleviate the chaos for developers and users. The first was Visual Studio, which provides what MS cal

  • So if I run linux on three laptops (ubuntu, fedora, redhat), and my (android) phone, is that one single OS?

    • by tuppe666 (904118)

      So if I run linux on three laptops (ubuntu, fedora, redhat), and my (android) phone, is that one single OS?

      No. Linux is just the kernel, which is why those ego arguments used to float around about GNU/Linux that you don't see anymore, and why there is a major move towards Firefox OS and Gnome OS [or as you said Ubuntu]. The definition of what an OS is keeps changing...but it never was Linux even when it was used to describe distributions that share it as a common kernel.

  • I don't want to run the same OS on my phone, desktop, laptop and hypothetical tablet, set-top box and server. They each have distinct uses, and each require (or at least, would benefit from) a slightly different OS.

    Hell, I don't even use just one desktop OS. I run Windows/OS X on my desktop - OS X is a good desktop Unix, but it's weak on gaming so I have a Windows disk as well. My laptop is currently Windows + a blank partition I haven't gotten around to slapping Linux on. Windows for light work and gaming,

  • by treadmarks (2528414) on Saturday October 13, 2012 @12:39PM (#41642155)

    This is such self-serving BS. Microsoft needs a single, unified OS, not you. Microsoft did what they needed to do, for themselves, and this argument was invented after the fact to make it look like it's good for the consumer. What I need is an operating system that doesn't have to reboot every month on Patch Tuesday.

  • by DogDude (805747) on Saturday October 13, 2012 @12:40PM (#41642167) Homepage
    Do I really need TWO OS'es?

    Unless you're a programmer or a hobbyist, I don't see why anybody would need two. Just pick one and get on with more interesting things.
  • Car analogy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jd659 (2730387) on Saturday October 13, 2012 @01:00PM (#41642321)
    Imagine if Toyota had a near-monopoly on passenger cars. There would be other makers selling specialty trucks and busses, but most people would be driving Toyotas. On top of that, Toyota would be producing a single model every few years, like Corolla 95, Corolla 97, Corolla 2000 and people would feel like getting a new car is a requirement. Now suddenly some smaller maker Kawasaki releases a new model of a motorcycle that everyone enjoys driving and sales go through the roof. The controls are very different than those of Corolla – the shape of steering wheel, how you switch gears with your foot, several brakes, and it is a significantly more fuel efficient than any Toyota. New uses for the motorcycles are discovered – they can be driven on pedestrian walkways, or can even be taken into the offices. There are talks how everyone will be driving motorcycles in the future, how we are entering a post-car era, and how, if you want to be current, you need to make motorcycle-friendly roads.

    At the same time Toyota remembers how it tried making motorcycle in the past with a round steering wheel and no one bought it, so it needs a new plan. It develops its own version of Corolla-Moto that has a new set of controls where you switch gears with your elbow. Some people saw a test model and had different opinions – some liked it, some hated it. Toyota plans to start producing motorcycles that mimic the Kawasaki, but it first needs to teach users how to shift gears with the elbow and other oddities of motorcycle controls. Since nearly everyone is driving Corollas, Toyota comes up with a plan to install motorcycle controls in the new version of Corolla alongside with the regular controls. And it allows switching controls while driving! Yes, the shape of the steering wheel changes, the gear shifter moves from the right hand to the left elbow, etc. All that while you drive!

    Since everyone already knows how to drive Corollas, Toyota needs to make the existing car controls a little bit more inconvenient so that users are forced to use the motorcycle controls. For example, the only way to start Corolla-Moto is to rev up the engine by twisting the right handlebar. No one ever needed to twist anything on any car model before. So the plan is to beat Kawasaki, and has nothing to do with making the car better for the driver. Many start blogging that “motorcycle is the future” and if you don’t buy new Corolla-Moto (which gets renamed to Corolla-Toyota-Style in the last minute) you will be left in the past. Very few question true Toyota’s motives and quarrel about little details of the new interface and discuss how they intend to skip the Corolla-Toyota-Style and keep driving their existing Corolla-2007. Once enough people learn how to shift gears with their elbows, Toyota plans on introducing more motorcycles with similar controls and driving Kawasaki out of business. That’s the nature of business.
  • I do not want to 'synchronize' my devices. Ever. It's a primary reason why I went with an Android phone over an iPhone originally (though since then, I have amassed more reasons - I like the Android interface). It's also why I would never buy an Apple TV device. I never have to plug my Roku into my computer. I want my media and data real-time. Are we still using POP mail too?

    iTunes is a pile of shit. I just want to download my content directly to my device. I should never have to plug it in to a computer, a

  • by brunes69 (86786) <`slashdot' `at' `keirstead.org'> on Saturday October 13, 2012 @02:11PM (#41642799) Homepage

    The logic being presented here is very flawed. The root of the argument is this quote:

    "There's a productivity gap when [users] come into the workplace and have to switch operating systems to work with 'in house' software versus 'mobile' software. Windows 8 bridges that gap. Same device at home as at work. Same software. Same cloud back end. Same identity system," wrote reader "moarsauce123."

    This post is wrong on so many levels.

    - Odds of most large corporations upgrading to Windows 8 any time in the next 2-3 years is slim to none. Windows 8 is a huge paradigm shift and there is simply zero reason for them to endure that kind of re-training cost.

    - Odds of most large corporations allowing you to cloud-sync your work machine with your home machine is also slim to none. I can't even plug in my own USB thumb drive at work, you think they are going to allow me to cloud-sync my OS? Crazy town.

    - Your company does not want you using the same 'identity system" at work as at home. You think my company wants me logging into Windows with my hotmail address?

     

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