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The Black Underbelly of Windows 8.1 'Blue' 608

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the can't-let-google-win-most-evil-crown dept.
snydeq writes "Changes in Microsoft's forthcoming upgrade to Windows 8 reveal the dark underbelly of Microsoft's evolving agenda, one that finds pieces of Windows 8 inexplicably disappearing and a new feature that allows Microsoft to track your local searches cropping up, InfoWorld's Woody Leonhard reports. 'As Windows 8.1 Milestone Preview testers push and prod their way into the dark corners of Windows 8.1 "Blue," they're finding a bunch of things that go bump in the night. From new and likely unwelcome features, to nudges into the Microsoft data tracking sphere, to entire lopped-off pieces of Windows 8, it looks like Microsoft is changing Windows to further its own agenda.'" A lot of the stuff the article gripes about are what Google has been doing for ages with Android: requiring a Microsoft account, funneling users to their services first, tracking your system usage, etc.
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The Black Underbelly of Windows 8.1 'Blue'

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  • Expect more of this. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 08, 2013 @10:12PM (#44221545)

    Microsoft has every incentive to do this, and no disincentive.

    Seriously, how many people are going to switch to Linux over this? Nobody.

    Get used to it.

    • by binarylarry (1338699) on Monday July 08, 2013 @10:30PM (#44221639)

      Most people use Windows because they've been using Windows.

      Windows 8 isn't really "Windows" as they knew it, it requires change. People hate change and if they're going to change, maybe they'll look at alternatives. If they have the cash, they might go for Macs (look at the sales figures lately).

      If they don't... what's cheaper than Windows 8?

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 08, 2013 @10:49PM (#44221757)
        The problem is Desktop Linux is a bigger change for many of them.

        If the Desktop Linux bunch had spent time making Desktop Linux a closer replacement for Windows XP, very many organizations and people would have moved over when Vista came out. More so with Windows 8.

        Instead they do weird stuff to make Desktop Linux even less unattractive to people who don't want change.

        ReactOS is still in alpha or Microsoft would have sued it to death.
        • by armanox (826486) <asherewindknight@yahoo.com> on Monday July 08, 2013 @10:56PM (#44221785) Homepage Journal

          Really? The downfall of desktop Linux is trying to emulate Windows. Much better off when it was more UNIX-y

          • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 08, 2013 @11:15PM (#44221867)

            For who? For you maybe. For the average, not particularly tech savvy consumer who just wants something easy to pick up, not at all.

          • by djdanlib (732853) on Monday July 08, 2013 @11:22PM (#44221911) Homepage

            Well, not every direction away from Windows is productive.

            For example... Unity. Departing from Windows in that direction was harmful. It's really hard to get used to it, and it isn't exactly self-explanatory. You have to become a power user to have more than half a clue of what you're doing and get it to stop being in your way. That's no good for office workers. It might work just fine for people who just want to surf the Web though.

            Having something that works for a majority of people - both the home user world AND the office drone world - is what we need. Not something to scratch the itch of the UNIX guru 1%, because that part of the beast lives under the hood anyway. It has to be compatible with a huge variety of ways of thinking, and Windows has entrenched itself so deeply within the psyche of computer users that anything new absolutely needs to be similar and Just Work without loads of configuration.

            Apple did the Just Work thing right. As much as I don't enjoy using their products, which seem to be designed to prevent you from doing anything that wasn't in their somewhat specific list of use cases, they got that right - it just works for their use cases. That, and they got the marketing right. Everyone was used to things being one way and they made something different look sexy to the general public. A particular Linux distribution could possibly be marketed well and succeed, but that would require dreadful amounts of money that FOSS just doesn't produce.

            What's it gonna be? Something that only we enlightened Slashdot readers can really learn how to use? That's where we're at. Or will it be something that the common user will be able to be productive with?

            Just watch, Android will emerge as a desktop OS someday, and it'll make waves...

            • by Grishnakh (216268) on Monday July 08, 2013 @11:51PM (#44222029)

              Apple only got the marketing right with their mobile devices, the iPod, then iPhone, then iPad. MacOS X still has very low marketshare; not many people have switched to it. People were OK with adopting Apple's UI on small mobile limited-use-case devices (mainly because the existing offerings at the time totally sucked, especially MS's horrible offerings that tried to shove a Win95-style UI onto a tiny touchscreen), but they never did so for their desktop and laptop PCs.

              • by rockout (1039072) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @02:22AM (#44222655)
                Depends what you mean by many. OS X's market-share has been rising for almost a decade, slowly but steadily. Has Linux's?
              • by jcupitt65 (68879) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @04:28AM (#44223125)

                Go around a university library and see what the students are using. Here at Cambridge it's about 50% mac, 25% win, 25% pen and paper.

                MS have lost the next generation of consumers.

                • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @07:19AM (#44223765)

                  Of course an ivy league school full of the offspring of the rich/upper middle class is going to be chock full of Macs. Try going to average university where the students aren't loaded with money. Much fewer macintoshs there.

                • by Mashdar (876825)

                  At the University of Florida five years ago, I would guess it was somewhere around 10% MacOS, and most of those were Fine Arts, Digital Design, etc majors. In engineering and science circles it was close to 0.

                  OTOH, people in a Harvard professional program an ex was enrolled in had more apple products than I could count.

                  I would posit that people at Cambridge and Harvard have larger pockets, and thus are prone to frivilous overspending :) The majority (over here, anyway) are far from being Mac dominated in an

              • by MachineShedFred (621896) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @07:45AM (#44223899) Journal

                Not yet.

                I know of at least 5 Fortune-100 companies that are either in early-life support, or full rollout of Mac OS X as an IT-supported option. They wouldn't be doing that if there wasn't a reason - either user choice in order to make employees happier, a TCO argument that pencils out, or something that works better and more efficiently.

                Are they replacing all their Windows boxes? No. But if large insurance companies are supporting them somewhere besides the marketing department, then something in the IT zeitgeist has changed.

            • by smash (1351) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @12:38AM (#44222251) Homepage Journal

              I'm probably going to get flamed here, but I've only recently tried unity and don't see what the fuss is about? Sure, network integrated search is a big turn off, but in terms of the UI I don't see any major problems with it? It can open multiple xterms, do drag/drop file management, and has a dock/application launcher. Is it the minor, fairly irrelevant UI semantics? I certainly find Unity less annoying than recent versions of KDE. And I'm sure KDE can do a lot of funky stuff I'm not attempting to use. Fact is, it is not intuitive in the slightest.

              I understand performance did suck previously, but I've had no problems running it as a VM under OS X in Fusion, and i wasnt exactly liberal with resources.

              • by Aranykai (1053846) <slgonser.gmail@com> on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @03:20AM (#44222869)

                My only problem with unity boiled down to the title/task bar arrangement. Permanent bar at top of screen that was not a task bar, but becomes title bar when window is maximized. Additionally, if you happened to like right hand close and mini/maxi buttons, now they have moved to the left. Also, you cant close a background window that is maximized without switching to it first, because the close buttons wont appear until you mouse over the title bar.

                Just little nagging things that really frustrated me. Eventually I suppose there will be tweaks or options for these behaviors, but its jarring when your workflow is interrupted by being unable to close a background window without switching to it or having buttons move around on their own.

                • by RoboJ1M (992925)

                  You can close a background application by right clicking it's icon in the task bar, selecting close (I think, haven't used it for a few weeks, it runs on my server)

                  Middle button starts a new copy.

                  Similar to Windows 7 I guess?

              • by MrNemesis (587188)

                Not flaming, but I found unity unusable. To start with, it took me about 15 minutes of looking to launch a damned terminal (it doesn't show up in the menus, apparently you have to search for something before it will become visible in the GUI, a concept I find preposterous) and I couldn't run more than one at once. No visible way to turn off the annoying animations. After that I got so frustrated with the crummy window management I gave up.

                Unity might be fine for running a couple of fullscreen applications I

            • by Trogre (513942)

              It's already ridiculously easy to use Android as a desktop - plug in a USB mouse/keyboard via an OTG cable and you automatically get a mouse pointer and no on-screen keyboard. Hook in an external monitor via HDMI and you have a full desktop.

              Now that sub-$200 dual-core tablets are plenty fast enough (and sub-$100 tablets are still usable) there's little reason to stick with Windows.

            • by SerenelyHotPest (2970223) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @03:33AM (#44222927)
              Almost everything in the parent post is correct. But I also feel I've heard this post far, far too many times. I don't often have the "How Could Linux Gain Real Traction?" conversation any more. I already know all the lines. Anyone who's cared for long enough learned the lines in 2003--or possibly earlier: "The reason Apple succeeded where Linux...", "Linux just needs a critical mass to be accepted...", "People don't choose Windows; they are used to it because...", et al. Unfortunately, in all that time, little has changed. The reality is that even as all the different, fragmented little Linux distros and spins and flavors that were meant to be usable asymptotically approach the "It Just Works" point before most grow beyond their means and recede into bloatedness and metaphorical pretense, none has managed to offer something--anything--that Mac OS and Windows don't that ordinary people care enough about to incentivize the switch--and all the pains associated with switching. Believe me when I say I'm on the F(L)OSS side here as an idealist, but until/unless someone with some actual leverage comes along who sees how to seriously disrupt the desktop OS duopoly with some killer feature that everyone needs as they work to avoid twisting users' wrists, prove they can play that game better than Microsoft and Apple, somehow monetize it without becoming Microsoft or Apple, and are in it for the haul, things aren't likely to change. The closest Linux has come is Mark Shuttleworth. I'm not sold on his being that. My coworkers still complain about real problems with the Ubuntu boxen that have been forced on them. (Most) people don't want community gurus; they want support, familiarity (which includes not having peers staring cowishly at their desktops because they're running KDE) and a promise to go from A to B--repeatably. To the point about Android: I don't want a smartphone OS on my desktop. If Android changes enough to become Windows 7 with a Linux kernel, that will be nice. I don't exactly see it revolutionizing the desktop computing world, though. If Android Desktop came with some analogue to Adobe's Creative Suite and approachable full-fledged office and development environments that blew competition out of the water, we might be in business. But realistically, what I should really be doing right now is putting down the pipe and taking a cold shower to wake me from that dream.
          • by smash (1351) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @12:33AM (#44222221) Homepage Journal
            You mean like back when I had to manually configure modelines for my X11 configuration, and if I fucked it up my display manager would cycle through an endless loop of crash, start and take over console, crash, making console use impossible and requiring either a hard reboot into single user mode or remote SSH access to fix my machine? Like the good old days of having to write a PPP chat script by hand? No thanks. Been there, endured that, have better things to do with my time.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by zidium (2550286)

              It's still that way with sound cards, wifi cards, and even graphic adapters, and even -- gasp!!! -- some monitor brightness controls on the various laptops I've tried to use over the years, and the secure boot stuff just confuses me. I haven't been able to get a boot cd to even boot on this stupid UFI or whatever 2013 laptop of mine ;-(

              • by donaldm (919619)

                It's still that way with sound cards, wifi cards, and even graphic adapters, and even -- gasp!!! -- some monitor brightness controls on the various laptops I've tried to use over the years, and the secure boot stuff just confuses me. I haven't been able to get a boot cd to even boot on this stupid UFI or whatever 2013 laptop of mine ;-(

                I have a 5 and 3 year old laptops and both work very well running Fedora 19. Basically it took me about five and a half easy hours to download, create a boot-able USB key, install the OS on both laptops, do an update and pull in some applications that I normally use. At no time was my user (includes wife and sons) data compromised although I do backups to be safe. While I would not really recommend Fedora for the novice it is incredibly simple to install even if you don't know much about installing an OS.

            • by steveb3210 (962811) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @01:18AM (#44222437)
              CTRL-ALT-F1 to get a non-vga terminal?
        • by 0123456 (636235) on Monday July 08, 2013 @11:28PM (#44221939)

          The problem is Desktop Linux is a bigger change for many of them.

          MATE is much closer to XP/Windows 7 than Windows 8 will ever be. Just because Gnome and Canonical have gone full metal retard, that doesn't mean everyone has.

        • by Grishnakh (216268) on Monday July 08, 2013 @11:47PM (#44222021)

          If the Desktop Linux bunch had spent time making Desktop Linux a closer replacement for Windows XP, very many organizations and people would have moved over when Vista came out. More so with Windows 8.

          Instead they do weird stuff to make Desktop Linux even less unattractive to people who don't want change.

          The sad fact is that the newest version of KDE is a the perfect DE for anyone wanting to switch from Windows (XP, Vista, 7) to Linux: it's fast, full-featured, and looks and works much like the regular Windows desktop interface. Moreover, it's highly customizable and configurable, so a distro could easily make a theme for it that looks even more like Windows, and sets even more options to work by default just like Windows (but let users change from those defaults if they desire). The software is already here, minus that last bit to make the transition even easier for Windows refugees.

          But instead of adopting KDE and pushing it as a Windows replacements, the mainstream distros are all dead-set on sticking with Gnome3 or Unity, interfaces which don't look or work remotely like Windows. Anyone who complains about this is met with comments like "Linux needs to be a pioneer, not copy someone else", and so Linux remains stuck in obscurity. And why Linux users so strongly want a DE that discourages configurability and modification, I have no idea; I thought Linux was supposed to be more attractive to tinkerers, but Gnome3's developers hate people who try to modify their holy UI.

          • by Entropius (188861) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @12:05AM (#44222109)

            I find KDE to be wonderful (and, in fact, used it as a replacement for the Win8 that my new laptop came with). It's pretty easy to use, pretty flexible if you care, and in general just gets the hell out of the way. It doesn't try to be everything -- it's a window manager, and a thing that provides basic services like network management. (The exception is the annoying "notifications" mechanism...)

            • by devent (1627873) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @04:45AM (#44223167) Homepage

              I find the notifications in KDE the best of the whole desktop (maybe a little bit exaggerated).
              It stays out of my way and only shows up if something noteworthy have happened. But if I need the information about the current process I have a very informative window.

              I very much like how KDE have integrated the notifications in one widget, for copy, download, system updates, errors, etc. Windows for example have not manage to do that at all.

          • by techno-vampire (666512) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @12:17AM (#44222155) Homepage
            Gnome3's developers hate people who try to modify their holy UI.

            Their attitude has always been "my way or the highway." They've never been open to suggestions from anybody who isn't actively working as a Gnome dev or understood that Gnome isn't just something for them to tinker with as the mood strikes them but something that other people should want to use. (That's why they're called "users," you know.) Personally, I was so horrified by what Gnome 3 was going to be that I migrated to Xfce before Gnome 3 was released and never looked back. It does what I want, the way I want and is very configurable, none of which is true about Gnome 3. The big problem, as I see it, is that, as you say, most of the mainstream distros are Gnome-centric and most of the newer users aren't even aware that they have a choice.
            • by Telvin_3d (855514) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @01:13AM (#44222417)

              They've never... understood that Gnome isn't just something for them to tinker with as the mood strikes them but something that other people should want to use.

              Except that 'Something to tinker with as the mood strikes them" is exactly what it is. It's open source and it's their project. It is whatever they want it to be, with whatever goals they want it to have. Now, those goals might be very different from what you, or me, or anyone with larger ambitions for the Open Source community might want them to be, but that's tough luck.

              It's the big stumbling block of the Open Source movement. When the goals of the developers just happen to align perfectly with what users and the general community envision (i.e. the development of Firefox) the results are stupendous. When the developers are really just scratching their own itch with a public project (GIMP) you get years of frustration as features and design decisions completely baffle observers.

              If you want it done differently, you can fork it yourself. And if you think there should be a middle ground between "meekly accepting whatever is tossed your way" and "full fledged OS developer", well, the OS community doesn't have a lot to offer.

              Of course, you could provide monetary incentives to get people to provide the features you want. However, given the cost of funding an entire OS development team to do what you want you'll probably have to find some way to recoup the expense. Next thing you know, you're charging people money in exchange for software that does the things they want in the way that they want. What a ridiculous idea.

        • by mcgrew (92797) * on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @07:23AM (#44223789) Homepage Journal

          The problem is Desktop Linux is a bigger change for many of them.

          The switch from Wxp or W7 to KDE is less of a change than from XP to 7. The only downside to Linux is games and a few other specialty apps that have no Linux counterpart. KDE is far more like 7 or XP than 8 is.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by thunderclap (972782)

        What is cheaper? Chromium. Google will win this by extending the Android platform to laptops (which they have already) and to desktops.

      • It would be totally feasible to install your previous OS on your new Windows 8 machine. May not cost anything if you have the original install disc.
        • by dissy (172727)

          Only if your previous Windows OS is Windows XP (really 2000) or older.

          Ever since Windows XP, all versions of windows require activation to obtain an encryption signature from Microsofts certificate. Without that, the OS itself has components that actively fight the OS itself.

          Now yes this software is easy to bypass in XP. I've heard it's not too difficult in Vista, but is no longer described as "easy" for Win 7. I suspect it will continue to get harder with each release, until PS3 levels of protection are

          • by Aranykai (1053846)

            Yes, but since a 2 minute google search will find you several tools that will inject a MS/manufacturer cert for you, its pretty much a moot point. Its honestly faster than typing in a cd key once you have it downloaded. If you are curious, just look around for 'windows 7 loader'.

      • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday July 08, 2013 @11:31PM (#44221955)

        Bluntly, the average Linux distri is, from a surface point of view, more Windows than Windows 8.

      • If they don't... what's cheaper than Windows 8?

        Windows 7.

      • by Xicor (2738029) on Monday July 08, 2013 @11:55PM (#44222061)
        most people use windows because every program works on windows. if every program worked on linux, a lot more ppl would use linux.
        • most people use windows because every program works on windows. if every program worked on linux, a lot more ppl would use linux.

          Wrong. People use Windows because they're already using Windows every program they already run will work. If you're already using OS X then you'd find that Windows won't run a load of the stuff you currently use. If you're using Linux you'll find the same - Windows won't run loads of the stuff you currently use.

          FWIW, most people would be fine with pretty much any OS so long as they're willing to change what brands of software they use with it. You don't see OS X users fretting over their inability to ru

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by radish (98371)

            That's because there are alternatives which are equivalent in every meaningful way. That's simply not the case for all types of software. For example there is no Linux equivalent for most Adobe products (I use Lightroom & Photoshop) - yes there is the GIMP and there are photo cataloging applications but they're not equivalent any more than Lynx is equivalent to Chrome. There's cool stuff happening in the Linux music world too, but nothing to seriously compare to the pro stuff like Ableton, Cubase, Logic

        • by UltraZelda64 (2309504) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @03:58AM (#44223019)

          No... most people run Windows because they don't know any better, and they don't want to know any better. When is the last time you saw someone who knew that there were alternatives? When is the last time you saw someone who, after learning about alternatives, was willing (ie. not afraid) to try something new? How many people even cared, ignorantly just saying "well I'm used to Windows" after having everything you said go out the other ear? The answers are probably "never" and "next no one" in any case.

          • by Kielistic (1273232) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @10:36AM (#44225371)

            I know this is popular to say around here but the answer isn't "never" or even "close to no one". It is a lot of people. I am one of them.

            There are things I love on Linux and things I hate on Windows but if you want "gets out of the way" and "just works" Windows is the way to go. On Windows I can always find a piece of software to suit my needs; even if I would prefer to use Kate over Notepad++ (The only half usable editor I've found on Mac is TextWrangler).

            The issue is how much do you have to fight with your system? Want the newest version of Postgres? Windows: install it. Debian: check repository and find an old version. Now you're compiling it from source and fighting with requirements and fighting the package manager. This is very common on Linux. The fighting becomes less when you are very skilled at it but that is definitely not an OS that gets out of the way.

            IT departments like Windows because of the powerful, simple, maintained and supported administration options.

            Windows does not maintain dominance on momentum alone. Microsoft may be incredibly stupid / greedy / blind but they have at least a few very skilled engineers and programmers.

      • by SeaFox (739806)

        Most people use Windows because they've been using Windows.

        Windows 8 isn't really "Windows" as they knew it, it requires change. People hate change and if they're going to change, maybe they'll look at alternatives. If they have the cash, they might go for Macs (look at the sales figures lately).

        If they don't... what's cheaper than Windows 8?

        They'll look for Windows 7.

        Seriously, this idea people are going to abandon Redmond and go with Linux because they don't like the Start Screen is so far fetched, and the main reason is we're talking about a group of people that for the most part doesn't know how to do anything on their computers except double-click the big blue E (or the Firefox logo, or Google logo) or open their email client to do what they want to do. The first time they run into an issue with their Internet connection, or printer, or ma

    • by Lendrick (314723) on Monday July 08, 2013 @10:37PM (#44221673) Homepage Journal

      Seriously, how many people are going to switch to Linux over this? Nobody.

      Even if that's the case, it will hurt them if people decide never to upgrade.

      I run Windows 7 right now. I see absolutely zero compelling reasons to upgrade to Windows 8, and plenty of compelling reasons not to. I don't have to switch to Linux for Microsoft to lose out on my money. I just have to not buy any more of their products.

      P.S. Lest I lose all of my Slashdot cred, I should point out that I dual-boot.

      • by Fluffeh (1273756) on Monday July 08, 2013 @10:55PM (#44221775)

        Seriously, how many people are going to switch to Linux over this? Nobody.

        Actually, I think that this is finally starting to change. Ever-so-goddam-slowly, but in recent times, I have moved two non tech savvy friends over to Linux partly because it was free, partly because it did everything they wanted. Okay, these folks didn't go out, do the research themselves, pick their 'nix flavour and get into a terminal window - but after seeing how easy most things are, I have managed to encourage two more users to switch. A few and a good few months into their little linux saga respectively, neither would consider switching back. Disclaimer: one of these machines is merely a media server and transcoder (Ubuntu, MediaTomb and MakeMKV) but even that is a good win in my books.

        I think the biggest issue with these changes for Microsoft will be when businesses, typically their biggest proponents are going to start frowning about these changes. I dare say that for every company that switches off Windows, half their employees will change OS at home. Perhaps not straight away, but in time.

      • by EzInKy (115248)

        I run Windows 7 right now. I see absolutely zero compelling reasons to upgrade to Windows 8, and plenty of compelling reasons not to. I don't have to switch to Linux for Microsoft to lose out on my money. I just have to not buy any more of their products.

        P.S. Lest I lose all of my Slashdot cred, I should point out that I dual-boot.

        Congrats for finally seeing the light. I, and many others, have been refusing to give Microsoft any dollars since the mid nineties. Sadly they still manage to survive.

      • by Myria (562655) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @01:29AM (#44222481)

        In addition to a lot of other misfeatures like shoving Microsoft Accounts down your throat, Microsoft actually went out of their way with Windows RT 8.1 to lock out the jailbreak that allows you to run non-Metro applications on Windows RT 8.0. Windows RT is basically just Windows 8 ported to ARM, desktop and all, but Microsoft made Windows RT unable to run any non-Microsoft program in the desktop -- all third-party applications *must* be Metro applications on the Windows Store. I really think that Windows RT is Microsoft's testbed for what they envision as the future of all of Windows, both desktop and tablet.

        The jailbreak made Windows RT able to run unsigned applications on the desktop. Some open-source applications have now been ported to the jailbroken Windows RT environment. That's pretty much all the jailbreak allowed you to do -- run some desktop-mode open-source programs on Windows RT. The jailbreak doesn't seem to facilitate Windows Store application piracy at all -- at least, I haven't heard of such hacks.

        And yet, Microsoft went well out of their way to block it. They revoked the certificate used to sign all RT 8.0 applications. They changed the debugger policy on RT to not allow WriteProcessMemory. They rewrote considerable portions of the Windows RT-specific lockdown DLL, wldp.dll. They marked csrss.exe as a DRM-related "protected process", even though it has nothing to do with DRM. This latter change applies to x86 as well, even though the change was clearly designed to target the method by which the Windows RT 8.0 jailbreak worked.

        I'm working on a new jailbreak for RT 8.1. I already have code executing in kernel mode in RT 8.1, so it's just a matter of putting everything together. I'm going to wait until the 8.1 final release before releasing the jailbreak, though, to make things more complicated for Microsoft to fix.

    • by sg_oneill (159032) on Monday July 08, 2013 @10:45PM (#44221711)

      Switching isn't the problem (From a market perspective Frankly they have more to fear from OSX then they do from desktop linux, no disrespect intended to linux intended) , its people staying put and not upgrading.

      Consider how much trauma microsoft have had getting people of the decrepid Win XP. Now consider the problems getting them off the still very relevant Win7.

      Unless your on a tablet or touchscreen machine, theres literally no reason to upgrade right now, particularly with the general dislike most people have for metro and metro apps.

    • Apple does the same thing as Google, why the outrage when Microsoft is last to implement it?

    • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Monday July 08, 2013 @11:09PM (#44221837)

      Uh... Android IS Linux and people have been switching in droves. Not because of privacy issues, or stability or anything else geeks have been raving about for years... It's cheap, and it's easier to use. The fact that this is exactly what the mainstreams been screaming at the Linux community for over a decade while they didn't listen, while at the same time they screamed at Microsoft for the very things that are bringing them down now and they never listened is the height of irony.

    • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob.hotmail@com> on Monday July 08, 2013 @11:19PM (#44221889) Journal

      Seriously, how many people are going to switch to Linux over this? Nobody.

      Except a whole bunch of OEMs who used to be staunch Microsoft partners.

      "HP shows off 21-inch all-in-one Android desktop
      PC makers are experimenting with Android given that Microsoft's Windows 8 devices have struggled to attract consumers"

      http://www.infoworld.com/d/computer-hardware/update-hp-shows-21-inch-all-in-one-android-desktop-221316 [infoworld.com]

      CoolShip,an android desktop computer that looks like a keyboard
      CoolShip has a 1.5Ghz dualcore ARM processor inside.It is a low cost home PC,PC for elderly and children,also a solution of hotel PC for guests,educational PC.

      http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/coolship-an-android-desktop-computer-that-looks-like-a-keyboard [indiegogo.com]

      Acer shows 21-inch Android desktop
      Taiwan's Acer is breaking Android out of its comfort zone and has installed the operating system on a 21.5-inch all-in-one desktop PC that is expected on sale in the U.S. later this year.

      http://www.pcworld.com/article/2040886/acer-shows-21inch-android-desktop.html [pcworld.com]

      Get used to it.

      Not a chance. I'm really enjoying the innovation and competition that's coming our way now the Windows monopoly's tumbling. Can't wait until Office is usurped as well!

    • Seriously, how many people are going to switch to Linux over this?

      Well...me, for one. I had used Slackware for my day to day desktop from 2004 to 2010. In 2010 I decided that Windows 7 was "good enough" and that I was tired of dualbooting to get to a handful of games and apps and didn't care to emulate or virtualize. I still use CentOS for my server but for my day to day use I've enjoyed Windows 7 just fine on my desktop. In the coming month I'll be purchasing a new laptop as I return to school for software engineering. Had Windows 8 not been such a disaster, and 8.1 not

    • by Chewbacon (797801)
      Ha! My mind's made up. My next laptop will most likely be, unless M$ changes their ways, a dual boot linux-MacOS Macbook.
    • by gandhi_2 (1108023)

      I've been quietly prompting my workplace to start thinking about replacing the XP fleet with linux mint. As our software becomes increasingly web-based, really we could run anything. Very little would have to be replicated in gtk or something like that... or nothing at all.

      But somehow, something seems to steer us back to windows lockin. Some must-use active X control, some financial institution's / government entity's / b2b middleman's IE only requirement... it's always something.

      The deck is stacked for win

  • what?? (Score:3, Funny)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Monday July 08, 2013 @10:14PM (#44221551) Journal

    A lot of the stuff the article gripes about are what Google has been doing for ages with Android:

    That doesn't make me feel better......

    • Re:what?? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Elbereth (58257) <krachtm@yahoo.com> on Monday July 08, 2013 @10:30PM (#44221637) Homepage Journal

      Well, yeah. But Google has an enviable image and works in emerging markets, where they can set consumer expectations. Microsoft has a crap image and works in entrenched markets, where customers have strong opinions and entrenched ways doing things. This is a bit of a simplification, of course, but I think it helps to explain why people complain so much about everything that Microsoft does, while they give Google a free pass.

    • by poity (465672)

      Well, I never liked the incessant MS bashing around here, but at least Google trades you with free products. (and now you've done it, I'm one of you now...)

      • Well, I never liked the incessant MS bashing around here, but...... now you've done it, I'm one of you now...)

        It was bound to happen as Microsoft keeps getting worse and worse.....

  • Same as Google (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 08, 2013 @10:14PM (#44221553)

    Only that nobody want to use Bing or Hotmail. They both suck.

    • by TWX (665546)
      Last I checked, there are ways to get around a requirement to have a Google account to use Android, with the caveat that many features that rely on such an account either don't work or don't work as well.

      To me, Android's strength is that the individual handset really doesn't matter. I could lose or destroy my phone and just get another, resync to my Google account, and the bulk of what's important will be right back there again, like my contacts list.

      I don't like the developing privacy problems and h
  • This is normal MS behaviour, every time they look slightly better, things like this remind me that they are MS and they cannot be trusted.
  • by the_skywise (189793) on Monday July 08, 2013 @10:18PM (#44221583)

    The only reason Windows gained market share in the 90s was because it went out of its way to not be a closed system. It's always sucked, it's just a matter of how little but that we still had control over our PCs than IBM and later Apple wanted us to have.

    If Microsoft goes this route and enforces controls and advertising ala Google/Android styl Android will gain the lead as a desktop OS.

    In short, the more Ballmer tightens his fist, the more users will slip through his fingers.

    • by couchslug (175151) on Monday July 08, 2013 @10:31PM (#44221645)

      "The only reason Windows gained market share in the 90s was because it went out of its way to not be a closed system."

      Sheeit. The reason it gained market share was you could effortlessly copy the OS and Office and whatever apps you wanted then install them on any PC as many times as you liked. I expect many older Slashdotters can still recite Windows keys from memory.

      "They'll get addicted, and then we'll collect"

      http://articles.latimes.com/2006/apr/09/business/fi-micropiracy9 [latimes.com]

    • by fermion (181285) on Monday July 08, 2013 @10:37PM (#44221669) Homepage Journal
      So MS did not purposefully create a closed application front end in which many major websites only worked with IE. Compare this to Google in which Chrome may provide an 'optimized' experience, but their stuff pretty much works on any standards compliant browser. I can't believe I am defending google, but they could have made Chrome incompatible, even if it was based on an Apple product.

      MS prospered because so much of the stuff you did would not work if you did not continue to have MS stuff. The MS Word format was always ill defined and it was impossible to know what would happen if a version was skipped. Certainly in the mid to late 90's we were shooting MS Word files around and there was always an even chance they would bork on different versions, even if filters were installed.

      Now that people are getting used to open standards, like HTML 5, MS is having a harder time locking in users. They tried to hook the desktop and the phone, thus creating a locked ecosystem, but they failed. Now they are trying to reassert control by locking the laptop and tablet to MS Windows 8. At least now they are trying to do so by adding value, like Apple and Google, but what value is being added to the user may be much less than we expect.

    • by FunPika (1551249)

      If Microsoft goes this route and enforces controls and advertising ala Google/Android styl Android will gain the lead as a desktop OS.

      1. Why would someone fleeing Windows 8 for Android like features goto Android (unless you meant Linux)?
      2. It is never going to happen since most users only care about whether or not their OS lets them post far more information about themselves publicly on Facebook than any company could hope to quietly collect with software tracking.

  • "google does it too" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 08, 2013 @10:27PM (#44221621)

    Ya, but at least you aren't paying extra for the privilege of being tracked like you do with a microsoft product. Its a trade off for 'free' services in google-land.. In the microsoft world you pay thru the nose AND get tracked.

    Google is more upfront about it too.

    ( that said, neither is right.. but one is less bad about it )

  • by jayhawk88 (160512) <jayhawk88@gmail.com> on Monday July 08, 2013 @10:34PM (#44221653)

    Unless they've already changed something since the first preview release, all you have to do is enter any old email address and password, MS account-linked or no. It'll fail, and then ask if you want to create a local account.

    "Clever workaround"....*eyeroll*.

  • by Voyager529 (1363959) <voyager529 AT yahoo DOT com> on Monday July 08, 2013 @10:40PM (#44221683)

    Even so, I've found Windows local search to be more trouble than it's worth anyway. the "perpetual green bar" kept getting in my way, so I just disabled Windows Search entirely. On the sad side, I can't use instant search in Outlook anymore. On the bright side, I replaced it with Everything [voidtools.com]. It legitimately searches everything, and does so instantly. I'd prefer doing that in Windows 8.1. If for no other reason, I haven't the foggiest idea why someone would want to simultaneously search the internet and a local drive for the same search string. They're foundationally different - internet search is for "stuff you don't have", and local search is for "stuff you have, but don't know where". I can't ever once think of a time I've wanted to search both at a time.

    Serato really, REALLY needs to port itself to Linux.

    • by whoever57 (658626)

      If for no other reason, I haven't the foggiest idea why someone would want to simultaneously search the internet and a local drive for the same search string.

      The answer is in the article: It's because you want to see advertisements! Don't tell me that you don't want the ads: Microsoft has determined that you do!

  • Big difference (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stox (131684) on Monday July 08, 2013 @10:43PM (#44221697) Homepage

    I don't pay $$ for Google. If Microsoft wants to make its products free, then OK, but until then this is abusive. They are trying to eat their cake and have it, too.

  • by kawabago (551139) on Monday July 08, 2013 @10:48PM (#44221739)
    Who would you rather have spying on you, a company whose mission is to 'not be evil' or a company whose attitude is 'bend over and take it!"
  • Free Windows 8.1? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Antony T Curtis (89990) on Monday July 08, 2013 @10:48PM (#44221745) Homepage Journal

    Since they say that they will be showing advertisements on the desktop, does that mean that they will get rid of the Windows Home/Pro/Expert editions and just have a single Windows 8.1 which is free to download and install?

  • by aepervius (535155) on Monday July 08, 2013 @10:49PM (#44221747)
    "funneling users to their services first, "

    Yeah that'll work well with anti trust issue in EU.

    "tracking your system usage"

    Yeah that'll work well with data protection issues in EU.
  • by klingers48 (968406) on Monday July 08, 2013 @11:37PM (#44221985)
    But the last time I did a local search on my PC's C:\ drive and didn't have ads all up in my shit, it just felt like something was missing.

    I'm just glad Microsoft was listening.
  • by Max_W (812974) on Monday July 08, 2013 @11:51PM (#44222033)
    I wanted a computer, not a registration of an account in one more "social" scheme.

    I mean why I must register a Microsoft account to use a computer? I remember as we were told that it is "impossible to separate a browser from an OS".

    Now it seems it becomes impossible to separate an OS and social network.
  • Android? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Darinbob (1142669) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @12:05AM (#44222111)

    Is Google really doing this? I have an android phone and I do have an account, but it's not a Google account, it's my phone service provider's account. As far as I can tell I can download as many free apps as I want without any Google account (I have one though, just not attached to the phone). However with Windows 8 I can not download any free apps without a Microsoft account, in fact I can not even use some of their built in apps without an account! (ie, Mail requires one, even if Microsoft is not your mail provider)

    On the other hand, because it's a phone, and a phone must have an account or at least a phone number, this is not as pernicious on a phone. If it was a tablet however then this is more intrusive I would think. On a PC though it's absolutely ridiculous to have account requirements and this is where it is patently obvious that there are ulterior motives behind this and it's not at all about user convenience.

  • by Secret Agent Man (915574) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @09:11AM (#44224387) Homepage
    • Disable SmartSearch (ads? local searches online? No thanks.)
    • Use local accounts (already done)
    • Do not use Metro apps (already done)

    At this point, I'm only upgrading for the unified search (not for online, but so apps/files/settings show up in the same blasted window). But now I'm hesitant to even go that far. Am I missing any "please let us have your data" steps?

  • I've made a tidy sum for years helping people get their systems set up. About 10 to 15 pc's a week. They drop them off at my office new, and I install everything they need including office, which I often purchase for them, transferring accounting software, data, photos, and other freeware/open source aps, and paied for applications they provide me licenses to.

    Windows 8 goes and fucks this all up. I can with windows 8 still bypass the stupid Microsoft account, but with the new office no dice. I either have to register my customers software under my account which to me is stealing their software, or ask them to set up an account (which to them is hard, that's why they came to me to begin with), so I have 3 copies of office 2013 home and business sitting on my desk that I'm stuck with now, because I won't install them on a customers computer. I install Libre office, and tell customers they have to purchase and install office themselves because of problems with licensing. I also tell them that I have installed a good free office software, and they might want to give it a try before buying office.

    The thing about google is that there is co-BENEFIT to signing up with a google account. Google backs up my android settings, automatically backs up all my phone photos to G+, allows me to use google apps, a nice synchronized calendar, a place to buy applications or download free applications that are vetted to be virus free, and I can turn all of that off if I don't want to use it. With Microsoft I see almost no benefit whatsoever except for them.

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