Windows 8: Lesser of the Evil

The other day a friend messaged me via Facebook

I’ve been reading a few things on Windows 8 lately and most of what I’ve read has been giving it really bad reviews.

Can I get your opinion on it? Just curious because some articles have said Linux might start getting momentum.

Good question. I’ve read similar negative reviews and I have to agree with a lot that they say.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Microsoft’s philosophy behind Windows 8 - more of a touch-friendly and uniform OS. They’re trying to share as much code between all their platforms as possible and that is no tough feat. There’s millions upon millions of lines of C. I can’t imagine what it must be like trying to get the same code to appear the same no matter what device it is on. Microsoft is doing this while still trying to be an industry innovator. It’s hard for well- established companies to be an industry innovator and move markets, as that would be making their customers feel forced to use something they aren’t familiar with (and feel betrayed). Microsoft is being risky and I have no idea how it will play out.

I have personal annoyances with Windows 8. To seed the Metro music application, you have to go to the desktop and manually do some configuration. C’mon Microsoft, really? What’s the point of Metro apps if I have to switch to the desktop view? Might as well listen to my music in windows media player. No, that’s a terrible idea. On second thought, I’ll use my own music application, which runs off .NET Framework 3.5, technology that has been well integrated into Windows for the past 5 years. What’s this? .NET 3.5 is not installed on Windows 8. Fine, I’ll install it…nope I guess not, the installer reported a cryptic error about a component being corrupt. After refreshing my Windows 8 RTM several time, it worked.

This isn’t the most frustrating part, which is IE10. Sure, it’s fast and has more support for HTML5, but it breaks more than 7 years of standards! Yes, I’m shocked and you probably don’t believe me but here it is. If you’re not viewing it in IE10, you probably think I’m an idiot, as it is just few lines of text that are syntax highlighted. The key is that it is a few lines. In IE10, it is on a single line all smashed together. Every browser that I’ve tested (IE 7/8/9, Chrome, Firefox) have the exact same result. I hypothesize the IE6 would show the expected result, but I can’t seem to get my hands on an IE6 browser. When I found out that IE10 was buggy, I nearly threw a fit, as my own site will look degraded now.

My last complaint is the new .NET 4.5, which I was hoping to develop applications on, does not support XP. I know XP is old, but people are still on it. I don’t want to lose clients just because I upgraded and they didn’t. I could understand if Microsoft did this a couple of years from now when they officially stop supporting XP, but not now. This is not the worst part. .NET 4.5 is an in place upgrade to 4.0. What this means is that if I have .NET 4.5 but I target .NET 4.0 (for the XP users), there will be differences between how XP users experience my application and how other users experience my application. .NET 4.5 fixes 4.0 bugs, but since 4.5 is 4.0 (I know, confusing), I won’t see the bugs that XP users will see. Therefore, a lot of companies are banning .NET 4.5 and Visual Studio 2012, which comes with .NET 4.5 by default. There’s been a heated discussion on the Microsoft forums.

The other new Microsoft products, namely Visual Studio 2012 and Office 2013, in my opinion, are quite pleasant. I use Visual Studio 2012 sparingly for the reasons mentioned above, but Office 2013, I use about every day. They appear simple and elegant, yet powerful. They work with Windows 7, so not all is lost if I don’t upgrade.

What about other OS’s? Mac is more overpriced, restrictive, and dumber than ever. I still haven’t found a flavor of Linux that suits me and my computer well. Ever since Vista, Windows has been getting cheaper and faster with every release. So even though I have my complaints, I’ll still stick to Windows as my main OS. Who knows, I may even get a Surface tablet.

Also, here’s an article I read the other day. It’s a critique about Linux about how there is a ton of code duplication and code that has been not relevant for a couple of decades. It makes me want to make my own OS. Maybe then I will be happy.


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