Game Developers Concerned About A Potentially Closed Windows 8

from the the-gates-are-closing dept

A couple of years ago, we highlighted a story that asked the question, “What if Microsoft Had To Approve Every App On Windows?” At the time, this was a purely hypothetical experiment to highlight some of the weaknesses inherent in a closed platform such as the iPhone. Little did we know at the time, such a scenario might be coming to pass. Microsoft has been talking up its latest operating system, Windows 8, for a while now trying to drum up excitement for its bold new look and direction. Yet, some game developers are taking a step back and looking at the broader direction Windows seems to be going here.

Gabe Newell is one of those developers. In an interview at the Casual Connect conference, he questioned the move to a more closed ecosystem for Windows 8.

In order for innovation to happen, a bunch of things that aren’t happening on closed platforms need to occur. Valve wouldn’t exist today without the PC, or Epic, or Zynga, or Google. They all wouldn’t have existed without the openness of the platform. There’s a strong tempation to close the platform, because they look at what they can accomplish when they limit the competitors’ access to the platform, and they say ‘That’s really exciting.’

We are looking at the platform and saying, ‘We’ve been a free rider, and we’ve been able to benefit from everything that went into PCs and the Internet, and we have to continue to figure out how there will be open platforms.’

Here Gabe states that many game companies, not just Valve, would not be in existence were it not for the openness of Windows in the past. Now that this openness is threatened, his company is looking at alternative operating systems. This is one of the drivers behind Valve’s recent push toward Linux compatibility.

The big problem that is holding back Linux is games. People don’t realize how critical games are in driving consumer purchasing behavior.

We want to make it as easy as possible for the 2,500 games on Steam to run on Linux as well. It’s a hedging strategy. I think Windows 8 is a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space. I think we’ll lose some of the top-tier PC/OEMs, who will exit the market. I think margins will be destroyed for a bunch of people. If that’s true, then it will be good to have alternatives to hedge against that eventuality.

If you think about it, he is right. Take a look at the original marketplace for iPhone applications. When the iPhone App Store was released, it was a closed platform. If you weren’t approved by Apple you couldn’t release your app or game on it. Even with the presence of web apps and alternative app distribution through jailbreaking, the system remains essentially closed for the majority of iPhone users who are not aware of or don’t want to go through the trouble of using these alternative distribution channels. Can you imagine what the overall impact would be for something as widely adopted as Windows? Going back to that hypothetical question posted above, would Microsoft have approved Steam for release knowing it would compete directly with its own Games For Windows Live service?

Since Gabe raised this point, a couple of other developers have echoed his sentiment. In a tweet responding to Gabe’s “catastrophe” comment, Blizzard’s Rob Pardo stated, “not awesome for Blizzard either.” Rob later clarified the statement by tweeting, “Yeah… more trying to say that if everything comes to pass that Gabe said it wouldn’t be very good for us either.”

Next during a Reddit AMA, Notch responded to a question about the future of indie game development with the following:

I hope we can keep a lot of open and free platforms around. If Microsoft decides to lock down Windows 8, it would be very very bad for Indie games and competition in general.

If we can keep open platforms around, there’s going to be a lot of very interesting games in ten years, mixed in with the huge AAA games that we all love.

So not only is having a viable open platform ideal for large game companies such as Valve, but also the budding developers such as what Notch once was. If Windows were to close off in the same way that Apple has closed off the iPhone, many developers of not just games but other software may not be able to survive on the platform. Just as Valve is looking at moving to other platforms, those developers will follow suit. As more developers of games and software shift from Windows to other platforms, their users will potentially shift was well.

It will certainly be interesting to see where Microsoft takes Windows 8 in this regard. Is it willing to take a path so diametrically opposed to its own history and the growing desire of the public for more open platforms? As independent artists and developers continue producing and distributing their work outside gated pathways, can such a change be a viable business option?

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Comments on “Game Developers Concerned About A Potentially Closed Windows 8”

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145 Comments
That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“We here at Microsoft believe that OS/2 will be the operating system of the 90’s” – Gates…. Comdex… a long long time ago.

And it was… until they took it and made it their own.
Now they want the lock in, because thats what all the cool kids are doing.
MS just does it better by making sure that it will be that much harder for people to try other software with the new secure boot crap. It is sad that at some point we will be petitioning the Government to let us jailbreak our PCs.

Queen Bitch says:

Re: Pardo(n) me?

…Blizzard’s Rob Pardo stated, “not awesome for Blizzard either.” Rob later clarified the statement by tweeting, “Yeah… more trying to say that if everything comes to pass that Gabe said it wouldn’t be very good for us either.”

Gosh, I’m sure glad that Pardo “clarified” his statement, because I was really confused by what he meant the first time.

Queen Bitch says:

Re: Pardo(n) me?

…Blizzard’s Rob Pardo stated, “not awesome for Blizzard either.” Rob later clarified the statement by tweeting, “Yeah… more trying to say that if everything comes to pass that Gabe said it wouldn’t be very good for us either.”

Gosh, I’m sure glad that Pardo “clarified” his statement, because I was really confused by what he meant the first time.

Queen Bitch says:

Re: Pardo(n) me?

…Blizzard’s Rob Pardo stated, “not awesome for Blizzard either.” Rob later clarified the statement by tweeting, “Yeah… more trying to say that if everything comes to pass that Gabe said it wouldn’t be very good for us either.”

Gosh, I’m sure glad that Pardo “clarified” his statement, because I was really confused by what he meant the first time.

Anonymous Coward says:

If games were Linux’s only issue, you would have something. But reality says it’s only part of a much bigger puzzle, that the general public (not the nerdy types you find on here) want something that is literally plug and play. They don’t want to have to bodge around with settings and drivers and compatibility issues.

It’s one of the reasons Apple finally are making it out of the minor leagues. They no longer have operating systems that require you to be a systems engineer to operate properly.

As for Microsoft, I think the future is clear here: Just like Google Android and Apple Apps, they see that they can work to bring the consumer a better, more consistent product, that people enjoy, and create a cottage industry in making apps for their new OS. It seems that the wireless devices are going to drive the market going forward.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Sick of them, perhaps… but they are in the end the glue that keeps more of the world relatively compatible, at least in a couple of groups. I don’t think most people are willing to take the time to really learn a new operating system and get into the nuts and bolts of making it work, just to have less than compatible software and environment to work in.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

http://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=ultimate

Then you should try the “Ultimate distro” which is a cross between Mint and Ubuntu.

Ultimate Edition, first released in December 2006, is a fork of Ubuntu and Linux Mint. The goal of the project is to create a complete, seamlessly integrated, visually stimulating, and easy-to-install operating system. Single-button upgrade is one of several special characteristics of this distribution. Other main features include custom desktop and theme with 3D effects, support for a wide range of networking options, including WiFi and Bluetooth, and integration of many extra applications and package repositories.

nospacesorspecialcharacters (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The drivers/compatibility issue with Linux is nothing more than a myth now and has been for a few years. It may have once applied, but I find more often than not Linux finds more drivers than Windows Vista or 7 currently and it’s much easier to set up…

This goes for a cheap internal multi-sd card reader (with bluetooth) I bought last year on Amazon. Ubuntu picked it up straight away and it was ready to play with. My Windows partition however, still does not recognise the bluetooth component.

Old PC games? Again, easier running through Wine than trying to make them compatible with Windows 7.

The problems people have with Linux is not that it’s harder OS to use, it’s that it’s a different OS with a different way of working, like swimming vs running. Both get you from A to B but you’re using entirely different muscles (by extension: for me, using Windows is like trying to run in water when I should be swimming – but that’s just me).

Once you’ve familiarized yourself with how it works then you find it’s surprisingly much more logical and easier to use. Instead of 10 steps to do something, it can be done in 2 steps.

JarHead says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

The drivers/compatibility issue with Linux is nothing more than a myth now and has been for a few years. It may have once applied, but I find more often than not Linux finds more drivers than Windows Vista or 7 currently and it’s much easier to set up…

Mwahahaha… really? And here I am finding that my ATI card is NOT supported under Linux (or at least, only partially supported), after having hopping around 3 distros and numerous support forums. Their answer: “Sorry, not supported”.

Don’t get me wrong, I support alternative OS wholeheartedly, especially Linux and FreeBSD. But saying Linux have problems with driver compatibility as a myth is the myth. Linux/FreeBSD/other alternative OS HAVE problems with driver compatibility. The severity of it depends on the specific hardware you got (50%) and luck (another 50%).

My advice to anyone who want to try Linux for the 1st time: avoid ATI products like a plague. Even with Windows avoid it. They’re nothing but trouble for me. Go NVidia, which have highest chance for compatibility. If you already have ATI, well, be ready for a rough ride.

Once you’ve familiarized yourself with how it works then you find it’s surprisingly much more logical and easier to use. Instead of 10 steps to do something, it can be done in 2 steps.

Yup, and be sure you’re comfortable with CLI, which btw for many people is horror upon horror. In the years working as freelance CS, I found only 1 guy who got no problem with it, but he’s another nerd like me. Problem is with Linux, one cannot free themselves from the command line, even the oh so mighty Ubuntu and Mint.

The problem with Linux supporters is they (or should I say we) often forgot not all people is like them/us. Try to convince a company’s decision maker to convert their high maintenance (price-wise) system with OSS/Linux. I’ve been laugh at many times for it, and for the right reasons. Or find a friend of yours whose only a casual computer user and try to get them to try Linux and you’ll see resistance. One reason is unfamiliarity, but incompatibilities and those cryptic command lines only made it worse.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

For someone with such an aversion to blanket statements and outdated/misleading information, you sure have a good collection there.

ATI have been famous for ropey Linux support in the past. I believe they’ve improved, however, but even you admit they have similar issues on Windows machines. I wonder which model of video card you had, what the problems were, etc? I wish people with anecdotes like yours would bother to say in order to check on the facts.. I’m not accusing you of anything, but most of the time when you get the details to stories like this, it’s either a problem of age (e.g. the equivalent of judging W7 on an experience you had with 98 once) or approach (addressing a problem in the same way you’d address it on another OS and getting confused).

“The severity of it depends on the specific hardware you got (50%) and luck (another 50%).”

So, you never bother to research before you buy hardware? I sure as hell haven’t had a problem with hardware I buy for my systems for years, but then I do try to research problems before I buy anything – and that includes devices for Windows. Saves me a lot of problems, I can tell you, and reduces the “luck” factor quite considerably.

“Try to convince a company’s decision maker to convert their high maintenance (price-wise) system with OSS/Linux.”

I did, and it worked. Depends greatly on the type of system that’s involved, of course, and how you plan to build/support it.

“Or find a friend of yours whose only a casual computer user and try to get them to try Linux and you’ll see resistance.”

I have the same experience sometimes with OSX, or even switching from IE to Chrome. Som people love the new stuff and have no problems, other have issues and/or really just don’t take to how it works. That’s not really the fault of the OS, especially if you’re showing them the faults rather than “run this live CD for an hour and see if you like it”.

“Problem is with Linux, one cannot free themselves from the command line, even the oh so mighty Ubuntu and Mint.”

Name one simple task that the average desktop user would need to perform in OSX or Windows that they cannot possibly do on a major distro’s GUI. Not technical troubleshooting, not something that would require the equivalent of a registry hack or something equally complicated to the average user. Just something that they would have problems with in the Linux GUI that wouldn’t require anything more complicated than a click or 2 in another OS.

All we seem to get are blanket statements, which are rather hard to deal with. I like specifics that I can look at and debate.

KGWagner (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

ATI makes some good hardware, but their software is for the birds. It’s odd, considering how dependent video cards are on the stuff. They’re OK in specific situations with and renditions of Windows, but I suspect MS writes a great deal of the foundational stuff for their drivers. But, even then their parts are hit and miss. Always have been. I wouldn’t use one of their cards even if they were giving them away.

Because of the closed/proprietary nature of their (Microsoft’s) code and their unwillingness to document their interface, any third party drivers have to be reverse engineered. That’s why the stuff rarely works well with Linux. That it works at all is a minor miracle. So, as has been pointed out, a bit of research on compatibility goes a long way. If you’re running Linux, you simply don’t use ATI video cards if you can possibly avoid it because you’re almost guaranteed to have problems.

JEDIDIAH says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Can't be lazy, regardless of OS.

No. People will become motivated to buy better supported video cards.

If you aren’t playing games, then the level of support ATI offers Linux is not that bad really. It’s not great but then you don’t have much reason to demand much of it.

Also, video is one great example of how you cannot be proudly ignorant and expect for everything to “just work”. Some graphics cards simply aren’t supported for gaming. This is true even for light gaming and even on Windows.

This makes some Macs doorstops for casual gaming.

So you can’t really can’t blindly put your faith in Apple or the monopoly either.

Lawrence D'Oliveiro says:

Re: Re: compatibility and drivers with Windows

Linux has wider hardware compatibility than Windows does. Particularly with less-than-absolute-newest hardware. For example, someone bought a printer 6 months before Windows Vista came out, then discovered that the driver was XP-only, the manufacturer refused to offer an update, insisting that that they buy the new model instead.

That doesn?t happen with Linux.

FuzzyDuck says:

Re: Re: Re:

The last time I had to install a (proprietary) driver on Linux was 7 years ago when I first switched to Linux, and even then someone had taken the time to make it ultra simple.

Since that time I’ve completely switched to Linux and haven’t paid the Microsoft tax on a new Computer since. Frankly I find it so much more easy than Windows. For starters the way you install software and keep it up to date, all in one integrated software updater.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I’ve been considering switching to a Linux system for my next home computer, but I honestly have enough trouble as it is with compatibility and drivers with Windows.

All my machines at home are Linux, and my work machine is now Linux with Windows running in a VM for the Windoze-only apps we have to run (mainly just IE to access the crappy Windows/IE-Only java apps we have to use.)

Never would dream of going back. Many of my games work fine under Wine, using playonlinux or cross-over as front end. Most of my GoG games already are supported on Linux, and Torchlight works fine as well.

Microsoft decided to cancel all of my licenses when I stopped paying for technet, so I moved over to Linux pretty quickly and wondered why I didn’t move earlier (I was already running Linux on a number of machines.)

anon says:

Re: Re:

This is not as bad as what people might think, If Apple and Windows decide there greed is more important than allowing just about anyone to create content i see Android possibly filling the massive , no huge , no, the full market for games developers.

I know it seems far fetched but Android could be the new Microsoft if they are clever about this, giving away a little to gain potentially the full market. Imagine having an android system on every pc with some versions specifically made to be more functional with a mouse.

I know seems like a big dream, but more surprising things have happened in the past , the least of them not being that Apple came from nowhere to take the phone market over a very short time period.

Right now i can buy a fully fledged Android system on a hdmi flash drive sized computer, plug into my tv and away i go in full 1080p if needed.
Will millions upon millions of people using Android every day on there phones i am sure they would love to have the same os on there tv and pc etc.
Yeah there would need to be a lot fixed or created in android but with the support from developers i see this happening.

anon says:

Re: Re: Re:

Sorry i just wanted to add, the reason people will not or have not migrated to Linux is that they would have to learn way to much to get the full potential.
I got a windows 7 pc recently , it was easy to setup, just adding my details.

The one thing that put me and the majority of people off of migrating to Linux is the fact that you have to know how to use the command line editor and command line switches for each command, seriously , until that is totally removed from Linux or made unnecessary, they will never have more than a very small part of the desktop. And yes Microsoft has a command line editor but it is not necessary, you can do everything that you do in a command line through the GUI.

This is what is stopping Linux being popular this is all that is stopping Linux from taking over the desktop on most pc’s.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“I got a windows 7 pc recently , it was easy to setup, just adding my details.”

A standard Ubuntu install wouldn’t take much more effort, and an machine that comes preinstalled with an OS is guaranteed to be easier than installing the OS from scratch – even comparing Windows 7 to Windows 7. In fact, last time I compared them, the Windows 7 CD installer has more options and takes longer than the most comparable Ubuntu version.

“The one thing that put me and the majority of people off of migrating to Linux is the fact that you have to know how to use the command line editor and command line switches for each command, seriously”

This is a lie within a lie. It’s not necessary to use the command for more complex/advanced tasks, but most users won’t need to see it unless they encounter a serious problem. Once there, you actually have more documentation at your disposal than Windows, and finding out the syntax/switches for each command is usually as simple as typing –help following the command. You don’t need to memorise the whole thing under any circumstance, nor have you ever needed to.

At least give an example of something you’re trying to do that requires this if you’re going to insist that it’s true.

“And yes Microsoft has a command line editor but it is not necessary, you can do everything that you do in a command line through the GUI.”

Not everything, but the majority of tasks that the average user with do on a daily basis. Just like more modern Linux distros, and also OSX, although all may require some command line interaction for complex tasks.

JarHead says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

This is a lie within a lie. It’s not necessary to use the command for more complex/advanced tasks, but most users won’t need to see it unless they encounter a serious problem.

Yup, that’s a lie [sarcastic]
The last time I installed Ubuntu I have to go root level (sudo), something about NVidia driver. But guess what, Ubuntu in it’s infinite wisdom lock out users from root, by locking out the root account. I have to go through arcane CLI magic to unlock it, sudo, and do some more arcane magic there.

In my experience, saying one need CLI in any flavor of Linux a lie is the lie.

Once there, you actually have more documentation at your disposal than Windows, and finding out the syntax/switches for each command is usually as simple as typing –help following the command.

Yup, those terse documentation which explains jargon with other jargon is a great help indeed. And be sure to use “more” or “less”, if not the so great docs will scroll out of screen before your eyes. For more detail, use the man pages, not!

If I’m sounding hostile toward Linux, I can assure you I’m not. I found it superior in many (but not all) cases. Just that I found most Linux user/enthusiasts seem cannot understand the concerns and fears of 1st time users, saying “no, that’s a lie/myth” when it really are not, then abandoning those 1st time users with RTFM or “search the forum threads” when they learn the hard way that all their fears is true. This is IMHO the main reason of Linux late adoption (if at all), not games, incompatibilities, or CLI.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“The last time I installed Ubuntu I have to go root level (sudo), something about NVidia driver. But guess what, Ubuntu in it’s infinite wisdom lock out users from root, by locking out the root account. I have to go through arcane CLI magic to unlock it, sudo, and do some more arcane magic there.”

Erm, you’re doing it wrong. Sudo is a command that allows commands to be run with admin privileges *without* having to switch to the root user. The root user is deliberately locked out so that you use the sudo command to avoid having to use it. If you were enabling the root user in order to use sudo, you were most definitely doing it wrong.

Anyway, when was the “last time” you’re talking about? Months? Years? Your answer will affect the scenario, especially with regard to how the NVidia driver installation works.

“Yup, those terse documentation which explains jargon with other jargon is a great help indeed.”

More helpful than the built-in Windows documentation, yes. The average end user wouldn’t find themselves looking there, though.

“And be sure to use “more” or “less”, if not the so great docs will scroll out of screen before your eyes. For more detail, use the man pages, not! “

No, because most commands give the required information about switches in one page with the –help option. Man pages are optional, but you also have plenty of online documentation unless you managed to screw up the install so badly you couldn’t get online (in which case you’re in a better place than Windows for the most part).

“Just that I found most Linux user/enthusiasts seem cannot understand the concerns and fears of 1st time users, saying “no, that’s a lie/myth” when it really are not”

If you’re talking about sitting someone in front of a freshly installed distro that already has all the drivers installed correctly (as per a Windows machine out of the box), no it really is a myth. Some levels of configuration, etc. may be more complicated than the average user would wish to use, but then so are some Windows troubleshooting methods.

“abandoning those 1st time users with RTFM or “search the forum threads””

Which forums, where? Are we talking about Canonical’s official support (for example) or some random forum where advanced techies are being asked the equivalent of how to change a screensaver? If the latter, I see the same responses on Windows forums sometimes.

The 90s Wants Its Propaganda Back says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

[quote]”The one thing that put me and the majority of people off of migrating to Linux is the fact that you have to know how to use the command line editor and command line switches for each command, seriously , until that is totally removed from Linux or made unnecessary, they will never have more than a very small part of the desktop. And yes Microsoft has a command line editor but it is not necessary, you can do everything that you do in a command line through the GUI.”[/quote]

Clicks the “start button” on his KDE desktop and scrolls through the available offerings:

-“Control Panel” utility….check
-Can adjust video resolution via clicky-clicky? check
-Can configure dual-moniter setup via clicky-clicky? check
-Can configure audio and other multimedia by clicky-clicky? check
-“Add/Remove Programs” by clicky-clicky? check
-Perform software updates by clicky-clicky? check
-browse web, check email, etc via clicky-clicky? check
-Partition disks by clicky-clicky? check

::is now utterly confused by previous post::

When was the last time you used a linux distro? cuz in 2012 you can pretty much clicky-clicky for just about anything a non-tech computer user would do with the system. and my experience with linux vs windows and drivers has been less than barely satisfactory on windows. on windows i have to make sure i have a NIC driver on floppy/cd/thumbdrive ready in case the NIC in the unit isn’t at least 7+ years old.
besides, most people will get their OS the way they always do: it’ll come preloaded on the system they buy. therefore, the hardware will already be functioning and the user won’t have to meddle with installing drivers.

JEDIDIAH says:

Re: Re: Re: Stupid FUD

> is the fact that you have to know how to use the command line

This is just stupid FUD. You haven’t had to use the command line in Linux for a long time. The situation on Linux is no worse in this regard than it is for Windows or MacOS. There have been graphical interfaces on Linux for a long time now.

The reasons you might need to use the command line in Linux are very much comparable to why you would need to do the same in Windows or MacOS.

Lawrence D'Oliveiro says:

Re: Re: Re: you have to know how to use the command line editor and command line switches for each command

Yeah, ?cos that?s a lot worse than the Registry edits you need to commit on Windows in order to get anything working. Because, you know, typing ?{B7AD316F-0C69-41DE-95BB-BA1B8984DC72}? is way more intuitive to understand than ?ls -l?, and who would rather type ?man ls? than ?{83C88F74-FEC8-4F91-9E48-9160D44ADF2A}?? You?d have to be a right {7A10AE8F-BD9B-48F6-AC88-8DC432609907}er to think that. Anybody who seriously claims that Linux is anywhere near as easy to use as Windows is just spouting a load of {6E32207E-91F3-40F4-8239-699CABC80544}, and I ain?t {792889BB-EAB1-4549-9F8E-95F1AE8FEE94}ing, buddy!

PT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Android?

“I know it seems far fetched but Android could be the new Microsoft if they are clever about this…”

Not arguing with your sentiment, but Android is not an operating system – it’s an application interface running on Ubuntu Linux, to which it owes all its compatibility and power. Not a lot of people seem to know that. To me, it looks a lot like the very earliest days of computing when nearly all the popular applications were written in BASIC and executed by the BASIC interpreter, but then as people got more familiar with programming they moved to native code. So presently, everything’s written in Java and executed by the Android interpreter, but eventually the best stuff will be in native code running on Linux. This is the big threat to Microsoft – not Android itself, but that millions of people are unknowingly running Linux, and one day they’ll find out.

E. Zachary Knight (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Linux users will claim that you can run any Windows software in WINE, but if you search the net, you can find hundreds of messages from people who have having problems getting software, particularly games, to run in WINE.

And companies like Canonical and Red Hat have been working toward that end for years now and have created soem very user friendly distributions. Pretty much plug and play.

They don’t want to have to bodge around with settings and drivers and compatibility issues.

After 7 years of using Linux, I have never encountered a hardware compatibility issue. Most of that is because I do my research before hand. As an interesting aside, My mom bought a wireless Linksys card for one of her Windows PCs. No matter what she tried, she could never get it installed correctly. I plugged it into one of my Linux computers and it detected and started to use the Wireless card in seconds.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Take an old computer and throw ubuntu on it, you’d be surprised how all of the sudden the computer seems to work better in general and magically got many of the drivers you would have to run around random websites to get on your windows machine.

If more games were linux compatible out of the box there would have been a mass flocking to Linux platforms already.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Ubuntu is the new Windows in terms of bloated crapware. Bare-bones Debian with LXDE is what I run on my less capable machines. It’s also how I setup the old machines people bring me that they just want to use for web browsing and e-mail. Even a stock Debian install with GNOME is better than the bloated travesty of itself that Ubuntu has become.

But, like Windows, Ubuntu has a tendency to “just work” out of the box, while Debian may require a bit of tweaking here and there, so perhaps the bloat is justified for an inexperienced user.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

There is a lot that commends the retention of configuration control over third party offerings, one of which, in the case of Windows, is fewer BSODs. I want a PC that works properly right out of the box. I want a third party app to closely integrate with the OS, load and operate properly with a minimum of fuss that does not require IT expertise, etc. The retention of configuration control hepls to minimize problems, so I do not believe that “closing” of the OS is necessarily a bad thing if it assists reliability and compatibility.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

If games were Windows’ only issue, you would have something. But reality says it’s only part of a much bigger puzzle, that the general public (not the nerdy types you find on here) want something that is literally plug and play. They don’t want to have to bodge around with settings and drivers and compatibility issues.

1997 called, they want their FUD back.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“It’s one of the reasons Apple finally are making it out of the minor leagues. They no longer have operating systems that require you to be a systems engineer to operate properly.”

Um, what? Apple was pretty much ALWAYS considered the “easier” computer to use. They had the basic Windows graphic user interface in the mid 80s, almost a decade before Windows really became popular. It was known as the computer for artists, creative people and those that aren’t “tech savvy”, the tech savvy people were building IBM clones.

Linux will get easier to use if it is massively adopted. Computer makers would prefer if they didn’t have to pay for licenses from Microsoft, they’d be giddy if they could ship nothing but Linux machines and have them sell well. Likewise developers will now be touting it as M$ moves to a more closed system and tries to sabotage competing software developers. All that’s really left is for graphic and audio software & drivers to be ported and you’re good to go.

Anonymous Angry says:

Re: Re:

Very true, however nerds like us are the developers that even closed systems need to thrive, and when all the developers hate the OS, (unless the OS is ridiculously popular) they are not going to develop on it. Stupid move from MS, the big companies will thrive for a while, then the small devs and consumers get poor, no one buys the apps anymore. I hate this OS with passion and really hope google come up with a open OS to the standard of win7

Karl (profile) says:

This isn’t a particularly new story. But it is notable for one specific quote:

We want to make it as easy as possible for the 2,500 games on Steam to run on Linux as well. It?s a hedging strategy.

Open-source proponents have long hoped Microsoft’s mistakes (which have been many) would lead to a general adoption of Linux or other open-source platforms. So far, it hasn’t happened – and a big reason is because most AAA game developers have been shunning Linux.

If Win8 really becomes effectively closed to non-Live games developers, then that’s pretty much the death knell for Microsoft. It would become a world of consoles and Linux – and eventually, Linux would win out (but only eventually). Pity that computer users everywhere would have to suffer while that happened.

Rekrul says:

What’s the problem with Linux?

You can’t buy Linux software in 99% of stores. Half the software on the net is distributed as source code that you have to compile yourself. Virtually every Linux program requires you to have at least two other packages installed. The Linux/Unix programming philosophy seems to be “Never do automatically in one step, what you can make the user do manually in 5-10 steps.” Linux users will claim that you can run any Windows software in WINE, but if you search the net, you can find hundreds of messages from people who have having problems getting software, particularly games, to run in WINE.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Hey, Steve, remember when we forced manufacturers to use UEFI to stop people from installing Linux on their machines?”

“Yeah..”

“Check this out:”

the whole UEFI/Linux fiasco is just making me hesitant to switch to Linux. I want to build the most powerful, balls to the wall gaming computer, and that means the best Asus ROG motherboard available. However, Linux and UEFI apparently don’t mix.

“Awesome! Some idiot is blaming Linux for it!”

Mr. Grumpy Pants says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Care to point out where exactly in the comment you quoted does it say they blame Linux?

1) Hesitant to switch to Linux.
2) Wants to build a powerful PC.
3) Feels the need to use an Asus ROG.
4) Linux and UEFI don’t mix.

That’s pretty much the sum of that post. One could just as easily say ‘some idiot is blaming UEFI for it’ based on what was written, and they would be just as wrong.

I’ve wanted to use Ubuntu for years, but don’t because of what Rekrul stated which is spot on. I do experiment with Linux every now and again, either as a Live CD or virtual machine if I happen to have Virtual Box installed, even occasionally as the short lived primary OS after a reformat.

I don’t really play games on my PC anymore since getting a game console (though I might try Diablo III which is PC only). It’s just so much less of a hassle. Insert disc and play versus insert disc, troubleshoot for a few days, then maybe play if the DRM doesn’t screw me. Thus gaming isn’t much of an issue for me insofar as my choice to not use Linux goes.

There are also the industry standard apps however, like Photoshop and 3ds Max for example. I don’t know how well these run on a Linux machine, or if they do at all. Even if they did, it would likely be more work than I’m willing to do based on previous experience. My time is limited and I hate troubleshooting in case you hadn’t guessed that yet.

If Linux were as easy to run with apps as ubiquitous as Windows has, I’d switch to it in a heartbeat. Especially if freedom to use my PC how I see fit was at stake. The few times I’ve installed Linux were not pleasant experiences at all though. Getting it to play nice with all my hardware was akin to pulling teeth, as was trying to get helpful answers from the Linux community. Everything about it is just way more complicated and time consuming than it needs to be.

Developers rarely listen too, meaning the negative experience tends to be the same now as it was several years ago. It’s like I always say, developers are the smartest dumb people I know. I’m doing a facepalm at least once a week because of the design decisions they make. I’m always in awe of both their amazing technical skill and mind boggling inability to see the obvious lol.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Have you visited the repositories for Fedora or Ubuntu?

Tens of thousands of ready available binaries, no source code there.

Don’t trust me, see for yourself.
http://packages.ubuntu.com/precise/

Most people don’t even need to hunt the web to find anything they just need to search the package manager and it will show you what is available.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

iTunes came in 2003, Canonical I want to believe stole that idea from there, but they could have also taken inspiration from other places.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ITunes_Store

And Apple probably stole the whole idea of an iStore from Linux and their software management systems.

With Apt being introduced in 1998 according to Wikipedia.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Packaging_Tool

Which later morphed into the Ubuntu Software Center, by introducing new capabilities including the iStore thing.

The application was initially known as Ubuntu Software Store. The initial version (0.1) was released on 21 August 2009.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubuntu_Software_Center

Zakida Paul says:

Re: Re:

I assume you mean brick and mortar stores because, if you installed Ubuntu, you would have 1000s of applications to choose from using their software centre.

The reason you don’t see Linux software in bricks and mortar stores is because MS have always done one thing right, and that is maintain their monopoly. I mean, Windows is on almost every pre-built machine, businesses have such a hard on for exchange that they are locked into Windows environments, and if you walk into a PC shop and mention ‘Linux’ the attendants will look at you as if you were from outer space most of the time. Thankfully, the Interweb comes to the rescue and a quick Google search for “alternatives to Windows” brings back many thousands of recommendations and sources of support.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

The reason you don’t see Linux software in bricks and mortar stores is because MS have always done one thing right, and that is maintain their monopoly.

At least on the “end-user” brick and mortar shops. My regular computer shop sells RedHat and Debian DVDs, and provides hardware with Linux installed as part of their configuration process (at a price far cheaper than the OEM Windows install.)

So, no, you won’t find it at Best Buy, but you can at Walmart.com.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

This is what has always prevented be from switching to Linux. There is just no hassle-free, foolproof way to run a Linux system and play all the PC games you want to play.

Considering all the DRM I have to wade through in most modern games, I’d say the same thing about Windows. I used to routinely not get to play all the PC games I wanted to play on a Windows box either…and don’t get me started with Diablo III. I wanted to play that game until I learned that the company didn’t want me to play that game, so I didn’t.

Seegras (profile) says:

Re: Distributed as source code?

Well, yes. But You don’t need to compile it, because the Distribution does that for you, making nice packages you just install.

Debian alone offers 13’000 programs from their repositories, plus there are thousands of small third-party repositories or websites where you can download packages. Including but not limited to things like the “humble indie bundles” which also come mostly as debian-packages. And Ubuntu has even more Applications available.

Actually, “just install” is SOOO much easier on Debian or Ubuntu than of Windows/MacOS, because most software is available via package management, and the rest does not come with some weird installer, but as package for the package management.

Problems arise of course when running Windows-Application on wine. Not just because wine is chasing a moving target, but also because all windows-applications themselves are using different installers, bundled and conflicting libraries and so on. Nevertheless, thousands of windows games and applications can be made to run, sometimes out of the box, sometimes with some work. http://appdb.winehq.org/ will give you some overview on what works, and also what might be needed to get them to work. Some of the games are rather recent (I’ve got Skyrim installed from Steam running on wine, for instance).

Philip Storry (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I’m going to have to say you’re doing it completely the wrong way.
Either that, or you’re intentionally making life difficult for yourself.

Linux can indeed be compiled from source, and you can then download compile all your apps manually. But that’s not how 99% of people use Linux.

Most people get Linux through a distribution, which pre-compiles everything into packages for them. The distribution’s Package Management system then handles the installation of those pre-compiled binaries for you.
It will even handle the dependencies you mention – going back to its repositories and downloading/installing them automatically.
A decent Package Manager will even go so far as to know which packages can conflict (it’s rare, but it happens) and refuse to install new software until the conflict is fixed – which may sound bad, but I’d rather have a system protect itself by not installing something than hose itself by trying to please me.

Better yet, if I install a package from outside the package management system’s repositories, all of this still happens. So if I download and install Corel’s Aftershot Pro software, and it needs a library for printing or colour management, then the package just needs to say so and all of the installation will be handled automatically.
(Even versioning.)

There are a couple of distributions – like Gentoo – which have a package management system that prefers to compile from source, but even then its package management is automating that for you. And those are very niche systems, which most users won’t ever consider using. (For example, LibreOffice takes hours to compile on many systems, which is offputting – using a Red Hat or Debian based system which has precompiled packages suddenly becomes much more attractive!)

Basically, Linux doesn’t work the way you think it does. It actually works in a very sane, very safe way to try to ensure that the complexities of software installation are something the user doesn’t have to bother with.

Of course, some software authors may choose not to use the package management system. And in that case, you might get a self-contained .tar.gz file (or similar) which you just unpack and run the contents of. But that’s hardly Linux’s fault.

I’m unsure where you found your Linux philosophy, but frankly it doesn’t match the experiences of any Linux distribution I know.

WINE is a different issue, as it’s an abstraction layer. It should ideally be a last resort rather than a first port of call – which is why people want AAA titles on Linux, not on WINE on Linux.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

You write as if you have no idea how much work it actually takes to make things “Just Work” or what kind of sacrifices in flexibility often need to be made, or how brittle it might be to try something just outside of the envelope of “Just Work”. (Note that I don’t know whether or not you actually know, just that I think you sound like you don’t.)

If you want games to “Just Work”, use a console or the other existing or forthcoming software ecosystems closely controlled by single companies.

E. Zachary Knight (profile) says:

Re: Re:

You can’t buy Linux software in 99% of stores.

Software is moving online anyway, why is that a problem?

Half the software on the net is distributed as source code that you have to compile yourself.

No you don’t.

Virtually every Linux program requires you to have at least two other packages installed.

Kind of like just about every Windows program.

The Linux/Unix programming philosophy seems to be “Never do automatically in one step, what you can make the user do manually in 5-10 steps.”

That is your perception. However, the reality is that everything comes in one click installs for most common distributions like Ubuntu and Fedora.

Linux users will claim that you can run any Windows software in WINE, but if you search the net, you can find hundreds of messages from people who have having problems getting software, particularly games, to run in WINE.

No, they say that there is a potential to run most Windows software using WINE with little issue.

Bewakoof says:

Re: Re:

Which century are you living in ? Try Ubuntu sometime. put CD in your cd rom or usb drive, and it just works even from usb drive.
Ubuntu has the concept of software store for a long time, I did not compile something unless it was something exotic, in that case I had to a similar work on Windows too.

Problem is people like you making other people afraid and spreading FUD

Greevar (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Everything except for the first issue is totally false. Even still, you don’t have to go to the store to get it because most developers don’t sell Linux, they give it away for free (Damn them!). They monetize it by selling professional support, but you can get help for free if you ask on a Linux forum.

Linux distributions have become robust enough to streamline the installation and configuration process. There a plenty of distributions of Linux that come with an automated installer that is as easy or easier than Window’s installer. Software can be installed and configured through pre-installed tools such as Synaptic or RPM packages that search repositories and acquire all dependencies.

As for WINE, it has never claimed to be a click and forget solution. It attempts to translate Windows API calls to Linux API calls. That’s not as easy as you might think and they have done a damn good job making it work as well as it has. They also have a compatibility/issues database that anyone can search to find out what software works, what works well, and what doesn’t work at all. The fact that WINE is not a cure-all solution is not the fault of Linux or the WINE development team, it’s the fault of incompatible, closed API’s between operating systems. They do this specifically so people can’t run Windows/OSX software directly in Linux. Why else would people have to run Boot Camp or virtual machines in OSX to use Windows software?

What’s the problem with Linux? Nothing, the problem is with the rest of the OS market.

JEDIDIAH says:

Re: Outdated trolling points.

> Half the software on the net is distributed as source code that you have to compile yourself.

“apt-get remove troll”

There is also a GUI for that but I am not sure this forum supports the attachment of images or video.

The practical result of this whole “app store” approach used by the current crop of desktop Linuxen is that I can completely reinstall Linux from bare metal including my apps.

That scary source code also means that those apps will also all be available on any platform of my choosing including those new (ARM) Windows tablets that won’t be able to run the windows apps that everyone says you can’t live without.

Josh (profile) says:

Why would you want to use those anyway?

Oh, you want to use a browser other than Internet Explorer? I’m sorry, but those haven’t been approved.

You cannot install OpenOffice as it has not been approved for the Windows 8 platform.

We’re sorry, VLC has not been approved for your version of Windows, would you like to try Windows Media Player 13 instead?

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Why would you want to use those anyway?

Just wait until Microsoft announces DirectX 12 is a Win8 only feature. I love DX11, I enable it in all my games, but I would just fucking scream if Microshits were to lock its successor to a specific OS. If they do do that, I sure hope someone calls them out on it “So, you’re marketing your new OS by deliberately restricting this one feature, which doesn’t need this particular OS to exist, to this new OS”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 ... Why would you want to use those anyway?

Considering that games are practically the only software which need the latest and greatest DirectX version, and Win8 being a closed platform isn’t going to be a plus (on the monetary side, at least) for the games developers or publishers, one would think that the games developers would pause to think again before blindly making their game dependent on a Win8-only version of DirectX.

Nick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Why would you want to use those anyway?

Yeah, I was wondering that myself. There are zero links in the article to ANY evidence that Microsoft is doing such an idea. The release candidates are already out and in people’s hands, and all we have for info is “what if” articles from a small handful of developers saying that yes, IF this happens, it would suck.

I don’t think Microsoft would shoot themselves in the foot over this. Windows Live Gaming is a horrible monstrosity that should be taken out back and shot, but they would never make it mandatory.

Either way, I’m still avoiding Windows 8. I like Windows, not Windows OSX

relghuar says:

HURRAY!!!!

I really hope Microsoft will make Windows 8 closed platform… It’s about time to flush the whole broken windows shit down the toilet.
I’ve been pondering for years what could create a strong enough push for both users and developers to jump massively to Linux. Not very surprising the strongest push might come from windows itself 🙂

relghuar says:

Re: Re: Eh

He probably meant that he ignored Vista (incredible piece of shit, possibly worst since ME) and used XP for many many years – so did I, by the way…
Win7 is a lot better than Vista, but I’m still not convinced it’s actually better than XP. Pitty XP is no longer usable on newer hardware, I’d probably still be using it in those cases I can’t live without u$oft platform.

Keroberos (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Eh

This is the problem that Linux has with adoption at this point–user’s first impressions of it. Yes, Linux had all these problems when most Windows users were first exposed to it. Many, if not most of these issues have been fixed in most distros at this point.

Windows Vista was not shit, it just changed so many things that almost no software or hardware made for previous versions of Windows would work with it (of course added with the whole Vista Ready, Vista Capable debacle). Windows 7 is for the most part just a slightly tweaked Vista with a few years of third party support, so almost everything will run on it out of the box. Window XP had the exact same problems for people coming from Windows 9X. It took years for everything to be compatible with it.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Eh

“What relevance does your using XP for a long time have? Windows 7 has been a great OS right out of the gate, only person you punished was yourself.”

I disagree. By waiting this long, he was spared Vista, and was able to determine if Windows 7 was actually worth moving to. That he was able to continue using his PC quite comfortably for his needs using XP for the intervening decade is a clue as to how important the OS is to the average consumer – that’s the relevance.

Nathan Gibson (profile) says:

Tricky...

It’s slightly more nuanced.

Windows RT is the ARM version of Windows 8 and the version that is locked up. The x86/x64 version isn’t. On the x86/x64 side, Steam is going to get some hefty competition for once in the digital gaming marketplace (there are others, but they aren’t as big) and are initially (although I doubt permenantly) locked out of the ARM version.

Brad Hubbard (profile) says:

I can't tell why the anger...

So this has to be about the thousandth regurgitated “Windows 8 Is Locked Down” fear-stoking article that has passed through my RSS feed in the last month. I can’t tell if people are intentionally spreading FUD (we know lots of bloggers are on Apple PR’s payroll) or if they’re just all illiterate.

There is no “If Microsoft decides to lock down…” Gabe wasn’t talking about that. The presence of an app store on Windows 8 would threaten Steam’s margins, because indy devs could (depending on their policies) go around Steam. MOST users would use the app store that’s installed and that would be good enough. Alternatively, if it’s expensive to get into that app store (like it is on XBLA) it might make it very difficult for indy devs to reach their audience, release patches, etc.

Those are real concerns, and bear interesting and fruitful conversations. Claiming Microsoft is going to take away the ability to install software you don’t buy from them is so far off the mark it’s like you’re trying to be wrong. I don’t blame Techdirt for this, they’re just recycling the same crap that’s been floating around for weeks.

Try and be rational, and get off the let’s-all-hate-Microsoft-like-it’s-the-90s-again bandwagon. Do you really think Microsoft, which STILL gets in trouble for daring to include a web browser with its OS, would lock you out of all 3rd party software platforms? They can’t even ship with Windows Defender installed because rival Antivirus companies want a chance to hock their crappy stuff at you first, and that’s fundamental to the security of the system.

A further clarification – Windows RT should really be called WINO – Windows in Name Only. It’s a completely different architecture and built around low-power, mobile-style devices. If you managed to shove Windows onto your cellphone, you really think it would run everything, too? Of course not. We can barely get old 32-bit programs to run in 64-bit mode without a massive layer of virtualization. You can’t run OSX or Linux software on Windows either – is that really a “lockdown” on MS’s part?

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: I can't tell why the anger...

“They can’t even ship with Windows Defender installed because rival Antivirus companies want a chance to hock their crappy stuff at you first, and that’s fundamental to the security of the system.”

I’ve had two Win 7 machines – one off the shelf HP computer, and another I built myself. Both came with Windows Defender. Maybe you meant to say Microsoft Security Essentials?

The eejit (profile) says:

Re: I can't tell why the anger...

That last paragraph makes sense. However, Win8 for non ARM chips was initially advertised as a walled garden. That was what MS actually said initially. MS has some interesting ideas, but most of them are, for the time being, focussed almost entirely on the tablet market, rather than MS’ actual market, PC users.

E. Zachary Knight (profile) says:

Re: I can't tell why the anger...

Claiming Microsoft is going to take away the ability to install software you don’t buy from them is so far off the mark it’s like you’re trying to be wrong.

If Microsoft makes it a pain for the casual computer user to install unsigned apps, they have effectively closed off the platform. News has already been spreading that Microsoft is blocking the ability to boot directly to the desktop experience, which forces everyone into the Metro UI first and then switch. Since only signed apps are compatible with Metro, they are forcing people into their walled garden from the start.

Andrew (profile) says:

Re: Re: I can't tell why the anger...

It’s perhaps worth reading this post from Marco Arment on the Mac App Store, discussing how a lot of apps are actually being pulled from it due to Apple’s store policies.

And nearly everyone who?s been burned by sandboxing exclusions ? not just the affected apps? developers, but all of their customers ? will make the same choice with their future purchases. To most of these customers, the App Store is no longer a reliable place to buy software.

Unlike iOS or Xbox, Windows is not (yet) a locked down system, and people are used to downloading software themselves, even if it’s sometimes risky and inconsistent to do so. If Microsoft wants its store to work, it has to make it a significantly more attractive way to buy and sell software. It’s possible Apple will not succeed on OSX if they try too hard to apply the iOS store model, and they have some big advantages in a very successful iOS App Store and a hugely loyal fanbase too.

Lawrence D'Oliveiro says:

Linux, Games, OpenGL

Did you also see the report from Valve where they found that the same game would run faster under Linux than Windows, on the same hardware?

Linux uses OpenGL pretty much exclusively as its 3D graphics API. On Windows most games generate their displays using DirectX, but there is also an option to use OpenGL, though it seems nobody except John Carmack (id software) is keen on it.

Well, Valve also tried switching to OpenGL on the Windows version of their game, and that ran faster than the DirectX version, though still not quite up to the speed of the Linux version.

Chilly8 says:

I could see Linux or Unix replacing Windows, if Microsoft did put out a closed Windows platform in the future. Macs are WAAAYYYY too expensive. Aslo, there are APIs for Linux and Unix that can run existing Windows programs.

The one problem though is that nearly everyone with an IT or computer science degree will have to go back to school and learn Linux.

Chargone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

… … ya know, a much greater percentage of the stuff i’ve had cause to use on linux has ‘just worked’ than is the case with windows.

just, you know, fyi.

all sorts of crap on windows doesn’t work, often for No Apparent Reason, sometimes when it worked just fine the day before (i’m still baffled by the fact that one particular ME2TW mod will not work if windows vista is set to automatically adjust for daylight saving time. how the hell do those two functions even interact?)

the only things that ever Didn’t work on Linux were some windows things running through WINE… and they probably would if i were inclined to put the effort in to learn about them.

from an end user point of view, the more stuff that ‘just works’ the better, because the less it gets in the way of what we’re actually DOING.

people aren’t getting dumbed down, really. the human brain is just set up to not learn (or even remember after having learned) anything it doesn’t have to, simply because there’s Too Much Stuff to learn. limited data storage, even with automatic compression (which isn’t lossless).

Time Is A Valuable Thing says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

The things that people decide to devote their time on to learn changes over the years. for instance in my case(yes yes yes i know anecdotal), i’ve spent many years teaching myself various things as i gain interest in them. one of those things has been computers in general and OSes. But, many years later, my computer has gone from learning experience to just a tool i use to further teach myself other subjects or as an aid to other learning resources. i also use it as an entertainment device, and if i have to fiddle with it for 30 minutes+, i’m now grumpy and unhappy and the experience has been totally sullied.

under linux “most things” “just work”. running games under WINE isn’t one of them. running microsoft office under wine(because you have a presentation to do for your chinese 101 class and the class computer runs ms office and it doesn’t render the animations from openoffice and instead of having to dick around and find a portable or otherwise reasonable solution and wasting time instead of directing that effort on your presentation)isn’t one of them.

Native games under Linux “just work”. Native apps under linux “just work”. allowing me time to “just work” on playing games or “just work” on my presentation/research paper/homework/business plan/$WHATEVER.

don’t get me wrong, i still enjoy tinkering with my computer, but not everyone gets a thrill out of playing around with cutting edge hardware/filesystems/storage technologies/etc.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Most people who have a degree in one of the many CS fields are required to work extensively with Linux before they graduate, at least those with a degree that is actually worth the paper it is printed on.

Huh? Why would lack of experience with a particular operating system make my degree worthless?

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The one problem though is that nearly everyone with an IT or computer science degree will have to go back to school and learn Linux.

Not so much, really. As one who has just finished training a Windows developer to work on Linux & Solaris, the jump isn’t as big as you might think. Going back to school for it would be overkill. Setting up a Linux box at home and doing a couple of hobby projects would be plenty sufficient.

The big hurdle when jumping from Windows to Linux is a change in mindset — programming for the unices is much more sane than for Windows, and it can take a while for it to sink in that yes, it really is that straightforward.

quawonk says:

I have a feeling that Win8 will be one of those OS’s that everyone kinda just skips over, like 2000, ME, Vista, etc.

Thanks for making my decision not to buy Windows 8 for me, Microsoft.

I hope they get sued bigtime for anti-competition or antitrust, whatever it was that they obviously didn’t learn from the first time around.

Chilly8 says:

Re: Re:

What if you have to buy another computer. Manufacturers like gateway have their PCs fixed where you cannot install other operating systems. The LX 6810, which I use to run my online radio station, is “crippled” by Gateway to only allow Windows operating systems to be installed. I would be unable to run Linux on that machine, because gateway has mucked with the BIOS where only Windows operating systems can be installed.

E. Zachary Knight (profile) says:

Re: Re:

All the software I normally use including Steam runs fine on Win8 in desktop mode.

I think the problem is that desktop mode is not the default. Installing applications to it is not as simple as it is for the Metro UI. If Microsoft follows through with its plans to make using the desktop as painful as possible for the casual user, it is effectively locked down.

Anonymous Coward says:

the only reason the appstore exists is to make apple more money for doing nothing. i think it’s such a shame that users have to suffer the brunt. if apple didn’t take such a huge cut, games could potentially be a lot cheaper. being able to access all apps and games etc under one roof is handy but not essential, especially when it costs a fraction to do so than is charged. it’s the usual situation of greed being most important.

KGWagner (profile) says:

I'm not surprised

One of the reasons Apple has suffered substantially fewer exploits is because of their essentially closed system. Microsoft is envious, I’m sure, as their reputation for security is pitiful at best. While they’re not without sin, the vast majority of the exploits Windows suffers from are directly attributable to the applications that run on it. Historically, the majority of apps wouldn’t even run if they didn’t have admin permission, which left the OS swinging in the breeze for any script kiddie that came along to take a swing at. I mean, far be it from me to defend MS – I am not a fan – but I recognize where the holes were. Poorly written apps by developer wannabes writing in VB left caused a great deal of the instability of previous versions.

JEDIDIAH says:

Re: I'm not surprised

> One of the reasons Apple has suffered substantially fewer exploits is because of their essentially closed system.

Huh? Are you kidding?

There is nothing “essentially closed” about MacOS. You can download and install anything you want. Things like VLC and Plex are very popular on MacOS despite being things that might get excluded from an official App store.

Not doing stupid things repeatedly even after you’ve been burned several times is why Apple products are less malware infested.

It has nothing to do with the “walled garden”. “Security” is just the propaganda that Apple uses on the unwary. Clearly they think (perhaps rightfully so) that everyone will forget all of their “I’m a Mac” ads.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: I'm not surprised

Actually, I’d say that it’s a combination of factors. Apple’s OSes have traditionally been much more secure than Microsoft’s due to the UNIX style architecture (e.g. network & user security designed from the ground up, whereas it was basically an afterthought in pre-XP home Windows versions). The smaller install base may have left it a less desirable target, but it was also much easier to get a worm or virus to do something damaging/useful in a default Windows install than Apple or Linux. It’s the ease of infection that left Windows as the prime target as much as anything else.

This is changing, of course, not only with the increasing popularity of Apple OSes, but with vastly improved security on home Windows versions. I’d argue that “essentially closed” is a total misdirection that’s possibly based on a misunderstanding of iOS vs. OSX (how, exactly, are you prevented from installing pretty much whatever you want in OSX?), but the mere number of users is not the only thing that’s left the OS traditionally more secure.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: I'm not surprised

You’re right that Windows is an easier target than other operating systems, however if Apple (or any other OS) had 90% of the desktop market, there would be nearly as much malware for Apple as there is for Windows. When you can hit 90% of desktops with a single binary, that it requires a little extra work to do so is not a huge disincentive.

The Apple myth is that it is a secure operating system. No operating system is, and while Apple does better than Windows (although, as you point out, this gap has largely closed) it is still vulnerable.

One of the big risks in computer security is the belief that you are secure. As soon as you think that, you’re in danger. Apple has done its customers a disservice by encouraging them to think they’re safe just because they use Apple products.

BTW, I am not a fan of Windows. I’m a Linux guy.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 I'm not surprised

Fair comments, I’ve just never been convinced by the numbers argument for the relative safety of Macs. Sure, it’s a factor but even if Apple had 90% of the consumer market 10 years ago, I very much doubt we’d have seen carnage on the scale that 98/XP users experienced when they first got online. The rate of infection would not be 0%, but I suspect that it would have been far lower had Microsoft encouraged certain security methods rather than sales and “ease of use” at the expense of OS security.

As we’ve seen recently, Apple viruses and spyware do exist and they are going to increase in number, but brushing it away as a pure numbers game is as much a disservice to users as any belief in better inherent security, IMHO. As anyone who’s worked for more than 10 minutes with computer security knows, the only safe networked computer is one that’s not connected to the network, and even that’s debatable depending on the threat.

I work and live with all 3 platforms myself, btw, so I’m not trying to say one is specifically better or worse, just that it’s a rather more complex issue.

Dirty Anonymous Coward says:

App Stores are not the product

For Indie game devs this isn’t a threat to their business model. A Microsoft Windows/Xbox Store is a serious opportunity — depending on the terms for devs and that is the issue — what are those “finalized” terms going to be?

For EA Origin or Valve who decided to create their own store ecosystems a Window/XBox store is a threat as long as they exclude their games from other venues of sales. This isn’t about Microsoft locking them out, this is about Valve’s decision to try and keep people locked into theirs.

Who cares about Valve’s store, gamers aren’t playing the store, they’re playing the games bought from “x-y-z” store. If Valve or any other company is so blind to the new opportunities being presented to them, then like the Media Companies in Hollywood, they should question their own business models and take a serious look at what business they are really in – running a store, or making products people use, play, view, et…

Jeffrey Nonken (profile) says:

I don’t think it’s entirely fair to himself and the other developers to characterize them as “free riders”. It’s like the use of any other infrastructure: somebody provides the infrastructure because they see advantages for doing so. People use it for its intended purpose. Then somebody else finds a new or more clever way to use it, and does so. As more people use it, it grows and becomes more relevant, and so more people use it.

Windows didn’t spring whole from the formless mass any more than did anything else. It was built on other things, mainly but not entirely the IBM PC, an open system which itself was built on (and so on to the beginning of time). Part of what made it work was the fact that other people used the platform to build their own things. Without that it would have died in infancy. (It didn’t start open, either, but that’s another story.)

Gabe et. al., and really all of us, represent not parasites getting a “free ride” but rather symbionts who — collectively, in the short run or the long run — give back to the host at least as much as they take. That’s true of the iPhone, and Android, the cell phone in general, Windows, Linux, mainframes, the Internet, cable TV, the (wired) phone system (which also grew more after it was forced open), the MPAA and the RIAA and BMI and Polymer Records and broadcast TV, radio… you name it. Open or closed, these structures and systems are useless without customers driving them.

And far too often the companies completely forget that. They start thinking of the customers as endless sources of revenue to be exploited on one hand, and free-loading parasites on the other, and turn antagonistic towards any use that they don’t see as instantly contributing to their bottom line. That’s when they start making themselves irrelevant.

Microsoft has been slowly eroding their relevancy for years. To me this looks like a rather larger step. Locking out developers is just going to alienate their customer base. I know they’d rather be all things to all people, but they cannot possibly keep up with all the ways people want to use a PC. By locking out anybody with a different vision, they lock out the symbionts and keep the parasites.

I cannot think of a better way to drive people to open systems than to turn from being enablers to being gatekeepers.

Trenchman says:

I didn’t read through all of the comments on here so I’m not sure if someone else made this point. But, there is a very important part of any OS that Gabe, and many other people, seem to miss. No one is forced to adopt it. Vista was almost universally hated, and even though PC makers put it on newer models at first, it wasn’t very long until they started giving people the option of a downgrade. Many people stopped using Vista and went back to, or never left, XP. Windows 7 has been a much better launch and a much higher adoption rate, but it hasn’t been long enough for people to forget about Vista’s poor reception. I don’t think this will have as much of an impact as some people predict, for the most part it will just stop people, and companies, from supporting the product.

Also, I am happy to hear that Linux is getting more support from companies. I use XP, I may switch to 7 sometime soon, I love to have options, and the main use of my PC is gaming. So it’s nice to know that I may still have that option if I ever decide to switch to Linux.

Trae says:

Linux is hard?

Linux hasn’t been hard for at least 5 years now.

The opinions some of these people have were obviously formed by some blog they read about ‘running World of Warcraft in Linux’.

Yeah, granted running Windows or Apple software in Linux is hard. So is running Apple software on Windows…

Anyway, point is if all you do is shoot of e-mail and web browse, edit pictures, or pretty much any non-technical thing then Linux is as easy as Apple.

That said, you can find -hard- versions of Linux that were designed with Software Engineers and Systems Administrators in mind, as a desktop users why would you install a Sys Admin -flavor- of Linux?

Furthermore, to say that ‘half of Linux’s software has to be compiled form source code’ is just simply just lies/misinformation. Ubuntu/Fedora/many others have enjoyed package management systems on par with the Apple store or what Microsoft is propsing for the past 10 years.

Actually, Linux would be better for a newb, at least they wouldn’t get a drive-by web virus and have to pay a tech to fix their computer every month -or- get their bank account email etc. hacked for doing anything online. I really am getting sick of having to fix a Windows PC every time I get an email from a friend’s PC that started shilling Viagra.

As for running Windows apps on Linux. VMWare has the same support for Linux as it does on Mac. You can’t really sell the shortcomings of the WINE project as a Linux flaw when Linux has the same support as Apple or Windows has (from VMWare and others) in running foreign OS apps.

In short, Linux is for pussies and power users, I run Linux in a virtual machine =D.

PS: Linux isn’t even an operating system, it’s just a small piece of code. The ‘Linux’ distributions that I’m basing my opinion here on come from Ubuntu and Fedora.

People should not form strong opinions on things they don’t know anything about.

Anonymous Coward says:

I understand Microsoft wants to make computers usable for “non-computer-types” but they really should be doing this by giving optional ways for a user to self-identify as a power user. Compared to Apple, Windows has always had an equivalent extra mile that was a baby version of reading a Linux man file on a bash interface. If they just keep those roadblocks in place on install, then you have an effective way for the the bigger market that Apple is tapping to say “!@#$ it, just install already!” and for everyone else to say “I know what the folder structure of my hard drive should look like” or even “I know how to edit the registry without causing a blue screen at some point”.

Making a tech-idiot-proof platform to compete with the one Apple has is fine, just give everyone the option of proving their ability to handle the details. Everyone is an idiot at some point with respect to some aspect of computer hardware and/or software. Variety, people!

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