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Devs Flay Microsoft For Withholding Windows 8.1 RTM 413

CWmike writes "Windows app developers are taking Microsoft to task for the company's decision to withhold Windows 8.1 until mid-October. Traditionally, Microsoft offers an RTM to developers several weeks before the code reaches the general public. On Tuesday, however, Microsoft confirmed that although Windows 8.1 has reached RTM, subscribers to MSDN will not get the final code until the public does on Oct. 17, saying it was not finished. Antoine Leblond, a Microsoft spokesman, said in a blog post, 'In the past, the release to manufacturing milestone traditionally meant that the software was ready for broader customer use. However, it's clear that times have changed.' Developers raged against the decision in comments on another Microsoft blog post, one that told programmers to write and test their apps against Windows 8.1 Preview, the public sneak peak that debuted two months ago. One commenter, 'brianjsw,' said, 'In the real world, developers must have access to the RTM bits before [general availability]. The fact that Microsoft no longer seems to understand this truly frightens me.'"
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Devs Flay Microsoft For Withholding Windows 8.1 RTM

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  • by mlts ( 1038732 ) * on Tuesday August 27, 2013 @11:46PM (#44693495)

    There are some exceptions: We poor IT people who see Windows Server 2012 R2 and its bump of Hyper-V heading right for our data centers, and want to be able to start testing on it as soon as possible.

    A preview release won't do, as there almost definitely will be changes between it and RTM versions.

    Yes, on Windows 8, it is a lot of cosmetic changes, but Windows Server 2012 R2 has a number of new features that need to be evaluated and scoped out, testbeds created, tickets to vendors made (so they can fix incompatibilities), build documents updated, AD policies checked, tests to see if the OS will work on existing hardware, and so on.

    All this OS testing has to be done and well documented before anything hits the production floor. Yes, one can sit on Windows Server 2003 and not bother trying to throw anything newer, but things change, and even though ESXi might be the mainstay of virtualization now, the deduplication and VM handoff (similar to vMotion) capabilities of the 2012 R2 Hyper-V will make it extremely attractive as a competitor. This all has to be well tested and documented.

    Not doing so will eventually result in a day when the auditors come by, find obsolete versions on products, demand they be upgraded... which forces the business to go head-long to the latest OS or else. Might as well ease the pain and take time to get things tested, bugs found, and workarounds documented as early as possible.

    Of course, this varies from business to business. Some companies can remain on NT 4.0 and be well off. Others have lots of software and regulatory issues, which means that not keeping updated means failing security audits.

  • by mystikkman ( 1487801 ) on Wednesday August 28, 2013 @12:00AM (#44693559)

    Take Google, which just drops the new version of the Android SDK over the wall along with the hardware running the new version of the Android OS. I didn't notice any outrage there, perhaps because they don't allow comments on their blog posts(or they don't have blog posts). Or perhaps because if Google does it, it's okay.

    The funny thing is that Google doesn't even release a beta or RC version for Android like MS did with the 8.1 preview. Where's the Slashdot story and outrage?

    The Slashdot story "Linux Vendors Push For Open-Source In Hybrid Datacenter Clouds" has just 19 comments after 4 hours. Now most of Slashdot comments consist of lame karmawhores like tuppe666, tepples, MightyMartian and bmo competing with each other to post the most puerile anti-MS drivel and modding each other up in the echochamber and shouting down anyone who points out their over the top hate and idiocy. Sad, really, atleast earlier insightful comments used to get modded up, now they have no chance.

  • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Wednesday August 28, 2013 @01:53AM (#44694029)

    However, Win7 was the first version where 64 bit OS installations really took off.

    It's also when we found out how much legacy 16 bit shit was a point of failure in expensive applications and wouldn't run on 64 bit Win7 - I'm looking at you AutoDesk, Halliburton, and just about every "security" copy protection dongle supplier on the planet. It's no use if your expensive per seat application won't run because some IDIOT has coded something as recent as a usb driver for a evil dongle thing in 16 bit.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 28, 2013 @03:16AM (#44694343)

    If you try to use Win8 you notice the awful mess it is.
    The start "button" is replaced by a magic corner, which both on a high resolution screen and in a VM is a huge pain to hit, plus there is nothing to indicate it even exists so you can only find it by chance! That one they fixed with 8.1.
    Then Windows updates: The only way to find the program in order to update it seems to use the search function on the start screen. Of course the only way to even notice that there is a start screen is by randomly starting to type, since there is no search box anywhere - despite the top 10% of the start screen being completely unused, so there would have been enough space.
    If you then click through the options, when you click at the "wrong" place you suddenly and without forewarning are thrown into the desktop!
    If If you didn't actually want to go there, there isn't even an easy way to get back (at least none obvious?), no you have to start the whole procedure with searching for the "update" app from the start!
    Holy shit, you couldn't have designed a worse UI if you had wanted it! Even for the elevation prompts they at least had the sanity to put a symbol next to the buttons so you know a prompt will pop up if you click, whereas this new UI likes to throw you between desktop and tile UI like a leaf in the wind, without warning and often for no real good reason.

  • Re:the upgrade myth (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Alioth ( 221270 ) <no@spam> on Wednesday August 28, 2013 @05:45AM (#44694755) Journal

    Well that's the problem!

    In the past, a PC gamer would replace their main rig every year to 18 months, and this would drive quite a bit of sales. In fact, ordinary PC users would change their computer every 2 to 3 years because the new ones were much better, and new software was more capable (and a lot more bloated) and wouldn't run well on a 2 year old machine. This started changing in the early 2000s for non-gaming PCs (my non-gaming development box I built in 2002 lasted 7 years - basically until components started to fail). For gamers this started changing towards 2010 - now there's little advantage in changing your gaming rig more than once every 3 or 4 years.

    The result - while PC usage is probably still growing a little, PC *buying* is declining rapidly because a machine from 2010 is still good enough even for gamers, and a machine from 2005 is good enough for typical email/browse the web stuff. My main gaming rig now is a decent spec *laptop* with nvidia graphics and an i7, and not a hideously overweight one either like gaming laptops of 5 or 6 years ago. Since hardly anyone buys Windows retail, falling PC sales means falling Windows sales. A Windows license for a normal PC is lasting 6 years or more now as people only replace when components actually fail beyond economic repair, and most every day users are no more likely to buy a Windows upgrade any more than they will switch to Linux. A Windows license on a gaming PC is lasting at least 3 years now, possibly more - when in the past, Microsoft could rely on gamers buying a new Windows license every year to 18 months and non-gamers every 2 to 3 years.

  • by NJRoadfan ( 1254248 ) on Wednesday August 28, 2013 @08:01AM (#44695143)
    It was miles better than Program Manager and File Manager. The start menu and the rest of the Windows 95 interface was the last time Microsoft spent big bucks doing user interface and human-computer interaction studies and research. The Chicago/Win95 betas were by far the most interesting to look at since major changes to the UI would occur each release as MS would try out new things... and remove stuff that didn't work out so well.

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