Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 7th Feb 2018 01:02 UTC
Windows

Windows 10 S, the Microsoft Store-only version of Windows, is going away, but not really.

Currently, Windows 10 S is a unique edition of Windows 10. It's based on Windows 10 Pro; Windows 10 Pro has various facilities that enable system administrators to restrict which software can be run, and Windows 10 S is essentially a preconfigured version of those facilities. In addition to locking out arbitrary downloaded programs, it also prevents the use of certain built-in Windows features such as the command-line, PowerShell, and Windows Subsystem for Linux.

For those who can't abide by the constraints that S imposes, you can upgrade 10 S to the full 10 Pro. This upgrade is a one-shot deal: there's no way of re-enabling the S limitations after upgrading to Pro. It's also a paid upgrade: while Microsoft offered it as a free upgrade for a limited time for its Surface Laptop, the regular price is $49.

Nothing much actually seems to be changing; it just turns Windows 10 S from a version into a mode. Pretty much a distinction without a difference. My biggest issue here is that you can't go from regular Windows 10 back to Windows 10 S if you ever had a reason to do so (e.g. if Windows were ever to be usable with just Metro apps in the future and you want the additional security Windows 10 S provides). Seems like an odd restriction.

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RE[7]: Mission creep is afoot
by avgalen on Thu 8th Feb 2018 13:27 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Mission creep is afoot"
avgalen
Member since:
2010-09-23

Owners should always have the right to install 3rd party stores, browsers, search engines, etc.

If I buy a cheaper cable plan I get less/different channels. I shouldn't buy a cheap 5 GB internet plan if I want to binge-watch 4K Netflix.
Every products has built in limitations in the way you are allowed to use it and it is the seller that gets to set these limitations. If you don't like these limitations, don't buy the product. The manufacturer isn't required to produce a product that you like or want to buy. Nobody* can force Microsoft, or Google, or Apple, or RedHat, or Ubuntu to allow 3rd party stores, browsers, search engines, etc.

So you have to be more precise about what you own. If you buy a computer with a license for Windows 10 Home S (for 500) instead of a computer with a license for Windows 10 Home (for 525) you shouldn't expect the same rights. The computer is the same, but the software is different.
You and I agree that we should have the right to install another OS on that computer. But there isn't an obligation for anyone to make that other OS. So if there isn't another OS available to run on that computer we are just out of luck**
Of course we got used to having all these possibilities in Windows so we consider them as a right, but they aren't rights that automatically transfer to other products like 10 S, or iProducts, or ChromeBooks. I have purchased Windows 10 "for the lifetime of the device", which will be anywhere between 5 and 10 years under normal circumstances. During that time I should expect that I can sideload (3rd party store), install Chrome and configure Edge to use google.com just like I can now. I should also expect Visual Studio 2017 to run on it. But it is up to Microsoft to decide that they will only offer Visual Studio 2020 in an Azure virtual and it will be up to me to use that product or not.

Long story short: If you want to have the right to install 3rd party stores, don't buy a machine with Windows 10 S. If enough people ignore Windows 10 S it will either be adjusted to suite more people or cancelled entirely (like Windows RT). And if the opposite happens and Windows 10 S suits most people they might cancel the current "full mode" or make it "developer only" or "more expensive" which would suck for the remaining people (like you and me) that would either have to swallow that pill, remain on the older version or switch to another product that does suite our purpose.

I would personally love for Windows to become Open Source, GPL-ed and completely moddable by the community but that isn't going to happen as long as it is worth more to Microsoft to keep it closed source. And as I said above, nobody can force them to make or sell I product that you want to buy

* I am purposefully ignoring monopoly laws in this discussion.
** I am purposefully ignoring the option to build your own OS

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