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

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[6]: Mission creep is afoot
by Alfman on Wed 7th Feb 2018 18:22 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Mission creep is afoot"
Member since:


It is going to be a long time from now when that will happen. Almost all products that Microsoft sells still require "Full Mode". If their own products don't require full mode anymore we might have actually reached a point where "S mode" has all the benefits and none of the negatives and should be the only mode.
Let me put it this way:
The moment I can run the entirety of Visual Studio (including compiling/debugging/android emulators/etc) from S Mode there might not be a reason for full mode to exist anymore

Firstly, vendors can and do make exceptions for themselves because they don't want to live under the same restrictions they are imposing on others. However you're also missing something fundamental, the fact that a developer might always have additional machine access (ie buying a specialized developer model, or paying for a developer key, etc) in no way mitigates the loss of rights for regular owners. Owners should always have the right to install 3rd party stores, browsers, search engines, etc. Of course whether they use it or not is up to them, but it should be their right. It's just not good enough if only a few privileged owners have access.

If somebody makes a RedHat clone tomorrow that can only be configured to always accept all Alpha updates from all channels I wouldn't see a use for that personally but there is no reason for me to combat that distro. Maybe there is a group of cutting edge developers/testers that would love such a distro.

Your example is subject to the GPL, which explicitly gives owners and 3rd parties the right to take everything and modify it to their hearts content.

Honestly if windows 10 s was offered under the same conditions as this hypothetical example, then there wouldn't be anywhere near the controversy over owner rights because any deficiencies could be rectified by the community.

Edited 2018-02-07 18:35 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

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

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 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

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[8]: Mission creep is afoot
by Alfman on Thu 8th Feb 2018 14:44 in reply to "RE[7]: Mission creep is afoot"
Alfman Member since:


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....

You keep using examples that don't fit the topic at hand. I'm talking about property ownership and an owner's right to install what they want on their own computers because they're supposed to be the owners. Not microsoft, not apple, not google, nor anybody else should be telling owner what they can do on their computers. If owners no longer have a right to decide how to use their own machines and they have to get permission from a corporation to do something on their own machines, then the whole concept of ownership is seriously broken.

We should not allow corporations to usurp our rights like this. It should have been stopped when apple did it, now all the big tech companies are getting in on the act. Technology that we "own" with restricted ownership rights is creeping further and further into computer territory. Every time the topic comes up, the vendor locking and control increases ever so subtly and people like you try to make a case that it doesn't matter, but over time the erosion of rights becomes significant. You say you'll stand up against corporate abuse when it starts effecting you, but as darknexus stated "Too bad it'll be too late by then."

Reply Parent Score: 3