Home > Windows > Where Is Windows Going? Where Is Windows Going? Eugenia Loli 2003-10-24 Windows 41 Comments The next version of Windows isn’t due out until at least 2005, leaving us to wonder: Will Microsoft address the big questions users have about stability, security, and features? In this special report, PCMag looks at where Windows is heading. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 41 Comments 2003-10-24 7:01 pm I remember back in the early 90’s, when competition had fully caught up and completely surpassed MS-DOS, Microsofts response was to change the whole field and go with Windows 95. The proprietary nature of Windows 95 gave Microsoft about 5 years before anyone figured out how to make anything compatible with it. This is my prediction for Longhorn. Microsoft will break all their existing standards, introduce some internal encryption schema so that they can sue anyone that tries to make themselves Longhorn compatible, and then hype their product as the greatest revolution since Windows 95. 2003-10-24 7:02 pm the XBOX is a precursor to MS’s new black box PC where the only expansion you have is through high speed ports like USB2 and Firewire. the first steps are being taken by WXP MCE OEMs the next version of the XBOX will probably be like what Sony just released, a 700 dollar entertainment center system. this will allow MS to take total control over media away from the end-user. 2003-10-24 7:03 pm Erm, how about 2006? At the earliest. http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,4149,1335331,00.asp http://www.arstechnica.com/archive/news/1066091967.html 2003-10-24 7:11 pm Some have interpreted that to mean that the full Longhorn line (which is actually a large collection of products) will not be out until 2006. 2003-10-24 7:16 pm @Debman-Where did you get this information? “the XBOX is a precursor to MS’s new black box PC where the only expansion you have is through high speed ports like USB2 and Firewire.” @slash – “The proprietary nature of Windows 95 gave Microsoft about 5 years before anyone figured out how to make anything compatible with it.” Are you talking about apps or other OS’s? Do you mean it was 5 years before there were any 3rd party apps that would run under Windows 95? That would have been the year 2000. 2003-10-24 7:17 pm MS will want to move to merge the Windows file system with the internet. WinFS & the internet will both become databases that’ll be one and the same. The whole “zones” thing in IE are part of this plan. We’ll start to see DRM. This means everyone has to be registered. Expect in the long term everyone being serial numbered world-wide. Televison, telephones, radio, books, etc, will all be merged through the internet/winfs into a user-pay-per-minute model with all your actions being tracked & recorded. Microsoft is probably going to move in the long-term from being a software company to a services company, their attempts at cleaning up their image being a part of that. Wait & see. 2003-10-24 7:34 pm down the drain,.. read these articles… http://www.aaxnet.com/editor/edit029.html#longhorn And many of you know about this one… http://www.aaxnet.com/editor/edit033.html This kinda stuff is like something out of a bad movie 2003-10-24 7:36 pm What is the issue with stability? Mine (XP/2K) is rock solid .. even more stable than Linux (the OS, not the kernel). Anyone having stability problems in 2K/XP, I would recommend the following: 1. Don’t use Internet Explorer. And if you must use it, refuse all ActiveX controls sans maybe Flash and Quicktime. 2. Download this program: http://www.mlin.net/StartupCPL.shtml And get rid of any crap out of startup that you don’t need. 3. Install Ad-aware or Spybot and check for malware BEFORE you install anything. 4. Before using any packet-writing software (CD-RW), disable the Windows imapi CD writing service. 5. Turn OFF web folders and the active desktop 6. If any particular hardware device is crashing the OS, get yourself the latest drivers from the vendor website. (Of course, 5 minutes of researching any particular piece of hardware before buying should ensure that you have no problems, except in rare circumstances). Well, this is what I do, and 2k/XP rarely (if every) crashes/hangs. BTW: THere could be some unexpected benifits of DRM. For one, if they actually manage to make pirate-proof software, they’ll have no excuses not to let you return any software back to the store that truly sucks 2003-10-24 7:42 pm It’ll take them that long to steal / figure out what the mac already has! I just hope they drop the registry and opt for an XML-based replacement. Doesn’t matter, I’ve bought my last Microsoft OS. 2003-10-24 8:01 pm Wow… That’s all you have to do to get WinXP stable! Why didn’t I think of that! Shesh… And people say that configuring Linux is a pain… 2003-10-24 8:04 pm 1 The government should have broken up microsoft. 2 Put mandatory limits on number of XP sales. Allow 70 % of market to Microsoft. 3 Forced OEM(manufacturers) to not carry an os on a new computer. Customers must buy from the shelf which in itself is brilliant because then that would cause Microsoft to lower prices. 4 Force software makers to make ports to linux or allow other operating systems to port t1heir software. This is where microsofts future should have been. 2003-10-24 8:19 pm Wow… That’s all you have to do to get WinXP stable! Why didn’t I think of that! I’ve had no problems with Windows XP’s stability deployed across dozens of Dell systems at my workplace and on my Dell system at home. Like anyone who doesn’t revert to a drooling neandrathal shouting such wonderful arguments as “MS is teh sux long live LUNIX!!!” whenever the name of Windows XP is mentioned, I will contend that stability problems experienced when using Windows XP are the result of bad drivers or issues with the underlying hardware. Now true, the driver issues may be from drivers Microsoft signed… their QA process isn’t perfect, but Windows XP supports an inordinate amount of hardware out-of-the-box. 2003-10-24 8:20 pm WorknMan, So, XP ships [potentially?] unstable and only geeks like us can stabalize it? Yikes. I’m thinking that is a lot of work and nothing that “typical” computer users are going to do. Perhaps that is why you hear a lot of people upset about instability in Windows. /goes back to running 2000 + XP simultaneously on Mac OS X using VitrualPC 2003-10-24 8:23 pm I’ve read his whole page about trusted computing and it’s really boring. It seems to come directly from Microsoft advertisement. He should go back to school and read this http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~rja14/tcpa-faq.html In short, TCPA is a very powerful tool, not necessary evil in itself, but it is easy to figure how it can be abused. What we have to fear is a jonction between TCPA and the Paladium (now NGSB) project of Microsoft. Then the nightmare can become a reality, and if we were in a democratic state, this project should just be stopped until we have basic garanties. Of course, this FAQ is not written by a journalist, but by a security expert guy, so the conclusions may seems to be a little different. So, again, read this FAQ http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~rja14/tcpa-faq.html and share it around you 2003-10-24 8:26 pm Look at the article, the date is November 11th, 2003 …. quite the future? I also noticed they didnt mention anything about fixing the fatal design flaws of .NET. Ie, all apps created w/ .NET’s source code is freely publically viewable… Bah. 2003-10-24 8:27 pm So, XP ships [potentially?] unstable and only geeks like us can stabalize it? Yikes. I’m thinking that is a lot of work and nothing that “typical” computer users are going to do. Perhaps that is why you hear a lot of people upset about instability in Windows. /goes back to running 2000 + XP simultaneously on Mac OS X using VitrualPC The only stability problems I’ve ever seen following an XP install involve either a) bad hardware or b) hardware with buggy (albeit signed) drivers. The techniques mentioned are all (obviously) to combat stability issues caused by buggy third party applications/spyware/malware, a problem that plagues any platform, including MacOS X. Remember this: http://www.apple.com/itunes/alert/ (although in this case, it was an Apple application at fault) 2003-10-24 8:27 pm @Anonymous (IP: —.ihug.co.nz) Wait & see. Great, that is exactly what we should not do. Please, people, stop about Windows crash vs Windows don’t crash, stop about macs are better than pcs or the reverse. There is a lot more in the game. 2003-10-24 8:31 pm “1 The government should have broken up microsoft.” Yes, they should have “2 Put mandatory limits on number of XP sales. Allow 70 % of market to Microsoft.” Not really practical, how do you control purchases of the software when 80%+ people want what their buddy has. “3 Forced OEM(manufacturers) to not carry an os on a new computer. Customers must buy from the shelf which in itself is brilliant because then that would cause Microsoft to lower prices.” This would be a step backwards and OEMs would not be too happy with the loss of sales. “4 Force software makers to make ports to linux or allow other operating systems to port t1heir software.” Impractical again. “This is where microsofts future should have been.” Agreed, Microsoft should be having a harder time, but it’s the difference between millions of dollars in marketing and the wild differences between enthusiast and zealot attitudes in other OSes. 2003-10-24 8:33 pm I used XP on my home computer for over a year and I only had a few troubles with it. It was great until I started getting crashes. Which I believed were related to a monitor killing the computer(It was after I went on a plane trip with a monitor and the monitor was very old). Linux wouldn’t work either so I’m sure it’s not MS fault. Any other problems have been related to faulty non MS drivers. Even though XP was great I decided to go with linux because A. I want to learn. B. I like being able to look and change the source code(although I rarely do, but I do it every now and then. Example: When I was trying to get iTunes to work using wine). And it’s cheaper since I like upgrading my hardware on a regular basis and at some point I may want to build a cheap computer and I like having them use one operating system. On the other hand since Linux despite attempts isn’t as newbie friendly as windows so I’m putting XP on my brothers computer(I’m upgrading the hardware too, he’s using Win95 now). BTW-On an off topic, if someone was wondering what kind of success I had getting iTunes to work in Wine. I came VERY, VERY, close to doing it. I may continue when I can figure out what COM(if any) and other installation stuff iTunes adds to the registry. I was able to get it to load to the point where you keep clicking next and other choices when you first load it up. I got to the last screen and then when I clicked next nothing happened, 2003-10-24 8:33 pm I was looking at the article and Tier 2 level of OS UI graphics will require 64 to 128MB of video RAM!!!!!! Are they insane? If the OS requires so much just to be a middle-manager between the user and the apps, what will regular apps require ?!?!?! 2003-10-24 8:34 pm “@slash – “The proprietary nature of Windows 95 gave Microsoft about 5 years before anyone figured out how to make anything compatible with it.” Are you talking about apps or other OS’s? Do you mean it was 5 years before there were any 3rd party apps that would run under Windows 95? That would have been the year 2000. ” I’m talking about other OS’s. They did provide API’s to allow programmers to program for Windows but didn’t allow anyway for any other OS to run these applications. However, with enough stubborness, people were able to figure out and reverse engineer most of it. I don’t think people will be able to do this again since the next version of Windows is going to heavily depend on encryption so that MS can legally stop people from reverse engineering LongHorn. 2003-10-24 8:49 pm http://www.aaxnet.com/editor/edit029.html#longhorn And many of you know about this one… 2003-10-24 8:50 pm WorknMan, So, XP ships [potentially?] unstable No, XP (and 2k) start off stable, but get more unstable as you use it, unless you follow the few guidelines I mentioned above. only geeks like us can stabalize it? Yikes. I’m thinking that is a lot of work and nothing that “typical” computer users are going to do. Well, I think in every OS, you need to follow a few rules to keep it stable. For example, it has been my experience that trying to run different kinds of Windows apps in Linux under Wine will bring X to its knees pretty quickly. Or at least, that has been my experience. Of course, I can accomplish the same result by simply running any of the games that come pre-installed with my Radeon 7500 vid card .. the entire screen goes black and stays that way, and no amount of CTRL+ALT+BACKSPACE will save it. Of course, I readily admit that I don’t know what the hell I’m doing in Linux – but it just goes to show you that any OS can be made unstable with the wrong (?) kind of user and no ‘guru’ to set things up for them 2003-10-24 9:03 pm 4 Force software makers to make ports to linux or allow other operating systems to port t1heir software. You are trippin’. You know how many ISVs would probably go under saddling the cost of porting software ? Unless the government is going to pay the bill, which I doubt they would do. Pretty draconian ideas you have there. Thank god the elected officials have more brains than you do. 2003-10-24 9:11 pm One of the biggest advantages of Windows over the alternatives (primarily Linux) is the fact that the Win32 ABI has remained consistent and stable for nearly a decade. Contrast this to Linux, where in the same time period several dramatic ABI changes have taken place, several of which have completely broken binary compatibility. Examples of this are the move from A.OUT to ELF, the move from libc5 to glibc, and intercompatibility issues amoung various glibc revisions. This is furthered by the fact that what *should* be standard facilities (i.e. GUI libraries/toolkits) are not standard, so the only way to ensure dependancies are handled in a proper cross-distribution manner (i.e. for a commercial software release) is to eliminate dependancies by static linking everything into your application (in which case I hope your application doesn’t require any GPL libraries) And unless you static link with glibc as well, the issue of glibc intercompatibility remains (an example of which is fpos_t being reimplemented as a structure) Linux is a terrible development platform for commercial software and there is no good way of releasing an application in a distribution-independent manner. 2003-10-24 9:11 pm “1 The government should have broken up microsoft. 2 Put mandatory limits on number of XP sales. Allow 70 % of market to Microsoft. 3 Forced OEM(manufacturers) to not carry an os on a new computer. Customers must buy from the shelf which in itself is brilliant because then that would cause Microsoft to lower prices. 4 Force software makers to make ports to linux or allow other operating systems to port t1heir software. This is where microsofts future should have been.” Holy Sh!t . Your completely insane. About the onlything i might agree with is the breaking up part. You basicly want to insert big brother on the country don’t you. I suppose only certain percentage of people should be allowed to have childeren. And all Blue eyed blonds must reproduce 4 times more often as others. I’m sure if linux wish where MS is and MS was in the position linux is market wise you would feel the same. There is no way you could say only X number of people can use windows. So 25% of the people out there are now forced to use something else, thats just great. I love your dictatorship world. I’m sure the OEM’s will love not being able to give customers what they want. Having to buy a computer, and then a OS then install it, gee i’m sure so many people are going to love that, especially those who don’t give a rats ass, and just see a computer as a tool and want to plug it in and turn it on and go. But i’m sure they will see it as fun learning. Forcing companies to make ports to an OS, nothing like freedom there. We can’t have these companies desideding for them selves now can we. Just make sure you put armed guards with guns to the programers heads so they feel safe from MS while doing the port. I truely hope you were just being a sarcastic troll. If not you need some serious help. You obviously just mindly hate MS without any shred of thought. I would rather have MS take over the market completely then live in your world of foreced developement and no choice. 2003-10-24 9:22 pm usually all the points he brings up have a link to articles that talk about it, it cant all be crazy FUD can it? 2003-10-24 9:23 pm is this word they sum the thechnical quality of the artical : Leading Linux player Sun Microsystems. 2003-10-24 9:24 pm Thanks for the responses. After sending my post I had regrets that it might be interpreted as flambait. Thanks for the clarifications and most importantly, for keeping it civil – something that is oh so rare in internet discussion threads. That is a good comment about any OS becoming unstable with the “wrong” kind of user. I’m the “beta” tester for a group of Mac OS X users and I do a ton of hacking and running software of questionable quality. It is no coincidence that I am the only user in the group who ever had a system crash. Ya, I remember that iTunes update that hosed people’s drives. Brutal! And the more recent 10.2.8 updater that cut some internet connections and such. Not good at all. Luckily, neither hit us. 2003-10-24 9:53 pm Linux is a terrible development platform for commercial software and there is no good way of releasing an application in a distribution-independent manner. More lies from Bascule. He’s so good at it. Commercial software is a terrible platform for business. It takes a lot of time and money to produce something capable of being able to compete with all the free software already available for Linux. Recovering your costs might be difficult. Here’s an example: http://www.blender3d.org/Download/ Note the distribution independance. 2003-10-24 9:56 pm “The stupid journalist continues to believe trusted computing is about security” (I agree, but…) Oh, it is. From some kind of perspective (the perspective of companies like Adobe and Microsoft). The security of the proprietary software not beeing pirated, et al. Not from the user-perspective indeed, i agree. Freedom vs. security just don’t interact very well. Although i’m not a capitalist, i put my stakes on the free market, hoping some companies -or NGO’s/individuals- will stay creating free hardware or start doing this with the back door on old hardware plus free software. Eventually, if standards are broken and replaced by non-standard protocols (ie. IPv4 is replaced!) i’ll help build ”my own” (not ”owned” by me, though) internet. In some cities, big LAN’s already exist using WiFi. If we sync such with some UUCP-alike using dialup and a FreeNet-like we still have a freedom-of-speech internetwork. Don’t be *too* negative. The struggle doesn’t end with TCG. However i will never cooperate with such 1984 tactics. Never. Never. Never. 2003-10-24 10:01 pm You’re probably right about the FUD, but you’re really suprised by all the MS bashing that goes on, are you? You have to admit that they, and particularly Bill, have brought it on themselves… 2003-10-24 10:04 pm More lies from Bascule. He’s so good at it. Care to point out something that’s specifically a lie? Here’s an example: http://www.blender3d.org/Download/ Note the distribution independance. Hey, there’s a solution for the GUI toolkit issue… design the entire interface in OpenGL. Remind me again how that’s applicable to your average GUI application? Notice they are also forced to distribute a separate, statically linked version, as a user attempting to use a dynamically linked one may run into… *gasp* discontiguous ABI issues. Also note the filename: ftp://ftp.cs.umn.edu/pub/blender.org/release/Blender2.28a/blender-… The glibc 2.2.5 part says it all… this was linked against glibc 2.2.5 and other versions may have issues. Also note it doesn’t come packaged in any way… the installation process is… extract it into /opt or /usr/local I suppose. The tar unpacks into blender-2.28a-linux-glibc2.2.5-i386 So the solution to cross-distribution portability is… don’t package your application at all, and expect the users to place each application wherever they see fit? Wow, that’s so much better than Windows So, thank you for proving my point for me… although try not to call me a liar in the process, thanks. Also note: this isn’t a commercial application, which was the point of my original post, but all the comments about binary distributions are applicable. 2003-10-24 10:34 pm I’m getting pretty sick of this MS-bashing culture. I’m gonna say what every sane man (or woman) in this world thinks: I’m looking forward to Longhorn, in the same way that I look forward to Zeta 1.0 Final (hey, gotta love BeOS!) , Mandrake 10 (hopefully leaving your LG drive intact this time ) and Mac OS 10.9 Norwegian Forest Cat (meauw!). Get over it– if you really like computers/OS’s– you will also want to see the new Windows. Period. 2003-10-24 10:55 pm The concept of free market works in a more or less stable manner only if multiple companies provide the same interchangable product and customers have complete knowledge of the marketplace. The current situation in OS market is completely reversed – customers can’t obtain information about the product they buy, vendors use tie-in and bundling practices to force customers to purchase software they don’t need, and so on. If my government can tell my local phone company that it can’t offer discounted landline/cellphone bundles or disallow selling of alcohol after certain time, why can’t it limit the kinds of agreements that MS can force OEMs in? Would it limit MS freedom? They are guilty of monopolistic practices and don’t deserve the freedoms they enjoy now, since they are using their freedoms to harm freedoms of others. Therefore, their freedoms should be limited until their trustworthiness can be proved again. We do the same thing with robbers, why shouldn’t MS be any different? 2003-10-24 11:00 pm Workman said: “Don’t use Internet Explorer. And if you must use it, refuse all ActiveX controls sans maybe Flash and Quicktime. ” Just make sure you do not delete Internet Explorer because Windows Update needs it and Windows Update needs ActiveX. Too bad Microsoft didn’t give customers a way to replace Internet Explorer with another program that is a bit more secure until Microsoft could patch Internet Explorer. In Windows 3.x, I was able to switch programs. The future of Windows will continue to integrate more programs into the OS itself. The bad news with this strategy is that as long as the integrated programs have security issues, Microsoft Windows will not be secure. Bascule said: “One of the biggest advantages of Windows over the alternatives (primarily Linux) is the fact that the Win32 ABI has remained consistent and stable for nearly a decade.” This advantage gives me the capability to write a program that will require sys admin permission to install as well as run. Even in the newer Windows version. Another advantage, Microsoft’s security plan hasn’t changed until the last couple of years. Sometimes a break in tradition is a good thing. Microsoft has changed the Office file format several times. Microsoft has also changed their many named COM/ActiveX/.Net platform. Linux, Apple, and Microsoft have all changed things one time or another. I am sure Longhorn will require some changes. 2003-10-25 9:35 am “if you really like computers/OS’s– you will also want to see the new Windows. Period.” I’m getting so sick of you nd your fallacies indeed. I like computers/OS’es. I decide for myself if i want to see the new Windows. JUST like everyone else DECIDES for him/herself. So if mr. we-decide-whats-good-for-you can now go away? Thanks. 2003-10-25 12:37 pm lock in, diminished user rights and more corporate control. Anyone can see it. 2003-10-25 2:05 pm I think Microsoft is getting less proprietary, not more propietary. And I think those who like to complain about .NET don’t undertand what it really is, and don’t actually use it. .NET is a great technology, and has made life a lot easier for many programmers. Microsoft ported .NET to FreeBSD, and those Linux programmers who aren’t completely brainwashed have recoginized that Microsoft has something good, and they are rapidly working on Mono. 2003-10-25 3:56 pm Okayokay, you’re right there. Overreacted a bit. Sorry But still, I don’t think it’s fair to judge a product that hasn’t even been released yet– in fact, it’s years away. That just doesn’t seem very fair to me. 2003-10-25 8:06 pm But still, I don’t think it’s fair to judge a product that hasn’t even been released yet– in fact, it’s years away. That just doesn’t seem very fair to me.<p> It’s very fair to judge a product when you just got done reading about its features. If the basic concepts are not even agreeable then it is perfectly fair to criticize. The features don’t really impress me either, they seemed to be geared more towards the computer illiterate. I don’t need WinFS or the goofy UI. Sure it makes life easier for the uninitiated but what about the rest of us?