Windows needs to be two versions

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51

Windows needs to be two versions.

Business/Enterprise/Legacy (LTSC) and Consumer/Creative/Gamer (think macOS).

It doesn’t need to be harder than that.

Then Microsoft could start to move the Consumer version forward just like Apple has done with macOS the past decade. I mean tightening up security by removing legacy components, removing Control Panel, getting common software into the Store (like Chrome) etc. Consult with Craig Federighi to get a good balance between features and security.

It isn’t rocket science. Apple has done it. They even found time to develop a decent SoC…

It isn’t about developer buy-in (although, that is good to have). Apple provided a viable path forward for macOS application devs, not a crazy UWP rewrite proposal.

You may call macOS legacy. Would you call it insecure? After all, that’s the real question.

Comments (53)

53 responses to “Windows needs to be two versions”

  1. Avatar

    ragingthunder

    Vertical integration vs horizontal integration

  2. Avatar

    codymesh

    the last time Microsoft broke compat on the consumer version of Windows (ME), everyone just started using Windows 2000.

    • Avatar

      dftf

      In reply to codymesh:

      By "broke compat" I assume you mean the removal of some DOS support, such as the ability to reboot into "MS-DOS Mode". Yeah, that wasn't good at the time, but I'm not sure how moving to Windows 2000 was the answer, given that was a pure 32-bit OS with only emulated MS-DOS support, no support for VxD drivers and only emulated support for 16-bit apps.


      People may have moved as "Windows 2000" has a year in the name, like "Windows 98 Second Edition", and so logically it feels like the follow-on; and indeed, that is what Microsoft was aiming for it to be. But merging NT and 95/98 took longer than expected, so it didn't finally happen until Windows XP.


      But Windows Me is actually the follow-on to Windows 95/98/98SE and will have better app and driver compatibility than 2000 would do

    • Avatar

      christianwilson

      In reply to codymesh:

      Consumers didn't move to Windows 2000.


      I moved from Windows 98 to Windows 2000, but "normal" people upgraded when they bought a new computer. I don't remember Windows 2000 installed on many computers in consumer-centric stores, so unless someone bought a new computer in the one-year period between the release of Windows Me and Windows XP, I think it's more likely people missed Windows Me by chance, not by choice.

    • Avatar

      jimchamplin

      In reply to codymesh:

      Average users never noticed and didn't care about Windows Me, which was actually fine. Whenever I've installed Windows 98 SE or Windows Me, both work equally well.


      I dual-booted 98 and NT 4, then upgraded to Me and 2000 (once I got the free CDs provided to me by my college IT department) and by that point I wasn't running DOS games. Windows Me ran Windows games better than 98 and 2000.

  3. Avatar

    dftf

    "Windows needs to be two versions"


    Okay, from reading the comments there are one-of-two ways commentators are interpreting this:


    (1) "We should have a true consumer line, like in the days of Windows 95/98/98SE/Me, and Windows NT3.x/4.x/2000"


    No thank-you.


    Sure, it's nice to look-back on the Windows 9x days, or even boot one in an VM and play-around, but seriously: back then, you'd have even-more differences than with Windows 10 editions today. Only 9x/Me had true support for 16-bit apps and MS-DOS apps (Me less-so on the latter); NT and 2000 would only emulate both. "VxD" drivers, which could bypass the kernel and speak to hardware directly, were only supported on 9x/Me. You'd have differences in the built-in apps between the two (64KB file-limit in Notepad on 9x/Me, or apps called "Phone Dialler" or "CD Player" on both 98SE and 2000, even though their UI and feature-set could differ wildly. Or MSBACKUP on 9x/Me versus NTBACKUP on NT/2000, with incompatible file-formats). No NTFS support on 9x/Me, unless the drive is read as a network-share (not locally). Not to mention way-different hardware requirements (try getting NT4 to run on 4-8MB of RAM, or 2000 on 16-32MB). Oh, and various apps you could download from Microsoft, like Windows Media Player or Internet Explorer, you'd have to download a specific version for your OS: thesedays, it's usually just "32-bit", "64-bit" or "ARM64" choices. How is any of that better than Windows 10 differences today?


    (2) "It was easier in the Windows XP days: I wish we could go-back to the times of just Home and Pro".


    How quickly you forget!


    Sure, Windows XP may have started-out with just "Home" and "Pro", but you're forgetting: "Home Edition ULCPC" (low-cost netbooks); "Professional Blade PC Edition" (blade devices); "Starter Edition" (for third-world countries: limit of 3 apps open at once, 512MB RAM max and only lower-end CPU models); "Media Center Edition" (of which there were four versions; similar to how Windows 95 was updated over its lifespan); "Tablet PC Edition" (self-explanatory); "Windows XP Embedded" (that would be the IoT edition, now); "Windows Embedded POSReady 2009" (used on things like checkouts); "Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs" (similar to Starter, but available in all countries, for old PCs used in enterprise environments) and not to mention two different 64-bit editions: "Windows XP 64-Bit Edition", for Intel's now-discontinued Itanium processor line, and later "Windows XP Professional x64 Edition", for the ARM64 architecture most laptops and desktops still use today.


    By my count, that's... 11.

  4. Avatar

    dftf

    "Apple provided a viable path forward for macOS application devs"


    Well... Apple's "viable path forward" usually boil-down to telling their dev's "look, we're going to be doing a major change: you must update your apps or your screwed, okay, thank-you, goodbye". They did this when macOS 9 went to macOS X, and the "classic" environment (which ran macOS 9 apps) later got dropped. Then again from PowerPC to Intel in 2006 via "Rosetta", which was dropped a few major OS versions later. Then on iOS, when it went 64-bit only, so no 32-bit app would runs or even appear in the App Store to be installed. Then again with macOS recently in "10.15 Catalina", which ended support for 32-bit apps. And eventually, "Rosetta 2", in the latest macOS 11 "Big Sur" will cease to be a thing, and no Intel apps will run on future "Apple Silicon" CPUs, only ARM ones.


    So saying Apple "provide a viable path forward" is putting it politely! It's "our-way-or-the-highway" essentially.


    "You may call macOS legacy."


    I'd call "classic" macOS (9.x and older), or any PowerPC versions of macOS "legacy" thesedays yes. Just like I'd consider anything below Windows 7 "legacy" in the Windows world, along with all current 32-bit installs of Windows 10 (as many new apps and drivers are 64-bit only, so people only use them for 16-bit app support, or devices that only have a 32-bit driver. There's no-other real-reason to, except if the device only has a 32-bit CPU, but I'd imagine such devices are rare now, or won't be long before they finally fail).

  5. Avatar

    jimchamplin

    Okay, nerds!!


    You have a system with Windows 10 Home but wish you had those Pro features. Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Pro for Workstations are available in the Windows Store. You purchase it and after Windows spins the dots for a little bit, you reboot and have the new edition.


    Also, yes. macOS is very legacy. It's OLDER than Windows NT.

  6. Avatar

    jchampeau

    "Apple has done it."


    No, they haven't. What Apple does is different than what Microsoft does.


    When you're a consumer electronics company like Apple and a relatively small part of your business is selling computers to mostly consumers and SMBs, you can do things that you can't do if your revenues come mostly from enterprises like Microsoft's. When your customers are a mix of the largest enterprises, government and defense, critical infrastructure, SMBs, home users, and emerging markets, you have a very different business from that of a consumer electronics company whose revenues come mostly from selling smartphones.

  7. Avatar

    LuxuryTravelled

    I would call it Windows Go and Windows Pro

    • Avatar

      Paul Thurrott

      Windows Go is an excellent name. Bookmark this everyone so we can congratulate him if he's right. :)
    • Avatar

      anoldamigauser

      In reply to LuxuryTravelled:

      Yes. Chris Caposella, pay the man. He just solved one of your marketing problems.

      Windows Go = a Chromebook like OS with some offline capabilities, and super simple upgrade and management...something like Windows 10X. The Windows for the masses.

      Windows Pro = the single SKU for Windows Desktop, including Bitlocker, Hyper-V and the ability to join a network, even if those options are turned off by default. The Windows we all know, warts and all, for those of us who need it.


  8. Avatar

    shark47

    I guess links are not acceptable here, so I'll try again...


    Even if they split Windows, what makes you think the consumer version will be a success? Microsoft isn't very strong in the consumer space. Unlike Apple, which has a lot of goodwill with its consumers, Microsoft can't just force people to move to the new OS. If that were the case, Windows Phone or Windows 10 S Mode would've been successful. Without consumers, there's no developer interest. Let's see how well Windows 10X does. If it finds adoption, then you'll see developers creating apps for it.

    • Avatar

      samp

      In reply to shark47:

      Its a vicious circle - it will only find adoption if users can get their apps on it, but app makers will only put there apps on it if it has adoption. If I were Windows I'd pay for major app developers (ie. Whatsapp, Spotify, etc) to put their apps on Windows X.

  9. Avatar

    james.h.robinson

    Won't Windows 10X be that "second" version?

  10. Avatar

    winner

    It needs a tight kernel with various add-ons (services, UI) for different purposes.

    Of course that assumes that Windows is well architected, which is far, far, from reality.

    • Avatar

      hrlngrv

      In reply to Winner:

      Such a core Windows could be well architected as long as it included Hyper-V as a default component. Then a Win32 subsystem could be added as a VM or VM lite a la WSL 2. The only question would be whether 90%, 95% or 99% of Windows users would use a Win32 subsystem for nearly all of their Windows usage.

      Apple may thrive with just 10% or so of the PC market. Would a new MSFT OS similarly thrive with only 10% of the PC market? I can't see much greater usage before such a thing had existed for at least a decade and had acquired new software over that period.

  11. Avatar

    2ilent8cho

    I much preferred Windows when they had separate Consumer / Enterprise or Workstation class OS's. Like Windows 98 and Windows NT 4, or Windows ME and Windows 2000.


    But what absolutely does not need to happen is removing of Control Panel. It needs to be fully re-instated and Settings taken round back and shot. Settings is worse in every way, but like most things at Microsoft they make a decent thing then slowly wreck it, never realising when they had it right.


    We also do not need Windows Home, Basic, Starter, Professional, Workstation, Ultimate, Enterprise and what other SKU's Microsoft have pumped out over the XP, Vista, 7, 8 days.


    Work environment devices typically have very different use and requirements to consumer devices. A till in a shop which may typically run say Windows 7 Embedded or Windows 10 LTSB is very different to a gamer at home. Our CCTV for example that runs on Windows we never want to see Windows, we could not care it even exists. Having 2 Windows 10 versions a year and endless patches in between makes us wish the software did not require Windows, as Windows in this setting now is a hindrance. Microsoft need to really work on their patching system and improve it, so i can run Windows on devices and forget it ever exists being patched with minimum reboots or interference. Just split Windows 10 into Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro and base Pro on LTSB.

    • Avatar

      dftf

      In reply to 2ilent8cho:

      "I much preferred Windows when they had separate Consumer / Enterprise or Workstation class OS's. Like Windows [95/98/98SE/Me] and Windows [NT4/2000]."


      Oh please no let's not return to that. Back then the "enterprise" versions would require greater RAM, CPU speeds and HDD space than the "consumer" 9x series. Not to mention the 9x series had a true DOS environment and 16-bit support, so some games and apps would not run on them, but on the 32-bit NT series. And many drivers written to access the hardware directly ("VxD") would only work in the consumer series. The consumer ones couldn't read or write NTFS volumes (unless they were shared via a network; but a local, USB drive in that format, no). Any app could write into an area of RAM on the 9x/Me series and potentially bring the entire system down (I think macOS 9 and lower were the same). You had differences in built-in apps (64KB file-size limit in Notepad on 9x/Me, which wasn't present in NT4/2000, for example). And then other differences, like which versions of the UDF file-system on optical-media each would support.


      Realistically, all you have thesedays for most consumers of Windows 10 is just "you can't run this app as it's 64-bit, and you have a 32-bit Windows 10 install" (which is an ever-diminishing issue, as OEMs are not allowed to preinstall 32-bit since Version 2004) or "this old device only has a 32-bit driver, so you can't use it on Windows 10" (which has been true since 64-bit Windows XP).


      "We also do not need Windows Home, Basic, Starter, Professional, Workstation, Ultimate, Enterprise and what other SKU's Microsoft have pumped out over the XP, Vista, 7, 8 days."


      You'll be pleased to hear you don't have most of them now: "Starter", "Home Basic" and "Home Premium" no-longer exist: there is just "Windows 10 Home" (referred to as "Windows 10 Core", internally). "Pro" and "Enterprise" still exist, and there is a rather-pointless new one called "Pro for Workstations" which essentially is only needed if you have a device with 3 or 4 physical CPUs; more than 2TB of RAM; or you really, really want to use the new ReFS file-system on your system-partition. Otherwise, just use "Pro".


      But most of the pointless SKUs from the Vista and 7 days have now gone, and for some of the new ones, like "10X" and "IoT", you'll only encounter them on specific hardware.

    • Avatar

      ghostrider

      In reply to 2ilent8cho:

      Totally accurate. The 'Settings' tool in Windows 10 is a shambolic mess. It maintains all the 'touch first' design cues from windows 10 mobile, which has been dead for years. So badly designed, and so much wasted white space. Everything is on or off with stupid sliders on a desktop OS mainly designed for a mouse. It not only needs to be shot, but dismembered and burned as well.

      • Avatar

        hrlngrv

        In reply to ghostrider:

        but dismembered and burned as well.

        Don't forget to divide the ashes and spread each portion on a different continent.

        Touch first for laptops made sense only if one assumed that touch screens would become standard for all but the lowest end laptops. That didn't pan out.

        For anyone who's ever read ergonomics literature or participated on ergonomics committees, it was dead certain touch screens for immobile desktop PCs or laptop docking stations was never going to happen in a big way. Meaning that at least half of all Windows PCs, those owned and used by MSFT's enterprise customers, would never be touch first, last or ever machines. So, yes, MSFT's decision to emphasize touch can only be explained by desperation, namely, to get Windows PC users to buy Windows phones by FORCING the Windows phone UI on PC users to inure them to that design and function in the now evidently forlorn hope that would make Windows phones if not more attractive, at least more familiar.

        In a sense, MSFT tried acting like Apple, and it didn't end well.

      • Avatar

        samp

        In reply to ghostrider:

        I actually like the way its all 'touch first' and sliders, I find it easier to use and faster to navigate. However, I hate the way it redirects to control panel, I think that anything that is directed to control panel should be put into an "advanced" section.

        I saw a video concept of this, it looked good to me, though if you hate the current one so much, it might be more akin to disembowelment for you 🤣

  12. Avatar

    arnstarr

    You need to add limited hardware support to your consumer edition list. Right now Windows 10 works on ancient technology platforms which must complicate development.

  13. Avatar

    hrlngrv

    But MSFT can make so much more money with umpteen different SKUs .

    Not sarcasm.

    I agree that if MSFT cared about its customers, and/or its enterprise customers had greater incentive to opt for alternatives, it'd be ideal to have one version for enterprises, education and professionals who need to work from home and another version for regular people and gamers (maybe some overlap, but you'd have to prove that). Basically return the the days of NT3.x/NT4/2K on the one side, 95/98/98SE/ME on the other.

    As for removing Control Panel, how would mere home users access configuration applets for years-old hardware peripherals which have .CPL applets but nothing new for use with Settings? Likely those hardware makers have no interest whatsoever in expending any resources transitioning those .CPL appets to anything which could work with Settings.

    Apple may be able to abandon 3rd party peripheral hardware at its own whim, indifferent to the impact on the iSheep, but could MSFT? In a sense, MSFT could just by doing so, but would MSFT get away with it if Windows users and Mac users differ in their tolerance (or taste?) for abuse?

    As for getting common software into the MSFT Store, it's been more than a decade since MSFT introduced Windows Phone 7, approaching 9 years since MSFT introduced Windows 8 RT, so the MSFT Store has been around for quite some time. Yet 3rd party developers seem to have damned little interest in retooling their software for the MSFT Store.

    Given software licensing, something for which MSFT itself feels VERY PROTECTIVE, there's no chance whatsoever that MSFT would repackage software for which they lack IP rights for the MSFT Store. How do YOU propose it become more attractive to those 3rd party developers to package their software for the MSFT Store?

    I write this as a reasonably pleased user of the Store versions of InkScape and Okular. However, that's FOSS, emphasis on both meanings of Free. It may be possible for MSFT to get more cost-free software into the MSFT Store. Commercial, non-cost-free software maybe not. Whether meaningful or not, MSFT has its own version of GNU R, R Open, but MSFT's R Open team has demonostrated ZERO interest in packaging that for the MSFT Store. Perhaps that screams loudly to 3rd party developers that there's just no point to expending resources on packaging their own software for the MSFT Store.

    That is, until MSFT leads by example, 3rd party developers are unlikely to budge from their historical reluctance vis-a-vis the MSFT Store. Don't hold your breath waiting for this to change.

    • Avatar

      longhorn

      In reply to hrlngrv:

      "As for removing Control Panel, how would mere home users access configuration applets for years-old hardware peripherals which have .CPL applets but nothing new for use with Settings?"


      Just use the Business version.


      "Windows users and Mac users differ in their tolerance (or taste?) for abuse?"


      I have no idea if macOS users feel abused, but Windows users would always have the possibility to use the Business version. This is the beauty - Microsoft can play it safe with the Business version, which would be available to anyone just like Pro today. Most users would probably not need it and prefer the more modern Consumer version.


      "How do YOU propose it become more attractive to those 3rd party developers to package their software for the MSFT Store?"


      Make it super simple. I think it is a few clicks with MSIX.


      "MSIX is a Windows app package format that provides a modern packaging experience to all Windows apps. The MSIX package format preserves the functionality of existing app packages and/or install files in addition to enabling new, modern packaging and deployment features to Win32, WPF, and Windows Forms apps.


      Reliability. MSIX provides a reliable install boasting a 99.96% success rate over millions of installs with a guaranteed uninstall.


      Package existing Windows apps. Use the MSIX Packaging Tool to create an MSIX package for any Windows app, old or new. The MSIX packaging tool streamlines the packaging experience, offering an interactive user interface or command line to convert and package Windows apps."


      With Microsoft it is seldom technical solutions that are lacking. One has to give Microsoft that. On the other hand the inability to make good use of their tech is kind of Microsoft's Achilles heel.


      Restricting Windows Store to UWP is like restricting Mac App Store to iOS apps. Makes zero sense on a desktop or laptop.


      • Avatar

        hrlngrv

        In reply to longhorn:

        Make it super simple. I think it is a few clicks with MSIX.

        I believe you're dead wrong that complexity is what's holding back 3rd party developers.

        I figure few ISVs charging for their software see the point of sacrificing revenues just to have a presence in the MSFT Store. If that's the case, try again to explain how MSFT could get more commercial 3rd party software in the MSFT Store.

        Note: most enterprises use standard software images for the PCs employees use, and they disable access to the MSFT Store. The MSFT Store exists almost exclusively for outside the workplace. How many people use lots of newly acquired software vs using software, often abandonware, which they've been using for years? As for most used 3rd party software, is there any web browser other than the UCB Browser in the MSFT Store? If not, why not?

        I believe you're being wildly optimistic that the MSFT Store has any future.

        • Avatar

          longhorn

          In reply to hrlngrv:

          "If that's the case, try again to explain how MSFT could get more commercial 3rd party software in the MSFT Store."


          Microsoft currently doesn't make much money from the Store, because there isn't much software in it. The good thing is that Microsoft doesn't need to make a lot of money from the Store. A 15 % fee that becomes a 10 % fee for sales above $1 million is all that is required to keep the Store going.


          The Store fee is an administrative fee, not a money making scheme. The Store is ultimately about modernizing the Windows experience.


          "As for most used 3rd party software, is there any web browser other than the UCB Browser in the MSFT Store? If not, why not?"


          Microsoft restricted the Store to UWP and as far as I know the only UWP browser is legacy Edge (or a variant thereof).


          I'm not optimistic about Windows Store, because there isn't a lot of Windows software in it, but that was Microsoft's decision.


          When you search for "chrome" in Windows Store and the search results page is full of junk then you know Microsoft doesn't really care. At least the junk could be removed. Then start to market the Store to third party devs. A nice, clean Store with low fees is a good start.


          Microsoft should provide a clean Store. Third party should provide clean applications. If you develop low quality applications, accept refusal and set up your own site. Maybe Apple or even Google can help Microsoft get the Store right.


          Microsoft is a tech company with a lot of technical expertise. The things we are discussing are so basic that a child could figure it out. That is somewhat depressing, but this is the state of Windows today.


          • Avatar

            rob_segal

            In reply to longhorn:

            It doesn't matter how or where apps are installed if developers are not building apps for the platform. A clean store experience won't matter if new desktop apps are not being built for the platform. It doesn't matter what Microsoft does. For Windows, the web is where new apps are being built and delivered.


            Apart from the store, which could be better, user engagement is another problem. MacOS has a smaller user base, but they are more willing to buy and try apps. I don't see this kind of engagement in the Windows community. MacOS has better desktop apps than Windows for things like email, calendar, markdown, and content creation. The apps on that platform just seem more polished than on the Windows side. It's similar to IOS vs Android. IOS has better app quality while Android users spend less money and seem less engaged. Even on the MacOS side, they introduced iPad app support for M1 Macs. That is where the majority of new app development is happening, mobile. Even when Windows Phone was around, Microsoft didn't have a large development community building apps for their platforms, not like Apple and Google.


            The Mac App Store is not overflowing with great apps. Apart from first-party apps from Apple, SetApp might have a better overall selection than the App Store. People who are clamoring for more and better desktop apps on Windows could be barking up the wrong tree. Continuing to improve PWA experiences while asking companies to improve their web apps is a better direction.

          • Avatar

            hrlngrv

            In reply to longhorn:

            A 15 % fee that becomes a 10 % fee for sales above $1 million is all that is required to keep the Store going.

            I accept that you believe this. OTOH, I figure 5% would be too high for many ISVs.

            You, with no fiduciary duty towards MSFT shareholders, can say Microsoft doesn't need to make a lot of money from the Store, but that doesn't mean MSFT can be equally blase about $$$$.

            UCB Browser does exist in the MSFT Store. You could search for it there to confirm this.

            Simply put, when it comes to money I'm a cynic. Thus, I figure the lack of 3rd party software in the MSFT Store is because it costs too much for 3rd party developers, either in the effort to package their software, or in the revenue cut MSFT takes.

            Which also means Maybe Apple or even Google can help Microsoft get the Store right strikes me as risibly naive.

            • Avatar

              longhorn

              In reply to hrlngrv:

              "UCB Browser does exist in the MSFT Store. You could search for it there to confirm this."


              Why is there a four year old browser in the Store? This just proves my point that no UWP browsers will be made going forward. On the other hand, with MSIX regular browsers could be packaged for the Store.


              "You, with no fiduciary duty towards MSFT shareholders, can say Microsoft doesn't need to make a lot of money from the Store, but that doesn't mean MSFT can be equally blase about $$$$."


              Yeah, it's better to let the Store rot away than try to save it. I'm sure shareholders are happy about the incredible amount of money currently being generated by Windows Store.


              • Avatar

                hrlngrv

                In reply to longhorn:

                it's better to let the Store rot away than try to save it. 

                Actually, the way to deal with sunk cost in a losing project is kill it off immediately.

                That's hasn't/won't happen with the MSFT Store due to MSFT corporate culture in which NO ONE ever admits mistakes.

                To anticipate comparisons with Harmon Cardon Invoke speakers about to lose Cortana, MSFT could make a plausible claim that Cortana on 3rd party hardware was an experiment. In contrast, there are far fewer 3rd parties involved in the MSFT Store, and that's the problem.

                I figure MSFT still has long-term plans about another go in consumer markets with something for which they could try to make the MSFT Store the only option for new software. I figure the MSFT Store doesn't cost much incrementally for MSFT to operate given the number of servers it needs to handle OneDrive and Azure.

                MSFT just needs to accept a lot less potential revenue from it to make it acceptable to 3rd party developers/ISVs. However, that would be quickly and comprehensively reported in the tech press, and that'd mean MSFT admitting, even if only tacitly so, that it just can't manage some things Apple can. Even if that's Truth, MSFT has a corporate culture which couldn't admit it.

                As I mentioned before, MSFT could itself package all the FOSS it wants for the MSFT Store. If MSFT wanted LOTS of offerings in the store, why doesn't it? Well, I had mooted the possibility of MSFT having little interest in putting cost-free software in the store because there'd be no revenues for MSFT by doing so. I'll now add that commercial Windows ISVs wouldn't be thrilled to have competing FOSS products with tacit MSFT sponsorship, and MSFT itself has disincentives informing Windows users of how much they could do if they just gave Linux a try. Aside from MS Office, Adobe software and commercial software bought exclusively by businesses, there's not a lot of currently maintained software which doesn't have Linux versions, and a considerable portion of no longer maintained Win32 software runs acceptably under wine under Linux.

                Thus, the economic incentives for MSFT, commercial Windows ISVs, and other 3rd party developers pretty much guarantee the MSFT Store won't succeed in current circumstances in which Windows allows any user to install software from sources other than the MSFT Store.

    • Avatar

      dftf

      In reply to hrlngrv:

      "But MSFT can make so much more money with umpteen different SKUs"


      So -- you could argue the same about anything. Different choices of car, where the only differences are the features available inside. Different CPU families. Different brands of food and drink items in shops, from the big-brands to the own-brand. Microsoft are hardly alone in choice-for-the-sake-of-choice.


      And at-least most SKUs thesedays make-sense: "Home", "Pro", "Pro for Workstations" (okay, that one is unnecessary... just add the extra CPU and RAM support to Pro and higher!), "Education" and "Enterprise" (virtually identical feature-sets, but licenced to the relevant customers). Sure, there is also "10X" and "IoT", but you'll only encounter those on specific hardware. It's a lot better thesedays than the pointless SKUs of "Starter" (can only run 3 apps at a time), "Home Basic" (cannot use the full Aero), "Home Premium" of the Vista and 7 days, not to mention Vista also had a "Business" SKU that was different from "Enterprise", and back-then, higher SKUs would not-necessarily also have all the features from lower ones!


      "As for getting common software into the MSFT Store [...] 3rd party developers seem to have damned little interest in retooling their software for the MSFT Store."


      As I've said many-times before, Microsoft should stop insisting software has to be rewritten into the "Modern UI" installer format, and just accept .MSI versions of installers for Win32 apps into the Store. Then, finally, things like Google Chrome and Firefox could finally be installed by it.


      • Avatar

        hrlngrv

        In reply to dftf:

        Microsoft should stop insisting software has to be rewritten into the "Modern UI" installer format, and just accept .MSI versions of installers for Win32 apps into the Store.

        Which would be great if that were all that holds ISVs back.

        I figure MSFT taking any cut of revenues puts off a lot of ISVs, certainly most B2B ISVs who know full well their business customers disable access to the MSFT Store on their employees' work PCs. As for ISVs selling software to hobbyists, I figure they understand their customers, those hobbyists, are interested enough to perform web searches, download, and install themselves; the MSFT Store wouldn't increase their sales enough to justify MSFT's take.

        As for FOSS, there's some already in the MSFT Store, but not tons & tons of it. FWIW, there are two unofficial Notepad++ ports in the MSFT Store, one dated from 2019, the other from 2018. The latest version is from Nov 2020. Which seems to indicate that FOSS maintainers need to be committed to maintaining the freshness of their MSFT Store packages.

        Call me a cynic, but I figure $$$$ is the main reason there's so little good 3rd party software in the MSFT Store. There are just things Apple can do which MSFT can't, and it's unlikely anything would alter that.

        • Avatar

          dftf

          In reply to hrlngrv:

          "I figure MSFT taking any cut of revenues puts off a lot of ISVs"


          For paid-software, sure, I can see an issue there -- on iOS, they have to. On Android they don't -- but most users do not want to install an .APK manually. On Windows, installing software manually has always been the way. But for free software, Microsoft really should get more-listed to encourage the Store as a "go-to place" for users. Currently, in my experience, it's a "why bother, as nothing I use is actually in there".


          "certainly most B2B ISVs who know full well their business customers disable access to the MSFT Store on their employees' work PCs"


          Yup! Locked-down for all our staff, except higher-ups, like directors. We publish apps internally via Software Center and SCCM. Though this won't be true for home-users or most small-to-medium sized businesses...


          "There are just things Apple can do which MSFT can't, and it's unlikely anything would alter that"


          Well, Apple can do it on iOS and iPadOS (or things like Apple TV and Apple Watch) platforms, sure, as sideloading is only an option for large enterprises, and for most of their userbase, only the App Store can be used to get apps onto those devices. But for macOS, users report the App Store there is a similar-picture to the Microsoft Store on Windows: not many apps, lots of unofficial ones, or rip-off duplicates. Because again, on macOS -- at-least, currently -- it's always been the norm to download and manually-install, and this isn't (yet!) locked-down

          • Avatar

            hrlngrv

            In reply to dftf:

            But for free software, Microsoft really should get more-listed to encourage the Store as a "go-to place" for users.

            For FOSS, MSFT has no excuses. If it doesn't change anything in such software beyond packaging it for the MSFT Store, MSFT itself could package any FOSS itself and put it in the MSFT Store.

            Why hasn't MSFT done so? Me cynic: no $$$$ for MSFT by doing that, so MSFT doesn't do it.

            Tangent: I discovered this last week that Okular was in the MSFT Store. First new Store app I've installed in at least 2 years. Why? Because it handles PDF, PS, EPS, DVI, CHM, XPS and most image file formats. I'll grant that normal humans never need to read .DVI files, but i don't claim to be normal.

            I've never had any exposure to Apple's stores. I don't use any Apple hardware. Makes sense to me if Mac users have almost as little incentive to use Apple's fenced fleecing station as PC users do to visit the MSFT Store. Again, I figure the explanation is $$$$.

            Re macOS, even if Apple could lock down binary installs, Macs having Unix-descendant underpinnings, hard to see how Apple could prevent anyone from building and installing from source code.

    • Avatar

      fpalmieri

      In reply to hrlngrv:As for getting common software into the MSFT Store, it's been more than a decade since MSFT introduced Windows Phone 7, approaching 9 years since MSFT introduced Windows 8 RT, so the MSFT Store has been around for quite some time. Yet 3rd party developers seem to have damned little interest in retooling their software for the MSFT Store.


      The whole UWP/Windows 8/Windows Phone debacle for developers is what caused the lack of popularity of the Windows Store - most of the major applications from ISV's that have been around for a while are still either C++/MFC or WPF/C# wrapping a C++ core or some other older technology (Qt for example) because there was no way to port most of those things to Windows 8/UWP apps in any practical way. It took Microsoft years to finally address this with WinUI / Project Reunion - I'm not sure if it is not too late as so much of the energy is around Web/Mobile these days that it is hard to justify the investment in development - it will take years to see an impact unless Microsoft opens up their wallet when they finally have something maybe later this year, next year that ISV's can start really working with. Those are years old technologies but Microsoft has finally recognized that they haven't provided enough value to ISV's to make the move and put up too many roadblocks that people just stayed put - there's a lot of excitement among longtime Windows developers around .NET 5/6, MAUI, Blazor, WSL and Visual Studio Code - Microsoft is doing a lot of things now that should have been done years ago but it's not clear that they will be able to get developers (or their managers) back on the train.

  14. Avatar

    wright_is

    We already have that and it frustrates me! I buy a computer for home, but I want it to have the same features as I have at work. But I have to make a choice, currently, I either buy a business spec PC with the OS I want or I buy a consumer PC with the spec I want and the version of Windows I don't want - and have to calculate the additional price of upgrading the OS.

    I want to play games and have it in my home domain. So breaking it up completely would be a huge step backwards for me, I'd need two machines (or dual boot) and be swapping back and forth every few minutes.

    • Avatar

      hrlngrv

      In reply to wright_is:

      There is another option. A minimal Windows onto which all sorts of subsystems could be added. Want BitLocker? Add that. Want DirectX? Add that. Want Hyper-V? Add that. Want Cortana? Add that.

      Only want to run a browser and Office? Install them and forget about BitLocker etc entirely. For initial install/out of box experience, include Gaming, Consumer, Business and Custom options, with the first 3 installing particular subsets of components. The last would begin including only what'd be needed to run a browser and Office, but features could be added a la carte, similar to the installation experience from Office 2003.

      If you wanted domain joining and DirectX, you'd probably need to go the Custom route.

      That said, it'll never happen.

      • Avatar

        dftf

        In reply to hrlngrv:

        "A minimal Windows onto which all sorts of subsystems could be added"


        I may have the name wrong but isn't there something called "Windows Server Core", which is essentially what you're suggesting where you don't even have the Shell (no Desktop or File Explorer) by-default, and do everything via PowerShell or the Command Prompt, and if you do want the shell enabling, you do some sort-of "DISM enable-feature" command to install that component?

    • Avatar

      dftf

      In reply to wright_is:

      "We already have that and it frustrates me!"


      Okay, so two points on that:


      There is nothing-wrong with having a "Home" version of Windows which has features missing like "Hyper-V", "Device Guard", "Enterprise Mode Internet Explorer", "AppLocker", "BranchCache", "App-V" or "UE-V". Most non-geek, regular-people won't have even heard of most of them, and even if you were to educate them on what they do, the vast. vast majority would still have no-use for them. Can everyone please stop trying to get complicated features put into the Home edition, where they would likely just cause confusion for users who stumbled-across them, and at worst, they could misconfigure them and lock themselves out of an app or part of their system.


      BUT there are feature-differences between "Pro" and "Enterprise". So if you use a device at-work with Enterprise and your home-machine only has Pro, then I could understand an argument. In the old-days of Windows Vista and 7, this didn't used to be an issue, as the "Ultimate" edition was more-or-less "Enterprise, but for IT enthusiasts". Maybe the solution here is that Windows 10 Ultimate should become a thing?

      • Avatar

        samp

        In reply to dftf:

        I agree with your point that most Windows 10 pro features would be useless to the average user, (besides for BitLocker, which annoyingly is only on Pro), but from the branding "Pro" implies it is a better version of the OS, which although technically it is, it isn't more useful for the average user.


        Someone seeing this will assume it is better to pay more for it, while it isn't.


        I think it should be:

        - Windows home (base version),

        -Pro (with some advanced features, ie. Msft info protection, BitLocker, ReFS, device guard), good for a user that wants some better features that aren't commonly used

        -Enterprise (Advanced features needed for businesses, ie. UE-V, App-V, WSUS, BranchCache + Pro),

        -Enterprise Pro, which should be a power horse mainly for admins etc. and has everything (with a LTSB version)

      • Avatar

        wright_is

        In reply to dftf:

        Hyper-V is probably the my most used feature on my home PC - we use VMware at work.

        I'd like there to be a single version, with, say a base set of features enabled, but the rest available for those that want them.

      • Avatar

        hrlngrv

        In reply to dftf:

        Can everyone please stop trying to get complicated features put into the Home edition

        Anyone using an at-home domain is someone who may want AppLocker and Hyper-V.

        The better question is how many of MSFT's enterprise customers want their employees using anything which needs DirectX or any XBox components. Other than gaming ISVs, I can't think of any.

        OTOH, there is no legitimate reason for Home to lack full disk encryption. MSFT wants people who believe they need that to buy Pro. From the perspective of my suggested modular, customizable approach above, adding some components like BitLocker or Hyper-V could incur additional cost. If Gaming and Consumer didn't include BitLocker, users could add it via Custom, and pay for it before its activated. Just as long as the additional cost were less than today's cost difference between Home and Pro.

        • Avatar

          dftf

          In reply to hrlngrv:

          "Anyone using an at-home domain" ... is again an IT pro or geek, and not the vast, vast majority of the everyday home users. Things like "HomeGroup" were a better idea for them -- after-all, what would most home-users want to share between family-members? Mostly just files and devices, like printers. And thesedays, most home-printers, even cheap ones, support Wi-Fi and you can connect them to your router directly, then install them in Windows to use Wi-Fi.


          As for "there is no legitimate reason for Home to lack full-disk encryption" I'd absolutely agree there. macOS offers it. But Windows 10 Home only offers it IF you are running a 64-bit version; are using UEFI, not legacy BIOS, and; have a TPM and it is enabled. If all of those are true, then you will find "Device Encryption" in the Settings app which will then do full-device encryption.


          But yes... I really don't know why they can't just offer software-based BitLocker for Home where it unlocks based on your Windows login credentials, either at the login-screen, or at a pre-boot screen.


          I'd suggest looking into VeraCrypt as a free alternative

        • Avatar

          dftf

          In reply to hrlngrv:

          (Another option for Home users would be if their device has an SSD that supports self-encryption: in which case install the software for that drive, such as Samsung Magician, and then tell it to self-encrypt. Maybe this is something Microsoft could add built-in support for, as then the whole disk would be encrypted, but not by BitLocker?)

          • Avatar

            hrlngrv

            In reply to dftf:

            Re encryption, I don't actually see anything useful served by encrypting OS and 3rd party software files. It's the users' own files which need encryption, and for that the Linux approach of using encryptfs for home directories makes more sense to me. I suppose it'd also be useful to encrypt /tmp and /var/tmp.

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