Skip to main content

At Work with Linux: Windows 8 Release Preview

Before I left for home Thursday I started a download of the Windows 8 Release Preview ISO, all 3.3GB of it. I wanted to install it under VMware 4.0.3 on my RHEL 6.2 host just like I'd done with the Gnome 3 and KDE 4 Fedora 17 variants. I learned a bit about Windows 8 and running Windows 8 on a RHEL host.

First and foremost, you don't have to install VMware extensions on Windows 8. Everything (mostly) works out of the box, and if you tried to install the extensions they won't. I was able to go in and set the screen size explicitly to 1440 x 900, and the VM window resized accordingly.
I'm no fan of the Metro look, and the more they work with it the less I like it. It's fine for a smartphone, but spread out on a desktop screen, not so much. Fortunately it was a simple matter of clicking on the desktop tile to get to the desktop. It still has the right bottom sensitive corner for bringing up the right edge controls. I needed to get to Settings to configure the network with a static IP and proxy server settings.
Clicking on Settings brings up a short list of key capabilities which includes the Control Panel. Down at the bottom you will note the Power switch. I can turn off the VM at this point. I could probably do my Network configuration from the Network icon, but I'm familiar with the Windows 7 way of doing things, so I'm going down the Control Panel route.
Finding the right settings to change is very much like Windows 7, so it only took a few moments for me to add the fixed IP address, DNS addresses, and identify the proxy server. The Window decorations look to be a more refined, lighter Aero. Once the network was properly configured this instance could see the rest of the lab network. However, I couldn't use IE 10 because our corporate brain-dead proxy server blocks IE 10, claiming that it's insecure. Lets IE 8 and IE 9 through, but not IE 10. I'll spoof the useragent string next week and surf the web after that.
Just as the lower right corner is mouse active, the lower left is as well, and allows you to quickly switch back to the Metro screen. From what I can tell it's operating more or less the same as the first pre-release I installed back in March.

My general impression is 'meh'. I neither like nor dislike Windows 8. To me it's just another OS I have to get used to and figure out how to integrate with everything else we play with. Unfortunately if I want to really program under the hood I'll have to pony up a lot of money for Visual Studio 11 (or whatever it'll wind up being called). With Linux I get all the tools and languages I need to mold the OS anyway I care to, from top to bottom. With Mac OS X I have to pay $99. With Windows I have to pay thousands of dollars for all the tools because Microsoft decided to turn development tools into a serious (meaning very expensive) profit center. Heavy on the profit.

Maybe it's just my bias, but I detect a whiff of desperation on the part of Microsoft. This is an OS that wants to work on a tablet more than a PC. I know what I read in Robert Cringley's "The dumbing down of Windows 8." If what he writes is true, then Microsoft is in a scary situation long term.

What makes it even worse for Microsoft is that very many of us in the outside world have worked very hard to replace Windows with external standards and technologies developed from those standards. Those of us who remember how Microsoft treated the world, and who don't like Microsoft. Apple and Android are filled full of very bright people who don't like Microsoft either and have been building significant systems on those standards. And the rest of us who don't like Microsoft have been buying all those cool systems and devices, and spreading that technology as far and as wide as we possibly can. And we're going to keep doing it.

Microsoft won the desktop. They wound up with well over 90% saturation, at least in the US. They built walls all around the desktop kingdom to keep everybody out, and in the process walled themselves in. Those of us on the outside simply built a new world over them. We use smartphones and tablets that for the most part don't run Windows. Microsoft thought they were smart when they sold a cheap version of Windows XP for networks, and it worked, for a little while. But the heirs to the netbook, the smartphone, tablet, and even Apple's own iProducts, don't use nor need Windows. Microsoft won the desktop battle, but they're slowly losing the pervasive computing war.

Windows 8 is nothing special. It's OK, but that's just it; it's just OK. It will have its supporters, but many in business will stick with Windows 7, and for consumers who want to buy smartphones and tablets, Windows 8 will face incredibly stiff competition. Windows 7 phone is basically going nowhere; Nokia, which bet the farm by becoming an exclusive Windows Phone 7 user, is about to buy the farm because of that decision. This is karma. This is payback. This is The World realizing that computers are not special, that they're like any other appliance now, and that Windows isn't all the special anymore.


Popular posts from this blog

A Decade Long Religious Con Job

I rarely write inflammatory (what some might call trolling) titles to a post, but this building you see before you deserves it. I've been seeing this building next to I-4 just east of Altamonte/436 and Crane's Roost for nearly 12 years, and never knew who owned it. Today on a trip up to Lake Mary with my wife I saw it yet again. That's when I told her I wanted to stop by on the way back and poke around the property, and photograph any parts of it if I could.

What I discovered was this still unfinished eighteen story (I counted) white elephant, overgrown with weeds and yet still under slow-motion construction. It looks impressive with its exterior glass curtain walls, but that impression is quickly lost when you see the unfinished lower stories and look inside to the unfinished interior spaces.

A quick check via Google leads to an article written in 2010 by the Orlando Sentinel about the Majesty Tower. Based on what I read in the article it's owned by SuperChannel 55 WA…

Be Careful of Capital One Mailings

Capitol One ("What's in your wallet?") sent me a bit of deceptive snail mail today. I felt sure it was a credit card offer, and sure enough, it was. I open all credit card offers and shred them before putting them in the trash. Normally I just scan the front to make sure I don't miss anything; the Capital One offer made me stop for a moment and strike a bit of fear into my heart.

The letter's opening sentence read:
Our records as of December 30, 2009 indicate your Capital One Platinum MasterCard offer is currently valid and active.Not paying close attention during the first reading, I quickly developed this irrational worry that I was actually on the hook for something important, but I wasn't quite sure what. The letter listed "three ways to reply" at the bottom; via phone, the internet, and regular snail mail. I elected to call.

Once I reached the automated phone response system, the first entry offered was '1', to "activate my Capital …

cat-in-a-box channels greta garbo

So I'm sitting at my computer, when I start to notice a racket in back. I ignore it for a while until I hear a load "thump!", as if something had been dropped on the floor, followed by a lot of loud rattling. I turn around and see Lucy in the box just having a grand old time, rolling around and rattling that box a good one. I grab the GX1 and snap a few shots before she notices me and the camera, then leaps out and back into her chair (which used to be my chair before she decided it was her chair).

Just like caring for Katie my black Lab taught me about dogs, caring for Lucy is teaching me about cats. She finds me fascinating, as I do her. And she expresses great affection and love toward me without coaxing. I try to return the affection and love, but she is a cat, and she takes a bat at me on occasion, although I think that's just her being playful. She always has her claws in when she does that.

She sits next to me during the evening in her chair while I sit in mi…