Windows 8: one step forward, two steps back

Android has shown the world that an open approach isn’t just an ideal, it’s a fundamental requirement for the success of a modern operating system.

Apple’s iOS remains the king when it comes to the OS of desire, but Android has completely dominated the mobile arena simply because it works very well on the cheapest to the most advanced devices.

Windows 8 has made some strides in terms of user interface design, incorporating their tiled “metro“ interface from Windows Phone 7 into the desktop. This new interface really simplifies the experience when you don’t need all the excess provided by the classic desktop.

On a technical level; they have standardised on using web technologies to build Metro apps which means developers don’t need to learn a new set of skills for those apps.

Windows Vista and Windows 7 both received a lot of negative publicity because of their inclusion of DRM in the operating system.

For those who don’t know what DRM is all about, to put it simply: Microsoft and their partners are the highest authority on your PC and are able to allow or disallow certain actions at their discretion.

This is not unique to Windows however, and both iOS and Andriod must be jailbroken or rooted respectively, in order to circumvent these measures.

While DRM has become common place, taking the sense of ownership away from consumers is not something that is done lightly.

Microsoft is a different breed of tech company however and they have gone ahead with a new attempt to wrest control of your hardware, hoping it would slip by unnoticed.

Windows 8 machines will require what’s known as “secure boot” which is marketed as a security feature but in reality it’s primary purpose is to prevents other operating systems from being booted on the machine.

On top of taking ownership of your hardware, Microsoft has decided to take Apple’s walled garden approach to apps.

Where you were once allowed to download and install anything your heart desired, you are now forced to download metro apps from Microsoft’s Windows Store.

Again this is marketed as a security feature but as Apple has proven time and again, anything that they disapprove of (security vulnerability or otherwise) can be chopped at their discretion.

While the new user experience in Windows 8 looks great, Microsoft is clearly oblivious to the advantages of user freedom.

It’s this lack of freedom that has certainly pushed me away from Windows, and as people become more tech savvy, this will likely strengthen the migration towards more open options.

Latest news

Partner Content

Show comments


Share this article
Windows 8: one step forward, two steps back