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Print 94 comment(s) - last by Piiman.. on Dec 29 at 1:55 PM

There's also nary a mention about Microsoft's pro-security switch to a walled garden model

Online newspaper Inc. has published a pretty interesting account ripping into Windows RT, which it calls "Doomed".  The author, Geoffrey James, has a big warning to business -- "inherently unstable and insecure."

The author lauds Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) iPad as the new paradigm of glorious computing and security, while lashing Microsoft, writing:

I used to work in an operating system development group. One thing I learned back then is that any OS that allows applications to modify the OS will be inherently unstable and insecure.

Since Windows is designed to allow that to happen, both computer viruses and the gradual "rot" of the software installed on a Windows system are both inevitable. There is no way to fix the problem because it's inherent in Windows's design.
...
I'm a case in point. While I'm still using a Windows machine for most of my writing, I'm serious thinking of "taking the leap" to only using my iPad simply to avoid the support headaches that are inevitable with Windows.

In short, the Surface is doomed because the entire concept behind it is flawed. Even plain Windows is getting so old and creaky that it's getting to be more a bother than its worth.

But the columnist misses (or at least never mentions) that the device he targets in the byline (Surface) is currently only being sold with Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Windows RT (Surface Pro -- the x86 version -- isn't expected until next month).  And not a single piece of traditional Windows malware can run on Windows RT without recompilation, as it runs on a fundamentally different architecture/instruction set (ARM) versus past versions of Windows (x86).


Surface RT can't run traditional x86 malware.
 
In other words, the columnist's negative experience of getting his laptop penetrated by a "root kit" is drastically less likely to occur in Windows RT, particularly while it enjoys such a peachy (from a security perspective) low market share, compared to traditional Windows.

Another thing the columnist seems to miss is that both Windows 8 and Windows RT Microsoft offer perhaps the biggest pro-security (but anti-openness) shift that has helped protect the iPad -- the switch to primarily using a "walled garden" model of software distribution.  In Windows 8 you primarily buy apps through Windows Store.  Microsoft verifies each of these apps and can yank any app at any time if it is later discovered to pose some sort of security risk.

Windows Store
Microsoft now uses a similar pro-security "walled garden" model as Apple, pushing certified-safe apps from the Windows Store. [Image Source: ZDNet]

Granted, Microsoft does practice a laissez-faire policy regarding Windows 7 legacy software (which won't run on Windows RT, but will generally run on Windows 8) and plug-in based distribution models, such as the Java-based Valve client.  In this regard it differs from Apple who strictly prohibits such freedoms. But increasingly from here on out users will be getting their apps from a single secure source -- Microsoft.

Additionally, the apps in Windows 8 are nicely sandboxed.  They simply are not allowed to "modify the OS" as the author suggest.  Windows 8 and Windows RT have robust protection against traditional attack vectors like memory injection, protections that rival those in the OS X tree.

Some criticisms of Windows 8 have been more level-handed pointing out perfectly valid opinions that many share about places the ambitious user interface redesign may have gone too far.  But some criticisms -- such as the argument to buy an iPad instead of a Surface RT because Windows is "unstable and insecure" -- are simply bizarre to the point where they almost appear to be a comedic caricature of misconceptions surrounding the Windows platform.

Source: Inc.



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RE: You have to ask
By Nortel on 12/4/2012 11:50:23 AM , Rating: 4
Most people think 'more words' = better. "Windows 8" vs "Windows 8 RT", RT must be better!

I'm sure 95% of people don't even know what "RT" means and they made the OS' look exactly the same so good luck differentiating based on a graphics rich ad campaign.


RE: You have to ask
By Shig on 12/4/2012 12:09:01 PM , Rating: 2
This is the new Microsoft cadence. Bad OS -> Good OS -> Bad OS -> Good OS

XP = good, Vista = bad, 7 = good, 8 fragmentation = bad

Windows 9 will hopefully unify their classical PC interface with touch in an elegant way. For now I'm staying with 7.


RE: You have to ask
By Netscorer on 12/4/12, Rating: 0
RE: You have to ask
By OnyxNite on 12/4/2012 2:09:22 PM , Rating: 5
You can bet that Microsoft wants everything to go to the new Windows 8 Apps. This is because they control what gets into the store and what doesn't and they get a cut of everything that goes in there. If consumers reject the store then they won't be able to make the switch because people won't upgrade to an OS that doesn't run most of the stuff they use. I agree MS isn't going to simply go back to the Windows 7 interface but they need to make a middle ground where devs can make Windows 8 style apps and give them directly to consumers without having to get MS approval or give MS a cut. Until they do that then I strongly advise every consumer to vote with your wallet and don't buy Windows 8 and if you can't avoid it (new PC's all come with WIndows 8 now with no easy option for older versions) then just don't buy stuff from the Windows Store. Windows 8 will run your Windows 7 software just fine in the vast majority of cases.


RE: You have to ask
By Lerianis on 12/4/2012 11:35:18 PM , Rating: 2
It's more about controlling the applications and making sure that applications don't have viruses in them, not about 'their cut' which is plenty reasonable.


RE: You have to ask
By gladiatorua on 12/5/2012 2:36:16 AM , Rating: 3
No. It's all about taking a cut from sales.


RE: You have to ask
By mcnabney on 12/5/2012 5:21:30 PM , Rating: 2
Visa/Mastercard barely get 1%, if that, for the convenience. MS is going to get 20-30% of all software sales on RT now. They will get the rest later when Win9 comes out without the ability to install from any source other than the Microsoft Store.


RE: You have to ask
By Piiman on 12/29/2012 12:31:44 PM , Rating: 2
Yep MS wants to be just like Apple and get a cut of everything that runs on its OS. I can't see a business going with this BS, turning a good productivity OS into a Phone OS, and still expect it to be used in Offices is insane! I expect to see Ballmer fired soon and then they'll change course to something more tradicional for the desktop. Hell all they really need is a switch to installit with a desktop OS or tablet OS or a hybrid. They made their fortune on being flexable and trying to take that way isn't going to fly IMO.

If they don't I see no reason to stay with them.


RE: You have to ask
By JediJeb on 12/5/2012 7:51:23 PM , Rating: 2
This may hold true for the tablets, but for work PCs I don't think they can try to switch to app store only type anytime soon. Industrial settings would be a nightmare if that happened, especially with the custom control programs used for machines and such. Most of those programs are still 16 bit stuff running on top of whatever version of Windows you happen to have because the manufacturers don't take the time to rewrite software for controlling expensive equipment when there is already something that works. Even the newest software we use from Agilent(HP spinoff of their analytical instrument division) is shipping with a 16 bit software that has just been tweaked enough to allow it to finally run on W7, up till a couple years ago you had to try to find an XP box to even run it, and those had to be pre-SP3 or it would not run. We had equipment worth over $100,000 that we had to keep old computers around for because if one cheap computer died we couldn't replace it with anything new. If they try to drop legacy support on W8 or later W9 it will be a nightmare for those like us when we have to spend $100,000 or more simply because a $400 computer dies.


RE: You have to ask
By invidious on 12/4/2012 4:00:49 PM , Rating: 3
Windows 8 RT is not Windows 8, it is completely seperate. "Legacy" x86 apps are W8 apps assuming that you are on an x86 machinere. Windows 8 has a new user interface and a new (and optional) app store. Microsoft does not force anyone to use their app store and it is extremely unlikely that they ever will. Gearing the OS towards the app store makes sense for user convinience and for their bottom line, it has nothing to do with platform support.

Windows RT is Microsoft extending their already open platform OS to support another chipset standard. I dont see how this effort of increased OEM and consumer options could possibly be viewed as them restricting you in any way. If you prefer ARM devices there is a windows for you. It doesn't support your x86 apps which is unfortunate, but that's not Microsoft's fault, they didn't design the ARM standard. Either way, you choose your own platform.

If you don't like ARM then get an x86 tablet and use your "legacy" x86 apps. Or if you love ARM then get an ARM tablet, and a touchscreen ARM laptop and a touchscreen ARM desktop and live a happy little ARM world. Point being that Microsoft isn't restricting you, quite to the contrary, they are giving you more choices. I dont see how you get upset about that.


RE: You have to ask
By nocturne on 12/8/2012 4:59:27 PM , Rating: 2
Tiles is just an alternate shell, more of a launcher than anything.. while most basic users will end up using it in the end, there will always be a desktop for those who actually have to do work.

MS would never kill the desktop.. it'd be the last nail in the coffin to drive the rest of us over to Linux.


RE: You have to ask
By perspicacity on 12/7/2012 9:10:53 AM , Rating: 2
But Windows 2000 was great.

The cadence still works if you consider XP as two operating systems. When XP first came out, it sucked... it was clumsy and it was the first to subject us to "activation". Later, XP SP2 was so significant that many called it "XP2".

2000=good, XP1=bad, XP2=good, Vista=bad, 7=good, 8=?


RE: You have to ask
By nocturne on 12/8/2012 5:23:03 PM , Rating: 2
I still don't understand how people conceive this 'cadence', other than if you take only hype and media image into account.

Windows 1 and 2.. they were what they were. Really, their inadequacies is what gave Apple so much success with the II series and Macs. Somehow Windows became ubiquitous with v3.x.. bundling their software with nearly every sold pc, while the superior OS/2 could never get off of the ground.

Win 95.. and 98.. 98se (usb support).. ME.. all horrible. Revolutionary, but horrible. So bad that probably 90% of the populace knows what a BSOD is.

Win XP was incredible from the enterprise standpoint alone.. Unless you wanted to spend millions on a Unix IT department, nothing beat having a common system platform that worked fairly flawlessly on all levels.

Vista.. honestly, I ####in' loved it. By the end of XP's reign, having tried every so-called 'tweak' out there and the sadly ported win xp x64.. real world performance increases hit a ceiling. Vista, despite the aero frustrations for novice users, was incredible. Hardware support was unparalleled, stability was unimaginable, and security was finally being taken seriously (though you still complain over UAC, even though it's easily disabled if you just like being unprotected from hidden processes).

Win 7.. good leap, though still miss some of the features in Vista I'd judge as halfway from xp->7.

Btw.. interesting factoid. Win XP is v5.0. Win Vista is v6.0.. 7 is v6.1.. 8 is v6.2. Just check the versioning sigs in any built-in Windows app. Storm, update for next year, I imagine will be v6.3.. and wondering what Windows 9 will be.


RE: You have to ask
By Piiman on 12/29/2012 12:35:35 PM , Rating: 2
Visa just got a bad rap because they changed the driver model and many manufacturer decided to make us upgrade to new hardware instead of writing new drivers. Once you had the proper hardware (new) or got new drivers its was just fine.


RE: You have to ask
By polishvendetta on 12/4/12, Rating: 0
RE: You have to ask
By dark matter on 12/4/2012 3:06:50 PM , Rating: 4
Yours doesn't even make sense.


RE: You have to ask
By RufusM on 12/5/2012 10:07:53 AM , Rating: 2
The difference is that Apple didn't start marketing the iPad as OSX RT, in which case, they certainly would have users buying them and wondering why they couldn't install traditional apps on it.

As an aside, I like the direction Microsoft is going with Windows 8; they are just working through the transition pains. I've recently used a Samsung ultrabook laptop with a touch screen and it was a great experience. Touch the screen for those things that make sense and keyboard/mouse for everything else. This is purely speculation, but I think the next rev of Windows will be a big improvement on Windows 8/RT and will be closer to their vision of a single OS for type and touch.


RE: You have to ask
By Piiman on 12/29/2012 12:43:27 PM , Rating: 2
touch screens for Office or home desktops sucks, period. How close do you sit to your desktop? Mine is over an arms length away. How fun do you think it will be to slide an app down a 24' screen to close you app? Other than good exercise its going to be a pain. And dont' start with all the keyboard shortcut blah blah blah. I've spent years using only the mouse and now I'm supposed to use a keyboard like I did in the DOS days?

On a laptop or tablet it may be fine, heck on a laptop I'd prefer it to those tiny touch pads, but not on my Desktop please.


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