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Slowly becoming more and more disappointed...

Posted by phantom, 29 September 2012 · 3,163 views

windows 8 xna metro stupidness
I'm slowly... oh so slowly... starting to crack.

MS have some blame to take here because they are apprently not communicating well enough but at the same time the latest Windows release is starting to bring out the Silly Season in a manner not seen since Windows Vista... in fact it's worse because it would seem people are not using their brains and its got to the point where I'm facepalming as I read twitter/blogs and... well.. I'm writing this at half-midnight on a sunday morning.

The first 'gem' which started to push me over the edge was the recent thing I saw where someone tweeted that 'windows 8 was a closed system'.

So, yes, there is this windows store and yes it will be the only way for end users to get at Metro apps but metro apps are not the only apps. I dunno, maybe it's just me but if the option to control where, more than likely the vast majority of the apps I'm going to install, comes from exists and they don't have to be signed and delivered from a single source I'm pretty sure that's not a closed system.

So, my Windows 8 machine could still run/install unsigned apps just like my Windows 7 machine currently does.
No change there.

(Minor side note: latest OSX release turned on 'app store or signed' only running of apps. Fortunately you can turn this off in the control panel but switching it on, silently, by default for all apps is pretty sneaky imo. And Vista users thought UAC was bad.)

The thing which really got to me however is the continued wailing about XNA which is going on and a blog post which tipped me over the edge.

Now, to be fair I think part of this can be put down to an MS employee not understanding a question correctly and thus giving a poor answer but the basics of it boil down to a developer asking 'will XNA work on Windows 8?' and being told 'no, never.'

Now, while I've not tried personally, I've heard that XNA based games are indeed working just fine on the RC version of Windows 8; which isn't surprising really considering XNA is a .Net library which wrap DX9 and Windows 8 supports .Net and thus the XNA runtime and if Windows 8 didn't support DX9 it would die a death anyway as no one would buy it because they couldn't play Half-Life 2 (and lets face it, it would give Gabe more reasons to cry about Win8).

What I think happened was that the MS employee heard 'XNA' and 'Windows 8' and assumed the asker was asking 'Will XNA work via Metro/WinRT?' which, of course, the answer is 'no' (which isn't really unexpected).

The net result; yet another blog post of uninformed opinions with no real basis in fact (and I'd like to say well done to a few commenters for trying to correct the amount of 'wrong' in that post) but, more importantly, the developer in question has swapped to using Unity for their game. Now, unless Unity at some point has a WinRT wrapper (and I believe they are trying to sort something out in that regard?) then Unity is working at the same level as XNA would have with regards to the OS, APIs etc.

*face-fucking-palm*

Of course this was an interview where the developer had no real idea about what XNA was, even refering to it as a language multiple times, so ya know I'm not assuming large technical competance but it just seems like the kind of thing you could figure out with a bit of logic ya know?

Which is where this wandering post is going to; an increasingly sad state where people jump on bandwagons and panic without bothing to research things themselves.

I've got no inside line at MS; I don't know anyone personally and I work for a living so I can't dedicate all my time to following tech; yet somehow I can figure out all this stuff but others can't?

A few months back Gabe of Valve fame declared Windows 8 a 'disaster' for gaming in what can only be described as 'scare tactic of the fucking decade' by anyone who takes a few seconds to look at the claim. Does Windows 8 control what software you can install? No. Does Windows 8 'hide' non-MS software? No. Hell do you think they would turn down a Metro based version of the Steam UI if Valve wanted to provide one? No.

It's not like Steam is a weak name either; practically every PC gamer going to going to know about Steam, even my mum has an idea of what it is thanks to my dad using it for games - I'd even go as far as to say 'Steam' as a brand is stronger than 'Windows' when it comes to gaming and the core audience they supply software to.

(Of course this all fell into place when a day or two later Valve announced they would be selling non-game apps via Steam - at which point the light bulb in my head got so bright it burnt out.)

Of course the arguement could be made that the MS store in Windows gives them an unfair advantage but my problem with that is - sure, but they have to get software to sell first; if developers don't put it on there then what advantage? And if they do its because they like the terms or are getting better terms so.. ya know.. compete?

It seems that the software industry is slowly, or not so slowly I guess, becoming a mire of conjecture, lies, sensationalism and down right misinformation. From PR people I could at least understand it but some of this stuff is coming from people who should be looking at the facts and not going around throwing out terms without any checking.

In a way its starting to become like mainstream politics; facts are out of the window and its down to making your opponent look bad rather than making yourself look good and having answers.

It depresses me and makes me think about just saying 'fuck it..', packing up and going to live in a cave somewhere.

(Oh, and I don't vote either...)




Just skimmed through your post.

So, yes, there is this windows store and yes it will be the only way for end users to get at Metro apps but metro apps are not the only apps. I dunno, maybe it's just me but if the option to control where, more than likely the vast majority of the apps I'm going to install, comes from exists and they don't have to be signed and delivered from a single source I'm pretty sure that's not a closed system.
So, my Windows 8 machine could still run/install unsigned apps just like my Windows 7 machine currently does.
No change there.

That depends on the version of Windows 8. Some versions of Windows 8 will only run signed Metro-style apps purchased through the Windows Store. *gasp* *shock*
Perhaps that may be where some of the confusion is coming from? Maybe because Microsoft said so? Certainly that doesn't apply to all version of Windows 8, not even the majority of them. Probably less than 1% when all is said and done - but it's easy to see how such confusion would spread.

Techy Person A: "Careful, that (specific) Windows 8 tablet will only run software purchased through Microsoft."
Untechy Person B: *thinking to self* "Windows 8 only runs software purchased through Microsoft, got it!"

It's actually true... some of the time, in some of the versions of Windows 8, shipped with some of the products Microsoft will sell.
If there is confusion, Microsoft needs to clarify more since they're the ones who made the statements about their own products. At least they had the foresight to call it Windows RT instead of Windows 8 (but is frequently descibed as "A version of Windows 8" and will probably share the Windows 8 marketting and branding); more could be done to distinguish the two in consumer minds if Microsoft really cared to - which they probably don't care to, the confusion isn't harming them yet.

Is Windows 8 a closed system? YES. Some of the time. Consumers confused? Yep.
The Win8/WinRT split is going to be a huge cluster. Consumers can tell the difference between an iPad and a Macbook just by the name. They are going to fail to do the same with WinRT.

My 2 cents on Windows 8 is that as a developer you need to support it or you're missing out on a bunch of customers. Just target the normal desktop instead of trying to do any Metro work and you'll be fine without any of the hassles.
I suppose I've been in that cave you're after, phantom. I haven't followed Windows at all, and all I've heard about it has been on this site. The story is fuzzy in my mind, but thankfully the information on Wikipedia is there to set the record mostly straight. So yes, I was able to check some things before repeating misinformation. You know, as a considerate potential consumer should do.

The world is a much noisier place. You can't believe everything you hear, and you really can't follow all the news as it comes. But my favorite thing is when people do this anyway, even when it doesn't matter, when they're really not in any position to care.
Gabe Newel lost a lot of respect when he did that. I knew Valve were readying their Appstore for steam and it just seemed like a really obvious dick move to play on his good guy reputation.

The Register is going overboard with Windows 8 - their normal tactic of essentially trolling their readers into reading has become a daily stream of easily-checked untruths about Windows 8. People lap it up because hating the new windows is a thing.

FWIW after using win8 on my tablet for the last several months my capsule review is : "meh". It's OK, Metro is nice but not worth paying for, the start screen is nice for anyone who uses the start menu with the keyboard anyway (i.e. properly), but there are a few things which make it less fun to use as a tablet OS than windows 7. The desktop on screen keyboard is less useable than in win 7, and I find it annoying that where in win 7 I could swipe to go back in IE and Explorer, in Win 8 that's been disabled - I guess some marketing person thought I might get confused about whether I was sitting down using a mouse or pawing at a touch-screen.

I think the biggest problem is not just that consumers are confused, but that microsoft's marketing people seem utterly mystified. As usual I suppose.

There's definitely some interesting psychology research to be done, on all sides ...

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