But “Why?”, I hear you cry. It’s nothing to do with the software itself, but due to Lowry’s law, an immutable law of Windows releases.
In with the new
Before I carry on, a little explanation for those of you not addicted to tech blogs. Windows 8 is the latest release of the Windows operating system. Microsoft have just released the “Consumer Preview” version, which is a free to download, draft version of the software.
The result of this is that millions of people have had a chance to play around with Windows 8.
There have been lots of changes under the hood in Windows 8, but by far the most noticeable to users is the change to two competing interfaces. Most of you will be very familiar with the normal Windows desktop – icons on a background, with the Start Menu, and a taskbar along the bottom. The Start Menu has now been killed off, and replaced with “Metro” – the colourful boxes you can see above on the right.
To hate or not to hate
Reactions have been mixed, with pretty negative reviews from a lot of high profile blogs. Statements such as “It’s going to be an utter nightmare“, “a failure to learn from mistakes of Vista” and “like two very different operating systems trying to be one” lead to some concerns. A former Microsoft employee has created a website called FixingWindows8.com, a site that’s been so popular I’ve not yet been able to load it, due to the traffic crashing the server.
Perhaps the worst indictment is that of tech guru Chris Pirillo’s non tech-savvy father. Here is a video of him totally failing to work out how to use Windows 8:
[iframe src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/v4boTbv9_nU” width=”100%” height=”427″]
Personally, I installed the Consumer Preview, and used it for around an hour. I found the two interfaces completely contradictatory, and time wasting. I found nothing of value in Metro, and the loss of the Start Menu a devastating hit to the efficiency of my workflow. I couldn’t cope with trying it any longer than that, and immediately uninstalled it.
However, my opinions, the opinions of consumers and tech professionals matter not: Windows 8 is going to be awful due to the (newly named) Lowry’s Law
Lowry’s Law: Every other serious consumer Windows release is rubbish.
Let’s look at the evidence. (Windows didn’t really take off until 3 came out, so Windows 1 & 2 aren’t classed as serious releases).
Windows 3 – sold 10 million copies in 3 years. Led to Windows becoming the dominant operating system worldwide. Introduced mouse pointers, copy and paste, and countless other features we take as standard today. Good
Windows 95 – an innovative change, that set the tone for future versions of Windows for the next 15 years – however, pretty buggy, and still reliant on an MS DOS framework, causing driver issues galore. Famous for its prolific BSODs. Rubbish.
Windows ME – released in a hurry because XP wasn’t ready yet. Disgustingly buggy, with no real new features over 98. Known as the “Mistake Edition”, along with other less polite terms. Rubbish.
Windows XP – probably the most successful operating system ever. Slick, friendly, crash-free and resource efficient – it’s 11 years old, and still 40% of internet users are running it. That’s a definite “Good”.
Windows Vista – came installed on millions of cheap laptops, at a time when cheap hardware wasn’t quite enough to run Vista comfortable. Coupled with over zealous security pop ups, and lots of driver issues, I think its been the biggest driver of consumers to Apple in the last 5 years. Rubbish.
Windows 7 – basically Vista v2.0 – cleaned up the bugs and dialed down the security pop ups. Time had passed and drivers had been created for Vista and 7, and cheap laptops had the spec to run it well. Good.
Windows 8 – It’s not looking good.
So that’s it. 20 years of evidence support Lowry’s Law, meaning there’s an undeniable truth that Windows 8 is going to be rubbish. However, things are looking great for Windows 9…