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posted by LaminatorX on Wednesday June 04 2014, @11:06AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the Interface-Resurrection dept.

Mary Jo Foley reports at ZDNet that according to sources who've had good track records on Windows information, Microsoft won't be delivering a new Start Menu for Windows 8 with its coming Windows 8.1 Update 2, after all. "Up until recently, Microsoft was hoping to make a new "Mini" Start Menu part of a second update to Windows 8.1," says Foley. "Windows 8.1 Update 2 was and still is, last I heard slated to arrive in August of this year." Microsoft's operating systems group has decided to hold off on delivering a Microsoft-developed Start Menu until Threshold, the next "major" release of Windows. Threshold, which may or may not ultimately be called Windows 9, is expected to be released in April 2015.

The original Windows 8 interface lacked the Start Menu, a familiar component of previous versions of the operating system, replacing it with the live tile-driven Start screen. Many users didn't like the change, and some PC manufacturers and developers offered ways to bring back versions of the old Start Menu. Microsoft appeared to relent at Build when it unveiled the revised Start Menu, enhanced with Windows Modern UI improvements.

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Asking Permission: Running piWik To Get An Idea About Our Usage 83 comments
So, right now, I'm currently sitting with mrcoolbp and martyb in meatspace working out the finer points of incorporation, and the future needs of SoylentNews. One thing that has come up is we really don't have a great idea of our actual usage numbers are. Slashcode has decent internal numbers which give us some rough numbers, but they're only really valid for logged-in users (which bypass the varnish cache), and we're not 100% sure they're accurate anyway. According to slash, we're averaging approximately 50-60k page views per day (I've included the statistics email below), but it doesn't help us in knowing what AC usage look like. According to varnish, we average roughly 400-500k connections per day, but that number is inflated since we're not using keep-alive or HTTP pipelining as of yet.

Furthermore, since we don't log IP addresses in access.log, and IP's run through Slash are turned into IPIDs, its hard to get an idea of where our userbase is (the general feeling is the vast majority of us are based in the United States, but even then, that's more because our peak hours of traffic are between 4 and 10 PM EST). We've wanted to get a better idea of what our traffic and userbase are, so we're asking permission from the community to install piWik, and embed its javascript tag in the footer of each page, which will give us a wide berth of solid information to work from.
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  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @11:12AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @11:12AM (#51020)

    The Start Screen is better: it doesn't spontaneously close itself like the Start Menu did, and a Start Screen full of tiles serves to replace a Desktop full of shortcuts.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @11:19AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @11:19AM (#51022)

      Mod down troll. Everyone loves to fellate the Start Menu. Disagreement is not tolerated!

    • (Score: 2) by isostatic on Wednesday June 04 2014, @11:24AM

      by isostatic (365) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @11:24AM (#51027) Journal

      Well I'm old enough to remember program manager, which was far better than both.

      I'm also SNy enough to not give a damn about windows, as my laptop has been linux for 15 years, and I launch programs by hitting alt-escape to load up rxvt, then typing what I want

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by NCommander on Wednesday June 04 2014, @04:40PM

        by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <mcasadevall@soylentnews.org> on Wednesday June 04 2014, @04:40PM (#51205) Homepage Journal

        Funny enough, Program Manager survived well until XP before it was finally removed; at least as late as Windows 98 SE, it was also properly intergrated with the Start Menu as groups would show up in both. When I upgraded from 3.1 -> 95, it even gave you the option to continue using progman (it would launch full screen, with the start menu still visible).

        --
        Still always moving
    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Horse With Stripes on Wednesday June 04 2014, @11:27AM

      by Horse With Stripes (577) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @11:27AM (#51030)

      If the spontaneous closure of the Start menu was the reason they eliminated it I would think that their stable of software engineers could have figured out how to address that issue.

      If having the Start menu was an option built into Windows 8 then this wouldn't be such an ongoing issue for the last year and a half. If people like the Start screen then they should use it. For those who don't they end up finding an alternative and complaining about how Windows 8 took it away from them.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by emg on Wednesday June 04 2014, @04:07PM

        by emg (3464) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @04:07PM (#51172)

        You don't get it. Without the 'Start Screen', people wouldn't use Metro apps, so no-one would write Metro apps, so there'd be no apps for Windows Phone, so no-one would buy Windows phones.

        Microsoft threw the desktop under a bus to try to gain market share in phones. They won't go back and change that just because actual Windows users hate it. It's not as though Window 8 has much market share on the desktop, anyway.

        • (Score: 2) by Horse With Stripes on Wednesday June 04 2014, @05:08PM

          by Horse With Stripes (577) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @05:08PM (#51225)

          I do get it. I was simply addressing the OP's main complaint the Start menu. Windows 8, aka Steve B's Franken Child, tried and failed to force a completely redefined user experience on everybody (enterprise included) because they thought it would jump start their sorry assed phone sales. It was an Epic fail. I'm willing to bet the negative response that Windows 8 got on computers affected the sales of Windows Phone. "I hate this. Who would want a phone like this?"

          The dual personality of "sometimes you have to be in Metro (though we claim we never called it Metro), but other times you have to be in 'desktop mode' ..." was poorly thought out and the implementation was even worse. When I read or hear that I just need to use one of Windows 8's 'Charms' I can only respond "What charm? Windows 8 doesn't have any charm."

          Yes, I get it.

        • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Wednesday June 04 2014, @07:09PM

          by Grishnakh (2831) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @07:09PM (#51302)

          It's also not like desktop users are going to switch to something besides Windows.

          • (Score: 2) by frojack on Wednesday June 04 2014, @07:33PM

            by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 04 2014, @07:33PM (#51312) Journal

            That is already happening, and the Windows 8 user interface is as responsible for that as anything else.

            Windows loss is Apple's gain [appleinsider.com], and they are making significant inroads into the ever shrinking desktop market.

            --
            No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
          • (Score: 3, Interesting) by emg on Wednesday June 04 2014, @07:44PM

            by emg (3464) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @07:44PM (#51317)

            We've switched to Linux, though I keep one Windows machine around for games and another for iTunes. I know other people who've switched to Macs, and others who used to use Windows laptops but now use iPads or Android tablets.

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by frojack on Wednesday June 04 2014, @07:27PM

          by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 04 2014, @07:27PM (#51308) Journal

          Without the 'Start Screen', people wouldn't use Metro apps,

          Exactly. The start screen wasn't where microsoft WANTED to be for mainstream use of the windows platform. It was a bolt-on wag-the-dog tool used to gain traction in the portable market.

          Virtually all Windows managers in the Linux/Unix world still have some form of a start menu, although its usually better organized, grouping applications by functionality rather than manufacturers.

          Why? because it just makes sense.

          Once you get past your rebellious teen age years, you no longer floor sort your toys or tools. Once you get beyond a couple screens full of icons, you can't find anything, (yes you can organize those monster icons somewhat, but it is still a mess, and still slow as hell, using a screen full of icons). Might work for small touch screens, but it fails progressively as screen size increases.

          --
          No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Horse With Stripes on Wednesday June 04 2014, @11:21AM

    by Horse With Stripes (577) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @11:21AM (#51025)

    I have to say I am just a bit perplexed by Microsoft's short sightedness in all this. The Start menu was such an integral part of their UI for so long. How can they think there won't need to be a transition period? Windows 7's search box on the Start menu was a good first step, but eliminating the Start menu in Windows 8 was too soon. Windows 9 could have been a further step, with Windows 10 being the first without it.

    The few times I've had to use Windows 8 I never know where the text is that I'm typing when I'm trying to find something on the Start screen. People are visual animals, Microsoft. Many home users are hunt & peck typists who need to see what they are typing.

    And please, please tell me how they could miss such a softball opportunity to declare "We listen to our users. We care about what they want!" Simply making it an easily accessible option - even if off by default - wouldn't have been backtracking or giving up ground on their 'vision' for Windows' future. There are plenty of options for getting a Start menu if you really want one, which should be enough of an indication to Microsoft that they misjudged this. There have been so many mistakes by so many tech companies in so many products that this situation would have been long forgotten if they had just realized it needed to be addressed when the initial WTF? feedback started coming in.

    Apple never had the dependency on the Apple Menu that Windows has, but it's still there even after their many forays into what they thought was a better approach to having everything at the users' fingertips.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by NullPtr on Wednesday June 04 2014, @12:08PM

      by NullPtr (3786) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @12:08PM (#51051) Journal

      Microsoft got there first, and stayed there a long time, and not by listening to people. Now, like Apple in their post-Jobs phase, their power and market share is waning in the face of better and cheaper alternatives. Outlook 2013 is the same; the screen is almost entirely white, with harsh, soviet upper case text. There's no way to change any of this, as you'll observe as you google for ways of making it look like the last version of Outlook, or however you'd like it to look. Microsoft has learned precisely the wrong lesson from Apple here.

      • (Score: 4, Funny) by LookIntoTheFuture on Wednesday June 04 2014, @12:37PM

        by LookIntoTheFuture (462) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @12:37PM (#51061)

        "Outlook 2013 is the same; the screen is almost entirely white, with harsh, soviet upper case text."

        I think Microsoft has officially jumped the shark.

        HOME!!! SEND/RECEIVE!!! FOLDER!!! VIEW!!! PUKE!!!

        • (Score: 2) by emg on Wednesday June 04 2014, @04:13PM

          by emg (3464) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @04:13PM (#51180)

          Lower case letters confuse users. They must be eliminated at all costs.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @05:06PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @05:06PM (#51221)

            Considering how many don't use capitalization, I think it is the other way around. No wonder grandma can't understand newer versions!

        • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Wednesday June 04 2014, @07:12PM

          by Grishnakh (2831) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @07:12PM (#51303)

          It's not just Outlook and other MS applications; Foxit Reader also has the Soviet appearance.

          • (Score: 1) by tftp on Wednesday June 04 2014, @08:22PM

            by tftp (806) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @08:22PM (#51337) Homepage

            Foxit Reader also has the Soviet appearance.

            There is an easy option to revert back to the sane interface. Foxit Software is in no position to [c]ram their products into throats of helpless users.

      • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Wednesday June 04 2014, @07:15PM

        by Grishnakh (2831) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @07:15PM (#51304)

        their power and market share is waning in the face of better and cheaper alternatives.

        What "better and cheaper alternatives" are you talking about? Just sticking with older versions of Windows?

        Mac isn't cheaper than Windows by a long shot. Linux is better and cheaper, but no one's using it. Sure, I can find fellow Linux desktop users online, but I've never actually met any in real life with a few very rare exceptions. In fact, it seems like most of the "geeks" who used to be big Linux proponents have switched over to Mac for their desktop OS.

        • (Score: 1) by NullPtr on Thursday June 05 2014, @12:27PM

          by NullPtr (3786) on Thursday June 05 2014, @12:27PM (#51627) Journal

          Mobile, and just sticking with XP or windows 7. I know very few people (excluding developers here) who've replaced old desktops (that'll never happen). Some have replaced laptops with a cheaper one, or a netbook but most are happy to use a smartphone or a tablet. Certainly from a security point of view it's obviously much safer to do banking, shopping etc on a mobile. I don't know a single mobile user who misses having windows. I don't know any non-technical people who use a mac, either. I've set a few people up with Linux, though, given that it is finally good enough to use on the desktop. Sure, they'll upgrade from the (still perfectly functional) XP when their computer dies, but trying to convince people that their perfectly functional computer needs a new OS at the cost of several hundred pounds and potentially it won't even run on their computer because "it is ending support" ("whatever the hell that means") is a joke when you think about what else you can do with the money (including, but not limited to, buying the best part of a perfectly good replacement tablet).

          • (Score: 2) by urza9814 on Friday June 06 2014, @12:27AM

            by urza9814 (3954) on Friday June 06 2014, @12:27AM (#51985) Journal

            My mother isn't at all technical. She's tried everything to get off the desktop -- she's got a Kindle, an old Linux Dell netbook, and most recently an iPad. And guess what? She *still* uses the ancient, 10+ year old Dell desktop. Not for everything, but it's still essential even for her. Primarily for two reasons:

            1) There's not a single app or Linux tool that can handle her investments the way she currently does with MS Money 2000.

            2) There's no way to print from an iPad that she can set up herself. I'm a thousand miles away; she's got an iPad-compatible wireless printer now but it's probably gonna be a few months before I can get down there to set that up for her.

            Of course, you're right that she's just sticking with that ancient XP desktop for now...but the performance on that thing wasn't great when we got it, and it's absolutely abysmal now. Anti-virus software alone makes it damn near unusable, takes five or ten minutes just to launch a web browser. I'm probably gonna have to figure out a way to run MS Money 2000 through Wine or something and set her up with a cheap Linux desktop in another year or two...although actually if I put Linux on it that desktop would probably still be alright. And now I'm wondering why I never did that earlier -- probably because my dad was still using it for his iTunes at the time though, and maybe some IE-only websites -- it's been a while!

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by darthservo on Wednesday June 04 2014, @02:13PM

      by darthservo (2423) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @02:13PM (#51092)

      It reminds me of a recent forum post I read on Opera. When Opera decided to gut their browser and opt for a Chromium engine, they also stripped a number of features - one of these was bookmarks. According to the post in the forums, it was because Opera found that out of users who participated in the usage reports, 90% of them didn't use bookmarks. Their reasoning was that if only 10% of those users utilized bookmarks then it wasn't an important feature to include. After enough people raised issue, they have been half-baking 'bookmarks' into new releases.

      My guess with Windows 8 and the Start Menu is that Microsoft did something similar - "See! The stats! People only really use $N programs and want to search!! Squares are great!!" I think these usage reports need to be taken with a grain of salt - what kind of demographic opt-in to these usage reports in the first place and do they really represent the majority of your user base?

      It seems as if more companies are adopting a 'less is more' approach in efforts to appeal to a wider audience (hmm...there's a website in there somewhere). It also seems that this can be hit or miss, with seemingly more misses as of recent. However, this trend could simply be in a tick-tock cycle. (Let's hope)

      But I'm acclimated to the Start Menu. It seems like it's that pool that's cold until you get your shoulders under the water, but even then it's not entirely cozy. It still has some quirks, but mostly it was a matter of familiarizing myself with a new layout. It was much more visually jarring until they included the option to match the desktop background, which I personally found helped significantly. The reason I got acclimated to it was because the features (programs, search, organization) of the start menu are still there just presented differently - if they took something out in some way, it would be a different story. But if they dropped it in favor of a classic Start Menu with Windows 9, I certainly wouldn't miss it.

      There are still some other things about the Win 8 UI that drive me nuts. Things like the wifi-manager being restricted to a Metro interface - it may work for most cases, but in others (I can't change the password in a known wifi network?) less is definitely not more. And I still can't understand why user-account tasks (change picture, lock, log out) is located in the top-right, but the original (and still true for tablets) shut down "setting" is in the bottom-right and after a preliminary swipe and a tap.

      --
      "Good judgment seeks balance and progress. Lack of it eventually finds imbalance and frustration." - Dwight D Eisenhower
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by emg on Wednesday June 04 2014, @04:44PM

        by emg (3464) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @04:44PM (#51210)

        Most users of clue disable any 'usage reports', so the only data they get is from users who don't know how to turn them off and, hence, probably don't know what bookmarks are either.

        Still, good to know I don't need to consider replacing Firefox with Opera, if the developers are that dumb.

      • (Score: 2) by LoRdTAW on Wednesday June 04 2014, @06:41PM

        by LoRdTAW (3755) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @06:41PM (#51290) Journal

        I'm guessing the stats show that most people just click the blue e icon thingy to get to MSN/Google/Yahoo/AOL which to them is THE internet. So the start menu is mostly useless. That or they save everything to the desktop. Either way, they made the start menu the new desktop.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by VLM on Wednesday June 04 2014, @12:31PM

    by VLM (445) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @12:31PM (#51058)

    I never fail to be amazed at how the same brains that hold the idea "linux isn't ready for the desktop because the hue of blue in the copy of the UI is slighly pale" can be held in the same brain as "oh well windows got rid of the start menu and its all ribbons now so we'll just all have to retrain ourselves on our own time no problem"

    This isn't a recent thing BTW. The difference between windows versions has historically always been much larger than the difference between contemporary linux and windows desktops, which has been comical for like 20 years now.

    • (Score: 2) by Sir Garlon on Wednesday June 04 2014, @01:28PM

      by Sir Garlon (1264) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @01:28PM (#51074)

      The difference between windows versions has historically always been much larger than the difference between contemporary linux and windows desktops

      Maybe if you've stuck with Gnome 2. If you look at Ubuntu's change from Gnome to Unity, or whatever the hell the KDE developers did to me back a few years ago (was it version 3? Whatever -- the one without icons or menus or help or documentation) you might reconsider that statement. Migrating from Windows to Gnome 2 is a small step, sure. Migrating from Windows to Unity is WTF?

      Both Windows and Linux developers have a bad habit of fixing UIs that aren't broken for unexplained reasons. The difference is that Windows users are yet not so beaten down by years of abuse that they have given up resistance.

      --
      [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.
      • (Score: 3, Informative) by Vanderhoth on Wednesday June 04 2014, @02:18PM

        by Vanderhoth (61) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @02:18PM (#51094)

        The difference is that Windows users are yet not so beaten down by years of abuse that they have given up resistance.

        Wait, What?
        How does that make any sense?

        Do you know what happens when someone does something to a Linux distro that most of their users don't like? They fork it and start a new distro.

        Like Ubuntu up to where Unity was forced? Switch to any number of desktop environments Gnome, KED, XFCE. Or change OS altogether Fedora, Gentoo, SUSE, Linux Mint, then decide if you'd prefer it with MATE or Cinnamon. Or fork it yourself and get what you want all of these options are *free*.

        Like Windows up to where they completely screwed the pooch with Vista, then keep using XP till they don't support it and get forced to *pay* to upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8. Going to windows 7 only delays the inevitable of having to pay ***again*** to upgrade to another version that still forces you into something you don't want. We hear a lot of whining from Windows users, but none of them actually do anything about it, those that do actually do something about it are the ones that move to Linux.

        If anyone is "beaten down" by bad decisions it's windows users because they have the attitude of, "Waaa I don't like it!!", but then use it anyway. Where as Linux users have the, "Waaa I don't like it!!" change to something else that does what they want or start their own fork.

        --
        "Now we know", "And knowing is half the battle". -G.I. Joooooe
        • (Score: 2) by Sir Garlon on Wednesday June 04 2014, @05:59PM

          by Sir Garlon (1264) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @05:59PM (#51258)

          You're right; you've made me re-assess the difference. I now realize that the difference between Windows users and Linux users is that when the Windows user gets screwed over by the developer changing a usable UI into an unusable one, other Windows users don't try to tell him he has no right to complain.

          --
          [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.
          • (Score: 2) by Vanderhoth on Wednesday June 04 2014, @06:47PM

            by Vanderhoth (61) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @06:47PM (#51291)

            I can agree with that statement.

            Window users are much more of a "There, there my fellow windower. I feel your pain, and know there's nothing we can do to fill the aching whole in our hearts. I shall suffer loudly with you my brother!! We shall be unavenged!"

            Where as Linux users are more like "STFU and fix it yourself or get a new distor!"

            Both OSes have their ups and downs, but the cultures are very different. Windows is made up of more common uses that just generally accept what is being done is in their best interest and MS being a faceless corp. has no interest in them. Sure windows users will put up a stink for awhile, but eventually we (I use windows at work) just accept there's nothing we can do about it and just use what MS says we will use.

            Linux on the other hand offers a huge variety of choice, but the constant bickering over what is *the best* distro or DE or WM can get under ones skin. They're all good, it's just a matter of what you want to do with them. And you do always have the option to switch to some other distro, DE or WM if you don't like what the devs are doing, or fork it yourself and do what you want. Not to say we (I use Ubuntu and Linux Mint at home) don't complain, but there really isn't a reason *to* complain. If Shuttleworth is forcing Unity on Ubuntu users, all they have to do is sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop, restart and select KED as the desktop, or just download and install Linux Mint. It's free you just have to invest a couple hours (if you don't know what you're doing) to install it.

            --
            "Now we know", "And knowing is half the battle". -G.I. Joooooe
      • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Wednesday June 04 2014, @04:49PM

        by Thexalon (636) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @04:49PM (#51213)

        Both Windows and Linux developers have a bad habit of fixing UIs that aren't broken for unexplained reasons.

        The reasons are very easy to explain:
        1. Change for change's sake creates an "Ooh, shiny!" effect on people who don't have to actually use the damn thing. Seriously, I've seen changes like "The website used to be a blue color scheme, now we flipped the CSS to be green" or vice versa make management types gush and throw 5-figure sums at the vendor who did it.

        2. UI designers gain reputation and career by changing things, whether or not that change was warranted. Think about it, which would look better on a resume: "- Designed new Windows tab-based UI" or "- Successfully tweaked the Start menu to be slightly easier to use"?

        None of this has to do with the benefits to the users, but who cares about them?

        --
        The inverse of "I told you so" is "Nobody could have predicted"
    • (Score: 2) by mhajicek on Wednesday June 04 2014, @02:26PM

      by mhajicek (51) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @02:26PM (#51098)

      I've been using MS since '81, and have never tried Linux. I have an AMD 8 core 4GHz that I'm considering adding another hdd to for a Linux boot; what flavor should I choose?

      • (Score: 2) by Vanderhoth on Wednesday June 04 2014, @03:14PM

        by Vanderhoth (61) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @03:14PM (#51126)

        Depends on what you want it for and you're user level.

        I'd recommend either Ubuntu or Linux Mint to anyone that's never used Linux before and just wants something to get started with. They're the easiest, IMHO, to get up and running and both have nice "app stores" or "software centers" where you can quickly find and install most of the application/games you might want without using the command line.

        If you're a more advance user, like the command line and want something for actual work Xbuntu might be more of what you want, or even straight up Debian or Arch Linux.

        --
        "Now we know", "And knowing is half the battle". -G.I. Joooooe
        • (Score: 2) by urza9814 on Friday June 06 2014, @12:46AM

          by urza9814 (3954) on Friday June 06 2014, @12:46AM (#51990) Journal

          Just want to note -- if he wants to try Arch, he should probably start with Antergos.

          Standard Arch not only has no GUI when you first boot up...it doesn't even have an installer anymore. The "installer" disk is just a command-line live CD and the only kind of "installer" provided is a shell script to create the initial filesystem. Which is great when you want to REALLY know all the details of your system...but a pain in the ass otherwise. Antergos is basically JUST a nice installer for Arch. It'll get you up to speed immediately with sane defaults, a GUI, the absolute latest packages, but once it's installed it's really just standard Arch.

          I'm a die-hard Arch user myself...but even I ended up going with Antergos on my latest install. The reason being that I like keeping my hard drives encrypted, and I had a somewhat more complicated setup with two drives, one being an SSD, and Arch revised their wiki pretty heavily on how to set that up. So I'm sitting there digging through the wiki to figure out what tweaks I'll need with this new setup, and the full page on encrypted disks is *huge*...I forget exactly what problem I was having, but as some point I realized that it was all pretty fuckin' moronic and had the full install done in about thirty minutes once I decided to go download Antergos.

          • (Score: 2) by Vanderhoth on Friday June 06 2014, @10:40AM

            by Vanderhoth (61) on Friday June 06 2014, @10:40AM (#52156)

            Good to know, I've never installed Arch. I used it briefly on someone else's machine so I wasn't aware of the installer requirements. It seemed like a great OS for doing a lot of heavy computational work. He was using it for data crunching for ocean models.

            --
            "Now we know", "And knowing is half the battle". -G.I. Joooooe
      • (Score: 2) by bucc5062 on Wednesday June 04 2014, @03:33PM

        by bucc5062 (699) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @03:33PM (#51141)

        I agree with Vanderhoth and stress the Linux Mint Distro. You have a choice of "looks" from Gnome, KDE, XFCE and it comes out of the box pretty easy with later ability to tweak. Kind of like a tiptronic shift where you can do nothing, tap, or go full monty. I use to use Ubuntu till Unity came out. Fora while I tried various Distros (Fedora, SuSe), but settled on Mint for its easy. I've been a solid MS consumer (I develop on Windows VS) for ages so I know where you are coming from in taking a look.

        --
        The more things change, the more they look the same
      • (Score: 2) by VLM on Wednesday June 04 2014, @04:31PM

        by VLM (445) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @04:31PM (#51195)

        "and have never tried Linux"

        I'd call shenanigans its 2014, and hasn't been 1994 for a long time.

        None the less the most striking observation is windows and OS tightly marry the GUI/desktop environment and the OS. The idea that you would be "permitted" on "your" computer to have an experience that looks like XP with osx under the hood is utterly unthinkable in fact its a thought crime with those people.

        Given that background, there are two linux groups, one which tries to push the same outlook on life in linux, where "their little OS" will only and forever exclusively support Gnome (or kde) for no apparent reason other than they hate our freedom. The other group, Debian and a bunch of others, "permits" you to run whatever GUI/WM/DE you want on top of your OS. How nice of them.

        So you're better off installing Debian, which from a technical standpoint is surely the most superior OS of them all, and then experiment with any or all of the GUI/WM/DE until you find the best personal fit.

        • (Score: 2) by urza9814 on Friday June 06 2014, @12:48AM

          by urza9814 (3954) on Friday June 06 2014, @12:48AM (#51993) Journal

          So you're better off installing Debian, which from a technical standpoint is surely the most superior OS of them all

          When did Debian switch to rolling release? ;)

          • (Score: 1) by hendrikboom on Saturday June 07 2014, @04:46PM

            by hendrikboom (1125) on Saturday June 07 2014, @04:46PM (#52660) Homepage Journal

            If I understand the term correctly, Debian testing and sid have always been rolling releases. New stuff appears as soon as it is ready. I update my Debian system at least weekly.

            Debain stable is another matter.

            -- hendrik

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by ancientt on Wednesday June 04 2014, @06:31PM

        by ancientt (40) <ancientt@yahoo.com> on Wednesday June 04 2014, @06:31PM (#51281) Homepage Journal

        There are many, many opinions on that. There are hundreds of options and every one of them has someone who is passionate about it. I've personally tried to use about a dozen or so for extended periods and what I would recommend today is different than what I recommended five years ago. I set my girlfriend up with Ubuntu when we started dating and she liked it and later I set up Mint as a replacement and she liked it as well. She married me last year so I think Mint is at least not bad enough to end relationships. It is what I'm currently using and so I'd recommend it first.

        If you just want to stick your toe in to test the waters, there are lots of CDs you can run off of without needing to do an actual install. I like Slax best for a nothing much but pretty snappy option. I created custom Slax installs for some kiosks and it is easy enough to use that the office is generally happy using it.

        Other people will recommend Fedora, OpenSuse, Ubuntu and Debian for novices, or branch into BSDs and suggest PCBSD or FreeBSD. There are some others that are better for people, even novices, with a particular niche of preferred usage, like Scientific Linux for people who work in math and science. The good news is that no matter what you choose, there is probably a way to get any distro to do something you like from a different one, with varying degrees of required effort.

        You asked using the word "flavor" which I more commonly associate with people comfortable with Unix. I like Unix a lot and have used Xenix, OpenSuse, Solaris, AIX and (shudder) SCO. You might be interested in Oracle Solaris or illumos if you want real Unix or consider one of the BSDs if you just want something that works like Unix. Typically Unix and very Unix-ish distributions aren't as friendly to novices, but some of the documentation on Unix beats everything I've seen in Linux.

        --
        This post brought to you by Database Barbie
        • (Score: 2) by mhajicek on Saturday June 07 2014, @03:39PM

          by mhajicek (51) on Saturday June 07 2014, @03:39PM (#52646)

          I'd postulate that the overwhelming number of options and opinions is a large detriment to the adoption rate of Linux by Windows users. That said, these comments have been informative, and I've decided to try Mint on VirtualBox. Thanks!

      • (Score: 1) by codermotor on Wednesday June 04 2014, @07:28PM

        by codermotor (166) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @07:28PM (#51309)

        I smell ambush.

        • (Score: 2) by Yog-Yogguth on Friday June 06 2014, @04:24PM

          by Yog-Yogguth (1862) Subscriber Badge on Friday June 06 2014, @04:24PM (#52302) Journal

          Indeed, there are roaming packs of greybeards and neckbeards in sight, this could get ugly fast (someone even started talking Unix! And do not mention the e-word), better grip your computer tight and be prepared to run :D

          --
          Bite harder Ouroboros, bite! tails.boum.org/ linux USB CD secure desktop IRC *crypt tor (not endorsements (XKeyScore))
      • (Score: 2) by Yog-Yogguth on Friday June 06 2014, @04:10PM

        by Yog-Yogguth (1862) Subscriber Badge on Friday June 06 2014, @04:10PM (#52297) Journal

        Try any, if you don't like it try another one. People like different things and all that. Better to have a second small computer & monitor or to use a virtual machine (you have plenty of cores so that should be no issue) than to do dual booting. I think VirtualBox [virtualbox.org] for a Windows host should do well for installing for example Linux Mint as a virtual client but since I don't really have any Windows I haven't tried it (but it really ought to work, it's precisely the kind of thing it's made for). It will also work the other way around (having Linux as the host and Windows as the virtual client) if you have real Windows installation media, but check closely before you do that and maybe get specific advice in relevant forums etc..

        If you want a separate machine I'd choose a cheap laptop (possibly a 2nd hand one these days since I'm not at all interested in touchscreens) and Linux Mint. I would try to find information on the net about the laptop and any Linux experiences people have had before buying anything but if the laptop is a few years old (maybe as much as 4) then pretty much any issue ought to be resolved. One can splurge on all kinds of "certified" Linux-ready machines if one has the money but there's little need to.

        If you can test the machine before buying then a USB thumbdrive is your friend (instructions [linuxmint.com] old page but still the valid one in this example). That's also an easy way to install. It will function as a LiveCD and won't install anything unless you tell it to but it also won't keep any changes, it's just a test run unless you install it or do other stuff. If everything works fine you're ready to buy and install straight away. Possible issues might be things such as the sound, WiFi, or card readers but these are examples of old issues and even newer issues like with some Intel on-board graphic chips have been solved for a while now. If there are any new issues (I don't currently know of any but I haven't bought a new machine recently) I'd say they are likely to be solved within a year at most (but there's no need to buy anything like that).

        There might be people you know who use Linux or who don't mind you testing a USB thumbdrive on their machines as long as you don't install anything, you might even be able to try it at work or school or simply random shops. You might live in a place that has a Linux User Group (LUG) (use your favourite search engine for '"linux user group" + placename') or similar.

        --
        Bite harder Ouroboros, bite! tails.boum.org/ linux USB CD secure desktop IRC *crypt tor (not endorsements (XKeyScore))
        • (Score: 2) by mhajicek on Saturday June 07 2014, @03:35PM

          by mhajicek (51) on Saturday June 07 2014, @03:35PM (#52644)

          This is useful. Just grabbed Virtualbox. Thanks!

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Marand on Wednesday June 04 2014, @12:50PM

    by Marand (1081) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @12:50PM (#51065) Journal

    Microsoft's operating systems group has decided to hold off on delivering a Microsoft-developed Start Menu until Threshold, the next "major" release of Windows.

    Of course they're going to wait. If they made Windows 8 users happy by adding a proper start menu in a free update, there wouldn't be enough incentive for the poor sods that got it with a new PC to pay for an OS upgrade.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @03:00PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @03:00PM (#51118)

      They are waiting to see what happens with the Chromebooks being sold in Staples, Walmart, Best Buy, etc., and then they'll try to copy it and claim they did it first.

    • (Score: 1) by WillR on Wednesday June 04 2014, @03:26PM

      by WillR (2012) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @03:26PM (#51136)
      Not to mention there's a project manager somewhere in Redmond who has an interest in making sure Win8 is remembered as a complete UI disaster, because (s)he expects to be in charge of Win9 and wants it to look as good as possible in comparison. Poaching the new start menu from 8.2 would be a huge advantage there...
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @01:24PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @01:24PM (#51071)

    The plan all along seemed to be to split Windows between a Metro-only OEM version for Wal-Mart and Office Depot consumer PCs, and a "Legacy" business version that would run traditional WinAPI apps. The idea was to monetize their captive installed base by providing a bunch of Metro apps that only work with MS back-end web sites. I figured this out when I discovered how hard it was to create a local account on a Win8 install. It's possible, but the idea is to force you to create a Bing online account. There were too many WinAPI packages out there to just force Metro on OEM users from day 1, but the plan behind the split-personality of Win8 was clearly to separate the market.

    I don't think MS has given up, either. Recently they announced a Bing-only OEM version of Win8 which is part of the same plan.

    Look for Win9 to come in two flavors: A Metro-only consumer edition which forces you to log in to MS's online services and play in their walled garden, and a really expensive business "legacy" edition that will run WinAPI apps (something consumers could never afford, but with deep discounts for corporations). What they want to do is capture the value of data mining for their captive audience of Windows users. They're trying to squeeze profits out of them.

    • (Score: 2) by emg on Wednesday June 04 2014, @04:10PM

      by emg (3464) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @04:10PM (#51176)

      I wouldn't be surprised if that's an Evil Plan hatched somewhere in Redmond, but who's going to buy a Windows PC if it can't run Windows apps? There's no reason for anyone to buy a PC which can only run Metro apps, when they could buy an Android tablet, a Chromebook, an iPad, or a Mac instead.

      • (Score: 2, Funny) by MajorTom on Wednesday June 04 2014, @08:14PM

        by MajorTom (2246) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @08:14PM (#51336)

        He didn't say it was a good plan...

    • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Wednesday June 04 2014, @04:42PM

      by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <mcasadevall@soylentnews.org> on Wednesday June 04 2014, @04:42PM (#51206) Homepage Journal

      This already exists today. See Windows RT which does almost exactly this (Office is a "legacy" app, but its the only thing that uses the Desktop; my mom bought an RT tablet which let me get a good look at the damn thing).

      From the jailbreaking threads, people have discovered the same functionality exists with Windows 8 today; you can enable it with a debugger and setting a specific value in kernel memory which enforces signature checking.

      --
      Still always moving