As I was reading through my RSS feeds today I noticed some posts about the new windows, windows 7!

Ref:

I decided to read something about it as I was eager to find out how they would mess it up this time :-)

Well, here’s what I think:

First of all, from what I read in those posts, I can say: damn, still not any better?? It seems they built windows 7 from a Vista basis… Thus, how could windows 7 be any better ‘architecture wise’ ?? I thought they would have been smarter than that, and they would maybe finally have the courage to start more or less from ‘scratch’ looking at their o so bloated MONOLITHIC kernel for starters… But no… It seems they just ‘enhanced’ their shitty code…

I quote (from the arstechnica article):

While windows 7 doesn’t undo these architectural changes—they were essential for the long-term health of the platform—it equally hasn’t made any more. Any hardware or software that works with Windows Vista should also work correctly with Windows 7, so unlike the transition from XP to Vista, the transition from Vista to 7 won’t show any regressions; nothing that used to work will stop working. arstechnica.com

Enough about this, I think you can find dozens of articles that talk about the bad windows kernel etc etc so let’s just talk about what they DID change, and what kind of innovative stuff they came up with. Keep in mind: this is not an article summing up all the nice features etc etc, if you want that kind of article read one of the sources I read, this is a blog post telling you my point of view about some of the features…

Widgets, Peeking, and the ‘hot corner’ peek function

Instead of the space-wasting sidebar that we saw in Windows Vista, the widgets just float/roam around your desktop in windows 7, this is a good thing! Good Job Microsoft, it seems they suddenly hired people who think (I’m sorry, I’m getting a bit harsh I guess). A feature they showed of with at their demo is called peek, it consists of moving your mouse to a so called hot corner to have all your windows become see-through so that you can peek at your widgets… Very innovative Microsoft! Beryl had this kind of feature from day 1, and how long ago is it beryl came out? Well, the oldest release I can find is from 2006, as you can see here, placing linux/beryl roughly 2 years ahead of microsoft on this ‘invention’.

I’m obviously skipping the lead innovator on the UI market, being Apple, they had a widget layer and functionality far before the linux/windows guys were thinking about this concept. About Apple, and the way they use widgets, v.s. Microsoft and the way they will be using widgets in Windows 7, I do have a remark for Wilson Rothman and what he wrote.

I cite:

Now when you add gadgets, they stack up on the right, but you are at liberty to put them wherever you want, and they’re always there, hiding under your windows. This is an idea I wish Apple would incorporate too. Speaking of Apple and things hiding under windows, there’s an upcoming "peek" feature that I will show below in the up-coming section. gizmodo.com

I do not see what he is getting at here… Ok, Apple’s widgets might not be visible on the desktop while minimizing every possible window you have open, but their widget layer allows you to open it with the quick <F9> shortcut (correct me if I’m wrong) making it possible to quickly peek at your widgets at any possible moment. Their approach is different from the windows or beryl approach for that matter, but I can not see why one approach would be better then the other?

B.t.w. beryl’s approach (which is now replaced by the compiz project) has a very configurable approach making it possible to use hot corners AND shortcuts like <F9> to keep everybody happy! (Oh boy, do i love open source :-))

If anyone can explain me what Wilson Rothman was getting at, please do???

Conclusion? Not that impressive if you ask me..

2. New window management features

I cite:

In recognition of the fact that people tend only to use one or two windows concurrently, 7 makes organizing windows quicker and easier. Dragging a window to the top of the screen maximizes it automatically.

and

Dragging a window to the left or right edge of the screen resizes the window so that it takes 50% of the screen. With this, a pair of windows can be quickly docked to each screen edge to facilitate interaction between them.

I can see why this feature can maximize productivity for some people and enhance productiveness for daily tasks, BUT may I add? Because it is not clear to me… I REALLY HOPE that this feature will be configurable as I would find it rather annoying that windows would be automatically maximized when dragging them to the top of my screen… How about when I was organizing multiple putty windows to be able to read from one, and type into the other? I could decide to place one at the top of my screen and one below, then next to them a couple more, imagine trying to move one to the top and it would automatically maximize every time you come a little to close to the top… Hope you keep that in mind Microsoft!

3. Streamlined tray windows, making life easier…

Finally!!!11!! They have used their super brains!!! No… seriously… why wasn’t this kind of feature implemented earlier? Come on people… Does the gnome NetworkManager ring a bell? Around for how long now?

..

Not impressive…

4. Last points:

They have also changed the taskbar quite a bit, but I actually haven’t got anything to say about it… It works… It looks ok… It should work for most people… But I shall not abandon my linux based system in which I can customize my startmenu, taskmanager, dock, whatever I would like to use for an OS that will only restrict my freedom(oops, wasn’t planning on releasing that side of me).

My overall conclusion:

Yes, for the UI part of Windows these are quite nice and quite new features… If you only know of windows… Not for people who are used to operating systems like debian/ubuntu/… Nothing new then… No, for the UI part of Windows IT IS NOT VERY INNOVATIVE if you compare it to other OS’es… No, I do not believe this will be a lot better then previous windows versions in terms of:

  • Stability
  • Memory consumption
  • Kernel

Lets use a good saying to end: “Eerst zien, dan geloven!” would be something like “See first, then believe!” in English I guess…

/dev/out