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Week of 12 May 2007
Windows isn't dead but there's an awful stench of decay emanating from it.
- F Zapper
A while back a former consultant to this website forwarded a letter from a long time XPT user. Said user asked if there were any significant updates to the XPT in the past year. He pointed out that other companies such as McAfee and Norton were continually coming out with bug fixes and updates.
Our first reaction was 'RTFW' where the 'W' stands for 'website'. The stance of this website has been unequivocal and already almost ten years ago the site came out against the presence of Microsoft in the world of personal computing.
And there is nothing significant to add to the XPT because there are no bugs to fix and no enhancements to update and more importantly: the Windows platform is dead.
For the past seven years the focus has been on the vulnerability of Windows. From the Melissa worm through 'ILOVEOU' through Code Red and all the famous attacks it's been one battle after another with no end in sight.
Yet today - at least for the moment - things are calm and one doesn't hear so much about Windows malware outbreaks anymore. Instead the focus seems to have reverted to the system's 'usability'.
And in that regard users worldwide seem to have reached an agreement: take away the need for Gatling guns and kevlar and Stinger missiles and you have a system that's basically unusable anyway.
Now that the focus is on usability - and now that pundits are comparing usability on Windows with that on other platforms - and now that the same pundits are comparing Windows with other platforms feature for feature, Windows is losing out grandiosely as the sales statistics show.
Microsoft have done the best they can in making an essentially - and eternally - insecure system unfit for Internet use as safe as they can. And guess what's suffered as a result?
Prompts and popups and frozen screens and the incessant 'cancel or allow'... These things do not engender a mood of optimism in Windows users. The system may be slightly more secure today than before, but at what price? Because it's never going to be secured as a system is supposed to be secured, the user suffers. And there's no way around that.
Ubuntu is still on the rise; Apple are selling their Unix boxes at three times the rate of the Windows PC OEM industry; certainly these trends are significant of a sea change at last.
And the irony (if you will) is that this sea change is the result not of a realisation that the platform is hopeless but that the platform is basically unusable.
A fit cause or not, that seems to be the way things are going. Google march on to become the new Microsoft and Steve Ballmer is relegated to throwing furniture about his office in fits of temper and threatening his employees.
The writing's on the wall and it would appear personal computer users worldwide have spoken.