So I was getting itchy over the whole Windows 10 builds and the many screenshots so I thought, “maybe I should give this a go, maybe it’ll feel differently once I actually use it hands on to give it a fair evaluation” so I did a clean install by restoring an ISO to a flash drive along with the drivers provided by Apple. Putting aside any possible issues with the drivers, battery life etc. I evaluated it solely on the user interface with things such as speed, responsiveness being not only subjective but dependent upon the quality and maturity of the drivers and the fact that it is a beta build but keeping that in mind Windows 10 is still riddled with lots of inconsistencies which I doubt area going to be addressed.
The reason I believe these aren’t going to be addressed is because it would require a lot more work than I think Microsoft has time for particularly when you consider the various frameworks that each of the applications utilise – even then what I’ve seen with the applications that have been ‘modernised’ they seem to have recycled a whole heap of code resulting in a thin veneer of ‘modern’ when in reality nothing really has changed. The GUI inconsistencies are born out of the different frameworks employed and the amount of work required to bring every aspect of Windows in line would take years not to mention the untold number of applications that might break in the process of modernising it all. Why does it matter – even now compare an explorer window to other applications and it is all out of whack – text in various applications are unreadable, the installer is broken on high resolution screens (and still circa Windows Vista ‘look and feel’), mismatch of different common controls and dialogues with each application compiled against a different version. It is just a big giant mess.
One can’t predict the future with any certainty but past behaviour is a good indictor of future outcomes – Windows Vista, 7, 8 and 8.1 when they were being developed I had much hope that they would ‘smooth things out’ but when they were released it was the same mishmash of different UI ideas and nothing done to standardise everything on the same page. The problem is that for 20 years Microsoft has just flung shit against the wall without any sort of co-ordinated approach to making sure that as they improved their frameworks they did nothing to upgrade their bundled applications going forward. For example, Microsoft make use of ‘Microsoft Foundation Classes’ ( link ) on which the Ribbon bar is based upon and MFC (and in turn the ribbon bar) are based on GDI – poor DPI scaling, no hardware acceleration and just plan old fashioned out of date and not optimised for the new hardware that now exists. Do I downgrade my experience to Windows 10 based on what might happen in the future or do I settle now for an ‘A’ grade experience from today.
Reading through a lot of the bitching and moaning there seems to be a sizeable number who just don’t get ‘it’ – always, and I mean always, do a clean install regardless of what a software promises about upgrades, smooth migrations and ‘don’t worry, it’s all taken care of’ promises that software vendors love to pull. The other problem is the failure to realise that some times code gets created based on a set of assumptions and some time down the line you have to replace it – mDNSResponder for example would have developed over 12 years ago – in that space of 12 years a lot has changed, developers have come and gone, the documentation wasn’t probably the best and thus Apple took the decision and replaced it with discoveryd. What do people want – Apple just to sit on 12 year old broken and unmaintainable code and hope that with a bit of duck tape the thing will keep ticking? As two ex-Apple developers noted in this recent show of Debug ( link ) I think people need to ‘calm the fuck down’ given that as long as you do a clean install of OS X followed by installing the latest updates the problems are being addressed and if Apple needs to replace something, as outlined in the audio I linked to, they’ve tested it as much as they can and either for ever hold it back or get it out there then address the issues as they arise in a expedited but professional manner.
When it comes to what is happening in the future, once the Watch is released then things will settle down and we’ll probably see some under the hood changes in 10.11 – 10.10 being the harmonisation and integration of iOS devices and OS X with some ends tied up with AV Foundation/AV Kit but this time around they’re probably going to focus on OpenGL, OpenCL, adding some more stuff to AV Foundation/AV Kit and further refinements and bug fixes. Looking forward to seeing WWDC 2015 and where things go with Swift and other technologies added in Yosemite.