Bonum Certa Men Certa

After Creating the Compatibility Nightmare, Microsoft Calls for Preserving Older Games

Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission from the original

Microsoft has created a compatibility nightmare, but claims they “love” compatibility.

Both for gaming, and for applications in general, they have created a compatibility nightmare that continues growing by the minute.

On the consoles, they hopped between processor families (x86, PowerPC, then x86 again), came up with DRM schemes that publishers used, which caused Microsoft to give up and remove the emulator for their first XBOX console from the XBOX 360, and other disasters.

On the PC side, the situation is much worse. Windows doesn’t “evolve” so much as it turns into a bigger ball of crap. Then they sabotage an OS that clocks in at 70-80 GB anyway, by removing a few MB of compatibility DirectX 9 files and the console Editor.

(There’s a port of GNU Nano to Windows that you could use if you had to, but like most things, it’s better on GNU/Linux.)

Microsoft’s latest PC disaster is the divorce from Intel that’s sure to spark both companies suing each other when Microsoft tries to change to ARM. Intel openly threatened Microsoft previously (with patents), and Windows has been on ARM before and didn’t do well.

Even if there is an x86 emulator this time, emulators are slow and imperfect, and while they may run some crap Microsoft office program, video games that are currently breaking down due to minor changes Intel made on actual x86 CPUs (Denuvo) aren’t going to work properly.

Add it all up, and for digital preservation, Wine, DOSBox, and piracy are about all we have.

I doubt this is what Microsoft means when they say preservation though.

Microsoft is fully well aware that making transitions to GNU/Linux and Free Software as difficult as possible is the only thing holding back the flood gates of the consumer market abandoning them. That’s why they designed Direct3D 12 to not map cleanly to Vulkan, and why Valve is creating a new extension to Vulkan to overcome this.

The future of Windows gaming won’t be on Windows at all. Valve is sick of Microsoft’s compatibility messes too, because Windows being incompatible with itself hurts Valve’s ability to sell games and increases the costs of supporting their Steam customers with updates because something on Windows changed.

Valve knows that with Proton, they can make a profile for each game and it will keep working. Gamers who want a system that works instead of Windows adding poorer performance with bloat and compatibility hell should migrate.

Richard Stallman said that even if gamers play proprietary games on GNU/Linux, they’ll at least avoid the harm Windows would do to them.

Hell, even “Supersite for Windows” clown, Paul Thurrott, is really mad about Edge demanding to pop open all the time and said there should be legal action taken against Microsoft and that they are bloating it with stupid self-serving anti-features, which I mentioned previously. When Microsoft has him talking this way, you know they’ve blown it.

This aside, GNU/Linux has a lot more to offer than Windows gaming through Wine, and native titles. It emulates most of the major consoles that have come and gone throughout the years. Your original XBOX may have broken down years ago, but Xemu will just keep getting better.

In fact, Microsoft has managed to make Windows 100x bigger while breaking classic titles like Obsidian’s very well received Knights of the Old Republic I and II. But they work on an XBOX emulator.

There is absolutely no substitute for having a disc in your hand, or an ISO file, on a system that they can’t change and take away from you.

With DRM and the automatic updates backdoor, forced updates that break stuff, where they let you find out it sneaks nasty stuff in that they didn’t even mention, makes Windows 10 and “11” a polymorphic computer virus. There’s no compatibility here, no preservation. It’s all temporary.

Microsoft keeps rebuilding Skyrim and pushing those updates on Steam. The community on Reddit who liked the game before Bethesda was taken over now complain about the unnecessary Microsoft updates, which add more stuff that interferes with Wine and Proton (when the original binaries worked fine, and now you have to get them from a pirate if you want them!).

Users on Reddit report that they disable their Steam updates (at least they can do that if they HAD an older version already) to avoid having to go through broken mods and new dependencies on Windows Media Audio(!) and a recompile with Visual Studio 2019 that makes it work slower and breaks more things, because some mods hook into executables, and the binary offsets are now different.

(This is related to those Fallout 4 problems I had to hack around! Leave it to Microsoft to come back and make new Skyrim binaries that are worse than the ones from 2012.)

Microsoft can say whatever it wants to about loving “Linux” and wanting compatibility (even as they throw more stuff onto the big shitpile, like this ARM mess), but the computing industry would be best served if they would just f**king die already.

I can’t state in strong enough words how sick I am of their behavior. The words, in English, do not exist. And it’s not enough that they foul their own nest.

Now that their own OS is such crap that they themselves don’t use it in Azure, Bing, or Skype, they infiltrate Linux and pollute it with poorly designed interfaces, and extra attack surface that doesn’t belong in the kernel (like an SMB server when we already had Samba).

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