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Next Windows Becomes a Mess to Developers (ISVs) and OEMs

Pressing on with "8"?

Telephone



Summary: Microsoft's unwanted changes to the basis of Windows are likely to backfire in a major way

THE NEEDS of users aside, too little attention is being paid to what Microsoft does to de facto standards. Christine Hall takes a look at the booting scandal we recently wrote about, stating that there might be an agenda (which would upset OEMs):



Secure boot is the sort of security solution Microsoft loves. Back in the days when Windows was even less secure than it is now, one of their security solutions was to have software vetted and signed. Although this might have helped enterprise customers a bit, it did little to make the home user more secure, as any software would still install normally after clicking through an “are you sure” warning. If this scheme did anything, it hurt small vendors who couldn’t afford to go through the process of having their software approved by Redmond.

Secure boot is the same sort of scheme, except this time there’s no “are you sure” screen to click through. If a user is trying to install an operating system (or even run one from a live CD) on a machine with secure boot enabled, that operating system will have to have unlock keys to enable hardware devices. These keys are provided to the creator of the operating system at the whim of the hardware makers.

I can’t begin to explain the number of things wrong with this system. To begin with, for this feature to fulfill its intended purpose, the keys must be kept secret. Nobody but the hardware maker and, perhaps, the OS distributor, can have access to them – meaning they probably must be kept in binary form with no source code being made available.


Dr. Dobbs is meanwhile expressing scepticism about Vista 8 for the following reason:

Redmond once again pushes developers to forgo existing technologies and adopt a new UI and APIs — despite the lack of compelling benefits.


Techrights no longer covers Windows as much as it used to. Windows seems like it is already on its way out (gradual exit) because form factors change and Microsoft cannot keep up. But just worth noticing is this alienation of developers. Remember what Microsoft's CEO was sweating about. All those developers who embraced KIN, SideKick, Windows Mobile, WP7, XAML/Silverlight and so on got seriously screwed. The next post will cover the death of the Zune.

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