Monday, August 24, 2009

Seven things which will be missing from Windows 7

Windows 7 is just around the corner and it sounds really great.

When I am eventually forced to use Windows 7, which will be my tenth version of the OS, I am pretty sure these features will still not be there, as they haven't made it yet.

1) A real command shell. The batch command prompt just isn't cutting it, and there is no guarantee the powershell is installed (or configured properly). Its time to get a shell language, like BASH available in the base windows install.

2) Built-in telnet server. So many tasks could get done without a remote desktop - just with a useful command shell (above).

3) Default settings which don't offend intelligent people. It gets old having to change a setting to be able to see file extensions. "Don't show that to users, they might get confused." Or to be able to see file sizes. "What if they ask why one file is larger than another?" Or see the contents of C:\Program Files. "They might want to delete Internet Destroyer!"

4) Symbolic links. One of the most useful features in Unix, allowing us to make a file or directory appear to exist in more than one location. Shortcuts, which work only through Windows Explorer, are part of the user interface, not the file system.

5) Less locking of files. We all get tired of files which are locked, because an application has read the file. They often do not need to have exclusive access, but lock the file anyway.

6) 64-bit memory addressing. We should get 16 billion GB of addressable RAM from our OS and let software and memory chips catch up to that. Instead we get 128GB, which isn't much more than we have today.

7) DLL help. I asked Steve Balmer to add this personally. No kidding. I don't think he understood. But anyway we develop and test on a PC and then deploy to a server which has had who knows what installed on it, running as a different user, with a different set of environment variables. Would be very helpful if the OS could diff its runtime environment between my dev machine and deployment one, and provide a list of changes for me. That way we could see and sign off on what DLLs are missing, what significant registry keys are modified, and what needs upgrading. Steve's answer was "What?"

Instead, what will we get? A new calculator, menus moved around, fancy themes an improved screen saver, and a user interface which you will never be able to run.

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