The Linux Foundation Releases Annual Linux Development Report

“For the first time, Microsoft appears on list of companies that are contributing to the Linux kernel. Ranking at number 17, the company that once called Linux a “cancer,” today is working within the collaborative development model to support its virtualization efforts and its customers. Because Linux has reached a state of ubiquity, in which both the enterprise and mobile computing markets are relying on the operating system, Microsoft is clearly working to adapt.”

The Linux Foundation

I’m not sure how Microsoft could just leap into the the top20 but i must admit it has the pretty sweet taste of ultimate irony.

You can download the entire Linux Foundation report here.

Windows 8: New UI, but old-school Microsoft

“”Now, put the mouse pointer in the left corner of the computer screen. Now click. No, don’t click on the icon. Wait you launched what? What’s on your screen? Ok, wait, try again, go all the way to the left. Now down. Now click. No, don’t move the mouse. AAARGGH…”

But what’s even more frustrating? There’s simply no reason for this stupidity.”

Russell Beattie

I mentally pictured exactly the same thing… I wholeheartedly agree with the rest of Russel’s post.

Stephen Elop interview

I actually think that Windows Phone (WP) is a pretty interesting system. I have however, two very serious concerns about it.

The first one is the future of Windows Phone as Ballmer’s Microsoft chains it to the “big Windows” fate and needs. Windows Phone on its own i could buy into, with scarce concerns. Windows Phone joined at the hips with “big Windows” paints an all new picture. Where will it go from here? Will the interface somehow change? Will the “Windows 8” unique system bring security issues to my phone? Will the lean OS becomes more bloated and messy because of that “one OS for all” approach?

And the second one, is that if Windows Phone is so important to the Windows Division as an enhancer and appealer to the “big Windows”, then how can i be sure of the other OS support for Windows Phone? When i looked up Windows Phone i saw that it had a Mac app, support for contact sync, iTunes sync and albeit still limited then, it seemed that, along with Blackberry, I could count on Windows Phone to seamless interact with my Mac information (something that doesn’t happen with Android if you don’ use Google Accounts or have an expensive third party sync software). But if Windows Phone and ‘big Windows’ are so complementary and important to one another, how can i be sure that that other OS support won’t just disappear in the near future? (( Considering the track record of Microsoft owned Skype regarding Linux support and its utterly unusable Mac version, it’s something that can seriously and honestly raise concerns.))

Microsoft’s Biggest Miss

“Like the curtain finally falling from the Wizard of Oz to find just a small, frail, man pretending to be far more powerful and relevant than he really was. Microsoft’s biggest miss was allowing the world to finally see the truth behind the big lie — they were not needed to get real work done. Or anything done, really.”

Minimal Mac

Exactly! I also think/thought that MS should have put Office everywhere, and not a minute too late, but as stated by Patrick’s insightful wife, every minute they wait their mindshare erodes more and more.

That being said, i don’t think that there are a lot of good alternatives for Office right now. I like Libre/OpenOffice but it has so much limitations and just plain bad design (aesthetically and functional) that is hard to recommend it for other than the small “domestic” work. I do have high hopes for the IBM Lotus Symphony though. (( Soon to be known as Apache OpenOffice IBM Edition, a truly Microsoftian naming. ))

Perspectives and leadership

“At present, Microsoft has 14 retail stores and plans to open up to 75 more over the next three years, usually placing them as close as possible to Apple outlets. “Well, the traffic is going to be there, and we’ve got to beat them anyway,” Ballmer says with a shrug. “

Steve Ballmer Reboots – BusinessWeek

The Dark side.

“If we want to move forward and see Apple healthy and prospering again, we have to let go of a few things here. We have to let go of this notion that for Apple to win, Microsoft has to lose. We have to embrace a notion that for Apple to win, Apple has to do a really good job. And if others are going to help us that’s great, because we need all the help we can get, and if we screw up and we don’t do a good job, it’s not somebody else’s fault, it’s our fault. So I think that is a very important perspective. If we want Microsoft Office on the Mac, we better treat the company that puts it out with a little bit of gratitude; we like their software. So, the era of setting this up as a competition between Apple and Microsoft is over as far as I’m concerned. This is about getting Apple healthy, this is about Apple being able to make incredibly great contributions to the industry and to get healthy and prosper again.”

Steve Jobs

The wise side.

“Windows Phone is Superior”

“Users: Own the disposable income. They don’t know what they hate. All they know is they buy phone service from mobile carriers and/or buy a phone from a carrier. They love speeds & feeds and will generally buy anything they are told to by television ads and RSPs (Retail Sales Professionals).

Charlie Kindel – cek.log

I’m sure this guy is really nice and i’ll try to say this as un-offensive as i can: Only a Microsoft trained engineer/manager could say something like this…

It’s this blindness to the consumer experience and perception and their relentless faith in the virtues and powers of marketing & advertising that got MSFT where it is now. I somehow imagine Steve Ballmer visualizing himself as Obi Wan Kenobi waving his hand and saying to the consumer: “Never mind these overpriced toys. This is the phone you want.” – while handing them a WP7 phone. Somehow, on his head, this makes perfect sense.

What MS, Steve B. and Charlie Kindel should realize: People talk. People communicate. People exchange histories. And above all, People aren’t mindless consuming drones. If you give them crap, they might buy them first. But they sure won’t be faithful customers, or recommend it, or even stick with it much longer than a single product.

Google is learning this the hard way. Android is everywhere and yet, no one, and i mean, no one is talking about it. I have had exactly zero, zero discussions with non-geek consumers about android. I’ve not even once overheard someone recommending it. All that i’ve heard is something like: “i’ve got one of those new touch only phones”. And that’s about it.

But you know what else i’ve heard? In the last 3 weekly family gatherings that i attended (with a ~50 person family), there was a significant part of the discussion time talking about Apple products, Apple vision of the product/consumer, Steve J. attention to details and Apple customer support. I didn’t start them or did anything else than occasionally agreeing in those discussions. And for the record, i’m the established family tech-geek/support, everyone else is an aggregated fair sampling of the non-geek consumer pool.

I think this speaks volumes… One brand, with exactly zero money in advertising in Portugal has more mindset and people talking about it than everyone else. Know why? Because their products aren’t crap and they don’t think the consumers “will buy anything they are told to by television ads and RSP”

Design at Microsoft

The full interview is really interesting and you can find it at The Verge.

Loved the subtle tips about coherence between hardware and software going to the font used on keyboards. Again, that is something that probably very few would even think about it but if used would definitely improve the user perception of a single, cohesive and user-friendly system.

On the down side, they had to wait to 2009 to share the color palettes and compare designs between internal Microsoft orgs?!

The question is, if they have designers of this quality, why haven’t they managed to change the crashing train before?…

MSN Messenger finally open

” Today we’re taking another step, with the public availability of access to the Messenger network via XMPP, an open standard. This means that anyone can build innovative messaging clients—either stand-alone or built into their devices—that include access to Messenger’s 300 million active users.”

Anyone can build a Messenger client—with open standards access via XMPP

Years later, Microsoft finally joins the standard protocol that everyone uses, allowing us users to finally use ichat to talk in the MSN network and probably improving the reversed engineered library that Adium and others use.

However, in typical Microsoft fashion, while they appear to join a standard they do it in a non-standard way… And now the login parts appears to use some OAuth magic (of which i’m not qualified to talk about) instead of the standard protocols than everyone else already uses.

So, no need to go running to your ichat program, Apple still needs to update it for using the standard protocol XMPP with MSN (which iChat already supports…)

Ah Microsoft. Somedays i have true faith in you. And then you go and just spoil it all again…

Zero sum game

“The problem isn’t individuals. We do hire some very smart and capable people, who I am sure all want to ‘do the right thing’.

The problem is the emergent behavior of all those individuals rushing around doing what they think they need to to get ahead. Somehow the whole is a lot less than the sum of its parts.”

Commentary | Mini-Microsoft

Mini-Microsoft comments section is basically “Microsoft under a microscope”. There you can witness the rants, complaints and Dilbert similarities of what goes on at Redmond. Sometimes i just take an hour or so and go to read the latest. ((when they don’t jump from less than two hundred to over a thousand like the quoted post…)) Some comments aren’t from ‘Softies at all, but it’s fairly easy to figure out those. Some are just outsiders that would like to get an answer or give input. But you can find there a great picture of the human reality in Microsoft’s HQ.

I won’t say that i understand Microsoft HR evaluation scheme. I don’t. I find the whole thing a jigsaw puzzle of meaningless numbers where, between the time necessary for a new post, someone at the HR department decides to reinvent the wheel and introduces some “improvements”… And then I, the outsider, am lost again. ((And apparently many ‘Softies as well…))

What i do understand is this: When you turn the assessment of individuals on the same team into a zero-sum game, you’ve just activated the self-destruct mode. No one can win in that game.

Microsoft is dying on its inside. It appears there’s only two types of MS employees. The ones utterly disappointed with MSFT current situation and absolutely despairing with the lack of direction from above; and the ones completely blind and with a zest of “we will prevail” zealot-fanatic style where the reality and visible trends are something that we shouldn’t pay attention to. ((The complete lack of understanding and importance of trends reminds me of this guy but without the excessive verbosity…)) There may be a “silent majority” there but, as usual, that majority, the ones who usually do the really good work, will just grow disenchanted with all the dirty politics and treachery going on and decide to depart to greener pastures, to somewhere where they are truly appreciated and they can feel that they do a good work.

Steve Ballmer may one day get fired ((And let’s hope that that happens on the 15th of November, at the Board meeting)) but when that happens what will be left to rebuild MSFT with? One hundred thousand back-stabbing “politicians”? It barely seems a good fit for a technology company that produces the software the equips 90% of the world computers and basically 100% of the enterprise market.

I’m truly curious about the future.

Windows 8 bet

After i finally installed Vmware Fusion 4 yesterday, today i installed another Windows 8 Developer Preview. (( previous was running on VirtualBox and VB really doesn’t work that well… ))

After a one hour tortuous labyrinthic experience with it, i can safely bet this with you. When it is launched it will come with so many user options to revert behaviour and appearance features to “classical mode – windows 7 style” that it might as well simply come with 2 options on the install screen:

  • windows 8 UI mess of 2 systems;
  • old, sane, “the one you’re accustomed to”, Windows 7 UI;

Yes. I know it’s a developer/alpha preview. And again, i just played with it for an hour, and i intend to try it out much longer during the forthcoming year. But if i think by the eyes of the “regular joe”, the folks around me that always ask me to install things like printer drivers or that really don’t understand the whole concept of a file system and user Home folders, then, by those eyes, it’s going to be a slaughter…

Prepare for another “Vista leap” kind of thing. The one where folks ask to downgrade to Windows7 even before leaving the store. Guess the pattern for Microsoft now is a nearly-a-decade dominating OS, with several aborted trials in between.