Windows 8 is even more expensive to buy a worthwhile edition of.
Windows 8 Pro costs less in fact (£110), and if you can live without Hyper-V or Bitlocker (which you obviously are living in XP world) you can go with normal Windows 8 for (£72.99). This is all besides the point that calling ~£100 for an OS that will last ~10 years "horrific" is a pretty gross exaggeration.
So to me it seems like you weren't paying attention and were allowing your own biases to feed your decision, which is why you're stuck on XP today. Sounds like you're going to make the same mistake again, because Windows 8 is empirically better than Windows 7 in terms of performance, stability, resource usage, and security. 100% of the complaints relate to UI, and I don't know if you've seen the news but the start menu is returning for you. Try to stay on top of things so this doesn't happen to you again!
Second, most of the software on dreamspark is available outside if the program for free. The main draw of dreamspark is full visual studio licenses. If you want the Kinect SDK or ms robotics studio for instance, there is no need to sign up for dreamspark. I'm assuming a kid in primary school learning the basics doesn't really need enterprise-class developer tools. They might try for instance small basic, which is provided by MS outside of dreamspark. By the time they actually *need* VS, they'll be eligible for the program.
If a user sees that a programming app is already installed, he or she may try it one day while bored for poops and giggles.
Or he/she may open it, be instantly confused, and then close it immediately.
Otherwise, the user will have to know in advance that he wants to "do programming".
I don't think this is a huge barrier. There are so many ways kids can stumble upon what programming is, to say nothing about the various efforts to intentionally expose them to such concepts.
Why write a little program that draws some lines when the child could play a video game that's much more visually stimulating & engaging???
I don't know about you, but when I was a kid, me and my friends wanted to create games because we liked playing games. We were coding text adventures in qbasic because we liked Zork. Then we moved on to coding platformers in Click and Create because we liked Sonic. These days games are a little more complicated, but I still haven't met a gamer who hasn't had "wouldn't it be cool if..." ideas him/herself. I don't think I've met a gamer who hasn't had "wouldn't it be cool if..." ideas him/herself.
So...which of those titles are included with every copy of Windows?
Why does it have to come with the OS? What does that even matter these days, when everything is a download away.Almost half the products I listed are available direct from MS without going through Dreamspark:
Just a simple download away. You can even download Visual Studio Express for free to develop for web, desktop, or Windows Phone. This is a great place for kids to start. When they're ready for advanced features, they can move over to the full version through Dreamspark.
Which of those provide kids with a simple and powerful way to create something impressive?
Take your pick. There's something for all levels. Smallbasic and Kodu Game Lab are products for beginners. Next level up they can use Robotics studio or XNA Game Lab. Kinect SDK is very powerful and easy to use as well with lots of example code.
If Bill Gates was a teenager now, he would be on xbox live and there never would have been any Microsoft.
Many gamers are very keen to make their own games, but they don't know how. MS provides tools for this. I've taught many middle / high school students how to program robots using MS Robotics studio and the Kinect SDK, and they love it. It's amazing the kind of stuff they come up with.
Microsoft does not want kids coding based on what they DO rather than on what they SAY. They used to supply a simple basic interpreter with every copy of MS-DOS that cost nothing and was simple to use. That is long gone and nothing has ever taken its place. If kids want to code now, the options are expensive, complicated, and are not included in the price of 'Windows.'
Apparently, Slashdotters are truly ignorant about Dreamspark, as this is the third time I've had to post it. Let me spell it out for you. From the FAQ:
What is DreamSpark?
DreamSpark is a Microsoft Program that supports technical education by providing access to Microsoft software for learning, teaching and research purposes.
DreamSpark is simple: it's all about giving students Microsoft professional-level developer and designer tools at no cost so that students can chase their dreams and create the next big breakthrough in technology - or just get a head start on their career.
High schools, vocational and trade schools, community colleges and universities are all eligible to participate in the DreamSpark program. Simply put, any accredited school around the world is eligible.
Emphasis mine. Here is a sampling of the software available:
- Visual Studio Professional versions 2008 through 2013
- Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry Pro
- Microsoft Expression Studio 4 Ultimate
- Kinect for Windows SDK
- XNA Game Studio 4
- Kodu Game Lab
- Small Basic
- Microsoft Mathematics 4
- Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio