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Comment Unchanged? (Score 1) 337 337

"a landscape which has been little changed since the 1990s."

What? Did the author miss the birth and ascent of C# and subsequent waning popularity of C++? A little something called Go, which just broke into the top 20 languages in the RedMonk index. The crawl from obscurity of Objective C after the release of MacOS X, and later iOS? The evolution of Javascript from a way to make rollover buttons to an application and backend platform? The collapse of perl and the rise of Python and Perl? The emergence of functional languages like Scala, Erlang and Haskell as viable platforms? The growth of R for statistical analysis? Lua for extension? New data query languages like SPARQL, Gremlin and CQL?

As usual, Apple is not the pioneer here. They are treading a path broken by many others.

Comment Re:Options are good (Score 1) 307 307

Also, server is not their cash cow. Between desktop Windows, consumer hardware (including the Surface, mice, keyboards, etc) and business software they pull in about $44B. Their server products, including Azure, MS SQL, consulting services, and development tools only bring in about $20B. Entertainment and mobile bring in another $10B.

Microsoft benefits from having a broad, comprehensive product line, whether the divisions themselves are necessarily profitable. Just like Apple, Google, and Amazon, they benefit from getting people to buy into their ecosystem.

They have struggled in recent years, not just because Apple's resurgence has eroded their dominance in the PC market, but because the market has shifted away from the PC model. More people are using tablets or even phones as their primary device, which means more people using iOS, Android or Amazon devices, and their associated app, content and services ecosystems.

Their response seems to be increased openness (see: open sourced .NET releases, patent pledges), interoperability (see: JUniversal, AllJoyn contributions), convergence (see: Windows 10, from mobile to server), and free stuff (see: Windows for small devices, hobbyist platforms; Visual Studio Community Edition etc). I find it hard to fault that.

Comment Re:Options are good (Score 1) 307 307

Lumia ring a bell? Windows 10 is their convergence release, with mobile being just one more edition. Plenty of phones with far less horsepower are running Windows. Plenty of tablets with similar horsepower are running Windows.

I picked up a couple of Stream 7's, which also sport only 1GB of memory, a modest low power processor and a full copy of Windows - as stocking stuffers this year. They work fine for what they are. Especially since I paid $74 for one and $49 for the other, thanks to in-store "shopping events".

This strikes me more about the hobbyist community and pervasive computer than the "internet of things". This board is not suitable for those applications, regardless of what platform it is running. But this has potential for more demanding embedded applications, internet kiosks, network terminals, or even starter computers for kids (which is what I'm considering getting a Pi 2 for).

I probably won't land on Windows 10 as the final operating system; I haven't used Windows as a desktop in about twenty years now. But I'll certainly play with it.

Comment Re:Options are good (Score 1) 307 307

Yes, yes, TANSTAAFL.

But as many free software advocates point out, copying software IS as close to free as it gets. There is no opportunity cost to Microsoft, since the chance that people would otherwise pay for a copy of Windows to run on a Pi is essentially nil. There is little opportunity cost to the user, since they would otherwise be installing and configuring an operating system anyway. Even if they ultimately choose not to keep it, the time and effort involved is fairly negligible and there is arguably value in the experience. (At least to that individual, since they freely chose to engage in it.)

Comment Re:Options are good (Score 1) 307 307

Really? If an afternoon trying out a new platform represents a significant investment to you, your time is far more valuable than mine. Most people I know spend more time dicking around with the lastest MMORG on a regular basis.

As for programming, Windows remains a highly lucrative development platform, regardless of your personal opinion. Even in the mobile space, targeting a platform without a saturated ecosystem may ultimately yield better results. Easier for an app to stand out if it is one of a dozen instead of one of a thousand.

Comment Re:Options are good (Score 1) 307 307

You assume that maintaining another ARM port takes an appreciable number of developer hours, that code quality isn't generally improved by maintaining ports on disparate architectures, that community goodwill has no value, that community testing and input has no value, that this is an "unsuitable platform" in the first place (the Pi 2 is more powerful than a lot of phones they run on, for example), that it won't net any new customers from people who are curious to see how Windows 10 is, etc.

As initiatives go, this is doubtless cheap and has plenty of positive externalities. And from a user perspective, trying it out is a throwaway afternoon at worst.

If graphics hackers are so smart, why can't they get the bugs out of fresh paint?