Updated: October 1, 2012
You will probably hate me at the end of this article. But the simple truth is, Microsoft and its latest failvention, Windows 8, will be gallantly saved from ruin by a free, open-source utility licensed under MIT called Classic Shell. That is what will happen.
And while advocating its use is the best thing for Windows users, it is also the worst thing that anyone can do, because that means perpetuating trends, putting up with nonsense, giving up, relenting, allowing companies, Microsoft included, to go wild with their contemporary manias and try to compress everything into a singularity - money.
Further explanation, if you please
For those of you in the dark, here's the short version of approx. six months of my ranting.
Microsoft is an American company, rich, powerful. Microsoft designs products first and foremost for the US market, and you can't blame them for that. That's where you get all the quiche, right. However, the problem is, after you've spent too much time eating bison burgers in Scotsdale and alike, you lose perception of what the world is about. You forget the fact that 80% of people on this world cannot rely on having clean water, steady income, healthy food, electricity, and other commodities all the time.
You also forget that spending a few hundred dollars on a second smartphone painted in that custom-made pearl pink for your teenage daughter, so she can text the accumulative worth of a Porsche Boxster in a single year, is also somewhat of a perk, and you can't understand why people in the third world, the kind of countries labeled invalid in Amarok music store settings, hate you. But then, you get to be a big guy in a big company, and you call all the shots.
What grips your attention is a small semi-rival company somewhere producing software and hardware that is completely out of your league. You also notice the human apes everywhere flock to buy these products as if they cure cancer and increase manhood. You think to yourself, hey, there's another market segment we haven't exploited yet. Let us.
The big guys are now enthused. The only problem is, their entire business model so far has been based on everything else BUT this new market segment. So what's the easiest way of quickly adjusting to the new reality? You slap an exhaust muffler on your Honda Civic and you call it a sports car. You slap a would-be smartphone interface on your desktop and you call it Metro.
The one thing you forget is that there's such a thing as the universal law of conservation of stupidity. In other words, you cannot make a smart by slapping two stupids together.
While Microsoft is busy forging a new operating system, they make a cardinal mistake. They try to compress their newfound solution into a singularity. They say, we have our desktop, so if we slap smartphone and tablet features on it we will get a smarttop, a desktophone, we will double its value. But then, the physics kicks in.
Microsoft still has the option of making good. Use the Metro interface on Windows Phones only. Use the desktop as it is, in a well-established, well-proven and utterly dominated market. No. Microsoft decides to abandon its workhorse for the sake of a buzz.
But maybe the buzz is justified. After all, everyone is buying smartphones, right?
The reasons why everyone is buying smartphones is simple:
- It's a new toy; once everyone has one, the mania will stop
- Smartphones are glorified cellphones; people need cellphones
- Cellphones are mobile phones; people have been using phones for a while
- People need to communicate; you need as many devices as there are people
- You do not need a degree in marketing to know this
- If marketing people are so smart, why the financial crises and such?
- A marketing degree is one step below community college
Hence, smartphones are flourishing. If someone invented levitating toilet bowls, people would start buying those, for the same reasons. They need to crap and they love new shiny toys.
But Microsoft is unconvinced. The marketing people are losing control, because their annual bonus is linearly proportional to the magnitude of bullshit they can sell to the CEO. And so, using the skewed perspective of how the world works, mistakes are made.
Metro in two paragraphs
Metro is a very good concept. Awesome. For a phone. Windows phones running this might actually be a worthy contender against Android and iPhone. But do you see Apple using iOS on their Macs? Nope. Do you see Android anywhere else except smartphones? Nope. What does that tell you? That Microsoft should use Metro on, what devices?
Everything? Naaaaaaaaaa. Wrong answer. But that is what the chaps opted for. And so they break their one super-successful product, they alienate EVERYONE, they force logic created for a device from a completely different form-factor and usage model sphere into the domain of the classic desktop, and the rest is tears and history.
But there's still hope
All right, the big boss has decided. One interface to rules them all and in the darkness binds them. But maybe a kill switch? Yes. The engineers plant a registry key there, which lets you turn off touch features on a desktop. Then, one release later, someone in the management spotted this and got angry, and no more kill switch. Business decisions are like a religion. If you've ever worked in a company with more than 1,000 workers and listened to the quarterly updates, you will know what I'm talking about. The self-convincing speeches that convince no one. But it's a job, y'know.
So now, Microsoft has really made a doodoo. No more kill switch. Which means that users will be forced to cope with Metro. Which means your workspace flips over every time you hit the Windows key. It flips and flips. You get would-be apps the size of a howitzer barrel opening on a 24-inch screen, and you think you're in a Willy Wonka's version of desktop computing. You get apps that never close. This is your new reality. Suck it.
And that's the short version of it, guv.
Enter Classic Shell
Just as you think you're losing hope and you want to switch to Linux, or at least, stay with Windows 7 for all eternity, you hit the search engine and search desperately, and then you find Dedoimedo's article that explains how you can install Classic Shell and get rid of Metro for good.
You are hopeful. You test this solution. You are elated. Which means you need not put up with the Metro crap, which means Windows 8 can be used. And so, instead of becoming a former user of Microsoft technologies, you continue being one, slightly miffed, but you have now forgotten about Metro.
In the annual business report, Microsoft presents its figures. Great success. Awesomeness everywhere. You know how it is. QED. You prove what you wanted to prove. How nifty is that. Damn genius. You play with statistics and numbers until they show awesome adoption everywhere. You poll 100 satisfied users, and they are all satisfied.
And that way, Microsoft is saved. By an MIT-licensed open-source program.
There you go. You won't find a more truthful article anywhere. Now, I am aware this lovely essay will be buried deep in the search annals because it is not politically correct or written to cater to pseudo-journalistic websites that have to mind what they say lest they lose sponsorships and suchlike. I cannot possibly change the world on my own, but at the very least, I can share truth with my users, and hope they will carry it around, so the truth is known.
As much as I'm good with words, I am somewhat at loss in expressing my absolute disdain, loathing and dislike for the forced plastic cultural phenomena imposed on the world by those who shout the stupidest and loudest. Even if Microsoft products merit attention, and some definitely do, like EMET, the quality of technology is drowned in the diarrhea-like dross of marketing religion and exaggeration. I am most offended by the fact people silently accept this instead of going This Is Sparta against all this bullcrap.
Bottom line, and let's ignore the marketing worms, Microsoft Windows 8 will be saved by an open-source utility that allows users to hide Metro nonsense and continue using their system as intended. I am glad that people can make their existence easier, but so much wish for a total failure of hyped ideas. I will have to contend with waiting and then write post-mortem articles that read I-told-you-so, unfortunately the collective human memory is so short, there's just no chance I will be able to make the truth stick. If you find this worth sharing, please do, it really won't much difference in the moronsphere. But maybe you will feel a tiny bit better for ranting and spreading the truth.
P.S. The image of Horse leaping off the cliff is in public domain.