A few days ago, I had the, um, pleasure of having to install some lock-programming software on a Windows laptop — a process that should have taken five minutes but instead took upwards of an hour. Endless DLL conflicts, an uninstallation fiasco, an installer caught in a circular loop, literally hundreds of entries being written to the registry… The whole farce would have been hilarious if it hadn’t wasted so much of my time. I run Windows so seldom these days, I forget how bad it can be.
Sounding a lot like the BeOS founders and evangelists from a decade ago, who used to talk about Windows being held together with bailing wire, chewing gum and twine, a pair of Gartner analysts recently came out and said it: Windows is ‘collapsing’ (Computerworld):
Calling the situation “untenable” and describing Windows as “collapsing,” a pair of Gartner analysts yesterday said Microsoft Corp. must make radical changes to its operating system or risk becoming a has-been … Analysts said Microsoft has not responded to the market, is overburdened by nearly two decades of legacy code and decisions, and faces serious competition on a whole host of fronts that will make Windows moot unless the software developer acts. “For Microsoft, its ecosystem and its customers, the situation is untenable,” said Silver and MacDonald in their prepared presentation, titled “Windows Is Collapsing: How What Comes Next Will Improve.” Among Microsoft’s problems, the pair said, is Windows’ rapidly-expanding code base, which makes it virtually impossible to quickly craft a new version with meaningful changes. That was proved by Vista, they said, when Microsoft — frustrated by lack of progress during the five-year development effort on the new operating — hit the “reset” button and dropped back to the more stable code of Windows Server 2003 as the foundation of Vista … “Windows as we know it must be replaced,” they said in their presentation.
It’s one thing for the userbase to talk like this, but analysts like Gartner are serious about what they do, and don’t make heavy-handed proclamations lightly. Something is in the wind, and it smells like carrion. You can only put so much lipstick on a pig.