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Security over functionality

Posted by DarkLordCthulhu, 21 March 2013 · 4255 views

apple microsoft windows 8
I've seen a disturbing trend in both Apple and Microsoft recently towards sacrificing functionality for the sake of security. This is seen in what Microsoft is doing to Windows 8 and what Apple is doing to the iPhone, iPad, and the newer versions of Mac OS X.

First I'm going to look at Microsoft. People hate Windows 8. If you want proof, just search "Windows 8" on Urban Dictionary. This is a good way of seeing what people actually think of a product, rather than reading the (usually pro-Microsoft biased) reviews by PC World and the like. The first definition, which has been voted up by 165 people and voted down by only 45 people, has this to say:

Windows 8

1) The next Windows Vista

2) Windows Phone 7 for computers.

3) Microsoft's next operating system that should run on desktops or tablets. It will have 2 different interfaces. Neither interface will run apps compatible with the other interface, and will ultimately lead into a huge failure.

4) 15+ gigabytes of code for what Linux could have done with 4-5 gigabytes.

So yeah, consumers hate it. In fact Windows 8 has had a slower adoption rate than Windows Vista, and people who buy PCs with Windows 8 preinstalled are downgrading to Windows 7. Gaming companies also hate Windows 8 because of how locked down it is. It only allows installation of apps from the app store and from approved vendors. So you can pretty much forget about open source software on Windows too.

Now what else has Microsoft done to Windows? They've deprecated WinAPI for one thing, so programs that used to run on Windows will fail to run now (if not in this version, then in the next version of Windows). Backup and Restore is gone, and so are Shadow Copy and Windows RE, and the Windows Registry has been deprecated as well, so a lot of the things techies used to be able to do to hack and/or fix a Windows computer they can't do anymore. And the Blue Screen of Death is just a sad face that tells you the computer is restarting; doesn't give you any diagnostic information like it used to. They've completely dumbed their OS down, and yet they still managed to make it harder to use.

Anyway, enough with Microsoft. Let's look at Apple. Here are the tools that have been removed from Mac OS X Mountain Lion:


Basically all the developer tools. Though Perl, Ruby, Python, and the little languages are still there (though I won't be surprised if Apple removes those at some point too). So basically they don't want users writing their own software. Also, they've replaced the Apple download page, which used to have all sorts of neat stuff on it, with the App Store, which is basically a bunch of iPhone apps for Macs. The only developer tools they have are text editors and little gizmos designed to speed up coding. Also, Apple has stopped working with the open source community altogether; there is no longer a current version of Lynx for Mac OS X (the most recent one is built for Leopard and PPC), and I can't find a compatible version of gcc either. I can't find any of the token open source applications on the App Store.

Seriously, whatever happened to simply fixing security holes?

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