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MS Vista Look and Feel To Go Cross-Platform 365

Posted by Zonk
from the everything's-coming-up-milhouse dept.
Robert writes "As part of the announcement of the next generation look and feel for Windows Vista, Microsoft said that it will make a subset of the new presentation layer available for other platforms. 'Windows Presentation Foundation', the look and feel which provides the rich front end for Vista, will also eventually be available in compact form for other platforms such as the Apple Macintosh, older versions of Windows, and smart devices such as phones or PDAs."
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MS Vista Look and Feel To Go Cross-Platform

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  • by Frankie70 (803801) on Saturday September 17, 2005 @08:30AM (#13583896)
    I have a XP machine, a Windows Server & a Mac Mini on my desk - I don't see how exactly the Mac interface is better.

    I find the Windows Interface better because I am more used to it. I am sure someone who is more used to the Mac will find that interface better.

  • by markdavis (642305) on Saturday September 17, 2005 @08:44AM (#13583933)
    "Why have Vista?"

    So hardware vendors can push new machines with twice the memory, twice the CPU, twice the graphics so when you click on something it sparkles or something before opening.

    So Microsoft can push upgrades to improve their revenue stream and make non-MS OS's less compatible again.

    So software vendors can push upgrades to improve THEIR revenue stream.

    Nothing new to see here....
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 17, 2005 @08:47AM (#13583942)
    I think the only interesting thing about your post is that you do not take the initiative to actually browse to Microsoft's web site and read up on vista itself.

    Why is your question not answered? Why is your question read as some kind of buda question/answer for others to think it is an inner question upon oneself about the reasons to upgrade when of course no one here will know because like you have not read up on vista.

    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsvista/default.mspx [microsoft.com]

  • by cerelib (903469) on Saturday September 17, 2005 @08:52AM (#13583962)
    It is not about Avalon being the prettiest thing out there. It is the ability to make graphical interfaces very quickly. Since the interface can be designed in XML it allows for rapid development. And to entice developers further they are adding extra platform support. It seems to be a pretty good system.
  • Look and feel (Score:2, Insightful)

    by liangzai (837960) on Saturday September 17, 2005 @08:59AM (#13583989) Homepage
    Microsoft doesn't know shyte about UI design.

    I hope they stay the fuck away from the Mac, and if they still want to do stuff on the platform, they'd better comply 100% to the native UI, using native widgets and native APIs (Cocoa, or go to hell).

    Contrary to popular belief, there is not one single MS app that is crucial for the Mac.
  • by DogDude (805747) on Saturday September 17, 2005 @09:06AM (#13584006) Homepage
    Reading the posts in this article make me realize that the community of Slashdot is very rapidly deteriorating. I've been reading and posting to Slashdot for many years (under another much older ID).

    It seems that very recently, a lot of the good, throughtful regular posters are gone, and now we're left with nothing but "M$ sucks, so I don't care." trolls and Linux fanboys.

    Now I know that Slashdot has always been a haven for Linux zealots and anti-MS zealots, but that's always been tempered with thoughtful posts, too, that weren't so A. Rabid and B. Clueless.

    What I'm wondering is if anybody else has noticed, or if I'm just imagining things. Now, I know a lot of people were talking about giving up on Slashdot in the past few months because the editors have been doing such a terrible job (really bad articles, multiple, multiple dupes, not even correct spelling)... so I'm wondering if a lot of those people really *have* given up and left Slashdot. I'm starting to realize that I'm less inclined to hang out here now, and I've been coming here since... oh, about 1998. If so, where's the next real place for geeks to hang out, as opposed to *just* the anti-MS kids, although I know there will be *some* of that in any geek community?

    Or is this all just in my head?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 17, 2005 @09:07AM (#13584013)
    Believe it or not, my guess is that ms is getting the grip of multiplatform computing being the future. Their vision is growing beyond multiple versions of windows for different hardware platforms. The os market is getting more diverse every day, and ms will focus application development in the future.

    Let a few years go by and you will see ms targeting all major os platforms with most of their product line, which will include linux next to apple...

    By the way, most ActiveX comments are superfluos, as any foreign implementation of the technology is bound to be a nearly full reimplementation.

    Microsoft has developed some software for other os in the past and those products have been little surprisingly way better than their windows equivalents... (think internet explorer or the unix frontpage extensions)
  • Re:Google (Score:3, Insightful)

    by putko (753330) on Saturday September 17, 2005 @09:09AM (#13584018) Homepage Journal
    One "problem" that M$ has is that Windows is now used on embedded devices, and that's likely where the revenue growth will come from. The desktop market has been played out. So they've got to make their crap work on the desktop and embedded devices if they want to get more money for their IP.

    If Excel relies on fancy "OS features" like the "presentation layer", they've got to make that work on phones and Macs if they want Office to run on those platforms.

    I suspect thing about cross-platform, old-hardware support and so on is just a stinking, steaming heap of Ballmer from the marketing department -- they won't do this work unless there will be money there.

    If all they are doing is saying, "we will do what it takes to get Office working on phones and Macs, so that we can keep getting revenues from the non-desktop segments," who cares? Is this really worth talking about?

    Well, I suspect the marketing geniuses at M$ are trying to make their required actions sound like really clever things that we eagerly read about and then say, "oh yes, MSFT is in good hands. Buy more stock. Ballmer is God. Give him a chair to throw. Fuck Erich Schmidt. We'll fucking kill that Pussy. Google=E.V.I.L., Sic GNAA and Mr. Hands on Brin and Page, etc."

    The thing I notice is this: MSFT is going to blow $100 million on marketing to try to get folks to upgrade. I seem to remember they blew money of this size to try to get folks to use their MSN search -- with no marginal benefit. So MSFT has to spend major money on marketing, and only Allah knows if it will pay off.

    What sort of marketing does Google ever do? When they launch software, they don't have to spend $100 million, in the desperate hopes of getting people to notice. Sure, they've got a totally different business model than MSFT, but that disadvantage gets old pretty fast. Ballmer needs to pull some real magic to change that equation.

  • by Speare (84249) on Saturday September 17, 2005 @09:13AM (#13584028) Homepage Journal
    This is the kind of garbage which the $100 million in marketing is going to buy. It's amazing that ringtones, skins and wallpapers can be a successful part of a marketing strategy which will further entrench monopoly and strip computer owners of autonomy with their own data and hardware.
  • by CastrTroy (595695) on Saturday September 17, 2005 @09:14AM (#13584038) Homepage
    Also, having and operating system that uses shorter names for standard system directories. In linux I can go to ~, or the more verbose, /home/username. In windows, it's c:\Documents and settings\username\My Documents, where they seem to want to store just about everything, including non-documents. in Linux, my settings are at /etc, and other useful directories include /var, /usr, /root, /boot, and others. In windows it's always /windows/system32 (where's my system64), /program files, and lots of other really long names. All this, and they don't have tab completion by default, and it sucks even if you do enable it.
  • by dirty (13560) <dirtymatt@@@gmail...com> on Saturday September 17, 2005 @09:17AM (#13584045)
    I think a lot of it is the Mac felt like a lot more effort was put into the usability of the GUI. Dialog boxes are a prime example, instead of something like "Save document? OK, No, Cancel" you'd get "Save document? Save, Don't Save, Cancel". So just looking at the button you were clicking would tell you exactly what was going to happen, even if you didn't read the text of the dialog box. It also used to have a very consitent look throughout, unfortunately that's not the case any more, but a lot of us have our fingers crossed for 10.5.

    Also, as weird as it sounds, I feel a lot of the eye candy on the Mac serves a purpose. Windows on the Mac have little to no border around them, so the drop shadow on the active window really makes it stand out. Transparency in Terminal can let you read what's behind it and is really helpful for following instructions off of web pages. In Vista it looks like the transparency also comes with a bluring effect which reduces it to nothing but eye candy, and pretty dirty looking eye candy in my opinion (especially when you start piling windows on top of each other).

    In the end I think it mostly comes down to personal preference. I had been mainly a Windows user for years after giving up on Linux on my desktop. After I got my Powerbook I can't stand using Windows machines at work anymore, they just feel clunky.
  • by Been on TV (886187) on Saturday September 17, 2005 @09:29AM (#13584095) Homepage

    Microsoft stand to loose less business even if some of its customers migrate to Mac OS X, because the vast majority of Mac users have bought and use Microsoft Office:mac or even Microsoft Virtual PC. Targeting Mac OS X may therefore be a smart move on Microsoft.

    As a matter of fact, the Microsoft Mac Business Unit is highly profitable and will bring in even more revenue as the Macintosh again is gaining market share. Because MBU has done a good job with Office on the Mac often introducing new functionality in this version, Mac users are less likely to jump ship and pick up the free OpenOffice which has a user-interface that would alienate many Mac users. Microsoft therefore has a vested interest in making sure that if a user migrates, the migration is to a platform where it is more likely the user retains a customer relationship with Microsoft.

    This in stark contrast to rival open source alternative Linux, where Microsoft would loose both the operating system and potentially an Office license if a customer were to switch. It is therefore less likely that Microsoft will target Linux with their development tools.

    Another thing is of course that by supporting OS X, Microsoft can claim multi-OS support, something that makes it easier to keep the US DoJ or European authorities at bay.

    I blogged a longer comment on this yesterday for those interested in reading it here [andwest.com].

  • Re:Look and feel (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FoboldFKY (785255) on Saturday September 17, 2005 @09:41AM (#13584147)

    Yeah, because we all know how well Apple stuck to Windows look and feel when they ported Quicktime ov... oh yeah. Well, um, at least iTunes is... notwait, scratch that...

    But at least they're consistent on their OWN platform! It's not like they would [apple.com] ever [apple.com] make an app that doesn't fit with all the others!

    Granted, Microsoft wouldn't know good UI design if it came along and beat them over the head with a stick, but Apple are just as guilty of "screw you, we'll make our apps look however we want--to hell with native widgets!" syndrome as MS.

  • by dumeinst (664891) on Saturday September 17, 2005 @09:43AM (#13584162)
    Honest question.

    Why have XP? I'm still using 2000. Is there honestly any reason to upgrade besides the UI (which I'm not overly fond of anyways). I can't think of a single reason I want XP, let alone Vista on my computer.
  • by Lispy (136512) on Saturday September 17, 2005 @10:15AM (#13584326) Homepage
    Digital rights management.
  • To reuse MSOffice look and feel under OSX. Look at the potential savings:
    1. Full-time MacOS geeks on payroll eventually reduced by 90%.
    2. No more OSX-specific marketing or tech support materials required -- all W32 Office materials will be perfectly suited to the Apple community (Just add "OSX" to the list of system req's, et voila).
    3. Will greatly simplify porting of other strategic apps to the Mac (and eventually linux) platform. In order to properly compete with Firefox, IE must go cross-platform, period.


    Microsoft has apparently learned nothing from the last time they tried to foist the Windows look and feel upon Mac users, Word 6.
    It was a piece of shit that barely resembled a Mac application, and it was bloated and slow too, due to Microsoft being cheap and lazy and reusing too much code from the Windows version. It was a half-assed port, and it showed. It was overwhelmingly rejected by Macintosh users, to the point that Microsoft opted to resume selling the previous Mac version, Word 5.1, right alongside it. I worked at a university bookstore's computer department at the time, and I can attest to the fact that once the news got out about how bad Word 6 really was, it gathered dust on the shelves while we could barely keep 5.1 in stock.

    It was this debacle that led directly to the creation of the Microsoft Mac Business Unit, which beginning with Office 98 started producing Mac software that Mac users deemed worthy of the Mac. They've pulled a boner or two here or there, IMHO their worst gaffe being the terrible Exchange server support in Entourage 2004 (support MAPI, dammit!), but by and large they do their job well-- there are plenty of Mac Office reviews that declare it to be superior to its Windows counterpart.

    IMHO it would be a terrible mistake on Microsoft's part to try this miserable cross-platform look and feel experiment again. Especially now that there are viable alternatives to Mac Office, which there weren't the last time.

    ~Philly
  • by Noose For A Neck (610324) on Saturday September 17, 2005 @11:06AM (#13584645)
    • 3-D games got higher framerates. I don't know if this is universal to all graphics hardware, but it was definitely the case for Radeon 9600s.
    • ClearType. I use an LCD monitor, so this was a nice improvement.

    Of course, I use Ubuntu now and my roommate has a PlayStation2, so these have become irrelevant to me.

  • by Daytona955i (448665) <flynnguy24@yahoo . c om> on Saturday September 17, 2005 @11:44AM (#13584870)
    From the screen shots that I've seen, I think windows is taking a step backwards in it's UI design. I mean, I want a toolbar that takes up less space, not more. I really can't see anyone wanting to emulate this on any platform. I know I for one wouldn't "upgrade" my version of windows 2000 to this look and feel.
  • Re:MFC based? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cnettel (836611) on Saturday September 17, 2005 @11:48AM (#13584894)
    1. MFC is just a library based on Win32.

    2. Vista is just throwing up one Win32 window and then renders everything inside on its own. If ported to another platform, it would just render the whole thing in the native environment of that platform instead, kind of like Swing in Java.

    3. If you don't know the difference between Win32 USER/GDI and MFC, I can understand what a pain it must have been to use it without seeing what was going on.

  • by Larthallor (623891) on Saturday September 17, 2005 @11:57AM (#13584961)
    This isn't about porting the Windows look and feel to other platforms at all. It's about Microsoft trying to replace HTML for the UI of Web-based apps with something they can control.

    Those of you who grew up taking the web for granted may not realize this, but HTML and the Web were designed to create hyper-text documents, not apps. Thus, the "HT" beginning to HTML. Making applications in pure HTML was a lot like those old Create Your Own Adventure books where you choose your way through the adventure by turning to page X to do one thing and page Y to do another.

    Since the whole web architecture was designed for reading linked documents, it has had to be mutilated with all sorts of add-on technologies (many of them proprietary) in order to make web applications feasible. And still, the UI and the method for creating that UI are inferior to native apps. But, since the benefits of web app deployment are just too appealing to give up, we just keep mutating and evolving a web document system.

    And that's where XAML and this announcement come in. Microsoft knows there is a huge demand for a richer web application UI (Flash, I'm looking at you!) and has decided that now is it's opportunity to take over from HTML.

    However, the only way it can take over the API for the web is to make sure it is cross-platform enough for web app developers to adopt it. In other words, this is about getting web developers to choose their API (and therefore often their tools) for web development.
  • Re:No market there (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheNetAvenger (624455) on Saturday September 17, 2005 @12:39PM (#13585208)
    KDE users already have translucent menus, translucent xterms, multiple-desktop pagers, completely configurable widgets, etc.
    Porting the Vista gui to linux would be a step backwards for us.

    Also, from the article:

    eventually ported to ... older versions of Windows
    ah, another reason NOT to upgrade. So why are they doing this? Perhaps its to try to keep people from defecting to linux, or to OSX or another of the BSDs.
    Their market share has nowhere to go but down, and they know it. It's just a question of how far, how fast. With this anouncement we can say:


    Wow, when did KDE get a 3D XML based programming and presentation layer, that uses hardware acceleration without letting the OS have OpenGL take over?

    And when did KDE get an XML based screen to printer rich document subsystem - that is encapsulates color matching and media that Adobe has even yet to offer or make for the OSX for Apple to use?

    Oh, that right, it neither freaking exist..

    Reading these posts, especially after the bombshells that were dropped at the PDC, and the developers that GET what Microsoft is pulling off, just amaze me.

    Even looking at the new presentation system in Windows, it replaces GDI, has abilities accessible via XAML and C++ programming that even many illustration programs don't support - multi-layer texturing, muli-level/layer transparency, mixed raster and vector composition, etc. - a document format based around it, and printer output that is an exact correlation. (A system years ahead of what even OSX and Abode.) (And don't even try to compare PDF/Postscript or tell me that Apple had color matching years ago. - PDF/Postscript doesn't compare to what these technologies are doing, as they are not just in a document structure, it is how the whole OS's UI works and support so many more advanced vector concepts than PDF, and as for color matching - even Windows 95 had native Screen and Printer color management profiles - this is something different.)

    And then add on that the new LDDM driver model Microsoft has come up with. (It is something that is so over looked.) The LDDM model lets applications actually share and use GPU devices on the system at the same time, even if the GPU doesn't have the memory support for the applications.

    In other words, 3D acceleration is being brought to applications and will co-exists with other applications and games seamlessly. It is like when Windows98 allowed multiple audio streams to be processed and play simultaneously. Not a single review even noticed this, but yet it was a big step ahead in consumer OSes. LDDM is basically doing this with GPUs and video - and on a much grander scale.
    And don't tell me you can do this with OpenGL, or that some of the new 'pretty' project of KDE are doing these things, they simply are not. It would require abandoning the complete XWindows underlying structure of KDE to bring forth these features, unless KDE abandons XWindows and renders the whole OS and applications in OpenGL - and allows GPU and GPU memory sharing for OpenGL applications seamlessly.

    At least if you are going to make smart comments, have half a mind about what you are talking about.
  • Re:No market there (Score:3, Insightful)

    by spitefulcrow (713858) <sam@dividezero.net> on Saturday September 17, 2005 @01:07PM (#13585336) Journal
    3D-rendered desktops are a gimmick to get everyone to buy brand-new hardware to run Microsoft's new toy. Meanwhile, I'll save a ton of money by having a functional GUI that I can do things with on old hardware.
  • by rdwald (831442) on Saturday September 17, 2005 @01:16PM (#13585391)
    You can already have the Windows Vista interface on OS X. It's called Aqua.
  • by maotx (765127) <maotx@@@yahoo...com> on Saturday September 17, 2005 @01:17PM (#13585396)
    All this, and they don't have tab completion by default, and it sucks even if you do enable it.

    XP has tab completion enabled by default and works fairly well. It is not as good as *nix, but it gets the job done. 2000 does NOT have it enabled by default and once enabled completely sucks.
  • Re:No market there (Score:1, Insightful)

    by vcv (526771) on Saturday September 17, 2005 @01:22PM (#13585424)
    Until linux starts offering the same in 5 years. Then you'll be praising it.
  • Re:No market there (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Osty (16825) on Saturday September 17, 2005 @09:03PM (#13587472)

    Guess you weren't aware that Microsoft is scrapping both the dot.NET and Win32 APIs in favour of WinFX ...

    Sigh. You once again prove you know nothing. .NET is an intermediate bytecode language, virtual machine, and library of functionality. It's not being scrapped, and in fact is at the core of Microsoft's strategy going forward (the upcoming .NET 2.0 version is at the core of products like SQL Server 2005 and Vista). What you meant to say is that Microsoft plans to eventually scrap GDI (the native drawing library used by win32 conotrols) and Winforms (the .NET library that wraps win32) in favor of WPF (the device-independent vector-based drawing framework this article is about). WPF is a portion of WinFX (which also includes the Windows Communication Foundation, formerly known as Indigo, among other new bits), and it's all predicated upon .NET. So Microsoft is scrapping .NET? I don't think so!

    Funny how the biggest deal is about eye candy, rather than fixing the suckage that is Windows.

    If you think WPF is only about eye candy, you obviously haven't done your homework. As far as "fixing the suckage", the NT kernel that all Windows versions have been based on since 2000 is a very robust system. "Suckage" comes in several forms, but none of it falls to the kernel level:

    • Too much stuff is tied directly into the kernel. WPF and LDDM address this.
    • You have to run as admin all of the time. This is the fault of third-party applications, and will eventually change. NT has been a multi-user operating system since its inception, and playing nicely in a multi-user environment is part of logo certification. The problem is that many applications don't go through logo certification and are full of bad practices like writing to the file system outside of %USERPROFILE% or reading from/writing to the registry in HKLM when they should be using HKCU. Developers have to get their heads out of their asses to fix this problem, and there's only so much Microsoft can do
    • Internet Explorer has stagnated. IE7 is fixing this, but there's nothing stopping you from installing Firefox or Opera if you so choose. I'll agree that it's bad that IE is still concerned part of the OS rather than a separate application, but one step at a time.
    • Pretty much everything else I've ever heard people bitch about Windows falls into two other categories: unstable third-party hardware drivers and sucktastic application software. Neither of those are truly fixable by Microsoft, though some of it is in their hands (Office, Visual Studio, etc).

    Then again, it's okay for OS X to be all about the eye candy, but not Windows? Hypocrisy at its finest, I guess.

  • Re:No market there (Score:4, Insightful)

    by killjoe (766577) on Saturday September 17, 2005 @11:28PM (#13587866)
    "Wow, when did KDE get a 3D XML based programming and presentation layer, that uses hardware acceleration without letting the OS have OpenGL take over?"

    Dude. Until you get a 3D XML based programming and presentation layer that used hardware acceleration without openGL you SUCK!. Anybody who does not have a 3D XML based programming and presentation layer is going to DIE.

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