Deciding whether to write this latest entry was a tad difficult, if only because I'm starting to feel like I've been harping a bit too much on Microsoft, but some of the information that has trickled out about the new Xbox bears some putting into context. Specifically, the requirement that anyone wanting to publish a game to Xbox Live needs to sign on with a publisher, so no self-publishing by indies. There's some minor rumbling and irritation at this requirement, but I don't think anyone was really expecting Microsoft to even try to accommodate indies on this one.
The project often gets suggestions for what people consider to be "improvements" over how Windows does something. Nothing wrong with that, save for the fact people rarely consider the implications of what they are asking for. The most recent spurt was in "enhancements" for the shell, some of it due to the renewed attention I started drawing to it. We'll take the request for "full screen" application support to start with. On Windows, fullscreen support needs to be baked into the application, requiring an explicit decision by a developer to support it.
In my last post, I talked a bit about how Microsoft's fixation on Metro/Modern and the appstore had resulted in it basically ignoring large swathes of its developer community. So that post got a lot more attention than I was expecting, with some agreeing and others disagreeing. Some discussions however took a turn where people began debating how much trouble, if any, developers were in with Microsoft's move. This was something that I had decided not to explore further because the previous post had already reached a fairly ridiculous length.
Most people understand that Windows is used by a variety of people who have a variety of needs, ranging from corporate server to workstation to POS terminals to home PC and beyond. Most people accept that whenever Microsoft updates Windows, it has to balance the competing requirements to find some kind of workable compromise. There is however another set of competing requirements that many do not really register, even those that call themselves power users or are IT admins. It is a conflict between developers/programmers and Microsoft itself.
In my years working as a programmer, I have run into many, many bugs and introduced many of my own. A few stand out as tremendously irritating to debug, as their behavior made little sense and the source of the bug was non-obvious. The first issue was from my work for the HTCondor Project, an open source cluster management software used by research groups around the world including those working on crunching data from the Large Hadron Collider, the LIGO graviton detector, and the IceCube neutrino observatory.