The May 15, 2008 edition of Redmond Developer News magazine arrived at my door today. I had to immediately read the cover article: Windows 7 Lockdown. I must say out of everything in the article that is troubling, with the position that Microsoft is and has been taking with Windows 7, is the fact that Steven Sinofsky, now the senior vice president for the Windows® and Windows Live™ Engineering Group, formerly "oversaw the development of the Microsoft Office system".
Don’t get me wrong. Microsoft Office is a minimum requirement for 99.99% of every person and is used hours upon hours every day. Yes, the Microsoft Office team has done an excellent job of pushing new versions out every two years.
Okay, enough praise, I suppose. Here’s my problem and the problem that I am sure everyone else will agree with once the look at it from this perspective: Microsoft Office has been and continues to be notoriously known for years as the worst example of bloatware! I think too many of us have forgotten that over the years, as CPU’s, RAM, and disk space has continued at such a rapid pace. I think we need to be reminded. Microsoft Office Suite has things that still need to be addressed take the simple issue I came across at on this Jeff Bell’s blog regarding a Microsoft Publisher Viewer. You start to see that not everyone remains happy with Office. Microsoft Publisher has always been treated as an "outsider" to the Office suite. I know a whole lot of people are still upset about the Ribbon interface, even though Microsoft promotes it as the best thing to EVER happen to Office. I personally have grown use to it over time, just as we have grown use to and ignore the bloatware factor.
In Microsoft’s defense, what one person perceives as bloatware is a must have feature to someone else. That is why I do hope Windows 7 ends up taking the same path as Windows Server 2008 and more easily allow me to choose the features I want. Other than that, my only request to Microsoft is PLEASE allow the Ribbon to be toned down at least a little. I love tabs (which in my opinion is really all that the ribbon is), but I do learn what the pictures on a button mean, so please let me insert my Tables, Pictures, Shapes, Charts, Hyperlinks, etc without having to actually start at the Text as well. It used to be common practice to allow someone to configure how they want to use their computer – "Small Toolbar Icons", etc. I prefer the desktop real-estate on my two 21" wide Dell LCD’s. Oh well, it’s only an inch. Give me back the power to make these simple decisions. Why are we moving in the opposite direction? This is my frustration and whole reason of concern. One step forward (every two years) and two steps back (bloatware, no personalization, preferences, or choices, continued incompatibilities and lack of integration with the rest of the enterprise and technology.
To wrap it up, the article does have some other critical things to say about the new process, now under Sinosfy, and that is the tight lipped non-disclosure policies that have been portrayed – translucency versus transparency. For crying out loud, the folks living and working with IT need to be aware of the roadmap if they ever intend to try and continue driving through the fog.
I personally hope Microsoft gets it right with Windows 7. We shall see. I actually prefer Vista over XP. I do occasionally feel the pain of incompatibilities, but I haven’t looked back yet.