BUILD 2014: Windows Sideloading Changes Announced

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Shows and Expos | April 7, 2014 - 10:11 PM |
Tagged: BUILD 2014, microsoft, windows, winRT

A few days ago, I reported on the news from BUILD 2014 that Windows would see the return of the Start Menu and windowed apps. These features, which are not included with today's Windows 8.1 Update 1, will come in a later version. While I found these interface changes interesting, I reiterated that the user interface was not my concern: Windows Store certification was. I did leave room for a little hope, however, because Microsoft scheduled an announcement of changes. It was focused on enterprise customers, so I did not hold my breath.

And some things did change... but not enough for the non-enterprise user.

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Microsoft is still hanging on to the curation of apps, except for "domain-joined" x86 Enterprise and x86 Pro PCs; RT devices and "not domain-joined" computers will only allow sideloaded apps with a key. This certificate (key) is not free for everyone. Of course, this does not have anything to do with native x86 applications. Thankfully, the prospect of WinRT APIs eventually replacing Win32, completely, seems less likely now. It could still be possible if Windows Store has a major surge in popularity but, as it stands right now, Microsoft seems to be spending less effort containing x86 for an eventual lobotomy.

If it does happen, it would be a concern for a variety of reasons:

  1. Governments, foreign or domestic, who pressure Microsoft to ban encryption software.

  2. Internet Explorer's Trident would have no competition to adopt new web standards.

  3. Cannot create an app for just a friend or family member (unless it's a web app in IE).

  4. When you build censorship, the crazies will come with demands to abuse it.

So I am still concerned about the future of Windows. I am still not willing to believe that Microsoft will support x86-exclusive applications until the end of time. If that happens, and sideloading is not publicly available, and web standards are forced into stagnation by a lack of alternative web browsers, then I can see bad times ahead. I will not really feel comfortable until a definitive pledge to allow users to control what can go on their device, even if Microsoft (or people with some form of authority over them) dislikes it, is made.

But I know that many disagree with me. What are your thoughts? Comment away!

Source: ZDNet
April 8, 2014 | 06:48 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I just don't want to sign in or log in to use free applications through a third party (Microsoft) when there's no need. I shouldn't have to log in to a Microsoft account to then log in to a Netflix account. This is why I abandoned Xbox Live after many years. I can use a browser on a SFF HTPC to get to my content easily or side-load apps on my Android devices to avoid the Play Store.

Steam is about the only exception I make in this regard.

April 8, 2014 | 08:48 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Future open source software may just become only available on Linux based OSs, as windows for the Consumer/home user still appears to heading towards the great walled garden of M$. Steam OS is a much needed alternative to all of the closed and walled gardens, and having to purchase hardware that is tied to one, and only one OS/Online store/software ecosystem is the ultimate deal killer. It's one thing to have an optional app store/s application and runtime, but to have a forced app store ecosystem baked into the OS/OS UI is about the same as the baked in browser restriction that caused legal/trade issues with the justice department a few years back, and should never legally be alowed to happen on third party PC/laptop hardware that M$ does not directly brand/manfacture. Apple at its worse does not force its OS and closed ecosystem on any third party Laptop/PC hardware, and can be avoided if the user wishes a more open hardware option, but M$ with its still monopolistic control over third party laptop/PC OEMs with regards to the OS can not be allowed just to slam the gate shut on users that did not buy a M$ branded computer/laptop but bought an HP, or Asus, or other third party make of laptop/PC. The future of truely open PC/Laptop/mobile hardware hangs in the balance and Steam OS and full Linux support is becoming vital. Be very aware of the EEE(embrace extend extinguish), as those 3 Es are still very much a part of M$'s goal.

Grandmother M$, what big teeth you have there, so firmly locked onto my third party PC/Laptop hardware and software ecosystem! said Little Red windows Based, time to call the Debian based Huntsman!

April 8, 2014 | 09:45 AM - Posted by Jim cherry (not verified)

M$ is just responding to our inevitable google overloards

April 8, 2014 | 05:24 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

No to Google also, android is just another consumption OS, give me a full Debian based solution, and Steam OS on a tablet will be needed also! Any device tied into one company's software ecosystem will not get my money, I want applications that I can load, and not the side load with permission kind. tablets are in great danger of becoming the new Boob Tube without a full open Linux based distro being offered on them, as M$ and Google are more intrested in the metrics and Ad profits, throw in Facebook and a few others too, and the whole industry is looking like its time for a change. The whole technology industry is being devoured by the Ad based industry, I can just imagine a jet fighter pilot being annoyed by popup ads on the VR/headsup display in the middle of a dog fight!

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