Choose Your Own Windows 10 Update Cycle Adventure?

Subject: General Tech | October 11, 2014 - 04:11 PM |
Tagged: windows 10, windows, update

I cannot help but think of Adobe Creative Cloud when I read Peter Bright report on Windows 10's update schedule. Previously, we would have general security and stability updates for Windows with the occasional Service Pack to roll updates together and sometimes introduce new features. Now, users might be able to choose how quickly to apply these updates, opt-out of everything but security patches, and/or accept experimental features.

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I say "might" because this is not technically a Microsoft announcement. Windows 10 has a new user interface, along with a few registry entries, for users to choose update frequency and development branches. The company would not say whether the Windows Insider program would continue after release, but the assumption is that it would be around for enthusiasts and IT testers to prepare for (and influence) upcoming changes. Think of it like an OS equivalent to the prerelease versions of Chrome and Firefox.

The article also suggests that the version number could periodically increase and that this initiative would replace Service Packs.

And this is where it feels a lot like Creative Cloud. Rather than waiting for an 18-month release schedule, Adobe is able to push out features at their leisure. Initially, I expected that this would lead to stagnation, but I do not see many complaints about that. On the other hand, it also pushed Adobe's software into a subscription service, which is something that people have been anticipating (and fearing with some) for quite some time now. Alternatively, it could be setting up Microsoft to subsidize Windows with online services. Either way, it could make it harder for them to justify incrementing the major version number.

Source: Ars Technica

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October 11, 2014 | 05:55 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I can't see the relation to Creative Cloud. This is changing how non-security updates arrive.

How it worked up to Windows 7: security patches arrived regularly, bugfix patches arrived sporadically and semi-optionally, Service Packs rolled up bugfixes and feature additions. Update opt-put is at a per-update granularity, and often needs you to be running an enterprise infrastructure to manage in a non-insane manner.

How Windows 10 (supposedly) updates: security updates arrive regularly, bugfix and feature updates arrive sporadically. Service Packs no longer exist. There exist options to opt out of non-security updates, gate non-security updates, or opt-in to untested updates (to participate in testing). This option can be managed at the device level.

Makes management a HELL of a lot easier, with the only real loss being update management granularity (and only possibly, it may just stick around anyway), and that creating slipstreamed installation media means will need you to pull every update individually rather than every update after the last service pack. But you should be using DISM anyway, so meh.

October 11, 2014 | 07:06 PM - Posted by blackdove83 (not verified)

Youd think a multi-billion dollar company would have someone who knows that blue light damages your retina and suppresses melatonin production (increasing the risk of cancer etc.) and choose a better color.

Monitor manufacturers are at least including reader or low blue light modes now.

Microsoft needs to hire a colorist who knows what theyre doing. Oh wait, they made Windows 8 and the Xbox.

October 12, 2014 | 02:25 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Now if only they could re-build the OS so that it doesn't need to be restarted after every patch. Even though 75% of the time it's a myth that you need to restart these days, Microsoft still pushes it and for us old timers it's just a habit.

Even though I understand little about linux, the one thing I did appreciate was the ease of doing updates. It always felt funny not having to do a complete restart.

October 12, 2014 | 12:44 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

M$ needs to offer a better explanation of just what its security updates are fixing, Inside the update window without having to poke around the "knowledge" base entries. This should include any information on any known patch that causes problems after it is installed. Any patch that is fixed by another subsequent patch, should automatically uninstall the old patch, and hiding individual patches should still be possible. Hell if the patch borks so many systems then M$ should push out an uninstaller through the update service delivery mechanism, that asks the user for permission to uninstall a malfunctioning patch, this could be done even before the fix was pushed out later on. And save a lot of user time searching through the KB database, and the installed updates list. The last time there was a major request for a defective patch/s uninstall, the KB database only had entries for windows 8, and no mention of any previous OS's, that were affected by a slightly different group of updates, the M$ KB knowledge base's one size fits all approach causes more confusion with previous OSs that are still under some form of support. More resources should be employed to offer better OS documentation, as well as the under the hood improvements, and that unnecessary for the desktop OS stuff should be made an optional install, and not bound/forced on the base OS.

It still looks like Windows 7, is the new XP, for those that do not want, Bing, and other M$ cloud services foisted upon the OS, and that includes the M$ store, and any TIFKAM tiles functionality. 2020 is going to be very interesting for Redmond, when those enterprises that have just recently completed the move to windows 7, resist, on financial grounds, the move to another version of windows, before the business has had a chance to fully amortize the costs of moving to 7, getting all an enterprise's software certified and working in a new OS environment can run into the millions, and for all enterprises the costs can run in the 100's of billions and take years to complete. It's no wonder the enterprise server side has adopted Linux, with the options of many GUIs, or keeping a stable GUI, or running the servers from the CLI, and avoiding all the unnecessary GUI gerrymandering and foisting that happens on the windows ecosystem.

October 13, 2014 | 12:13 PM - Posted by BBMan (not verified)

Which is why I'm done with MS. Win 7 is the end of the road and Linux is my next OS. They are going after those who don't know that the privacy statements are as good as the security one. I feel sorry for the people who just accept and trust- because a lot of people don't- and this is a lot of why you have to take on as much as you can yourself.
I'm waiting for Linux to be "regulated" soon.

October 13, 2014 | 10:58 AM - Posted by edwinjamesmiller36

".. it could make it harder for them to justify incrementing the major version number."

From Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet: "But Microsoft went instead with Windows 10 because they wanted to signify that the coming Windows release would be the last "major" Windows update. Going forward, Microsoft is planning to make regular, smaller updates to the Windows 10 codebase, rather than pushing out new major updates years apart."

October 13, 2014 | 10:21 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I think that's all just talk and more of the same. Following the Adobe process is not a good thing and they can only do that because they're moving the product out of your hands and into the cloud where they control everything and version numbers with features is no longer a selling point. It'll eventually backfire on them as parts of it already has.

Version numbers and major releases will always exist. They may do incremental updates, but they'll have to drop a major release every 3-5 years even so. You can consider since moving to the NT Core we've had nothing but unnecessary versioning. Some are more major than others, but the differences between Vista > 7 > 8 > 8.1 are very minimal. Things will still break just as they do compatibility wise when they do something major and call "minor". Look at Linux and OSX where OSX is stuck on the same endless version of 10, yet compatibility is still an issue just like with Linux it goes down to the kernel. These things wont change regardless of there approach.

They're probably just trying to avoid the look that a new OS brings. People see a new OS and immediately start to think everything previously wont work and many software manufacturers have entire businesses on basically selling you a new version as if "Now Supports Windows 8.1" was something it couldn't previously do.

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