Microsoft has released the first pre-beta code of Windows 7, writes Barry Collins at the Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles.
The next-generation operating system includes a bevy of new features, including a revamped Windows desktop, support for multitouch, USB drive encryption and improved boot times and performance.
While all this does sound promising for people still using Windows, the preliminary screenshot definitely failed to impress. I'm hoping that Microsoft's history of refining and modifying the interface to the point where it barely resembles the betas repeats itself, because this is just awful:
Screenshot of the first preview of Windows 7
Not only that, but I feel as though they've blatantly and unabashedly ripped off my beloved K Desktop Environment. The panel is pixel-for-pixel the same size. The layout is the same. The widgets look the same. Though for what it's worth, you've got to hand it to them for taking such a gorgeous interface and making it look terrible!
I think it does make a strong statement though that a software company that has been so desperate to label free and open source software as a movement that largely can't be taken seriously, then turns around and attempts to emulate the fruits borne from such projects.
Screenshot of the current release of the KDE Unix (Linux, FreeBSD etc) desktop
I continually find it amazing how Microsoft's user interface standards have so dramatically slipped over the years. Our first home computer came loaded with Windows 3.0 with Multimedia Extensions which we later upgraded to 3.1. It was by no means perfect, but I'd argue in many ways it was superior to anything outside Amiga Workbench at the time. Windows 95 was clean and organised and personally I thought it was much slicker than System 7.x and all the other classic Mac OS's. Windows 98 was marginally worse, XP's cheap graphics looked childish, and Vista of course was an abomination.
With the bar now set so low, let's hope for the sake of people who still must use Windows that this latest version gets some serious cosmetic changes before it ships in 2049.
Windows 3.1 in all it's glory!