24 October 2012

Windows 8

The big release of Windows 8 looms on Friday. We have been testing Deep-Sky Planner 5 running under Windows 8 Enterprise (RTM) for a few months now, and we haven't found any problems. Fortunately, it seems that compatibility with Windows 7 is a sufficient condition for compatibility with Windows 8. That includes inter-operation with planetarium software and telescope control using ASCOM 6.

Knightware will acquire a retail copy of Windows 8 for internal testing, but Windows 7 will remain the OS of choice for everyday development and other work. We also maintain testbeds running the venerable Windows XP and the much maligned Windows Vista.

Having used Windows 8 a bit, I cannot understand the motivation for burying the desktop UI behind a needlessly awkward tablet UI for desktop users. While I wouldn't underestimate the marketing prowess at Microsoft, it seems like Apple did it right: two separate OSes for desktop and tablet. Time will tell which strategy succeeds.

My discussions with people about Windows 8 have revealed no fans so far. My favorite discussion, with an engineering student, panned it completely. Can you imagine engineering spreadsheets being used productively on a tablet? Well, not with current UI practices, that's for sure!

Windows 8 may sell, or it may flop. I suspect that tablet users may like it, but desktop users will not. Regardless, it appears that Deep-Sky Planner 5 runs well under Windows 8 - if you can determine how to launch it!