I was on the Microsoft campus for the MVP Summit when Windows 8 Consumer Preview was released. Everyone at the event knew how much was riding on Windows 8, so the strong sense of anticipation in the air bordered on nervousness.
I was already familiar with the Windows 8 Developer Preview, but the changes Microsoft described in the Consumer Preview sounded truly exciting. I must have been among the first to download and install the new OS.
To say that the experience was disheartening is an understatement. Those who read my Enterprise Windows blog know I'm a staunch Microsoft defender. But based on the Consumer Preview, I have a new name for Windows 8: Windows Frankenstein.
A monster in the making
Simply, the Windows 8 Consumer Preview feels stitched together. It tries and fails to smoothly integrate a new desktop Windows UI with Metro, the top-layer UI first introduced with Windows Phone 7. To mix metaphors, the combination yields an operating system with a multiple personality disorder: "I'm a tablet ... no wait, I'm a desktop ... I'm a tablet." It's horribly confused.
Arbitrary Windows desktop UI changes make matters worse: The Start button is missing. By force of habit I found myself repeatedly clicking where it used to be. Trying to open Word to write this article, I clicked what is now IE on the taskbar three times before I realized what I was doing. I simply couldn't figure out how to get to my applications. I had to go back to the Start screen and right-click to make the All Apps option appear so that I could view my applications and finally find Word. Frustrating!
Software development isn't just about engineering. You need a skin. You need to outline the user functionality. And whoever came up with Metro should be imprisoned. Metro is so hard on the eyes I can't look at it for long without getting a headache. It may work on a smartphone or a tablet, but on my desktop, it's maddening. Metro on my multimonitor 24-inch screens doesn't look right at all.