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The backlash against Windows 8 from various developers continues, but this time the creator in question isn't just expressing discontent. Notch, the developer behind smash hit Minecraft, a game that's torn up sales charts on both the Xbox and PC, has declared that he won't be working with Microsoft to certify Mincraft for Windows 8. Yesterday, Notch sent the following tweets:

Note that this doesn't mean Minecraft won't run on Windows 8. The certification process in question is Microsoft's mandatory rules for submitting content to the Windows game store. In order to be listed there, an application must be Metro-compatible and conform to a laundry list of other conditions. Notch's refusal means that the game won't be available via the Windows storefront -- you'll still be able to download and play it, provided you own an x86 PC. Since Win RT owners can't download or run apps outside Microsoft's walled garden, there's no chance of an ARM-compatible version.

Notch's complaints are an example of how Microsoft's current approach to application management in Windows 8 has fundamentally struck the wrong balance -- but they also obscure what we think the core issue is.

The App Store Isn't Inherently A Problem

There's nothing unethical or immoral about the App Store model in Windows 8, iOS, or Android. In each case, the governing company has established a set of ground rules and expectations. This benefits consumers, who have access to a one-stop location for a vast range of software which has been pre-checked for viruses, scams, and other problems. These security checks aren't perfect, and badware can slip through, but there's a valid tradeoff between the additional security and the rules of the road according to Apple/MS/Google.

The real problem with Windows 8 is that it locks ARM users into a second class experience. If you buy an x86 tablet, you can download programs from Sourceforge, Github, or any file mirror of your choice. If you're an ARM user, you can download programs from the Microsoft store.


And that's a problem. It doesn't matter if "other tablets" enforce similar restrictions; Microsoft and Intel have put a great deal of effort into selling Windows as the OS that gives you the benefits of Windows in a new form factor. Microsoft has decided to sharply curtail user freedom by hardware type without distinguishing the brand in any great degree. That leaves consumers forced to choose between a device with PC-like freedom to download and install software and a cheaper device that doesn't. Suddenly, software freedom is something you can only have if you're willing to pay $100-$200 more for it.

Microsoft has argued that this sort of strategy allows them to offer a better user experience. Claptrap. Windows' permission system has been refined for decades; the existing framework draws clear delineations between safe and unsafe actions. Here's just one example:

By default, certain key files and folders are hidden, as are protected OS files. To see them, you have to go to "Tools," "Folder Options," and then select the "View" tab. Uncheck the box for "Hide Protected operating system files," and the system presents the following:

You've been warned -- muck with these files at your own risk. If WinRT included an equivalent setting, like an option to download/install unverified code, this wouldn't be a problem. Microsoft wants to establish a monopoly on Windows 8 devices, so it doesn't. The PC platform, however, isn't the problem. The App Store isn't inherently the problem. The bifurcated permission structure is the problem, and it makes WinRT tablets categorically impossible to recommend for anyone who values the ability to install whatever software they please.
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I agree that it sucks you can't go outside the app store... But it's not like you don't have options which you can't say for apple or android. You want win8 on your pc you can have it, notebook/netbook/ultrabook of course, x86 tablet great, ARM tablet owell you get what you pay for and don't get apps outside the app store, windows phone 8 nothing outside the App Store.. Should we complain about wp8 too? On the competition front apple has the same restrictions without full osx running on a tablet and has even less functionality on a tablet compared to winRT on a tablet, and arguably less functionality on the on mobile smart phones as well. Android? Same thing but without the desktops or laptops (worth mentioning any way).

Whether win8 ends up being a boon or a flop it still will be offering more options than the competition. If their App Store was as strong as apples this complaint might never have risen.


"The real problem with Windows 8 is that it locks ARM users into a second class experience."

No. It locks *gullible* users into a second-class experience. They could have bought an iOS or Android device and gotten first-class, but they chose Windows RT because they didn't know what they were buying. Caveat emptor applies, jsut like buying a used car. If you have no real idea what's in that poke, don't buy a pig. Get a friend who does know to help you shop, or hire a professional consultant (whom you can sue if he screws you over).

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I don't know about everyone else, but I think Notch is hilarious and a hero. I bought a third copy of Minecraft simply because he would not deal with the patent trolls trying to sue him.

I agree with Joel that an app store isn't inherently a problem. Hell, even Ubuntu has one. The problem occurs when users are locked in to one. This is an area Apple is especially pushing (just look at what they're doing with Gatekeeper). And, if they're successful, Microsoft will continue jumping in right behind them - as usual.

As for Win8...  I'd feel smarter if I'd have figured out that you can go back to the start screen without having to ask someone.  My fault, I guess, for using my CR-48 and other systems that have conditioned me to never hit the Windows key (especially when non-existent).


"They could have bought an iOS or Android device and gotten first-class"

No, because you'll be using app stores with them too and MS App Store is basically modeled on the Apple App Store.

Besides, the MS App Store isn't necessarily quite as limited as some people are apparently thinking...

"We understand that in some cases, apps provide a gateway to retail content, user generated content, or web based content. We classify those apps as either Storefront apps, whose primary function is to aggregate and sell third party media or apps, or Streaming apps, whose primary function is to aggregate and stream web-based images, music, video or other media content. In some cases, it may be acceptable for a Storefront or Streaming app to include some content that might otherwise be prohibited in a single purpose app."

They also have other loop holes, like companies can use a similar loop hole to have their own secure in-house app store available to their employees.

People should also consider the fact legacy apps for Windows wouldn't run on ARM anyway! Also, Windows will be likely a much more major target for malware makers. So it's not like MS could just leave themselves wide open to attack like Android is with the Play Store. Especially with mobile devices with NFC and mobile payment systems that would be a major cash cow for malware makers.

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> People should also consider the fact legacy apps for Windows wouldn't run on ARM anyway!

Absolutely true, but MS sincerely does *not* want that fact in the marketing materials. :)

> MS could just leave themselves wide open to attack like Android is with the Play Store.

The Play Store is not quite wide open.  Kos and others have tried to submit some apps that requested elevated permissions, and they did not get accepted.


He isn't the only one that has a problem with Win-8 either. Microsoft is trying the steamroller approach with this OS and there are boulders in the way,.......Ha-Ha!


"The Play Store is not quite wide open. Kos and others have tried to submit some apps that requested elevated permissions, and they did not get accepted."

Yet the number of malware being released is still increasing... it went up 61% in Q1 and tripled in Q2 of this year!

So it's hardly comparable to the much more secure app distribution used by GNU/Linux distros.


My respect for him has definitely gone up a Notch. [:P]

But seriously, he's a very cool guy. The same can be said for most of Mojang.


One thing.. I have yet to find an Android tablet that **REQUIRES** that you download apps from the Google Play Store. By default, most allow it, but every single one I've seen has an option to allow you to install apps from unknown sources, which basically lets you download and install an APK from anywhere. With that option enabled, the Gmail app even helpfully replaces the Open link with an Install link for attachments that are APKs!


And just look at how wonderfully free from malware and stuff android and its openness is. Oh, wait...


Whats the big deal, you don't need it certified for W8 anyways. If Notch even used W8 once he would relize this. But looks like he's too big of a hipster for it.


So, I guess the iPad is an open system platform then?


I don't agree .

It won't ruin the PC it makes Intel and Arm compete to create better procesors something I found out about ARM is that it runs differently there's so much for Intel but ARM is much faster per space . Minecraft is already for Android which is on ARM I could Just jail break a surface and download through my email address on Google . But that's alot of trouble . You say we will mis out but in the long run you will. Mine craft is a great game But eventually ARM will surpass Intel . Apple and android are heading that way and Microsoft Pays there developers the may double . Not to mention the great advantage you get from tuning ARM they have free versions of mine craft for Intel only hurting you ever so slitly more they don't have that for ARM more money in your pocket you did it for android and apple do it for windows there gonna proceed with or without minecraft.


I don't agree with the Mine craft man I mean