Feeds

Windows Metro Maoist cadres reach desktop, pound it flat

3D effects are bourgeois revisionism

The essential guide to IT transformation

The revolutionary dogma of Metro is sweeping through the old Windows desktop, too, a new leak of Window 8 confirms. The leaked build, newer than the public release of a fortnight ago, abandons the 3D design elements introduced into Windows in 1990 for a resolutely two-dimensional world.

The 'legacy' desktop in Windows 8 is denuded of anything that takes advantage of human depth perception, such as window shadows, gradients or sculpted controls. It's a flat, flat world.

Microsoft had already promised to drop the gimmicky glass effect, first introduced in Windows Vista, last month. Public releases were considerably 'flatter' in appearance than before, squaring off round edges with the designer's knife.

Now the Windows team has gone the whole hog, theming Windows 8 to look just like a Windows Phone. So windows buttons are flat, windows don't have shadows that help the user distinguish where they are in the Z-order, and UI chrome is a flat, single colour element without gradients.

The first popular graphical user interfaces of the mid-80s, pioneered by Apple, Atari and Amiga, adopted flat 2D designs because microcomputers didn't have the graphical grunt to support them. But as horsepower increased, designers took advantage of 3D effects to distinguish the UI chrome from the content inside the windows. This is much harder in a flat, 2D world.

Every sinew of every worker must be strained to purge the 3D elements

It's doubtful whether the glass effect aided usability in any way - as it drew the eye to what didn't matter. Many users were happier with transparency turned off.

It certainly looks different - but does it work?

On devices with a small screen, where UI chrome can be made to disappear, and where one application exclusively uses the screen, Microsoft believes that it does.

Or do you think the Metro designers taking taking Mao Tse Tung's famous advice - to "support whatever the enemy opposes and oppose whatever the enemy supports" a little too literally?

Perhaps they should also heed the Great Helmsman's thoughts on self-criticism.

You can get a glimpse on various blogs and Windows fansites around the interwebs, such as this one. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
China hopes home-grown OS will oust Microsoft
Doesn't much like Apple or Google, either
Sin COS to tan Windows? Chinese operating system to debut in autumn – report
Development alliance working on desktop, mobe software
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Eat up Martha! Microsoft slings handwriting recog into OneNote on Android
Freehand input on non-Windows kit for the first time
Linux kernel devs made to finger their dongles before contributing code
Two-factor auth enabled for Kernel.org repositories
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Scale data protection with your virtual environment
To scale at the rate of virtualization growth, data protection solutions need to adopt new capabilities and simplify current features.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?