Arm kit vendors snuggle up around the Windows 10 Autumnwatch bonfire awaiting supported OS

Plus: Burned by licence issues? ReactOS promises a retro world with no activation servers

Windows 10 Autumnwatch continued this week as licences got tossed on the bonfire and then hastily retrieved while Santa’s elves wondered what to install on their Arm laptops.

Arm in Arm, we wait for Windows

Joining the Windows 10 Autumnwatch in the hope of catching sight of the elusive operating system are vendors of Arm-based laptops and convertibles that Microsoft hopes will lead the way into a bright, always connected future.

With performance failing to match the price tag, the first batch of Snapdragon 835-based Windows 10 machines did not set the world alight. Not to worry, however, as Qualcomm's Snapdragon 850 was waiting in the wings, promising a 30 per cent bump in performance and a 25 per cent increase in battery life.

Fans of native Windows Arm and emulated x86 apps, rejoice!

But hold on a minute. As Microsoft watcher Brad Sams observed, while the likes of Lenovo may have introduced gear with the go-faster chippery, to actually run Microsoft's OS a Snapdragon 850 needs build 1809 of Windows 10, according to the gang at Redmond.

And that build, also known as the October 2018 Update, remains missing in action.

Thus, Lenovo and the other vendors who jumped on the Windows-On-Snapdragon train are faced with a quandary. Sell their machines with an OS that isn't actually supported (aka 1803, the April 2018 Update) or hang fire until October's build finally makes an appearance, while watching the clock count down to Christmas.

Sams found Lenovo's latest and greatest on the shelves at a US retailer running 1803. Gulp.

We'd offer them some of our Autumnwatch cocoa, but we fear Microsoft's hardware partners might have lost their appetites.

Bonfire of the licences

It took a day, but it appears the issues with Microsoft's licence activation servers that caused Windows 10 Pro machines to alarm users with messages instructing them to install the Home edition of the OS or purchase a fresh licence are coming to an end.

Some individuals obeyed, and actually handed over cash.

The experience may have made some consider alternatives that do not need Microsoft's licensing infrastructure to tell them what they have bought. To that end, a fresh release of ReactOS made an appearance this week.

For those tempted by an alternative, but also keen to enjoy a retro-Windows experience, ReactOS purports to seamlessly run Windows apps and drivers in an open-source environment. We took a look back in July and found it to be a fun exercise – if a little sniffy when it came to the latest and greatest Windows applications.

4.10 is the latest quarterly release, and the team has focused on consistency and stability. An unkind person might suggest the Windows team should do the same.

Other than stability, the team has introduced support for BTRFS-formatted drives and a host of usability tweaks and fixes. Compatibility has also seen improvement – Git now works properly and the user-mode DLLs have been synchronised with WINE. ®




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