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    Does MS want a EU anti-trust process again?

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      Keeping score, third-party browsers are now banned in:

      • iOS (Apple)
      • Windows 10 S (Microsoft)

      ChromeOS is a weird animal, so I won’t count fully count it.

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        Third-party browsers are not banned on iOS (I make one that is in the App Store), third-party browser engines are banned, because of Apple’s broader ban on apps executing downloaded code. Browsers like Chrome and Firefox on iOS just have to wrap around WKWebView.

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          The word “just” is doing a lot of work in that sentence.

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            It looks like the same is going to be true for 10 S. Quoting the rule that bans Chrome:

            Apps that browse the web must use the appropriate HTML and JavaScript engines provided by the Windows Platform.

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              In that way, Google Chrome won’t be allowed in iOS in exactly the same fashion it is not allowed in Windows 10 S.

              Sounds like a non-story.

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                Windows becoming the same kind of walled garden as iOS is very much a story.

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                  Why? What’s the story?

                  Does it mean that Windows is going to increase to Apple’s quality level? If so, then it’s a good story, but if the walled-garden is what makes Apple good, why doesn’t it work for Google?

                  Does anyone think this is an experiment to see if Microsoft can stop providing Windows 10 (non-S)? How is Microsoft going to prevent those people from getting a Mac or a Linux workstation?

                  Or is it a story in that we can say “Some people think Obama is a Muslim” is a story? In that, it’s something you can say that some people might not know, but that is still deeply unsatisfying to have alongside actual news?

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                    Does it mean that Windows is going to increase to Apple’s quality level? If so, then it’s a good story

                    It’s news. Whether Apple’s “quality” is worth the cost is very much a matter of opinion, but wherever you stand it’s a change worth knowing about.

                    How is Microsoft going to prevent those people from getting a Mac or a Linux workstation?

                    The same way as on phones: Secure Boot and locked bootloaders.

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                      It’s news… wherever you stand it’s a change worth knowing about.

                      But why?

                      What is someone going to do as the result of knowing about it?

                      Are they going to boycott Microsoft the way they’ve been boycotting Google and Apple?

                      The same way as on phones: Secure Boot and locked bootloaders.

                      I don’t see how secure boot prevents someone from going to the apple store. There exist phones you can put your own operating system on, and that you can even get support to do so. They just aren’t sold by Apple.

                      This was “news” 30 years ago when people were first being convinced that programming was something only nerds needed to be able to do.

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                Thank you. You’re right, of course, I should have said browser engines.

                […] because of Apple’s broader ban on apps executing downloaded code.

                Broad and with exceptions.

                Anyway, I think this is where I bow out because walled gardens gonna walled garden.

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                  What’s it called? (Your browser in the IOS app store) - I’d love to take a look given the excellent posts and dialog I see from you around here.

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                  Considering Windows 10 S is actually meant as a direct competitor to ChromeOS, I don’t think this choice is all that surprising.

                  Hugely disappointing (much like chromeos is to me), but not surprising.

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                    Umm. What? You mean like the Firefox I use all the time on all my IOS devices?

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                      Sure, but not with the Gecko engine. Every browser on iOS has to be built on top of Apple’s WKWebView (WebKit).

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                        A fact that has significance pretty much only for developers and open source advocates.

                        There’s plenty I could gripe about around indie browsers on IOS, “aren’t allowed” isn’t on that list.

                        Note that the original comment said:

                        Keeping score, third-party browsers are now banned in:

                        iOS (Apple) Windows 10 S (Microsoft)

                        The words we choose are important, don’t you think?

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                          If you find words so important then please point out which part of my comment was wrong.

                          I did not dispute your premise (other browsers are indeed allowed on iOS and Win10S). However I am disagreeing about importance of engine choice.

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                            The web and the billions of dollars of industry around are only possible because different browser engines were able to compete. For someone who claims that the words we choose are important, saying that browser competition has “significance pretty much only for developers and open source advocates” is a little hypocritical.

                            I and millions of others kind of like the fact that we’re able to do so much with open web technologies today; we should remember what enabled that.

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                              I agree that an open web is important. Platform technology is all about trade-offs. The IOS platform trades openness and choice for security and support.

                              I know a number of security professionals who choose IOS over Android as their mobile platform of choice for precisely this reason.

                              Keeping a web rendering engine secure is hard. Witness the constant stream of vulns coming out of browsers.

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                                Keeping a web rendering engine secure is hard. Witness the constant stream of vulns coming out of browsers.

                                That’s not why they’re doing it. They and Microsoft both have a history of monopolistic practices to encourage lock-in. In Apple’s case, they’ve eliminated competing products from the App Store in the past. The users are doing everything through native apps and browsers. People were avoiding lock-in with their choice of apps and web apps. Now, they control both. This is for their long-term, financial gain where competition with their ecosystem is more difficult.

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                                  So, that’s a valid point, but it occurs to me that neither of us can prove we’re right here. The rule exists. Apple doesn’t provide rationale as to why the rule exists, everything else is conjecture.

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                                    Sure we can. Apple patents almost everything about their products then sues anyone doing something similar. I mean, they and Microsoft are the champions of doing this for smartphones. Apple actually went further in Germany aiming to remove Samsung products off the market unless rewritten to be unusable. They also previously blocked competing products out of their App Store. The constant creation and enforcement of monopolies on smartphone design/function, anti-competitive behavior in App Store, and recent blocking of competition on browser strongly suggests the browser move is just another way to block competition along with restrict user freedom.

                                    Or do you have examples of how Apple was open to high-quality/security clones of iPhone with a different name/symbol on them to protect Apple’s brand? Or relaxing App Store restrictions outside quality/security for 3rd party apps that are very competitive with Apple such as browsers?

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                      Windows 10 S’s intent is for education, it’s supposed to be a locked down system that a kid can’t fuck up by mistake. While blocking third-party browsers is very sketchy, the reasoning on the surface is sound to me. I’m not worried about it unless they started doing this in Windows 10 home or (lol) enterprise.

                      But yeah, clearly Microsoft is making a play to get the next gen of kids used to using Microsoft hardware/software, just like Apple and Google have been doing. All of those things are pretty dumb. Don’t act like you’re working in the interest of education when really you’re acting in your own interest.

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                        I suspect we don’t disagree on this, but I would argue also that the changes they are making “in the name of education” actively work against it. There is value in teaching programs from outside of the Windows store - whether it be programs used in industry in STEM fields or the ability to run and use libre software, or just as a means of teaching basic computer literacy.

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                          Teaching about computers requires open platforms. Teaching some other subject with computers (practically speaking) requires a locked-down platform, particularly if you’re talking about K-8 or even K-12. As someone who used to work in academic technology, general-purpose computers are terrible teaching tools because they’re just too flexible and therefore too easy to “screw up”.

                          I supported an online BS in nursing program for awhile. We provided Windows laptops to all students to make sure they had what they needed to participate in their courses, but inevitably a good half of the students would end up with unusable computers halfway through the semester due to malware of various sorts (some of it installed intentionally).

                          If they’d been running Windows 10 S or some other locked-down platform we might have had a little more work up front to get them configured, and we might have had to choose different course delivery tools in some cases, but the experience for the students would have been vastly superior.

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                            I think you kind of hit the nail on the head. I’ve seen teachers in my state who are trying to jump on board the whole “STEM” bandwagon by getting funding to buy all the students Ipads.

                            I think they missed the point. Most kids don’t really need to learn how to use a tablet in school, and if they do that’s not really STEM, but maybe still useful.

                            You could have some useful apps that were on a tablet. I can imagine it being kind of fun to use a tablet as a big graphing calculator with a 3d plot I can spin around. Or for exploring chemical formulas. So basically it’s a multimedia tool.

                            If you want to teach them about computers, give them something like the pi platform or arduino platform. Let them blink a light. There’s so many great software engineers who got their start entering stuff into a BASIC prompt. Let kids do that with python or even basic. This can totally be integrated with math class. The first program I ever wrote converted rectangular coordinates to polar and vice versa.

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                              There’s certainly an argument to be made that teaching computers and how they work should be done similar to automobiles - that the vast majority of users should be fine with just using the surface layers and not needing a deep understanding on how to repair or maintain it.

                              However, some people are going to need to learn how computers work. If the school provides a single computer that is locked down, then in order to learn it that person requires a second fully general-purpose computer - and right now, the only difference between those two computers would be the software running on them.

                              I agree that teaching about computers requires open platforms, but I disagree on your point that teaching other subjects requires locking it down - there is a tradeoff to be made here. The less locked down the system is, the more overhead involved in teaching a course using that system, but also the more reusability in the system for further purposes.

                              If the machines being sold in this manner were significantly less expensive, such as Chromebooks in the $200 range, then I would be more willing to accept having multiple computers as a solution, but here this is clearly positioned as the student’s primary and only computer.

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                                I agree that for students who need to learn about computers this is inefficient, but I think you underestimate the pain associated with trying to teach other subjects when the students are using systems they fully control.

                                The number of people who need to learn about computer versus with computers is relatively small, particularly, as I said, in K-12. It is tempting, I think, for people like us to reminisce about how simple and flexible computers were at some point in the past and all the fun we had fiddling with things. However, as computers are used more and more for teaching other subjects (see the next paragraph), I really think that it will become worthwhile to just expect some students to have two machines, or to provide labs for the students who need them.

                                That being said, I agree with you that $1,000 for a locked-down machine is a little steep. But then, I am also deeply cynical about the movement toward using computers to teach other subjects in general. I just don’t think computers, as they are commonly used for teaching, bring anything of value to the table. Simply forcing kids to use computers also doesn’t help them learn to be any more “computer savvy” in reality, so all in all it’s just a bunch of money dumped down the toilet.

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                                  I’d believe that I’m wrong about the number of K-12 students who need to learn about computers. There’s a lot of debate over the question of “should everyone learn to program” - and I suspect the answer to “what kind of computers should be used in education” probably hinges on that. On the other hand, I’ve used a relatively basic level of knowledge about computers to solve personal pain points many times - I’m inclined to believe that teaching students enough computer knowledge to do basic things with an arduino is probably as useful as teaching them calculus. I can certainly see where you’re coming from, and given that premise I can’t disagree with you.

                                  I agree with your last point - the only situation I’ve seen computers be of value in non-computer related classes is to enable remote students. I’m sure there are others, I see very little evidence of people taking advantage of them.

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                                    I’m inclined to believe that teaching students enough computer knowledge to do basic things with an arduino is probably as useful as teaching them calculus.

                                    I completely agree with you that it is valuable, unfortunately I don’t think it’s being done and probably won’t be done any time soon (at least not well). Ideally, I think kids would learn how to actually use computers and then they wouldn’t have as much trouble later on.

                                    I occasionally teach a CS class at the local public university. This semester I wrote test suites for my labs and taught the students how to run them with Gradle so they could self-evaluate before they turned each one in. I was shocked at how many students didn’t seem to fully understand the concept of files and directories, which made it difficult to teach them how to use Gradle from the command line.

                                    But then I pondered it a bit and I realized that almost every piece of software today, even desktop software, attempts to abstract the filesystem away so people just end up thinking that their Word documents are somehow inside of MS Word and, in my case, that their Java programs are somehow inside of the IDE.

                                    This is just one example. It’s a crappy situation, but I’m just not sure how to make it better. Hiring people competent enough in these areas, at the K-8 level in particular, to teach them well seems like a tall order. Maybe time will solve the problem slowly.

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                                a good half of the students would end up with unusable computers halfway through the semester due to malware of various sorts (some of it installed intentionally)

                                … and they all learned something from the experience, maybe just not what they were meant to :)

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                                  Hehe, yep… But seriously, that’s really the problem. There’s just no time in the curriculum to let the kids experiment and break things and learn something from it. I broke things hundreds of times when I was first learning about computers as a kid. But it was on my own time and I had a personal teacher (dad) to help me figure things out. That’s just such a hard process to replicate in a classroom. It would be tremendously valuable if someone were to figure it out, however.

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                                You’re absolutely right I agree with you. I do think that massive tech companies targeting education is good, but not ideal. The best approach to computer/internet literacy education would be to do so with Libre software - providing the opportunity for students to learn about all of the tech, not just living within a company ecosystem.

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                                The fact it shipped on the Surface Laptop (which is allegedly for higher education students but launched in a K-12 event…) is questionable - it should be shipping on 200$ machines, not competing against MacBooks. (Counterpoint: Chromebook Pixel. Counter-counterpoint: Chromebook Pixel being a sales failure.)

                                Microsoft is the master of confused messaging.

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                                  You’re right - shipping the Surface Laptop with Windows 10s by default is very sketch. It does allow upgrading to windows 10 pro ‘seamlessly’ which is good. I guess if you’re going to college for humanities or something and just using word/onenote/excel that would be a reasonable (In that I should be able to get my studies done) but silly that it doesn’t allow 3rd party applications.

                                  But yeah. That is very mixed messaging.

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                                    10 S runs third party applications - even Win32 ones. They just need to come from the store. I’m not sure if AppX sideloading is enabled.

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                                “Well, I guess now I’ll have to get used to this new autocratic ruling” – Windows users

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                                  now? Hasn’t this always been a core component of the Windows ecosystem?

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                                  I went Edge-only for a couple weeks and overall the experience was OK. However, I can’t help but think that this is Microsoft’s way of nudging users toward upgrading to Windows 10 Pro. This just feels like Windows RT all over again.

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                                    At least RT let you run cmd or PowerShell….

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                                    The irony is it’s not long since someone managed to escape this “secure edge sandbox” and end up with full privelege escalation. The idea that edge is any more secure than any other major browser is laughable.

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                                      Wait weren’t MS fined some times ago for monopolising browser choice? How can they do this again?