Tim Sweeney Is On The Windows Warpath Again

Image: NVIDIA Blog

Over the last few days the tech community has been busy unpacking a new version of Windows, dubbed "Windows Cloud". Microsoft hasn't officially confirmed its existence, but the horse has well and truly bolted after a build of the OS appeared on Twitter.

Shortly after that, people began dissecting the nature of Windows Cloud. And the first thing that popped up was a disturbing message telling users that "the app you're trying to run isn't designed for this version of Windows". So, naturally, people got pissed. Enter stage right, Tim Sweeney.

Sweeney, founder of Epic Games, has been shitty at Microsoft for a fair while. He's been crying foul ever since Microsoft announced their plans for the Universal Windows Platform model, accusing the Windows maker of trying to "close down the Windows ecosystem".

So when reports started emerging that Windows Cloud was locking users down to applications that could only be installed from the Windows Store, Sweeney saw red. He fired out a volley of tweets on the weekend, but early this morning the red mist had been dispelled by mushroom clouds.

Not willing to download Dodgy OS.iso from a random account on Twitter, I hadn't played around with Windows Cloud and therefore couldn't confirm any of the claims. But Digital Trends had no such qualms (because they had a virtual machine ready-to-go) and found a setting in "Apps & Features" that lets users install applications from anywhere.

By default Windows Cloud allows only apps from the Windows Store, and there is some logic to that. Giving users ultimate power over their machine is more or less how people end up infecting their machines with all sorts of malware, viruses and other garbage. But - and I won't be the only one saying this - while security is ever-important, a better solution to that is for more users to become educated about how they use their computer, not instilling restrictions on what they can and can't install on their machines.

And while Sweeney might be right about what Microsoft wants to do in the long-term, the basic principle is solid. Windows 10 has complete control over the operating environment of UWP apps, a design feature that ensures a malicious app or malicious code in the app can't leave that environment and screw with the rest of your OS. (That doesn't mean some one won't, or hasn't, found a way around those restrictions, but that's the idea.)

To clarify things further, it's important to understand some of the context surrounding Windows Cloud. From the various reports out there, Windows Cloud is being designed as a Windows 10 variant to Google's Chrome OS platform. The overarching idea is that it'll be a speedy, low-overhead version of Windows 10 that can stream content to any device, a bit like a modern spin on Windows RT.

That said, it hasn't stopped Sweeney from beating the drum:


    Sweeney seems to be overreacting here. This is one specific version of Windows 10 that is designed to be lightweight and secure, essentially simulating a mobile operating system on barebones laptops and desktops. It's hardly ransomware, you don't have to 'upgrade to Pro' as Sweeney claimed. Aside from there being a setting to enable all sources (just like Android does), Cloud is the only edition with this feature and the Home edition is perfectly accessible.

      I disagree only in the swnse that we need people publicly presenting worse case scenarios as it helps to keep 'them'in check. It's when people are complacent and not 'overreacting' that 'they' do hatch their evil plans and slow chip away at us. You do need people to point out that a snowball can become an avalance if we're not careful.

        If he were presenting a 'worst case scenario' it might be different, but he's making claims about what it is now, not what it might become in the future. People replying to him on Twitter are believing it.

        It would be like saying the BBC supports ISIL because it ran a single opinion piece one time that sympathised with the plight of Muslims in the Middle East. The worst case scenario is extremely unlikely to happen.

    Tim Sweeney needs to get a grip. Windows Cloud is offered, for free, and is designed to run on lower end devices, where UWP is excellent because of its tight standards and interoperability. You can still get the exact same application experience you've had for years, by paying for your goddamned fucking operating system like you usually do.

    Eh, Android is like this and it's fine. Toggle the setting whenever I want to install something from another location, then turn it back on and I'm all safe (unless I am installing random shit that I don't know that it is, don't do that, even when a pop up tells you to).

    oh man I'm so gonna get my Grandma on Windows Cloud.


    I can see this version of Windows being on low cost tablets, laptops and even possible school hardware. If Tim is swearing at MS about this issue, why isn't he doing the same for Apple or Android?

    I like Tim, He's my kind of crazy. Death to Evilcorp!

    Epic will support UWP if and only if Microsoft commits to open app install by default on all Windows PCs.

    Happy to support Apple IOS though, thats completely different.

    I think Sweeneys tin foil hat is on too tight

    Well there is Linux, I wish these developers would stop crying wolf when they know full well that MS can lock them out at any moment and become just like Apple in some ways.

    But Linux, its there and being worked on with many options, lots of driver improvements with MESA and such in the last few months alone. If only developers stopped pretending it doesn't exist then we might have a decent MIDDLE ground ecosystem that can't just be taken over like Windows is possibly facing with MS Cloud/Store future..

    Last edited 08/02/17 4:32 pm

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