Originally Published: Wednesday, 9 February 2000 Author: Thomas B. Wilson
Published to: featured_articles/Featured Articles Page: 1/1 - [Printable]

Microsoft Reinvents The Wheel And Exclaims, Eureka!

Recently, Microsoft Program Manager Steve Falcon e-mailed several WinAmp developers. "Microsoft is looking for skin artists to work on a contract basis on an unannounced product. The product is unrelated to WinAMP but supports bitmap-based skinning. Your name was selected at random from published WinAMP skin designers."...

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Recently, Microsoft Program Manager Steve Falcon e-mailed several WinAmp developers. "Microsoft is looking for skin artists to work on a contract basis on an unannounced product. The product is unrelated to WinAMP but supports bitmap-based skinning. Your name was selected at random from published WinAMP skin designers."

The e-mail continues: "If you are interested, please reply with your name, address, phone number, availability and links to skins or your other graphic design portfolio. If all goes well, I will contact you to discuss the project, your interest in it, logistics, terms, and compensation, etc. Since the product we are working on is unannounced, I can't tell more about it without a confidential disclosure agreement. But I can tell you it's very COOL! Please forward to other good skin designers you know."

Recent company job postings have been seeking software design engineers to develop an extensible window manager for the successor to Windows 2000. One job posting on Microsoft.com read, "This component will be the foundation for a new generation of Window Managers, which will allow easily extensible UI look, feel and behavior. It will also enable the operating system to support different Window Managers, which could evolve independently from the operating system itself."

People familiar with UNIX, Linux and the X Windows System no doubt realize the irony of this "new" Microsoft approach to user interfaces and window managers. It is classic UNIX/X Window. For nearly two decades UNIX application designers and programmers have been making use of extensible window managers which are not constrained by any of the UNIX or Linux operating systems, especially those built on the foundation of the X Window System. One of the many advantages to this approach is that window managers and applications can be developed and modified as creations which are independent of the operating systems under them.

Microsoft has decided that a new, more correct way to write user interfaces and applications during the latter half of the decade has only just begun. Yet, no one has to wait another five to ten years for such futuristic programming and design. Unix, Linux, and the X Window System do it now and they do it cheaply.





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