Personally, I couldn't care less about an interface change in apps I don't use, but I'm interested in what's the reasoning behind these changes. Is it because of the novelty factor, and the attractiveness of the Ribbon, that Microsoft changed the UI of two simple programs, so they could have some visible changes from Vista to Windows 7, and thus sell the OS as a really newer Windows, while ignoring all the reasons behind the existence of the Ribbon, just like most apps using it are doing? Or is it because of the future addition of major features to Paint and Wordpad that would need a different UI to accommodate its usage?
We're probably a bit early in the Windows 7 development process to actually answer these, but in any case, both paths are not exactly worth following, the first one for being just a marketing gimmick, and the second one, for antitrust concerns. And considering that things like Movie Maker or Live Mail are already being stripped from Windows in favour of their webware counterparts, perhaps it's time to clean up even more fluff?
I would say be bold - drop all compatibility with non NT systems for a start. There are no preNT operating systems still supported by OS so why saddle everyone with compatibility layers etc.. If they want compatibility with earlier Windows why not redesign VirtualPC to run apps transparently on the desktop in the correct virtual OS?
YEAH, I'm all for this. Less hassle for everyone, and probably the compatibility rate would go even higher.
Next, get rid of ALL the eyecandy nonsense. Have themes like in Windows 98 if you must but get rid of all the stuff that demands a specific graphics card type or capacity - windows should be able to run on a system with built in graphics with minimal use of memory.
No, no, even the Amiga OS has hardware compositing right now. What Windows 7 needs are better ways to turn graphic gimmicks into useful things, either via new features in the OS, or by letting developers play with them.
For me one crucial idea would be don't install any services unless you actually need/use them. The first time you use an app that needs service X just install it at that point - they can easily sit in a folder inside the Windows folder to make this simple - and make it so that when you exit an app any services that you only use for that app are automatically stopped and unloaded. That way no one would need apps like nLite to strip out all the unnecessary CPU hogging processes that serve no purpose for 99% of users.
Yep, they're already looking into this for the boot process, reduce the boot time by just starting the minimal amount of services (among other things).
- it's too 1st grade-looking, as if I'm too stupid to use a menu
Which is fine, I prefer to feel like a 1st grader which can reach the function he wants in two clicks (just one if you reuse it) than like a PhD traversing through cascading menus over and over again. Yes, I know I can accelerate the use of those functions using keyboard shortcuts, but there's a limit in how many you can remember per app without confusing the ones used by other app, and office suites have too many.
- eats up a ridiculous amount of valuable screen space (float this thing as a sidebar since we're all using WIDEscreens now)
Indeed, although that could be easily solved if the ribbon could be zoomed out or hidden with just one shortcut (I think Office 2007 has the latter function).
- it diminishes the role -- and efficiency -- of keyboard shortcuts.
I don't know in which way, the shortcuts are already there, and IIRC there's another shortcut to show which keys are used for each function. Besides, you can install that FARR-like plugin for Office and search through the functions.