Microsoft's new Windows 8 platform is now up for grabs for developers and IT professionals subscribed to MSDN and TechNet. The OS went RTM back on August 1, essentially "going gold" and made available to OEMs ready to add the new OS to their portfolio of gadgets. This final build sports features not available in the Release Preview that went public back in May 2012, but so far there are reports that it surprisingly isn't much different.
"Back when we first demonstrated Windows 8 in May 2011, we described it as 'reimagining Windows, from the chipset to the experience,' and that is what Windows 8 (and Windows RT) represents for both Microsoft and partners," said Steven Sinofsky in a blog during the RTM announcement. "The collective work: from the silicon, to the user experience, to new apps, has been an incredibly collaborative effort. Together we are bringing to customers a new PC experience that readies Windows PCs for a new world of scenarios and experiences, while also preserving an industry-wide 25-year investment in Windows software."
Ars Technica reports that the RTM should be available to subscribers by 10am PDT although there may be delays as bits make their way across the Web to Microsoft's various servers. There are also a number of hands-on reviews already hitting the news stream provided by the likes of Gizmodo (incredibly innovative, incredible important, not quiet incredible), Engadget, InfoWorld (yes, it's that bad), Computerworld (still a two-headed beast), CNN Money (makes you re-learn how to use PC), PCWorld and many others.
"Sometimes engineering achievements are appreciated only by the engineers," reports InfoWorld. "From the user's standpoint, Windows 8 is a failure -- an awkward mishmash that pulls the user in two directions at once. Users attracted to the new touch-friendly Metro GUI will dislike the old touch-hostile desktop underneath. By the same token, users who rely on the traditional Windows desktop will dislike having to navigate Metro to find settings and apps they intuitively locate in Windows 7. Microsoft has moved the cheese."
"With the intersection of PC and tablet interface in Windows 8, Microsoft hasn't just made a gamble on its Metro interface catching on; it's introduced a whole new set of variables to an overwhelming frontrunner," reports Gizmodo."It's like Usain Bolt going home and training to run the 100m while playing the bagpipes. The degree of difficulty is staggering. The ambition behind it admirable. And the execution? Not half bad. But not quite there yet, either."
id Software's John Carmack said he saw no reason to jump on the Windows 8 bandwagon just yet, and he may be right. Microsoft will likely make additional improvements to the OS via updates before it goes retail at the end of October.