Why Sinofsky's departure makes me a happy Windows enthusiast

I never like to hear of people getting fired, but Sinofsky leaving could mean the return of my long-lost passion for Windows! Here's a list of 3 things I'd like to see a Sinofsky-less Windows team achieve, as well as some additional thoughts.
Written by Stephen Chapman, Contributor

It's been well over 24 hours now and most of you have heard of Steven Sinofsky's departure. (If you haven't, then read up on the topic here.) The loss of the Windows chief is something of a bittersweet occurrence for me: for all of his professional quiescence and well-known likeability (sarcasm), the man got things done around there. Windows 7 is absolutely my favorite OS in existence, leaving me wanting for nothing. That's not to say that I can't be sold on new features I don't yet know I would like, but save for that, Windows 7 brought about some ridiculously awesome changes (taskbar enhancements, etc.) that have left me happier than a hobo with a ham sandwich.

Now, with Windows 8, there's speculation that Sinofsky screwed the pooch, and that, specifically, landed him on his rear-end in the alleyway behind 1 Microsoft Way; however, I don't buy that -- primarly because Julie Larson-Green was (so far) placed in his position and arguably had as much (if not more) to do with Windows 8 as Sinofsky. Regardless of the reason why Steven was let go of, I'm happy that the Windows reigns are shifting to someone else who, I hope, will champion a mentality somewhere between the Allchin days and Sinofsky's knack for getting things done.

So, with Sinofsky gone, here are 3 items on my wishlist from a hopefully rejuvinated Windows team:

1: Bring back the Start menu in Windows 8: This one is self-explanatory. I know a lot of people out there enjoy the new UI and you think the rest of us should just suck it up and abandon our creature comforts, but to you all, I say, "shove off!" WE WANT OUR START MENU BACK!

2: Windows 7 SP2: I recently downgraded to Windows 7 from Windows 8 via a Windows 7 SP1 image. 100+ updates downloaded and installed after the fact (not including one failed reset, which rolled back settings and made me install them AGAIN), I was reminded of why a Windows 7 SP2 is sorely needed -- even if just to slipstream all these darn updates. Not to mention, there are a couple of persistent issues with Windows 7 that -- despite plenty of time -- have never been fixed; i.e., folder views constantly resetting and icons forever breaking with the installation of new programs. But this is me, the computer enthusiast tech blogger; not the IT guy who has to deploy countless Windows 7 SP1 installs along with a gazillion updates.

3: Relentless passion for Windows (think "Longhorn"): Ever since Jim Allchin was let go of, the intense enthusiast passion for Windows has all but died, and Microsoft needs to get it back. How, you ask? I have absolutely no idea, but I'm hoping a Sinofsky-less Windows team can figure it out and make it happen. As a once SERIOUS Windows enthusiast, I know what made legions of dedicated Windows fans tick: leaks of builds with exciting stuff to dig out of them, and eye candy that inspired multitudes of wallpapers, shell enhancements, and more.

Now, I know that enthusiasts of that nature are few and far between, but guess what? They're an extremely vocal bunch (Psst! One of them is sitting right here, writing this article for a broad audience on ZDNet!). And, in addition to me, you have far more credible and awesome Microsoft bloggers here (Mary-Jo Foley and Ed Bott) who keep their fingers on the pulse of the scene and the community, and they reflect and report on that pulse -- something that has the potential to generate tons of excitement.

If Microsoft is open for something different, they might do well to consider a grassroots movement to generate excitement from all the angles Sinofsky shut down: the "enthusiast effect," as I'll call it. They did it with Longhorn and guess what? It WORKED. Not since the release of Windows 95 had Windows users and developers been punchdrunk with excitedness for Windows.

With that said, head on over to the following Windows Longhorn gallery I just put together and see for yourself how dull Windows 8 looks in comparison. While the overall vision may have been to grand, visually speaking, Windows Longhorn is hands-down the most exciting version of Windows that Microsoft has ever put forth. So, without further ado, click the image below (or just click here, whichever):

Windows Longhorn: still the most exciting Windows UI to date (gallery)
Windows Longhorn: still the most exciting Windows UI to date (gallery)

That sure beats the pants off of Windows 8's UI, don't you think? Granted, I realize that some of these features are dated almost 10 years later, but I still think it looks fresh and exciting. Regardless, the excitement that was generated during this time was just unbelievable. And since then, I've watched Microsoft try -- in vain -- to get people fired up about Windows. Maybe they can reach back and create something visually exciting that people actually want to use again; not this "Modern" tile garbage that's about as useful for a mouse-and-keyboard user as a cinder block is for a bowler.

Julie, I really hope you're reading this, because I'm appealing to you! Please bestow these things upon us, your loyal users, and in return, I shall bestow upon you good tidings of ambrosia, along with the finest samplings of milk and honey! (To share with the team, though, of course.)

At the end of the day, Steven Sinofsky is a human being and I don't like the thought of people being let go of; however, viewing this situation purely from my stance as a Windows enthusiast, I haven't been this happy or fired-up about the potential for Windows in a very long time. So, here's to hoping for a much more exciting Windows ahead: for users, developers, professionals, and everyone in-between.

What kind of changes would you like to see happen with Windows now? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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