Windows Vista is on the way, with the first beta soon to be released on 3 August. It may be too late to influence Microsoft, but I’ve put together the following list of features that would get me excited about the next release of Windows:
- Enforce at the operating-system level a rule that no application is ever allowed to steal focus. It really wrecks flow for me to be typing along at an article only to have the Office Assistant ask me a question, or my spyware scanner interrupt me to say that new updates have been downloaded, or whatever. No interruptions. Ever. That’s what I want.
- More reliable killing of applications. When I ctrl-alt-del, highlight an application, and click the end button, I’d like the app to end right then. I know I can go to the Processes tab to end the underlying process more reliably, but the mapping from application name to process name is not always clear.
- Longer battery life. This is more of a hardware problem. But Win XP actually does a good job at milking every minute from my batteries. Any further software improvements to extend battery life under Windows Vista would be most welcome.
- I’d like to see better integration with Linux/Unix. For example, build in really good ssh and sftp clients. Maybe bundle in a good scripting language such as Python.
- Ship Windows with some sort of built-in programming environment. I know it’s easy enough to install, say, Python, but interesting things might happen if we could count on all users to just have it already.
- Build in a stand-alone address book so that I can manage all my email contacts independently of whatever email program I happen to be using.
- Take a good, hard look at the Start menu. I think we need a new approach to finding and starting applications. When I got to Start->All Programs, my list is so long that it wraps into two columns. And sometimes I have to navigate through not one, but two folders before I can click on an executable. I wish I had a solution to offer here, but I can’t help but think there might be a better way.
- Throw in a really good text editor. Vim maybe? Just something more capable than Notepad.
I’m sure as soon as I post this that other ideas will come to mind.
What about you? What improvements (seriously, no jokes please) would you like to see in the next release of Windows?