Roundup The Windows 10 October 2018 Update is heading thingwards, Windows RS5 is dead (long live 19H1), and trolls are banished (kinda) in this week's Microsoft roundup.
Windows 10 IoT gets its very own October 2018 Update
Be afraid. Be very afraid. The Windows Internet of Things (IoT) team announced its own version of the Windows October 2018 Update, just two days after Windows 10's own debut and two days before the full horror of the desktop update was known.
The team reckoned that the update will bring with it machine learning, industrial strength security and more silicon options. Oh, and resellers get some more ways to extract cash from consumers.
The Windows desktop team could learn from the IoT group, which offers two servicing channels. One, the Semi Annual Channel (SAC), sees two releases a year while the Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) runs on a 10-year period. Users do not get any "feature updates", just bug fixes and security patches. For a fee, of course.
The IoT Core product supports NXP silicon such as the 8M series of processors and, of course, Microsoft would really like you to take a look at Azure IoT Edge as well.
Skipping into a golden Windows 10 Insider future – together
Microsoft doubled down on what, in retrospect, turned out to a be a foolhardy release of Windows 10 by moving the Skip Ahead (aka 19H1) version of Windows 10 to the Fast Ring. Since Windows 10 had been released, surely it was time to get the army of Insiders testing 2019's shiny?
And so it was that, in a somewhat self-congratulatory post, build 18252 was announced for both Fast Ring and Skip Ahead insiders.
Other than horrifically unstable (we struggled to get it installed), which is fair enough when you consider this code is half a year away from shipping, there is little of note. Network tinkerers, tired of digging through near-infinite layers of adaptor properties, will be pleased to see Ethernet settings make an appearance in the Settings app. There's also a new icon, imported from Always Connect PCs to show if there's an internet connection.
The broken task manager, which shipped in the October 2018 Update, is fixed here, and the Windows team has continued playing whack-a-mole with Dark Mode; File Explorer's pop-up menu should no longer have thick, white borders.
Known issues are aplenty, which should surprise no one (least of all us – we had to try repeatedly to get the thing to install) but any big new features, such as Sets, have yet to make an appearance.
In an effort to get Insiders to contribute to the Feedback Hub, Microsoft has also introduced some new achievement badges. Sadly, there is not one for "I gave feedback that you ignored and now all my files are gone."
Patent trolls begone
Microsoft has announced it was joining the LOT Network as part of its ongoing efforts to combat patent trolls.
For those who think such patent trolls are merely suit-wearing under-bridge inhabitants found in kids' books, they are much, much worse. These trolls obtain the rights to patents and then profit through licensing and litigation rather than actually making stuff. Microsoft cites a study showing that "40 per cent of small companies involved in patent litigation reported 'significant operational impact from those suits', which some described as a 'death knell'."
In 2017, Microsoft announced the Azure IP Advantage programme, which indemnifies developers on the platform against IP litigation on any of the technology behind Azure's services. Microsoft makes available over 10,000 of its patents for use in defending a patent lawsuit as part of the scheme.
By joining the LOT Network, Microsoft is effectively promising not to allow its patents to slip into the hands of an IP litigation firm. Well, it could do, but if a such a patent were sold, all 300 or so LOT Members (including the likes of Oracle and Red Hat) automatically get a free licence.
However, members of the LOT Network remain able to demand licence fees themselves. As such, one should probably not hold one's breath for Microsoft to stop asking for payment for the use of its IP, as it is perfectly entitled to do. ®