Microsoft: What I really want in Windows7, but know I won’t get

Microsoft has been showing off Windows 7 for the past several months, and it looks like its coming along nicely (regardless of the ongoing public beta fiasco). Unfortunately, there are two very small features I’ve been wanting since, oh, 1995, that are still missing:

  1. A simple text editor. It doesn’t need to be extensible, or do code completion, but what it must do is indent, syntax highlighting and line numbers. Why, oh, why are we stuck with Notepad as the default text editor?
  2. A multi-tab capable console window. Oh, and make it resizable while you are at it. It would be extra nice if you fixed that god awful cut and paste scheme, but that might be asking for too much.

These two features are really aimed at developers and IT people, sure, but if you provide better development tools, better apps will follow. If Microsoft continues on their path, developers will abandon their OS. I know I have.

12 thoughts on “Microsoft: What I really want in Windows7, but know I won’t get

  1. avatarJonathan Hartley

    BTW, I’ve recently been trying out the sourceforge project ‘console’ as a replacement. It’s lovely except I haven’t yet got command history to work under a cmd shell. (although it does works with a cygwin or msys shell though, so I suspect it can be made to work somehow.)

  2. avatardavid

    At least in the case of the editor, it is fixable (installing vim, emacs, whatever).

    But the console – god it is awful. It even get worse when you have a Japanese windows, and some directories are written in Japanese (you can’t input Japanese characters in cmd.exe, AFAIK)… One thing I don’t understand: MS seems to spend some ressources on Monad – windows powershell, but what good is this without things as fundamental as cute and paste ?

  3. avatarHeikki Toivonen

    While those would be nice, it would hardly make for better programs. I don’t know any developers using Notepad, and most developers that need the console seem to have installed something extra to help with that (like Cygwin).

  4. avatarbryce hendrix


    No developers use Notepad for a reason, which is exactly what I was complaining about 🙂 I am not asking for an editor to do full-time development in either, just something for quick tasks.

    Cygwin is a shell replacement, but its still in that awful console window.

  5. avatarbkwilliams

    Console looks very nice – thanks for the link to that.
    Windows 7 should ship with Unix Services included by default – does it? For me a console window is only as good as the command line tools I can access in it, i.e. ls, which, find, grep, pwd…
    of course if you take this to the extreme you would want Microsoft to ship Python in Windows 7 except of course it wouldn’t be called Python, it would be something like Visual P++ and that would be a very bad idea.

  6. avatarbryce hendrix

    Win7 does not ship with Unix Services, though it looks like it does ship with its PowerShell, and PowerShell is in the PATH env var. I tried to run ‘ls’, which PowerShell has as an alias for some really long command, but CMD complained. I didn’t have too much time to tinker, so I don’t know what having PowerShell in the PATH really means, though it looks like MS may be getting closer to realizing people who use the console want to be productive in the console…

  7. avatarJim Parziale

    I absolutely love Console on Windows XP. Unfortunately, Console doesn’t work on Windows Vista. The text is always invisible, no matter how much I tweak and set the colors in the preferences. I wish they could upgrade Console to work on Vista!
    BTW – I’ve already begun my transition from Windows to Ubuntu Linux. I’ve found there’s absolutely nothing I can do on Windows tha I can’t do on Linux, including sync’ing my Windows Mobile PDA (AT&T Tilt) with Evolution, and also using my iPod (with Banshee). I’m seriously thinking of soon trashing my Windows desktop to install Linux. I’ve got too many problems with Vista to actually keep count!


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