Windows RT is Windows through and through (and not DOA); why cole.shores is wrong

These are going to be things many of you already know, but I see a lot of discussions talking about how Windows RT is somehow a disadvantage, and I think context is important, so here we go.

The technical difference between Windows 8 and Windows RT is the kind of hardware it runs on. Windows 8 is the true successor to Windows 7 and runs on all the same hardware, an architecture of processor known as x86. Windows RT runs on a processor architecture that, while not exactly new, has become far more prominent over recent years. ARM is used anywhere where a device's battery life is important, so modern tablets and smartphones use ARM. Microsoft wanted a version of Windows to run on ARM because it is so power efficient. You can have a device that is sufficiently powerful while still being very thin and light and giving you a battery life that lasts all day.

Unfortunately when they changed the core architecture of Windows for ARM processors, it broke compatibility with all of the existing software. There is a very big upshot to this: viruses don't work either. Viruses aren't special, they are simply programs written with malicious intent. Traditional desktop applications don't work, therefore neither do viruses.

So the practical difference between Windows 8 and Windows RT is how you get your software. Microsoft made something which people have wanted in Windows for a long time: the Windows Store. A centralized and filtered location where you can get all of your software. The way people have traditionally gotten software in the past has been honestly very piecemeal. You have to specifically seek out a website or a disk in order to install the software you want. Going forward the idea is that everything can be gotten from one location.

So there is now effectively a line in the sand. On the one side of the line there is the Windows Store, which if Microsoft has their way will be the future of software distribution for Windows PCs. And on the other side of the line is the older piecemeal distribution model. Windows RT is entirely on the Windows Store side of the line, and Windows 8 straddles the line; it has a foot in the past. The thing is, due to the incredibly high number of apps that work on Windows 8 and Windows RT, the further we get in the future, the further away we get from that older distribution model, the more the two OSs become virtually the same thing. The difference between Windows 8 and Windows RT will pretty much fade away with time.

But if you don't believe me and you still think that Windows RT is somehow different, ask the operating systems themselves. Go to your Start screen and type in "winver" and then hit enter. You will be shown a window with the version of Windows you are running. Both Windows 8 and Windows RT show "Microsoft Windows Version 6.2 (Build 9200)".