Monday, 25 January 2016

Microsoft, you broke my laptop. Now you broke Unity!

We were just getting familiar with Unity 5 again recently. And even managed to work out how to use Monodevelop and the debugging and stack trace tools properly. Suddenly developing with C# in Unity wasn't the horrible nightmare it once was.

Then I made the mistake of allowing Unity to upgrade when it booted up this afternoon.
I went from v5.1 to v5.3 and in doing so, bloody Unity went and installed Visual Studio.

Now I'm not suggesting Visual Studio is shit. But it is. In fact, anything running on, developed using or in anyway associated with the (now defunct) .NET framework has always been a bit shit. It's like .NET wasn't actually integrated with Windows, and more sat alongside it.

Let's qualify that - it's probably upset a few people already.
But - anyone who knows me, knows I loved VB6 and Visual Studio (pre .NET). It was great. It created small, tight, easy-to-distribute executables. Applications written in VB6 and VC++6 run well and felt like they were "part of" Windows.

Appplications written with .NET invariably didn't like the particular library version you had on your PC and had to download and install a massive 1.2Gb pile of turgid cack which made half the other applications on the computer break. .NET applications are slow. You can visibly see the screen redrawing (with flexi-grids and data-grids particularly). It wasn't just the crappy mix of the Basic and C++ languages that morphed into C#, the poor use of namespaces or the horrid jumble of unnecessary class setters and getters that C# forced onto you, .NET applications just didn't feel "native" to Windows, even when compiled.

If you run software designed for Linux on a Windows machine, you know the experience. It's ok. But it's not native. The Java runtime (or the JVM virtual machine) it runs on makes it just that little bit glitchy. A bit like when Neo spots the flaws in the Matrix.

A bit like when you  drive a Citroen C2 and pretend it's a Mercedes or a BMW. It does the same thing - it goes, and stops, and burns fuel. But it's not the real thing. There's just something not quite the same about it. It doesn't have the same quality. It feels a bit cheap, when you know you've experienced something better (whereas drivers who've only ever had Citroens, or used Linux exlusively probably have no idea what luxurious means).

For me, .NET applications are like that too.
They do the job. But they're a bit crap, compared to what they should (or could) be.

We already know that Windows 10 is a pile of dog crap. So when Unity, running on my last machine to be running Windows 10, said it was installing Visual Studio, I knew trouble was ahead.

What I can't understand is how, as technology advances and computers supposedly get more powerful, instead of getting better, everything becomes just a little bit more.... well, shit.

When I try to open a file in Unity now, instead of Monodevelop popping up, I get this:

Then after waiting about 20 seconds (in computer terms, that's aaaages) this pops up:

By Microsoft's crappy timing standards, anything they say could take a few minutes is likely to take up to half an hour! As it turns out, I waited nine minutes (I know it took that long as I checked my phone before I left the room, made a brew, went for a sandwich, got back, then received a text - checking the time on the phone again). After nine minutes, nothing had changed.

Except in the taskbar, another application had tried to start and failed.

It wasn't even Visual Studio. It was Monodevelop. Except, somehow, Visual Studio had made it break. Unbelievable! After closing the dialog and making changes to my source code, I flicked back to Unity

The dialog box wouldn't go away.
I had to Task-Manager-End-Task to get it go.
It's broken my install of Unity on my laptop. I don't want Visual Studio on my machine. I'm not even sure I want Windows any more. I can't believe that Microsoft have managed to get things so spectacularly wrong. I even defended Windows 8. But this is a step too far.

It's also been the kick in the pants I needed, to wipe my laptop and go for a fresh factory reset. So I can re-install Windows 7 and Unity 5, and hunt down and uncheck any options to install Visual Studio when I install Unity next time!