Many years of sucking

Dear Microsoft: What the fuck?

Ten years ago, Windows 3.1 was the current version of Windows. I’d been using Windows for the better part of a decade then, and was moderately impressed with the system and thought it was pretty decent. Today, I’m running Windows XP service pack 1, the latest desktop operating system you’ve released. On my server is Windows Server 2003, which is even newer and is, overall, a fantastic server OS. But there’s one prominent indication that the lot of you are incompetent morons.

dumb windows font installation screen

When I go to install a font, I see this bit of idiocy. It’s almost the exact same dialog box that you had eight years ago. When Windows 95 came out, you had the good sense to at least make the font system look as if it were a regular folder, indicating that someday we’d all be able to drag a font in and just have it work, like any sane person would expect. But that’s never happened.

Even more amazingly, it took half a decade just for the font dialog box to recognize long file names. No, seriously. You had that wacky DOS-based FontNa~1.ttf thing going on forever. And you still can’t even get this one dialog box to look like every other one in the operating system, with a little My Computer over on the side. You’ve got the “Drives:” dropdown box still partying like it’s 1994. It doesn’t even let me type in a network path unless I map a drive letter. Sweet, that way I can easily connect to my Netware 3 server over Token Ring and install the font I downloaded on my 9600 baud modem! Kickass!

Please understand: You have about fifty five thousand employees. That’s bigger than the town I grew up in. That’s enough to fill a stadium. I know everybody still wants to see the company as being just Bill Gates, even though he’s not even CEO any more, but you’ve got piles and piles of humans lying around. What incredibly massive pile of bureacratic idiocy has to be weighing you all down that you can’t get one little box changed in a decade? You’ve amassed more than forty billion dollars since the last time you took a look at this dialog box.

Here’s my offer. For less than 10% of your outstanding cash on hand, a mere four billion dollars, I will personally create a working, usable, UI guidelines-compliant version of this dialog box. I’ll even create it in .NET managed code. I’ll make sure it’s compatible with all the apps out there and regression test it against even the most obscure configuration.

Then, I’ll fly myself to Redmond and smack the product manager for Windows on the ass on his way out the door. For an additional eleven dollars (that’s a total of four billion, eleven dollars and zero cents) I’ll provide a swift kick in the nuts to every male member of the font team. Presuming there is a font team. Finally, for no additional charge, I’d be glad to berate the person who originally created this dialog box, or his/her heirs if the person has died or been murdered by angry font users in the intervening years.

Now, I should confess that I don’t really care. I’m not a designer, I pretty much only think about fonts when playing with CSS, and I always tend to stick to what’s on the system. But I thought I would demonstrate my generosity by showing you how cheaply and effectively your operating system could be improved.

I eagerly await your response, and you may feel free to send me the four billion and eleven dollars via the PayPal link on my About page.

Update: Yes, yes, to those of you who’ve gotten in touch, I know you can drag fonts into the fonts folder. That’s beside the point, though. It’s about sucking! And four billion dollars in my pocket!