Software empire in decline, Microsoft, has angered developers by insisting on delaying the launch of Windows 8.1 until mid October.
Normally the Vole would have a "release to manufacturing" build of its software several weeks before the code reaches the great unwashed.
This early availability lets developers polish their work and testing so that their apps are available when the OS launches.
However, this is the new Microsoft, which has a reputation for messing up everything. The Vole has confirmed that although Windows 8.1 has reached the RTM milestone and been passed to computer- and tablet-making OEMs, subscribers to the Microsoft Developer Network will not get the final code until the public does on 17 October.
While the RTM system has worked really well for a couple of decades, Microsoft is now saying that it's much better to keep the unfinished code out of the hands of its partners.
After all, Apple would never let its code out before it was ready, and Microsoft is banking on copying Apple these days. Of course Apple code usually ships buggy and does not have the same amount of code available on the first day, but at least you have secrecy on your side.
Antoine Leblond, a Microsoft spokesperson, wrote in a blog that in the old days software was ready for broader customer use. "However, it's clear that times have changed." Apparently Microsoft does not want to repeat successful formulas any more.
Developers raged against the decision in comments on another Microsoft blog that told programmers to write and test their apps against Windows 8.1 Preview.
One developer said that if the world was inhabited by pink unicorns and pixie dust, Microsoft's suggestion could work. But, "we live in the real world last time I looked out the window. In the real world, developers must have access to the RTM bits before [general availability]. The fact that Microsoft no longer seems to understand this truly frightens me".
Another said it was unacceptable to code with the laggy Windows 8.1 Preview or wait for performance testing under RTM and hope everything is fixed.
"How is it Microsoft can develop their apps to work on RTM code yet independent software vendors who are supporting your platform don't get the same benefit?" the developer asked.