In a lengthy blog post, Microsoft has explained some of the logic behind Windows 8's interface. Much of the article discusses Metro, but a sizable chunk focuses on the desktop environment, including some significant changes that haven't been revealed in the Consumer Preview yet. Most notably, Microsoft says it's scrapping Aero Glass, the glossy, transparent border introduced with Vista, in favor of a flatter style that's less distracting:
"In the end, we decided to bring the desktop closer to the Metro aesthetic, while preserving the compatibility afforded by not changing the size of window chrome, controls, or system UI. We have moved beyond Aero Glass -- flattening surfaces, removing reflections, and scaling back distracting gradients...We want desktop windows to continue to feel light and airy, and we want a chrome style that doesn't distract from the content of the app."
Although I hope there's still a way to customize colors (the white default is too bright for my taste), I don't think I'll miss Glass at all. The transparency has distracted or otherwise misled me many times. A new track might play on Foobar or my desktop background might change and I mistake the activity for a new email or instant message. What say you? Is Aero Glass a tacky remnant or a reassuring familiarity of Windows Vista and 7?
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