One of the topics that I was fortunate to study during my stay in Japan was the concept of Kaizan. This approach to process improvement is continual and it was explained to me as “improvement movement”. More broadly Kaizan can be defined as;
Kaizen (Japanese: 改善, “improvement”) is a concept referring to business activities that continuously improve all functions and involve all employees from the CEO to the assembly line workers. Kaizen also applies to processes, such as purchasing and logistics, that cross organizational boundaries into the supply chain.
One of the core concepts in this approach to process improvement is “muda” or waste. As part of the ongoing development of the Windows platform, Microsoft is actively practicing Kaizan and removing some “muda” with the inclusion of support for RAR files with the release of feature update KB5031455. Thus, eliminating a 3rd party application market and a major security vulnerability vector in one smooth move.
Or more prosaically removing the need for 3rd part utilities to accomplish some basic tasks such as compressing/decompressing files. Here is a snippet from the Windows update release notes, “Microsoft now has native support for a variety of file archive formats, including .tar, .tar.gz, .tar.bz2, .tar.zst, .tar.xz, .tgz, .tbz2, .tzst, .txz, .rar, and .7z files. However, Windows does not support password-protected archives for these formats.“
For those who need to decompress, password protected archives on Azure – we feel your pain. Truly – like, every day.
Adding native Windows support for these file types seems like a long-overdue (good idea) for Microsoft. It also completely destroys a 3rd party utility market. A market which has been subject to increased scrutiny with the recent RAR exploits (why not roll your own?). Cleaning up the ecosystem may seem a little brutal, but give the recent, serious, and numerous reports of exploits, it really makes sense for Microsoft. In fact, this issue is so serious, I would class it as a “moral imperative” for Microsoft to protect their users.
What other 3rd party tools/utilities are may be scheduled for termination?
Ah, CCleaner… (cue evil laugh).