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Windows rant

2005-12-10 00:33:20.642749+00 by Dan Lyke 8 comments

Augh. You know what bothers me most about trying to keep a Windows machine running in this household? The feeling that anything I do is utterly disconnected from when the damned thing decides to start working.

Boot the machine in Linux[Wiki]? Network interface comes right up. Boot it in Windows[Wiki]? Uhhh... sometimes it comes up, sometimes it doesn't. Bring up the network configuration, click on "Repair", sometimes it'll repair, sometimes it won't, sometimes it'll tell me it couldn't but, lo and behold, all of a sudden the network starts running again.

Even more fun: Open up the printer because we were trying to print to a network printer, see "...unable to connect." Okay, I can see that that might have been a problem when the network was down, but we can browse the network drives on the server, so let's close it and re-open it and... oh: "...unable to connect" again. And, yet, what's that I hear? Yes, the printer that you claim to be unable to connect to just decided to print that job you claim to be unable to send.

Look: If you're still running Windows at home, don't. My dad's having good luck with Suse, there are lots of other Linux[Wiki] distros out there, if you're not up to running that then buy a Mac. If you're running Windows at your office, tell me the name of the company so I can buy stock in your competitors, anyone who's putting their IT staff through this crap is bound to fail in the mid-term.

But let's not send one more dollar to these incompetent bozos who clutter up our internet with virus laden spam spewers because they can't be bothered to get security right, and who fight cooperation and good user experience with every single character their programmers type.

Just. stop. it. Anyone continuing to purchase Microsoft[Wiki] products at this point is pissing in our well, salting our commons, and needs to be excommunicated from polite society. I'm not in favor of torture, but finding a good spot of desert, surrounding it with a minefield and machine gun towers, and letting the bastards starve seems like an appropriate response.

[ related topics: Free Software Microsoft virus Spam Open Source moron Consumerism and advertising Work, productivity and environment Macintosh ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2005-12-10 03:53:55.699676+00 by: meuon [edit history]

I went to an ALE meeting in Atlanta last night at Emory about their attempting to use an Exchange alternative called: Scalix (which was impressive). It ended up with him explaining how the how Emory just bought a campus-wide license for various M$ products for a mere $400k per year, mostly for MS-Office... and this is at an incredible educational discount (approx 11k enrolled works out to approx $36/head).

It keeps the IT guys employed. It's kind of like voting yourself a raise.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-12-10 19:23:51.380335+00 by: other_todd

I'm with you on the office/work environment, Dan, but hell, at home? It's not going to happen. I'm pretty Linux-savvy after all these years - not a guru by any means, but I can keep my own server running and so on - and Linux does not frighten me in any way, but Windows would have to really degrade to absolute rock bottom before I would feel I could move. Putting aside the fact that Linux needs more tweaking as a rule (because you CAN get it to a "it's stable, now you'll never need to mess with those settings again" condition ... eventually), there is the issue of software. I play a lot of games. I don't know what it takes to run, say, Half-Life 2 or World of Warcraft or Guild Wars on a Linux box but I suspect it is elaborate, probably in effect some sort of emulation, and heaven alone knows how well it will run - which is important for games, the most system-pushing, high-performance-demanding apps around.

I'm not defending M$. Their stuff is crap. Their OS, when patched, has reached a point where it runs almost as well in certain aspects as a Mac did in the first place. Their web server is toxic, their email program is barred from coming within 100 feet of me via restraining order (I regard Outlook as a viral agent), their browser is the source of my wife griping all day long about how it doesn't follow rendering standards and you can't delete it even if you never, never plan to run it. I don't use any M$ software other than their OS; Word and Excel haven't touched a computer of mine in I don't know how long. (I rather like OpenOffice, and it reads any .doc or .xls file some misguided colleague tries to send me anyway.)

But, a good rant aside, for many people - including me - Windows is still the only viable game in town, in terms of the software catalogue we want and need to run. Saying "just walk away," although a pleasant thought to contemplate, is not possible at this time. but more savvy than your average citizen)

#Comment Re: Win at home made: 2005-12-10 22:18:05.480983+00 by: m

If you can not see yourself moving to *nix at home, try a double boot environment. After a while you will find yourself spending more and more of your time in *nix, and the transition will be a natural one.

Doesn't cost much to try it out. Rebooting to get to the other environment is not an impediment, after all you get to boot windows pretty often anyway.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-12-12 02:09:59.211052+00 by: ebradway

Windows has always had "issues" with marginal hardware. Linux always seems to either work or completely fail - no middle ground. I've seen this even with RAM. Windows will boot but BSOD after a few minutes. Linux will fail on boot with a message telling you exactly where the RAM is bad.

But... I've been finding MS to be more and more functional. I'm not saying it's as good as Linux but I have been having less agony over running it all the time. And, unfortunately, I am mired in Windows-land because ESRI decided to recode their entire Unix-based ArcInfo Workstation toolset as Windows COM objects. It's made their software light-years easier to use and more flexible than their competitors. Of course, they could have done the same with other standards, like SOAP. But, alas, they didn't. And when you work in a field where you are constantly telling people that ArcView is not synonymous with GIS... Well...

Imagine if Alias ported Maya to Windows and completely ditched Unix. Imagine if Alias were the only 3D modeling package available. Imagine if Maya had 10X to 100X the userbase and the nearest competitor had .01X the userbase.

Right now, at my desk, I have a Celeron 400 running Windows 98 (Asha's a luddite and screams and hollers if anything changes) with an HP printer hooked up to it. I have an Via Eden running XPsp2 and a Dell Laptop running the same. All are networked together and simply share a workgroup name. The printer on the Win98 machine automatically shows up on the other machines when they are connected. It's gone when it's not on and they are not on the network. It's almost too magical - but it works. Fortunately for me...

Of course, I've had my share of magical microsoft mysteries as well. At work, I have a $6000 HP plotter that, for whatever reason, craps out on any print job sent to it from WinXP. But from Win2K, it works flawlessly. Go figure. Since I don't have time to really resolve it, we have one machine running Win2K that's used to send print jobs to the plotter...

#Comment Re: made: 2005-12-12 16:24:18.494329+00 by: other_todd

You know, I proofed that at the time I posted it and I don't remember that "but more savvy than the average citizen" paste error/leftover at the end. Gremlins.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-12-13 09:03:27.221779+00 by: meuon

I'm agreeing with Dan, although I use WinXP at home, too many things happen by "gremlin". My WinXP laptop just forgot it had WiFi. Again. Re-boot. Fixed itself. What do I use WinXP for? Checking for MSIE incompatibilities.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-12-13 23:25:18.957357+00 by: Jerry Kindall

Rebooting to get to the other environment is not an impediment, after all you get to boot windows pretty often anyway.

Wow, you guys must be using a different Windows than I do. The only times I boot my Windows boxes (2000 on the Web server at home, XP at work) are when I install some new software or have a power outage. Or some kind of actual hardware foulup.

My little Fujitsu Lifebook P1510D notebook is quite possibly the sweetest portable machine I've ever owned. Wish it ran Mac OS X, but oh well.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-12-13 23:34:40.61365+00 by: Dan Lyke

I no longer run Windows at home for long enough stretches to know what its half-life really is, but when I used to work on 2k regularly I got about a day and a half between reboots. Less if I was doing lots of stuff with USB devices (I was controlling cameras, which had a tendency to really confuse Windows regularly). Part of that might have been that I was developing software on it, but I've (obviously, 'cause that's what kicked off the rant) seen similar grossness on the XP machine that's been used for almost nothing but games for the past 6 months.

I love my Lifebook too, a P2110, but mostly 'cause it runs Linux[Wiki] really sweetly...