I heard XP stopped updates

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olive
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I heard XP stopped updates

Post by olive » Tue Apr 14, 2009 8:23 am

So does it mean Sp3+1.03 pack is the final?

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Post by code65536 » Tue Apr 14, 2009 9:34 am

That is incorrect. It's now in extended support instead of mainstream support. In practical terms, nothing has changed.
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Post by Burned » Fri Apr 17, 2009 10:00 am

Microsoft will provide security patches "and other critical updates" for Windows XP until April, 2014.

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Post by Siginet » Sat Apr 18, 2009 12:31 pm

They would be even dumber then they allready are if they stopped updates to XP. ;)

It would be like them sabatoshing themselves. Vista is definatly not superior to XP. Most of the world knows that. Plus Windows 7 is not released yet. I've been crossing my fingers and hoping that Windows 7 is better than XP. Because if it is not... I could see Windows 7 actually being the demise of the Windows OS. Linux or Mac would easily be able to step in and take over if they played their cards right... if Windows 7 is as bad as Windows Vista is.

Microsoft can't afford to mess up with Windows 7.

BTW... check out this Microsoft Surface Parody Video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZrr7AZ9nCY

It has nothing to do with Windows... but it is pretty cool. It's microsofts new Touch screen OS for tables and wallpaper.
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Post by ccl0 » Sat Apr 18, 2009 1:14 pm

i think 7 will be what vista should have been. surprisingly i'm actually kinda, sorta interested in it. vista was like windows Me v2 lol ..ok...well at least in my opinion heh

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Post by redxii » Sat Apr 18, 2009 1:45 pm

Vista isn't that bad, but I do I have to use vLite to pre-disable some unimportant 35 services (no removals) and use AutoUnattend.xml to further disable other stuff like Windows Defender or Sidebar or Welcome Center.

The only things that piss me off, in Vista or 7:
- "Run as" is "Run as administrator", no longer gives you any other choice. Maybe while in my admin account I want to access my Firefox profile in my non-admin account. Which I do, since my admin's IE is locked down and with admin's Firefox profile I can't download files under admin (since FF3).

- You have no choice if you want to run something as administrator or not, since maybe X or Y doesn't really require admin to function, but the developer put a manifest in saying it does so you either run it as administrator or not at all. Program setups can frequently be used without admin privileges and installed for just that account, or files can be falsely detected as being an installer requiring admin (detection can be disable but doesn't solve being able to choose what privileges I want to use).

- When editing file system permissions, having to hit many buttons to change the permissions, and certain actions (like changing owner) requires you to close every box and reopen so it can "refresh" while XP had no problem "refreshing" on the spot.

Also, in your power options, you should make sure that the maximum processor state is 100%. My laptop was set to 50% on AC and it blew chunks trying to watch fullscreen videos on Hulu.

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Post by code65536 » Sat Apr 18, 2009 3:50 pm

People should keep in mind that MS still releases 2K updates every month. And that XP is still being sold and will still continue being sold on netbooks, and although MS is technically not on the hook for supporting those copies of XP (since support for OEM XP is the responsibility of the OEM--hence the much lower price for OEM licenses), it is effectively still on the hook because OEMs depend on MS for that support (i.e., it is Microsoft, not Asus, that operates Windows Update, cooks up patches, etc.) There is no danger of MS walking away from XP any time soon, and I would not be surprised at all if that support continues well past 2014.

I think Vista gets beaten around unfairly. There are things that I personally don't like about Vista, but on the whole, it's a good OS that I won't hesitate to recommend to non-technical users. W7 is certainly better.

redxii, for your Fx download issue, as I recall, this was a controversial change in Fx3 because on one hand, it made sense for the browser to obey the Windows internet security settings (for one, it made corporate IT depts quite happy), but on the other hand, there were people who set the Windows internet security settings high to "lock-down" IE with no intention of having it affect Fx. In any case, there was finally a compromise solution made for 3.5 and for one of the 3.0 point releases where you can disable the new Fx3 behavior through a hidden setting. There's also more about this at mZ.
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Post by redxii » Sat Apr 18, 2009 6:04 pm

I already know about that. They suck for doing such a thing..

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Post by RogueSpear » Sat Apr 18, 2009 8:48 pm

So long as there is such a thing as the registry and so long as you need to be an administrative level user to actually get anything done (sorry but run as doesn't count), then anything Microsoft does is pretty much akin to making a purse from a pig's ear.

This next point has nothing to do with technical merits, but from a purely philosophical standpoint, I refuse to run any operating system or other software, that requires activation and periodic phoning home. I partially fudge on this as I still run an XP workstation, but it's VLK from my employer.

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Post by 5eraph » Sat Apr 18, 2009 9:10 pm

RogueSpear wrote:(sorry but run as doesn't count)
I do agree with you in general, especially with the phoning home argument, but sudo==Run As. More than half of the time I needed to configure something sudo was involved.

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Post by RogueSpear » Sat Apr 18, 2009 9:35 pm

Actually there is a difference. Run as executes under a different set of credentials. Sudo does not mandate this, which is one reason I prefer that methodology over a straight su (root user). So if you fall back on run as for something that makes changes to HKCU, well you're not going to see those changes in your account. I have more than one piece of software that I need to support that stores ephemeral settings like window positioning in HKLM :shock: This necessitates that I manage registry permissions in HKLM for restricted users in group policy (a big pain in the butt).

And to be fair you can't do much of anything unless your user is an authorized sudoer. I had a crash course in that little tidbit when I first started using Arch.

See the problem, while not entirely or always Microsoft's fault, is completely possible because Microsoft enables third parties to design software in a manner just shy of criminal negligence.

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Post by code65536 » Sat Apr 18, 2009 9:49 pm

It really depends on how you define "get anything done".

After a couple of download-and-run-something-stupid incidents, the last time I troubleshooted (read: nuked and reinstalled) a machine used by some non-technical relatives, I decided to make all of the users non-admins. This was over 2 years ago, before Vista was released, so it was XP--no UAC. Which meant that if they had to install something, they would basically to log out and log into the admin account (NT 5.x runas sucks, and besides, they didn't know how to use it). And as a way to make sure that they consult with me before Doing Something Stupid, I didn't give them the password to the admin account. Much to my surprise, there has so far been only one incident where they needed admin privs (to install something--and they opted that I install it for them). So for the "average user", people can do a lot (they use it daily, as I understand) without ever needing admin privs.

Of course, you're a sysadmin, RogueSpear, so your usage patterns are probably quite different. For me, the vast majority of stuff that I do day-to-day do not need admin privs. But I'm impatient enough that I still prefer running as admin w/o UAC for convenience during the times that I do need privs.

As for sudo... back when I was sysadmining a Linux server, I found that life was much easier if I ran "sudo bash" and then did everything from an elevated shell. Yea, it defeated the purpose of sudo, but as I said, I'm impatient. :) Similarly, elevating Explorer or the Command Prompt means that anything you run from that will be elevated too.

And let's not blame the registry too much--it's really the fault of software developers that many of them like to rely on HKLM instead of HKCR. It's really a cultural thing, since you have the same /etc/foobar.conf vs. ~/.foobar/config issue in Unix-land. It's just that Unix came from the world of time-shared mainframes while Windows' roots are single-user personal machines. Coupled with a larger number of consumer-quality Windows apps, you see Windows apps abusing that more so than Unix apps, but none of that is the fault of the OS. Or of the registry (while you sacrifice portability with a registry, it's a heck of a lot more efficient performance-wise than a collection of conf files, and I am of the opinion that the registry is a net plus).

Edit: Typed this before I saw your post. Okay, so I see your main thrust now: that runas is broken. I guess in that regard, UAC is a big plus because an admin user with UAC is effectively like a sudoer. And I don't think that MS "let" developers write a certain way. MS provides the platform. Developers can use or misuse the platform however they want, and there is nothing that MS could do about it. And if they did try to muscle something, they'd probably get everyone screaming "monopoly power" at them.
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Post by redxii » Sat Apr 18, 2009 9:59 pm

I've been running as a non-admin in XP for years. Administrator privileges are usually required for installing programs (I install globally for all users even though I'm the only one who use the computer), drivers, and configuring system-wide OS settings/updates. After setting up my system, I don't need admin or run as to get something done, unless that something is one of those administrative tasks.

I recall one Paul Thurrott, of winsupersite.com, complaining that after having set up Firefox, admin privileges were required to delete the Firefox shortcut from the desktop. This is because the shortcut was installed for All Users' desktop, and non-admins cannot modify the All Users' desktop, among many other things (easier to list which folders non-admins can write to than those they can't, not a very long list). Those restrictions are not new to Vista or XP. http://www.winsupersite.com/reviews/win ... 308_05.asp
Let's look a typical example. One of the first things I do whenever I install a new Windows version is download and install Mozilla Firefox. If we forget, for a moment, the number of warning dialogs we get during the download and install process (including a brazen security warning from Windows Firewall for which Microsoft should be chastised), let's just examine one crucial, often overlooked issue. Once Firefox is installed, there are two icons on my Desktop I'd like to remove: The Setup application itself and a shortcut to Firefox. So I select both icons and drag them to the Recycle Bin. Simple, right?

Wrong. Here's what you have to go through to actually delete those files in Windows Vista. First, you get a File Access Denied dialog (Figure) explaining that you don't, in fact, have permission to delete a ... shortcut?? To an application you just installed??? Seriously?
UAC is different than Run as, allowing admin tasks to be performed with the same account but w/ admin privileges, as they're needed.

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Post by RogueSpear » Sat Apr 18, 2009 11:23 pm

I just see major weaknesses in the registry model in general. Never mind the serious problems with system restore or system file checking. I'm sure a lot has to do with malware authors wanting the most bang for their buck (Windows being massively more popular than Linux), but I spend more time coming up with little tricks to protect people from themselves in a Windows environment than I care to admit. In the meantime, I've managed to switch over to Linux close to a dozen people who rely on me for their tech support - mostly friends and family. I never get calls for help from them anymore. A few months ago when X updated to 1.6, I had one unit with an older nVidia card that had problems, but other than that it's been pretty smooth sailing. At the same time though a buddy of mine who is an avid WoW player tried to update his nVidia drivers in Vista and there was nothing I could do to recover that one.

Just so I don't give the appearance of being a complete hater, I will say that when running as a restricted user, Windows appears to me to be a pretty damn secure OS. At work this is no problem. With home computers however I have never been able to convince anybody that they should primarily run as a restricted user. I don't know if they take that suggestion as some sort of insult to their intelligence or if they just can't be bothered.

I have noticed hotfixes over the years that remedy privilege escalation vulnerabilities, but it's been a while since I have seen one. So I can only hope that most of those issues are indeed in the past.

Maybe it's just me, but I think if you're going to drop anywhere from $50 to $200 extra for an OS and then drop your drawers in the way of WGA, you should at least get an OS that works well and isn't a constant vector of disease.

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Post by redxii » Sun Apr 19, 2009 1:03 am

Well, I tried Kubuntu (64-bit) 9.04 not too long ago, not that I hated it, but it just it's not my cup of tea, and somehow preferring Windows makes me a bad person or have a disease that needs to be cured with a Linux injection. My laptop has an nVidia card. Hulu is sort of my new benchmark. Kubuntu wasn't very stellar, it was choppy and issues w/ switching between full screen (a completely gray screen for one). 9.04 being a beta is no excuse, betas are very different with Linux distros, it's just a race to squeeze the latest version of packages in before release whether or not they fix any bugs. I didn't want to look past the crappy wireless support, it may not be their fault, but that doesn't fix the wireless.

Anyway, I got a Vista Business license thru MSDNAA (no additional charge), and my laptop is OEM so I didn't have to buy it separately for that. I installed Business on my desktop, keeping an image of my XP install, and giving it about a week to test drive.

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Post by RogueSpear » Sun Apr 19, 2009 1:46 am

redxii wrote:Well, I tried Kubuntu (64-bit) 9.04 not too long ago, not that I hated it, but it just it's not my cup of tea
Fair enough. To each his own.
redxii wrote:and somehow preferring Windows makes me a bad person or have a disease that needs to be cured with a Linux injection.
If you are suggesting I've said this.... On a personal level, for support outside of work, I simply refuse to lend support for Windows anymore. I give people a choice - Linux or find someone else. I used to say Linux or my regular consulting fee of $100/hour, but I don't even find that to be worth the aggravation anymore.
redxii wrote:9.04 being a beta is no excuse, betas are very different with Linux distros, it's just a race to squeeze the latest version of packages in before release whether or not they fix any bugs.
This may be the case with some distributions, but it is not the case with *buntus. There's actually quite a bit more than simply tossing in this or that package. Custom scripts, custom compiles, etc all play into it.
redxii wrote:Anyway, I got a Vista Business license thru MSDNAA (no additional charge), and my laptop is OEM so I didn't have to buy it separately for that. I installed Business on my desktop, keeping an image of my XP install, and giving it about a week to test drive.
You know I may not have returned to Linux for a desktop OS if it were not for Vista in particular. The previously mentioned DRM issue is a deal breaker, but what really pushed me over the edge was the wholesale change in client distribution technology. After messing around with it for about a month or so I asked myself "why?"

If Vista had been more or less a kernel update, new TCP/IP stack, new driver model, minor improvements to NTFS, and so on.. I probably would have grudgingly stuck with it.

More than anything though, once I began to experiment with Linux it brought me back 25 years in time. Instead of dreading the day to day routine stuff, I once again had the feeling of when I graduated from the Atari and Apple computers to my first 8086 and MS-DOS. A whole new world to explore and tinker with. In this sense it doesn't even matter which is technically better in one area or another. It's just something different that's broken me free from this decades long rut I've been in. It doesn't hurt that GNU/Linux isn't a bad OS either. And it certainly doesn't hurt that I can mess around with an endless amount of incredible software that is for the most part open source and for the taking. My previous Linux experiences were almost exclusively on the server end. Once I got things up and running the way I wanted, I never really puttered around with it. And why would I? It worked. I did play with Red Hat on the desktop briefly in the late 90's and it was admittedly rather poor. Things have changed quite a bit and they seem to be changing at faster clip now than they did back then.

It's not perfect, it's not for everyone, but for those who plan on sticking with Microsoft, it should at least keep Microsoft moving forward rather than resting on their laurels.

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Post by ccl0 » Sun Apr 19, 2009 4:11 am

yes, but can it play DOOM? :wink:

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Post by 5eraph » Sun Apr 19, 2009 4:15 am

You're watching it, aren't you?

And, yes, it can. id Software has been supporting Linux for years.

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Post by code65536 » Sun Apr 19, 2009 7:25 am

redxii wrote:Well, I tried Kubuntu (64-bit) 9.04 not too long ago, not that I hated it, but it just it's not my cup of tea
Ditto. Ever since the 90's when I borrowed a Red Hat disc from a friend, I've had Linux on a box somewhere. And I would wipe and reinstall it with a new distro now and then, hoping each time that "this is the time when I finally see Linux as viable on the desktop". It hasn't happened yet.

And IMHO, it's still a long ways from happening. There wasn't a single overriding issue, but rather a slew of small annoyances. Things like trying to manage library versions and dependencies (after DLL Hell, Microsoft learned their lesson about compatibility--now they will deliberately not fix certain bugs just to avoid the issue of a new system library version breaking an existing app). Or the fonts in Linux (or for that matter, any non-Windows OS including OSX). People, esp. Mac users, love to insult Microsoft's fonts, but that's one area where they have everyone beat because the Windows font engine is very well-tuned for computer use. Then there's the UI in general. From its slightly higher latency (a result of the client-server model of X Windows) to places where things are off by a pixel or two (little things like that are like fingernails on a chalkboard for me). And the list goes on and on--not a single big deal breaker, but just lots of small things that add up.

Now, I've used Linux for server and development, and that's just fine. Because a lot of that sort of stuff is either command-line (one thing where they do better than Windows) or is otherwise not very UI-intensive. But for general desktop use? Not there yet.

(BTW, this is amusing...)
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Post by RogueSpear » Sun Apr 19, 2009 11:15 am

code65536 wrote:a slew of small annoyances.
Could be Microsoft's new slogan. Well code I hate to say it, but I disagree pretty emphatically with you. Yep, there are indeed some things I'd like to see improved as well, but as a whole I find it works better not just for someone like me, but even more so it works better for the technological Luddite. I've found that the less experience someone has with using a computer, the quicker they just jump right in.

While that link may be amusing, do you honestly think that there are not about a million even more ludicrous recountings from Windows? No matter the version. System restore and offline files alone could fill a book each. Windows users would pretty much kill for something along the lines of the Synaptic Package Manager.

Funny the whole font thing. I installed all of the MS fonts that I have and reconfigured the defaults. Much better. I guess Microsoft is good for something after all.

Anyway, at least you can chose to run Windows if you want to or not if you don't. And with a little looking around you can find computers that don't come with Windows preinstalled.

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Post by redxii » Sun Apr 19, 2009 1:01 pm

code65536 wrote:Things like trying to manage library versions and dependencies (after DLL Hell, Microsoft learned their lesson about compatibility--now they will deliberately not fix certain bugs just to avoid the issue of a new system library version breaking an existing app).
Distros may not build newer versions of software (say if release came with Firefox 2.0, only updates to Firefox 2.0 and FF 3 hidden in some other 'unstable' repository). I'm guessing due to Firefox having shared dependencies in Linux, it literally would be 'unstable' because other programs may have to be recompiled for FF3 support and break if you introduce a new version. Whereas with Windows, Firefox only affects Firefox, doesn't affect Thunderbird if you have that as well.

I just plain like how developers typically include everything needed to run the app in their Windows installers, and isn't used by other programs. Among other things, I get to choose what partition or folder the app gets installed. Device drivers don't have to be recompiled when MS releases fixes to the kernel.

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Post by ENU_user » Sun Apr 19, 2009 10:11 pm

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Post by dumpydooby » Sat May 02, 2009 5:20 am

Windows 7 is nothing more than a glorified Windows Vista 2.0. I won't be switching to Windows Vista or 7. I'm switching over to Linux. I don't approve of the way that Microsoft is handling their operating system. If support for XP dwindles to the point that it's Vista/7 or Linux, I see no reason to not go the Linux route. Moreover, I would say that support for XP has already dwindled to that point, and I have already started to take the time to learn Linux.

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Post by code65536 » Sat May 02, 2009 8:00 am

I don't get why people are so worked up over the death of XP. When extended support goes dark in 2014 (assuming that it doesn't get extended again), XP would be nearly 13 years old. You'd be hard-pressed to find someone supporting a version that's 5 years old, let alone 10 or 13. Want security updates for Fx2? Sorry, Mozilla dropped all support for it half a year ago, less than 3 years after its launch (they've been itching to do so, and even though their original plan earlier last year was to have it coincide with 3.1 (now 3.5), which has since slipped from its original release date by several months, they still went ahead dropped it because maintaining such a branch is not trivial). While Microsoft will still be pumping out IE6 security updates for at least several years (which is unfortunate; I really wish IE6 would just die and go away). Want security updates for a version of Linux or Mac OS from 2001? You're joking, right? Want support for a game that's over a year or two old? Good luck with that (unless it's Blizzard). For MS to be maintaining the 5.0, 5.1, and 5.2 branches for this long is simply amazing, and say what you want about MS, but they do put an amount of effort into maintenance that no other software company or organization would even consider.

Besides, what do people expect them to do with 5.1 anyway beyond security/stability updates? It's mature enough that there really shouldn't be much going on except for critical updates (this is what GDR people have been getting since forever, and I doubt many can notice a difference between GDR and QFE), which is why the whole mainstream to extended support thing is a total non-event.
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Post by RogueSpear » Sat May 02, 2009 8:35 am

Speaking for myself, it's not so much getting worked up over the death of XP, but rather an outright refusal to:
  • migrate from a mediocre os to a substandard piece of shit OS
  • subjugate myself any further to WGA
  • relearn where everything has been moved to and what everything has been renamed to each time they decide to put out a so called "new" operating system.

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Post by code65536 » Sat May 02, 2009 1:19 pm

Never get into an OS debate.
Never get into an OS debate.
Never get into an OS debate.

Oh, to heck with it. :P "Substandard piece of shit OS"? Them's fightin' words, sir.

I am curious as to what criteria you use to determine that, but here's mine:
  • Technical merits: The NT kernel is actually pretty advanced and very well-designed. Billions of dollars do get you a lot of good computer scientists. There are two subsystems that I'd like to single out as examples of things that are superior under-the-hood in Windows that most people never really appreciate. First, the file system: I would say that NTFS is technically superior to the Linux file systems in use (not sure about the latest iterations of them, but as of a few years ago, this was true)--even though NTFS was designed long, long ago. It was designed as a very robust file system that was way advanced in its day and is still very advanced today. And there's the way-cool I/O priority introduced in NT6 (independent of NTFS). In graphics, the whole client-server model of X-Windows is great for the time-sharing systems of long ago (I remember the days of running GUI apps on a remote server from a Sun terminal) and is a perfect example of cruft from Unix's roots because it is a major bottleneck for modern desktop systems and is still a source of much frustration among Linux software developers. If you ever wondered why Unix UIs are never quite as smooth and responsive as Aero or even GDI and why Apple did not use X-Windows for its core UI, this is it. As for Vista and W7, the technical details of the changes to the kernel going from NT5 to NT6 are truly impressive, and if it wasn't for the UI that came bundled along with that NT6 kernel (see "Interface, part 2" below), I would've abandoned NT5 in a heartbeat.
  • Compatibility: Even if we leave aside the fact that more software run on Windows than other OS, there is the very important issue of intra-platform compatibility. I have GUI apps from 13 years ago that I can run without any problems on Windows 7 x64. Do you have any non-trivial Linux apps from that era that can run out of the box today (no recompiling, which is out of the question for most users)? And the Linux Library Hell makes the Windows DLL Hell look like DLL Paradise. Windows 7 even runs on a 8-year-old laptop using a graphics driver that Intel wrote for Windows 2000 (and that hadn't been updated at all since the year 2000). Sure, stuff works great for the packages that have your distro's blessing, but woe to anyone who wants to stray beyond that but doesn't know how to compile or modify code. Want to run an old app that will probably never be updated again because its author has dropped off the face of the earth. Forget about it. Want a robust ecosystem of third-party apps for Linux that extend beyond distro packages? Ha! And even for people who do know how to compile stuff on Linux, it can still feel like navigating a minefield, and I speak from personal experience. As much as I hate to say this (because I really do love open source in general), Linux is great for general use only if your time has no value.
  • Security: Windows suffers from more attacks because it's where all the users--and where all the money--is. Now that UAC effectively downgrades everyone to a normal user (and of course, something similar to UAC is in Linux, too, like the password prompt that I get when I try to access certain control panel items), this has been resolved. But more importantly, all those years of attack means that Windows has become increasingly hardened and is the most secure--from a technical standpoint--of any OS. There are all sorts of attack mitigations and layers of defense in depth, including things like address space randomization (which AFAIK, Linux doesn't do) that make exploiting much more difficult. Yes, in practical terms, Windows is still a more dangerous place, but that is in spite of its design and the result of its market share. If the incentives were equalized, I think people would be surprised to find that it's actually the Unixes that are less secure.
  • Interface, part 1: This is probably the biggest problem of virtually all open-source projects. Near the top of the Firefox pecking order is a guy who isn't a technical person and who doesn't know how to code. He was hired (psst, not all open source is done by volunteer hackers) by Mozilla to oversee the UI (and he has hired other people, also non-coders, to work with him to study how the UI can be improved). He will question you about what use case your feature is trying to address, why you think your feature is the best way to address that use case, and he is very tough when he scrutinizes every proposed UI change. Not only did Mozilla hire such a guy, they gave him a lot of power to approve or veto changes (and I've been on the receiving end of some of those rejections). This sort of extraordinary care (often best exercised by a non-coder) is why Firefox is Firefox and not the almost-forgotten SeaMonkey/Suite. And this is the sort of extraordinary care that Microsoft and Apple spend so many millions on. And this is the sort of care and attention that is missing from virtually all other open-source projects. Ubuntu tries to address some of this, but its abilities are very limited: Ubuntu is just a distro and is far too downstream in the Linux watershed to really do much beyond applying lipstick on a pig.
  • Interface, part 2: Now to address your specific concern, yes, Microsoft did change a lot of things around and rename a whole bunch of stuff. And it's extraordinarily frustrating because, as a long-time user, I've gotten used to where things are and what things are called, and my #1 complaint against Vista is "I can't find anything!" But this is really a result of me having gotten used to something and not the result of a fundamental flaw with the OS. If anything, most (though not all) of the reorganization makes sense, and as someone who has worked with designing UIs, I can say that most of them were good changes that I would have advocated for (despite the fact that they are a headache for me personally). But this is not new: I clung to DOS and resisted Win3.0 (and later Win3.1) for a long time. When Win95 came out, I stubbornly refused it, even though I had a Win95 CD, preferring to instead extend the life of Win3.11 by installing Win32s (my first Internet experience: Netscape 1.0 running on Win3.11). Every time the UI changes, all that accumulated experience is zapped away, and that's always a painful process, and this is especially true given how long NT5 has been around (vs. the relatively short life of, say, Win3.x).
  • WGA: Yea, this royally sucks.
  • DRM: Yea, this royally sucks too. But at least it does not affect features that were already present--only for certain new features. And I'm not sure how much of that is Microsoft's fault or of the fault of the media industry breathing down their neck.
  • Proprietary: Yea, this isn't so great either
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Post by crashfly » Sat May 02, 2009 1:39 pm

Well said code65536. A lot of information. It would seem at least that what you have mentioned for each operating system is true.

It appears to me that the *biggest* problem from going from one operating system to another is *change*. As humans, we can get set in our ways. We get so used to how MS has been doing things, until that one day they decide to change something. Get a million people's response to that change, and you can get at least a million answers.

My opinion on this is it is going to happen. MS is a company that wants to make money. They have made a great support system for their older products, but they want to be new and innovative. So like it or not, change *will* come. We just have to adapt or fall behind.
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Post by RogueSpear » Sat May 02, 2009 4:39 pm

code65536 wrote:"Substandard piece of shit OS"? Them's fightin' words, sir.
Not mean to be fighting words. Rather my assessment of Microsoft's operating system technology after using the same since around DOS 2.0, but in particular their post-XP offerings.
code65536 wrote:[*]WGA: Yea, this royally sucks.
[*]DRM: Yea, this royally sucks too. But at least it does not affect features that were already present--only for certain new features. And I'm not sure how much of that is Microsoft's fault or of the fault of the media industry breathing down their neck.
[*]Proprietary: Yea, this isn't so great either[/list]
At this point these are pretty much deal breakers for me. So any further discussion is of limited value (to me).
code65536 wrote:The NT kernel is actually pretty advanced and very well-designed. Billions of dollars do get you a lot of good computer scientists.
Unless you've seen the source code, this is purely speculation. And I do find it interesting that we're debating the relative strengths and weaknesses of an operating system costing billions vs. one that has received perhaps in the tens of millions in corporate sponsorship, but is otherwise developed mostly by registered non-profits and volunteers.
code65536 wrote:There are two subsystems that I'd like to single out as examples of things that are superior under-the-hood in Windows that most people never really appreciate. First, the file system: I would say that NTFS is technically superior to the Linux file systems in use (not sure about the latest iterations of them, but as of a few years ago, this was true)--even though NTFS was designed long, long ago. It was designed as a very robust file system that was way advanced in its day and is still very advanced today.
I've done a rather extensive amount of reading lately regarding file systems and in my opinion NTFS is one of the weakest in terms of "advanced" file systems. There are a couple of cool features that have been added beginning with Server 2008, but then again ext4 was also recently released (and I still think that ext3 even is better). Btrfs will conclusively put NTFS to shame, removing almost any room for debate. Put aside the pros and cons of file system technologies for a moment - Linux can use them all. Windows can access some others and write to some others with the help of third party utilities (ext2fs).
code65536 wrote:and why Apple did not use X-Windows for its core UI, this is it.
Apple switched to X.or starting with v10.5.[/quote]
code65536 wrote:and if it wasn't for the UI that came bundled along with that NT6 kernel (see "Interface, part 2" below), I would've abandoned NT5 in a heartbeat.
Indeed this is one of the nice things about choice. Gnome, KDE, LXDE, Fluxbox, ratpoison, E17, or no GUI at all for that matter. It's up to me.

code65536 wrote:I have GUI apps from 13 years ago that I can run without any problems on Windows 7 x64.
You'd be hard pressed to find any DOS or Windows applications that are 13 years old that won't run on Linux with the help of either DOSBox or WINE. I don't know what tricks you're pulling to run a 16-bit app in 7x64, but I doubt that the average Windows user would figure it out on their own.
code65536 wrote:Do you have any non-trivial Linux apps from that era that can run out of the box today (no recompiling, which is out of the question for most users)?
GNU Screen. I use everyday and it began development when I was a teenager (I'm almost 40).
code65536 wrote:And the Linux Library Hell makes the Windows DLL Hell look like DLL Paradise.
I've had no such problems in Linux and to be fair I haven't had any such problems in Windows since Win98.
code65536 wrote:Sure, stuff works great for the packages that have your distro's blessing, but woe to anyone who wants to stray beyond that but doesn't know how to compile or modify code.
When it comes from a distro's repository it's also digitally signed, prescreened for malware, tested for that distro, etc. The entire repository metaphor works so well that - surprise - Microsoft is even looking into doing it. Except it'll be a store where they no doubt will take a 1/3 cut from the developer and institute all manner of DRM.

So far as apps not in a repo? If the developer provides a deb or rpm file, then Bob's your uncle. Otherwise, you are correct, it probably isn't for the beginner. Overall it's a much better system. In Linux my Mom can install over 25,000 different titles from the repos. In Windows she's downloading something from God know where that will do God knows what to her computer.
code65536 wrote:Windows suffers from more attacks because it's where all the users--and where all the money--is.
Yes and no. On the desktop yes. But with Apache outnumbering IIS by perhaps 10 to 1 or even more, I can recall far more disastrous breaches of IIS than Apache.
code65536 wrote:Now that UAC effectively downgrades everyone to a normal user (and of course, something similar to UAC is in Linux, too, like the password prompt that I get when I try to access certain control panel items), this has been resolved. But more importantly, all those years of attack means that Windows has become increasingly hardened and is the most secure--from a technical standpoint--of any OS. There are all sorts of attack mitigations and layers of defense in depth, including things like address space randomization (which AFAIK, Linux doesn't do) that make exploiting much more difficult. Yes, in practical terms, Windows is still a more dangerous place, but that is in spite of its design and the result of its market share. If the incentives were equalized, I think people would be surprised to find that it's actually the Unixes that are less secure.
There's just too much for me to even respond to here. Regarding UAC, I question whether or not even you believe what you wrote. Claiming Windows is more secure? It can't be proven in favor of either. No source code for Windows. Linux has security issues for sure, but one of the differences is the very nature of open source. You don't actually have to wait seven years for a documented security issue to be patched.
code65536 wrote:Interface, part 1: This is probably the biggest problem of virtually all open-source projects.
This is probably the biggest strength of virtually all open source projects. CHOICE! Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, especially if you're Microsoft. See above list of window managers.
code65536 wrote:Now to address your specific concern, yes, Microsoft did change a lot of things around and rename a whole bunch of stuff. And it's extraordinarily frustrating because, as a long-time user, I've gotten used to where things are and what things are called, and my #1 complaint against Vista is "I can't find anything!" But this is really a result of me having gotten used to something and not the result of a fundamental flaw with the OS. If anything, most (though not all) of the reorganization makes sense, and as someone who has worked with designing UIs, I can say that most of them were good changes that I would have advocated for (despite the fact that they are a headache for me personally). But this is not new: I clung to DOS and resisted Win3.0 (and later Win3.1) for a long time. When Win95 came out, I stubbornly refused it, even though I had a Win95 CD, preferring to instead extend the life of Win3.11 by installing Win32s (my first Internet experience: Netscape 1.0 running on Win3.11). Every time the UI changes, all that accumulated experience is zapped away, and that's always a painful process, and this is especially true given how long NT5 has been around (vs. the relatively short life of, say, Win3.x).
I didn't even cling to DOS. What pisses me off the change for the sake of change instead of how it should be. Change for the better. I don't have the time to train myself of the thousands of little but totally meaningless changes that serve no purpose other than artificially inflating the tally of "improvements" they made. More importantly, I am not a certified trainer and my employer either doesn't have the budget, the good sense, or both to train all of it's common users.

Lipstick on a pig is all of this superficial change. Having all kinds of gliding, sliding, fading animations on my freaking server OS interface. Sure they skipped the alpha blending, transparencies, other garbage, but have you actually sat down in front of a 2008 Server? For crap sake it's a joke. I think it'd need two 1080p screens just to see what I want without endless jockeying around the screen. And you mean to tell me that after all these billions of dollars in development costs after all these years that the MMC is still going to crash on me regularly? That I still need to directly edit my Active Directory database to expunge the record of an old decommissioned DHCP server?

See I have three primary issues.

1. WGA/DRM

2. Illegal, competition suppressing behavior.

3. Paying out of the nose for something that is allegedly superior and still not receiving a fully working product nor receiving any support above and beyond what I get from the Linux community. I expect it to work after being shaken down for a quarter million dollars over the last 10 years. I expect it to work when improvements and fixes and artificially held back in a scheme to suck more blood out of the stone.

Anybody who wants to keep on using Windows because they like it more and think it's better should be completely free to go right about their business, but could you kindly keep your hoard of infected zombie networks from spamming me?

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Post by code65536 » Sat May 02, 2009 8:43 pm

First, a clarification: I'm talking solely about desktop consumer usage. If given a choice, I would never, ever pick Windows Server for something that can be done with Unix. If given a choice, I would never use IIS over Apache (even on Windows boxes, I prefer Apache). For server, non-consumer use, I am, always have been, and likely will continue to be of the opinion that you need some Unix flavor (and nowadays, that almost always means Linux). So on that point, I think we agree.

My contention is that on the desktop, Linux is not ready. A few more points to clarify: the old app was a 32-bit app. That 16-bit stuff don't work in x64 is AMD's fault for designing the x86-64 specs in such a way that 16-bit execution is impossible if the CPU is run in 64-bit mode. If I limited my example to the 32-bit versions of Windows, then the range is wider. But I suppose with the proliferation of emulation and virtualization technology (e.g., DOSBox), but able to run something straight-up is less of an issue...

And now for the open-source vs. non-open-source issue. First, regarding bugs and security, I'm an advocate of open-source, but at the same time, I also harbor no delusions about what open source means. For one, it does not mean that it is more secure. That'd require that outside people go and review every line of source, which they don't. And if even if they did, finding a flaw is very difficult. Code that gets checked into the Mozilla code base often get multiple rounds of review, yet every now and then, you get notified of a new version of Firefox with fixed security holes. Opening up every line of code to review will root out all the obvious flaws--the sort of flaw that a good programmer won't make and that standard code review practices would catch anyway-- but the kinds of problems patched up by Microsoft, Apple, the various open source communities, etc. are all non-obvious flaws that take quite a bit of ingenuity to discover and exploit (on that note, for the alleged known flaws that MS refuses to patch up, my understanding of the issue is that they are flaws that were believed to be non-exploitable, and the chasm between flaw and exploitable flaw can be very wide, and even OSS projects will put bugs on the backburner if they deem it non-exploitable). In short, the "given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow" mantra makes for a great slogan, but it does not reflect reality. I'm not saying that having those extra eyeballs is bad--but I am saying that the claim that this is inherently more secure is backed by reality (for a great counter-example, look at the Debian SSH key generation flub--and that was one of those rare obvious flaws that the many eyeballs apparently did not catch for a long time).

Also, it is rarely the case that bugs in OSS projects get fixed because someone looks through the code and says "I see a bug!". It almost always happens when someone notices a bug in usage and then files a bug and one of the (relatively few) coders involved in the project investigates the bug, finds the culprit in the source, and fixes it. Which is basically how things work in closed source as well. The only difference is that if the bug reporter gets impatient or wants to help out, he can go dig around the source to see if he could find the problem and then fix it himself. With respect to bugs, that's the main effect of open source: allowing more people to self-fix and contribute their fixes, but it does not contribute to bug discovery in any appreciable way (meaning that it does happen, but with relative rarity) (this from my experience observing and contributing to OSS projects). Now OSS has many other advantages and I will not deny those, but I just wanted to specifically address the security issue.



In the end, we're approaching this from two different ends: You take a more ideological approach, whereas my views towards OSS is mostly pragmatic: I like the low price of OSS, and I like being able to fix a bug myself instead of waiting for someone to do it for me. And so for me, the whole WGA thing is just a nuisance but to you, it's an unforgivable insult.

And perhaps most telling is that you seem dismayed that we are comparing a multi-billion-dollar OS that has in all likelihood received more development resources than any other software project in history to the underdog made by volunteers with relatively little commercial backing. Yes, it's horribly lopsided, and I doubt anyone would deny that. :) But I don't pick an OS because I like rooting for the underdog; I pick an OS because it has certain advantages, and I don't care if those advantages come from a gross imbalance of resources. But you do care. And you also care about how MS got those resources. And that's perfectly fine; your set of priorities differ from mine, and you are perfectly entitled to those priorities. You know how the sausage is made, and that disgusts you so you've gone vegan. I know how the sausage is made, and I'm okay with it because I listen to my tastebuds. And most users don't know how the sausage is made (nor do they really care; they have bigger things to worry about in life than how Microsoft deals with OEMs), and they'll keep eating that sausage as long as they think it's tastier than the tofu imitation sausage. Linux will be ready for the desktop when most people decide that the tofu imitation sausage tastes better than the icky meat sausage--and frankly, I'm not sure if we'll ever see that day.
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Post by RogueSpear » Sat May 02, 2009 10:10 pm

code65536 wrote:In the end, we're approaching this from two different ends: You take a more ideological approach, whereas my views towards OSS is mostly pragmatic
Absolutely. And after so many years of ignoring what the sausage is made of.. well I've just come to the end of my rope.

I think that you may have a slight misunderstanding regarding my philosophical view of OSS vs. my technological understanding of it. I understand that open source does not necessarily equal superior - in security or any other category. The entire code thing and so on. However, when a security exploit is either documented by a researcher (eEye, etc.) or released into the wild unannounced by a black hat and subsequently discovered discovered by a white hat, all eyes are on the code relevant to the exploit. "All eyes" is obviously a variable dependent upon the project with a weakness. The Linux kernel, OpenSSL, or Firefox certainly has more interest than something like Scribus. It isn't even the lopsided underdog nature that bothers me so much as the fact that even with orders of magnitude greater resources they still can't do better.

So once again we find ourselves with a rather juicy in the wild exploit for Adobe Reader. And once again their suggested mitigation is to disable JavaScript within Adobe Reader (which has been SOP for ages now where I work) and once again they have not even ETAed when a fix will become available. Not to pick on Adobe exclusively, Microsoft has done the same an exponentially greater number of times with software that is exponentially more critical than Adobe Reader is. You don't often find such a carefree approach to security holes in OSS.

Something else that I've come to hate about Microsoft is the training and certification part of their business. This must be as close to a legal pyramid scheme as I've ever seen. And the certifications in no way reflect the competence of the person who "earned" them. In fact if you carried out some of the actions constituting a "correct" answer on an MCP exam, you just might find yourself in court for gross negligence (CompTIA and Cisco are not much better in this regard). Anyway that's off topic.

Yes, I think I've finally snapped and started to live by a set of principals - for better or worse. Over the years the money grab has gotten to be more and more obscene, the products of lesser and lesser quality, and the artificial engineering of "must upgrade" situations more obvious. I just can't go along with it anymore.

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Post by code65536 » Sat May 02, 2009 11:06 pm

RogueSpear wrote:It isn't even the lopsided underdog nature that bothers me so much as the fact that even with orders of magnitude greater resources they still can't do better.
Well, there's a lot that goes into releasing a fix. Identifying the problem and coming up with the fix is usually the easy part. Putting the fix through QA, making sure it doesn't break stuff (which is a non-trivial task in a huge ecosystem like the Windows one where even fixing an innocent bug can break apps because some idiot third-party developer was relying on some undocumented behavior) and doing all the motions of release can be time-consuming. Mozilla de-classifies their security bugs after they have been fixed and a period of time has passed, and it's insightful to browse them. In many instances, a bug gets reported, someone takes it, and posts a patch within a day or even within hours. And then the code reviews, the testing, and other stuff, and if a bug is not present in the wild, it might be a month or more before the fix is pushed out to users. When there are active in-the-wild exploits, this can be expedited in a "fire drill" release (e.g., Fx-3.0.1, which still took over a week, IIRC), but Microsoft does the same thing with their emergency out-of-band fixes. In general, developers, OSS and otherwise, like to make sure that they do the fix right, so they'll sit on it for as long as possible; after all, a number of cases where a Microsoft security fix ended up causing undesirable side effects have been cases where they were forced to expedite the release. This is something that you really can't speed up with resources.

OTOH, the Adobe Reader thing is really a different issue. Unlike browsers and operating systems, Acrobat is not a platform, so their testing requirements should not be nearly as high as that of OS or browser makers. I have no bloody idea why Adobe is so slow with the fix. Nor do I have any idea why they felt it necessary to put JS into a PDF reader. Nor do I have any idea why a friggin' document reader is so insanely huge. But then again, I've never had much respect for Adobe (esp. after they bought Flash; the piece of technology that I most want to see eradicated is Flash (and its clones, e.g., Silverlight)). Microsoft has had its dumb moments, but I don't think they really measure up to Adobe in the WTF department.

And yea, all the certification stuff is silly and I would actually be biased against anyone who holds one of those things. But as we now agree, that doesn't figure much into my equation. (as long as my money doesn't get thrown down that sinkhole, I think of it as someone else's problem :))
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Post by RogueSpear » Sat May 02, 2009 11:20 pm

Unfortunately for me we receive Adobe Reader forms from, you'll never guess... yep the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice. Leave it to the feds. For whatever reason, they require Adobe Reader and all the alternatives I've tried don't cut it.

While on this subtopic, I could never understand why Adobe wouldn't just open source their "players" which are free of charge anyway. Keep the authoring platforms closed if you must, but I really think that opening up the code and at least entertaining submissions from the outside world would help matters. I don't want to sound like a UFO nut but it makes me wonder what sort of back doors or egregiously poor code lies within.

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Post by tarquel » Mon May 04, 2009 6:09 pm

Good work guys on a very interesting and interlectual read (rather than the posts of "iz da next update pack out yet?... hurry up... blah blah ;)).

Thankfully, i had the intellegence to understand the most of what you both were saying.... unfortunately i dont have the intellegence to actually put anything forward to the discussion but you both would undoubtably whip most folk with MSC qualifications lol ;)

I'm with you on the Adobe front. I think they hired the WTF team to make their packages. I had some bewilderment when trying to work out some oddities with the Flash player 10 - i found extracting the msi gaving me a exe installer thats pretty much the normal exe installer rather than a normal msi package... much to my disgust.

They do "seem" to change how they package the players from version to version. I *try* to keep things simple as i can when making these things easy to deploy on our new systems but frankly, the battle seems to be getting harder (not just a Adobe thing, but generally).

Also had a debate with myself on whether JS support is needed for us in Adobe PDF files - begrudingly I left it enabled.

Regarding the OS discussion, in a noob-type level, I remember how everyone (everyone being general end users and a few savvy people) hated XP when it came out - citing how different things were to Win9x. Its possibly not a fair comparison compared to XP > Vista but I thought I'd mention it hehe :)

I know we are stuck with Windows for the forseeable future no matter how we look at it (basically because of a) our users and b) the applications we have to run) but we are skipping Vista and going to move to Windows 7 when the time comes. Im waiting for the RC1 [tomorrow i think] to wipe my laptop and stick it on there to give it a good once over.

I personally have been running Vista for about 1.5 yrs now on my main machine at home, and i've had niggles here and there (the same as i did when XP first came out) but ultimately, its been a much better experience for me than it was when XP first came out.

After all thats been said tho... it'd be a boring life if we all agreed with everyone else with everything. Wheres the fun in that right? :)

Cheers folks.
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Post by xenon2050 » Fri May 08, 2009 6:00 pm

Great discussion.. :) I just want to add my two cents. I'm a systems administrator and for me all the tools that are at my disposal for Windows based systems would make me pick Windows over anything else just for that. I can do a search online for any Windows problem and find a solution, it generally take a lot longer on a Linux system and sometimes it won't even have a solution or option.

For home use, everytime I've installed Linux (up to about 6 different "flavors") once I get it up and running I just think "Now what?" It doesn't run the programs I already have and I can't really go to the store and buy stuff for it... I may think about recommending Ubuntu to someone who doesn't want to spend money and wants a relatively secure system... But then now that M$ has released IE 7 & 8 and has a decent UAC system on Windows 7 I would probably recommend that because of its ease of use and increased security (from what i can tell in the RC).

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why I still use Windows XP x64 ?

Post by Passion » Wed Jul 29, 2009 3:59 pm

I keep using Windows XP x64 for:

- TotalCommander (there's just nothing as smooth, fast and versatile as that for linux/mac/unix, no wonder because creator Christian has been at it since Windows 3.11)

- SoundForge, Vegas Pro, Adobe Audition, dbPowerAMP Those are amazingly well-written software-packages for working with audio, they have been ever since version 1 appeared. You can't beat working with those packages with anything Unix/Linux yet. Even Mac world tries to compete with heavy bloated expensive software that still doesn't have the lightweight logical UI of Sonic Foundry's (now Sony's) creations. Really, when it comes to audio and video editing, there still is nothing nearly as good for Linux. It's slowly getting there, but Windows enjoys a 10 year head-start. Try beat that.
I'd say Adobe and Sony should work together and create a better and merged open-source version of their suites, but they won't, because they're all run by corpolitical a-holes. Their developers are king, but their management is like a capitalist disease, infecting all closed source software the last 10 years.

- VirtualDub(Mod), NanDub, Auto Gordian Knot, AviDemux and countless other free tools related to video. No comparison for the so-called replacements, not in Mac world, not in Linux world), k-lite codec pack is a nice time-saver too.

- Forté Agent, for mail and news. There are alternatives, but they're not replacements. FA too has been around for so long, you just can't catch up so soon. Doesn't support IMAP, but I don't miss it, because I use Squirrelmail for that anyway.

- KMPlayer (now Daum Potplayer) there truly is no mediaplayer out there competing with that yet. I know you think there is, but there isn't. It's one of those hidden diamonds of the net! Takes a one-time investment in configuration time, but you'll be rewarded afterwards.

- Photoshop CS. I know there's The Gimp, but if you've *really* used both, working with Windows is faster and easier still.

- linux drivers and software for my (pro) echoaudio soundcard, they don't exist.

- linux drivers and software for my USB Senao wifi unit, they don't exist. Sure, there are workarounds, but they cost you scripting and a LOT of extra time.

There are some details I really like about MS Windows, like the drive-letter system. Symbolic links and paths are handy for servers, but not on desktops/workstations. I'd like to always know which drive I'm doing things on, driveletters keep me in the know. Also, the registry is, IMO, quite a good invention too. Have it all centralised, instead of spreaded config files. Just look at the differences between apache2 (Debian/Ubuntu) and httpd (most other linuxes), it's a huge mess!

I mostly use linux for servers. And in those cases I prefer CentOS, Debian and PC-BSD (not really linux, but ok). They all have splendid package management.
code65536 wrote:As for sudo... back when I was sysadmining a Linux server, I found that life was much easier if I ran "sudo bash" and then did everything from an elevated shell. Yea, it defeated the purpose of sudo, but as I said, I'm impatient. :) Similarly, elevating Explorer or the Command Prompt means that anything you run from that will be elevated too.
&
RogueSpear wrote:Anybody who wants to keep on using Windows because they like it more and think it's better should be completely free to go right about their business, but could you kindly keep your hoard of infected zombie networks from spamming me?
Both of these perfectly describe the source of the problems at hand:
Not the OS is at fault here, but the user.

Or, in other words: It's not the kitchen, it's the cook.
This goes for Operating Systems and their security as well. Zombie networks can be run because those operating systems are not used properly. If those exact same users would be running a flavor of unix or linux, I have a hard time believing they'll be "safer" users.

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