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Windows Operating Systems Software Editorial

Why Does Windows Still Suck? 1995

RatBastard writes "SF Gate's Mark Morford asks: Why Does Windows Still Suck? After wtaching his significant other's Windows PC drown in a sea of viruses and worms after only 4 minutes on her new DSL connection, Mark Morford wonders why the masses have not stormed Redmond waving torches and scythes in anger over the never-ending security flaws in Windows. Why haven't they jetisoned the foul beast from Redmond and migrated en mass to the Macintosh or even Linux?"
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Why Does Windows Still Suck?

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  • Simple.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Uhh_Duh ( 125375 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @05:26PM (#11576392) Homepage
    The consumer mass-market doesn't view viruses and worms as the fault of the operating system. Rather, they blame the guys who write the bad stuff -- not the guys who make it possible.

    Same reason the people who hate drunk driving aren't going after auto-manufacturers. Instead, they go after the idiots doing the drunk driving.

    I'm not defending either position. Simple stating what I believe is the perception of the public.
  • Seems dubious (Score:5, Interesting)

    by conJunk ( 779958 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @05:28PM (#11576431)
    Don't get me wrong, I'm a mac fanboy myself, and I agree 100% with most of the author's conetentions, but, some of his evidence is a bit whack:

    He links to the Crack a Mac [] challenge, as evidence that macs are bulletproof. Fine, but read their story- most of the attempts to crack *that* mac were based on old UNIX and NT attacks, and well, duh! HOWEVER- nobody (hardly) uses macs for webserves. If we had been doing that for the past 15 years, well, perhaps there'd be heaps of *known* exploits. The Crack a Mac story doesn't prove that there aren't exploits, it proves that not many folks know what they are.
  • by RootsLINUX ( 854452 ) <> on Friday February 04, 2005 @05:29PM (#11576441) Homepage
    I was afraid too, even though I had used Linux on the campus PCs. I used to have the same problem (immediate infection/total system compromise within hours after hooking up to the net). It was so bad that after re-formatting and installing the online anti-virus software my university provided me, it was already too late. I fearcely battle virsuse for nearly two weeks, then I finally gave up and installed Linux. Now I thank those viruses, and Windows/M$ for failing to do anything to prevent them from entering my system. Had that not have happened, then it's likely I would still be trapped in Windows.
  • Reluctance to change (Score:5, Interesting)

    by revscat ( 35618 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @05:31PM (#11576498) Journal
    I know that Mac people frequently get labeled with the "zealot" label, but there is something that I have noticed about friends and family who are Windows users: for whatever reasons they are reluctant if not opposed to change, even in the face of all available evidence. It's nothing explicit, but mention OS X or Linux to them and they immediately go on the defensive, as if you are quetioning them and their decision making abilities ("Well, Windows can do that, too."), instead of seeing what you are attempting to do, which is point out some rather important problems with Windows as an OS.

    Perhaps this is just human nature. But as a "switcher" who is approaching his one year anniversary with a PowerMac after almost 20 years of Windows and DOS (starting with DOS 2.0!) I can honestly say: Windows users, it's not your fault. Microsoft should be ashamed, not you. Windows sucks, and there are better choices out there for you. Make them! You'll be happy that you did.

  • by ikewillis ( 586793 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @05:35PM (#11576579) Homepage
    Bingo. The reason Windows is so problematic is that it's still largely built on a codebase that was never designed to be connected to an enormous untrusted network like the Internet. The only way to fix Windows is get rid of this codebase and reimplement it as managed code which will dramatically lessen the problems of their current legacy native code implementation.

    Longhorn will be the first release of Windows authored completely after Microsoft began their Trusted Computing Initiative and released .NET. Longhorn will reimplement and convert major Windows subsystems to managed code. This alone will substantially improve security of the operating system, as while the APIs will remain the same legacy Win32 apps will end up talking to managed code beneath the Win32 API (yes, .NET makes this possible)

    This will dramatically lessen the exploitation potential of code flaws in the Windows application libraries. Microsoft has to maintain support for legacy application, but that doesn't mean they can't get a fresh start on the underlying code, and doesn't mean that existing Microsoft applications can't be converted to managed code as well.

  • by Bert690 ( 540293 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @05:36PM (#11576595)
    Cars don't suck because they crash when people drive drunk, the drivers do. Windows doesn't suck when idiots connect it to a high speed network unprotected, the moron using it does.

    Not a very accurate analogy. Wouldn't it suck if the car were to unconditionally burst into flames unless you were sure to also purchase an extra $1000 in "safety features" and have them installed perfectly before ever attempting to drive it? (And without the dealer actually telling you this.)

    Get it now? You microsoft apologists should really get a clue.

  • by smug_lisp_weenie ( 824771 ) * <> on Friday February 04, 2005 @05:36PM (#11576605) Homepage
    The WIMP metaphor (windows, icons, menus, pointing device) is just flawed as a general solution for using a computer. Yes, it helps beginners in the learning process, but it is NOT practical for advanced computer use.

    The operating systems that don't suck understand this: Basically, most Linux apps are just front ends for command-line utilities that do the real work- If they aren't command-line based they still have very independent abstract non-GUI modules that handle the actual labor (such as the gecko rendering engine for mozilla.)

    OSX also is beginning to view the GUI as just a fantastic front end to a UNIX infrastructure.

    The sucky OSes are the ones that don't distinguish between the GUI and the real programs- MS Windowses and Apple OS9 were like that and these are/were both pretty ugly to work under, in my opinion.
  • by Marc Desrochers ( 606563 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @05:37PM (#11576629)
    Alternatively: Use a broadband router between the box and the Net to do your updates. OR, do both!

    On second thought, ya, do both.

  • by VE3ECM ( 818278 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @05:39PM (#11576654)
    The only reason so many Windows boxes get pwned out of the box is because the 'bad guys' have already written exploits that get in through an unpatched bug.

    Who's fault is this? Is it Microsofts? Not really, at least how I see it.

    I blame the computer manufacturer that you bought the box from.

    Those holes that are in your windows box when you plug it into the net already have patches written for them.

    It's the manufacturers that refuse to slipstream these packages into the software builds that they stick on their machines coming out of the factory.

    Dell builds your PC to order, as do a few other guys.
    The hard drive has an OS imaged onto the drive on the line.
    And since there is a common image for each machine of the same family, it's a very simple process for Dell to image their machines on the line.
    Each model has it's own OS image, based on hardware.
    It would take very little effort to slipstream an updated patch into those images. No PC has to sit in an open box waiting to be patched; they are patched when they're built. That is not a difficult solution, it would take the hiring of one or two guys in the factory to add a slipstream into the disk image (and slipstreaming is *very* easy, as long as you know the process.)

    It would be easy as pie. Your machine would come off the line patched, and current. It would only be out of date by a few days, the time it would take to ship the box to you from the factory. The likelihood of a new exploit that would pwn you in that time is very, very low.

    Same thing with going to a retailer. They should be provided current and up to date boxes when they leave the store. It would not be difficult for BestBuy/CircuitCity/et al to stick the box/laptop you buy inside their secured network, and patch the machine before you walk out the door with it.

    Let's use an analogy that the author of the article used; a new car.

    You buy a new Ford. Before you bought it, Ford issued a recall, due to a defective gas tank that may or may not explode. When you buy the car off the lot, it may have sat there a few months (parallel = older unpatched windows build). You take it home to find out that the recall was not applied to the vehicle; why not? Because the dealer says it's your responsibility to get it in to get fixed; not the dealers.

    Would that be acceptable? No. Not for a moment. The same thing is happening with Windows, and you can't blame MS for it. It's the PC makers that sell you an exploitable box.
  • Re:Why? (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 04, 2005 @05:39PM (#11576657)
    I have UT2004, Doom 3, Battlefield Vietnam, Warcraft 3 and CS 1.6 working perfectly on Linux. Quit yer' bellyaching.
  • Accountability! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by WndrBr3d ( 219963 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @05:44PM (#11576741) Homepage Journal
    I think this is just a real blatant "let the flame war ensue" story on Slashdot.

    the problem with systems these days that are used by the masses, is that the grossly unintelligent are able now to get their hands on a computer and begin, "Surfing the Net". Our company even is receiving support calls from people when typing in a URL do not know the difference between a "slash" and a "dash". So the average IQ of an Internet user these days is much lower than before.

    That being said, a lot of Spy ware and Virii on that have infected people's computers were put there by the users own stupidity and/or ignorance.

    A good example of this is a user receives a URL from their friend for a funny movie, they click on the URL, a window pops up to install an ActiveX control. "SURE! I must need to install this to watch the movie." BAM! Spy ware, Virus, Ad ware, etc.

    The reason for such a prolific spread in spy ware and virii for windows is because there are many less computer savvy running windows.

    I mean, could you imagine if one of these "Average home users" installed Red Hat Linux, and just ran the base install for over a year with no virus protection, firewall or updating the kernel/components? You're damned right that person would get hacked!

    The problem is that operating systems put the accountability of how your system performs, what gets updated, and what gets installed into the users hands. It's a catch 22 for Microsoft, because they can't DISABLE all the advanced features, because the power users would complain and at the same time, they cant ENABLE all the advanced features because the ignorant would complain that its too complex/hard to use.

    The bottom line is, if you have stupid ignorant user, stupid ignorant decisions will be made.

    If your girlfriend plugs her Windows PC onto the net without a firewall or updated OS, and clicks "Yes" to install unknown ActiveX controls, and runs her computer without a real-time virus scanning program, then yes, she'll get over-run with virii and spy ware. Is it Microsoft's fault that your girlfriend is a moron?

    You have to pass a test to prove you're competent enough to drive a car, why can't we have one for computer use?
  • Re:Simple (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MattJakel ( 815179 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @05:45PM (#11576746) Journal
    They don't know of anything else, and Windows came with the computer.

    It's more that they don't know that anything else has better security. The majority does know that they have at least one alternative in the Mac, but most of them think that spyware, viruses, and worms are an inevitabilities that will attack any computer. It's a combination of ignorance and indifference that keeps them on Windows.
  • Why? It's obvious! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mr. Cancelled ( 572486 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @05:47PM (#11576801)
    You people are still buying their products! If this guy wanted to know why people are still supporting Microsoft, he should start with his own home.

    Rather than sitting there watching the PC, which you've paid money for, crash due to an insecure OS, which you also (presumably) paid money for, you've created your own answer: You should have done the research, and purchased a susperior product to begin with!

    Or, perhaps you should have done some research and learned what it means to put an unprotected Windows box on the Net these days. But that wouldn't be as much fun as just plugging in, and surfing, huh?

    Which really is the problem in a nutshell: It's easier to just buy a generic Windows box than actually learn about what you're doing, and make an educated decision about whether or not to purchase Windows.

    And it's funny... These people are buying something that does nothing but frustrate and piss them off, and then they go out and write about how much their experience sucks. Perhaps if you'd bought a Mac, or learned about Linux, or just investigated what would meet your needs the best, your experience would be better, and rather than complaining to the masses about how you've wasted your money and time, you'd be raving about your new-found treasure, rather than joining the whining, but still loyal masses of Windows users.

    To be fair, Windows serves a purpose, but if you don't understand how to set it up, or you don't know about, or care about virii, and spyware related issues, then you shouldn't be running Windows. The given example's a perfect one: Plugging a Windows box directly into the Internet (via cable, DSL, or even dial-up) is just stupid. You're waving a flag that says "I'm stupid, and I have a Windows PC. Come and get me!". A firewall is a requirement in this situation (preferably hardware-based, but software one's are good to have also, just so you're aware of what kind of traffic's going in and outta your box), as is a decent, and updated virus scanner.

    But whatever... People who do this deserve the damage they get. They also deserve to pay the prices they do to get their machine's cleaned up! A lot of my side work is cleaning up machines for people who can't be bothered with any sense of responsobility for their actions and computer. And these are the same people who will be calling me in a couple of months after they screw their boxes up again, and ask me to come over and do it again.

    It's just annoying after awhile though... It's Darwinism at work on a virtual level. People get what they deserve, and I refuse to feel sorry for them.
  • by Menotti M ( 846491 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @05:57PM (#11576941) Homepage
    I know Macs are (well, were) more expensive, even though they're really not, when you finally jam that ugly cheapass Dell with enough video cards and sound cards and disk burners to make it comparable to a Mac that comes with all of it, standard.

    This just shows how uninformed the author is. I know he is trying to be funny, but he shoots himself in the foot by referring to multiple video and sound cards - even if it is sarcasm, it's not funny or informative.

    Truth is, I can buy an ugly cheap ass Dell - it will have a super fast CPU and a big hard drive - and spend under $500 for it and, in some cases, may come with an LCD monitor. Sure, if I want to play some games, I'd have to plop a better video card in that budget level machine, pushing it up to maybe $1000 if I bought a really nice card and doubled the ram.

    So, if I may ask, when did a Mac EVER come standard with gaming-level video for $1000?

  • Re:Why? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by unapersson ( 38207 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @05:59PM (#11576962) Homepage
    Battlefield 1942 has got my brother using the Linux partition I set up on his machine a while back. It's unplayable under Windows (way too slow), and apparently his is not an uncommon experience.
  • by jfengel ( 409917 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @06:01PM (#11577002) Homepage Journal
    It's an excellent question, and since nobody else has tried to answer it, I'll take a first stab at it. In no particular order:

    1. Windows has to support a lot of legacy code. The original Windows was developed with absolutely no conception of a networked computer, so a lot of its design supports free-and-friendly access, and a lot of old programs assume it.

    2. Security is often entirely at odds with productivity.

    3. In particular, Microsoft has added a bunch of features supposedly to make your life more easy & fun: auto-download of codecs, plugins, etc. with full acess to your system. Those are rife with problems.

    4. Microsoft has a gazillion lines of code. The more code it is, the harder it is to secure.

    5. As the primary target of opportunity, hackers put a lot of effort into Microsoft. I believe Mac and Linux are better designed in accordinace with the other reasons listed here, but they're probably also full of holes that nobody notices.

    6. None of Windows, Linux, and OS X have a real sandbox architecture. Once you're penetrated, the worm can do everything you can do, which is a lot. Nobody notices on OS X and Linux because of reason #5.

    (Linux does have a notion of a "jail", but security limits you. I betcha people don't run their window managers in a jail, and they're sitting listening on sockets just waiting for an buffer overrun. Nobody notices. Jails are no fun to run in.)

    7. The story is about an incident a year ago. The firewall in Windows SP2 goes a long way towards solving the "plug it in and it gets infected" problem. It doesn't solve the "click here to get Gator!" problem.

    8. The "Gator!" problem, where people delibertately invite malware onto their systems, is a combination of ignorance of users, deception of malware writers, and Microsoft's decision to let executable content come in over the Internet. People are faced with security decisions all the time, and people get them wrong because they don't know. The solution involves either more effort on behalf of users, or preventing them from downloading stuff (which also locks out valid codecs and plugins.)

    9. Microsoft is fixing some of these problems in time for Longhorn, but that's still a year off. Which means they're proactive about Longhorn but reactive on XP.

    Those are my top 9 off the top of my head, without just shouting "Microsoft sucks!" Tack that on and call it a top-10 list, but there are probably even more and better reasons.
  • by amigabill ( 146897 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @06:06PM (#11577086)
    There's too many people who are "comfortable" enough with what they've got. I've got a friend who's not willing to try anything other than Windows because he knows how to use Windows. He complains about the crashing and bugs and all, but he doesn't want to have to learn a new system. And avoiding that inconvenience is more important to him than getting a better quality product.

    There's also the public image issue. Everyone knows about Windows. Mac still has a stigma of being prone to crashing and annoying users with all those old "Are you rally sure you were really sure you wanted to click that yes you truely indeed did want do do that?" dialog boxes. You and I know those issues are no longer things to worry about, at least they're far smaller bothers than they once were, but the mass public doesn't know that, and they aren't willing to even have a look to find out, much like so many slashdotters here are unwilling to fairly evaluate AmigaOS4 last week or so what that article came up. The mass public echoes your "Amiga is dead!" chants only they point it at Mac instead, or point chants about "What can *I* possibly use Linux for?!" at the Linux crowd.

    Linux has other public image issues to work though. Things like "It's hard to install or use" have been addressed reasonably well, but the public again isn't willing to discover that to be true. Linux also has the old reputation of having no applications or games or stuff normal people would use. I know many people that cannot fathom what in the world I could possibly use Linux or AmigaOS for, yet are unwilling to be shown all the everyday applications like OpenOffice, Mozilla, Doom3, Unral Tournament, etc. that exist for Linux or AmigaOS equivalents for many things, and insist on continuing in their incorrect belief that such apps and games do not and CAN NOT exist outside of Windows. Even though the Mac crashes chants are obsolete and Windows has the same reputation, the masses are not willing to bother with reasoning.

    The fact that MS pretty much looks like it IS the somputer software industry also has a great hold on users. There are lots who simply believe that since they are so big, they must have the best product. Even with the obvious bugs and other problems they experience, many people believe that since everyone else is such a small marketshare that they must of course have even worse quality products than the market winner has. For example, I can not get my dad to use anything but MS products because of this. He uses MSIE and Outlook, and there's no changing that, no matter how many viruses or spybots or zombies his computer is infected with. The friend I mentioned above is unwilling to use anything but MSIE because he doesn't care to learn anything else, as trivial as that learning curve may be, he's simply not interested even after all of his own complaining about MSIE.

    It's not a "problem" with a rational solution, I don't think it'sbecause people are "stupid" or anything like that, I think it's because the vast majority of people simply do not care enough to actually do anything about it. Having what they're used to or what 97% of the world uses is more important to them than having a higher quality product.
  • Re:Seems dubious (Score:3, Interesting)

    by syukton ( 256348 ) * on Friday February 04, 2005 @06:14PM (#11577206)
    I used to work for a company that does predominantly Macintosh hosting. They have a datacenter with 500+ Macintoshes in it. Everything from old-style beige Powermacs to the newer G3/G4 and even Xserve models. Anyhow, the older boxen ran OS9, and OS9 has the single critical flaw of being single-threaded.

    This isn't so bad when there's only one person using the computer, but when you're using the computer to host a filemaker database which back-ends a website which is all hosted on a lovely macintosh, it becomes a problem. Any time you get a dialog on the screen, the computer disappears off the internet. Any dialog: system error, a prompt, a confirmation, a warning that you're low on disk space--whatever. Any dialog, and it all stops, because of the single-threading. The system can't continue execution until you interact with the dialog box.

    We had a program we used called Okeydokey to automatically click OK to the dialog boxes, but every once in a while there'd be a colocated server or something running a weird version of XYZ program that didn't use the standard dialog interface and therefore couldn't be okeydokey-ed.

    This is now not really a problem since Darwin is BSD-based, and BSD-based systems are all very capably multithreated.
  • Re:Simple (Score:4, Interesting)

    by joeldg ( 518249 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @06:15PM (#11577220) Homepage
    that is funny..
    My wife has me use my linux box to download pictures off her camera because the windows programs to do it are so unstable and buggy (and it is fuji digital camera)..
    Easy for me.. plug it in and mount it.. takes about 5 seconds total..
    yea.. a "hack" that took me 10 minutes tops to set up once and it has ran since we have had the camera.

    Whereas my wife has re-installed her windows computer I don't know how many times and had to set up the camera equal number of times until she asked me to do that.. since, no problems.. She is shopping for a Mac right now..

    Only thing I use windows for is some games.. and I refuse to install "anything" other than a game on it and only use firefox.
    It is behind a tight firewall, has no open shares so I don't even windows-update it as even those cause problems.

    My linux boxes are fine.. No problems ever..

    One day you will get over your fear and see there are actual real alternatives.. Unless you like dealing with that crap?
  • Re:Why? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LinuxGeek ( 6139 ) <djand,nc&gmail,com> on Friday February 04, 2005 @06:16PM (#11577234)
    I play games and use linux exclusively. I have an xbox.

    I have a modded xbox sitting beside me right now, modded for a friend, it's not mine. I have played Thief3 on both and have to say that as a long-time gamer, consoles suck for something needing real control. Those game controllers make eating with 10-foot chopsticks seem natural.

    I've run linux for more than 10 years now and am currently playing Americas Army (native) and Max Payne2 (cedega). I see the xbox as two things: A game box for people that have never seriously played FPSs and a vehicle to get DirectX marketshare for MS. The more xbox and windows only games that get produced, the less OpenGL will appeal to game developers.

    MS dosen't care if windows sucks. They only care that people don't feel that they have an alternative. I have spoken with several MS folks over the last 15 years and they care about marketshare above everything else that was discussed.
  • Re:Simple (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nine-times ( 778537 ) <> on Friday February 04, 2005 @06:18PM (#11577275) Homepage
    I'm not saying people don't know that there's a difference between Macs and PCs, I'm saying they have no idea what the difference is. For example, go ahead and ask people whether you can install the same copy of MS Word on your Dell and your Mac, and if not, why not?

    They might know that you can't, but they'll probably just tell you, "It's because they're different kinds of computers" without any idea of what they mean by "different kinds". Now put your Ubuntu LiveCD on both the Mac and the Dell, and watch the confusion play out. Now, why is it that they can run the same programs?

    If you're not pretty well versed in these things, it's confusing. Mention the words "memory management" or "virtual memory" or "kernel" or "process". Ask people, does your computer have these things? They don't know.

    Let me give a thought experiment: Take four identical Macintoshes, one with Gentoo and KDE, one with Gentoo and Gnome, one with Darwin and Gnome, and one running OSX. Let them sit at each computer for a while, running what applications they can. Now, imagine explaining to them which computers of the four are running the same operating system, and what the difference is.

    Are you imagining a glazed-over look peppered with looks of confusion and annnoyance? That's because most users, all they know is the GUI interaction. They know that they click on the "Internet Explorer" icon, type in a web address, and it shows a web site. So do they know the advantages one OS has over another? No, because they don't know that the two machines work any differently underneath the GUI, because they don't necessarily understand that there *is* an "underneath the GUI". All they know, if they know anything, is that the icons are in different places.

  • by RatBastard ( 949 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @06:30PM (#11577437) Homepage
    Point 2 is invalid. Migrating to Mac was pretty easy, actually. No worse than the annual reinstall of Windows:
    1: Backup email - check
    2: Backup bookmarks - check
    3: Backup personal files - check
    4: Backup porn/music/etc.. files - check
    5: Import email into - check
    6: Import bookmarks into Safari/FireFox/etc... - check
    7: Copy personal files into documents folder - check
    8: hide porn in folder named "1997 tax records" - check
    9: Import music into iTunes - Check
    10: Profit.

    It took me two hours to migrate my files from my Windows box to my Mac, not including the time iTunes needed to import my 17GB music collection from my file server. And that included installing Firefox (I don't care for Safari). The hardest part was finding a word processor that I liked when the 30-day trial version of Office ran out. But I never liked Word anyway.

    Understand that when I migrated to Mac I had spent about an hour fooling around with OS X on a friends computer and had no real knowledge in what programs did what. Apple has very easy to understand help documents tailored to people moving to Mac from Windows.
  • by pavera ( 320634 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @06:40PM (#11577546) Homepage Journal
    The biggest problem with Windows is that Microsoft gave a very powerful OS to Joe Servicepack who has NO CLUE how to get it stable and keep it stable.

    Ok so how do you explain OS X's security/stability? I got fed up with my brother and wife getting spyware/adware/viruses in windows (even a good firewall can't stop email viruses or spyware). I got them both using macs at their last upgrade cycle (about a year and a half ago) and neither of them has had a problem since. But guess what OS X is no toy OS, I use it on a daily basis for network programming, system administration, java development, everything. I can get into the guts of the system and do anything, and for multimedia mac kills windows.

    Point is, Apple managed to release a very powerful OS that Joe Servicepack (or my wife or 16 year old brother) can use every day to do things they need to do, without having to worry about virus updates, spyware updates, etc. No viruses, No hacks, no slowdowns, no system reloads, everything just works.

    So if Apple can do it, why can't MS? MS is what Novell used to be, you have to be a sysadmin to make it run properly, but what 99.9% of people want is an OS that can run itself reliably without having to call the $300/hr tech every week.
  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gonk ( 20202 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @06:49PM (#11577660) Homepage
    Someone mod the parent up...! Really, I mean it.

    I've been using Linux since '92 or so. It does a lot of neat things. I used it as my desktop for years.

    Two years ago I got a new laptop and then a new job at a company that does a lot of Microsoft Exchange related work. So, I tried XP out, because I hadn't really tried a MS product in a long time. Guess what? XP is pretty fucking good. Sorry, it is.

    Oh yeah. Exchange is pretty fucking good, too. So is Active Directory.

    Deal with it.

  • Re:Seems dubious (Score:5, Interesting)

    by plsuh ( 129598 ) <plsuh AT goodeast DOT com> on Friday February 04, 2005 @06:57PM (#11577749) Homepage
    I don't know about 15 years, but the U.S. Army [] has been running their front-facing webservers on the Mac since 1999, about six years at this point. If the Army's website isn't a high-profile target, I don't know what is. This has been an unqualified success story for the Mac -- they haven't been cracked during that time, whereas before that the NT4-based servers were cracked numerous times.
    localhost:~ username$ curl -i
    HTTP/1.1 200 OK
    Date: Fri, 04 Feb 2005 22:48:59 GMT
    Server: 4D_WebSTAR_S/5.3.3 (MacOS X)
    Connection: Close
    Accept-Ranges: bytes
    Last-Modified: Fri, 04 Feb 2005 22:00:34 GMT
    Content-Length: 35822
    Content-Type: text/html
  • by runderwo ( 609077 ) <runderwo&mail,win,org> on Friday February 04, 2005 @07:03PM (#11577810)
    If Linux was on the desktop of everyone's grandmother, unpatched and unfirewalls, it would also be hacked in a jiffy.
    Do you have any idea how stupid this statement is? First of all, such a statement simply assumes that it is not possible to write correct software. That is beyond arrogance and disregards the primary benefit of open source: like solid science, peer review is paramount in ensuring correctness of the results.

    Furthermore, if your claim (that popularity of a software package somehow implies or introduces security problems) had any merit, Apache (the majority web server by a huge margin) should have been swiss cheese by now. Yet, somehow the minority IIS web server manages to have a serious remote vulnerability at least every year. How can you claim in good faith that popularity is what causes bad software, as opposed to e.g. proprietary development, or Microsoft?

  • by Radical Moderate ( 563286 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @07:09PM (#11577893)
    Go to MS' website and find the page where you can download ALL the critical patches for XP. Actually, don't bother, becasue it doesn't exist. So if I install XP fresh and want to patch it, I can go to Windows Update and hope that the patches download and install before my box gets owned...and I've seen freshly-imaged PCs get compromised after being on the network for less than two minutes. Or I can use a patched machine to hunt through the MS website and download all the patches one by one. Ridiculous!

    Service Packs are not sufficently up to date, and don't get me started on SP2. Why don't they have ONE page to download all the security patches so I can then burn them to CD? If such a page does exist, they do a great job of hiding it, which supports my point.
  • by tokabola ( 771071 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @07:16PM (#11577980) Homepage
    My mom's new imac works just fine out-of-the-box.

    So does my PC running Linux - it enabled iptables before it enabled the net - and downloaded all the updates DURING the install and BEFORE enabling any sevices.

    Last time I installed WinXP (or any other version) it couldn't even find the internet (standard cable modem connected through NIC) without some directions from me, yet I still managed to pick up a worm - Windows couldn't find the internet but the internet found Windows.


  • by RWerp ( 798951 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @07:28PM (#11578096)
    Microsoft in Poland sells Windows XP for over $100 on the market. And yes, people HAVE wisened up. They use pirate copies.
  • by Minstrel Boy ( 787690 ) <> on Friday February 04, 2005 @07:30PM (#11578119)
    I got caught up in exactly that scenario, except mine was just a little worse: I bought an HP desktop about three years ago to run BSD on. Not only did HP refuse to negotiate the Windows refund on it, the machine came without a restore CD (at the time the first I'd ever encountered that). The restore was from a hidden 10GB (out of 30) partition. So not only did I not get a refund for Windows, I had to pull the whole hard drive and set it aside against the day I might want to sell the machine.

  • by guidryp ( 702488 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @07:40PM (#11578219)
    Microsoft sucks. Mainly on the basis of being a predatory monopoly. But that is a whole other article

    But windows is not that bad, not the best, but not as bad as the article paints it.

    While the article attempts to make light of it, the fact remains that being the dominant player attracts the most Malware, Virii, spyware etc...

    But you can avoid problems by staying away from the pillars of the monoculture:

    Use Firefox instead of IE,
    Use Thunderbird instead of Outlook,
    Use Open Office instead of MS office,
    Use Media Player Classic instead of MS WMP 10.0.
    Use some other chat instead of MSN (I use Miranda and Yahoo).

    90% of your problems are now gone. Everything is free. You are now mostly divorced from the monoculture. There is one last piece of the puzzle:

    Personal Firewal. I use Sygate Personal.

    You are now at 95%.

    That last 5% relies on being careful. At this point the crap you get will most likely be installed by yourself.

    That is why I always look for opens source programs first. To me nothing says secure and safe like open source.

    When I get beyond open source, google is my last line of defence:

    Do a google on "divx spyware" and this...

    Do all of the above and you should be pretty safe. I surf lots, Download all kinds of programs/ media etc and my system is clean whenever I check it.

    A couple of years ago I did nothing till I got a few viruses, then I wised up. Clean sailing since then.

  • Re:Why? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sgups ( 449689 ) <> on Friday February 04, 2005 @07:48PM (#11578289)
    Was she behind a firewall/router?
  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <> on Friday February 04, 2005 @07:58PM (#11578385) Homepage Journal

    By the way some people talk around here, you'd think the DMCA was put into law under the Bush administration instead of under the Clinton administration in the 90s...

    Which party was in control of the 105th Congress?

    Besides, President Clinton had no power to prevent the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act or the Digital Millennium Copyright Act from becoming law. Both bills passed both houses through a voice vote. It takes 81 percent assent to get a voice vote through each house of the U.S. Congress but only 67 percent assent to override a presidential veto. Had Clinton vetoed the Bono Act or the DMCA, Congress would probably have overridden the veto.

  • by King_TJ ( 85913 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @08:13PM (#11578537) Journal
    As someone who pretty nearly switched to all-Mac myself after OS X came into "prime time" ... I still have to say this SF Gate article comes across as a little too strongly Mac-biased.

    Why indeed won't people switch computers despite the spyware and virii? It's the APPS, stupid! I know a LOT of engineers and surveyors who all think the Apple Powerbooks are teriffic little notebooks, but none have purchased any. They all use AutoCAD as a staple item in their daily job, and AutoDesk doesn't offer a Mac version of the product (or of any of the related products, like Inventor).

    Even in areas traditionally considered "Mac strongholds" like MIDI and music production, the Mac falls short all too often. For example, I used to own a Yamaha Motif synthesizer. One of the big selling points of the Motif was its flexibility in integrating with your computer. That is, if your computer runs Windows. The whole time I owned it, Yamaha never released any Mac software to work with the add-in expansion "PLG" boards for the Motif, nor did they have a native OS X compatible patch librarian/editor for it. I had a similar problem with a Korg Triton synth. There were loads of great freeware and shareware Triton editors, librarians, etc. - but absolutely nothing for OS X.

    But even IF the APPS aren't an issue, familiarity is. I've done lots of virus/spyware cleanup for customers over the last couple years, and typically - they either have these problems with a fairly new PC (about 1-2 years old), or it's a pretty old system (4-6 years old, typically) that they recently hooked up to broadband as a spare or kids' machine. In both cases, they'd nuch rather spend, say $120-250 or so for a service call for a professional to clean the PC up and install software to protect it from future problems than spend 4x that or more for a whole new system. They either figure "I didn't buy this thing that long ago - so it should still be good for a long time if someone just gets my problem all sorted out." or "This thing served me well for the last 5 years already... I don't think I quite believe this hype about needing a different type of computer to get one that's reliable."

    In short, sure - Windows sucks. But the right "cocktail" of anti-vorus, anti-spyware programs, an alternate browser like FireFox, and a firewall should make it pretty safe for use on the net. You just need to learn how to do it yourself, or pay someone who does know to do it right for you.
  • by porcupine8 ( 816071 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @08:37PM (#11578734) Journal
    I don't imagine the author expects that ANY new computer owner simply opens the box and has no problems operating the computer (Mac, Linux, Windows or any OS).

    I'll give you that a completely new computer owner will have some problems no matter what the OS, just b/c they're new.

    However, this wasn't about a new computer owner, it had nothing to do with figuring out how to work the thing.

    You can easily open the box, plug in a Mac (to the power AND the internet) and expect to have no problems. In fact, I would be very surprised if you did have any problems.

  • Re:It's a Catch-22 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by rastin ( 727137 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @08:57PM (#11578897)
    I'm not a graphics developer so if I spew blasphemy please respond in an informative, rather than hostile manner.

    I don't understand why Linux cannot be a better gaming platform that Windows. Sure Gnome and KDE have a lot of overhead that make them less than ideal, but the beauty of Linux is that you don't have to launch them. Why not make a Windowing environment that is striped down and only useful for games. You wouldn't even have to shut down Linux, just shut down X and launch the gaming environment. To me it seems that this optimized environment would have even less overhead than Windows. Just sound and graphics support.

    I'm sure I'm not the first person to think of this but I can never find any projects that attempt it.
  • Re:Why? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by NoMoreNicksLeft ( 516230 ) <john.oyler@c[ ] ['omc' in gap]> on Friday February 04, 2005 @09:05PM (#11578969) Journal
    Working in a DSL support, just got off the phone with a XP customer. Had him set his static IP address, wouldn't work. MAC address wouldn't even show. Heard him mention a router... had him hook that up, even though we don't support them, I walked him through setup. Router's MAC address showed up immediately, he was on the internet. His nic was fine, so was the driver... or else DHCP wouldn't have worked. It's constantly doing crap like this.

    And how about the new XP firewall? It fucking blocks icmp. Mind you, that's the only thing in the world that it blocks apparently, because it gets every virus in the world, even with Norton or Mcaffee running. And that's not a small thing, the people who need others to ping them are generally too illiterate to turn the firewall off for people like me.

    Or how about the whole "let's hide how to get to classic view" thing? Or them deciding to change the label for "ok" button on the network adapter properties panel? How about not being able to use a static IP on more than one adapter, but still sticking a 1394 adapter into the mix, for ijits to mistakenly configure?

    That last one sounds minor, but on an OS that has to hide the icons in the control panel from its own user because they can't be trusted, how many of those same people need to do IP-over-Firewire? Honestly.

    XP isn't usable, not by the vast majority of people. Not even close.
  • Why? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by hsa ( 598343 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @09:38PM (#11579234)

    Why haven't they jetisoned the foul beast from Redmond and migrated en mass to the Macintosh or even Linux?"

    You think that Linux and Mac are safe? Trust me, if Linux becomes the de facto operating system, it will have all the beautiful worms and viruses of the Windows World. Same goes for Mac. There is just no need to make spy/malware for systems only few people use.

  • Re:It's the servers (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 04, 2005 @09:42PM (#11579258)
    The "server" dude DOESN'T know what he's talking about. Linux requires drivers, same as Windows, and they are specific to hardware. Kinda makes sense since the hardware is the same in the case that he is citing, no? Sysprep works fine, and there are automated installation methods such as ADS, Altiris, and APF (script) which can build windows servers or VMs in minutes from bare metal.

    Most of the vulnerabilities (ne, almost all) aren't in the kernel, but are in the added software which is lumped in for free, like the SMB file server, IIS, RPC server, etc.
  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ravenscall ( 12240 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @10:02PM (#11579400)
    Actually, I know what the problem is.

    He bought a name brand laptop. These are not clean installs of Windows, these are all imaged at the factory with a master image. I work on a helpdesk, and had a user call in recently with a brand new, out of the box HP.

    It had spyware on it. No joke. It had IE hosed to the point we could not use it to configure a router to get online.

    All I can guess is that thier master image has the spyware. I connot conceive of them WANTING it there.
  • by zogger ( 617870 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @10:05PM (#11579427) Homepage Journal
    ...just the "works just fine" part is erroneous. 99% are owned, hosed, rooted, screwed up, adwared, spywared, virus infected, spam spewing, buggy disasters. I cannot think of a single person I know in meatspace who owns peecees and hasn't had serious run ins with windows bogusness. Zero, even leet windows professionals who do it for a living. I know people who have literally bought new computers because their windows installs were SO bad with malware that they thought the hardware itself was broken. After people have thrown hundreds of dollars in software add ons at it, installed every patch they can,undergone multiple trips to the local puter fixit shop, there comes a point that something needs to be said and admitted to, and this dude in the article nailed it dead on square on and right on.

    It's way past time for all the people out there to realise it's not raining, that really is Microsoft pissing on their back. and they pay for that privelege.

    Now I don't care what private folks do with their time and money, that's their business, but in the public sector, there's no longer any need for that using tax payers money to prop up that company and it's alleged products that make them hundreds of billions of dollars and come with no warranty whatsoever and got enough bugs to keep a flock of entomologists happy for several millenia. Now free software is another thing, you get what you pay for, but those hundreds of billions of dollars dropped on MS software scribbles they pass off as "intellectual property" and demand it be treated like valuable property for their profits sake is another kettle of rather ripe and steenking fish. And that's where I think the law-line should be drawn too,changed drastically and I hope it does and I hope it shakes the software world to it's roots and the dirt beyond, if anyone pays for it, it's a commercial product and it should have a warranty, simple as that, same as any other product, bought, sold, or leased. Change that law, get rid of the get out of responsibility EULA nonsense they push for stuff that's sold or leased. If windows is so great, billy bob buckets of profits can do it voluntarily, there's a challenge to the microsofties who charge money (or anyone else who charges money for their IP "products") put a warranty on it that you back up or quit calling it a product.

    signed, joe software consumer

  • by NoMoreNicksLeft ( 516230 ) <john.oyler@c[ ] ['omc' in gap]> on Friday February 04, 2005 @10:31PM (#11579589) Journal
    I also talk to an average of one OSX user per night. They're only ever calling in to set it up initially, never to try to fix it. Ever.

    I've been doing this 40 hours a week since november, too.

    Judging by our call volume, versus the number of DSL customers we have, a not insignificant portion of XP users have real trouble. Not trouble setting it up, but chronic, ongoing, unfixable trouble. If we find out it's only 5%, are you going to conclude that's "good enough" ?
  • Re:Why? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DigiShaman ( 671371 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @10:31PM (#11579590) Homepage
    If your working on a PC that has SP2 and suspect spyware infestation...Try this command.

    netsh winsock reset catalog

    If you work for any ISP support, then you will know usefull this command is for resetting the winsock stack in the registry back to factory defaults. Note: ask the customer if they have any other firewall installed other then the native one that came with XP or you might just really fuck things up.
  • No kidding (Score:4, Interesting)

    by IdahoEv ( 195056 ) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @12:09AM (#11580135) Homepage
    I run a mix of OS X, Linux, and Win2k machines at my home office. I'm familiar with network configs on pretty much everything, and have been putting together mixed networks for over a decade.

    But the first time I saw XP was when a friend brought over his shiny new laptop. He wanted to go online, so we just plugged in an ethernet cable, and I went looking for the setting to turn on ethernet and DHCP, nothing more. ... and looking ... ... and looking ...

    "Set up new internet connection" wizard, asks if i want to set up a home connection or office connection. I don't know, I want a fscking ETHERNET connection with DHCP, but I figure the idiots in Redmond assume all offices have ethernet and all homes have dialup, so I try "office". No joy. I try "home". No joy. Both give me the same options, and are asking whether I have ISDN. (why the... in 2003? ISDN?)

    After fully half an hour, I finally realized that the "new internet connection" wizard only does dialup and ISDN, but that it still somehow thinks there's a difference between homes and offices that is relevant. Can't do ethernet through the wizard, and I can't find the control panels.

    Of course the owner of the laptop knows bupkus about his shiny new system.

    So I started hunting for other ways to configure the network. ...and hunting... ...and hunting...

    I finally figured it out, but it took me an honest 90 MINUTES to figure out how to unhide the icons in the control panel so that I could actually connect the damn machine. Any other computer would have taken me 30 seconds, tops.

    And don't even get me started about all of last year, when my girlfriend had an XP laptop that needed to have a different static IP, plus different wireless network name, at my house and at hers. My powerbook switches between full net configurations in two seconds, straight out of the apple menu, and I can store as many as I like. Every time she brought that laptop to my place, it was a five-minute hassle to hook the f*cker up and switch the IP/DNS/gateway by hand. Every time she went home, it was a ten minute tech support phone call to get it working again.

    The incompetence of Microsoft's human interface engineers is completely unreal. Instead of fixing their poorly-organized control panels that were powerful but hard to use and cluttered with unnecessary details, they simply hid them entirely and replaced them with wizards that are completely unable to configure anything for anybody.

    There are things I still can't manage with it ... like setting up a 2-node network via crossover cable with IP's and I've been doing that on other machines since college. I've tried FOUR times with XP machines, but never succeeded.

    And setting up filesharing. I can't fileshare between my XP box and any other machine in the house. I have to fscking FTP files to and from my mac with it. My last LAN party: six geeks, six PCs - and we had to distribute level files on burned CDs because we couldn't get sharing to work on more than half the machines, even with all the configs set identically. The machines that couldn't connect to the server? Why ... it was the XP machines! Go figure. All the Win2k machines were fine.

    Since XP came out, the amount of time I spend supporting friends and relatives has absolutely quadrupled. The patheticness of its' configuration design and unpredictability of its networking code is jaw-droppingly, embarassingly, bad. I mean stinky.

    Hang on, I'm starting to get the urge to tell you how I REALLY feel.
  • by savage1r ( 856578 ) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @12:34AM (#11580255)
    Ok, I've been using M$ products since DOS and windows 3.11. Up untill recently I never really thought of switching. One of the main reasons is that I'm an avid gamer and it's extremely easy for me to install a game and be playing it within a few minutes. That being said, it is my only compliment I have to give. I have become a pro at reinstalling that friggin Windows OS time and time again because of one virus/worm or other malady that windows felt like striking me with (often driver related). I won't go with macs because they are grossly overpriced (I can BUILD a comperable machine for 1/3 the price *excluding the mini which is the best decision mac has made*). So my choice has fallen on linux. The problem (so far) has been: which one. Well, let me tell you, I've tried a few. Mandrake was the first, Debian (shuddering at the pain in the ass install which was never able to boot into the gui), Suse 9.1, and Ubuntu (the one I've decided to go with). Linux is a really beautiful OS. The customizeability of EVERYTHING is a real dream come true. The multiple desktops and task switching is truely a gift from god. The speed and reliability (hardly any crashing) is impressive, even on old machines (I'm running the LiveCD off of the office PC). That being said...WTF is with installing software people. I understand the concept (mind you, the concept) of running command lines and compiling, HOWEVER, linux couldn't make it any harder to do (as far as a windows user is concerned). Granted, the selection of programs that comes automatically on the OS is great (love gimp and gaim), but they make it so friggin hard to install any other program that doesn't come with the OS (compared to Windows or Mac). I also had a few problems figuring out the networking configuration, but nothing TO far out of what I'd expect. I feel that linux has great potential and could even knock M$ off of it's throne, but if it really wants to indear itself to the general public it's going to have to fix the above mentioned problem (I haven't mentioned games or windows apps because I know that wine and cdega work even though I haven't been able to install either in ubuntu/suse). So, there's my big first post ever, do what ya gotta people.
  • by eno2001 ( 527078 ) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @12:43AM (#11580297) Homepage Journal
    Right up front I will say that I am a Linux user. Before that, I was a Windows user. Before that I was a Mac user. And before that I was an Atari ST user. All of this is my personal experience with many OSes and not work related at all. When I was an Atari ST user, I got very used to the fact that I could easily download any software I wanted from the internet and use it. A lot of it was shareware (a concept I misunderstood at the time. I assumed I could use it without paying for it and it was just an option to pay.) and some of it was freeware. At the time, I was basically JUST a user. I didn't write my own apps or even tweak config files. I just ran the shareware, freeware and some purchased software and JUST worked. That was OK. I also played some games. That was OK too. Then I moved onto GFA Basic and also got a C compiler and learned how to start writing my own apps. That eventually was OK too.

    Then I got the chance to use Macs in college. They separated me even more from the technical side of computing and threw me even farther into the JUST a user crowd. This was OK. I had a chance to pursue more creative artistic endeavors without ever having to think about the computer as anything more than a music making tool, or a graphic editing tool, or a desktop publishing tool. This was OK.

    When I graduated, I found that I couldn't afford a Mac and the Atari ST world was drying up. I was employed by a desktop publishing outfit that was PC based on an associate basis after I graduated. My employer was also kind of a mentor. I told him that I was in a quandry over PC vs. Mac. As he'd clearly gone the PC route but was handling desktop layout (engineering catalogs) for really big clients, I wondered whether or not I really needed to go Mac myself. At one point, I'd told him about the memory upgrade I built on my own for my Atari ST (I wired up a board to install SIMMs in it to get up to 2.5 Megs of RAM and saved myself considerable money) and he told me that I'd definitely be able to build a PC on my own. Up to that point I was afraid it would be too hard compared to the Mac. So in August of 1994, I built my first PC and installed DOS/Win31 on it. What surprised me was the lack of non-nagged shareware for DOS and Windows compared to the Atari ST. I wound up having to spend a lot of money on commercial products from Norton, Procomm, Microsoft, Aldus and Adobe. I found that Ihad to buy new versions/upgrades almost every year to year and a half as well. I went from Win31 to Win95. I learned that there were lots of thing about the Windows world that were half-assed compared to my experience with the Mac or even the Atari ST.

    I got sick of the cost of computing with Windows and I tried Linux in 1995. I already had experience with *nix from a dial up shell account I got access to in College as well as VMS. So the prospect of running a nice flexible and easy to use CLI on my own PC compared to Windows 95 was very appealing. I had actually tried Linux in 1994 but when I failed to get X to run properly, I gave up on it since at that point I really wanted my PC to work like a Mac. The "killer apps" that got me to switch to Linux were Enlightment and GIMP. They were much closer to what I was accustomed to on the Mac and the ST and even my limited Amiga experience.

    So between 1995 and 1999 I gradually moved further from Windows and more solidly to Linux. Al the while I've kept tabs on the Windows camp and I will say the Windows XP is probably the best version of Windows that Microsoft has made to date. It's the most stable version and the most user friendly version. It took the nearly 20 years, but they finally achieved parity with Mac OS 7 in terms of usability. Microsoft also finally acknowledged that the artistic community (musicians, graphic designers, videographers, etc...) is important too. I would argue that they are more important than business which is something that Microsoft still seems to fail to understand, but that is another discussion. However, these
  • Re:No kidding (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 05, 2005 @01:56AM (#11580602)
    Come on. If you can't set up a network on Windows XP, you're hopeless. Open the advanced properties for one of your net connections. Change the properties for TCP/IP. Change one node to, and the other to Enable file sharing for MS networks on the one(s) you want to access files/printers on. Enable the client for MS networks on the ones you want to be able to see these resources. It's like a client and a server. Get it?

    Plug them together, and connect by IP or computer name. If you can't see them right away in the browser, type the computer name into the "Run" box like "\\" or "\\LAPTOP" (or "\\laptop" since there's none of that case sensitivity nonsense in Windows' file/resource names.)

    The most important thing to remember is XP Home is NOT XP Pro. Home is for newbies who want a friendly more Mac-like environment that hides everything sensitive from you. If you get XP Pro, or if you have the cash, 2003 Server, doing simple things like installing a NIC or setting up a network is so easy it makes using Linux look like a path only a masochist would take.

    As a side note, the whole hardware-as-files, system stats-as-files, kitchen-sink-as-a-file paradigm really shows the aging roots of Linux in an unfavorable light. Stats are stats, hardware is hardware. If it's not written to the disk as a file, it's not a file. And who needs silly things like file extensions? In linux you can have arbitrary color coding and obscure symbols to show your file types! Well... a couple types... the rest are anyone's guess...

    What I'm trying to say is don't judge an OS as bad because you won't RTFM. Me? You can bet I did... for MS, it's a single page. For Linux, I'm still in the process of reading them all... the simplest task becomes a wild goose chase through inconsistent, outdated and irrelevant articles that link to articles that link to articles. Since we're making unfair comparisons here, let's compare vi, a Linux staple, to the MS-DOS 5 editor.

    Start typing to edit, cursor keys to move, alt activates the menu, file/save, file/exit. Done.

    Bash, etc...:
    vi (because of course we're not editing it, we're vi'ing it. What's the difference? Well...)
    Um... it's kind of unclear how to start editing. I know! I'll check the handy online help! What's this? Move the cursor with HJKL... Couldn't they at least pick something in a shape similar to the way you're moving, like WASD? Nah, you wouldn't feel very elite using such a soft editor! Ah, Ctrl+bracket to follow links! Of course! Just like in... um... nothing! Eventually, it becomes clear that
    - To start editing, press "i" for insert
    - To save and quit, there are a dozen or more ambiguous 1 and 2 letter commands for various nuances of this simple operation.

    Most people stare incredulously when I explain the basics of entering commands in vi/vim. It's like explaining that to light a cigarette, you have to get some tinder and smash 2 rocks together to build a fire. If you could believe it after reading this post, I explain it logically and simply since I'm giving instructions not an opinion, but for god's sake... if you think Windows XP is too hard to use, WTF do you propose is easier? ...sadly, the only candidate for ease of use OR speed is the now-dead BeOS. While I'm no fan of MacOS, I have to admit it had some really smart setups if you learned it as your first OS. Then they made OSX. :/
  • by Nik Picker ( 40521 ) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @04:33AM (#11581105) Homepage
    Day 1:
    I purchased the magazine which had Knoppix 3.x cd on the cover and booting my Father in laws pc ( windows , infected , dying ) proceeded to knx-hdinstall the operating system into the pc ( 3 yr old machine with router for internet connection ) . Completed the install of Knoppix Linux ( email configuration ) and rebooted. Showed In laws how to login , and mail and surf.

    Day 2
    Added In laws new digital camera ....

    Day 3 through 365 : hear nothing from in laws but praise for system that works, has not been inconsistent and lets them use their computer as they "expected" to be able to use it ...

    Day 366 : read story about user who makes poor purchasing descision and then complains about the product.

    Day 367 : write sequel to story

    okay the version of knoppix last year was old, but backing up their data to a usb flash drive and reinstalling to 3.7 the other day toook less than 10 minutes !
  • Re:No kidding (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 05, 2005 @04:40AM (#11581135)
    That's fine, but why can't the default editor be called something like "editor"? or there be a program called "help" that helps? I know the reasons; I'm asking these rhetorical questions just to point out how absurdly braindead the POSIX-compliant user environment is.

Man is an animal that makes bargains: no other animal does this-- no dog exchanges bones with another. -- Adam Smith