sábado, 14 de agosto de 2010

Windesperation

As I was browsing the Web, I read this comment of a user who considered that Windows is a necessary OS "to get things done". He said this in the context of his disappointment with Linux because of the need of the command line (it was actually Ubuntu that he meant, but people very often fail to understand that Canonical's distro does not represent accurately all other Linux distributions).

At home, I have a dual-boot desktop PC that starts by default with Mandriva Linux 2010 Spring (PowerPack). The other OS is Windows XP SP3, which I had not used for more than three months until today. After I read the comment, and since I hadn't used Windows at home for quite a long time, I thought that it would be fun to boot my desktop in XP to finish installing all the software that was pending after my last formatting, so I restarted the system in Windows "to get things done" and this is what happened:

The First Woe: Fear the Curse of Fear
The PC greeted me with the long-forgotten warning: "Your Antivirus is outdated. Click here to update it". After enjoying antivirus-free Web browsing with Mandriva, one quickly forgets that this warning is the second display of affection that you obtain in Windows after not using it for a while. Well, I complied and clicked for the update. In so doing, I remembered that Spybot Search-and-Destroy was also outdated and, logically, I asked for an update of that program, too. After a five minute wait, both programs were ready, so I immunized the browser with Spybot and decided to run both Spybot and the antivirus to see if they could catch something...an action that took me to woe number two.

The Second Woe: Do You Care for a Byte of Memory?
The download of the AV updates was acceptable, but you know that scanning for viruses is not usually a five-minute operation. Thus, I braced myself for a rather long wait...But why waiting? I did not turn my computer on to WAIT, but to GET THINGS DONE! So, I boldly opened Word...well, "tried to open Word" is more like it. XP eats memory like candy and, when running two different scans at the same time, you understand how slow your PC can become. I took a peek at the progress of both programs and the bar discouraged me. Hence, I forgot about Word and decided to kill some time with a game that is not too heavy on resources. That lead me to woe number three.

The Third Woe: Can the Taskbar Multi-task?
The answer is NO, of course. Since the two scans prevented me from working, I opened a game. But I silenced the effects and the music and opened Winamp (a very old version that I like because of its light weight) to play music. When I was surrounded by twelve flying insects on Planet Formica and the battle was becoming interesting, XP closed the game. The reason? A memory violation...

I thought: "OK, if XP does not want me to play, I'll GET TO WORK!" I located an anti-malware program and decided to install it. But first I waited for the scans to finish. After 40 minutes, they stopped and reported no threats. So I installed the program only to remember woe # 4

The Fourth Woe: Karate Kid Computer, Turn on / turn off
In Linux, the ritual of rebooting after an install becomes a hazy memory buried in the back of your brain. But this WAS Windows, not Mandriva Linux. With full lungs, XP said to me, "I don't care what you do in Sparta, but THIS-IS- BOOTLAND!!!" and I had to reboot to try the program... After almost an hour, I was getting closer to getting things done at last.

But then the firewall blocked the anti-Malware program. When I was trying to solve the problem, the firewall showed an alert of a high-rate attempt to access my computer from the outside. And then, it flashed a warning: "the Win32 Sality Virus that disables antivirus programs is becoming too common. Your version of the firewall cannot stop it, but an upgrade of the program can. Do you want to upgrade for free?" A year ago, I would have clicked YES immediately. However, more than an hour and 15 minutes had elapsed and I had not accomplished anything. The missing installation required me to knock off the firewall, but the firewall was asking me to update! This was too much. I felt completely unproductive in front of the computer. I was mad while I thought that this was XP, the most popular OS today. From what I have seen happening to happy users, Windows 7 performs pretty much in the same fashion, except that it requires more computer resources to run properly. That, in itself, is a funny paradox. I buy clothes that fit me; I do not buy shoes too wide for my feet hoping to fatten until the shoes fit. However, Microsoft expects you to drop XP and buy Windows 7 and to buy new hardware if your PC does not fulfill the requirements for 7. So, Windows is an OS to which the computer has to accommodate! Shouldn't it be the other way around?

Overlooking that fact, you still have the same rebooting rituals and security problems in Windows 7. But wait, there's MS Security Essentials! As it is stated here, it is a paradox that the Essentials are not included with the OS. I laughed in relief at the fact that Microsoft does not make cars for, if the Redmond company did, you would probably have to go to MS EssentialsGarage after buying your car to get the brakes and the door locks! Of course, you would be very happy because you get them for free. (?!)

Following a freeze during installation and a reboot, the program finally decided to launch. I updated it and guess what? The computer asked me again for a reboot. So I rebooted it... only that this time I started Mandriva.

Windows for getting things done? Good joke.

15 comentarios:

  1. Way to go! Besides, with all the incompatibility issues MS is creating, Windows is hardly the OS to get things done!

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  2. I like the way you elaborate your points. Good explanation. Hope to read more from you.=)

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  3. It's sad how many people say this. They say that they can't work on Linux because their 'exact' application cannot be transferred over. This is actually a legitimate issue- and I understand.

    But most of the time this is not the case.

    I like the quote Locutus uses from it.toolbox:

    "I get paid to support Windows, I use Linux to get work done."

    'nuff said.

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  4. If it weren't for Windows, most of us wouldn't have jobs.

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  5. @ Scot,

    Yes. But that is hardly a good argument to support that Windows is an efficient OS...it actually proves my point.
    Technicians make a living thanks to the intrinsic problems of Windows and the ignorance of users.
    I remember techies used to charge me for everything: installation, formatting, checking, etc. However, less competent users abound independently of the OS, so there's also a niche for techies who know Linux.

    Linux may hurt the pockets of technicians, but it has been WONDERFUL for MY ECONOMY! :-)

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  6. I'd add that not just for some migrants' economy, but also for their mental sanity. As the old saying goes, "All BSOD and no work makes Jack a dull boy." :P

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  7. If it weren't for windows we wouldn't have to live in a world of massive insecurities where hackers and script kiddies can steal your SSN numbers.

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  8. I'm afraid you are letting the insidious effects of real-world experience cloud your thinking. Do you realize the dangerous precedent this sets? Why, if such an approach were to become popular, many of the most cherished beliefs of humankind would be rent asunder. For instance, what chance would incumbent politicians have for reelection if such ideas were to become common?

    Besides, there many knowledgeable and experienced computer professionals who would take issue with your position. As an example, a recent survey of botnet herders found unanimous agreement with the statement that, "Windows is the system for getting things done."

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  9. ..."If it weren't for Windows, most of us wouldn't have jobs." Then you're not really looking and that is a strawman argument. A competent technician is always employed.

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  10. You must be an idi*t. When I left Ubuntu three weeks ago to use XP again, I didn't have to go through all that trouble. Not then, neither when I was using Windows before switching to Linux. Really don't get it, how you could possibly have to go through all that trouble. You want to hear my story with Ubuntu in the last five months? Computer starts. Fine. Work for one hour or two, then panel hangs, and renders mouse and touchpad unusable. Open tty, kill the bastard and get to work ... every hour from then... until I'm browsing my files, or more probably, moving a large file, Nautilus decides to hang or crash, file corrupted, or job interrupted. Browsing the Web, Firefox was slow as hell (its Windows counterpart is fast as a cheetah), the computer screen looked like a 20s film, Compiz making it grey. Needed to edit my papers for my new job, trying to do something PROFESSIONAL with the supposedly PROFESSIONAL QUALITY-OpenOffice, nah, no easy way to manage bibliography and references... crappy alignment of text, rules impossible to work with... install PlayOnLinux and do that with my copy of Office 2007, some things didn't work, install a virtual machine to work with Office... ok... reboot computer, a LOUD beeping starts and gets me embarrassed at office, my coworkers give me funny looks and my superior berates me, whatta?? blacklisting the beep-controlling modules didn't work? It's Linux, for crying out loud! ... ok, computer reboots... if I was lucky I could get a funcional login screen, if not, keyboard wouldn't work, so I can't login because I can't type my password, reboot it to get to work, guess what? KERNEL PANIC, Alt SysReq trick doesn't work, so I have to use the power button, and get my hard disk more close to failure... Needed to suspend or hibernate? With any luck, I could get it to do so, only to get a stuck system when time to wake up came... generally a order of suspending or hibernating ended up only on the same result of executing 'Lock Screen'... My fingers are gettin' numb, not from writing but from the deep uncomfort I feel by remembering all of that trouble... I don't know how you get things done on Linux, but for sure I can do more on Windows than you.

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  11. @Theguy

    If you want to insult anyone, insult yourself for your own ignorance and prejudice. From your previous post, I could infer that, by "Linux", you actually meant "Ubuntu". Your suffering with that distro is not an isolated case. However, UBUNTU is not the only Linux there is. Canonical's distro is based on Debian TESTING (not a very stable branch, you know). Of course you are going to have problems! Didn't you know that before choosing it? :-P

    Now, excuse me, but I write articles for scholarly publication in Open Office and I don't have any problems with the references. It's a matter of learning with a brain that is not designed for Microsoft. ;-)

    You can do more than I do? You sound really immature there, so I won't reply to that. But if you want to prove yourself, HIC RHODUS, HIC SALTA. Remove your antivirus and use your computer online for four months. Then clean it without any antivirus and you can support your claim. Otherwise, it's empty bragging coming from ignorance and a sore ego.

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  12. This Theguy is either a Microsoft evangelist in disguise or one of the most ignorant computer users I've ever seen! He says he is able to do more than Mechatotoro with a computer and he can't even do a lousy bibliography or references without the aid of the text processor? That's VERY PROFESSIONAL, for sure!! But leaving that aside, did he ever know that Ubuntu is not the only Linux available? How can he aim for stability choosing a test-type distro?? Next time he will grab an alpha of Windows 7 and will complain it is not stable, either!

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  13. @ Megatotoro,

    I concluded that Windows is not as functional as MS claims it is after taking XP to its limits and witnessing its lame performance in a two vital areas: security and multitasking. Every ignoramus knows that Windows is insecure by default and that it gets stuck if you run several processes at the same time. Linux performs a lot better in those two areas. Now, about choosing Ubuntu...well, I guess people choose it because of its popularity, without knowing it is a distro for the ones who want to be on the very edge of software development. They do not READ about UBUNTU before and, when they bang their heads on the wall, they blame Linux. Sad, but common.

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