Windows

A Linux zealot examines Microsoft Vista

Techrepublics' own long-time Linux zealot, Jack Wallen, decides to take on Vista and see how it stands up to Linux in the area of user-friendliness. Do you think Vista has a chance? Read on and find out.

I know, I know...you're wondering why this is in the open source blog. The reason is simple: I have used open source operating systems for a long, long time now. I have championed against Microsoft for over ten years. But when Techrepublic liked the idea of me writing some Vista content for them, I couldn't say no. Of course this meant me actually using Vista. So I thought it would be interesting for the open source crowd to get my initial reaction to my explorations with Windows Vista. You know, see how (or if) it stands up to Linux. It was a hard pill to swallow for me. It might be a equally as hard for you. Let's find out. Shall we?

Installation

To begin with I didn't have to do any installation. I wish I would have but I knew how finicky Vista was with hardware, so I wound up having to purchase a new laptop. This was the first strike against Vista. Why? Because I knew, with 100 percent assurance, that I could download the latest, greatest version of Linux and get it up and running (with full-blown 3D desktop and everything the Aero desktop has to offer) on any machine I have. With Vista - it's a crap shoot. Unless you have hardware with that magical sticker that says that the machine is certified for Vista, you just never know.

And of course this brings up one of the many really nasty points about purchasing a machine with a Windows operating system - you rarely get an install disk. Why is that? I paid the "tax." I bought the machine with an operating system on it. And we all know that Windows likes to be re-installed every so often. But without that disk - no dice. Fortunately I could create a "back up" disk so I could re-install the OS should it need...but only on that laptop. Oh but wait - this is Microsoft so I can only install the OS on one machine anyway. So much for that gripe.

First boot

Then after I unpacked the laptop it was time for the first boot. There was a small part of me that so badly wanted to toss in my Mandriva 2008 CD and forget the whole Vista experiment. But I behaved and let it boot.

During the boot process I couldn't believe how much I had to go through to get to the desktop. When I first powered up the laptop I thought I was watching a full installation going on. It took nearly 30 minutes to get to the point where I could start agreeing to every possible EULA I could imagine. And after all of those agreements, I finally reached the initial setup. The final setup was mostly just the standard username/password/timezone information.

Once the setup was complete I was greeted with a screen asking me if I was interested in peeking at the typical "free trials" that always seem to accompany any Windows operating system. I really hate this part of Windows. Why is it they seem to think ANYONE wants any AOL product these days? Why not offer something like Hotmail or any other product owned by Microsoft. These products just take up space, annoy the users, and ultimately wind up being deleted from the system. You never see a Linux operating system with annoying free trials of worthless software.

Getting to work

Finally. The desktop is loaded and I can get to work. The first order of business is to install Firefox, OpenOffice, and The Gimp. I may be using a Windows operating system, but that doesn't mean I have to use Office, Explorer, and some proprietary graphics application. The installation of these applications brought about the next really annoying issue with Vista. Being a long-time open source software user I am accustomed to having to give the root password in order to install software. But just giving permission to continue to perform an installation does nothing more than annoy the user. What good does it do? I click on the OpenOffice install icon and then I have to give Vista permission to install OpenOffice? Didn't I just do that by clicking the OpenOffice install icon? Seriously...what is the purpose of this? There is no safety with this system. It's not like you have to enter an administrator password - you just say "sure Vista, you can go ahead with this installation." So of course, after too many instances of having to allow the UAC (User Access Controls) to do what I had already told the system to do, I decided to disable this control. It didn't really take me long to figure this out (doing a search in Explorer for "user" finds the configuration setting) and, once I had it disabled, I was able to do a bit more work with a little less hassle.

With the UAC out of my way, Vista just seemed like yet another Windows operating system. I was limited with my configuration options; I couldn't control sub-systems the way I can with Linux, and Aero is seriously limited to what it could do. The former two points I expected (Windows is very limiting in user control). The latter point really surprised me though. Microsoft had proclaimed Vista's Aero to be the next level of user interface. Really? Some half-attempt at transparency and a bit of a reconfiguration of the Start Menu? Seriously? No. I think the next level of user interface is what I am currently working with - Compiz. And besides, Linux has been doing transparency for over five years (remember AfterStep 1.6?)! So where is the innovation? I can understand that the standard Windows user would look at Aero and ooh and ahh because that's how Microsoft works the public opinion - they steal ideas and make everyone think they where the originators (Can anyone say "Mouse"?).

Now, at this point I started having good feelings about the Vista Media Center. It's pretty simple to use. But very quickly the lack of options and customizations really hit me. There are a few Linux versions of the media center, and with each version, they can be customized in nearly any way you want. With the Vista Media Center customizations/optimizations are very limited. Typical Microsoft micro-management.

Another issue. I wanted to make sure the laptop always connected to my wireless network by default. I failed to check that option when I first set up the connection on the laptop and had a LOT of trouble figuring out how to make it so (without having to delete the wireless connection and start over). Again, with Linux this is simple.

The verdict

I can't say I hate Vista. I can say that, in comparison to the open source operating system that I use day in and day out, Vista pales in comparison. Vista can not do nearly the things Ubuntu or Mandriva (or SuSE, or PCLinuxOS, etc.) can do. And, at least from my perspective, the various forms of Linux can do all of these things much easier and much more efficiently.

My point is this: It seems that everyone assumes that the Windows operating system is the most user-friendly available. I think they are wrong. I think that Microsoft has actually managed to "dumb down" the operating system (in Vista at least) to the point where very little makes sense. Very basic tasks should be obvious. They are not. Obvious locations for certain tools are no longer valid. Administration that should be quick and easy is time consuming and confusing (at times).

If you think about it like this: Microsoft has basically created a new distribution of Windows. And migrating from one distribution (XP) to another (Vista) isn't as easy as it should be. Now migrating from, say, Ubuntu to Mandriva is simple. In either Ubuntu or Mandriva everything makes sense. And, in the case of Ubuntu/Mandriva you're migrating to an entirely different package management system...and it still makes sense. But migrating from one Windows distro to another becomes a task even administrators don't want to undertake.

I interviewed a head teacher at a local school that offers classes in various Windows topics (from MS Office to administrator-level SQL to programming) and he said they can't find anyone to teach and no one who wants to learn Vista. So they are sticking with XP. When I told him I had to pick up a Vista-ready laptop his first question was if I had already installed another operating system over Vista. I said "no;" he winced and apologized.

I'm not so quick to get rid of Vista. I find it challenging and I like a good challenge. But I will say that I find this Windows distribution (Vista) not nearly as user-friendly as most of the modern Linux distributions. Not only are the Linux desktops easier to use they are far more flexible and easier to administer. And yes, as soon as I no longer have a need for Vista, that Sony Vaio will sport Mandriva.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

141 comments
kadry76
kadry76

next time, put your prejudice aside and try to do a real review of windows vista...Complaining about the Eulas, and the thirty minutes of free trials, and that "horrendous" time you spent searching for where the applications were, use the search and just type the name of whatever the application you wanna use from notepad to MMC to whatever the hell you wanna use..anyhow all that supindous time you spend try to make your way out of windows PALES and I mean PALES next to trying to install an nvidia driver or even better compiling a driver for your wireless adapter on the unimaginably intuitive Ubuntu (8.04) that is..which is by far the most suckable release...PClinuxOS rocks, but no support whatsoever, and it rocks better on laptops rather than on Desktops, Opensuse is a bloated piece of crap..and Open OFfice is Crap next to Onenote2007, outlook, powerpoint and Access..so please next time don't do one of those amazon.com reviews where people start complaining about a product, not because of something bad is inherent in it, but because the deliver was late..Little prejudice more action..and whoever heard of someone who goes out to buy a notebook to run a operating system? if you don't like aero turn it off..I mean what was that? what kind of review is that?

riverab
riverab

Very interesting article. I find the perspective of an open source user trying out Vista interesting. Coming from a Windows environment, I say the same about Linux. I find it very unintuitive and not very user friendly. I guess when someone is out of their comfort zone, it seems difficult to adjust to something new. Having said that, that's why I use Linux from time to time. I find it very challenging and I also enjoy challenges.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

More like lists the things they disliked about it. What next a VMWare Zealot Examines Microsoft Hypvisor? A Vista Zealot Examines a Mac? A Dell Zealot Examines an HP?

jdclyde
jdclyde

The average windows user doesn't WANT to administer or configure. They want to click on a pretty picture and have something happen. It is not as easy to go from XP to Vista as it was from 95 to 98 to win2k to XP. Why? I think it is because they don't WANT the users to administer. They want you to have someone do it for you. The less the user knows, the less they can complain about. And as for the UAC, many of todays viruses are more social engineering than anything, and the user doesn't even read the pop up windows. Hit yes and move on..... They will be giving permission to every virus that comes along.

polax
polax

I use Linux (even though this is my office machine - running Windows XP) on my "Vista-certified" laptop. I say this so that the fanatics don't start foaming in the mouth. SuSE 11.0 is my distro (Used to have Mint in the place). That being out of the way - i read your article and here are the points that i wish to render for your consideration. a) Microsoft has dumbed down the OS. I find that you put that as a CON - An operating system is by default, perhaps the most sophisticated piece of software to run on your computer, the fact that Microsoft has dumbed it down to make it usable to the JOE on the Street is something that should be applauded. In fact, Apple does that just that and better - it has dumbed down the apple on a sturdy engine to make an elegant OS. I think what you claim is a minus, is actually a plus. When Linux "dumbs" down the OS, to a point where a person can use the system and do what he wants to - you can bet that the desktop usage of the same will touch double figures. 2)EULA Gripe Microsoft has a huge legal team - and lawyers make life more complicated for everyone :-), it has its EULA and fluff - so that it can protect its interests. Can't really fault them there - if you don't want to see it, i suggest that you disagree the first time you see the agreement and the whole thing can be avoided. 3)Free Trials It is an AD AD AD AD world :-), ask my favorite company Google. But i agree with you - Ads suck. One of the reasons i am still on Firefox instead of Chrome is ADBLOCK (God i love that extension) 4)UAC - Glorified "sudo"; can't fault MS for stealing ideas here. 5)XP vs Vista

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

to Jack on behalf of those of us who are interested in an intelligent exchange of ideas, and not in having this deteriorate into another round of " 'Your OS sucks!' 'No, your OS sucks more!' "

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

are quite legit for a confirmed FOSS user. The EULA on Windows would effect a FOSS user in much the same way as a raw side of beef would effect a Vegan. Choosing a computer solution means you are choosing all the restrictions they (the manf.) place on you. This can include limited use, non-transferable licensing, vendor lock in, yearly fees, OS rental. This list is not Windows only, Red Hat charges a bundle for yearly support (read updates). But I digress... Jack spoke about problems HE had. It was an opinion piece... I mean, really, what were you expecting... What he wrote about were issues that soured him from the start. How is that not important? Because you are desensitized to them? "so please next time don't do one of those amazon.com reviews where people start complaining about a product, not because of something bad is inherent in it, but because the deliver was late.." Ahh, so you do not want to read your own post then? I dub thee, "Sir Troll Of RottingHam".

jdclyde
jdclyde

Try to make excuses about linux this or linux that, when the discussion is about Vista. If you were able to put away YOUR prejudice, you would have been able to have a little credibility. You can not make one product look good by attempting to make another look bad, and reflects poorly upon you to even try it. Give simple (non-hostile) examples of how to do something, if you wish to show people the benefits of a product. If you wish to discuss the short comings of a product, do so in the appropriate place, maybe even doing your own review and starting a discussion on it. To do it here just makes you look like a WATB.

10degrees
10degrees

Couldn't agree more... belated I know but there we go... The majority of "users" simply want to be that - they want to use the system, they are not interested in learning the ins and outs of a complex OS - they want to switch on, and for it to work. Sorry to say but in my experience this is more readily achieved when using Windows OS and not Linx.

jlwallen
jlwallen

for an examination? you tell me.

M Wagner
M Wagner

... when you say: "Why? I think it is because they don't WANT the users to administer. They want you to have someone do it for you. The less the user knows, the less they can complain about." The important point here is if the consumer who knows little about computers tweaks it, it breaks and nothing is harder than trying to diagnose a problem over the phone with someone unfamiliar with the terminology. The OS has to be "idiot-proof" if it is to be used by those with little or no experience.

techrepublic@
techrepublic@

"3)Free Trials It is an AD AD AD AD world :-), ask my favorite company Google. But i agree with you - Ads suck. One of the reasons i am still on Firefox instead of Chrome is ADBLOCK (God i love that extension)" For me AdBlock is like solar screen to a vampire! Without AdBlock, exposure to the Internet ... burns!

hufja34
hufja34

in the end which OS you choose to use matters little, as long as you like it. Like most systems people, I've used many flavors of linux and unix and the various versions of Windows. You're arguing about the color of M&Ms. As long as you can make an ip connection the flavor of OS you choose is largely based upon your experience and preferences. With the various hyperthreads out there, why one would choose just one operating system on a computer seems rather limiting don't you think?

john3347
john3347

What is referred to in this thread as "dumbed down" should really be called "smartened up"! Just as the IT professional does not, and should not, have to know the inner workings of his automobile to fully utilize it, the automobile mechanic shouldn't need to, and doesn't wish to, have to know the inner workings of their computer to fully utilize it. For whatever reason, NO OS publisher, Microsoft, Apple, and even more especially linux developers, understands this simple fact. Yes, Microsoft's consumer OS's are "dumbed down" more than any other. This is the reason they enjoy the market share they command. Linux developers, take note!!!

jlwallen
jlwallen

most IT admins would want to keep computer knowledge to themselves - like some elite group that only allow those with the secret decoder ring to join. i would rather empower the people - the user. i know plenty of average users (those people that MS targets) who get very frustrated with how Vista is and would like to change a lot of how it works but can't. they can't because MS obfuscates what should be readily available to the users. i say make administration takes right there at the ready so that those users who want to can take care of their systems. let them learn. and this does two things: it keeps admins from having to constantly dig for admin tools and it educates the user. and wouldn't that be a better place - one where users can actually do things for themselves? i think that is one of the reasons i like Linux so much - because, generally speaking, everything is there for the user to take advantage of. and sure i realize that i live in a dream world where people do actually want to learn vs the reality of the world where people don't want to learn - they just want to wake up and push a single button so that everything is done for them all day. but even though the reality is scary - it would be nice to know that those users could actually do everything for themselves should they want to. it would be up to them to take on that challenge or not.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I nearly fell off my chair when I saw them.. freaking brilliant. Maybe they'll pop up in this thread while the rest of adults stick to the threads of valid discussion.

Tearat
Tearat

My experience is the other way Linux is easier for most people to install and/or use than Windows I wont say which Windows or Linux OS because you did not think it was important enough to mention I will say it is easier for most people to pay someone else to set up their computer Then it may just work without crashing or getting infected

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Jack, try this. Reread your article, but pretend it's "A Windows fanboy tries Linux". Swap the OS names and see how it reads. Pay special attention to the parts where you say things weren't where you expected, or where you comment on something being difficult without providing details. If someone else had posted such a comment to start a discussion, how would you respond?

jdclyde
jdclyde

Be specific. What did you want to change and WHY did you want to change it. What is it you could not do in Vista that you could do in Linux? You were very general here, and many (including me) will not understand what the problem was, and so not see it as a problem. What did you want to change that took you a while to find out how to do it? (like the wireless example). Were these things you knew how to do in XP? [i] (if not, why expect Vista to do it?)[/i] Once it was running, how did it run the open source packages? Any issues or compatibility problems? Keep up the good work. I enjoy views like this from someone that isn't a fanboy of whatever the topic is.

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

If its breakable, they will. If its buggy, they will find it in minutes. If it can be changed, they will. There is no such thing as idiot-proof. "Build an idiot proof box and the universe will build a bigger idiot." The average "utility computer user" has next to no understanding of their machine. I think a case could be made that they need an understanding, of at least some basics, to ensure their own security and safety in a hostile on-line world. Educating utility users into "power users" or even knowledgeable users is a bigger service to them and the internet then dumbing down a product to "protect them from them selves." "Im sorry sir, that remote only turns on and off the TV, it knows what you want to watch..." "The important point here is if the consumer who knows little about computers tweaks it, it breaks and nothing is harder than trying to diagnose a problem over the phone with someone unfamiliar with the terminology." Would a car mechanic walk you through a tune up on the phone? Maybe, if they are related to you, or a good friend. Otherwise, h3l1 no. Once again, a little education goes a very long way. As a computer support person, many times we have no choice but to use the phone. Teach them the lingo as you walk them through. The calls will become less frequent and much more technical. Teaching a home user to run Windows as a non-admin is one of the more frustrating tasks, but in the long term one of the most rewarding. (Utility users have no problems here as long as their programs are installed and configured to work as needed.)

jdclyde
jdclyde

is the part about MS wanting small vendors to write more secure code.... :^0 THAT is comedy.... ;\

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Rock stars are forever being called Prima Donnas or Divas for wanting specific M&M colours taken out of the bowl in the green room. But it is actually for a reason, to see if the promoter has actually spent time to read and consider the rider properly. It makes them work for their money and shows the artist know his needs will be met. Now THERE's a segue for you!

jdclyde
jdclyde

A lot of people "like" the default of anything that they learned the first time, so they don't have to make any effort to change. If you talk to an Excel user and ask why they use it, they say they "like" it. Sure, they have NEVER tried any other spreadsheet to get a comparison from, but they like it. "like" is an emotion, and there is no place for emotion in making a business decision if you wish to remain in business.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Most of the internet is now saturated with Flash media. How easy is it to get Adobe Flash Player workign on a 64bit unix platform? This is a synthetic limitation Adobe could fix within a week but won't for whatever reason. Hardware support outside of Windows has, until recently, primarily been reverse engineered because hardware manufacturers come up with excuses as to why they don't want to open up to a larger consumer market. Again, it's a synthetic limitation that would disapear over night if hardware vendors handed driver interface specs over too the kernel developers. Windows continues to employ poor design decisions because it's more important too maintain backward compatability with Dos viruses (er.. and archaic business software). DRM and higher resolution HD requires specific hardware and cabling though lesser hardware and cabling would work perfectly without the DRM/RIAA requirnments. That synthetic limitation pretty much decides what OS you can run on your entertainment server at home. I think the OS absolutely matters. It's not M&M colours's, it's M&M vs vegitables. Everyone wants the pretty coloured M&Ms that tast nice but have limited nutritional value while the carot sticks are intentionally sidelined by the candy vendor. My only grief with this discussion is that it inevitably becomes what various OS can't do rather than what Linux based OS can do; like the topic of the article.

drooghead
drooghead

It matters because the makers of Linux and free software have a philosophy which helps us all whereas Microsoft and Apple are actually doing bad things. Don't be enticed by shiny objects, look at the big picture.

jdclyde
jdclyde

If you can get them to do basic tasks on their own, you can free up your time to do USEFUL tasks. When I got hired in, if someone needed to copy a file to a floppy (before we had a LAN) my co-worker would go to their desk and copy it for them. :0 WTF???? I showed them how to do it, and they were NOT pleased when the saw just how easy it was, and how much time was wasted waiting for her to come copy the file for them. It made her think she was important, so she kept them in the dark. Not long after that, she got pissed at me, because people started walking PAST her office, down the hall and around the corner to my office to have me help them. B-) It is the job of the instructor to make it so the student no longer needs them. Then you move on to better things to spend your time with. I do NOT copy peoples files for them. ;\

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"it would be nice to know that those users could actually do everything for themselves should they want to. it would be up to them to take on that challenge or not." Windows isn't aimed at that market. People who don't want to work on their car don't go to NAPA. People who don't like to cook buy Stoeffer's or eat out. "..they just want to wake up and push a single button so that everything is done for them all day. but even though the reality is scary..." What's scary about it? Many of those people have other skills and interests society needs every bit as much (or more) than computer customization. When the plumber shows up, I don't care what OS or apps he uses for billing. Sure, I could learn to do it myself, acquire the tools, screw around with it for a few weeks while I tried different things on the 'break it, rebuild it' model of 'learning', but it's not worth the trouble to learn skills I'll forget before I need them again.

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

I think I get it now. The distiction is not so subtle, but it took a bit for me to see it.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

UAC takes the old "everybody is administrator" aproach and puts a "warning, this might not be smart" popup infront of it but it's just a triggered resonse. sudo can be configured to specific user/command combinations. An example would be a mutli-user server with mutliple admins.. the mail admin does not have to be root while still being issued mail related admin commands. the user admin can add/remove users without being root beyond those two commands and passwd. Ubuntu, by default, lets a user sudo anything provided they give the user's password. Mandriva, by default, doesn't let me do anything with sudo unless I explicitly configure it (this is the right way to go about it too). I believe Debian has sudo closed to users by default also. Now, in kde there id Ksudo (or was it kdesu?) and there will be a GNOME equivalent applet also. In KDE when I try to use an admin function like the draktools control panel. I click the icon, I get a "enter root password" prompt and the program is opened as root though the rest of the session is still plain old user. osX does this with the lock/unlock button in the control panels which require root password. Other than the icon for the control panel which exlicitly requests the password, I normally open a terminal and su to root if I'm going to be doing admin stuff. I'll have one doing a tail -f on the related log file while I open another to run GUI or CLI commands from. When I'm not doing admin stuff, they all get dropped back to regular user; four Eterms fit nicely on my desktop.

jdclyde
jdclyde

I don't spend a lot of time worrying about making things look pretty, and NEVER mess with themes. (I find them annoying). Most I do is change the double-click rate, turn off that horrible "folder view", and put a pic on the desktop. I have tried using Vista a few times, but was limited in what I could just sit down and do. It was like having to re-learn how to walk. The one thing that will keep me away from Vista any time soon, there is nothing in it that I need, that justifies the resources required to have a word processor. I still like to try to keep up on how it is coming along though, so when I DO have to make the change, it won't be new to me. I will watch for next weeks blog. B-)

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

sudo (if configured correctly) is limited to one or several commands, while UAC is system wide. And the Ubuntu root sudo is basicly full admin privs, and as such a flawed implementation? Now, mostly I use Debian, and when I need root, it pops up a log-in box to type the root passwd, is this sudo or su? I need to do some research I think, I am even less informed then I had assumed...

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

With UAC it's for everything and does not limit the user outside of bad programming decisions like immovable top layer windows that UAC get's stuck behind. It's just a button one get's very used to blindly clicking like the "I agree" button at the bottom of the EULA (F8 normally when I see it). sudo can be configured to only allow specific users or groups access to specific commands. It can also be configured to disallow specific commands from users or groups; disallow "sudo su" for example. Commands can be included with an alias so root types "adduser" but the sudo escalation only recognizes "newuser" from the person granted that privaledge. In all of this, Ubuntu is not a very good example as they have chosen to dumb down the OS security but with the standard aproach to using sudo things hold up. I also think that UAC could have been implemented in a way that caused less grief among Windows users but it was more important to drive user anger towards third party software developers. It's a step in the right direction but not an elegant one in terms of implementation or business strategy.

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

that Im one of the few people that locks the screen when they leave the room or the close vacinity of the computer, Windows + L is as much a habit as looking in my mirrors when I drive. I agree that typing a password in is better, it adds some accountability when logged, and does make one pause more then just clicking allow (and a wee bit more SE to get past (no patch for stupidity)), but look at the storm that caused in the Windows world (You would think it was the Fall of Rome v2) home users aren't use to NOT being admin all the time. I think this points to an underlying difference in computer culture; the focus of a FOSS OS user is security and the focus of a Windows user is convenience. These are gross over generalizations, but I feel there is some truth. I guess where I was going is that besides having to type a password, how is the *nix model different then UAC? What's happening at a core level? Does either model offer a "more limited" escalation? Not really looking for better/worse, just whats going on under the hood so to speak.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

With sudo requiring the password, you authenticate that you are the user and want to perform the temporary escalation. Without a password, anyone who finds your session open and unattended gets to be root. That doesn't help a whole lot beyond requiring the user take a moment to think about it if they are the one who is doing "sudo somethingsilly" but it does provide protection against a stranger doing "sudo somethingnasty". I'd also block "sudo su" Now, about this UAC thing.. I'm going to need to take a closer look next time I'm visiting my folks and can play with a Vista machine.. now what should I install.. hm.. ;)

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

multiple UAC prompts durring any install unless it was a multiple program install. The issue I have had several times is when the UAC window pops up behind the unmovable, non-minimizable install progress window, effectively killing all progress untill UAC is disabled. I do see how typing a password in makes you stop and think more then just accept, but beyond that, how is the model different? I agree its flawed in implementation, but I am confused as to what is different at the core of the model. "In general, UAC could be more descriptive about why it is being activated by the program your trying to work with." I would like this as well, but Debian is no more verbal about why root is needed many times. I think this may be up to the programmers as well and not the fault of the respective OS.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

The password makes the user take a moment to think but it is an extra step I can see people blindly disabling before considering why it's there. (If I sit down at your logged in machine and don't need a password for sudo/UAC.. I'm your god) In general, UAC could be more descriptive about why it is being activated by the program your trying to work with. When installing software, if I hit UAC's allow button, I'll continue to get warnings at each step of the install. I've already said yes, I intend to install this program so why do I have to reconfirm UAC several times during the process? Bad implementation intentionally written that way to annoy end users into putting pressure on third party developers. Yes, developers need to write there programs within Vista's framework but purposfully giving the end user grief to make that happen is not acceptable.

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

about UAC. How does typing a password in sudo provide anymore security then clicking allow in UAC? I guess what I'm getting at is a state of mind. Most Windows home users are expecting to be "root", most Linux home users are avoiding being root. So the response to "root" privs needed is different in each population even though the mechanism is nearly the same. If UAC had required a password, it would be disabled on significantly more machines I think.

jlwallen
jlwallen

coming from a Linux point of view the UAC made no sense. it didn't give me any information as to why it was even there. what was it doing? what was its purpose? one user likened it to sudo but i don't see that. i see it as just another "OK" button to click and if you didn't click that OK button your action wouldn't occur. if MS really wants security - then copy sudo. make the user enter a password in order to install something or administer their system...even if, like sudo, it's their user password. with Aero i was just really disappointed all around. part of this could be my coming from Compiz and being able to configure everything in such a fine-grain manner. for example: I want to have all windows associated with Firefox to have a 65% opacity. with Compiz I can do that. the only adjustments i can make with Aero is the title bar opacity and the tine of the title bar. yes i can go back in and adjust theme colors like i could with all of the windows distributions but nothing really fine grained. with the media center it does a lot but there are no configuration options. no themeing, no music streaming from an internal network, i was limited to the online radio i could choose from. as far as the open source packages - it ran them just fine. in fact the laptop managed Firefox and Open office better than my desktop (of course the desktop is a much older machine with less power). so there are no complaints there. and of course i have to give Vista credit because it handled suspend resume much better than any Linux distro i have seen. of course again that's not fair because the laptop came pre-installed. of those people i know who bought pre-installed laptops with Linux, their suspend/hibernate works fine as well. over all i don't hate Vista as much as many others do. i don't like it nearly as well as Linux simply because I can do much more with Linux than I can with Vista (on many levels). what can i do with Linux? wow - that's a big question that warrants it's very own blog entry. yes i think i have my blog for next week. check back to find out this list. ;-) thanks for the idea.

jdclyde
jdclyde

I have no idea what it is you are referring to, especially if it has to do with your recent alien abduction..... ;\

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

[i]Would you hand one of those untrained customers a Linux box and tell them it is a better choice for them? [/i] I've built low-end systems for people who only need email, web browsing, and basic office functions (writing letters, making lists, etc.). When faced with the cost of a full-up Microsoft system (Windows & MS Office), customers often ask if there isn't anything less expensive. I show them PCLinuxOS; if they like it, I will install and configure it to their requirements. I follow up at 30- and 90-day intervals to make sure they are happy with my work. The worst complaint I have had about PCLOS was from a long-time Windows user who stated "It took me almost a month to get used to it." That was the least of the complaints I've had from those customers with Windows installed.

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

I had a really long post then realized I could not clearly explain why you miss-read my points. 1) *nix CAN be a better option. 2) MAC CAN be a better option. 3) Windows CAN be a better option. In most cases it comes down to required hardware and software, not flaws in the OS. And if you think the average user can not figure out how to open OO.o and write a paper, or open GAIM to IM someone, or use Thunderbird to send/receive email, or use Firefox, watch a movie in Totem.... What specific aspects of the Linux OS do you see as not ready for the home user?

M Wagner
M Wagner

Would you hand one of those untrained customers a Linux box and tell them it is a better choice for them? Linux is still not ready for the consumer market and until Linux vendors take the commodity desktop market seriously, it will remain a niche product. Yes, training goes a long way but if a vendor wants to sell a product, they have to make it as simple as possible for the untrained consumer to use. Linux is not there yet.

Tearat
Tearat

There nothing more I can say

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Is it safe to assume you mean [u]external[/u] speakers? I think even Crays come with an internal speaker! :p

jdclyde
jdclyde

ESPECIALLY on a server.... ;\ Most of my servers don't even have sound cards. :D The few that do, are all on-board. NONE have speakers.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

You should also make sure the browser is tied into the file management utility and the GUI. Make sure the user can't uninstall it, or the integrated e-mail client, or the integrated media player. For best results, tie all three of them into the OS; everybody needs those applications, even on a server, don't they?

jdclyde
jdclyde

after MS destroys the products ability to compete, you mean? B-) Heck, buying secure products is the only way MS will get anything to be secure. Next thing you will tell me, incorporating a web browser in your OS is a bad idea? :0

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Small vendors so MS can buy them out cheap. Secure code so MS can incorporate the improvements. C'mon, jd, get with the program :-D

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Was the first I had heard of it. Funny enough, in the late 80's and early 90's it realy caight on and bands would have the most ridiculous items on the rider, of which I have written and read MANY. One very famous band from Texas had a rider that said posters of specific famous works of art had to be in specific locations in the dressing room. Another globe trotting band, when in Egypt, had a rider request that 4 images of the sphynx must be upside down in the dressing room. A more Canadian/national act had crab served with only left legs attached, but both claws in tact. It was hilarious what they'd come up with sometimes but working on both sides of eth fence at the time, I always reminded teh promoters just how important the rider was and if something looked obscure, it was to be paid extra special attention to ( I was also in control of security and public safety so it was a big focus for me too, even in a large veue). But these 'tales' get leaked when some idiot finds or steals a copy of the rider and makes up a story to explain it. Seen similar rumours started about set lists. Bands always have a couple of EXTRA encores which are VERY rarely played, listed on the bottom of the set lists pasted all over the stage. Front row fans often hang around and harrass roadies until they stop what they are doing and give them one. THey see the extra songs and start the "we are getting ripped off" rumours, or that a certain musician had a fit and walked off stage early or a certain musician was having problems playing (too drunk or too stoned) and couldn't play the rest of the set etc. Og course that doesn't take into account that besides vast rumour, most bands/musicians don't have ANYTHING to drink, inject or smoke before a set. It's just too technical and too dangerous, with far too much money on the line these days. Artists these days usually work way too hard to be doing drugs, they leave all that up to fans. Not saying it doesn't happen but its not like it is so often reported anyway. Um, did I go a bit off topic there? Sorry.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

You posted first though. (crap, I forget the band that started it) The reason for it initially was indeed to make sure the venue had read the entire contract. The stage show rig had specific engineering specs that the stage had to meet for safety reasons. If the bowl of smarties had not been provided as detailed, it could be assumed that the venue had not read or not cared to honour the safety regulartions required by the stage show gear. Not just to make sure the venue read the rider, it also helped indicate if the audience would be at risk of injury.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

My wife goes through and picks out the green ones first... :-)

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

The biggest example I seem to see is decisions made for a short term gain that ultimately hurt the long term goals of the busines and customers. Incompatability between major versions is one example. Intensionally adding some spiffy new thing that does not add value to the end user but helps force them to upgrade to the new version give the company a short term profit spike but the old version looses all profitability as soon as the new version is announced and all profits to support further work on the new version have to come from that single sale. In the long term, the novelty of upgrade treadmills wears off. Software is surely not the only example either. Financial companies will make decisions for a short term goal that negates larger long term goals. Indaviduals will buy and sell quick rather than sit on much more lucritive long term investments. Proprietary insurance companies and banks are all about finding different ways to not pay out. Having worked at the low end of the staff ladder in banks, it's all about making money. Staff pay is very poor unless you are an invenstment banker making your overloards filthy rich; us lowly clerks that actually move the money around the database did what we could on minimum wage. The customer is usually lower down the list than the internal staff provided it does not result in something public that makes the bank look bad. Actualy, that brings up another example; personal data. If a bank or large company looses client data they'll do what they can to not report it publicly. In the short term, it's better that they just gloss over it and hope it goes away. In the long term, clients may be screwed pretty hard by whomever finds that lost data. Publicly admitting the loss would hurt the company in the short term but in the long term it means better service to customers and becoming known for being more responsible towards customers. Management wants to make themselves look fantastic with a short term decision leaving the long term mess for the next person in the possition as they climb up up the hierarchy. In the short term of the industry, many trully revolutionary developments may be stiffled. The controlling company looks good by blocking things they can not profit from or could not compete against with there own products. In the long term, the industry suffers stagnation and synthetically slower evolution. True that a business not making money isn't in business anymore but ultimately, treating the customer well is in the best self interest of the company also.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"A company that does not care about its customers is ultimately hurting itself." I agree. That doesn't make what it does 'bad', except in the sense of 'bad business', which I don't think is what davidrea meant. "A company that is aggressive towards people who want a freer society is just slowing progress." Specifics, please. One man's slowed progress is another's advancing with caution. "I pity anyone who doesn't care about philosophy." Go right ahead. I won't feel or think any different for it. I'm just not a philosophical guy and I'm happy that way. If I'm happy, why pity me?

drooghead
drooghead

What's profit got to do with it? I pity anyone who doesn't care about philosophy. A company that does not care about its customers is ultimately hurting itself. A company that is aggressive towards people who want a freer society is just slowing progress. I could be wrong, maybe we should all just sit back and welcome American (and others) corporate greed and the world will be rosy.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"it is doing "things" that are NOT in the interests of the end user" They're not in business to do things in the interest of the customers. Neither is any other business that's honest with itself. They're in business to do things in their owners' best interest. They may not realize that the best way to approach this is to give priority to their customers, but working in their own interest isn't in and of itself 'bad'.

jdclyde
jdclyde

it is doing "things" that are NOT in the interests of the end user, such as intentionally making products that are not compatible with other products being used by business partners. Just like micro channel hurt IBM and proprietary crap kept Apple from ever becoming competitive. If FrontPage makes a webpage for my company that only IE can work with, I am hurting my company by limiting who can give me money. I once asked a MS rep at a trade show how the "new" release was for compatibility with other browsers. (he did not like that question) He admitted that some "might" have problems with some of the features. I then asked specifically about AOL and he just snorted and said "AOL is a beast all to it's self". Sure he got laughs until I returned "AOL users have already shown they are quick to hand more money out as long as something is simple. Sounds exactly who I want for a customer." There are fools that think profit is bad, but still expect to get a paycheck at the end of the week. Our society has many people with disorders like that, they just haven't been properly medicated yet.

jdclyde
jdclyde

it is doing "things" that are NOT in the interests of the end user, such as intentionally making products that are not compatible with other products being used by business partners. Just like micro channel hurt IBM and proprietary crap kept Apple from ever becoming competitive. If FrontPage makes a webpage for my company that only IE can work with, I am hurting my company by limiting who can give me money. I once asked a MS rep at a trade show how the "new" release was for compatibility with other browsers. (he did not like that question) He admitted that some "might" have problems with some of the features. I then asked specifically about AOL and he just snorted and said "AOL is a beast all to it's self". Sure he got laughs until I returned "AOL users have already shown they are quick to hand more money out as long as something is simple. Sounds exactly who I want for a customer." There are fools that think profit is bad, but still expect to get a paycheck at the end of the week. Or society has many people with disorders like that, they just haven't been properly medicated yet.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Even RMS first paper no the idea of Free Software included a list of business models to derive profit without making the software the product. As it stands now, the popular model is to provide a community developed free version then either sell add-on profit software or a complete profit version of the community eddition. The problem is when profits become far more important than the product and end user. Ignoring the minority that hate MS purely for being successful; the tech types tend to dislike MS because the quest for profit is so often at the expense of better product quality and the end user benefits. In terms of the hardware manufacturers, products for a profit are premoted. release driver interface specifications so FOSS can develop the software support for free and you can spend that extra budget on developing better hardware. As it stands now, part of the hardware budget is devoted to developing drivers. The drivers are often of lower quality supporting limited platforms; shipping deadlines and budget constraints. The people who are upset only because a company makes a profit don't get it. The people who are upset about companies that make a profit at the obvious expense of product quality get it. That seems to be the case from what I see anyhow.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"the makers of Linux and free software have a philosophy which helps us all whereas Microsoft and Apple are actually doing bad things." Some of us don't care about philosophy and see nothing wrong with Apple, MS or anyone being interested in making a profit. Why single out those two companies? What about the business model of the companies that make the hardware FOSS runs on? "Don't use Dell for your open source programs; they make money!"

klockheed
klockheed

Excellent point. Some folks like to reinstall their OS every few weeks and mess around in command-line-interfaces... most don't. That doesn't make everyone else "stupid".

JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew

...you understand the operating systems that operate your automobile, microwave oven, or heating and A/C systems. Do you know the source of the fuels that run all of these devices? If not, then why not? Far more people are killed by automobiles than PCs.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Many of these are the same people who drink and drive, or text message while operating a passenger train. If they so disinterested in their own welfare as to routinely engage in life-threatening behavior, why would they care about spreading computer viruses? Part of the problem goes back to how computers are marketed to the home user. "Look, see how easy this is? Your 11 year old can do; why can't you?" They're selling a multi-purpose tool as an entertainment device.

RipVan
RipVan

...(or making things so simple that is all you have to do) is what gave way to viruses, spyware and adware running rampant on Windows machines. Make it simple enough so that everything is done for people all day, and all you need is someone to come in behind them and clean up for them all night. People need more skills (or better, safer computers) before they go muck about on computers, regardless of what their excuse for NOT doing so might be. I have provided support for the stupid both at work and at home. The problem with the plumber analogy is that computers put many people in the virtual position of picking up wrenches and trying to be the plumber. Yet these clueless individuals are, in actuality, "turn the water on or off" specialists. People need to learn more than they know or be put on dumb terminals. Doesn't matter if it is Windows or Linux, use of BOTH systems are beyond far too many people, and I am (sadly) referring to the most basic skills. The excuse that it isn't worth the trouble to learn is laughable. Far too many people make a keyboard a dangerous weapon. It should NOT be so...

jdclyde
jdclyde

in my travels, it seems more the case of people not WANTING to learn than any perceived lack of time to allow them to learn. They use for an EXCUSE that they don't have time to learn to become more productive, but it is the complete lack of desire that is the root of this. Changing screen colors is hardly an important skill.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Jack's the one who's scared because people have other things to do than root around in their computers.

Tearat
Tearat

There is more than one way of looking at Jacks reply But you may have had a bad day A lot of people would like to learn but don?t have the time I don?t hold it against them But I do try to teach them how to protect themselves from PC disaster