Microsoft Retrofitting Windows 7, 8.1 With Windows 10's Privacy-Invading 'Features'

from the unavoidable-Redmond-umbilical dept

Last week we noted that while Windows 10 has generally seen good reviews in terms of spit and polish, there’s growing concern that the OS is too nosy for its own good, and that the opt-out functionality in the OS doesn’t really work. Even when you’ve disabled a number of the nosier features (like Windows 10’s new digital assistant, Cortana), the OS ceaselessly and annoyingly opens an array of encrypted channels back to the Redmond mother ship that aren’t entirely under the user’s control.

Now some of the information being transmitted is purportedly harmless, and some of the problems appear to be overblown (like Windows 10 being banned from some BitTorrent trackers for fear of it reporting user piracy activity), but an operating system you can’t fully control is still undeniably stupid and annoying. And it’s a curious choice for a company intent on moving beyond the fractured Windows adoption of yesteryear and encouraging the lion’s share of Windows users to hop on to a new platform.

Making matters worse, Microsoft now seems intent on retro-fitting its older operating systems (specifically Windows 7 and Windows 8.1) with many of the annoying, chatty aspects of Windows 10. GHacks has noticed that four updates to the older operating systems, described as an “update for customer experience and diagnostic telemetry,” connect to vortex-win.data.microsoft.com and settings-win.data.microsoft.com. These addresses are hard-coded to bypass the hosts file, and ferry all manner of personal information back to Microsoft.

Fortunately, it appears that users in this instance can configure Windows firewall and routers to block the traffic, and users can avoid much of the snooping by opting out of the Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP):

“The concern with the new Diagnostic Tracking service is much the same as with Windows 10’s tracking: it’s not clear what’s being sent, and there are concerns that it can’t be readily controlled. The traffic to Microsoft’s servers is encrypted, sent over HTTPS, so it can’t be easily examined. While the knowledge based articles describing the new service list the DNS names of the servers that the service connects to, there are reports that the service ignores the system HOSTS file. As such, a traditional and simple method for redirecting the traffic doesn’t work.

However, we’re not sure just how big an impediment this is in practice; in our testing of Windows 8, the builtin Windows Firewall, for example, is more than capable of blocking the traffic, and this appears to be working entirely as it should. Disabling the service is also effective for those who don’t trust its behavior.”

Still, it’s annoying that Microsoft continues to insist on expanding this kind of OS behavior, without making opting out simple and comprehensive. And it certainly doesn’t exactly deflate arguments by folks like Richard Stallman, who consistently argue that Windows is effectively malware. More than anything though, it’s a continued advertisement for Linux and operating systems that the end user actually has some degree of control over.

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Comments on “Microsoft Retrofitting Windows 7, 8.1 With Windows 10's Privacy-Invading 'Features'”

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344 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I was a long time Linux user from RH3 to Fedora 4.

I had several boxes set up so that I could use all the big distributions.

That stopped about several years ago not because I wanted to stop but because to continue I would have had to buy a complete net set of hardware which I could not afford – time wise to set up more than cost wise.

From that experience I learned the following:
Linux will always be completely unstable and never useful for business.

Why?

1. Engineers will not quit tinkering with it. There is no distribution stability thus there is no way a business can depend on the system being the same tomorrow as it is today.

2. Too many distributions.

3. Hatred of commercial programs by too many coders.

4. Impossible to run Windows programs on a Linux box if you are not a super geek. This is important because most business users are not running a computer operating system but a program that does a specific application as such the operation operating system is chosen that will run the program.

5. Hatred, literally hatred of the ides of allowing development of any application that has business applications by a very large number of geeks.

6. Apple’s OS which is based on BSD has all the same fundamental issue that Linux has. Not enough users to make it worthwhile for anyone to develop complex business programs for. That is why critical business programs like accounting (to some degree) and CAD (to a high degree) do not run on either Apple or Linux only on Windows.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“1. Engineers will not quit tinkering with it. There is no distribution stability”

Bollocks. There are many different distributions with varying different aims. Some distros are roundly criticised for NOT changing things quickly enough. There’s also nothing to force you to upgrade if you don’t like it. Unless you’re on a support contract, fire up an older distro and stick with that if you prefer.

“2. Too many distributions.”

Translation: I’m scared and don’t know what I’m doing. There’s several well-known distros, but it’s Ubuntu and Mint that tend to be focussed upon for the end user side of things. Do 2 choices really scare you?

“3. Hatred of commercial programs by too many coders.”

The same commercial programs that refuse to work with FOSS software, that they have to reverse-engineer constantly to get basic file formats to work on Linux? the ones that often show outright hostility to anything not running on Microsoft? Wow, I wonder why?

“4. Impossible to run Windows programs on a Linux box if you are not a super geek”

Utter bullshit, but I can see where you’re going with this. You want to run one specific program, you gave up after finding out that WINE doesn’t have an easy “click here to do everything for me” button, and thus it’s no good for anyone regardless of their needs.

But, let me guess- you’re not going to blame Microsoft for it being even more difficult to run a native OSX or Linux application on Windows? Double standards are fantastic, aren’t they?

Newsflash: many Windows programs run flawlessly on Linux with minimal configuration and compatibility and toolsets are improving all the time. But, it’s not the fault of Linux that you absolutely depend on an application that doesn’t run on an OS it wasn’t written for. If a Windows box can’t run Pixelmator, I don’t go whining about Microsoft.

“5. Hatred, literally hatred of the ides of allowing development of any application that has business applications by a very large number of geeks.”

Citation needed.

“6. Apple’s OS which is based on BSD has all the same fundamental issue that Linux has. Not enough users to make it worthwhile for anyone to develop complex business programs for”

Now you’re saying that OSX doesn’t have business applications? I’m glad you managed to find this site from whatever alternate reality you’re posting from, but please take the time to adjust to our reality before commenting again.

“That is why critical business programs like accounting (to some degree) and CAD (to a high degree) do not run on either Apple or Linux only on Windows.”

Oh, right, YOUR preferred niche isn’t specifically catered to, so the 99.9% of people who need neither type of application are wasting their time? Glad to see you’re blaming the OS instead of the developers for their choice to only support one platform, though. That’s the kind of attitude that ensures that millions of OSx and Linux users will never have their needs catered to, and thus continue the cycle of dependence and ignorance.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Weird. Both you and the OP are right: your rebuttals are entirely valid, but a huge number of people still think of Linux the way the above AC describes it. It’s not the complexity of a system, it’s the appearance of complexity.

I’ve had my servers running Linux for over 15 years, but I’m still forced to do my client-side development on Windows boxes. Why? Because the old paradox is still in effect: I develop for Windows because most people still use Windows, and most people still use Windows because the bulk of non-technical software is written exclusively for MS OSs.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“a huge number of people still think of Linux the way the above AC describes it”

A huge number of people are wrong and either basing their opinions on outdated information, or outright fiction.

I’m not sure of the best way to battle this, but calling people out on it is the best way i have right now…

“most people still use Windows because the bulk of non-technical software is written exclusively for MS OSs”

This is true, but it’s not due to a failing of said non-MS OSes. Again, I’m unsure of the best way to deal with this, since the mindshare was essentially taken before Linux and OSX existed, but it’s not a failing of those alternative systems.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: I've used linux since kernel 0.98, and:

Yes, linux does have a version stability problem. It doesn’t really matter which distro you use, ALL of them have made huge architectural changes with little or no warning. The only exception might be Arch, who embraces the suck instead of awaiting the next tsunami.

I remember Ubuntu changing the whole X windows framework and default windows manager in a MINOR upgrade revision. And that is just one example, there have been dozens of WTF moments in Slackware, Debian, etc. etc. etc.

And there is obviously some EEE stuff going on in the Linux world, predominantly coming out of Redhat. While nobody refutes that a better subsystem was needed for implementing the newer kernel features, systemd was pretty much an irish car bomb dropped on Linux. Probably at the behest of Redmond in response to some back room deal. (INI files, and symlinks? Jesus….)

Application stability IS a problem. Divergent OS trees result in divergent source dependency trees, and getting more than a few consumer apps working at the same time sucks.

Configuration uniformity is terrible and getting worse, and YES even security is an utter fustercluck. It is fair to say that the dickishness that has steered a lot of development away from OpenBSD, IS the more enlightened way.

It is hard to explain to people, that there are HARDWARE problems that need to get solved before you should be doing certain things with software.

Intel and AMD are both suffering because those architecture problems aren’t getting solved. The software industry won’t port software to new hardware, unless they MAKE money doing it. And right now their financial holdings in bandaid companies like Norton reflect enough of their core revenue stream, that they have ZERO motivation to make anything more secure.

So broken and insecure is more profitable that repaired, and the liars are the only ones making money. Most people would rather get owned than go without their narcicism accelerator 14.1 application. That is just the way it is.

At this point the impetus is on AMD and Intel, or some new chip company to blow the doors of the market, by making an architecture that is designed to provide hardware level code isolation. Then convince the fed to mandate all federal computers use that hardware, and bobs your uncle.

But nope. Apparently not a lot of folks at Intel or AMD heard Linus when he said:
This is not a d**k-sucking contest. And THAT is why the Internet is busted.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 I've used linux since kernel 0.98, and:

“I remember Ubuntu changing the whole X windows framework and default windows manager in a MINOR upgrade revision.”

…which is bad, but totally comparable to the changes made in Windows 8. Nobody wanted Metro, and the 8.1 changes did confuse a lot of end users. Have you got any examples that don’t apply equally to Microsoft, or are you going to let them pass just because?

“It is hard to explain to people, that there are HARDWARE problems that need to get solved before you should be doing certain things with software. “

…and this is a problem with Linux, how? Are we blaming software providers for chipset architectural issues now?

I know roughly what you’re trying to say, but it’s weak.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 I've used linux since kernel 0.98, and:

“Are we blaming software providers for chipset architectural issues now?”

Yes. Remember using physical keys to secure computers? Instead of using that model, we got UEFI. Which was a architectural decision made by hardware vendors that accomplished nothing except raising barrier to entry for everyone BUT Microsoft.

Wouldn’t it have been easier to put a jumper on the hard disk and the motherboard to physically lock the boot sector and the BIOS? Consider that then look at UEFI. You’ll likely draw the same conclusion. UEFI was a straight up street mugging.

So yes, current hardware architecture decisions appear as if they are being made with the intention of maintaining the consumer market in a broken insecure state.

Why? When the hardware is secure, the leverage provided by the OS will dilute. OS specific security updates will be less important. Which means alternative consumer OS options will gain market share.

I imagine the “walled garden” aka “man in the middle attack”, is an attempt to get ahead of this. If they can’t own the whole install base, they will break the Internet instead. Essentially inserting themselves in a position to chill free speech in the same manner that certain carriers have been trying to do. (note that the FCC NN regs, don’t apply in this case, since the capacity is managed on the back end)

This isn’t just about money. If you paid attention to Bush v. Gore, Diebold, and the conveniently dropped Microsoft Anti Trust case, you might consider that there are ramifications of the “walled garden” aka “MIM attack” that present a threat to free speech, free trade, and constitutional governance in general.

You have to wonder when the DOJ and the various states attorneys will notice. Probably when they change the flag on the building. Your right. Probably not even then.

Rikuo says:

Re: Re: Re:

Why is it that in a business environment, they’d be looking to use Windows apps in WINE or some other form of virtualization?
The business I work for uses OpenOffice for instance for all their paperwork (still using Windows XP though). There are ports of OpenOffice and LibreOffice for Linux.
Oh, and didn’t you know? Supercomputers all mostly run Linux. Want to say to those organisations that they’re being dumb for not running Windows?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

2. Too many distributions.

Buying a car must scare you, with all the different makes and models that are available on the market.

3. Hatred of commercial programs by too many coders.

The Free Software Foundation is not opposed to commercial programs, so please, stop lying about what their motives are. The problem is probably a the common misunderstanding of Free Software (and software engineering in general), where it is assumed that preventing the customer from seeing (or modifying) the source code is somehow prevents running a for-profit business.

Javascript is an existence proof that this assumption is incorrect. So are the numerous business – IBM, for example – that release their software under a Free Software licence. Do you really want to accuse IBM of “hating commercial programs”?

No, what you perceive as hatred are is a software model that respects the rights of the user. Typically, the only people that have a problem with that are the people that were trying to take advantage of user ignorance, often by hiding the shoddy quality of their work, and sometimes by hiding questionably-legal business practices. Stalking people and trespassing are still crimes, and the rights the the publisher still end at the first sale, regardless of whatever unconscionable terms people trying to throw at the user in an “EULA”.

5. Hatred, literally hatred of the ides of allowing development of any application that has business applications by a very large number of geeks.

Now you’re just making stuff up to fit how you wished the world worked. Or you’re a paid shill.

Kaden (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Fucking around with Linux to make it work is a bigger pain in the ass than fucking around with Windows to make it work.

Linux is great for primary network functionality. Actually accomplishing stuff besides configuring network protocols, editing text files and looking a pron between intense coding sessions… not occurring. I know y’all try hard, but if I can’t plug in a graphics tablet, USB audio interface and midi controller and have them do what they’re supposed to without hunting down 3rd party drivers and fucking with the command line to implement patches of dubious provenance, I just cannot be arsed.

Nastybutler77 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

This is the standard answer to complaints on Linux being difficult to use and it’s hilarious in how it misses the point. “Oh, it’s too onerous to use? Well you must be dumb/lazy.”

Or maybe people prefer ease of use to having to research the hell out of making their OS simply work. Not everyone enjoys slogging through forums looking for ways to do everything they could easily do in Windows/OSX.

Kaden (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Do you seriously think the Gimp and Inkscape are professional grade applications? That Jack/Ardour/Audacity are a usable platform for music production? Why the fuck should I have to jump through hoops to get VST technology to not crash, let alone function properly?

Here’s what the Ardour manual has to say about VSTs:

” Thanks to the combined work of Torben Hohn, Kjetil Mattheusen, Paul Davis and a few other developers, it is possible to use Windows VST plugins (that is, plugins in VST format built and distributed for the Windows platforms) on Ardour running on Linux. (Note: there is no VST support of any kind on OS X).

However, doing so has three substantial downsides:

It requires a special build of Ardour that is fundamentally very different from normal builds.
Support depends on Wine, a Windows “emulator”.
As usual with plugins, a crashing plugin will take Ardour down with it. And crashes in Windows VST plugins are more likely when used in this way.

The dependence on Wine makes it almost impossible for the Ardour project to support this feature. Wine’s functionality generally improves over time, but any given release of Wine may behave worse with some or all Windows VST plugins. It may even just crash Ardour completely.

Step back and think about what “using Windows VSTs” really means: taking bits of software written with only one idea in mind – running on the Windows platform – and then trying to use them on an entirely different platform. It is a bit of a miracle (largely thanks to the incredible work done by the Wine project) that it works at all. But is this the basis of a stable, reliable DAW for a non-Windows platform? Getting Ardour on Linux to pretend that its really a Windows application running on Windows?

We understand that there are many outstanding plugins available as Windows VSTs and that in many cases, no equivalent is available for Ardour’s Linux-based users. If your workflow is so dependent on those plugins, then remain on Windows (or potentially consider using an actual Windows VST host running inside of Wine). If you can make the effort, you will get a better environment by using a normal build of Ardour and exploring the world of plugins built to run on Linux natively. This covers LADSPA, LV2 and Linux VST formats, and even some outstanding proprietary plugins such as those from LinuxDSP and Loomer. “

So no dude, it’s not that I’m lazy, it’s not that I’m stupid, it’s that your fucking OS just doesn’t fucking work.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Do you seriously think the Gimp and Inkscape are professional grade applications?

I do. I use Adobe Creative Suite, GIMP, and Inkscape everyday in my profession as a Graphic Designer. Adobe does some stuff better and the OS ones do other things better, but basically they are more or less interchangeable when it come to functionality.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Just my observation, my friend. Your results may vary.

For what I use them for in my daily work load they are basically interchangeable. For some things, like filter effects, I find the OS ones to actually be easier with fewer steps. I am on an older version of Adobe, so that might make a bit difference too.

The price comparison obviously is tilted towards GIMP, since it’s free and what does Adobe CS run these days? $4000 a seat? Another plus is that I can run GIMP with or without a internet connection (ie: on-site at customer’s location) and you can’t even begin to run Adobe Cloud without it phoning home.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

That’s a far cry from ‘Gimp and Photoshop are interchangeable’.

For me, it is. I could continue to keep up with my workflow with either one, with the possible exception of the lack of the proprietary Pantone Color System.

The issue of CMYK in GIMP has been addressed with a plugin. Although I’ve never used it since we get better results printing to our solvent ink jet printers with RBG anyways.

Lawrence D’Oliveiro says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Do you seriously think the Gimp and Inkscape are professional grade applications?

Gimp, Inkscape, Blender, Krita, MyPaint, ImageMagick, G‘MIC, Python, Scribus, LibreOffice, plus a whole community of addons and scripts for these tools—the lot. They work as a team. Put them together, and no proprietary application can stand a chance.

By all means, try to put together a proprietary-application team to compete against that lot. Photoshop, Maya, After Effects—are we into five figures yet? And we still haven’t covered all the bases.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“it’s that your fucking OS just doesn’t fucking work”

Works fine for me. If an OS that double as a massive malware honeypot and spying machine works better for your purposes, have at it. Just don’t assume that because a tool doesn’t meet your demand, that it meets nobody’s. That’s either idiotic or the epitome of narcissism.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Linux is great for primary network functionality. Actually accomplishing stuff besides configuring network protocols, editing text files and looking a pron between intense coding sessions… not occurring.”

For you, maybe. People who have bothered learning how to use Linux (as you had to do at some point with Windows) accomplish plenty. I’m sorry you’re too lazy and stupid to work it out, but that’s not the fault of the software on your computer.

“if I can’t plug in a graphics tablet, USB audio interface and midi controller and have them do what they’re supposed to without hunting down 3rd party drivers and fucking with the command line to implement patches of dubious provenance, I just cannot be arsed”

So, your main problem is you’re a lazy bastard, and you’ll blame the OS for not having drivers pre-installed rather than you not looking around and buying compatible hardware in the first place. I mean, Wacom even have a project whose entire point is to get their hardware running as easily as possible on Linux that includes a GUI. But, let me guess – you bought a cheapo off-brand Chinese knockoff and it’s now Linux’s fault that you can’t run it out of the box?

Annonimus says:

Re: People are switching to Mac too not just Linux

See the issue with the idea that people will only switch to Linux and not to Mac is that most Mac users are ordinary people who do not understand their OS. Every Linux user has to understand at least some console commands to use it on a daily basis.Until Linux isn’t perceived as only for the tech savvy and as something that Joe Average can’t use, you will have more people running from Windows to Mac than they will be running to Linux.

Hopefully this current trend of moving away from Windows OS into something else will end up producing an Open Source OS that an idiot can use and understand let alone Joe Average, but I don’t expect the Linux community to make that OS unless they change their culture of only making programs for other programmers first.

Nastybutler77 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: People are switching to Mac too not just Linux

Go fuck yourself you elitist prick. Everyone should have access to a computer regardless of technical savvy, from the elderly to children. If you need a CS degree to be comfortable with an OS, then guess what? That OS has shitty user interface. Get off your high horse.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: People are switching to Mac too not just Linux

If you need to use the command line… then you either really know what you are doing, or you haven’t got the least of a clue.

Every time I’ve ever tried to figure how to do something in Linux that wasn’t obvious, 90-100% of the help I can find online is command line only. And most of the suggestions are stuff I don’t understand, and I used to used Linux regularly from the command line. To an average user, it may as well be Aramaic. To me, that is one of the biggest obstacles to widespread Linux adoption – I don’t think the technically illiterate really want to muck with the command line.

On the other hand, maybe all anyone really cares about is having a browser, in which case you wouldn’t need to look for help online.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 People are switching to Mac too not just Linux

Every time I’ve ever tried to figure how to do something in Linux that wasn’t obvious, 90-100% of the help I can find online is command line only.

The same often applies to window help as well, there is an example in the comments on this article. There is a simple reasons for this, it is easier to tell someone what to type that it is to describe the navigation through menus and tabs of an application. Also in the case of Linux, the command line is ubiquitous, but the graphic front ends are more variable.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 People are switching to Mac too not just Linux

The same often applies to window help as well,

Not in my experience. Now and then I find some advice about the command line, but I think more often not. Sometimes I’ll run into something requiring editing the registry, which though not a command line is arguably as bad or worse. Again that’s just me, I don’t claim to have access to perfect data.

Also in the case of Linux, the command line is ubiquitous, but the graphic front ends are more variable.

Which means that will be a very difficult problem to fix (unless I’m wrong and it really isn’t a problem at all).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 People are switching to Mac too not just Linux

Which means that will be a very difficult problem to fix (unless I’m wrong and it really isn’t a problem at all).

The variety of desktops is not a problem, as different people have different preferences. Also, if people do not really know what they are doing, but are simply following instructions, does it make any difference if the solution describes use of a GUI, or the command line?
The GUI may look easier to use, but it often creates a false confidence, and allows people to break their system by random clicking on options.

nasch says:

Re: Re: Re:5 People are switching to Mac too not just Linux

Also, if people do not really know what they are doing, but are simply following instructions, does it make any difference if the solution describes use of a GUI, or the command line?

I think the difference is that with a GUI you might gain some understanding of what you’re doing as you do it. That’s not true with pasting some Greek into Bash, and most moms are not going to take the time to learn what each part of that command they used actually means.

The GUI may look easier to use, but it often creates a false confidence, and allows people to break their system by random clicking on options.

What if it’s not false? There is always a chance people will break their systems of course. But I think that’s better than making it so uncomfortable to make changes to the system that they try to avoid doing it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 People are switching to Mac too not just Linux

Since you seem to be either familiar with Linux from a dedicated device or hardcore type distro or one from 10+ years ago, it may come as a shock but the command line use in a good modern desktop Linux system is optional. So you either don’t know what you are on about or you are being dishonest. Stop trying to spread your Microsoft FUD.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 People are switching to Mac too not just Linux

To be fair, he is talking about trying to get help with technical problems on forums, not claiming that it’s required in daily normal use. So, he is correct that most experienced users helping you in those venues will prefer the shell to the GUI, but it’s not a failing of Linux as much as it is people with different levels of understanding not communicating on the same level.

nasch says:

Re: Re: Re:8 People are switching to Mac too not just Linux

To be fair, he is talking about trying to get help with technical problems on forums, not claiming that it’s required in daily normal use.

Exactly so, though it’s also true that I haven’t been using Linux very much recently and I’m only describing my experience. I might be an outlier. I also want to be clear that Linux is awesome and my comments are an expression of concern about its future, not a condemnation. I hope it really takes off big, but we’re still waiting for The Year of the Linux Desktop. Then again maybe we’re waiting for the wrong thing, and it will actually be a steady slow uptick in adoption. That would be fine too.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:9 People are switching to Mac too not just Linux

“…The Year of the Linux Desktop. Then again maybe we’re waiting for the wrong thing, and it will actually be a steady slow uptick in adoption. That would be fine too.”

The comments on this and other stories and general web browsing strongly indicate a significant and continually growing Linux userbase, but all in one year was always a fantasy. People just don’t all go and simultaneously replace what they use like that. I know a few people who still have VHS decks.

nasch says:

Re: Re: Re:10 People are switching to Mac too not just Linux

The comments on this and other stories and general web browsing strongly indicate a significant and continually growing Linux userbase

Good! And I may join them…

People just don’t all go and simultaneously replace what they use like that.

I would say they might, but so many people hated Vista with such a passion and that didn’t do it, so yeah probably not going to be a massive and sudden adoption even if people hate Windows 10.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9 People are switching to Mac too not just Linux

“we’re still waiting for The Year of the Linux Desktop… it will actually be a steady slow uptick in adoption”

Exactly, and quite frankly that is what’s happening. It’s been “the year of the Linux desktop” every year since desktop-focussed distros reached maturity. Millions of people use Linux as their primary desktop OS. It’s just not reached any kind of mainstream critical mass.

While there’s still people relating experiences with Linux a decade ago as if they were still accurate, or citing things they have to do occasionally as reasons not to use it at all, it’s doubtful it ever will. Increasing support from the likes of GoG and Steam to bring familiar games across, and continued improvements in WINE will bring other users.

But, the main problem is peoples’ dependence on brand names and familiarity – it doesn’t matter how good LibreOffice becomes, for example, many people won’t use it because it’s not Microsoft Office, even if it fit their needs perfectly.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 People are switching to Mac too not just Linux

“I think the difference is that with a GUI you might gain some understanding of what you’re doing as you do it. “

Nice theory. But, I still have to explain some basic features in Windows 7 to my Mum every time she needs something fixed, even though they’ve barely changed since Windows 98. People may generally get the idea that, say, they should look in the control panel if they need to find a type of option, but in my experience most end users don’t gain a huge amount of knowledge if they’re not already interested enough to have learned much of it on their own.

“What if it’s not false?”

If they only feel like they know what they’re doing because they’re following instructions written by someone else, it is false.

“But I think that’s better than making it so uncomfortable to make changes to the system that they try to avoid doing it.”

Good thing the shell is not designed for that purpose, then. It’s purely functional, and most Linux users turn to it first because it’s normally much quicker and easier than a GUI.

GUIs may be more comfortable for the type of user who was trained to think like Microsoft’s UI designers want them to think, but it’s not a failing when people design software in a way not approved by Microsoft.

A lot of work has been done to get many different GUI alternatives for most major requirements, but if you’re trying to get free support from forums you’ll get an answer that the volunteer answering your question knows – and that will likely mean the shell.

nasch says:

Re: Re: Re:7 People are switching to Mac too not just Linux

in my experience most end users don’t gain a huge amount of knowledge if they’re not already interested enough to have learned much of it on their own.

Yeah that could be.

If they only feel like they know what they’re doing because they’re following instructions written by someone else, it is false.

And if they paid attention and thought about what they were doing, it might not be.

Good thing the shell is not designed for that purpose, then.

What purpose, making changes to the system? If you’re suggesting it should be used for daily tasks, that’s even worse. Hardly anyone wants to do that.

most Linux users turn to it first because it’s normally much quicker and easier than a GUI.

If you’re a good typist and already know how to use it, yes.

it’s not a failing when people design software in a way not approved by Microsoft.

Of course not, it’s perfectly fine. I’m just pondering Linux’s potential for broad adoption.

A lot of work has been done to get many different GUI alternatives for most major requirements, but if you’re trying to get free support from forums you’ll get an answer that the volunteer answering your question knows – and that will likely mean the shell.

Yeah, that was my point. 🙂

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 People are switching to Mac too not just Linux

What purpose, making changes to the system? If you’re suggesting it should be used for daily tasks, that’s even worse. Hardly anyone wants to do that.

Call me hardly anyone. There’s a reason why traditional *nix systems and software were configured by editing text files (as opposed to regedit massaging binary config files). It’s the same reason why every *nix box in existence came with some form of vi editor.

Unfortunately, we’re now heading into systemd-land, and I’ll just bail out now, thanks. 😛

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 People are switching to Mac too not just Linux

“What purpose, making changes to the system?”

No, the purpose you stated:

“making it so uncomfortable to make changes to the system that they try to avoid doing it”

It’s designed to make changes to the system as quick and easy as possible, a competent admin can make changes far more quickly and efficiently that would be possible in a GUI. If the trade-off is that it makes complete beginners a little uncomfortable because it’s not the way Windows does things, well you’re not going to get much sympathy.

“If you’re a good typist and already know how to use it, yes.”

There’s many shortcuts (such as tab autocomplete), meaning that you don’t have to be a good typist. Plus, people who know how to use it? Yes… those are the people you’re asking for help in these situations!

“Of course not, it’s perfectly fine. I’m just pondering Linux’s potential for broad adoption.”

It already has broad adoption. It’s just not often a product you’ll see on a shelf in Wal Mart, and it has 2 larger competitors in the desktop space (only one of the spaces in which it is available).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 People are switching to Mac too not just Linux

You are aware that both of the top phone operating systems are linux/unix based right? Android is linux. People use it every day without even knowing what a command line is, much less needing it. IOS is BSD, and people use it every day without even being ABLE to access a command line, much less needing to know what it is.

Mint and Ubuntu are both easier for your standard user to grok than Windows is. Windows just has the advantage of a dominant position making everyone get trained for it.

nasch says:

Re: Re: Re:5 People are switching to Mac too not just Linux

So when people talk about patching something in Linux it magically doesn’t apply to Android?

When someone says “I need to apply some patches on my Linux machine” that is not a reference to a phone. When someone asks “how do I do X in Linux” they are not asking about how to do it on Android.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 People are switching to Mac too not just Linux

People use it every day without even knowing what a command line is, much less needing it.

One of the hardest things for me to understand is why everyone learned to want to avoid the command line. It’s a feature! You can talk directly to the OS and the machine through the CLI. Shell programming is a great way to learn programming, and a great way to automate tasks you do repetitively. Once you learn whichever commands do what you want done, stuff ’em into a shell script and schedule it as a cron job. Want better performance than bash? Use Korn or Z shell, or awk or sed, or perl, or python. Beats the crap out of basic.

Microsoft and Apple just made computing more complex and expensive and less reliable.

nasch says:

Re: Re: Re:4 People are switching to Mac too not just Linux

One of the hardest things for me to understand is why everyone learned to want to avoid the command line.

It requires memorizing commands, which GUIs don’t. I think most people are also not that good at typing, so a command line might actually be slower. For many tasks it also requires either typing or pasting in stuff you don’t understand, or learning about the operating system at a level of detail most users have no interest in. There could be other reasons too.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 People are switching to Mac too not just Linux

GUIs create the appearance that people can do things without having to learn about the software, or the task that they are trying to undertakes, but rapidly become frustrating when people do not at least understand the basics of how to go about solving their problems.
They can also lead to people thinking this is easy, and not taking the care to check things that they should, and then trying to blame the software because they left a major cost out of the spreadsheet they built, or stopped or started the sum one row early; resulting in them making a loss, rather than a profit.
When it comes to copying solutions found online, or via other sources, it does not really matter whether the describe a command line solution or a GUI solution if the person does not understand what they are doing, and if anything the command line solutions may be better if the causes people to stop and check before using it.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 People are switching to Mac too not just Linux

I used to do tech support for a web hosting company. We were about 85% Linux and 15% Windows. When calls came through for dedicated hosting (where people rent an entire server rather than space on a shared system), the biggest headaches were always Windows users. They assumed they could administer a server because it looked like their desktop, then tried demanding free tuition when they realised they didn’t have a clue about IIS.

“When it comes to copying solutions found online, or via other sources, it does not really matter whether the describe a command line solution or a GUI solution if the person does not understand what they are doing”

QFT

nasch says:

Re: Re: Re:6 People are switching to Mac too not just Linux

it does not really matter whether the describe a command line solution or a GUI solution if the person does not understand what they are doing, and if anything the command line solutions may be better if the causes people to stop and check before using it.

I don’t understand that last part. A novice user is more likely to research a shell command they find online than to take the time to understand GUI instructions?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 People are switching to Mac too not just Linux

Many beginners think that the shell is a scary and dangerous place, but that a GUI is simple and safe. Therefore they are more likely to check other sources before using the shell, but blindly follow GUI instructions blindly.

Its like may years ago someone sold the little wonder fuse blower, which was shorting switch in a plug. It came with the simple instructions:
“To blow fuse, plug in and press the button”
These instructions were so simple that it left many people in the dark, because it worked as described, and some people did not stop to think what would happen when the blew the fuse.
If that had been a simple kit where people had to assemble the switch to the plug top, and wire in in, which are simple operations, very few would have gone on to test it because wiring a plug is a scary operation to many people.

nasch says:

Re: Re: Re:9 I don't get it. Why would someone want to deliberately blow a fuse?

Doesn’t that render the fuse useless for its function?

The only thing I can think of is to test the fuse to make sure it blows at the right amperage (I think it’s amps that does it). Of course that fuse is ruined but test a few and you can assume the rest of the batch are OK too.

Therefore they are more likely to check other sources before using the shell, but blindly follow GUI instructions blindly.

I do not buy that someone willing to blindly follow GUI instructions without understanding them would go to the trouble of getting a second opinion on a shell command, but OK.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:10 I don't get it. Why would someone want to deliberately blow a fuse?

What I was pointing out is give a person instructions that have a familiar feel, they are likely to follow them without stopping to think about what they are being told to do. Take them into an unfamiliar environment, like put the device together before using it, and they become more cautious about what they are doing. The little wonder fuse blower told them to plug it in and switch it on, which is a familiar enough sequence of actions, while adding the steps involved in assembling the device, which although equally simple, are not something that they are familiar with, which gives them pause for thought, and often check that a bit more of what they are being told.
I think the problem was that people saw to make this device function, plug in and switch on, and while they were not sure what it does, they were familiar with how to do it how to make it do it, and that won out. Get them to wire a switch across the pins of a plug, and they are likely to become suspicious of the instruction, and many people will investigate what they are being told and quickly realise it is not a good idea.
To cast this into computer terms, being told select system tools->format and then tick c: and click OK, seems familiar enough, that may people would not be suspicious about what they are being told to do, and often automatically confirm the action. Ask them to open a terminal and type format c: and many would stop to ask what does format do, and are much more likely to read the message that appears to confirm the action, because the terminal is a scary place compared to the safety of the GUI.

nasch says:

Re: Re: Re:11 I don't get it. Why would someone want to deliberately blow a fuse?

Ask them to open a terminal and type format c: and many would stop to ask what does format do

That’s the part I’m just not convinced about. I think many many people would unquestioningly type exactly that if they found some instructions that purported to solve whatever problem they were having.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:12 I don't get it. Why would someone want to deliberately blow a fuse?

I had a client back in the day that had a DOS manual that listed ALL commands in alphabetical order. It had a description and a usage examples for each command. She started at the beginning of the book and worked through in alphabetical order. She refused to read, but typed each example to see what happened. It was really fun around the F section of the book. She even did a low-level format of the hard drive. (Not an easy repair)

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 People are switching to Mac too not just Linux

“It requires memorizing commands, which GUIs don’t.”

Only if you need to remember the solution. If it’s a one-off thing, you’re just copying and pasting information that you’re not trying to remember. Same for most users trying to navigate a GUI – people will just blindly follow the directions, not think about what every detail means. If it’s not a one-off thing, why would you not be bookmarking the page rather trying to remember it verbatim?

There’s reasons to be critical of dependence on command lines in help files, but this particular line is weak. I’d liken it to having to edit the registry for the average user – you often don’t understand what you’re changing and might be justifiably scared of doing the wrong thing. You’ll certainly not memorise every detail, and you will refer to documentation every time you make a change. But, I’ve never heard “I might need to edit the registry occasionally” as a reason not to use Windows.

It’s also worth noting that some solutions require command line input on all the major OSes. It tends to be referred to more rarely in Windows because their users have been trained to avoid it, but there’s definitely times where you either have to go there or it’s much easier than trying to find where they put an option in their latest interface juggle.

nasch says:

Re: Re: Re:6 People are switching to Mac too not just Linux

Only if you need to remember the solution.

Right, most of the stuff we do with computers, we do often. It’s easier to remember where to go in a GUI than to remember what to type in a shell, and you don’t have to remember the whole process with a GUI, because each step will give you visual clues about the next step. Many people would prefer not needing to either remember a command or look it up every time.

And remember the question I was answering is “why do some people dislike the command line?”

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 People are switching to Mac too not just Linux

And remember the question I was answering is “why do some people dislike the command line?”

The simplest answer to that is they never bothered to learn to use it.

If you’ve used a command before, it’s stored in shell history. If you have no idea what command you need, there’s “apropos blah” and “man -k blah”. For long commands that you type often, you stuff that whole command in an alias. There are so many slick, quick tools to do this stuff at a command line, it’s ridiculous.

But if they never learned how, they’re oblivious to all of it. GUI’s the only way to them.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 People are switching to Mac too not just Linux

“It’s easier to remember where to go in a GUI than to remember what to type in a shell”

I disagree, as the shell not only has excellent help features if you remember part of the command, but also allows you to create a script for future use that will allow you to access a list of command with any degree of complexity via a name and location you choose yourself. Whereas, GUIs often cause problems because they can be inconsistent, Microsoft regularly moves things around between releases (even before Metro), and they’re not always stored in logical locations so can easily be forgotten.

Now, I’ll accept that a user who has only ever used a GUI will find a shell more daunting and confusing, but that’s a matter of training. People also get lost trying to configure OSX if they’ve never had to much in the past. They also have to drop to a command prompt on certain occasions (as do Windows users), but I never see it cited as a reason not to use those OSes. It’s perfectly possible to use and administer your Linux system without seeing a command prompt, but when you’re asking for help, the experienced user you’re talking to will give you the easiest and quickest solution – which my be in the shell.

I understand what you’re trying to get at, but these argument basically boil down to “Linux doesn’t act like Windows” and “it’s easier for experienced users than it is for newbies”. Which is kind of the point…

Not an Electronic Rodent (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 People are switching to Mac too not just Linux

and they’re not always stored in logical locations so can easily be forgotten.

Oh my, yes. For example, even after “years of practice” I still maintain that the M$ office layout since 2007 is way less usable than those before it. (Caveat: I haven’t tried the latest abortion yet).

All too often, even in Windows, the command line is actually the easiest and certainly quickest way to do a task, but many seem too enamoured of the mindless-pointy-clickyness of it all to bother to find out how. Hell, the number of people who work on computers who don’t even bother with keyboard shortcuts for copy-pasta etc is scary enough!

tracyanne (profile) says:

Re: Re: People are switching to Mac too not just Linux

” but I don’t expect the Linux community to make that OS unless they change their culture of only making programs for other programmers first.”

Based on that logic Microsoft should stop making Visual Studio… you do realise this is a program written by programmers for programmers, and Steve Balmer is famous for putting programmers first.

Second, please refer to my earlier comment in this thread. Unless you consider Hydrogen, the programmable Drum Machine, a program written for programmers, simply because as a Musician I have to program the drum tracks, using a graphical piano roll style interface, I don’t see where any of the software I use was written for programmers.

Nor, for that matter do I see how my accounting software, my Office software, my Photo editing software, my graphics software, my media player software, my Internet Browser, my twitter frontend, my Open Source Games (as seperate from my proprietary games) are in any way developed specifically for programmers… although I’m sure many of them are also used by programmers.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: CEIP

So, let’s see: Microsoft are invading your privacy, and you’re not sure if you trust them to stop even after you’ve asked them nicely.

Solution 1: use built-in environment variables that you hope won’t be ignored or deprecated, and obsessively monitor log outputs for anything suspicious.

Solution 2: switch to an OS that you trust not to be spying on you even when you’ve specifically asked it not to.

I believe I’ll be taking door #2, thanks.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 CEIP

I know exactly what the commands do. I was just commenting on the obvious – if you distrust MS enough to need to keep tabs on them like that, why continue using their product is you don’t have to?* Especially since your solution relies on trusting them to honour those commands and log everything correctly and, as the article points out, they already ignore hosts files on this issue. It just seems like a very skewed trust dynamic to my mind.

OK, you may *not have the choice of whether to use MS products in a production environment, but that’s a different discussion. Yes, if you have no choice and you’re savvy enough to keep checking the logs then your solution is fine in theory, but I wouldn’t trust them not to be pulling other tricks now or in the future.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 CEIP

I think the saying goes “assume everyone is a bad actor” in network/systems administration. Honestly, if I was that worried about it, I would personally use a IDS system to decode the transactions through ASICs. Faster and transparent to the end users, plus the added benefit that you would also protect *nix boxes, network hardware, et al from leakage/abuse.

My only goal was to explain how to decode the traffic, since as quoted: “but it’s hard to be certain”. As I handle some of this for a living, I thought I would throw out a suggestion. If you don’t like that one, you can also hijack schannel with a DLL attack as I do believe that would be a low level system level hack within MS’s encryption itself. Check out NetRipper: https://github.com/NytroRST/NetRipper

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 CEIP

“Honestly, if I was that worried about it, I would personally use a IDS system to decode the transactions through ASICs”

If I was that worried about it, I’d use a FOSS system that came from a company without a history of screwing over the interest of its users. But, you can use your solution if you prefer, it’s just not for me.

“My only goal was to explain how to decode the traffic, since as quoted: “but it’s hard to be certain”. “

Yes, but I approached it a level above that. Rather than try to find a way to monitor a problem, I prefer to find a solution that removes the problem.

Klaus says:

Re: Re: CEIP

A few people have mentioned this – switch to another OS. I have the option to do that for my own gear (well, I don’t need to, I use Linux/MAC OSX), but at work… that’s another matter entirely. I imagine many people, myself included, will be working in environments that use Windows, it’s still popular after all.

Microsoft need to be up front about what they’re collecting; if anything personal or confidential is involved this could have a bearing in law.

mcinsand (profile) says:

'good reviews'?!?!? Really!?!?!

Where are these ‘good reviews’ that you speak of. Maybe it’s just the sort of sites that I visit. However, I now feel guilty about holding my tongue when my great aunt said that she was going to opt-in for the ‘free’ Windows 10 ‘upgrade.’ I know my biases, and I figured that, if she is fine with Windows, then that is her business. For the first couple of days, she just disliked Windows 10. After a month, she hates it. She’s asking now when she can test drive what I use (Kubuntu).

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: 'good reviews'?!?!? Really!?!?!

For the non-tech-literate, I’d consider recoomending something more like Mint or Cinnamon.

I am very tech-literate and prefer Mint and Cinnamon. But I came from kubuntu, so I can relate.

That was the best day ever, when my best friend told me he was tired of Windows and went out and bought a Mac. Up until that point, I was constantly over at his house helping him or someone in his family with some issue that needed to be fixed. After buying the Mac, and an initial “here is how you move your files over to the new computer,” I never got a since tech support call. Wish he didn’t have to spend so much money on a decent machine, but at least he isn’t calling me any more about problems with his system.

The more people I move off of Windows, the number of service calls for family and friends have dropped drastically (and it isn’t that they aren’t using the system, I visit their house for other reasons and they usually are using it and show me all the stuff they are now proud they can do on their own without calling.) Far less “please come over and help me remove this virus” and far, far less “please help me fix this corrupted Word document.” Apple made it easy, but my dad asked me a while back for help installing Mint Linux on his laptop, so it is getting some love too.

mcinsand (profile) says:

Re: Re: Mint versus 'buntu

Maybe I should take another look at Mint or Cinnamon. Last year, I played with Mint for a bit, but went back to Kubuntu.

FWIW, when I came to Linux, it was after spending decades with only MS or Apple type environments (except for a bit of time with RDOS). Then, with an upgrade at home, I had XP-SP2. I must be the only person in the world that hated XP. It wasn’t stable, it kept asking the same questions over and over no matter how many times I checked the ‘do not ask again’ box, and it also was not great for networking.

I had no UNIX background, and Fedora 2 took some learning, but my life became so much easier within days of dumping XP. People commonly throw out the idea that Linux requires technical literacy, and maybe that was true back in the day. However, for the past decade, or especially now, you’re going to need far more technical skill to manage a Windows PC than for Mint, Cinnamon, *buntu, whatever.

mcinsand (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: I almost forgot!

Oh, and there’s one thing that I almost forgot. I get sick of people repeating the antiquated trope of Windows having an advantage when it comes to hardware drivers. That was an issue back in the ’90s and early ’00s, but those days are gone. I dread Windows installs mainly because of the sucky hardware and driver support.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 I almost forgot!

Maybe I should take another look at Mint or Cinnamon. Last year, I played with Mint for a bit, but went back to Kubuntu.

It is really a personal preference…I love KDE, but Cinnamon grew on me quickly.

I get sick of people repeating the antiquated trope of Windows having an advantage when it comes to hardware drivers.

I tended to throw away the driver CDs, or they got mixed up and I often didn’t know what driver went with what machine. Finding drivers online is great for some companies, but terrible for most (unless you trust windriver or some of the other websites that have drivers available.) And finding a driver for the current OS you are running may be hit or miss, especially if you are using older hardware (since the company would rather you buy new hardware than install old hardware in a new operating system (ahem…Intel…ahem.) Haven’t had that issue with Linux at all.

mcinsand (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 my last driver issue

The last driver issue I faced was with a laptop that was a couple of years old. The computer kept crashing, and it was the wireless driver. After completely removing the old driver and getting a new one from Atheros, you could still count a blue screen after 60-90 minutes of boot-up. Owner got fed up and asked me to install ‘whatever it is that you’re using.’ Bam! One more Linux convert. The install took about 45 minutes after updates, and the laptop only crashes when she boots from the Windows partition.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Mint versus 'buntu

I have never had any luck whatsoever with Ubuntu. It gives me nothing but problems and headaches.

My standard distro choice is plain Debian, since it’s rock solid and never gave me any serious problems on any machine I’ve used it on. I have used and enjoyed Mint as well, and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.

JoeCool (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Mint versus 'buntu

Much of the troubles some people have have nothing to do with Ubuntu in general, but with Gnome. There are several folks recommending Kubuntu above, and I’ll throw in a rec for Xubuntu now. Xubuntu replaces Gnome with XFACE, and I’ve never had a lick of trouble. Plain Debian is great, especially if you don’t live on the bleeding edge of hardware/software and keep your computer for years, but if you like to live a little closer to the edge, you’ll need something like Ubunutu… just avoid the Gnome distro and go Kubuntu or Xubuntu.

Anonymous Coward says:

Why isn’t Techdirt rejoicing and crowing now that Microsoft proves the value of “free” by giving away Windows 10?

Don’t want to be associated with spying crapware? That’s my guess from what has NOT been said. One can’t pry any actual statements out of Techdirt. I’ll just go on to assert that Techdirt sees that Microsoft will do “free” wrong… WAY wrong!

Has everyone heard that Microsoft actually intends to charge $1.49 a month or $9.99 a year for an advertising-free version of ancient Solitaire game? — Yes, sounds right out of The Onion! — But apparently (I say because it’s incredible), it’s not only true, but just part of scheme to charge subscription fees for EVERY little feature now in an ordinary OS bundle!

Given unprecedented wacky but certainly full scale plan of monetizing pieces of “free” softwarez by subscription and immense influence of Microsoft, why isn’t this being either touted or hooted here? — Oh, that one’s easy: on one hand Techdirt likes Microsoft, and on other won’t risk predicting, especially not when involves this notion of “free”. Techdirt’s boy-clowns will only cluck sagely and shake heads sadly AFTER this outright lunacy flops, as I predict. — Even for me is really more of a hope, because if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that you cannot under-estimate people who are using Microsoft products. I won’t be too surprised if huge numbers actually do “subscribe”.

After all, they (that means YOU) have been shelling out every couple years since at least 2000 for marginal improvements — after several versions of inadequate single-tasking DOS. The invasive spying and arbitrary user interface changes have been steadily increased until nearly all just shrug and go along with it.


This “news” comes a teensy bit late if you read actual “tech” sites. I bet it’s because Russia been “filling the internet with toxic disinformation”.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

The best thing about this particular piece of ignorance is that Solitaire has been a non-default optional extra in the OS since at least Windows 7 (I believe since Vista, but I’m not in a position to check a Vista box right now), and they have been trying to push paid alternatives since that time as well. According to Wikipedia, Solitaire wasn’t included with Windows 8 at all.

So, not only is his moronic drooling attacking a frivolous, optional feature with literally hundreds of free, non-ad supported alternatives available, he’s years behind the complaint being something new. But, it coincided in his mind with a claim that Fictional Mike made about things being free, so somehow that makes privacy violation OK or something.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“Why isn’t Techdirt rejoicing and crowing now that Microsoft proves the value of “free” by giving away Windows 10?”

Because it’s not particularly new, innovative or notable, especially if the purpose is to invade customers’ privacy with trojan horses and spyware. Even if the move wasn’t infested with crap, they’re still just following Apple’s lead. It would have still been a point to congratulate had they not managed to screw it up, but here we are.

“just part of scheme to charge subscription fees for EVERY little feature now in an ordinary OS bundle! “

Are you ignorant of the fact that this isn’t a new move on Microsoft’s part, are you dumb enough to think that Solitaire is actually a vital part of the OS, are you stupid enough to believe that subscriptions are the only way companies can make money if they don’t charge a premium up front, or a combination of all 3?

“After all, they (that means YOU) have been shelling out every couple years since at least 2000”

I damn well haven’t – Vista convinced me to finally switch to Linux full time after dual booting for years, and I only used that because it came with the laptop. In fact, I believe that Windows 95 was the last copy I willingly paid for (98 came with a PC, then XP), and I’ll bet that the majority of readers here had similar experienced and/or only use Windows because their employer requires a Windows-only application somewhere.

Yet again, you make unfounded assumptions and fool yourself into thinking you have a relevant point, when all you’re doing is attacking figments of your own imagination.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Why isn’t Techdirt rejoicing and crowing now that Microsoft proves the value of “free” by giving away Windows 10?

Because Microsoft isn’t giving Windows 10 away for free. Microsoft has allowed those who already have Windows 7 or Windows 8 to upgrade* for free** to Windows 10.

Fresh installs of Windows 10 are “supported”, but usually don’t work to well unless you first upgrade to Windows 10, and then install a fresh version of Windows 10 over the top of the upgraded version (or use the Microsoft provided Windows 10 reset option that essentially does this for you.) Without doing this, the old Windows 7/Windows 8 key may not get “upgraded” and you’ll find that your installation is not-activated and you have 3 days to buy Windows 10 before it gets kicked offline or will have to involve Microsoft in remotely upgrading your key for you.
Only for retail versions of Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1. Users with valid licensed copies of Windows XP, those with enterprise licenses (without software assurance,) or the many other caveats Microsoft has provided will need to pay to upgrade.
*** Most other operating systems provide free upgrades now, Microsoft is arriving at the end of the fad and claiming that they are all innovative and stuff.

jackn says:

Re: The meaning of 'free software'

Free software developers guarantee everyone equal rights to their programs; any user can study the source code, modify it, and share the program. By contrast, most software carries fine print that denies users these basic rights, leaving them susceptible to the whims of its owners and vulnerable to surveillance.

Learn more here

http://www.fsf.org/

Anonymous Coward says:

Several BILLIONS of people WON'T bother "opting out" even IF can be done. You few geeks are irrelevant.

That’s the real lesson you should get. Corporations will continue to implement the surveillance state and trouble you no matter how you twist and turn. The more you try to evade, the more you stand out as a danger, and not potential but imminent danger to the corporate state.

Those of us who in 2005 could look ahead ten years can only say “told ya so”. And 2025 will be much worse. You’ll have less privacy than a rat in a cage, not even your thoughts private. Enjoy your googlization.

Anonymous Coward says:

Definitely a nice advertisement for Linux, but lets not forget about Canonical sending your search results to Amazon. My advice, use an Ubuntu variation but not the official version. For those more technically inclined, you can get rid of the problem in the official version by doing this in bash:

sudo apt-get remove unity
sudo apt-get install cinnamon

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re:

For those more technically inclined, you can get rid of the problem in the official version by doing this in bash:

sudo apt-get remove unity
sudo apt-get install cinnamon

If you don’t already have Ubuntu installed, is there an advantage to using Ubuntu with Cinnamon over Mint? I’m not looking for exhaustive feature lists or anything, just like “yes it has features Mint doesn’t” or “yes it supports more hardware” or something like that. Or “no”. 😉

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

There ARE a couple of distros based on Linux Mint.

Excellent, now to fork those! What should it be called, Breath Mint? Cinnamon Challenge?

Did Microsoft write Windows 10 from scratch or is it based on a preexisting OS? 😉

The latter, but I’m not sure if you’re trying to say that’s the same situation. It isn’t, for various reasons.

Lip says:

According to https://thehackernews.com/2015/08/windows-spying-on-you.html, you can uninstall the tracking updates in Windows 7 and 8.1 by opening up an admin command prompt and entering in the following one at a time:

wusa /uninstall /kb:3068708 /norestart
wusa /uninstall /kb:3022345 /norestart
wusa /uninstall /kb:3075249 /norestart
wusa /uninstall /kb:3080149 /norestart

Note I’ve removed the /quiet from the commands as there’s no way to know if the previous command finished to let you know to run the next one.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: uninstall MS malware updates

wusa /uninstall /kb:3068708 /norestart
wusa /uninstall /kb:3022345 /norestart
wusa /uninstall /kb:3075249 /norestart
wusa /uninstall /kb:3080149 /norestart

Now, you also have to set each of these malware updates to “hidden”, so they won’t try to re-install.

Set your update options to NOT automatically install, and then when these updates become listed, right-click on them & choose “hide”.

A Nun & A Mouse says:

Meh.

That’s why I make sure to click the link on each download and read what each patch is for before agreeing to let it even download from Microsoft. I actually like Windows 7 though.

I’ve resisted both upgrading it (I hate the Windows 8 GUI) as well as the inevitable switch to Linux for what feels like forever. A lot of the software I use simply wasn’t available for Linux. I also, like a lot of others, felt Linux was too hard to master (i.e. troubleshoot).

I’ve noticed lately that this is starting to change though. Quite a few of the apps I use are finally starting to show up as Linux compatible counterparts that don’t cost any extra and I don’t game on my PC, so no loss there if I switched.

If this trend keeps up, we may actually see a monumental shift away from Microsoft Windows some day, which is fine by me. I can adapt if I have to and I think I’d rather force myself to learn a new OS than upgrade to Windows 8 or 10.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: "You don't own it"

But we did pay for a product to work according to certain terms, and if they change those terms after the fact (or even, as is common practice, let people buy the product without informing them in advance of critical details) that crosses the line into unethical.

(It could even be argued that the long-winded and xenolexiconic contracts — which are willfully written to discourage actually reading them — are such that they cannot adequately be digested by a typical end user and therefore cannot be reasonably enforced.)

Also, if they were to charge for updates, then there would be an implied expectation that the initial product was perfect and free of bugs, and the bar before security exploits, non-functionality and interface problems were litigable would be much lower. As it is, the free updates and Microsoft’s diligence with security updates elevates that bar.

Odious contracts without parity may be the norm right now in the tech industries (and extending to other appliances), but they’re tolerated only due to (legal) necessity, not because this is, or has ever been acknowledged as an acceptable way of doing business, and it leads to Microsoft’s customer base being driven to act out of necessity, or even desperation to counter Microsoft’s encroachments on rights.

This is why countermeasures to the DRM of Microsoft Windows (e.g. Windows Loader) has been written by engineers, and not by black-hats. Businesses whose inconveniences by conforming to MS DRM policies are enumerated in profits lost are driven monetarily to circumvent them. Doing so may be illegal in the US, but it’s not in Europe, and once the European patch comes to the US it’s a common practice much like driving above the speed limit.

If the US had a functional justice system (which it does not, with countless examples to that effect) the situation of necessity would mean that any hacks to circumvent intrinsic malware and privacy breaches would be defensible and justified, much the way that the French resistance sought to disrupt German logistics during WWII, or hostages in a bank heist are justified to take action against their captors if they can succeed in doing so.

nasch says:

Re: Re: Re: "You don't own it"

It could even be argued that the long-winded and xenolexiconic contracts —

Upvoted just for that word.

Also, if they were to charge for updates, then there would be an implied expectation that the initial product was perfect and free of bugs

Where do you get that idea? There is no commercial software free of bugs*, and I don’t think anyone paying for updates expects it to be perfect. I don’t think you would get anywhere at all suing a company just for bugs unless you could prove gross negligence that caused harm.

* arguably none at all, but I read something about NASA’s strategy for zero-defect software. The stuff with meters and inches was written by a contractor IIRC.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Imperial vs. Metric in NASA

I had assumed that the NASA inches vs. centimeters thing was a problem caused by a conversion error (which happens sometimes, and is why you want to standardize units of measurement)

By free of bugs, I didn’t mean perfectly bug free, rather that updates would be a rare thing, rather than the almost-every-tuesday update schedule that Windows has had since XP. So, fewer bugs by orders of magnitude than the present situation.

There was a similar situation with console games, as they changed from the play-from-CD format a la PS1 to the install-from-CD / play-from-HD format a la PS3. The old format required a longer playtesting run before a game went gold because bugs were forever, and bugs that could be exploited in-game would become part of that game’s culture.

Now, they can release and patch later, and they do. Or as the case is sometimes, if the the game flops on the shelves, they just stop patching bugs, and the fans just suffer the buggy bits. Aliens: Colonial Marines comes to mind.

We’ve seen similar things with early smart-phones that didn’t have easy update vectors (e.g. required a firmware update) in that a buggy interface would tank the reviews. Less so, now, given that bugs are fixed after release.

nasch says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Imperial vs. Metric in NASA

I had assumed that the NASA inches vs. centimeters thing was a problem caused by a conversion error (which happens sometimes, and is why you want to standardize units of measurement)

I think more of a failure to convert error, but yeah. However I don’t think that code was actually written by NASA.

Anonymous Coward says:

“1. Engineers will not quit tinkering with it. There is no distribution stability thus there is no way a business can depend on the system being the same tomorrow as it is today.”

This is why businesses use enterprise linuxes like red hat. So you can have stable supported linux.

For personal use I recommend debian stable or ubuntu Long term support (LTS) if stability is an issue

“3. Hatred of commercial programs by too many coders.”

By who? I hate proprietary software, that’s not the same thing as commercial software

“4. Impossible to run Windows programs on a Linux box if you are not a super geek.”

Click on wine in software center then click the .exe. so easy a caveman could do it

“This is important because most business users are not running a computer operating system but a program that does a specific application as such the operation operating system is chosen that will run the program.”

Often these are linux programs anyway

“5. Hatred, literally hatred of the ides of allowing development of any application that has business applications by a very large number of geeks.”

Linux got where it is today by businesses developing it, the fuck are you on about?

Anonymous Coward says:

i read where 75 million installs of windows 10 had been done since it’s release. i wonder how many people will still have it installed in 3 months time and if Microsoft will be as quick to release those figures? it will also be interesting to learn what the reasons were for the uninstallations/rolling back of windows 10 and how many would still be using it if Microsoft were not so insistent on wanting to know everything possible about users and where that information goes. i dont suppose it would be to the NSA or FBI, would it? what about to representatives of the MPAA, RIAA or other sections of the entertainment industries?

Roll Back says:

Re: Re:

“i read where 75 million installs of windows 10 had been done since it’s release. i wonder how many people will still have it installed in 3 months time and if Microsoft will be as quick to release those figures? it will also be interesting to learn what the reasons were for the uninstallations/rolling back of windows 10 and how many would still be using it if Microsoft were not so insistent on wanting to know everything possible about users and where that information goes.”

Microsoft simply has no way of accurately knowing who has dumped Win10. They obviously see the install downloads needed to make the 17 million plus sound byte. They will be aware of rollbacks if you manage to do a clean rollback from 10. But if win10 breaks and you do a clean Win 7 install, how could they know that?

Win10 was broken on both of my personal laptops and roll back was not possible. Both are Win7 again (Clean factory installs of original OS) Would Microsoft know to debit me from the count somehow? It would be interesting to hear how that might happen.

BoogityBoogityBoogity says:

Re: Re: Re:

“…Microsoft simply has no way of accurately knowing who has dumped Win10…”

Well, when their digital spies stop phoning home to the mother ship, that should give MSFT/NSA some indication that the ‘locals’ have outed yet another nest of espionage and terminated them with extreme prejudice!

Makes me want to run a DVD w/Win10 on it through a woodchipper! But I use Ubuntu, have for years, and only use MSFT stuff at work because I have to… 😉

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Microsoft simply has no way of accurately knowing who has dumped Win10.

With all the unavoidable inbuilt monitoring, which uses a machine key, they know when Win10 installations stop talking to the mother-ship. Given that the Internet is now ubiquitous, such drop outs are either machines dying, or win10 being dumped for something else.

Good thought says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Quota:”With all the unavoidable inbuilt monitoring, which uses a machine key, they know when Win10 installations stop talking to the mother-ship. Given that the Internet is now ubiquitous, such drop outs are either machines dying, or win10 being dumped for something else.”

Maybe I don’t turn the machine on very often. Say twice a year at tax time. That would be rare though, I see your point.

Cheers!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I do believe they do it for residential/SMB as well, but I know it’s done with Volume Licensing. Basically, large corporations use something called a KMS server, which counts the number of copies of Windows and sends that information to Microsoft to validate billing. The information that is sent is called a Client Machine ID (CMID) which is basically a hardware hash. The problem is when you are running a huge number of servers things can get out of wack. Mainly I’ve seen it from using templates with sysprep. Basically, it turns an computer with all the updates needed into a fresh install, but since everything is the same you have to use /generalize or it won’t count up the license count and could get you a rather nasty audit.

Anonymous Coward says:

1. Engineers will not quit tinkering with it. There is no distribution stability thus there is no way a business can depend on the system being the same tomorrow as it is today.

If you want stability, stick with debian. There’s distros that are more bleeding edge, and others with a focus on stability.

2. Too many distributions.

A bit of truth there, but stick to the major ones and you should not have problems.

3. Hatred of commercial programs by too many coders.

Commercial software is often hostile to the interests of the end user. This is the entire point of the Free Software Foundation, which actually supplied the GNU part of Linux. I for one tend to by quite leery of commercial software, and try to stick with open source as much as possible.

4. Impossible to run Windows programs on a Linux box if you are not a super geek. This is important because most business users are not running a computer operating system but a program that does a specific application as such the operation operating system is chosen that will run the program.

True. Microsoft is quite lodged in this area.

5. Hatred, literally hatred of the ides of allowing development of any application that has business applications by a very large number of geeks.

Thats more than a bit unfounded, but so broad its hard to respond to.

6. Apple’s OS which is based on BSD has all the same fundamental issue that Linux has. Not enough users to make it worthwhile for anyone to develop complex business programs for. That is why critical business programs like accounting (to some degree) and CAD (to a high degree) do not run on either Apple or Linux only on Windows.

Actually, MAC OS is a pretty different beast because of its closed nature. But yeah, Windows has market share thats hard to overcome. That doesn’t make it a better OS, it just means Bill Gates was a shrewd businessman.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Bypasses the HOSTS file eh?

Microsoft insists on exfiltrateing the data no matter what. User says no, and Microsoft just laughs in their face.

It’s for your own good and you should trust us. We’re the biggest thing on the planet and you’re just one lowly user. Besides, the NSA and MafiAA have our balls in a vise so we have no choice but to give them what they want, and what they want is all of you. Better you than us. Have a marvy day.

Oh, I see you’ve moved your mouse so we’re going to reboot now. Bye for now. You should be able to get back to where you were in about an hour from now. Don’t forget to have that marvy day.

Anonymous Coward says:

Wrong direction, windows 10, wrong direction

Thanks for giving implied intent to be ridiculed, bad mouthed, and CLOSELY monitored, more so then not

Making your life easier by abusing others, just because you can, doesnt mean you should…………

I give companies reasonable chances not to show me they are bad companies, you dont have to do much of anything to remain on the good graces list,

just STOP doing the things that put you on the unforgiving bad list

And then their are companies, that get it, show it, communicate it, and prove it……..they go on the super duper goody goody i hope they dont sell out due to their low numbers, and thrives………..list

Anonymous Coward says:

right now microsoft is general motors 1978, all fat and sassy:

who’s gonna buy that jap crap, anyway?  we think we know how to build a car, thank you very much.
hey, fellas, has is been long enough?  how ’bout another run at fins?

general motors thought it couldn’t be touched and thought no low opinion of its customers was quite low enough.  when the change began, it was slow to start, but when it got momentum it couldn’t be stopped.  most people switched cars without knowing why they should.  this won’t be any different.

goodbye and good luck.  but mostly goodbye.

Anonymous Coward says:

You are all right and wrong.

I think most of you are forgetting the little 60+ year old women and men that are not good with computers, are not willing to learn how to use linux, what do you do with them?

So take all the Farmers in the world, the salesmen, the grunt workers, and try to teach them linux. I can guarantee that you will pull out most of your hair as they ask the same question over and over and over for years. Now take this same group and put them in front of a windows operating system and guess what? You don’t have to explain the simple things to them. They can install simple programs or games easily, they can do most things and only have to take their computers in once in awhile to have a bit of service done. Remember most people do not know a geek personally, they have to pay for our time to come out and fix these small problems then they call you a genius.

So for most of the readers here yes we could switch to linux, but for the general population, who have no access to us geeks on a daily basis, or can not afford to have us teach them linux for months and years (costs to much). What do you think that part of the population needs to do?

Also don’t tell me anyone can learn linux. We know anyone can but its how long will it take them and how much will it cost them.

Yes users like us need to bring up these privacy issues, to get the majority of people to start squaking so these features get removed.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: You are all right and wrong.

Yes that is one of your friends who has access to you. Now do it with someone who has no access to a tech, and no $$$ for one.

Show me how someone who has no access to a tech is going to install a linux distro when they do not know what a command prompt is.

I am a tech, this is what I do for a living, now get your head out of your ass and think about the regular people out there without someone like us in their lives. They will be lost in linux.

ottermaton (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: You are all right and wrong.

Yes that is one of your friends who has access to you. Now do it with someone who has no access to a tech, and no $$$ for one.

Show me how someone who has no access to a tech is going to install a linux distro when they do not know what a command prompt is.

OK. The librarian at the school where I work. It was for her HUSBAND, both of whom are in their 60s. I gave them a thumb drive over a year ago, and haven’t heard a peep since. And, yes, I KNOW they’re still using it.

I am a tech, this is what I do for a living

Clearly you’re not very good at it.

… now get your head out of your ass

You should heed your own advice.

… and think about the regular people out there without someone like us in their lives.

I have. REPEATEDLY. The librarian mentioned above is FAR from the only person I’ve gotten on Linux, and always with minimal assistance from me.

They will be lost in linux.

Just because YOU are lost in Linux doesn’t mean that people that actually possess a brain will be.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: You are all right and wrong.

Show me how someone who has no access to a tech is going to install a linux distro when they do not know what a command prompt is.

Hi. 🙂 That’s how I started out. Where do you think Linux geeks came from? Do you think we just spontaneously poof into existence?

If you can put a DVD in a DVD drive and reboot a computer, you can install Linux, and that’s been true for quite a while now. The more times you do it, the better results you’ll get. Stumble around the user interface and in the installed programs a bit and you’ll see they’re not all that different from those you already know. They just look a bit different.

The best part is, this stuff respects your wishes and isn’t out to rob you because you’re ignorant, or sell your PII to people you’ve never heard of. Updates and upgrades are free too so as long as your hardware keeps working, you may never need to install again.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 You are all right and wrong.

yes I have, but my question is did she pick out the linux distro and install it herself? It is a simple yes or no. If the answer is no then everything you said is null and void.

No offense, but you seem to be nudging the goalposts a bit here.

If someone is worried about the intrusiveness of Windows 10 enough to make the switch to Linux, they probably will be smart enough to do a little independent research themselves.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 You are all right and wrong.

It is a bit frustrating talking to someone so thickheaded. Your reply is to his post but about someone I setup on Linux. Furthermore this question, already asked and answered. She did not install Windows or Linux. (She could probably handle a Linux install though, since it is way easier than Windows.) Anywhos, no she has two computers side by side one with Windows and one with Linux and she did not install the OS for either one. I installed both. When the Windows one dies it will not be replaced. She can click the icon to start her programs equally well on either operating system.

Tice with a J (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 You are all right and wrong.

Hardly. She didn’t pick out and install Windows, did she?

Personally, I’ve installed three different versions of GNU/Linux on computers I own (Ubuntu, Mint, and Fedora) but I’ve never been able to install Windows. I did try; I removed my Linux installation, stuck in my Windows install CD, and did my best, but I failed. I’ve stayed with FOSS OSes ever since.

ottermaton (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 You are all right and wrong.

In my case with the librarian and her husband I referenced in my other comment the answer is a big, fat HELL YES THEY INSTALLED IT THEMSELVES

And that is true of just about everyone I know who has made the jump, with or with out my encouragement.

So, let’s you just say that it is you, as a tech, that is null and void, shall we?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 You are all right and wrong.

Not to mention that after installing a vanilla copy of Windows, you’re still likely to need to search for drivers, etc. to get hardware working correctly. You may get lucky and get a functional machine with generic drivers, but usually you need to install more advanced drivers to get proper functionality. It’s improved, but I lose count of the number of times I’ve had to go to a different machine and download a chipset, NIC or wifi driver to be able to access the internet and get everything else running.

Many people forget this because they only use the pre-installed version that came with those drivers. Just another example of people blaming Linux for something that’s actually universal. The only desktop OS that’s guaranteed to have everything out of the box is OSX, and that’s only because Apple make the hardware as well as the software.

On top of that, I like to remind people that most distros will install all the apps you need as well as the underlying OS. Even if installing Windows is easier for someone, it’s still going to be more time consuming to be installing your apps individually. Then, you’ve usually got a huge number of updates to install afterwards, usually requiring several restarts, whereas Linux does this during the install process (at least with 7 and before, I stopped working extensively with desktops before 8 was released) I can be using LibreOffice or GIMP or browsing the web before a Windows user has installed the latest service packs.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: You are all right and wrong.

It all comes down to how they use the computer. If all they use is the browser, the only difficult aspect of Linux is the lack of computers that come with it pre-installed. The Chromebook it the ultimate response to this need.

These days, that is all that most home users need. If you get these friends on Linux and make sure they can find the browser, they’re set, and you won’t get calls.

But if they need anything beyond the very common programs, the odds are that the average user will get stuck. I have seen very few packages that are complete enough, specific enough, and clear enough in their instructions that I myself (a mid level tech) didn’t find very challenging to install. Between not knowing what distro they have, to not knowing what folder a package was installed in (when another instruction tells them to edit a file in the install folder), or simply failing to provide a desktop or menu shortcut, there is a much higher chance of failure (having to call someone for help) than the average Windows install.

Most small business people will need assistance getting any business specific software installed, even basic accounting. Even though I think it is likely that their overall maintenance costs will be lower with Linux, the reality is that the majority of the self employed will attempt to work with tools that they can figure out themselves to a minimal level of functionality. It may be a pain, but until someone gets the effort of Canonical behind a build with a better result, Windows will continue to be more likely to achieve minimum function without an insurmountable obstacle.

MrTroy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: You are all right and wrong.

It all comes down to how they use the computer. If all they use is the browser, the only difficult aspect of Linux is the lack of computers that come with it pre-installed. The Chromebook it the ultimate response to this need.

These days, that is all that most home users need. If you get these friends on Linux and make sure they can find the browser, they’re set, and you won’t get calls.

I’ve not met a single person who owns a computer for whom this statement is true, and that includes my 80-year old mother-in-law who I set up a computer for. As well as a browser, she needed a word processor, skype and email, and later some very simple image software so she could play with photos to make paintings from.

And even if they DO only need the browser… if they’re running in a restricted account so they can’t trash the system if they click on the wrong thing, how do they patch their browser?

ottermaton (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 You are all right and wrong.

As well as a browser, she needed a word processor

LibreOffice Write. AbiWord. Kword. Others …

skype

Runs on Linux.

and email

Where to even begin? Here’s one guy’s list with 128 options

and later some very simple image software so she could play with photos to make paintings from.

GIMP. Inkscape. Sketch. Others …

You obviously don’t know much about Linux. And that’s OK. But maybe you should just not speak about things you don’t understand.

MrTroy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 You are all right and wrong.

Yes, thank you to everyone who pointed out that Linux has the named applications, and completely failed to note that I was responding to the comment that “These days, [the browser] is all that most home users need.”

You obviously don’t know much about Linux. And that’s OK. But maybe you should just not speak about things you don’t understand.

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20150715/11374931651/judge-kozinski-theres-very-little-justice-our-so-called-justice-system.shtml#c917

“For me? I use Windows at home, Linux at work. I’ve tried installing Linux occasionally at home, but it just doesn’t work for me. I know how to use and maintain a Windows system, but I only know how to use a Linux system, so for me Windows is actually the more secure route. YMMV.”

Emphasis on the YMMV. I much prefer developing in Linux than Windows, but I’m sure as heck not going to be the guy administering the system. And if I’m not comfortable administering my own system, I’m not going to recommend it to anyone in my family. Except my cousin, who is comfortable in Linux (and is also a programmer).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 You are all right and wrong.

Yes, thank you to everyone who pointed out that Linux has the named applications, and completely failed to note that I was responding to the comment that “These days, [the browser] is all that most home users need.”

Web solutions were provided as well as off line ones You can accomplish ever single task you listed exclusively via web as was pointed out. In addition offline tools were also suggested. Options are goooood.

ottermaton (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 You are all right and wrong.

Funny how you try to refute a comment I made (“You obviously don’t know much about Linux”) by linking to a post where you say practically the exact same thing

I know how to use and maintain a Windows system, but I only know how to use a Linux system.

(emphasis mine)

Logic isn’t your strong suit, is it?

And since you clearly agree with me that you don’t know much about Linux, let’s repeat this for emphasis:

… maybe you should just not speak about things you don’t understand.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 You are all right and wrong.

“As well as a browser, she needed a word processor, skype and email, and later some very simple image software so she could play with photos to make paintings from.”

All of which are available on Linux, and on most desktop distros would take less effort to install than the Windows version would.

“if they’re running in a restricted account so they can’t trash the system if they click on the wrong thing, how do they patch their browser?”

Same way as you do in Windows or OSX – the system will ask for the root (admin) password if you try accessing something that requires permissions that your user account doesn’t have. If you trust them so little that you won’t even let them have the root password, you can set updates to install automatically, or set permissions so that the user can update the browser without affecting anything else.

Perhaps try educating yourself before criticising people who have actually used Linux for detailing their experiences.

MrTroy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 You are all right and wrong.

All of which are available on Linux, and on most desktop distros would take less effort to install than the Windows version would.

I completely agree that they are all available on Linux, and I accept the proposition that you would find them easier to install on Linux than on Windows.

Perhaps try educating yourself before criticising people who have actually used Linux for detailing their experiences.

Thank you for the judgement, everyone. I use Linux on a nearly daily basis, and am comfortable compiling from source to try third party libraries or tools. I have never had any success administering a Linux system, either at home or work, I find the apt-get system completely opaque (in that it is trivial to install something you know about, and impossible to discover what to install if you don’t) and yum just marginally better.

If I were to spend the next five years (one year? two years?) using nothing but Linux cold-turkey style, I’m sure I’d pick up everything I need and never look back. So far, I’d rather use computers that just work (for me, and my family), and spend the extra time with my family, or doing things that I actually enjoy.

YMMV.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 You are all right and wrong.

Almost all of the desktop orientated distribution come with at least one, and sometimes two graphical package/software managers installed, and those make finding software, and keeping the system up to date very easy.

Yes, how annoying is it every time you see a Windows computer and there is a balloon or popup from Java, Acrobat Reader or some other application and/or Windows saying it needs an update.

In modern Linux Distros it’s so pleasant, there is one update icon. All it does is change when you have ANY updates available. So you click the icon, see the list of Linux System AND/OR Application updates (change checkboxes if you want) Click Install and enter your password when asked. That’s it your operating system and all programs updates begin downloading and installing.

The Windows update system is so fragmented and annoying by comparison and so much more work to do many individual updates.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 You are all right and wrong.

None of this waiting for the machine to carry out the actual upgrades during a prolonged reboot sequence either. You may occasionally get a prompt to inform you that a reboot, or logout and login is required for the upgrade to take effect, but you can do those at your convenience.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 You are all right and wrong.

Ever have Windows tell you it did an update and is NOW going to reboot so you click wait, then hurry but keep being harassed every few minutes by the message. The only thing worse is when you are not able to click wait and boom it just reboots.

The biggest joys of using Linux come from the refreshing change that the operation is user centric.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 You are all right and wrong.

Ever have Windows tell you it did an update and is NOW going to reboot…..

Last time that happened to me, it was followed by upgrade failed, restoring previous state, followed by another long wait while it restored and rebooted and completed the restore. That was about a 7 years ago, and was the last time I let a machine running windows go online, and relied on Linux for all online activities, as it was dual booting Fedora at the time.
That machine is now running PCLinuxOS, and has been for about 5 years, and no significant issues as the updates have rolled in.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 You are all right and wrong.

“I use Linux on a nearly daily basis”

Yet, your comments indicated that you didn’t realise that common applications and security configuration / automation options were available.

Perhaps we’re not understanding what you said, but nothing I’m reading jibes with the experiences of someone who’s used a modern distro for any length of time.

“I find the apt-get system completely opaque”

Does that include GUI-based package managers such as Synaptic or the Ubuntu software manager interface? Because I have no problem typing in a program I’m looking for in either of those interfaces, and I certainly have no problem double clicking on the .deb package I just downloaded if it’s not something listed there. If I have to drop to the shell for whatever reason, there’s nothing particularly hard about typing “apt-get install ” or “yum install “, and if you have to Google to download it or find out what the package is called, chances are that you needed to Google and download the .exe or .dmg on another system anyway.

What exactly are you using?

“I use Linux on a nearly daily basis, and am comfortable compiling from source to try third party libraries or tools”

“If I were to spend the next five years (one year? two years?) using nothing but Linux cold-turkey style, I’m sure I’d pick up everything I need and never look back”

Wait… so you use Linux daily, to the point where you compile from source (something very rarely required nowadays for normal desktop use), yet apt-get confuses you and you think you’d need years of exclusive usage to understand it? You’ll excuse me if this doesn’t sound right.

If you’re purely talking from the perspective of someone who’s trying to set it up themselves with no clue of what they’re doing, well there’s a learning curve no matter which system you try using.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 You are all right and wrong.

Google has a web-based solution for every single task you have listed and they aren’t the only ones. For a web-based Skype alternative I greatly prefer appear.in, It doesn’t require any software installation just an html5 capable browser. It also has no requirement to have an account to use it. I frequently have to conference with people and you never know what software they may or may not have, or what services they have accounts on. This web-based Skype alternative solves these limitations that Skype has.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: You are all right and wrong.

Also don’t tell me anyone can learn linux. We know anyone can but its how long will it take them and how much will it cost them.

Personally, I don’t think the differences in the learning curves for a modern day Linux distro vs. the learning curve when upgrading a Windows version are all that far apart. Windows changes locations of everything between versions anyways. Linux has come quite a ways since you had to type everything at a terminal prompt. It’s all GUI now. I rarely have to open a terminal anymore on my Debian box.

All the additional programs available in the repositories are an additional plus when dealing with inexperienced users. Would you rather Grandma went to one place and got that recipe organizer that installs and works without drama or would you rather Grandma searched the web and downloaded a virus-ridden installer from download.com?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: You are all right and wrong.

If the learning curve was as easy as you say then Linux would be the operating system of choice.

We are talking about average people out there that are not your friends or family and do not know a person capable of teaching them linux.

So again I will say read my entire post before responding, it will keep you from sounding like an idiot, and we all know your not.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: You are all right and wrong.

If the learning curve was as easy as you say then Linux would be the operating system of choice.

The adoption rate of Linux has nothing to do with the ease of operation. It has much more to do with lock-in licensing between hardware manufacturers and Microsoft than anything else. If you have to pay the Microsoft tax on a new computer whether you want Windows or not, why not use the operating system you were forced to pay for?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 You are all right and wrong.

“The adoption rate of Linux has nothing to do with the ease of operation. It has much more to do with lock-in licensing between hardware manufacturers and Microsoft than anything else. If you have to pay the Microsoft tax on a new computer whether you want Windows or not, why not use the operating system you were forced to pay for?”

And this brings us back to why most use windows, its already installed. but most of you want everyone to uninsall windows and put on a linux distro, Do you not see the problem here? Most people can not do that. I know techs can and I know some of you do it for your customers, but for the average person with no tech or no $$$$ to pay you, how do they go about doing it?

This is the problem with linux,to many distro’s for the average person to be able to figure out which one they should run. Most average people would not be able to install a distro of linux, or be able to afford a tech to do it.

This is why windows wins. How many computers out there come with Mint linux pre installed that you can buy at best-buy?

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 You are all right and wrong.

but most of you want everyone to uninsall windows and put on a linux distro, Do you not see the problem here? Most people can not do that. I know techs can and I know some of you do it for your customers, but for the average person with no tech or no $$$$ to pay you, how do they go about doing it?

In most cases, simply download the LiveCD, burn it to a disc, boot to the CD drive and then follow the on screen instructions. Not brain surgery anymore. Quite a few distros have Live CD’s that will even start the install when you pop the CD in when running Windows.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 You are all right and wrong.

On an aside:

I’ve had to use LiveCD versions of Linux to fix Windows problems quite often (especially those wonderful infinite reboot problems Windows has when a registry item has gotten borked or infected). I boot up the LiveCD, access the Windows partition and edit the registry instead of the “recommended” solution of re-installing Windows from the original CD (which the user never bothered to actually burn in the first place) and losing everything the user has created or installed.

PRMan (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 You are all right and wrong.

  1. Simply download the Live CD

    Assuming we stick with the most listed Mint, which one do they download?

    Cinnamon 32/64, Cinnamon no codecs 32/64, Cinnamon OEM 64, MATE 32/64, MATE no codecs 32/64, MATE OEM 64, KDE 32/64, Xfce 32/64

    2. Burn it to a disc

    Most people don’t know how to do this. I would rate this as a medium problem. A USB stick image is probably easier and more universal.

    3. Boot to the CD drive

    Most users don’t know how to go into the BIOS or how to change the boot to anything but the hard drive.

    4. Follow the on screen instructions

    The easiest part.

    5. Devices don’t work

    You forgot this part. About 50% of the time, everything will work and even printers will already be there. Great.

    But then you have hardware that doesn’t work. And getting it to work involes arcane command line processes. And before you say it doesn’t, even getting the fast NVidia drivers (the most common driver in the world) requires:
    a. blacklisting Nouveau (requiring a textfile change)
    b. updating grub2
    c. rebooting
    d. accepting lower graphics
    e. installing the graphics driver
    f. running nvidia-xconfig
    g. rebooting (most people are not going to know to hit Alt+Ctrl+Print_Screen+K to restart X)

    This as opposed to (in Windows XP/7/8):

    a. go to nvidia.com
    b. click download, run, next, next, next, finish
    c. it asks you to reboot and you say yes

    And in Windows 10:

    a. it automatically does it for you

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 You are all right and wrong.

Or click this link http://www.amazon.com/MintBox-IPC-D2x2-C3337NL-H500-WB-XLM-FM4U-BMint-2-Desktop/dp/B00EONR674/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1441219346&sr=8-1&keywords=mintbox
click “Add to Cart” Adjust quantity as desired and click checkout.

Or hire me. I managed to do it, but it was way easier than your instructions.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 You are all right and wrong.

Fair enough. I’ve never had too many hardware problems on any distos I’ve installed so far, but Ok.

And yes, the NVIDIA driver problems have always existed. But if you want to blame anyone for that, blame NVIDIA for being dicks and ignoring the Linux community for so long. Although those problems are being addressed and (hopefully) will be less of a pain in the future.

http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2013/09/nvidia-seeks-peace-with-linux-pledges-help-on-open-source-driver/

Ok. I’m bailing out of this discussion now. Bottom line, in my humble opinion, is that if you wish give up more and more of your privacy to Microsoft (because who knows what spyware the next update from Redmond will bring), because it might take a little bit of learning and patience to get going on Linux, have at it. I, on the the other hand, will opt to keep control of the hardware I purchase.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 You are all right and wrong.

Assuming we stick with the most listed Mint, which one do they download? Cinnamon 32/64, Cinnamon no codecs 32/64, Cinnamon OEM 64, MATE 32/64, MATE no codecs 32/64, MATE OEM 64, KDE 32/64, Xfce 32/64?

Linux Mint website: “If you’re not sure which one is right for you, “Cinnamon 64-bit edition” is the most popular.”

I know this Linux stuff is so hard. 😉

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 You are all right and wrong.

You can buy them at Amazon. You can buy a larger selection online if you don’t exclude yourself to one retailer or Linux Distro.

But since you bring it up. Microsoft knows people will choose something else that’s why they do everything they can to prevent major manufacturers preinstalling Linux desktop systems and selling them at major retail outlets.

It’s also why they keep moving the settings for UEFI in Windows making it difficult to boot or install Linux they fear a product comparison.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 You are all right and wrong.

Oh but you where pushing an agenda that this link puts a small hole in.

I don’t know what you’re talking about or if you replied to the wrong person since I don’t remember mentioning a computer with Mint preinstalled. I had no agenda, you mentioned that it’s possible to buy Linux computers on Amazon. I didn’t know that, so I went to check it out and posted some links in case anyone else was curious too. That’s all.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 You are all right and wrong.

Gwiz, I totally agree with you on ease of use, but I truly think the main factor holding back Linux is really just support. I really think Apple was able to bring *nix out of obscurity not by being the best OS around, but by having a good team to support end users. It wasn’t always in-house but also integrators familiar with the product enough to help the end users. The main problem in my eyes is fragmentation of *nix community. So I run CentOS based off of RedHat, you run Debian or a derivative like Ubuntu, and the guy down the street runs PC-BSD, what distro is the highschool kid supposed to learn to get really proficient at being a Sys Admin. Sure after awhile, he’ll probably learn the differences and work around most issues, but it’s certainly not promoting *nix, FOSS, or OpenSource…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 You are all right and wrong.

The tools of system administration are largely common across the *nix world, based on the shell and it text mangling tools. Learn those, and the differences in package managers and minor file system variations should not cause any issues for a system administrator. Much more important is a methodological approach, ability to work with large log files and diverse sources of information is much more important, along with keeping notes of what they are doing, and backing up configuration files before making changes.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: You are all right and wrong.

So again I will say read my entire post before responding, it will keep you from sounding like an idiot …

Some of us have been listening to screeds like yours for over two decades and we’re getting a little impatient that you still haven’t bothered to clue in. It’s getting pretty tiring from repetition. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. Maybe we can’t save you, but I’ll bet you can if you try.

Ta_ahlikitah (profile) says:

Re: You are all right and wrong.

This little 60+ old woman, who started using computers about 12 years ago and has yet to phone someone to come fix her machine, is reading this column because she fully intends to disable this stuff but just might try out linux on her old machine and then switch over the new one if it works for her.

Anonymous Coward says:

“Now some of the information being transmitted is purportedly harmless, and some of the problems appear to be overblown (like Windows 10 being banned from some BitTorrent trackers for fear of it reporting user piracy activity”

What some call overblown, others might call not enough…..by far

Im glad to hear SOMEONES making some sort of stance, but if not enough, then this will become more frequent and even more obtrusive

Has anyone thought, that, information about our persons in one sitution , given without explicit consent, would require another organisation to SUPPOSEDLY require a warrent……..what does that mean LAWFULLY, if information about our persons however gathered is then “legally” required to be shared, upon punishment through what ever means i.e. financially, regulatory, “permissions” (to operate/build) etc etc

The digital age equivelent to the redcoats presuming the power to search without warrent, the americas, that lead to a revolution

This digital spying is akin to coporate/government coming up to you, searching and cataloguing you, NOT because your a criminal, but, just because

Seing the road were taking and having no choices to avoid it, is infuriating

Anonymous Coward says:

I will be trying Linux soon

I have an older Windows laptop that is slowing down from age. I will be trying out Linux on it soon and see if I can do what I need to do without Windows. MS is has moved from the forefront to the back of the bus and moves like this are desperate attempts to regain control. I will not be giving them that control.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re:

These addresses are hard-coded to bypass the hosts file …

Ok, I’ll block the DNS and IPs at my router.

You don’t consider that an unnecessary imposition? You don’t mind them sneakily avoiding your wanting to control your property?

On the other hand, there’s other alternatives available which don’t do that sort of thing, but it’s up to you; your box.

Anonymous Coward says:

Linux is Easy as Pi

It is absolutely amazing how many posts are here by people who claim to have used or use Linux but can’t make it work and frequently talk about the command line.

Linux is simpler to use, and simpler to install. I don’t use the shell (command line) on my desktop, only on servers. Everything just works and Windows is as it always has been the OS that regularly needs support.

I don’t find Linux difficult at all. I was in the IT field and switched to Linux because it’s obviously the future. Life has just been so easy with Linux that I have become lazy and don’t want to deal with all the nonsense Windows support requires.

The Distro I prefer to use is Linux Mint.