Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 12th Jul 2004 08:45 UTC
Editorial This article describes some of my annoyances in computing. If you had any problems reading this article, then skip this one. It will only be a waste of your time. There are a lot of annoying things in the wonderful world of computing. Of course, nothing is perfect, but that doesn't mean we are not allowed to complain and scream and throw our keyboards at our monitors when yet another irritation pops up.
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by drsmithy on Tue 13th Jul 2004 04:45 UTC

On bootloaders:

Why not make booting an OS simpler? Maybe integrate OS booting into the mainboard? It might really be a good idea to let the BIOS boot the OS. Just make sure the BIOS knows how to load the kernel, and the OS itself will take care of the rest. This way we don't need crappy bootloaders anymore (let's celebrate!).

This is already what happens. The "bootloader" is the part of the "OS" that the BIOS starts.

Yet, they have remained the same over ages. A misconfigured bootloader could mean hell for an average user. I mean, an average user will probably think his computer is broken, and he will send it back to the shop, in order to get it fixed.

The average user will never see a bootloader.

Complain about the archaic x86 boot process if you must, but don't try to pretend it's an issue for anything more than advanced users (and only a small minority of them, at that). Most people have one OS on their machine, that they didn't install themselves and will never see a "bootloader" or, indeed, with most new machines, even a single character-based screen as the machine starts.

You are complaining about how the system works, and then suggesting it should work in exactly the same way it already does. The "annoyance" isn't the bootloader as a principle, it's the poor execution and fragility of software like LILO and GRUB.

Another really annoying thing is that a MBR is not write-protected.

Most motherboards have an option in the BIOS that protects the MBR, although it may be rather cryptically named and is almost always turned off by default.

Boot time:

If you want the machine to start quickly, either don't turn it off, or hibernate it. Macs, in particular, hibernate and restart extremely quickly.

It's pretty hard to make a piece of multipurpose and extendable hardware like a computer start quickly. As for the comparison to a car, it is simply ridiculous - of *course* cars start quickly, they hardly have to *do* anything to start.

You aren't going to get a flexible, multipurpose device like a computer starting "from cold" instantaneously, *particularly* if you want to do it within the constraints of supporting existing hardware.

Multifunction keyboards:

If you get so worked up because the keyboard you'd like to buy comes with some extra keys that don't, in any way, negatively impact on how it works, then you've got serious issues.

Personally, I use a few of those extra keys - the volume controls in particular. I have also found the scroll wheel on the left of some newer keyboards quite useful, although unfortunately they often have a useless (and pointless) reconfiguration of the Home/End/Delete/Insert/PageUp/PageDown keys to go with it.