Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 6th Jan 2012 10:06 UTC
Windows And so the smartphonification of the general purpose computer continues. This time around, though, it might actually be for the better. Microsoft has detailed two new features in Windows 8: refreshing and resetting your computer. Reinstalls will be a thing of the past.
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Neolander
Member since:
2010-03-08

Simple and easy, Windows ? Hah !

You have to choose your side, sir. Either you invoke that Windows can work correctly when a knowledgeable person tunes it up, or you invoke that it can be easily used by non-knowledgeable persons. Because maintenance tasks are made anything but easy on this OS.

And before you feel threatened in your intrinsic argumentative superiority and start to spit kilometric paragraphs about how great Windows is with respect to Linux, I'm not saying that Linux is necessarily excellent. It's only less bad. What I'm saying, on the other hand, is that the only reason why you think that Windows is less quirky than Linux is that you are more familiar with its quirks.

You keep invoking the fact that Windows has a GUI, but this OS is pretty much the experimental proof that GUI tools can be made less discoverable and understandable for non-technical people than a CLI. From the point of view of support, I'm sorry to say that blindly running a few bash commands is much, much easier than blindly using MSconfig, the Registry editor, the Services manager, or most tools which are designed as a prettier frontend to those such as CCleaner.

In a sense, I prefer what Apple did in OS X : when an OS designer can't figure out how to design an advanced GUI, it's best to leave the job to command-line tools. Their simpler nature makes them harder to mess up.

Edited 2012-01-09 06:02 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

Simple and easy, Windows ? Hah !

You have to choose your side, sir. Either you invoke that Windows can work correctly when a knowledgeable person tunes it up, or you invoke that it can be easily used by non-knowledgeable persons. Because maintenance tasks are made anything but easy on this OS.

Not exactly. How hard a maintenance task is depends on two main factors: the type of maintenance required, and the tool(s) accessible by the user to address it. These types of tasks and software have made the user experience pretty painless, regardless of the users level of computer knowledge.

I'm not saying that Linux is necessarily excellent. It's only less bad. What I'm saying, on the other hand, is that the only reason why you think that Windows is less quirky than Linux is that you are more familiar with its quirks.

While I tend to lean in agreement of your point about being familiar with quirks, I can not agree that Linux is less bad without specifying in what regard you're referring to. In some cases, Linux slaps Windows around. In some cases, Windows slaps Linux around. In the remainder, it's a draw. But as a blanket statement that Linux is less bad? No way.

As replied to the previous post, you can consider that Windows Vista and up have got fragmentation sorted out if and only if you are ready to ignore the thought that it keeps running defrag in the background every week, needlessly eating up power and cutting on your fragile HDD's lifetime in order to compensate for its terrible everyday file management performance.

The time Windows spends keeping your harddrive defragged is so insignificant that it's not even worth mentioning. Grossly over-exaggerating it tells me you either a) don't actually know much about it's defrag process, or b) are intentionally being misleading & FUD'ing. Be better than that.

Reply Parent Score: 1

Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

"I'm not saying that Linux is necessarily excellent. It's only less bad. What I'm saying, on the other hand, is that the only reason why you think that Windows is less quirky than Linux is that you are more familiar with its quirks."

While I tend to lean in agreement of your point about being familiar with quirks, I can not agree that Linux is less bad without specifying in what regard you're referring to. In some cases, Linux slaps Windows around. In some cases, Windows slaps Linux around. In the remainder, it's a draw. But as a blanket statement that Linux is less bad? No way.

I was implying that Linux is less bad than Windows as an OS for advanced users who like to fine-tune their user-experience, sorry if it was not clear enough.

As for examples of this...
-The CLI system management tools and text config files offered by most Linux distributions are easily scriptable, whereas most of Windows' configuration is stored in binary blobs that are pretty to access by automatic means (although it's not impossible).

-This development of CLI tools also means that you can use the GUI environment that suits your needs best, no matter how obscure it is, and yet still be able to get support from users of other GUI environments.

-If you have lots of system administration tasks to do at once on Linux, you can just su root and do whatever you want without being annoyed. On Windows, unless I'm missing something, you have the choice between a/enduring constant UAC warnings even when you log into an admin account and b/giving up on privilege elevation dialogs when you run as an unprivileged user. I know of no way to selectively disable UAC for admin accounts.

-On Linux, when you have messed up an install and want to start over from a cleaner state, it is possible to transfer only part of your user configuration to the new install, simply by taking care of which content you copy from the old /home to the new /home. On Windows, it's pretty much all or nothing.

-Package managers are a very, very sweet feature to have on a new config when OS manufacturers can afford the server maintenance cost. I've heard that Microsoft plan to catch up on that on Windows 8, though.

-It is possible to make quite lean Linux installs that boot quickly and are very snappy, if you are ready to bother with choosing the right distribution or playing around with system management tools. While Windows used to have the wonderful nLite and vLite, that allowed one to get lots of bloat out of the installation CD/DVD and achieve a performance that gives justice to modern hardware, the author has not kept up with the pace of new Windows releases since he got a job at Microsoft.

-Most Linux distros come on LiveCDs, which are an extremely nice maintenance tool. The equivalent functionality on Windows, BartPE, is nowhere near the same amount of comfort and vendor support, and it takes quite a lot of skill and patience to make a usable Windows LiveCD.

-It would be pretty hard to have Windows install and boot on something else than NTFS, if possible at all. Making it *read* extX volumes is already a challenge. Whereas on Linux, you get support for a large range of filesystems depending on whether you rather value performance, fault tolerance, or another killer feature that only filesystem X has.

I could go on and on, but I think you see my point.

As for more regular computer usage, it's harder to differentiate different OSs as they have become pretty close to each other.

-Windows is quite worse on out of the box hardware support, but generally gets better drivers for nonstandard hardware (GPUs, some network cards...), although the general quality remains awful (Seriously, Nvidia, 100MB+ for an effing DRIVER ? And what's with the screen turning black on every boot on XP ?).

-The performance of Windows installs is generally quite awful as compared to that of Linux installs, even when the latter are running heavy desktop environments such as GNOME or KDE. For a simple example, one can mention the ridiculous time it takes for an USB pen drive to be recognized. To be fair, this may be related to the need to use antivirus software on that OS though.

-Windows Update (or is it Microsoft Update now ?) is a pain. It's slow, it doesn't work with third-party software (which leads such abominations as the Java updater to exist), and it seems that assume that you will never reboot your computer if it doesn't keep nagging you on that matter. The related mess on Linux would be dist-upgrades, which are way too frequently needed on some distros and tend to break stuff.

-Installers on Windows are full of rubbish too (unsafe, annoying, regularly used to sneak bloatware in...). I have to give it to Microsoft though : on Linux, out of repository software is even more of a pain due to the multiple competing binary package standards.

-As discussed somewhere else, Windows developers have no sense of measure and tend to put their software on boot of the OS for no good reason. Unless regular maintenance (MSconfig, etc...) is performed to avoid this outcome, Windows installs end up loading up tons of crap on boot and becoming even slower. Linux software, for some reason, mostly doesn't have this problem.

In the end, Windows' main advantage remains that every average techie knows how to fix it, and that it has overall better third party software (games, pro applications...). I wouldn't call it a good OS for its intrinsic merits, though, it's mostly the community around it that's interesting.

"As replied to the previous post, you can consider that Windows Vista and up have got fragmentation sorted out if and only if you are ready to ignore the thought that it keeps running defrag in the background every week, needlessly eating up power and cutting on your fragile HDD's lifetime in order to compensate for its terrible everyday file management performance."

The time Windows spends keeping your harddrive defragged is so insignificant that it's not even worth mentioning. Grossly over-exaggerating it tells me you either a) don't actually know much about it's defrag process, or b) are intentionally being misleading & FUD'ing. Be better than that.

As a whole, the time a computer spends doing HDD writes is negligible as compared to the time one spends using software that's loaded in RAM. And yet these little things still breaks...

AFAIK, if it weren't for HDDs, computers would easily last 20 years without major hardware issues. Hard drives, cheap ones especially, are incredibly fragile as compared to the rest of the machine, and to the best of my knowledge current SSDs are no better. Operating systems should probably really do their best to put minimal load on mass storage devices, instead of inflicting them 30 minutes of intense defragmentation process every week.

Edited 2012-01-09 14:15 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

[edit - posted this in the wrong place - sorry]

Edited 2012-01-09 09:15 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2