Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 4th May 2012 18:16 UTC
Windows While it's technically a regression, and while it will surely make those of us who remember having to install DVD support on Linux from third-party repositories smile, it's still a major change and a sign of things to come: Windows 8 will ship without support for DVD and Blu-ray playback.
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RE[2]: Because they can
by UltraZelda64 on Sun 6th May 2012 10:13 UTC in reply to "RE: Because they can"
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I can take any distro you care to name and slap the version from say 4 years ago (which isn't even half of a Windows support cycle) on some boxes and upgrade to current know what i get? Broken boxes!

Okay then. How about Red Hat Enterprise Linux? Or if you're not too thrilled about having to pay for an experiment, there's always CentOS and Scientific Linux. If your complaint is that you can't run a Linux distribution with flawless upgrades from version to version and for years on end, then maybe you should be looking into distributions with longer support cycles (in other words, much smaller changes). Hell, the latest Ubuntu LTS is now not only supported on servers for 5 years (up from 3 previously), it's even supported for the same amount of time on desktops.

And what do you need to "upgrade" a Linux (or hell, any UNIX or UNIX-like) machine in the traditional DOS/Windows sense for anyway? You have the ability to flawlessly use separate partitions (and even drives) right from the start to segregate the system itself from the users' files... use it. Linux distributions tend to come with more useful software upon installation than any version of Windows, so a Linux user might not even need to download any programs post-install. And if they do, they're all in one place. Bonus if you're not afraid of the command line and use a distro with dependency resolution (which would be almost all of them): Keep a list of the packages' names that you'll be installing and just install them all, including their dependencies, using a simple command.

Even if additional programs are needed on a new version of the distribution, if they were installed and used in the past on the system before wiping the / partition, you won't even need to set them up again... just take care not to wipe your /home partition (back it up just in case, although I never have and haven't had any problems). You can even "upgrade" from a 32-bit distribution to a 64-bit one or reverse, or switch distributions entirely, keeping all your programs' settings. Most recently, I jumped from Debian to OpenSUSE to CrunchBang and the experience compared to Windows (even just reinstalling the same version of that OS in that case) is amazing. The only major exception that I can think of are system programs--things like daemons, whose configurations are written in /etc; those will need to be backed up if there are any modifications to be kept. I would say that that's virtually no problem for a regular desktop user.

Windows "upgrades" are far from flawless themselves. Because its Setup program has always been so stubborn and dumbed down, by default making one huge partition and just dumping everything in there, and then the OS itself uses this partition for all user data as well, upgrades are a disgusting mess. The Setup program has to basically "back up" all this random crap scattered all over the place on this partition, format, and then dump it back onto the main drive--once again, all in one big system partition. Plan on using a second drive for data/files? Well, that'll greatly simply things for yourself if you use it to put all your files on, and I don't know they made it any better since Vista or 7, but in XP it wasn't even worth moving "Documents and Settings" to another drive. Windows just never seemed to work right when moving user directories to another partition/drive. It just doesn't feel like it was meant to be, and I seriously doubt more recent versions have changed that. And don't get me started on the registry; that thing gets filthy over time in a single installation, I don't want to see one that's got crap from one or--gasp--more older versions of Windows festering in it.

Planning on upgrading a 32-bit Windows installation to 64-bit? Good luck with your manual backup to another drive, because the drive's gotta be nuked. You're gonna have to perform a completely new install, fetching and installing all the programs you want installed again, and set them all back up just the way you like them.

According to the article linked to below, apparently the Windows upgrade process has been made better, but I still wouldn't do it. Maybe I just like to be running a completely fresh, new operating system upon first boot with no old crap lurking in the system itself. Also, notice that it says the in-place upgrades are unsupported by Microsoft. I just thought I'd point out that interesting little bit. The upgrade from Windows XP to Vista or 7 is in no way a problem-free operation, and I know from experience neither were previous versions up to XP.

Oh, and fun fact. I once ran into fun little disaster of a bug after completely wiping my mom's Compaq computer and then upgrading the fresh, clean install to XP SP3. After all those hours, finally getting it set up, the reboot required to get Service Pack 3 up and running sent the machine into an infinite reboot cycle. It turns out, this was one of those affected OEM releases that doesn't like AMD processors. The fix? Downloading and running some program BEFORE installing SP3. So yes, I had to reinstall XP--AGAIN--from scratch, another few hours wasted, just to get it back up and running with SP3 installed, and reinstall all those programs and drivers I already installed. And the irony of this? This was no major, Windows XP to Vista upgrade or something... this was basically Windows XP SP2 to SP3... a "minor" upgrade.

On another computer, I remember my network card working fine in the original XP retail version, then sometime after installing a service pack or two, I started getting blue screens of death whenever the network was used heavily (BitTorrent). This driver problem was finally fixed by SP2, when I could finally download torrents once again without worrying about constant BSODs.

In conclusion... once again... Windows is in no way flawless at upgrades. Windows XP SP3 managed to f*** up a brand new install all on its own, an install that was only up and running for maybe a half-hour at the most and not even used yet for real work (just getting set up for use). That's quite an accomplishment.

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