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just_some_guy

Why I have concerns about Microsoft

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Ahhh JSG. I watch your forum antics from afar, as I watch all of you squibble and scream now days - and I reflect upon your words. Maybe time to make a post.

 

I recall you and I crossing swords in some ways, with relation to MS and their product. Seems as good a time as any to build on previous thoughts and maybe make sense of it all.

 

I noticed one of the moderators on this forum currently has the Windows logo as his avatar. Well, I applaud him for being upfront about his biases. In a similar spirit of openness, I'm listing here why I have concerns about Microsoft. And, because TL:DR is endemic on Atomic, I have limited myself to a maximum of two explanatory points per reason.

Not sure of the background here. I don't follow this forum like I once did, so I'll just nod and smile.

 

They always put short term profits ahead of customer needs and interests.

* they rushed Xbox 360 to market ahead of the Christmas sales, even though they knew in advance it had a significant design flaw which scratched disks.

* to force sales of their console, bought out many popular PC game franchises and developers, and forced them to release games only on Xbox (eg. Halo, MechWarrior), denying PC gamers the opportunity to play these titles for years.

Well, WRT the XBOX360, I can only agree with you here. The optical assembly of the unit was a joke from day one, as was the RRoD pandemic. I never had a great deal of respect for the hardware/fabrication effort. That said, I did respect some of the titles, the games and the capabilities of the system. Different matter entirely.

 

They undermine standards, creating customer-unfriendly incompatibilities for their own profit.

* created "two webs", with sites that used propriety MS extensions incompatible with published open standards.

* introduced the "embrace and extend" strategy, to deliberately stop Java and prevent other open standards from being successful

And yet, many of us still accept it, use it and even endorse it. I don't have a good reason for the masses teaming, or why we continue to put up with it, but I do realise, that logically, the market en-mass does not care. This is a matter of perception and the personal situation of the end user, I feel. If you're an enterprise user, I can 100% understand your point here, but for a home user who is concerned with nothing but photos of the cat and emailing the kids holiday photos, it is hard to justify changing things to suit. One could conjecture that people should "vote with their feet" and simply use open source products, or, god forbid, use a Mac - but this in itself has a can of worms, destined for a little fishy.

 

They gouge customers on pricing.

* Microsoft's upgrade prices are higher than actual product improvements suggest would be reasonable.

* expecting Vista customers to pay for Windows 7, in several respects a Service Pack for Vista, is unreasonable.

Business is business, to my mind. I believe 7, having used it for so long now, is significantly different enough to warrant paying "a" price for it, and I feel it's sufficiently capable/better, beyond vista, to the point where I'd consider it an entirely new OS. Kernel similarities/disimilarities aside, I think the product is marketed and sold as something unique for more than just profit. It's done as a mechanism to change public perceptions also. Think about selling "Windows Vista2" vs "Windows 7". I know which one I'd rather, if I had a less than wonderful experience with Vista, and I were in the market for something "fresh". Again, a perception thing, I feel.

 

Their software gets slower and more bloated, even while our hardware gets faster, negating performance gains.

* computer hardware has leaped ahead over the past 20 years in terms of capacity and speed. Yet Windows and MS's main apps don't show anywhere near that increase in performance, while consuming much more resources, and delivering relatively little version on version in increased functionality.

Well, to be fair, I think, for *many* operating environments, distributions and binaries were destined to become larger. How do you pack more media, more inbuilt tools and more "everything" into something and somehow squish it into less? Optimisation of code and cool compiling techniques aside, I think this just may be the logical progression of things. I'd disagree that things are becoming slower, and that performance gains are ending up negated, on the basis that, on every OS that turns up, we introduce something new to take more advantage of the underlying hardware. Just look at the new Mac OS, or the new Solaris, with their intel_nhm modules and their new amd_ista kit. We've got plenty of overheads, sure, but we've got all these magical bits under the hood allowing us to see more, do more and feel more. You can strip things back to an "optimised" or "bare bones" environment if you wish - and run it like you ran a kernel from 10 years ago, sure. Where is the big leap forward in doing this however, when the consumer that cares about sight, sound, gloss and pop are concerned? Equally, coming from a big-iron background, I ask the question - if I have an OS that has a larger memory footprint than the previous, but it offers me functionality I previously didn't have, even if I have to buy more RAM modules to cope - why would I cast anger/dispersion onto the OS, if it's achieving "something" for me? It's progress at a cost, to my mind. That cost is different, for all of us.

 

They're lazy, only innovating, or adding functionality, when forced to.

* after they killed Netscape by IE bundling and bifurcating the web into incompatibility, they did little to improve IE until alternatives like Firefox gained momentum.

* this pattern (recent example: putting a decent search function in Windows to counter Google) is repeated over and over.

Here, I sort of agree. Innovation and genuinely NEW ideas from Redmond are not as bright, attractive or as forthcoming as the thing I see simmering from the likes of Oracle, Apple or Sun, in terms of the "skunkworks". That said, we all know Redmond have their own dreamland division where things are on the cool side - we just don't see them converted into reality as we would with other vendors as often, to my mind. MS are not, to my mind, about amazing or epic innovation. They are about fulfilling a market.

 

"Their" innovations are mostly copies of others' ideas.

* most of Microsoft's "ideas" are actually copied from others (eg. Apple UI elements for Vista and Windows 7, Firefox functionality for IE), or a result of purchasing other companies.

To long a bow to draw I think dude. Whilst I agree, that, in clear sight, their GUI's, their "touch interface" and their other newer interface quirks are fairly unoriginal, it's very hard to say they lack entire originality. I believe their innovations are simply more conservative than the more "radical" market players. This might be a "we have to be like this" thing, rather than a "we want to be like this" situation, if that makes sense to you...

 

They have more ready cash than most other companies, but don't spend it on fixing their products.

* they are currently sitting on $20 Billion in cash. They could not sell another piece of software for 3 years and still stay in business, yet they have never spent their historically huge cash reserves on programmers or bug-fixing.

But they are. They made Windows 7, which, by and large, is going to be a screaming knockout success. They patch constantly, and their server OS's frankly rock, for certain tasks.

 

They try to pass off minor cosmetic tweaks as major improvements.

* Media Centre is a great example. Instead of working on the core issues of codec incompatibility, phantom folder creation etc that plague the Vista version, what they've mostly done for the Windows 7 version is introduce graphic tweaks and peripheral novelties.

I'd have thought it's a common market tactic these days. Apple are trying to add kudos to their Snow Leopard as a "tweaked" or "optimised" version of Leopard....

 

They pioneer predatory business practices, which encourages other companies to follow suit.

* by creating, and showing how to get away with practices like predatory bundling, "send it out and fix it later" software coding, "embrace and extend" undermining of open standards, they encourage other companies (notably, appliance manufacturers) to pull the same tricks to get ahead.

Nobody said it was a fair world. They can undermine all the open standards they want. It doesn't stop me still making use of both open environments and closed environments, and getting plenty done in the process.

 

They generally offer low quality products.

* how many Gbs of patches should you need to download in order to get each brand new just-released version of Windows to work, and why don't MS apply those patches before they sell it?

* witness: Xbox quality issues, ongoing Vista incompatibility issues, etc.

Another long bow to draw, I believe. On this basis, the several Gb of patches that exist for Solaris, AIX, Mac OS X, HP-UX, BSD, Linux-of-any-flavour make them low quality also. This doesn't really add up I don't think man.

 

They ignore the law of the land.

* even when found guilty of breaking the law, they use legal process tricks and chicanery to delay implementing the judgement.

* then they re-offend when it's cheaper to pay the fine than lose an illicit business advantage (eg. European IE bundling case)

No argument here.

 

They think they know better than me what I need, and force me to do things their way.

* constant changes to UIs, default file locations, and application commands, costs us all time and effort re-learning each new version, often for no genuine productivity gain.

* they are increasingly locking down power user short cuts, folder permissions, and burying control options, to stop those of us who know what we're doing from doing things in the simplest way.

They aren't forcing you to do anything, to my mind. Change things. Throw it out the door. Bend computing to you. Don't let it bend you. You don't need to use their OS. Break free. What is stopping you?

 

The quality of their Products is generally poor.

* constant Windows bug fixes, endemic Xbox console problems.

...think we've covered that, sort of.

 

Sure, there are things that Microsoft have done which are net good for us as consumers. But frankly, most of them are incidental after-effects from their ill-gotten premier position in the industry. Or, token PR attempts to win back favour from those of us who are disgusted by their business practices. And, these positives are outweighed by the many negative impacts of the customer-unfriendly, unethical and slovenly corporate behemoth which dominates our hobby/industry.

 

In any case, I hope you found the above perspective at least slightly interesting.

Some of them, yes - but I think, and this is just my take on it, you're looking at the world with a set of blinkers man. If you truly wanted to change things - you'd stand up, be counted and say "I'm going to change things". I do - and I feel good about changing things, for everyone. You don't NEED to conform to the problems you face. You can be and do what you want with computing I feel. I do - and I am happy with that.

 

So questions remain:

 

1. If it's such a problem for you, why not just use a Linux or UNIX distribution? Or Some other alternative OS?

2. Do you have a job where you need to support these problems you encounter/face? If so, what can you do to mitigate them or work around them so that you can move forward, in terms of OS tech, but maintain the user experience you want?

 

To postface all of this.

 

1. I'm not a windows guy. I'm a UNIX guy. I just happen to use Windows OS's for shits and giggles both as a consumer and computing professional.

2. I respect it all, for what it was made for. I expect nothing of windows where I expect everything of UNIX and vice versa.

3. It's easy to complain man - and it's harder to get up and change the world. It feels good though, when you do.

4. And I'll say one more thing, JSG...

 

I'm not going to stomp all over your opinions, and tell you that you are wrong. I will tell you that I feel you need to open your eyes a little more et al and see things from a few more perspectives if you can in some way "out of body experience" for a bit.

 

I will say this. You have conviction, JSG - and you have a spine bone. You'd make a fine person who could change things for everyone, and be a guy who could shift the powers that be, and the hearts and minds of many. You just need to focus your energy, I believe.

 

 

z

Edited by zebra

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kikz, strifus, I'm fairly sure that the "implied or otherwise" warranties the EULA, at least in the context of Australian law, regards to them having no obligation to make sure their software works with every single hardware/software combination in existance, since the product can't exist by itself.

 

If the product itself does not function at all (generally restricted to media defects), or does not work as it was designed to (they promise a spreadsheet program, but when you run it, you can't make spreadsheets), they are still required by law to repair, replace, or refund. Edit: The statutory warranty, I believe we call it.

 

The clause is designed to protect the developers from incompatibility related refunds (in which case, it's buyer beware), rather than absolve them of writing working software.

Edited by SquallStrife

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If you feel that strongly about it all then you should be lobbying government to pass a bill that ALL new computers MUST NOT be sold with a pre-installed O/s.

 

The OEM's get the underhanded pressure from Redmond removed and get to sell the PC's cheaper.

 

Live CD's to be provided at P.O.S.

Of these Live CD's, Windows will be a trial version. Expiring after... Say... 28 days, before opening a pop-up that asks whether the user wishes to upgrade to full version (enter credit card details) or stay with 2 hour time out limited current install.

 

Or install other distro.

 

There's nothing really to whinge about as this was the way that was default for ALL us old timers when we got into computing.

 

A computer is not a "switch on appliance" to allow muppets to crash & bash their ways around the internet causing untold miseries to unsuspecting victims. Unfortunately some Ethics lacking Money-Grubber marketed it as such.

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A computer is not a "switch on appliance" to allow muppets to crash & bash their ways around the internet causing untold miseries to unsuspecting victims. Unfortunately some Ethics lacking Money-Grubber marketed it as such.

It should be and if it isn't, someone fucked up.

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Nice post zebra :)

 

I'd have to say +1 to most of your responses.

 

The bottom line is that Microsoft aren't an evil corporation. Sure, one can pick out examples where they have screwed up, but that's the case with virtually every company. It's just that we are all interested in tech and Microsoft is front and center in this space. To say that they are always trying to screw people, or always produce bloatware or always produce inferior products is over the top and is really an unbalanced assessment.

 

Sure the XBox was very poor, but you can look at products like XP as very fit for purpose. Even Vista, that came with my tablet PC, has been faultless for a couple of years. Windows 7 beats both Vista AND XP in many benchmarks, so they have been doing some listening. I should also throw in the current version of Office which works well.

 

EDIT : I should also add that I have one of the first optical meeces, a Microsoft one, and it's still my main pointing device. I also had an MS Sidewinder joystick that just wouldn't die no matter how badly I treated it...

Edited by Mac Dude

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All great posts, thanks. I made my views clear in the first post and subsequent responses, so I'm going to respond to Zebra's questions on the basis that they might remain otherwise unanswered.

 

Q1. If it's such a problem for you, why not just use a Linux or UNIX distribution? Or Some other alternative OS?

A1. I do. I use Linux and less frequently, Macs. But as so many of my customers, and the games I like to play, run on Windows, I have to use Windows, too.

 

Q2. Do you have a job where you need to support these problems you encounter/face?

A2. Not support, but interface with. Ie I have to do my work on a Windows computer if my customer has Windows computers.

 

Q3: (implied) Why don't you do something about it rather than post about it on a forum?

A3: I hope, by raising these issues in a rationale way, and provoking a debate, maybe some other Microsoft customers will say:

 

"Hey, maybe there's some merit to his points of view. Maybe we shouldn't blithely accept low quality standards. Maybe it's not actually ok to have to download Gbs of patches straight after you open the box. Or that cosmetic tweaks be paraded as valid reasons for an expensive upgrade. Maybe we'll avoid using MS's propriety versions of what should have been open standards. And maybe instead of criticising the EU for being 'unfair', we'll support their strategy of giving MS a good slap to get them to overall play fairer in the market. And maybe regulators will wise up to MS's legal tricks, and make the protection laws better able to deal with their shenanigans. Etc."

 

I think, if enough people appreciate the bigger issues, and know the history, and see the trend, and decide to start acting on these things, then maybe it will actually force Microsoft to be more customer focussed, and deliver better products.

 

And that won't just benefit us, it'll actually benefit the whole market, by making it a bit more competitive.

 

Again, thanks for all the thoughtful posts and responses, which I've found instructive.

Edited by just_some_guy

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Say the tables were turned IBM rejected MS-DOS however it never came to fruition and Linux was the dominating operating system, im sure Mr Linus Torvalds & co would have become a high profit organization and acted in the same way microsoft acts now after over a decade on top. Then Microsoft would become the Open OS of choice and everyone would be beating down on Linux as a monopolizing lazy "Fat (Cash Cow) Cow" of the PC world.

 

If i made a program that sold world wide and was in almost every household on the planet i too would do everything in my power to make sure people paid for and used my software. Microsofts tactics are unfair, but any other company in the same situation would do the same thing (Intel) to keep pole position. Now that of course doesnt answer your question about slow innovation, but slow innovation comes from poor competition and Linux unfortunatly is not in a position to fight windows on the huge consumer base which Windows caters for. People are scared of change and as long as that change requires moving back to an MS-DOS type command interface (Terminal anyone) the masses just wont kick Windows for Linux even if people in the Know consider it to be a superior operating system!

 

I tried Linux, i like linux, but Windows and especially the new Windows 7 (Faster, lighter and an all round better experience) is just so much more conveneint for myself and the majority of people who own a personal computer.

Edited by smakme7757

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Well, I know I'm late to the party, but I thought I might put my 2c in...

 

They always put short term profits ahead of customer needs and interests.

* they rushed Xbox 360 to market ahead of the Christmas sales, even though they knew in advance it had a significant design flaw which scratched disks.

* to force sales of their console, bought out many popular PC game franchises and developers, and forced them to release games only on Xbox (eg. Halo, MechWarrior), denying PC gamers the opportunity to play these titles for years.

That link is low on having any actual verifiable content, and comes across as just gossip. Besides, as SquallStrife pointed out, it's kind of stupid to move your console while discs are spinning if it comes with a warning not to. MS knew of the problem and shipped a warning instead of fixing it, as it was not a serious problem..people ignore the warning and then blame MS? I don't see this point as having much merit. I don't really see a problem with either of the game franchises you mentioned either. MechWarrior was not overly popular on the PC, and Halo was a fresh title, developed by a Mac games company. No great losses, and a great gain.

 

They undermine standards, creating customer-unfriendly incompatibilities for their own profit.

* created "two webs", with sites that used propriety MS extensions incompatible with published open standards.

* introduced the "embrace and extend" strategy, to deliberately stop Java and prevent other open standards from being successful

The two webs thing is a bit harsh. Netscape did the same thing back in the day...it just happens that MS won. To be fair, the two webs is more to do with shitty implementation of the standards, rather than having any proprietary extensions. ActiveX/Silverlight is shitty, but by no means mandatory. I never had a problem viewing 99.9% of webpages without utilising either of those technologies. If something like Silverlight becomes dominant in the current environment, then it is the consumers to blame.

 

They gouge customers on pricing.

* Microsoft's upgrade prices are higher than actual product improvements suggest would be reasonable.

* expecting Vista customers to pay for Windows 7, in several respects a Service Pack for Vista, is unreasonable.

Vista was by no means as bad as you seem to think it was/is, and Vista users are by no means 'owed' Windows 7 as a service pack that finally fixes it, as others, if not you seem to be implying. Windows 7 is not as drastic a change as some people posit, but it is certainly change enough to warrant a separate release, and is worth paying for.

 

Most of the prices are actually very reasonable, unless you purchase a full version retail. Which...why would you ever do that? You can generally buy it through work, university, upgrade versions etc.., not to mention the support you get, and things like volume licensing being reasonable.

 

Their software gets slower and more bloated, even while our hardware gets faster, negating performance gains.

* computer hardware has leaped ahead over the past 20 years in terms of capacity and speed. Yet Windows and MS's main apps don't show anywhere near that increase in performance, while consuming much more resources, and delivering relatively little version on version in increased functionality.

Eh?

 

Software moves ahead in leaps and bounds. Perhaps you just don't notice it because a lot of it is under the hood? I don't think it's fair to say they are bloated however. What's the point in having awesome hardware if your not going to utilise it? Also, sometimes it may seem like it is making poor use of hardware when this is not the case. For example, if Vista uses most of your memory, this is not a bad thing...

 

They're lazy, only innovating, or adding functionality, when forced to.

* after they killed Netscape by IE bundling and bifurcating the web into incompatibility, they did little to improve IE until alternatives like Firefox gained momentum.

* this pattern (recent example: putting a decent search function in Windows to counter Google) is repeated over and over.

Yes...that is a good example, and yes, they do suck for this sometimes. However, it's not fair to say they don't innovate at all. They operate in many different areas, and many of their innovations may seem seamless to you, and you may not even notice them. I think it's fair to say a lot of their innovations are in the form of underlying technologies, and 'glue'..ways to make everything integrate smoothly in ways that other platforms sorely lack.

 

"Their" innovations are mostly copies of others' ideas.

* most of Microsoft's "ideas" are actually copied from others (eg. Apple UI elements for Vista and Windows 7, Firefox functionality for IE), or a result of purchasing other companies.

They don't claim the products from their acquired companies as innovations. They have separate innovations, as a result of putting a hell of a lot of money into research. Besides, as kikz pointed out, everyone copies from everyone.

 

They have more ready cash than most other companies, but don't spend it on fixing their products.

* they are currently sitting on $20 Billion in cash. They could not sell another piece of software for 3 years and still stay in business, yet they have never spent their historically huge cash reserves on programmers or bug-fixing.

 

Apple has more money than Microsoft, and puts far less into solving the problems they have with their significantly lower userbase, so perhaps they are more evil in that sense? I don't think you should underestimate the time and cost of testing, supporting and reparing all the different problems for all their different products across so many different configurations. All in all, they do a pretty good job.

 

They try to pass off minor cosmetic tweaks as major improvements.

* Media Centre is a great example. Instead of working on the core issues of codec incompatibility, phantom folder creation etc that plague the Vista version, what they've mostly done for the Windows 7 version is introduce graphic tweaks and peripheral novelties.

I'm not familiar with Media Center, suffice to say I have not encountered the problems you describe with Vista. Quite often, while you may only notice a minor cosmetic tweak, this does not mean there are not major improvements..., I understand there are significant improvements in Windows 7 allowing playback on Xbox 360's for example...

 

They pioneer predatory business practices, which encourages other companies to follow suit.

* by creating, and showing how to get away with practices like predatory bundling, "send it out and fix it later" software coding, "embrace and extend" undermining of open standards, they encourage other companies (notably, appliance manufacturers) to pull the same tricks to get ahead.

Well...maybe. I don't think that their practices are that bad. Simply because, judged against other companies, they really are not that bad. As for "sending it out and fixing it later" that is what every software vendor does, even free and open source software packages..., it's necessary, as not all bugs can be accounted for. I also don't see them as having pioneered any practices you have disaprooved of. People have been doing shady business practices for many thousands of years.

 

They generally offer low quality products.

* how many Gbs of patches should you need to download in order to get each brand new just-released version of Windows to work, and why don't MS apply those patches before they sell it?

* witness: Xbox quality issues, ongoing Vista incompatibility issues, etc.

Hugely subjective. Honestly, I think some of the later windows versions are some of the highest quality software out there today. I'm quite impressed with Office 2007 as well. Their hardware has always been top notch. I think the days of them shipping low quality software has changed, perhaps due to competition, or perhaps just due to getting into drive as a company.

 

They ignore the law of the land.

* even when found guilty of breaking the law, they use legal process tricks and chicanery to delay implementing the judgement.

* then they re-offend when it's cheaper to pay the fine than lose an illicit business advantage (eg. European IE bundling case)

The EU ruling was retarded, and did not favour the people in any way...that aside, your other link is from 2003. Why are you holding a grudge? Surely there are more recent examples? IN any event, if they find loopholes in the law, that is a problem with the law, and not so much with Microsoft. If they are not actually breaking the law....

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They think they know better than me what I need, and force me to do things their way.

* constant changes to UIs, default file locations, and application commands, costs us all time and effort re-learning each new version, often for no genuine productivity gain.

* they are increasingly locking down power user short cuts, folder permissions, and burying control options, to stop those of us who know what we're doing from doing things in the simplest way.

Huh. Surely you can configure everything how you like it? I don't think they knows what's better for you any more than any other company tries to do by updating their interface. Besides, in a lot of cases, they do know what's better for most users. Not techies, but then we know how to turn it off.... As such, I don't see file locations or commands changing drastically in the last 15 years, and the UI has been remarkably consistent.

 

The quality of their Products is generally poor.

* constant Windows bug fixes, endemic Xbox console problems.

That is the same as you point above, and is the most subjective of your points. Why did you need to reinforce it?

 

Sure, there are things that Microsoft have done which are net good for us as consumers. But frankly, most of them are incidental after-effects from their ill-gotten premier position in the industry. Or, token PR attempts to win back favour from those of us who are disgusted by their business practices. And, these positives are outweighed by the many negative impacts of the customer-unfriendly, unethical and slovenly corporate behemoth which dominates our hobby/industry.

 

In any case, I hope you found the above perspective at least slightly interesting.

I think you want to see Microsoft as a lot more evil then they really are. Really..there just a lumbering giant who wants to stay afloat. Have a look at Oracle, or far far worse, Monsanto or DeBeers. Both of those companies are evil. All in all, with all the negatives microsoft have done...I think they have done a lot of good, I like thier products, and these days don't really see a problem.

 

Lastly, Zebra said it right...different perspectives. Don't let people discourage you, as you haven't so far, but try to understand that things are not necessarily how they seem at first glance, and if they are, try to understand the underlying reasons.

 

 

you see, i too have tried to use linux, and i find it much harder to use the windows. anything more advanced then browsing the internet invariably requires use of the terminal, and i find your claim that new users could possibly find the terminal easier to use then a well structured GUI they have used in some form their whole lives rediculous. i dont deny that linux is a viable, powerful, workable OS. but its far less user friendly then windows and miles behind MacOS when it comes to new users.

 

if all your users do is write word documents and browse the web, maybe they do find it nicer to use then windows, but i bet the first time they went to install a program and had to go three rounds with the synaptics package manager, they wished they had windows and its double-click-the-installer simplicity.

 

certainly, your claim that none of your clients have ever had a problem with linux is utterly ludicrous.

Linux can be quite easier than Windows in some respects, and hardly ever requires the terminal depending on what distribution you use. A friend of mine I visited recently had been using Ubuntu for the last 8 months, and was surprised there even was a terminal. He even managed to get wine up and running. This is a guy who knows nothing about computers.....

 

It's important not to confuse familiarity with what is actually easier to use. Most people are use to a Windows like system. People who have never used Ubuntu or Windows would probably find them to be of an equal learning curve, for basic desktop use. Ubuntu may even come out in front.

 

I agree it's certainly not ready for the desktop in the way Windows is, but for basic stuff like browsing and word processing it is more than capable, and this is all a lot of people do. Certainly, it is all that a great number of older folk seem to do. Going by my parents, and a lot of the families I have done work for, what were once $2000 machines end up being used for email, browser games, solitaire and perhaps storing photos. It is by no means unreasonable that his clients never had a problem with Linux.

 

No. That's why it's only about 1 in every 25 posts I make on these forums. And that again is a fraction of the general pro-Microsoft posting that's prevalent in these forums. The purpose of this post was to explain exactly why I think some criticism of Microsoft is valid.

I average 20 posts a day. If you're similar, that is at least one anti-MS remark or 'joke' a day. It gets tiring.

 

Yes, and that ill-gotten incumbency is also what stops better OS's and apps even being invented in the first place (why bother?) and spreading when they do exist. So it's a bit of a circular argument. But in the end we're still entitled to expect Microsoft as a company to put more effort into the quality of its products.

If something is better, than people will use it. Look at Firefox. If linux ever picks up its act and sorts out its problems, then people will flock to it. At the moment, for the most part, there is simply nothing better. It's a sad reality, but it is what it is. Also, why do you think we are entitled to better quality software?

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A computer is not a "switch on appliance" to allow muppets to crash & bash their ways around the internet causing untold miseries to unsuspecting victims. Unfortunately some Ethics lacking Money-Grubber marketed it as such.

It should be and if it isn't, someone fucked up.

 

agreed. just because "thats the way it was" doesnt make it the way it should be.

 

if you recall, back in the day you didnt have gigabit networking either. is that convenience also a plot by some Ethics lacking Money-Grubber?

 

or is it simply the progress of technology?

 

fun fact: whether you like it or no, about 90% of the population is perfectly happy with windows or MacOS, and would throw fruit at you if you stood up infront of them and told them they would ahve to install their own OS's from now on.

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whether you like it or no, about 90% of the population is perfectly happy with windows or MacOS, and would throw fruit at you if you stood up infront of them and told them they would ahve to install their own OS's from now on.

Yeah, but here on Atomic, I am counting on a slightly more savvy crowd which can see the merits in my perspectives on these matters :)

 

But thanks to you and the preceding posters for your detailed responses. I did read all of them.

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Yes, I think on reading all of the comments I have probably softened my view somewhat, and some good examples were provided of how some of Microsoft's recent behaviour has been better than in the past.

 

That won't stop me making Microsoft jokes though, sorry :) Nor from generally believing that people can and should expect better customer focus from the world's largest software company.

 

In any case, exchange of opinions, and hopefully people will understand why I will ocassionally have a shot at them.

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Sorry, I know I'm a little late to the party, but I wanted to give a slightly more detailed response.

 

 

What is it you want MS to change? Is your issue with the corporate heads? Team leaders on specific areas of MS products? The actual coders who go through their products?

 

If one part of MS is making flipping windows and translucent window frame effects, it doesn't mean that they are responsible for there not being some big innovation in some other (or related) area of the OS/UI.

 

(Relatedly, I think I've linked to a blog entry in another thread, by an MS employee, who rightly pointed out that when changes are made to the OS that don't have some way for a user to easily notice - most commonly in the form of some GUI update - then the user often doesn't notice the update and complains - obvious examples being notepad and calculator, over the years)

 

As far as product pricing goes, I find it a little odd that you think every new product that comes out is something you have to pay for. If the cost:benefit isn't matching up, then wait for a future version, or (considering how MS seem to make their SPs work) even a patch to the current, new, version. Or even just wait for the price to come down (or, WRT Win7 specifically, wait for the actual release to come about to see the actual pricing, cf announced pricing). For a lot of people I know, the only reason they'd upgrade to every new version of Windows and Office is if they did so via un-paid-for means.

 

It sounds more-so like you have a problem with the direction certain people have taken MS, as a company, over the years. I don't really want to get into splitting hairs over what makes up a company, but I think a lot of your concerns have more to do with how the company has acted in the past, than how they necessarily act now.

Edited by Nich...

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(Relatedly, I think I've linked to a blog entry in another thread, by an MS employee, who rightly pointed out that when changes are made to the OS that don't have some way for a user to easily notice - most commonly in the form of some GUI update - then the user often doesn't notice the update and complains - obvious examples being notepad and calculator, over the years)

I know calculator has had significant improvements, but I don't think notepad has. One of my major annoyances is that notepad still cannot understand Unix style text documents. It is such a trivial feature to add, and used by almost every other operating system.

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I have to agree with Sir_Substance & kikz here:

 

Although here on atomic and throughout the world there are millions who love to toy with their PC there are 50 times that amount who just want a computer to work!

 

Step 1: Press ON

Step 2: Do work

Step 3: Shutdown

 

To put it in perspective there are millions of car users around the world who mod, change and tweak their cars but there is also 50 times the amount of people who just want to wake up in the morning turn the ignition and drive to work! Windows caters for everyone and everyone is NOT a computer enthusiasts or people with a deep interest or love for the computing scene.

 

Computers are put on this earth to help INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY not to slow it down.

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one question... why the fuck do people waste their good money paying microsoft to hire monkeys to develop their software when there are free options out on the market...

 

Because there are some things the free market cant do. I create music for example and Windows is WAY ahead of the Linux market in this area. If I switched to Linux for music it would literally make redundant loads of software I have and even cut down my studio by quite a lot. I'd compare it to blu-ray on a big plasma TV to watching beta videos on a black and white TV in this instance.

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i have recommended linux operating systems to new users for years, heck they dont even have to worry about virus/malware protection, the constant bloating with the file system, massive patches... etc They have found linux easier to use than microsoft based systems and havent had a single problem with it.

i find your suggestion that users generally find linux easier then windows very odd.

 

you see, i too have tried to use linux, and i find it much harder to use the windows. anything more advanced then browsing the internet invariably requires use of the terminal, and i find your claim that new users could possibly find the terminal easier to use then a well structured GUI they have used in some form their whole lives rediculous. i dont deny that linux is a viable, powerful, workable OS. but its far less user friendly then windows and miles behind MacOS when it comes to new users.

 

if all your users do is write word documents and browse the web, maybe they do find it nicer to use then windows, but i bet the first time they went to install a program and had to go three rounds with the synaptics package manager, they wished they had windows and its double-click-the-installer simplicity.

 

certainly, your claim that none of your clients have ever had a problem with linux is utterly ludicrous.

 

I also find it weird that Linux is easier than Microsoft.

 

 

I have been actively in IT since the late 80's. I started with DOS 3.3 and have worked with Amiga/Digital Research Gem desktop, Solaris, Sun, BEOS, Novell 4.11/5, C64, OS8, OS9, OSX and then through Windows 3, 3.11 and up til now on Win7. I was one of the first Linux Beta testers back in 1990 at UniSA and have since been a 5 time awardee of the Microsoft MVP award and even worked in Redmond. I think I have a very good understanding of trends and what people like.

 

I think that this topic is fantastic. I think there is some real truth to all sides of this argument. I must say, from my own experience, Microsoft provides a solution people are happy with and it is simple to use. It is not as simple as the Mac OS however, you can do more with it and it has many ways to do the same thing. This is where the Mac OS is both better and yet worse.

 

I feel the adoption of an operating system comes down to three basic classes of people

 

-Technically advanced

-Want to get a specific task done with no fuss

-Wants it to be familiar and simple with a little fuss

 

(This might be over simplifying)

 

Technical advanced people like to try new things, like to look at alternatives, like to seek answers and love to play with Widgets (Compiling Kernels, learning some basic scripting tools and playing with the OS to make it better for themselves).

 

Specific task people turn on their computers to do a task, write a letter, send an email. They don't care for torrents and have no idea what WinZip is for. They are more efficient as they have specific goals, don't explore and want straight forward ways to do things and

only the option of one way to do it. (This fits most Mac people .... not all. I don't want to put everyone into boxes, just generalising).

 

Finally there are the windows users. They want to install it, boot it up and be compatible. They like to dabble a little and they like the wide variety of software they can download. they like having drivers that just work. They like that they can get to things in more than one way and that it is a little more complicated than a Mac but the world of Linux scares them. They don't want to have to locate config files, edit settings or learn a new Linux OS every time they see a new distribution. They don’t have the time or patience to learn.

 

So the question is, what is the demographic of the world ?

 

-Technically advanced people ?

-specific task done with no fuss people ?

-familiar and simple with a little fuss people ?

 

I would say windows is the clear winner at the moment as they fall into the third category and Microsoft is pandering to that need. I can't say I blame them.

 

I feel qualified to make these statements from my background. I have learnt all about the various products out there and had to use them.

 

I have been a column contributor to MacWorld Australia for the last 6 months and have a Mac at home (And many PC’s running everything from OS/2, Linux through to Windows and Emulators). I have worked very closely with Microsoft. I ran two Novell servers and two Red hat Enterprise servers Rel 4 servers at work and I have lots of Windows 2003/2008 servers out there running at clients sites with Mac and Microsoft clients.

 

As for Malware, exploits and viruses ... I recall some of these issues back in 1990 when I was using a DEC Vax system and Sco Unix. As an OS becomes more popular, so do the attacks. Mozilla and Mac OSX have both become more popular lately, as have an increased number of attacks on those.

 

Nothing is safe.

 

Seriously, I think it is time people realised that there are alternatives out there, it does not make yours wrong or right. Different people have different needs, different computers and different OS's are better for different people. Yes Microsoft makes money however .. That is their right. They are a business with Shareholders and budgets. They need to make money so they can pay their developers for Windows 8 or Windows 9 when it comes out

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In terms of Microsoft abusing their monopoly - explicitly with IE - I'd like to ask if people think they did the same thing with TCP/IP stacks?

 

I remember back in high school, one of the library computers (running some variant of windows - 3.x, if not 95) was old enough that you had to manually load the TCP stack. Trumpet, maybe?

 

From vague memory, MS later integrated a port/version of one of the BSD stacks, before later re-writing their own one.

 

I remember at one point, reading about the various versions of the Amiga OS (especially post 3.0) where they included one or two versions of a time-limited TCP stack for you to try out. It made me wonder why on earth you wouldn't just ship one with the OS - either free, or officially licenced - because it seemed like one of those things you kind of expect an OS to come with by default, to make your life easier in terms of getting on with doing stuff. Which is how I sort of see MS shipping no IE for some versions of Windows in Europe, these days.

 

ie, why do I not hear people decrying MS for shipping a default TCP/IP stack with Windows, and 'stifling the competition'?

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It's hard to respond to a post like this without sounding like one is defending Microsoft...

 

*snip*

 

They constantly fix bugs because they're found in the wild. I challenge you to write software that will work on 100% of PCs on the planet. There's billions of them. Not to mention the billions of billions of different ways people are going to bend it. You can't address every bug, vulnerability, etc in a debugging think tank, it's just not possible.

Your main argument seems to be other companies do the same (bad) things therefore MS is safe.

The problem is that MS is one of the few companies in the world that has a total monopoly on a market, this means that MS have no incentive to change their ways.

 

What is it you want MS to change?

Kill Steve Ballmer? Edited by magnumxy

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The problem is that MS is one of the few companies in the world that has a total monopoly on a market, this means that MS have no incentive to change their ways.

That's bullshit. Even if you're talking about OS's MS doesn't have a total monopoly. Desktop OS's even. MS do a shitload more than OS's, anyway...

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I dont think Mr Ballmer was the problem. It was Mr Gates. Ever since he took the helm, things have changed. So we will just have to wait and see what happens.

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I think it's related to backwards compatibility..

+1 to that. One of the reasons MS software enjoy said "monopoly" is due to good backward compatibility. I am pretty sure that they can innovate but they wouldnt do it at the cost of backward compatibility.

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