Hating That Other OS

I’ve hated that other OS for more than a decade and I still meet people who also hate it but have not realized GNU/Linux could save them and their PCs from the drudgery/slavery that is Wintel. I was reading a blog post on the similarities between pets with character and GNU/Linux when I came upon a pithy comment: “it finally dawned on me: it’s windows i hate. not computers. and i never reinstalled windows again. not on a tiny partition, not to dual boot in any way, shape or form. i went cold turkey.”

I have installed that other OS a few times and restored from backups since my conversion and I felt disgusted every time. That other OS is just not the right way to do IT. I recommend Debian GNU/Linux. It works for you.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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21 Responses to Hating That Other OS

  1. I did work with large codes in the Dark Ages. I tried to maintain it as best I could but when I rewrote it the code was better, faster and worked for us. When I was in Saudi Arabia, I replaced the entire control system for the cyclotron, 6 person-years of code, in just a few weeks by working smarter instead of harder. I used a compiler from Niklaus Wirth that worked for us and not some corporation. It was Free Software done the way it was done in the old days. I delivered some 8 inch floppies and he delivered 8 inch floppies with the software on them. He did not charge for copying. I never shied away from work.

  2. oldman says:

    “If the guys who write the software don’t want bug reports, to Hell with them. Find other software or write your own. It’s not that hard.”

    If you had ever spent time attempting to work with the source code of any substantial project and then have to maintain your work, you would know better than to make such a statement.

    I had this dubious pleasure at a time when it was necessary. It was a lot of work and only the fact that at the time there was no equivalent for what I needed to get done did I do it at all. The results did payed off however, but the minute that a commercial package arrived that did what I needed I gladly abandoned all of the work for the pleasure of just getting my task done.

  3. Fortunately, I don’t have that attitude. You are allowed to complain about GNU/Linux. I complain about the rapid rate of change, the occasional non-working package or driver. It’s all good. Without a few complaints, real problems might never get fixed. File bug reports. If the guys who write the software don’t want bug reports, to Hell with them. Find other software or write your own. It’s not that hard.

  4. Richard says:

    There are lots of things I don’t like about Windows, and I get the right to complain about them. There were lots of things I didn’t like about Linux too when I tried it (like the world of pain you end up in when you want software that’s not in the repo), but I’m not allowed to complain about them. I’ve gotten my fair abuse when I’ve tried, and I’ve seen the argument “If you haven’t contributed to the code, then STFU” many times on forums. The argument works on me and has convinced that Linux is for programmers only. Good luck reaching out to the non geeks with that attitude.

    An example: http://forums.pcworld.com/index.php?/topic/132148-12-reasons-to-try-linux-mint-12/page__view__findpost__p__565872

  5. oiaohm says:

    Clarence Moon you are a laugh.

    Most FOSS developers are also Closed source developers. So they get the same money in fact in a lot of case the FOSS developer has a better starting wage because the quality of his work can be checked out. Compare to a closed source developer.

    Yes you want a job writing software you will do so much FOSS to demo the quality of your workmanship at a min.

    Like the developer who wrote the Linux kernel configuration system he is a full time Microsoft coder these days and it was the quality of that work that got him the job at Microsoft.

    Most programs are what are called mixed source. Part open source and part closed source. So developer might be using a bit apache provides in a closed source program. So gives back to the apache project he depends on yet keeping the rest of the closed source program secret.

    Like Jpeg and png processing in MS windows both come from open source projects. There are a list of parts in Windows MS does not make. This is true for a lot of program reinventing wheel is too expensive todo for everything.

  6. Clarence Moon says:

    This discussion is bordering on the useless, Mr. Pogson, but I’ll take one more stab at it on principle.

    As an oversimplification, there is revenue and operating expense. The difference is initial profit or loss, depending on which is greater. Operating expenses generally are stated in broad categories, namely “cost of sales”, “marketing expense”, and “general and administrative”. Tech companies usually have an “R&D Expense” category, too, since they pay a lot for engineers and scientists.

    Assembly line worker wages would go into cost of sales, since they represent part of the cost of making something physical that is going to be sold. Also the cost of materials used goes into this category. The expectation is that these costs are proportionate to units shipped, for example more labor results in more units and that requires more material. If nothing ships, these costs are close to zero.

    Ballmer’s pay is in G&A and the developers are in R&D. The pay and bonuses for the guys in the front of the plane going to the trade shows are in the marketing budget along with the airfare and meals and drinks.

    I understand that Microsoft does not issue stock options anymore, rather they hand out shares of stock, or at least that is what we were told when our company went to doing the same thing. I don’t know why you would say either was “dishonest”, though. The total compensation paid to an R&D employee is an honest R&D expense. It costs a lot to recruit and keep top talent and Microsoft used stock options quite a bit back when they were a high PE ratio stock with a lot of sustained growth.

    As a blue chip, the stock options are not so alluring and they have to pay direct salaries and bonuses instead.

    That, incidentally, is why I question the whole idea of FLOSS. As near as I can tell, the engineers working on projects at software companies are in high demand and get fairly high salaries, well into the 6 figures, I know. They get to work on new stuff and exciting stuff, and they are coddled and respected within their organizations, Microsoft included. The better ones earn a lot of respect in the industry and are famous for giving papers and writing articles in the tech publications. They have all the fun and get a lot of money too.

    What does the FLOSS developer get? In some cases, if you work for IBM, Google, or Red Hat, I suppose you get the same sort of compensation and fun assignments. But for the rest, they are, at the least, going to have to forego the money. Also, FLOSS projects are, in the main, relatively obscure compared to commercial applications that cover the same technical usage. So the personal fame is lacking as well. There are at best a handfull of famous FLOSSers, let by Linus himself, who I understand does get quite a salary due to his fame, but what of the others?

  7. Kozmcrae says:

    “Assuming that there is a balance here (ie a loss in one quarter, offset by a profit in another quarter — either way), this isn’t exactly an “accountancy trick,” is it?”

    That would be an example of non-creative accounting or accounting as it is taught in school.

    The accounting as practiced by Microsoft is creative in the extreme. Just barely legal accounting. I’ll be honest with you here. My accounting experience does not go beyond two semesters in college and a few years accounting for a small business. But it doesn’t take any accounting experience to see that something is amiss at Microsoft.

    I would assume, in a huge corporation such as Microsoft, there are numerous ways to move money around. There is no doubt that is precisely what they are doing. It’s not a matter of gaining or losing money in different divisions. They are moving money between different divisions and different quarters between divisions.

    I’m not sure if they can do this indefinitely or if their accounting shenanigans must come to the fore eventually. If the latter is the case heads will roll at Microsoft. That would be the very least they could do to satisfy their shareholders.

  8. Clarence Moon wrote, “where would you put the salaries and bonuses and other compensation paid to programmers at Microsoft, Mr. Pogson?”

    Well, in the same place that one puts assembly line workers, a cost of doing business. By calling it R&D, M$ likely gets significant tax benefits. In M$’s filings appears this, “Certain other corporate-level activity is not allocated to our segments, including costs of: broad-based sales and marketing; product support services; human resources; legal; finance; information technology; corporate development and procurement activities; research and development; legal settlements and contingencies; and employee severance.” This means some R&D is not included as a cost of the client division pumping up apparent income from the segment. Also, M$ reports, “Windows Division operating income decreased slightly as a result of higher operating expenses, offset in part by increased revenue. Sales and marketing expenses increased $48 million or 8% reflecting increased advertising and marketing of Windows and Windows Live. Research and development expenses increased $37 million or 9% due mainly to product development costs associated with the next version of the Windows operating system and an increase in headcount-related costs. Cost of revenue increased $33 million or 7%, primarily driven by higher traffic acquisition, operation, and support costs.” So they are reporting development of future products as a cost in the current quarter of the client segment.

    “Research and development expenses include payroll, employee benefits, stock-based compensation expense, and other headcount-related expenses associated with product development. Research and development expenses also include third-party development and programming costs, localization costs incurred to translate software for international markets, and the amortization of purchased software code and services content.

    Research and development expenses increased, primarily reflecting a 7% increase in headcount-related expenses and the capitalization of certain software development costs in the prior year.”

    Ooeeeuuuww! M$ talks about R&D when they actually mean stock options. Sounds dishonest to me. Of course one has to pay researchers, but this is just normal payroll stuff, not research. Does GM call shift-workers pay, “R&D”?

  9. Clarence Moon says:

    If not as an R&D expense, where would you put the salaries and bonuses and other compensation paid to programmers at Microsoft, Mr. Pogson?

    As to deferring income from one quarter to another, in the case where a product has revenue payments committed, but goods are not yet delivered is a common practice in all industries. Red Hat, for example, makes a sale to a customer but has a future obligation to deliver updates and support for a year or more in the future. They recognize the revenues as they accrue.

    Otherwise their profit and loss statements would vary wildly with some quarters being phenomenal due to revenue recognition ahead of expenditures and others would be dismal with all the expenditure occuring in a quarter that had no corresponding revenues. Even with the deferral, some of this occurs and that is why there are the conference calls made to analysts when quarterly results are announced.

  10. Hanson says:

    Hey, Pogson, Bill Gates has said that he will not return as Microsoft CEO.

    Would you consider doing it, if hell froze over and someone from Microsoft actually asked you? Is your hate that strong that you’d pass on the chance to destroy your archenemy from within or turn them from a “bad” company into a “good” company?

    You’d have to relocate, though. And it goes without saying that the Microsoft CEO can’t use anything else than Windows.

  11. M$ manages to get the cost of paying programmers counted as R&D and all kinds of schemes to bring in money from licensing that is deferred to later quarters. Reminds me of a coin under walnut shells…

  12. Dr Loser says:

    @Kosmcrae:

    “They have been playing accounting games with how revenues are calculated for each quarter, borrowing from past and future quarters to balance things out.”

    Oh dear.

    Do you actually realise how ignorant this sounds?

    “borrowing from past and future quarters to balance things out?”

    Assuming that there is a balance here (ie a loss in one quarter, offset by a profit in another quarter — either way), this isn’t exactly an “accountancy trick,” is it?

    In fact, it’s basically the definition of “accontancy.”

  13. Dr Loser says:

    And the only important point here is:

    “Windows is “layered” on top of DOS, isn’t it?”

    No, it isn’t.

  14. Dr Loser says:

    @Kozmcrae:

    “You’re not saying I hate Microsoft are you? I don’t use that word, you do.”

    I stand corrected.

    “I have always had a distrust of Windows. That distrust grew after I had some experience on a DEC VAX mini computer. To this day I still can’t put it into words. I do know that it has to do with Windows development being shaped by marketers and VAX by engineers.”

    Distrust is not hate. I’m sure that a long-standing inability to vocalise mistrust is an entirely different thing to “hate.”

    I really do have to work on this precision stuff, don’t I?

    Oh, and FYI, Cutler took most of the VAX team over with him to build NT. I might not like it, but it’s a fact.

  15. Hanson says:

    Good thinking, Kotz. Except for the part where you misconstrue my using Windows to imply a love relationship with Microsoft.

    Blindly following ideology can make dumb, Kotz. You’re a very good example for that.

    But I give you points for not writing “M$”. That’s a lot more than Pogson ever was able to achieve.

  16. Kozmcrae says:

    “Quite honestly, I’ve never seen someone like you showing publicly that he has gone off the deep end.”

    The Cult of Microsoft blurts out layman’s psychology. Pity ensues. There is just so much wrong with Microsoft that people who write about it appear to be over the top to the Cult of Microsoft. To you there is hardly anything wrong with your dear Microsoft. Possibly it’s just lagging a bit lately.

    Microsoft is in serious trouble. Just because you can point out that they have a ton of money doesn’t mean they are as successful as they have always been. They are losing ground or money or both in virtually every new market beginning in the oughts.

    They have been playing accounting games with how revenues are calculated for each quarter, borrowing from past and future quarters to balance things out. They are running out of rope, they are ceding ground in emerging markets and they are pinning their hopes on an aged OS with a radical new interface that everyone has panned.

    These developments are setting The Behemoth from Washington up for some interesting times. It looks like a lot of fun… For us that is, not for you. I will state here as I have before that ‘8’ will be a bigger disaster than anyone has predicted so far. The double talk from Microsoft will be black comedy at its best.

  17. Hanson says:

    Go see a psychiatrist, Pogson. Perhaps he can still help you. I fear that we will read about you in the newspaper one day. Are any Windows users living near you? They should be afraid. They should be very afraid.

    Do the sensible thing, Pogson. Give up your guns and rifles.

    Quite honestly, I’ve never seen someone like you showing publicly that he has gone off the deep end. This little blog of yours has nothing to do with passion for GNU/Linux, it’s all about hating Microsoft and Windows. It seems to be the only reason why you exist. Well, it’s a pitiful reason for one’s own existence.

  18. Kozmcrae says:

    “You do realise that Linux fanatics are alone in this, don’t you?”

    This was 15 years before I even knew about Linux so I guess you’re right, I was very alone.

    “Normal people deal in compromises. Normal people do not deal in hate.”

    You’re not saying I hate Microsoft are you? I don’t use that word, you do.

    “by precisely the same OS team that originally built your beloved VAX VMS”

    Check that again, I think it was just the lead guy from DEC, not him and his whole team. Either way, he didn’t recreate the VAX architecture. Much of it was in place before he even started. The Windows guys have no choice but to layer now. They can’t rip the code apart. It’s way too messy. Microsoft is living with some bad design decisions made long ago and it’s killing them now. That’s why the biggest changes in each “upgrade” to Windows is mostly cosmetic (When are they going to modernize their file system?).

  19. Dr Loser wrote, “precisely the same OS team that originally built your beloved VAX VMS.”

    Ha! You are so living in the past. That team was gobbled up in the 1990s and by XP all vestiges of sanity was removed from NT. Remember animated cursors and the like? That was stuff ported from Lose 3.1 and slapped onto NT… Sad.

    See, the WMF exploit was added to that other OS in Lose 3.1’s time and put into NT…

    “I’ve got a screenshot and link to Microsoft’s original documentation from Windows 3.0 and 3.1 explaining what this whole ABORTPROC thing is, and that it is for executing code in the user’s application. I mean. it makes – it’s crazy to think that even Microsoft at any time in the past would have thought that it made sense to mix code with drawing commands.”

    see Security Now Transcript 23

  20. Dr Loser says:

    You do realise that Linux fanatics are alone in this, don’t you?

    I find AIX mildly distasteful, for reasons that need not detain us right now. I was annoyed by HP-UX, because round about the transition between 9.0 and 10.0 it got in my way and stopped me developing. I’ve always liked Solaris.

    I’d rather not work on Linux, given the choice, but I don’t hate it.

    Actually, I’d rather not work on Windows NT, but then again it pays the bills.

    Normal people deal in compromises. Normal people do not deal in hate.

    Oh, and @your pet loonie, Kozmcrae:

    “Windows is layered on, Linux is built upon. There is a gulf of difference between the two.”

    Applications are built upon both.

    Windows doesn’t just feature layers (like a decent HAL and the NT kernel and on top of that a Posix-compliant system, if that’s what you want) for the sake of it. Windows is layered because it is a sane architectural decision, chosen (and I do so love to quote these things back at you) by precisely the same OS team that originally built your beloved VAX VMS.

    Oh, but I’m wrong, wrong, wrong …

    Windows is “layered” on top of DOS, isn’t it?

  21. Kozmcrae says:

    I have always had a distrust of Windows. That distrust grew after I had some experience on a DEC VAX mini computer. To this day I still can’t put it into words. I do know that it has to do with Windows development being shaped by marketers and VAX by engineers.

    Windows is layered on, Linux is built upon. There is a gulf of difference between the two.

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