Showing all posts tagged: software

Hello Linux, farewell to toxic Windows operating systems

11 June 2024

I’ve read a stack of articles recently about Windows 11 (11), the successor operating system (OS) to Windows 10 (10), and am not liking a single thing I’ve seen. Microsoft (MS) will soon begin forcing users to install Windows 11, whether they like it or not.

If that’s not toxic behaviour on Microsoft’s part, what is?

10 has been with us since 2015, and MS will end support for it in October 2025. In the ordinary course of events, long time Windows users have generally migrated to the newest OS, when one becomes available. And usually because the new version is seen as an improvement on the old.

But not always. Windows ME, released in September 2000, as a successor to Windows 98, was a notable exception. And so far, 11 is being received in a similar fashion. An OS featuring adverts? An OS coercing users to adopt certain apps, for instance the Edge browser, instead of one of their choice? These are among reasons I’m steering clear of 11.

To make matter worse, users will need to create a MS account when installing 11. This means providing MS with an email address. To date, I’ve been using a “local account”. In short, that entails choosing a username and a password. Nice and simple, end of story. It might seem like a “so-what” matter, but users should be able to make the choice.

If someone wants to set up a MS account fine, but no one should be forced to. And yes, I’m aware there are advantages to having a MS account, but to my mind that’s beside the point. Apart from 10, an old Hotmail account, and Word and Excel, I use few other MS products. I’m not keen on being “encouraged” to sign up for anything else, which I’m sure would be the case, if I had a MS account. As for storing my data and files on the likes of OneDrive: no thanks.

Another bugbear (and doesn’t MS just love to annoy its user base?) is forced restarts after OS updates. Regular updates are necessary to main the integrity of any OS, but generally there is some flexibility as to when users can elect to reboot/restart their devices, so the updates can take effect.

I do this when I’ve finished working, at a time that suits me. But in typical fashion, what suits users doesn’t suit MS. Some 11 users, who run processes on their devices that take weeks to complete, have complained there is no way to delay a system restart after OS updates have been installed. The result is lost work, when auto-restart commences.

Previously, it was possible to delay these auto update restarts, but not anymore. No doubt MS will defend this behaviour by claiming “most people” don’t run processes lasting weeks. It makes you wonder what MS thinks of its users. Do they think everyone is exactly the same? There’s no think different at MS?

But enough complaining. This coming from a one-time Windows fan*. Maybe it’s me that’s changed. I’ve simply outgrown Windows operating systems. And why would I continue using Windows instead of something like Linux? Am I not, after all, #IndieWeb/#SmallWeb? How could wanting to use an OS like Windows even be in my DNA? It’s high time I became #IndieOS.

A few days ago, I installed Linux Mint on my backup laptop. When I buy a new device, I keep the previous machine as a spare. It’s not too old, I bought it about four years ago, but that it handled a new OS installation, and is (so far) running smoothly, is a good start. Linux Mint is one of many Linux OS’s, or distributions, on offer, but is considered to be user-friendly from a newbies point of view, and somewhat mimics the Windows OS experience.

I had been considering making the switch for some time, but the main stumbling block has been finding suitable replacements for some of applications I’ve been using for decades on Windows. Chief among them is Photoshop. While there are Linux-friendly alternatives for most the apps I use on Windows, the Photoshop-like options aren’t quite the same. At the moment I’m looking at installing sort of virtual environment app on the Linux setup to run Abode products.

But it’s been well worth making the move. Linux Mint is not a carbon-copy of Windows 10, but it is relatively similar. If you’re likewise a long time Windows user, I’d suggest installing Linux on an older, spare device first, if that’s possible. That way you can go through the preparation and installation process as a test run, while getting used to a new OS.

The installation process was mostly straightforward, but it’s a rainy afternoon sort of undertaking. It can take time, so best to block off at least a half a day initially. Having a holiday, three-day weekend, open to me, was a definite advantage. There are ample help resources available, with the answers to most questions you might have, only a search engine query away.

If you are making the move from Windows to Linux, all the best. It’s not overly difficult or complicated, just new and different.

*Granted, that was long time ago. I was still using, lol, dial-up networking when I wrote that post.

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Drawing program interfaces from the 1980s and 90s

15 July 2022

Micrografx Windows Graph graphs and charts software interface

Here’s a truly awesome blast from the past… a Twitter thread, by California based data storyteller RJ Andrews, with images of drawing program software used on computers in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.

The image above is the Micrografx Windows Graph interface, which was released in 1987, used to create graphs and charts on computers running the Microsoft Windows 1 operating system, which launched in 1985.

While some people might say the bold fluorescent pink, green, and yellow colours against the black background clash, the more you look at them, the better they begin to look.

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From 1979: word processors will make working from a reality

25 June 2022

Luke Casey, reporting for the BBC, discusses the impact of word processors on the workplace, and how they stand to make working from home possible. In 1979.

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Microsoft ends support for Internet Explorer here comes Edge

15 June 2022

There’s good news and there’s bad news.

Microsoft is finally withdrawing support for its aging Internet Explorer (IE) web browser. The software has not been fully updated since the release of IE 11 in 2013, making it the bane of web developers’ lives, who are forced to implement workarounds in their mark-up to make websites at least partially functional in the old browser. Older software may also contain vulnerabilities that hackers could exploit, possibly giving them access to a user’s computer.

But today only sees the end of support for IE on “certain versions of Windows 10”, so Internet Explorer will be with us for some time yet. On to the bad news. Now that IE is no longer being maintained, Microsoft is encouraging users to switch to its newer browser, Edge. But “encouraging” isn’t quite the right word.

Some users of Microsoft’s latest operating system (OS), Windows 11, are reporting efforts by the OS to “discourage” the installation of rival bowsers. For instance some users trying to install Chrome, the Google browser, are seeing a pop-up message advising them “there’s no need to download a new web browser.”

If Edge is as good as its manufacturer claims it to be, what’s with the heavy handed tactics? Won’t consumers — once they’ve “seen the light” — switch to Edge of their own accord? Whether the ploy will be effective remains to be seen. Data from Statcounter reveals about four percent of web users had installed Edge so far this year, putting it slightly ahead of Mozilla Firefox, but still way behind Safari, the Apple browser, and Chrome.

Windows 11 was launched in October 2021, but it is unclear how many users have so far migrated from Windows 10 to 11. Given well over a billion people have either the Windows 10 or 11 OS installed on their computers, with the majority likely still using 10, the “uptake” of Edge can only increase as the rollout of Windows 11 continues.

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