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    Windows 10 has ads in the start menu, ads masquerading as security alerts, ads masquerading as software updates, uninstallable bloatware, a bizarre distinction between Metro and everything else (exemplified by the bifurcation of Settings and the Control Panel)….

    So, I’m all for you doing you, but I can’t bring myself to run it.

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      The amount of Windows apologia in this thread is astonishing.

      Usage patterns, convenience or “brains”, I don’t care. Windows is a non-free operating system, and as such inherently user-unfriendly. The developments of the last few years are just an example of what you get when you’re OS is a service, you’re permitted to use.

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        inherently user-unfriendly

        One of the main “Windows apologists” in this thread (@feoh) has stated that they have to run Windows to get a usable computing environment considering their eyesight. So in this case Windows is more “friendly” than a FLOSS alternative.

        Most Linux user interfaces I’ve seen just ape GUI conventions (many based on research) from closed systems (Windows and Mac).

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          One of the main “Windows apologists” in this thread (@feoh) has stated that they have to run Windows to get a usable computing environment considering their eyesight. So in this case Windows is more “friendly” than a FLOSS alternative.

          As someone with terrible vision that’s only getting worse (including complete blindness in one eye), this is the kind of argument I can absolutely understand. Windows is, from what I understand, the most accessible of all the major operating systems.

          But defending ads in the Start Menu, well….them’s fightin’ words. :)

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            My communications skills are clearly lacking because I cannot comprehend a set of perceived statements from me that are farther from the truth.

            As a matter of fact, I also run desktop Linux and as of Ubuntu 16/17 they’ve added key chorded full screen zoom which is an accessibility feature I need to make a computing environment usable.

            What I actually said is that at the time I bought my laptop, I need a 17” screen and there were no AMD chipset laptops in that size available that I could see. Operating system didn’t even come into that aspect of the discussion.

            And I’m not a Windows apologist. Honestly I think this typifies the kind of all or nothing thinking that hamstrings progress in the wider computing community. Either you’re with us or you’re against us. Some of us are willing to adopt a more nuanced view.

            Windows is a tool. It serves some people’s needs admirably, others not so much. That is the alpha and omega of this situation, and all the meaningless bluster and back and forth is utterly pointless.

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          The amount of Windows apologia in this thread is astonishing.

          Not really. The lobste.rs community is designed with a lot of goals in mind, but if the About page is anything to go by, it was never explicitly designed to be a site for the promotion of Free Software. And, as they say in the TDD tribe, if you don’t explicitly test for it, it doesn’t happen.

          (for context’s sake, I have a Windows VM and a few machines that I explicitly run it on, but I recently switched my main laptop back to Linux because I just couldn’t get used to how SLOW the filesystem operations were; I still have a Windows 10 VM that I occasionally boot up to test Windows software on and make sure it’s properly up-to-date)

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            The lobste.rs community is designed with a lot of goals in mind, but if the About page is anything to go by, it was never explicitly designed to be a site for the promotion of Free Software.

            If it were I would never have joined. I value a diversity of opinions.

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              I can’t speak to the original intent since I wasn’t there, but it is certainly my personal opinion that it’s important to have a variety of perspectives on this topic. I would bring that opinion to my moderation if it ever became relevant.

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              Of course, I know there are different opinions and I know that there are windows users, all I am saying is that after being a member for over two years and visiting the page for much longer, I was surprised to see how many people use windows, let’s say “willingly” (as opposed to the usual “I have to because of Software X/Job Y/Requirement Z/…”), as I rarely encountered this opinion until now. It’s kind of like if suddenly a lot of corporate COBOL enthusiasts would pop up.

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                I was surprised to see how many people use windows, let’s say “willingly”

                Why is that surprising? It provides drivers for most hardware. You can run Microsoft Office (which a lot of people have to, to deal with paperwork at their day job), arguably the user interface is more usable/stable than GNOME/KDE, and you can run Linux programs via WSL [1].

                There are a lot of technical people who just optimize their environment for whatever they work on and want boring/predictable/mainstream/least-friction for the rest.

                I don’t see why people would have to apologize or defend themselves for using Windows, writing articles about Windows, or discussing Windows on lobste.rs.

                Disclaimer: I haven’t used Windows since Windows 3.1, outside for installing Windows every 2-3 years in a VM to observer what the state of that ecosystem is.

                [1] I work for a university, a lot of paperwork, collaboration on research project proposals, etc. requires Microsoft Office. Or to give a practical anecdote: when one of my students had problems using the university’s VPN, they literally said “oh, you try to use the VPN with Linux, you probably shouldn’t do that”.

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                  Why is that surprising? It provides drivers for most hardware. You can run Microsoft Office (which a lot of people have to, to deal with paperwork at their day job), arguably the user interface is more usable/stable than GNOME/KDE, and you can run Linux programs via WSL [1].

                  I think this is a window into a very common personality attribute for technologists. We tend to hold our opinions so strongly that they come to be seen as concrete facts. I’ve fallen into this pattern innumerable times myself.

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                    Or to give a practical anecdote: when one of my students had problems using the university’s VPN, they literally said “oh, you try to use the VPN with Linux, you probably shouldn’t do that”.

                    You used to be able to VPN into my university from Linux. Then they added 2FA and broke everything.

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                      You used to be able to VPN into my university from Linux. Then they added 2FA and broke everything.

                      :(

                      Our university actually supports three different VPNs. The easiest solution from Linux is the AnyConnect VPN, which works with openconnect. However, the VPN server returns incorrect incorrect routes, which breaks things by default with openconnect. I worked around this by using a custom openconnect script that sets the routes correctly.

                      I have been using this without issues since I have started working remotely > 1 year ago. But now they are going to remove the AnyConnect support on April 1. Guess I have to figure out one of the two other VPN options, last time I tried, they didn’t work out of the box.

                      Of course, using OpenVPN or Wireguard would be to easy ;).

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                    If you’re so surprised that people have this opinion, then it’s probably worth looking into why people have this opinion. Like for me, I’ve made it clear: I love Windows because it has AutoHotKey. I can easily tweak the computer to work exactly how I want. Below, I asked “how do I write a keyboard shortcut for ∃ in Linux?” the two answers I got were 1) use emacs, 2) install a library that doesn’t work on Wayland. Whereas with AutoHotKey I just write

                    >^e:: Send, ∃
                    

                    Now right ctrl + e gives me ∃. This works anywhere and doesn’t require me to change the fundamentals of my OS.

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                      I love Windows because it has AutoHotKey.

                      I don’t quite see what about AutoHotKey is intrinsically limited to windows. I have until yesterday never heard of it, but I don’t see why this couldn’t be ported to other operating systems. That aside, it’s not an OS feature, but in our world would rather be a counted as a window manager feature, and as such it’s not surprising that there is an X tool and a Wayland tool.

                      Below, I asked “how do I write a keyboard shortcut for ∃ in Linux?”

                      I gave the first answer, since you’re basically just doing a paler version of Emacs for the windows UI. But more importantly, you’re example really looks like a gimmick, or at least something very specific to a particular workflow. I could just as well ask you

                      • how do you run shell scripts using at(1)
                      • how do you pin a window to stay above others
                      • how do you create dynamic workspaces
                      • how do I install my own tool bar
                      • how do I add a debian repository
                      • how do I manage all updates centrally*
                      • etc.

                      I don’t think that most of these things are intrinsically possible or impossible because of the operating system – certainly don’t require the fundamentals of an operating system to change. Most of these questions work in favour of my argument, because the software has already been written for or by the system/users. But this is mostly a contingent fact. Whereas the principal values of the two systems, one being open to inspection and change the other being hidden from the public and it’s users, seems like a much more decisive factor if you ask me.


                      Necessary rant: * without having each tool permanently prompting me to go download some updater from some wierd website I have to trust and run permanently, hoping it doesn’t install a toolbar I will not be able to get rid of, and conflicting with my permanently running anti virus program that wastes 80% of my CPU.

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                        I don’t quite see what about AutoHotKey is intrinsically limited to windows. I have until yesterday never heard of it, but I don’t see why this couldn’t be ported to other operating systems. That aside, it’s not an OS feature, but in our world would rather be a counted as a window manager feature, and as such it’s not surprising that there is an X tool and a Wayland tool.

                        The difference is it hasn’t been. If you look for an equivalent on linux you find a mess of abandoned projects that only partially work. For Mac, there’s hammerspoon, which is significantly more complex.

                        I’m also unsurprised you haven’t heard of AHK. You said earlier you’re astonished that people are defending Windows, which means you probably don’t know very much about how people actually use Windows.

                        I gave the first answer, since you’re basically just doing a paler version of Emacs for the windows UI.

                        The difference is that I now have to use Emacs, when AHK works for all windows. AHK acts as an overlay on top of everything else, so I can use it to hack in the behavior I want to any app.

                        And I can still keep using Vim.

                        But more importantly, you’re example really looks like a gimmick, or at least something very specific to a particular workflow.

                        That’s because I gave one example of how I use AHK, where the answer to that by itself requires me to understand Linux and window managers pretty well. It’s specific to a particular workflow, but that’s the point: I can immediately customize the OS to my particular workflow without a deep understanding of how the OS works. I can give you a bunch other things I do with AHK:

                        • Start and stop recording videos from my presentation clicker.
                        • Make GUI for saving notes from clipboards into multiple seconds without it disrupting my current workspace view or losing my attention.
                        • Switch between specific windows without alt-tabbing
                        • Copy a url and title as a markdown link for easy transfer to another window
                        • Firefox doesn’t have a keyboard shortcut for “start a screenshot”. Add one.
                        • Add a bunch of unavailable shortcuts to the TLA+ IDE
                        • Fave or unfave a song in spotify without having to switch to the spotify app
                        • Clone a file (foo.md to foo.md.1) without having to stop editing the file, or remember how many copies I made
                        • Toggle youtube playback from 1x and 1.25x tempo
                        • Quickly drop hashtags into a twitter thread while trying to livetweet a conference, without messing up my clipboard

                        I set up hotkeys for all of these. I’m sure I could do the same in Mac or Linux, but it wouldn’t be easy. I’d have to get a much deeper understanding of these systems than I already had, as opposed to using AutoHotKey, where the most complex of those features took me an hour. Are they gimmicks? Maybe! But they’re gimmicks that make my life much, much better.

                        Sure, Windows might be “hidden from the public and it’s users”, but AHK made it easy to get work done. Reading XDG specifications did not.

                        EDIT: Also, just to be clear about my background, I’ve used Linux as my only OS for several years, and yes I tried to do some of these things in Linux, too.

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                          The difference is it hasn’t been. If you look for an equivalent on linux you find a mess of abandoned projects that only partially work. For Mac, there’s hammerspoon, which is significantly more complex.

                          Again, this is a particular problem, not something you can use to sustain your general claim. The fact that it hasn’t been until now means nothing to me, since this could just as well change tomorrow, but from your argument up to now, I don’t think that would instantly make you switch.

                          Also, the fact that these projects aren’t being maintain, is somewhat of a sign to me that there isn’t a big need for them either? Or is it mere luck that AHK is being properly maintained on Windows?

                          I’m also unsurprised you haven’t heard of AHK. You said earlier you’re astonished that people are defending Windows, which means you probably don’t know very much about how people actually use Windows.

                          I know plenty of people who use windows, and I always hear the same issues, the same problems. When I watch them I mostly see them struggle, having issues or obvious inefficiencies. If they were not held hostage by propitiatory software developed exclusively for Windows, I am absolutely certain they would have a better user experience on other platforms.

                          The difference is that I now have to use Emacs, when AHK works for all windows.

                          Well that’s your problem: You leave Emacs ;^)

                          (It’s kind of off-topic, but my point was that Emacs-like environments should allow users to configure keybidnings to whatever function one wishes, all of them inspectable by the user, and mostly redefinable during the run-time. This is the essence of a user-programmable system I argue is superior and neither hides nor distorts the users relation to the device)

                          It’s specific to a particular workflow, but that’s the point: I can immediately customize the OS to my particular workflow without a deep understanding of how the OS works. […]

                          Again, this is an entirely contingent argument for Windows, as you don’t explain why Linux cannot have this. I guess it’s cool, but I don’t see what makes it technically unique/exclusive.

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                            Also, the fact that these projects aren’t being maintain, is somewhat of a sign to me that there isn’t a big need for them either? Or is it mere luck that AHK is being properly maintained on Windows?

                            From what I understand from my research the challenge is making something that works for everyone. Like the Wayland/X11 split by itself makes things tough. Sure, it’s technically feasible, but it’s going to be so much effort that people give up.

                            Again, this is an entirely contingent argument for Windows, as you don’t explain why Linux cannot have this.

                            Linux could have this. Windows already has this. I’m not going to switch back to Linux because it could eventually have a tool that I already use every day.

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                              I responded to the first point in a sibling response to @feoh, but just to reiterate it here: AHK is a DE/WM feature, not a OS feature. A cross-DE implementation of a AHK-like would be like requiring a cross-Version implementation of AHK on windows. If the format is standardized, there’s no reason why each DE/WM couldn’t have something like this for itself, if it’s users want it.

                              Regarding the second point, I’m not asking anyone to switch because of a potential ability (in our case I don’t have to care), I only want to make the point that this isn’t a real argument for Windows as such.

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                                If the format is standardized, there’s no reason why each DE/WM couldn’t have something like this for itself, if it’s users want it.

                                The point is it doesn’t exist, and (if how much you dismiss the value is any indication) probably won’t exist. At best there will be “you get this subset of features with DE/WM A, this subset with DE/WM B”, etc. Which doesn’t help me.

                                “Windows has this feature that could exist for some Linux distro but doesn’t yet” is, in fact, a good argument for me continuing to use Windows. To make the argument problem a bit more clear:

                                “I like London better than Los Angeles.”

                                “Why? There’s nothing intrinsically better than London, and Los Angeles has better weather.”

                                “The public transit in London is better.”

                                “But Los Angeles could build better public transit, so your argument is invalid.”

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                            Thanks for the pointer. I’d heard hints about this on podcasts and other reading but concrete citations are always super helpful.

                            From where I sit being able to say “Windows Defender is all you need, and it’s free and comes bundled with Windows 10” is a substantial quality of life boost from the bad old days when you had to trepidatiously choose and pay for some incredibly heavyweight antivirus package that would bog your system and throw up all kinds of annoying dialogs in the name of protecting you :)

                            It’s just another example of aspects of “living” in Windows that used to be horrible and just aren’t anymore.

                            That doesn’t mean Windows is superior or that everyone should run Windows as opposed to Linux or anything else, it’s just a data point which you can use to pick the tool set that works best for you.

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                            I don’t quite see what about AutoHotKey is intrinsically limited to windows. I have until yesterday never heard of it, but I don’t see why this couldn’t be ported to other operating systems. That aside, it’s not an OS feature, but in our world would rather be a counted as a window manager feature, and as such it’s not surprising that there is an X tool and a Wayland tool.

                            Respectfully, you’re rules lawyering his personal preference. Think about whether that actually makes sense.

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                              I actually don’t understand what you’re trying to say in response to that paragraph. I would appreciate if you could reword it.

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                                OK thanks. I won’t re-edit the original so anyone who cares to see the context can. Basically, the OP was saying “I love Windows because AutoHotKey gives me the flexibility I need to be able to configure all the important aspects of my system’s human interface.”

                                The reason Windows different from, say Linux is exactly as the OP said, Windows represents a single point of configurability for any given thing. There is ONE Windows desktop and ONE Windows API.

                                On Linux there are innumerable desktop environments, window managers, and even low level graphics toolkits or whatever X and Wayland actually are :)

                                It’s not that it’s impossible in LInux, but the diversity inherent in the platform makes it difficult and very inconvenient.

                                For them, and their preferences, that ease and convenience of the interface and implementation available to them today with zero work is what they in particular love about Windows.

                                By saying “There’s nothing special about Windows. You could do this all in Linux” it reads to me like you’re invalidating his preference with the existence of a theoretical possibility.

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                                  I think the issue here is that you’re comparing Windows to all the various ways Linux can be used, which are basically all different systems. Just because by virtue of being a Kernel it can be used to run an OS, that in turn has multiple desktop environments, doesn’t mean that when you discuss something like AHK, a GUI extension, you get to argue via the kernel that this is a general issue of Linux. It might be seen as a deficiency of each DE, on it’s own, but this has no essential implication on the superiority of Windows in itself.

                                  By saying “There’s nothing special about Windows. You could do this all in Linux” it reads to me like you’re invalidating his preference with the existence of a theoretical possibility.

                                  The only think I am “invalidating” (a weird phrase) is the argument that the specific, contingent feature of AHK is a universal, essential argument for Windows/against “Linux”. You might call this theoretical, I call it clean.

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                                    Your reply typifies a kind of closed mindedness I see as very unfortunate.

                                    NOBODY is saying that Windows is superior and LInux is inferior! The OP simply said “These are reasons I find Windows meets my needs best.”

                                    This is a community of crazy bright people, why can’t we seem to wrap our heads around the idea that not everything is a fight to the death, only one of us comes out alive, good versus evil argument?

                                    The world is painted in shades of gray, and tool choices are the grayest !

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                                      I would like to emphasise that I am not arguing as a linux fanboy. I have in the past made multiple critiques of Unix and Unix-like systems that makes it harder for me to defend the position you are pushing me into.

                                      I will reiterate my point once more: Convenience and gimmicks are not worth trading in software freedom and user control in for. (“Necessity”, as in “I need windows because software X because of job”, is another debate).

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                                      The only think I am “invalidating” (a weird phrase) is the argument that the specific, contingent feature of AHK is a universal, essential argument for Windows/against “Linux”. You might call this theoretical, I call it clean.

                                      Re-reading his statements, I don’t see anything anywhere about it being a ‘universal, esssential’ argument for Windows and against LInux. The OP was stating a preference based on how easily they could customize *their” system in ways that tailored to their exact needs.

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                                I gave the first answer, since you’re basically just doing a paler version of Emacs for the windows UI.

                                I missed this in all the chop yesterday. This is a prime example of how you are perhaps unintentionally shoehorning someone else’s tool choice preferences into your rather constrained version of reality.

                                In my opinion there is exactly zero correlation between customizing a Windows system with AutoHotkey (Or an OSX system with Alfred, for example) and emacs.

                                In one case, we’re adding layers of nuanced refinement into a very rich and diverse existing ecosystem (AutoHotKey/Alfred) and in the other (emacs) we’re supplanting the entire operating system and its accompanying ecosystem and replacing ith with another paradigm entirely (which is incredibly powerful in its own right.)

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                                  In one case, we’re adding layers of nuanced refinement into a very rich and diverse existing ecosystem (AutoHotKey/Alfred) and in the other (emacs) we’re supplanting the entire operating system and its accompanying ecosystem and replacing ith with another paradigm entirely (which is incredibly powerful in its own right.)

                                  Correct my if I am wrong, but doesn’t AHK provide the ability to programmatically extend your system-interaction? If yes, then the results seem to go in the same direction as Emacs does, if not then the entire discussion was pointless.

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                                how do I write a keyboard shortcut for ∃ in Linux?

                                Maybe I’m just completely missing the point … but … what’s exactly the problem with “you add it to the keymap” that you encountered?

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                                Open your mind. Different people have different needs.

                                Also, just because I say that Windows is fitting my needs in a particular context doesn’t mean that I’m a Windows ‘apologist’ (Honestly I find that whole idea rather insulting. I’m an open source advocate and have been since before FLOSS was a thing.)

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                                  I consider Windows harmful, not only to it’s users but to the user’s friends, colleagues and their work environments. It promotes a usage-paradigm and human-computer relation that I do not think should exist. I am dogmatic about this, and I know some people don’t like it, but until convinced otherwise, I will do everything I can to fight this problem, and at best grudgingly tolerate it.

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                                    Respectfully this is exactly the kind of dogmatism that in my opinion slows the forward progress of our community and our field.

                                    There are very few opinions in life one should be dogmatic about in my view. On the order of “Every human will die.” and maybe a handful of others.

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                                      Well if we’re going to discuss dogmatism and it’s necessity, i think we’ve gone off-topic. Either way, I don’t think there’s much of a point in it.

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                                        I don’t think it does. Linux and the ecosystem necessary to use it effectively wouldn’t have existed without the dogmatism of people who weren’t prepared to compromise with closed source software.

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                                          Oh I couldn’t disagree more. Linux is rife with pragmatic decisions!

                                          There is a vast difference between dogmatism and fervent dedication to a cause.

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                                  I’m not sure what’s your point here. The OP argues that software centric person (such as visitor of this website) should clearly identify the faults of a closed operating system when this thread indicates otherwise.

                                  It has nothing to do with the “purpose of lobste.rs”.

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                                      You would prefer an echo chamber?

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                                        A place where people pride themselves of their unbiased thinking and upvote snarky comments is usually the echo chamber, hence my point.

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                                          This is a very real problem, and I’d argue it’s a problem brought on by the difficulties of maintaining any culture of kindness, openness and tolerance as the size of an organization scales.

                                          For me at least the solution is not to go elsewhere but to try to raise the bar on discussion quality and thoughtfully counter such snark with thoughtful commentary and participation.

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                                    OS is a service, you’re permitted to use.

                                    Especially when they do stuff like prevent local account creation. I’m firmly convinced this is a step towards putting all users on a monthly Windows subscription.

                                    The amount of Windows apologia in this thread is astonishing.

                                    I use Windows for work, because I’m required to use Windows. I don’t hate it, but when I have a choice, I choose Linux (or a Mac). Windows just has a lot of enterprise business-like stuff tacked on and in my way, and bizarre and overcomplicated APIs written for it. It feels like the C++ of operating systems–folks starting bringing things into it without a clear vision and now it feels incoherent and overcomplicated with a lot of implicit behavior.

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                                      See my comments elsewhere in this thread. I personally feel that the era of the commercial desktop computing operating system as we know it is slowly drawing to a close. Both Microsoft and Apple are transitioning towards models that map more cleanly to the tablet space where the computer is a black box appliance that allows for very little user configurability, but on the other hand provides very little surface area for people who WANT an appliance to confidently use the device without fear of going someplace they don’t understand how to get back from.

                                      This is why, despite my personal choice to use Windows 10 as my “get work done” environment, I am staunchly committed to the advancement of LInux on the desktop, because once the commercial OSen become utterly hostile to tinkerers like us, it and other FLOSS environments like it will literally be the only show in town.

                                    2. 4

                                      It is however an incredibly accessible operating system, compared to whatever hodge-podge linux atrocity you’d prefer to torture someone with. Besides maybe Elementary OS, there is essentially no comparison in the usability of open source alternatives, which are designated “alternatives” correctly, because nobody that’s really honest with themselves would ever name them as a primary choice for a normal person’s graphical system.

                                      1. 2

                                        Windows issues aide, I’ve never understood the Elementary craze. I’ve tried it ( probably an early version) and half the things were unfinished, the other half wrong for me. Yet people adore it and compare it with the macos. I’ll have to try again, I guess.

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                                          It’s probably just not the OS for you, and I’d really only compare the UX language to Windows because at the end of the day it’s still a Linux hodge-podge nightmare

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                                            Yep, I’m a veteran user, past most of the distro hopping affinities and stuff. I still change things up now and then, but my primary interestis to have a stable environment. Don’t wanna fiddle with details as much.

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                                            Funny thing - this is one of the points where I actually remember when starting with Linux.

                                            If it wasn’t in the start menu, it didn’t exist. This was at a time when internet access wasn’t readily available and pre-Google. elementary does remind me of the first KDE/Gnome desktops of RedHat/SuSE 5/6 - everything kinda worked and it came with a good amount of stuff preinstalled that a person completely new to the system could just do stuff.

                                            Looking at it from my current point of view (has it been 21 years of using Linux? damn) I think - compared to Windows - it has kept a bit of simplicity and is less in-your-face flashy and weird. But maybe it’s just me getting really familiar with computers at the time of Windows 95, where everything looked kinda spartan. I didn’t use it long enough to notice things being broken, though, just a few hours at a time.

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                                        I installed Win 10 on my machine over a year ago and have not done anything special to it. It does not have any ads and there are no bloatware I have noticed, Metro is practically speaking non-existent for my user experience, and let’s not kid ourselves and say any Linux distro actually has a serviceable settings/control panel.

                                        I’m all for using Linux and I use it practically every day, but from a usability standpoint, Linux doesn’t hold a candle to Windows. I wish it did, but you have to be delusional if you believe any Linux distros provide a comparable desktop experience.

                                        2020 is still not the year of the Linux desktop.

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                                          I agree, Desktops are a losing game anyway, butt Linux holds the mobile market. But all trolling aside, Windows is the unusable system for me, slow, clunky and gets in the way.

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                                          Windows 10 has ads in the start menu, ass masquerading as security alerts, ads masquerading as software updates

                                          All of which are trivially disable-able in Settings. This took me 10 minutes.

                                          uninstallable bloatware

                                          I’m going to pick on you for a moment here in the hopes that you have broad shoulders and can take it in the name of raising the level of discussion here. What do you mean by this? I’ve begun treating any use at all of the word “bloat” as tantamount to pointless trolling.

                                          Does it use too much memory? Is it inefficient in terms of CPU usage? Does it take up too much storage?

                                          Let’s at least all consider being a bit more specific in our complaints that we might be able to learn something from them.

                                          a bizarre distinction between Metro and everything else (exemplified by the bifurcation of Settings and the Control Panel)….

                                          Windows has always suffered from the lengths it goes to in the name of retaining compatibility. How much do you feel this actually impacts end users? (Honest question.)

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                                            All of which are trivially disable-able in Settings. This took me 10 minutes.

                                            Be that as it may, I shouldn’t have to disable ads in my operating system. I definitely don’t appreciate getting a “ding!” every so often (which sounds like a real notification) to remind me to sign up for OneDrive…

                                            I’m going to pick on you for a moment here in the hopes that you have broad shoulders and can take it in the name of raising the level of discussion here. What do you mean by this? I’ve begun treating any use at all of the word “bloat” as tantamount to pointless trolling.

                                            Does it use too much memory? Is it inefficient in terms of CPU usage? Does it take up too much storage?

                                            Things like Xbox Games (or whatever it’s called), Paint, etc. They don’t take up too much space, or too much CPU…they just exist. They take up too much attention for something that I’m never going to use…and I should be able to install or uninstall any software I want on my computer, without resorting to unapproved hacks.

                                            Windows has always suffered from the lengths it goes to in the name of retaining compatibility. How much do you feel this actually impacts end users? (Honest question.)

                                            There’s a difference between backwards compatibility and “I want to do this, but the setting isn’t in Settings, it’s in Control Panel, and I don’t know when to use one or the other.” At least last time I used Windows 10 (within the last year or so), they would sometimes direct you from one to the other, but not always. So it definitely impacted me at least once.

                                            1. 5

                                              Just like I think an OS should ship with a text-editor that won’t be what most programmers use, I think it should ship with an image app with roughly the complexity of Paint. On both my work Macs, I found myself needing to make a trivial graphic, and not knowing what to use. GIMP was vastly over complicated for me, other apps were too paid for irregular use (and I didn’t know if I’d understand them).

                                              1. 2

                                                Things like Xbox Games (or whatever it’s called), Paint, etc. They don’t take up too much space, or too much CPU…they just exist. They take up too much attention for something that I’m never going to use…and I should be able to install or uninstall any software I want on my computer, without resorting to unapproved hacks.

                                                I don’t mean to invalidate your perceptions here but.. Remove them from the start menu? At that point they’re invisible to you other than bits on the disk.

                                                There’s a difference between backwards compatibility and “I want to do this, but the setting isn’t in Settings, it’s in Control Panel, and I don’t know when to use one or the other.” At least last time I used Windows 10 (within the last year or so), they would sometimes direct you from one to the other, but not always. So it definitely impacted me at least once.

                                                That’s interesting. Whenever I want to change something, I type an approximation of that thing into the start menu and get the setting I need. I don’t try to guess where it is, I let the mechanism the OS provides guide me. YMMV of course.

                                                1. 11

                                                  I don’t mean to invalidate your perceptions here but.. Remove them from the start menu? At that point they’re invisible to you other than bits on the disk.

                                                  They tended to return after an update for me.

                                                  In hope that this topic will amount to something more interesting than a Windows/Linux flame war, I would like to refer anyone who have not read this piece yet to do so now: Practical Ethics: Why It’s OK to Block Ads

                                                  It’s important to note that the essential question here is not whether we as users are being manipulated by design. That is precisely what design is. The question is whether or not the design is on our side.

                                                  I tend to prefer user agents that I can reasonably believe will not betray me.

                                                  1. 10

                                                    I don’t mean to invalidate your perceptions here but.. Remove them from the start menu? At that point they’re invisible to you other than bits on the disk.

                                                    Bits on my disk. If I want them off of there, I should be able to do so trivially…especially when it’s code that I don’t know if it’s phoning home, monitoring my browsing, contains an RCE vuln, or doing whatever. Even if it’s just sitting there, if I want it gone, well…it’s my computer.

                                                    1. 7

                                                      Bits on the disk matter. Windows takes forever to update. Part of that surely is it updating the crapware it comes with.

                                                      I’m going to pick on you for a moment here in the hopes that you have broad shoulders and can take it in the name of raising the level of discussion here. What do you mean by this? I’ve begun treating any use at all of the word “bloat” as tantamount to pointless trolling.

                                                      Windows search is the worst search interface I think I’ve ever used. It almost never gives me what I want to search for, but web searches for it instead…

                                                      1. 4

                                                        That’s interesting, I haven’t noticed since Windows moved the update process to only happen when I login/logout or restart.

                                                        It’s a different world from my wife’s old Windows 7 laptop which could sit for HOURS updating if you’d not turned it on in a bit.

                                                  2. 22

                                                    I shouldn’t have to disable it. It shouldn’t exist in the first place. It shouldn’t even be able to be enabled.

                                                    1. 7

                                                      I’m sure plenty of engineers at MS would love for you to tell this to the executives and shareholders.

                                                      1. 9

                                                        That’s exactly the problem, isn’t it?

                                                        This tension between what the business wants and what the users want is precisely what leaves a nasty taste in my mouth (and many other people too, judging from the comments). Even if I wasn’t already completely brain-washed into the UNIX way of working (and preferring the command line in general, since I got started with Commodore BASIC and DOS), I’d still happily use a less shiny, less polished UI just to get rid of all that bullshit.

                                                        The computer exists purely to serve me, not some corporate agenda. And with all the global spying that’s going on I feel even less inclined to use an OS that has unknown other goals aside from being the most efficient platform to run applications (because that’s the only thing an OS should do).

                                                        1. 2

                                                          The computer exists purely to serve me, not some corporate agenda

                                                          The free software movement exists because of affordable hardware created by corporate activity.

                                                          Edit I should expand -

                                                          • Linux was created because Linus T + friends had access to cheap x86 hardware. This was because of the IBM PC era dominated by MSFT/Intel
                                                          • Before Linux, most free software was created in universities, many of who relied on corporate largesse/donations/taxes to function and buy the hardware to develop on.
                                                          1. 4

                                                            Pure hardware companies arguably have much less opportunity to make the computer do things that are opposed to the user’s desires. In a sense, we got very lucky that the IBM PC was designed as an open system and got so incredibly popular. Otherwise we’d be stuck in a situation like the Apple or game console ecosystems, where the software companies control the entire stack down to the hardware and running alternative software isn’t really supported (or even possible).

                                                          2. 1

                                                            How did you acquire your computer?

                                                      2. 21

                                                        All of which are trivially disable-able in Settings. This took me 10 minutes.

                                                        I’m not a heavy Windows user. But I have tried to disable the advertised apps in the start menu, and I have not found any lasting success. Every time I think I’ve effectively removed them, a few days/weeks later, Candy Crush Saga or its ilk reappears in my start menu.

                                                        I don’t doubt your statement that there’s a way to disable them long-term or even permanently. And I’d not be surprised if you’re correct that such disablement is easily executed.

                                                        But that process is certainly not trivially discoverable, for me, anyway. And judging from the number of start menus I see those tiles in, I don’t think it is for most people.

                                                        1. 8

                                                          Hate to be that person, but my start menu has only had the tiles I’ve put on it for over a year now, and I haven’t once had those things “return”.

                                                          1. 3

                                                            OK. My Win 10 install dates from before they brought back the start menu. As soon as they did, it had tiles for candy crush saga and a few other similar things on it. I right-clicked those tiles and removed them. They went away. Then they came back after an update or two. I removed them again. Since then, more games have come back despite that Win 10 Pro install never having been used to sign into the store, let alone play a game.

                                                            I’ve tried every trick google shows to stop that from happening. Games keep coming back. Different games each time, I think, but games being advertised from the store all the same.

                                                            Maybe the problem is that I’m using Win10 Pro and I need a different SKU to be able to tell it “this is an install for compiling software. keep all games away.”

                                                            1. 3

                                                              Strange, I’m only on W10 Home. Maybe in your attempts to make these things go away you’ve accidentally flipped a registry variable that says please make me suffer with more game promotions 😅

                                                              1. 1

                                                                I have the vague impression that a clean installation might help. i.e. some setting that used to be more persistent in early versions of W10 got locked in for me and wouldn’t if I started fresh. But getting my scripted builds of OpenSSL and Boost back to where they should be is just enough of a headache that I’d rather give the games a dirty look and then move on (for now).

                                                                I do really want to get my head around what people consider good practices for a (mostly non-interactive) Windows build box these days. I find it hard to believe Win 10 Pro with Visual Studio is the current state of the art, but figuring out what is just hasn’t bubbled up to the top of my to-do list yet.

                                                                1. 4

                                                                  At a previous $job we had to deal with these things since a lot of our infra (including things that honestly shouldn’t have been, such as in the embedded space) was windows, but for the sake of lending advice I was sadly never put to task working on the powershell script used to initialize windows images. I can tell you just that, though; if it’s professional Windows management there’s always powershell involved.

                                                          2. 1

                                                            Thank you that’s a very good point. I’ll admit I Googled and found an article which signposted them all :)

                                                            1. 1

                                                              I did that too. If the first one you found has continued to keep them out of that menu through a few “feature updates” you found a better one than I did.

                                                          3. 9

                                                            All of which are trivially disable-able in Settings. This took me 10 minutes.

                                                            That’s nice they can be disabled now, but

                                                            1. they might not be in the future

                                                            2. do you really want to trust a company that implements this as opt-in by default

                                                            3. since it’s proprietary, you don’t really know if they are honoring your settings completely (especially around ‘telemetry’)

                                                            1. 1

                                                              As I’ve said ad infinitum in this thread - I am making the pragmatic choice to use Windows today, but I’m convinced that the era of the commercial desktop operating system is coming to a close, so I’m committed to ensuring that desktop Linux improves over time, because ultimately I think that and other FLOSS environments like it will be the ONLY choice for tinkerers like us.

                                                              I run both. I use Windows 10 and Ubuntu 19.10 and love them both in different ways for different tasks.

                                                              I love the fact that people are building so many amazing creative wonderful things in the Linux space, but I can’t reliably use that as my bedrock ‘production’ environment because, depending on which package I install and what it does, I might easily render my Linux partition unbootable.

                                                              So I treat my Linux install like a mad scientist’s lab that might explode at any moment but might also product the next wonder of the world, and my Windows install as the rock solid place where my cushy hyper configured environment lives along with my productivity tools, IDE, etc.

                                                              That works very well for me right now.

                                                            2. 8

                                                              The problem is that starting with Windows 8, Microsoft tried to shoehorn their entire userbase into a mobile operating system. Thats fine if your device is a phone.

                                                              But some users device is a desktop computer, and a mobile operating system isnt, never was, and never will be appropriate for that use case.

                                                              Until that is understood, and two different flavors of Operating System are allowed to exist and flourish, Windows wont be as good as it once was.

                                                              Windows is my primary Operating System. But until this Metro stuff is over and dead I am afraid that Windows 7 might be my last Windows OS.

                                                              1. 6

                                                                Have you tried a modern windows 10 os? If you remove the tiles from the start menu, you get a classic start experience exactly like what you are used to. Beyond that touch oriented features have been integrated in such a way that they don’t ever get in your way. I don’t think the argument that Windows 10 is a “touch oriented os” holds any water anymore.

                                                                1. 3

                                                                  ok and what about Cortana?

                                                                  1. 4

                                                                    What about it? It takes two clicks to hide the search bar and I’ve never seen Cortana since.

                                                                      1. 2

                                                                        That’s only if you want to rip it out of the system completely, not sure why you’d even do that other than on principle. You can just not open it.

                                                                    1. 1

                                                                      Again. Try a modern version of win 10. The Cortana crap can be easily hidden and you get a start menu just like the good old days.

                                                                      1. [Comment removed by author]

                                                                        1. 1

                                                                          This isn’t helping discourse. The other comment already replied to you with a solution.

                                                                  2. 4

                                                                    How does this materially impact you? I’m interested in things you need to do that it scuppers, or blocks completely.

                                                                    1. 12

                                                                      I know you didn’t mean it this way, but it sounds like victim blaming. “Microsoft changed how they do things you are paying money for, but are you sure you’re inconvenienced enough to complain?”

                                                                      1. 3

                                                                        I’m sorry it came off that way, especially with the use of “materially.” The original post threw around a number of fairly abstract reasons for not liking it and I was looking for more concrete examples of how this causes a breakdown. There is also an argument to made that the terminology used isn’t accurate for Windows 10, but soliciting more detail is probably the best response.

                                                                      2. 2

                                                                        An example that bit me (though a couple years ago, so may have changed since I last set up a new machine):

                                                                        The Onenote UWP app from the windows store is preinstalled and difficult to remove. However it isn’t completely compatible with the win32 app included with office – if you’re sharing notebooks with office users and setting permissions w/ AD you can’t use the windows store version. You can install the office version, and it sort of takes over, but not quite 100%. So you end up with some onenote links working correctly in your win32 app, but others sometimes opening the store app instead. And when that happens it then tries to take over as the default onenote app again, screwing everything up in the process, and you need to clean up a bunch of prefs that get changed out from under you.

                                                                        I finally found some combination of settings in both apps, the system default apps settings, and a manual registry hack that seems to have permanently fixed it. But, until I found that, using Onenote was a daily struggle due to the preinstalled nonsense that I didn’t want to use.

                                                                        1. 1

                                                                          Its not just what I listed. Its other problems, like making people resort to registry hack to remove unwanted features:

                                                                          https://www.howtogeek.com/265027/how-to-disable-cortana-in-windows-10

                                                                          or blocking local account creation (LOL?):

                                                                          https://www.howtogeek.com/442609/confirmed-windows-10-setup-now-prevents-local-account-creation

                                                                          its these comically bad, user hostile decisions that keep me from upgrading.

                                                                        2. 3

                                                                          A lot of people have said that this bifurcation has been all but healed in Windows 10. Clearly remnants remain, but they certainly haven’t gotten in my way so your mileage clearly varies.

                                                                        3. 8

                                                                          All of which are trivially disable-able in Settings. This took me 10 minutes.

                                                                          This is not an excuse for user-hostile behaviour.

                                                                          1. 1

                                                                            All of which are trivially disable-able in Settings. This took me 10 minutes.

                                                                            …. and the next time they come back it takes 20 minutes. And after that it involves kernel pacthes. And then firmware hacks.

                                                                            At least for me, this is a matter of self-respect, not a matter of time. But I guess some people strongly prefer being pushovers to drawing a line in the sand and accepting whatever slight inconvenience comes with it.

                                                                          2. 3

                                                                            For anyone looking for a power user’s alternative to control panel I recommend creating an empty folder, naming it LobsterMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}, and then clicking it to see what happens.

                                                                          3. 12

                                                                            Pick up autohotkey if you haven’t! AHK is what makes Windows go from tolerable to amazing.

                                                                            Also, since you’re on a surface, have you looked into Touchme Gesture Studio? You can customize exactly what swipes do.

                                                                            1. 6

                                                                              Totally agree! I need to invest some more time in AuthHotKey. Right now I’m just using it to rebind the dread CAPS LOCK as Ctrl like G*d intended :)

                                                                              What are some examples of what you use AHK for?

                                                                              1. 7

                                                                                A quick snippet of my main.ahk:

                                                                                ; Format copy as markdown link
                                                                                #!c::
                                                                                  ctmp := clipboard
                                                                                  clipboard := ""
                                                                                  Send ^c
                                                                                  ClipWait, 2
                                                                                  clipboard := "[" . clipboard . "](" . ctmp . ")"
                                                                                Return
                                                                                
                                                                                ; Common unicode I use
                                                                                
                                                                                >^a:: Send, ∀
                                                                                >^e:: Send, ∃
                                                                                >^i:: Send, ∈
                                                                                
                                                                                switch_to(app) 
                                                                                {
                                                                                  if WinExist(app)   
                                                                                  {
                                                                                    if !WinActive(app)
                                                                                    {
                                                                                       WinActivate
                                                                                    }
                                                                                  }
                                                                                }
                                                                                
                                                                                >!t:: switch_to("TLA\+ Toolbox")
                                                                                >!2:: switch_to("ahk_exe nvim-qt.exe")
                                                                                >!e:: switch_to("ahk_exe OUTLOOK.EXE")
                                                                                >!s:: switch_to("ahk_exe Spotify.exe")
                                                                                >!p:: switch_to("ahk_exe POWERPNT.EXE")
                                                                                >!f:: switch_to("ahk_class CabinetWClass")
                                                                                

                                                                                Also the most important hotstring: ::;shrug::¯\_(ツ)_/¯

                                                                              2. -6

                                                                                Windows will never be ‘amazing’ no matter how many shortcuts you define.

                                                                                1. 5

                                                                                  For you.

                                                                                  Different people have different needs. Different tools meet those needs in ways that may not apply to you. At all. They may be so alien to you that you can’t even conceive of how they could work for someone else.

                                                                                  Bridging that gap is a skill that many of us in tech could stand to improve upon, myself included.

                                                                                  1. -5

                                                                                    No, not just for me. It’s a fundamentally broken operating system. It might fit your needs but it physically cannot be ‘amazing’.

                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                      “Amazing” is obviously subjective. I use win10 pro for work and it’s at least tolerable relative to previous versions. Cortana sucks. Windows search generally sucks. The weird Metro-Settings/Classic Control Panel makes me cringe. The Metro-ized start menu is wonky. The App Store is a forgettable mess.

                                                                                      However, I pretty much live in Visual Studio, a browser, a terminal (Cygwin or occasionally Git Bash), and the thing that passes for a command console in Windows. I tend to live out of emacs and a terminal on both OS X and Linux. Don’t ask for much more than the essentials and you won’t be disappointed. If you need your OS to be “physically amazing” in order to use it….I’d love to know what you use.

                                                                                      I haven’t tried AutoHotKey, but keyboard shortcuts improve my productivity by an order of magnitude. Amazing? No. Productive? Yes.

                                                                                  2. 4

                                                                                    What’s the simplest way to configure Linux to make typeable in two keypresses?

                                                                                    1. 3

                                                                                      Install xbindkeys and xvkbd if they aren’t already installed.

                                                                                      Create ~/.xbindkeysrc containing:

                                                                                      "xdotool key U2200"
                                                                                      alt + A
                                                                                      
                                                                                      "xdotool key U2203"
                                                                                      alt + E
                                                                                      
                                                                                      1. 3

                                                                                        That doesn’t work in Wayland. Does this mean I have to stop using Wayland to get ∃?

                                                                                        1. 3

                                                                                          This is illustrative of why some people (myself included) might opine that the Wayland ecosystem is not really ready for prime time yet.

                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                            You could write a small xbindkeys substitute for Wayland using libevdev. Alternatively you could write your own keymap à la us-altgr-intl. Both pretty simple!

                                                                                        2. 1

                                                                                          Emacs? (specifically cdlatex or a input mode). But I guess that’s evading your question.

                                                                                    2. 7

                                                                                      I think this will be my first year of using exclusively Windows after like 15 years. All started when I got a small Debian netbook from my father. Used Windows pretty much exclusively for gaming after that. Now I run it both on my laptop and on my PC. Well I do all my work through Msys2, I have bash and basic Linux utilities and a package manager which is basically all I ever needed.

                                                                                      I got burnt out from fixing things. I got burned out from being tempted to break them. Took me a while to realize I actively don’t want to know how to fix anything pacman related, or WM related, or anything like that.

                                                                                      Linux is a bad fit for me because I’m a perfectionist. Even when I’d fix something I had this unshakeable feeling that I’ve ‘muddied’ my system, that it still might tacitly be in an invalid state. Yet I never put in enough energy to become truly proficient with stuff, only fragments.

                                                                                      Here’s a snarky twitter thread in this vein: https://twitter.com/garybernhardt/status/1078389370741186560

                                                                                      1. 7

                                                                                        Actually I feel the other way round about Linux vs other systems. I can only achieve simple and fully reproducible setups using Linux.

                                                                                        The key is cherrypicking appropriate hardware and simple standard components. In my case, I find all-Intel machines plus a simple userland (StumpWM, Emacs, Firefox and XTerm) are incredibly nice to use. For this I employ both NixOS and Archlinux.

                                                                                        1. 6

                                                                                          Yup. Brains are different. For you, the shortcomings that are unclimbable mountains for some are barely noticeable.

                                                                                          I do think that with things like WSL and Powershell, Windows is beginning to approach the same level of customizability, but its interfaces for accomplishing what you want are probably not to your liking.

                                                                                          That’s the whole point, it’s about finding the interface that feels good to you while appreciating that it isn’t the same way for everyone.

                                                                                          1. 3

                                                                                            Thanks, I am interested in learning what makes Windows superior to Linux for your usecase aside from hardware compatibility.

                                                                                            In my case, I love Linux due to minimal distros (few moving parts) and declarative configurations plus rollbacks (Nix and dotfiles).

                                                                                            1. 2

                                                                                              I had switched from Linux to macOS in 2007, because it was so much more polished (it still is) and had so much better applications (still does). But NixOS is what brought me back to the Linux on the desktop fold. Being able to define your machines and development environments declaratively is an enormous win. I can check out a project repository on a new machine and I have exactly the same CUDA, PyTorch, etc. versions.

                                                                                              (Yes I know that Nix works on Darwin and I use it on my MacBook, but NixOS is more encompassing + Linux is better supported by Nix.)

                                                                                          2. 1

                                                                                            I hate simplicity and the best way to achieve reproducibility is to not ever have to reproduce anything:)

                                                                                          3. 5

                                                                                            Msys2 is a good solution, WSL is excellent in my experience.

                                                                                            And it’s only getting better, there’s a HUGE amount of effort being invested in making it a first class development environment from Ubuntu and Microsoft. I’m psyched to see what evolves in that space.

                                                                                            And I totally agree, I have both installed on my laptop and very much enjoy having Linux around to play with the amazing toys the mad scientists come up with and do crazy experiments on, but when I Need to Get Work Done (and this is gonna make the diehard *NIX folks bristle, sorry folks :) I boot into Windows and stop worrying about it.

                                                                                            1. 1

                                                                                              WSL1 has extremely poor IO performance, to the point where it is almost unusable in certain situations. I’ve since switched to using an ‘always-on’ Linux VM using hyper-v that I just SSH into. Much better performance and support for all Linux programs that way. I’m looking forward to WSL2 though, which is just actual Linux running in a VM.

                                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                                Yes I’m very much looking forward to WSL2 as well. I now wish I’d bought the Pro version so I could run the preview, but unfortunately their marketing doesn’t mention anything about Pro having expanded Hyper-V container hosting capabilities.

                                                                                            2. 4

                                                                                              I got burnt out from fixing things. I got burned out from being tempted to break them. Took me a while to realize I actively don’t want to know how to fix anything pacman related, or WM related, or anything like that.

                                                                                              Don’t break things then? Linux systems don’t randomly break like Windows systems do. They just work, reliably, the same way, until you change them. People that complain about their Linux systems breaking inevitably are doing stuff like installing dozens of AUR packages. Installing loads of crappy third party software is going to have negative effects on any operating system.

                                                                                              Here’s a snarky twitter thread in this vein: https://twitter.com/garybernhardt/status/1078389370741186560

                                                                                              This is the problem with Twitter. We don’t see any of the replies to his tweets, we just see him unfairly and inaccurately paraphrasing what people say and arguing against that. And it’s impossible to argue against his claims anyway.

                                                                                              His original tweet is about the Linux desktop, and as soon as people point out that the Linux experience on desktop is completely fine today, he pivots to talking about laptops, which aren’t desktops. Someone points out that other platforms also don’t work reliably (no shit! none of them work reliably) and says “Buy a new Mac. Open the lid. The trackpad works. The sound works. The WiFi works. Emoji works. 3D acceleration works. Close the lid. It sleeps. Open the lid again. It wakes from sleep.” Like mate, you can get Linux laptops where all those things work too…

                                                                                              Every time anyone responds to his point, he shifts the goalposts.

                                                                                              1. 5

                                                                                                Linux systems don’t randomly break like Windows systems do.

                                                                                                In my experience this is very incorrect. I’ve been using Windows 10 for the last couple years with no real issues. Prior to that I was using Ubuntu and had random things break almost once a week. You could say it was my fault for using third party package sources to install current versions of software that was unavailable in the official sources despite having been released for six months, but things like that simply don’t happen on Windows in my experience.

                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                  In my experience Windows 10 breaks constantly in weird ways and Linux is very reliable. And that’s certainly not my fault!

                                                                                                  Random things literally cannot break ‘once a week’ on Linux unless you’re changing things once a week. You complain about needing to use third party packages then also complain about stability. Like, the whole point of the official repositories not being the most recent version of packages is stability!

                                                                                                2. 3

                                                                                                  Like mate, you can get Linux laptops where all those things work too…

                                                                                                  I think that’s the thing; he’s comparing Apples to oranges^Wrandom hardware and throwing Linux on it. I am constantly disappointed by stuff not working in Debian on some Thinkpads (my current work machine has a weird issue with the display driver on multi monitor and my home laptop’s microphone doesn’t seem to work at all), but then those weren’t actually designed to run Linux. Try running MacOS on a random janky piece of shit PC hardware “designed for Windows” and see how well you fare. Then complain on Twitter and watch the number of people claiming their Hackintosh works just fine, thankyouverymuch.

                                                                                                  By the way, what “designed for Linux” laptops can you recommend? I’m slowly starting to think about replacing my x230 and I don’t intend on buying another Lenovo. Ever.

                                                                                                  1. 2

                                                                                                    Don’t break things then?

                                                                                                    They break by themselves. Constantly. Even if accomplishing basic things didn’t require a level of involvement from the user much higher than that in Windows, even Ubuntu tended to break just from basic updating.

                                                                                                    Linux systems don’t randomly break like Windows systems do.

                                                                                                    I genuinely can’t recall Windows ever breaking, except once when I had a hardware issue that was causing BSODs.

                                                                                                    People that complain about their Linux systems breaking inevitably are doing stuff like installing dozens of AUR packages.

                                                                                                    Oh man you use Arch and actually have no trouble stating that it doesn’t break literally randomly?? This is a meme even in hardcore Linux enthusiast communities because of how often that happens.

                                                                                                    1. 3

                                                                                                      They break by themselves. Constantly.

                                                                                                      They literally do not. This is not up for debate. Software does not spontaneously break. You change things and it breaks. Its developers change things and it breaks. But it does not spontaneously break.

                                                                                                      Even if accomplishing basic things didn’t require a level of involvement from the user much higher than that in Windows

                                                                                                      Like what? Beyond installing it in the first place. That computers almost all still come with Windows is a perfect example of the failure of anti-monopoly laws, not a point against Linux.

                                                                                                      I genuinely can’t recall Windows ever breaking, except once when I had a hardware issue that was causing BSODs.

                                                                                                      Windows is notoriously unreliable. I can’t understand how someone could even type the words ‘I genuinely can’t recall Windows ever breaking’. It’s an operating system that’s so unreliable that people have to regularly reinstall it to avoid it becoming slowed down by its own decay!

                                                                                                      Oh man you use Arch and actually have no trouble stating that it doesn’t break literally randomly?? This is a meme even in hardcore Linux enthusiast communities because of how often that happens.

                                                                                                      It’s a meme specifically because of the ease with which you can install third party packages. If you don’t do that then it doesn’t break basically ever unless you completely ignore the announcements every year or so that you need do so something beyond updating all your packages for some reason.

                                                                                                      If Arch did break more than other distros then that would just confirm that the issue is the software breaking and not the operating system, because the only difference between Arch and other distros is that it’s rolling release and doesn’t patch its packages.

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                                                                                                        They literally do not. This is not up for debate. Software does not spontaneously break. You change things and it breaks. Its developers change things and it breaks. But it does not spontaneously break.

                                                                                                        Yeah, it can, assuming it’s stateful and you actually use it. I’ve had stock installs of Debian run out of disk space because of too many log files.

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                                                                                                      Like mate, you can get Linux laptops where all those things work too…

                                                                                                      I bought a HP laptop this year and stripped off Windows and put on OpenSUSE. It’s a niche distro, and neraly everything just worked (except codecs, but just add Packman). I haven’t had to configure much since set up either. I know people have gotten themselves into trouble with pacman, and I’ve gotten myself in a world of hurt in both apt and yum before, but zypper seems to do the right thing most of the time. I spent many college nights tinkering to get things to work, but things are 1000x better today.

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                                                                                                      I’m sometimes tempted to go Windows only but I always have to dual boot to Windows on a number of machines and the consistent micro lags (30 - 150 ms) on brand new top-of-the-line hardware drives me crazy :-/

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                                                                                                      I think it’s a cold shower we FOSS lovers should have when approaching certain proprietary software; it’s not all sunshine and rainbows: http://itvision.altervista.org/why.linux.is.not.ready.for.the.desktop.current.html

                                                                                                      I personally would love to get my hands on a Windows 10 LTSC release.

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                                                                                                        That page is the biggest load of FUD I think I’ve ever seen. A lot of the things listed there are simply untrue, or completely miss the whole point.

                                                                                                        ‘Linux’ is not comparable to ‘Windows’. You shouldn’t say ‘there’s one way to do X on Windows but there are five ways to do X on Linux so Windows is better and more consistent’. Look at individual distributions. A distribution is an operating system. Windows is an NT distribution, essentially. Look at some KDE-based distro then make the comparisons.

                                                                                                        Look at this crap:

                                                                                                        Few software titles, inability to run familiar Windows software (some applications which don’t work in Wine - look at the lines which contain the word “regression” - have zero Linux equivalents).

                                                                                                        Questionable patents and legality status. USA Linux users cannot play many popular audio and video formats until they purchase appropriate codecs.

                                                                                                        A small number of native games and few native AAA games for the past six years

                                                                                                        There’s no concept of drivers in Linux

                                                                                                        There’s a lot of hostility in the open source community.

                                                                                                        The USA’s laws are shit, Linux is unpopular, something completely made up, and a complaint about the community. Wow, what a load of fantastic constructive technical issues with Linux!!!!111

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                                                                                                          The LTSC build does not support very recent hardware, so if you own an AMD Ryzen 3000 something CPU, then you will have no luck running this version of windows.

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                                                                                                          Agree with this 100%, Windows is the best Linux distro

                                                                                                          You can roughly split software into two categories:

                                                                                                          • Software that breaks randomly if you don’t update it: youtube-dl
                                                                                                          • Software that breaks randomly if you update it: everything else

                                                                                                          I only want to update software in the first category and not software in the second category, but because Linux userspace is all-in on making everything rely on very specific versions of everything else, you can only either update everything or nothing.

                                                                                                          On Windows, the only way to ship software is to statically link all of your dependencies, so I can update software individually with no problems. There’s a small amount of Linux software running in WSL, all of which I am fine with never updating, so it works out.

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                                                                                                            I only want to update software in the first category and not software in the second category, but because Linux userspace is all-in on making everything rely on very specific versions of everything else, you can only either update everything or nothing.

                                                                                                            Sounds like you should give guix or nix a try; they are built around that whole concept of isolating updates and making them trivial to roll back if you turn out to not want them.

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                                                                                                              “Try guix or nix” feels like the “monads are just monoids in the category of endofunctors” of recommending hassle-free OS choices.

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                                                                                                                I see why the perception is this way, but really don’t think this should be the case. Mind if I quote you on this in a blogpost on how to practically use Nix later? :-)

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                                                                                                                  Not at all.

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                                                                                                                I’ve been working on getting NixOS to run well under WSL2. I’ve gotten pretty close.

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                                                                                                                But there’s another split to consider:

                                                                                                                • Software that’s safe to use indefinitely without updating: applications that never touch the network or untrusted input
                                                                                                                • Software that needs to be updated to be used safely: everything else
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                                                                                                                  The only software I can think of that falls into the first category is calculator to be honest… What other can you think of?

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                                                                                                                    Almost all software should sit in that camp or be able to be configured to sit in that camp. There’s literally no reason at all for most software to touch the network. One of the most underrated aspects of having a system package manager is you don’t have every program having to reimplement auto-update functionality securely. Updating is taken care of in your package manager, in one place, once. Updating is the only place the vast, vast majority of desktop software would ever “need” to touch the network.

                                                                                                                    Text editors, word processors, office software, email clients, video players.. the list goes on. None of them need to touch the internet at all.

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                                                                                                                      I’m not talking about the internet. I’m talking about untrusted input. You are severely hampering your experience if you are never going to open a file from an untrusted source with your office software, email clients or video players. Even image viewers are potential vectors of attack. So, what software apart from a calculator falls into the category of “you never have to update it since it doesn’t interact with untrusted input”?

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                                                                                                                        It’s generally considered to be unsafe to open untrusted files with Microsoft Office even if it’s entirely up to date…

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                                                                                                                      I also struggle to think of much software that falls into that first category. That’s the point I intended to make: most of the software we use needs to be (capable of being) updated regularly. Various package managers have their downsides, but adopting a stance of generally not updating software isn’t really a solution (unless one cares to spend way more effort staying on top of CVEs than I do).

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                                                                                                                    You are confusing package managers with operating systems here.

                                                                                                                    Also linux has had Snaps for a while now - they do exactly what you are implying here but better: https://snapcraft.io/

                                                                                                                    Software that breaks randomly if you update it: everything else

                                                                                                                    Does this really happen? I’ve been running Arch linux for 5 years now and it happened maybe once. It seems like such an outdated meme.

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                                                                                                                      Nothing about Linux forces you to update anything or to dynamically link anything.

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                                                                                                                        My Ubuntu nags me about updates all the time.

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                                                                                                                          Ubuntu is just one of many Linux distros (and IMHO one of the worst)

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                                                                                                                            Sure. It’s always fun to waste time on configuring Arch.

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                                                                                                                        Software on Windows tends not to be statically linked, just when you distribute the software you ship the dynamic libs with it. (The d in dll stands for dynamic).

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                                                                                                                          Brew has an amazing compromise between sandboxing and updates. Try brew on Linux for things like this. I always have the latest python provided through brew, but won’t mess up my system if I pip install something unstable.

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                                                                                                                          I think ChromeOS strikes a right balance here.

                                                                                                                          Native Linux, on a battery efficient device (not to mention the optional tablet functionality including inking). I like my Pixel Slate in that regard. I only would have asked for higher performance CPU and memory.