1. 1

    For links I built a tiny link shortener that uses consecutive natural numbers (/1, /2, /3). Really easy to remember, dictate and write down on paper! For small bits of text you could conceivably use it to shorten a link to a Gist or similar.

    1. 2

      My boss is taking a break for the whole of December so I get a paid vacation out of it! I’m going to continue my (ambitious for my skill level) Advent of Code in assembly project. Day 7 (today) is when it started getting hard (I had to implement a hybrid binary search hash map with CRC32) but I should be able to last at least one more week!

      1. 13

        I’m gonna continue doing Advent of Code in x86-64 assembly. I hope I can solve every single day this year!

        1. 3

          Love the comment :P

          THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED “AS IS”, WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED but it does work on my input so idk.

          Good luck too!

          1. 2

            I’m doing it with k2l8m11n2!! but in C.

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            I am a big fan of having a paper notebook and a nice, hefty, metal pen. The ability to rapidly intermix text, drawings, and sketches is underrated.

            EDIT: For the record, I really like Machine Era pens. Solid metal and made in the USA, with easily refillable ink cartridges.

            1. 4

              After trying multiple systems on my laptop or smartphone, I always fall back to my notebooks and a foutain pen. The only thing that I miss is a way to easily record some url or reference. I thought about creating my own url shortener or find a mini printer to print sticker with QR code.

              Intermixing different kinds of inputs (text,drawings,sketches,ddiagrams) is the really what I miss the most when I tried any numeric system.

              1. 1

                I recently had the same idea about a link shortener and so I made one! It doesn’t have much in the way of documentation but it was literally a two hour project and it’s only 50 lines of Go so I think you should be able to get it running really quickly. It uses autoincrementing numbers so the links are always very short and easy to write down (also spell out to someone, remember etc.) I hope you find it useful! Here’s the repo: https://github.com/k2l8m11n2/s

                1. 1

                  That’s nice ! What kind of input method do you use? Sending HTTP request via a web interface or CLI? I will definitely look at it longer, thanks!

                  1. 1

                    The interface is the simplest one I could think of: you GET (or just enter in your browser) https://shortener.example.com/https://some-cool-link.example.net/fun-link-stuff and you get back a number (starting with 1) that you use like so: https://shortener.example.com/1 which redirects you to https://some-cool-link.example.net/fun-link-stuff! I hope this example was clear enough, feel free to ask if you have any questions.

              2. 4

                If you like hefty metal pens, but European ones, I cannot recommend enough Caran d’Ache: https://www.carandache.com/us/en/ballpoint-pen/849-popline-metallic-black-ballpoint-pen-with-holder-p-10214.htm

                This kind of pen can go a long way.

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                  So once upon a time I spoke French reasonably well and I was trying to translate “Caran d’Ache” and now I have a headache. Turns out it’s actually a French-ish spelling of a Russian version of a Turkish word.

                  1. 4

                    Yes! Even for native French speakers, it feels very French, except Caran doesn’t mean anything (Ache could be a city or whatever).

                    Fore those wondering the meaning:

                    Caran d’Ache means pencil in Russian and has its roots in the Turkish word “kara-tash” which means black stone, in reference to graphite.

                    https://www.carandache.com/us/en/content/ch/fr/la_maison/landing/la_maison_-_histoire.cfm

                    1. 7

                      Caran d’Ache means pencil in Russian and has its roots in the Turkish word “kara-tash” which means black stone, in reference to graphite.

                      Interestingly, I come from a country where fountain pen are mandatory in school. We speak arabic, and everyone called the fountain pen “cartouch”, which means bullet or cartridge. It’s also funny because the cartridge really looks like a bullet. There’s also a close relation with lead. I thought it was an anglicism but now I’m learning it might actually comes from the ottoman era.
                      Language is fun.

                      1. 1

                        Interestingly enough, in French cartridge is also called “cartouche” which is very similar!

                        I’ve tried to find more on the source of the work, but the best I could find was:

                        Borrowed from Italian cartuccia, a diminutive of carta, from Latin charta, from Ancient Greek χάρτης (khártēs) — https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/cartouche

                        Which is related to the paper that was used for cartridges (in firearms).

                        I wonder what’s the link with pens beside the ink cartridge…

                      2. 2

                        A “Crayon of ash” perhaps?

                      3. 2

                        Oh, right. Карандаш. But it means pencil, so it’s a little bit weird. Does French pronunciation has anything to do with the Russian one? :D

                        1. 2

                          I decided to leam the Cyrillic alphabet a while back because I noticed there are a lot of shared/borrowed French words in Russian and I was going on a visit to Russia. It was really handy. I know a little French, and no Russian, but I could actually read a lot of words on signs. I got the notion from ресторан = restaurant.

                    2. 4

                      I like rotring pens.

                      1. 1

                        Have you ever had a problem with them leaking? My partner uses those, as the line quality is beautiful but after a while, every one she has had has started to leak and needs to be cleaned out.

                        1. 1

                          No, I haven’t had trouble with mine leaking. I mostly use the ball point pen though. Nothing fancy.

                      2. 3

                        In some previous variant of a similar thread, one fellow lobster got me addicted to discbound notebooks [1] [2] [3]. I heartily recommend checking them out for anyone using paper for work notes. They’re an absolutely ingenious invention, I’m surprised they’re not better known and more popular. I mean, I don’t guarantee they’ll fix all your life problems and smooth your wrinkles, but they have many benefits with not many flaws, and I think everyone should know they exist, so that they can choose them as a tool at will.

                        1. 1

                          What type of paper do you use? Ruled? Grid? Some of my physicist coworkers use a dotted grid-style that I’ve been thinking of trying out

                          1. 4

                            I use a dot-grid notebook for a daily bullet journal and all my notes. I can’t go without some horizontal true north or else I start to slant everything downwards, haha. I recommend the Leuchtturm1917 or the Rhodia Dot Web notebooks if you’re curious.

                            1. 1

                              I’ve been using ruled Moleskine notebooks also with my variant of bullet journal. I also have the same slanting problem, but I think dots would be sufficient. I’ll check those out, thanks!

                              1. 2

                                I found out that dotted paper is the more versatile and my newer notebooks all have some. For example, I can easily draw a chess board when I am working on my chess or write straight or diagram almost properly without any rulers when needed.

                                I have some grieves with the quality of paper is my moleskine that vary so much between notebooks especially with foutain pen ink. Some bleeds too easily, some feathers ans some are perfect with the same ink, foutain pen and nib.

                            2. 2

                              I prefer lined since I write more than I draw and I’m not good at writing on unruled or dotted paper.

                          1. 14

                            This is neat and handles the folks who say “IT’S NOT BROKEN I FEAR CHANGE”.

                            The only down side is that now we’ll never know what the main branch is when we check out a new repo.

                            I may name mine veeblefetzer just to be difficult :)

                            1. 2

                              That’s what git symbolic-ref HEAD is for!

                              1. 3

                                Doesn’t that just tell you which branch you’re on?

                                1. 1

                                  Oops, yeah, it doesn’t do what I thought it did. Still, you can do git show-ref and check which branch matches refs/remotes/origin/HEAD.

                                  1. 1

                                    Good idea! I’m happy that the default remote name is a local config option, otherwise this wouldn’t be possible

                            1. 8

                              A finger curls on the monkey’s paw…

                                1. 2

                                  This link is a real winner. Thanks for introducing it to me!

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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.

                                  1. 31

                                    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.

                                    1. 22

                                      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).

                                      1. 5

                                        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. :)

                                        1. 11

                                          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.

                                      2. 12

                                        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)

                                        1. 13

                                          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.

                                          2. 4

                                            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.

                                            1. 9

                                              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”.

                                              1. 8

                                                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.

                                                1. 2

                                                  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.

                                                  1. 1

                                                    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 ;).

                                                2. 8

                                                  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.

                                                  1. 2

                                                    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.

                                                    1. 9

                                                      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.

                                                      1. 1

                                                        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.

                                                        1. 5

                                                          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.

                                                          1. 1

                                                            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.

                                                            1. 4

                                                              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.”

                                                        1. 1

                                                          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.

                                                        2. 4

                                                          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.

                                                          1. 3

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

                                                            1. 3

                                                              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.

                                                              1. 0

                                                                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.

                                                                1. 5

                                                                  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 !

                                                                  1. 1

                                                                    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).

                                                                  2. 2

                                                                    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.

                                                            2. 0

                                                              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.)

                                                              1. 1

                                                                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.

                                                            3. 1

                                                              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?

                                                            4. 6

                                                              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.)

                                                              1. 4

                                                                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.

                                                                1. 3

                                                                  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.

                                                                  1. 2

                                                                    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.

                                                                    1. 3

                                                                      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.

                                                                    2. 2

                                                                      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.

                                                              2. 5

                                                                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”.

                                                              3. 7

                                                                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.

                                                                1. 4

                                                                  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. 5

                                                                  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.

                                                                    1. 4

                                                                      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

                                                                      1. 4

                                                                        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.

                                                                      2. 3

                                                                        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.

                                                                  2. 5

                                                                    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.

                                                                    1. 1

                                                                      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.

                                                                    2. 14

                                                                      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.)

                                                                      1. 39

                                                                        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. 6

                                                                          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.

                                                                                              2. 4

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

                                                                                                1. 13

                                                                                                  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. 3

                                                                                                    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.

                                                                                                      1. 24

                                                                                                        Not sure I agree that an App Store is a requirement for a platform. Game consoles existed for a long time before App Stores became a thing, and I certainly would consider them “platforms”.

                                                                                                        1. 6

                                                                                                          I don’t ever use the App Store on Mac or Windows and I seem to have a perfectly functional environment. They didn’t even have stores until just a few years ago. So I agree, I don’t see how this is a requirement.

                                                                                                          I think the actual requirement is the ability to package up an application into a downloadable installer that’s guaranteed to work.

                                                                                                          1. 8

                                                                                                            I can’t think of a major game console released this decade that doesn’t have an App Store, so I’m not sure this argument holds as much water as it might have.

                                                                                                            IMO an App Store is just a package manager that takes payments.

                                                                                                            I definitely want a package manager, and I don’t mind paying for software, so I tend to appreciate having one.

                                                                                                            1. 10

                                                                                                              released this decade

                                                                                                              Why does that even matter? The PlayStation 2 is still a platform. The Wii didn’t need Internet access. People have already pointed out F-droid. Linux distributions allow you to add 3rd party repositories or overlays. Play/AppStore do not.

                                                                                                              Modern platforms should be able to run and operate if their underlying service go away. They currently cannot, and that’s a big problem.

                                                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                                                “Released this decade” is relevant because it speaks to current consumer expectations.

                                                                                                                RE “underlying service going away”: Once I buy/install a game on the switch, AFAIK it will never need connectivity again.

                                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                                  Current consumer expectations don’t always involve an app store. People in a corporate environment that use Windows don’t expect an app store, especially if their environment is still windows 7. Yours is a narrow-minded view of the idea behind calling something a platform. User expectations don’t go so far as to assume some kind of central store for apps.

                                                                                                              2. 1

                                                                                                                While not GNU/Linux, LineageOS + F-droid is a functional platform that doesn’t have an ‘app store’ that takes payments. It (F-droid) does encourage donations to projects it distributes, but I still think defining a platform on the requirement that it includes an ‘app store’ that takes payments is not correct.

                                                                                                                The article doesn’t actually define what exactly they mean by ‘app store’ though (package manager vs package manager that can charge you).

                                                                                                                1. 3

                                                                                                                  LineageOS + F-droid

                                                                                                                  Off topic, but can you recommend something from F-droid? I recently switched from using iOS for years to buying a refurbished android phone and throwing LineageOS + mindthegapps + f-droid on it. I have installed most of the apps I use from the play store, a few from direct download from websites, and only a single one from f-droid: Material Files which works very well. I haven’t yet found any of the things I need (spotify, mullvad, firefox …) in the f-droid app, and yeah, any recommendations for free libre apps on f-droid that can replace things I might be using from play store? I know about the firefox fork that’s more open, but other than that?

                                                                                                                  1. 4

                                                                                                                    Really depends what you want.

                                                                                                                    • Amaze is a nice file manager
                                                                                                                    • BeHe keyboard is a slightly more tech-y keyboard app, which doesn’t send everything you type to an AI somewhere
                                                                                                                    • K-9 Mail for non-gmail email client
                                                                                                                    • Syncthing is a decent non-dropbox file sync
                                                                                                                    • VLC for video playing

                                                                                                                    What I haven’t found yet is a good, general-purpose music player that lets me work with actual files instead of assuming everything’s in albums the way iTunes does. If anyone has suggestions…

                                                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                                                      I really like Vanilla Music, but I do have everything tagged correctly and am fine with the Album/Artist view. It does have a file tab, but it’s probably not as full-blown as you’re looking for :(

                                                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                                                        Thank you, I’ll check your suggestions out!

                                                                                                                      2. 4

                                                                                                                        We had a whole thread about it.

                                                                                                                        1. 1

                                                                                                                          Thank you!

                                                                                                                        2. 2

                                                                                                                          spotify

                                                                                                                          I haven’t tried this, but this app claims to be capable of fetching and updating Spotify.. I’m not aware of any pure FOSS client that can interact reliably with this proprietary service.

                                                                                                                          mullvad

                                                                                                                          I’ve never heard of this so I had to search. If you are referring to the VPN service, they seem to use Wireguard, so unless they are doing something super crazy it seems like you should be able to use the Wireguard client on F-droid..

                                                                                                                          firefox

                                                                                                                          fennec, which is literally just Firefox without any proprietary bits or Mozilla branding.

                                                                                                                    2. 3

                                                                                                                      I would call the Windows app store pretty much a failure, too.

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                                                                                                                        I have not personally used it, but from what friends and colleagues have told me, it does sound like a tire fire.

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                                                                                                                        Back then you had actual, physical app stores, e.g. Gamestop.

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                                                                                                                          The NES might not have had an Internet connection to browse and download new games, but it definitely had a specific place to go to find new content (toy stores), which was heavily curated and managed by the platform owner, and which charged developers to participate. And every game console ever since has followed the same basic business model.

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                                                                                                                            Presumably they just mean “an easy way for users to discover and install new programs, and for developers to publish them”.

                                                                                                                            A package manager is a building block for such a thing, but it currently isn’t very easy for desktop users to add new repositories, which makes it harder to install new software. And having to manually add these is extra effort. Of course, that’s a tradeoff: I wouldn’t want random developers to be able to ship their crap to me (which is what the app stores basically boil down to, as much as Apple and Google try to pretend these things are curated, they’re not; they just try to keep the worst offenders out).

                                                                                                                            On the other hand, quality of officially packaged software in Debian or Ubuntu really varies a lot, as well. But at least it’s all free software.

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                                                                                                                            Here’s a video on the topic by CGP Grey: https://youtu.be/oAHbLRjF0vo

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                                                                                                                              I could not agree more with his criticism of re-implementing features that are intrinsic to the web in JavaScript to make them “prettier” or “more responsive” while breaking so much basic functionality. Here’s a favorite of mine, loading more search results with an AJAX request when you reach the bottom of a page rather than having pagination with “Previous” and “Next” links. One culprit of this is YouTube; I’ll often browse a channel’s videos, find one that I like and click on it. When I’m done watching, I’ll press the back button of my browser and I’m back at the top and I need to scroll down a bunch of times to get back to where I was. Something similar happened on Twitch.tv when I was looking for a highlight from 2-3 years ago on a channel: I spent a good 5 minutes just scrolling down to the bottom, waiting for more results to appear and scrolling again. If there had been something with page numbers like we see on many BBS, I could’ve jumped easily by 20 pages or even just change the URL to a large enough number and go from there.

                                                                                                                              If I was a better writer, I’d make a quip about “those who forget web 1.0 are doomed to reimplement it, badly” or something to that effect. It’s especially frustrating when you consider that many of those “new and improved” web experiences require so much memory and CPU power that they are completely unusable on a laptop that’s a few years old.

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                                                                                                                                I could not agree more with his criticism of re-implementing features that are intrinsic to the web in JavaScript to make them “prettier” or “more responsive” while breaking so much basic functionality.

                                                                                                                                Indeed. I have a special hatred for javascript scrollbars.

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                                                                                                                                  Infinite scrolling is like the new javascript scrollbars from 2003.

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                                                                                                                                    I think sites doing everything themselves in WebGL+Canvas because “the dom is too slow” may be the latest addition to the list of possible reasons for “why is my laptop on fire?”.
                                                                                                                                    Still a bit soon to tell. ;)

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                                                                                                                                  One solution that preserves both the convenience of infinite scroll and jumping to a given page (as well as saving your place on the page) would be keeping the page number in a URL fragment and incrementing it on infinite scroll. So far I’ve seen it used only in RES.