Before this debacle even started I was wondering if I could last the entire 30 days, but as it turns out, Vista couldn’t. This morning I awoke my computer from ‘sleep’ mode only to be greeted with yet another Blue Screen of Death. I was used to this by now, so I proceeded with my usual BSoD ritual of: restart, cup of tea. Upon my return I see another BSoD. So this time, I stay to watch the restart. And it gets as far as flashing the Windows logo, then it appears. The Blue Screen of Death.

This why I am announcing an end to Vista 4 30. I no longer have a Windows Vista install DVD, and don’t intend to acquire one in the foreseeable future.

I’d like to end with a suitable conclusion. It’s ‘user friendliness’ is completely hopeless, as it is just removing basic functionality. It can’t do even the most basic of tasks without some sort of problem arising. It keeps on doing stuff without my say so. All of a sudden it may decide to change some sort of non-human readable config file, and restart itself. The UAC is without hope, it fails in every aspect of its existence. Windows Vista is highly unstable, and unsuitable for any use whatsoever.

With that I bid you all farewell, and good luck to all you Vista users.

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People say that they use Windows over Linux because Linux is a hell of configuration files and grief. But after using Windows for the past 17 days I’ve come to realise it is the other way around.

The facade of Linux requiring any sort of programming experience is set to be lifted, everything has a GUI tool, albeit slower and less in depth than their command line counterpart. Gone are the days of endless, unintuitive dependencies with the advent of package managers*. One click is all it takes to install a fully configured, fully functional application. Whereas in Windows you have to use an installer, which requires at least 5 times as many mouse clicks to install some software, which more often that not, doesn’t work in Vista because of the awful virtualisation of XP.

Just a few minutes ago on IRC, someone gave the example of printing two photos resized to 5×7 with the least amount of fuss. In Linux all you have to do is open up f-spot and select 5×7. Whereas in Windows you open it up in the printing wizard, and supposing network printing actually worked, and just supposing you can traverse the contextual menus to find A4 paper, you still can’t select the size you want. There is no option for changing centimetres into inches. I think the people at Microsoft see being ‘end-user friendly’ as removing as many useful features as possible.

Day 16, Your Blog Sucks

April 21, 2007

Since starting this blog I have had quite a bit of feedback, not neccessarily about the blog, but about my views on Windows and Microsoft. I am bombarded with zealots left, right, and centre. “U CANT USE WINDOZE YOU TRAITOR!!111!” or “You and your gay friends only read this because you’re making it all up. It only happens on yours, nobody elses is like that.” In response to the first comment, no, I am not a traitor. First of all, whom am I traitor to? Linus? Mark Shuttleworth? I really don’t think they care. Or maybe I have usurped the community, but think of it like this; it’s like when you slow down to see an accident on the motorway. It’s for investigative purposes. Now, addressing the latter response, I am not making any of this up. I try to provide suitable evidence of my claims, but it’s not always possible. And it may well be possible that these things are only present on my computer, but shouldn’t Windows be written for compatibility on as much hardware as possible?

Day 15, Temperament

April 20, 2007

Today marks the half way point. Only 15 days remaining until Vista, assumingly, shuts itself down.

As some of you have have noticed, I didn’t make a post yesterday. There are a number of reasons for this. One of which is Vista’s seemingly experimental wireless capabilities. People complain about bad wireless support in Linux, the resources are there, but the wireless manufacturers don’t get off their fat arses and actually code something that complies to kernel standards (ie, RTx00 cards). But at least the cards that are supported in Linux are supported well (except WPA). In Vista hardly any drivers ‘officially support’ the operating system, and when I awake from power saving mode it fails to connect to my wifi network with an ‘unkown reason’.

This isn’t the only thing that is iffy about Vista’s prolonged stability. In the past 15 days I have 3, yes 3, Blue Screens of Death, and a total of 5 forced restarts because of the whole computer freezing up for no visible reason. This makes me worried about doing anything important on Vista, just in case I haven’t saved in the past ten minutes and Windows decides it’s time for an unscheduled restart.

Day 13, Speed

April 18, 2007

As some of you may remember, I took a little break a few days back. During that time my computer was Folding@Home, although it lasted the full course (no unexpected hiccups) it did go extremely slowly. It was folding a work unit that my computer was at 93% through completing on Linux, before the uninstall. That took just over 3 days. When I came back after 4 days on Windows it had only managed 72%. Both were running with non-graphical clients, but on Linux it was doing it simultaneously with my normal use, and still managed to beat Windows. This may be down to optimised code on Linux. But as there is no GUI to code, I doubt the code is much different.

Also, I’ve been beginning to notice a serious amount of sluggishness. Apps seem to grind to a halt, and the pulsating blue ring takes over. More than often in Firefox. When I turn on the computer it sits there for a good 10 seconds before anything is accessible. And a further 20 for it to connect to the network. All this gets very annoying, very quickly. And is the precise reason I left OS X on my 4 year old hardware. I spent a fortune on this computer, and in Vista the difference is negligible.

Day 12, “Security”

April 17, 2007

I think I’ll start on Vista’s brand-spanking new User Account Control (UAC). First, some background knowledge. The UAC is basically a way to restrict the user from installing malicious software on their computer. In some ways it works. But in others, it doesn’t. First off, the good points; it always pops up whenever I’m installing any software, requiring me to confirm that I want to install the software. One major bad point is that it pops up whenever I’m installing any software, requiring me to confirm that I want to install the software. Although adding a layer of security, it is so manically irritating. Before the ill-times popup, well, pops up the screen goes blank for an unspecified time. Sometimes as long as half a second, in which time I have the chance to panic, and possibly run across the room in frustration. This, as you may have guessed, gets old very soon. Not only this, it insists on giving the most ambiguous warnings humanly possible:

Now, I’m no security expert, but to me that is looking very insecure. Not only do I not know what I am running, I don’t even have to type a password to allow it. I’m pretty sure that bypassing the pressing of a button, is easier than cracking a password (which still doesn’t have competant encryption). Also, how on earth is a non-savvy computer user going to know what the hell UAC is, and what it’s for. No normal PC user knows what effect it has running as root on a machine. Microsoft was even kind enough to bundle in a little ditty called ‘SendTo’ which allows bypassing of UAC when it is turned on, it makes non-writable directories fully writable. Wonderful really.

If UAC fails to do its job, people don’t know what it is for, can be easily spoofed, and has crap design overall, what is need for it?

Another major beef is the shoddy firewall. Apparently, the firewall blocks all connections, except those applications listed. Upon opening up nmap and scanning my PC I found I had three ports open. Three ports which had been opened without my consent. These are: msrpc, netbios-ssn, and microsoft-ds. After not being able to see any of these in my list of accepted apps, I proceeded to Google. As you can see, the second result of a google search of ‘msrpc’ is entitled “Hacking Windows: MSRPC vulnerabilities”. Oh good, that really strikes confidence in the Windows sceptic of Vista’s new-found security. Apparently, if I had my computer in my router’s DMZ (like it always is when Linux is installed with a competent firewall) I am vulnerable to a buffer overflow. Wonderful.

I think it’s safe to say that Microsoft’s overzealous attempts at security are short lived. Although “Most secure version of Windows ever” is a little like saying “diphtheria is better than cancer”.

I have a taken a break from normal proceedings today for an important announcement. Which is: Microsoft are evil. Last night, my friend was contacted by Microsoft’s legal department. Allegedly, someone on his unsecured wireless network has been downloading illegal files, and dumping them on his computer. Apparently, being randomly selected is reason enough to prowl through one’s logs, and monitor all activity on the network, and Xbox 360. They had been monitoring his activity for weeks. Reading through internet logs of everyone who had access to his network.

Send as many angry emails to Microsoft as you can.