Windows, for the batshit insane!

by davidnielsen

I’m stupid.. that is I got lured into assembling and installing a machine, parts arrived around 7pm, it’s now nearly 6am and I’m finally done.

First I tried the Vista RC1 release, the person I was doing this was to cheap to buy a version of Windows now given that Vista would be out shortly and I couldn’t convince her to switch to Fedora because she needed specialized software for her work.

Vistas install is simple but slower than an a snail attached to a 16 ton lead weight, it also hangs rather randomly. Then comes the surprise.. it’s actually very pretty in use, the blur effect is awesome as is the sidebar. However the situation with drivers leaves a lot to be desired. No WLAN, no audio and just about every piece of required software crashes (aside OpenOffice, Firefox and Thunderbird.. all of which are free software, concidence?).

Beaten and broken after about an hour of hunting for Vista drivers I gave up. It’s now around midnight. I figured why not actually test if the hardware works, so I grabbed the nearest Linux DVD which happened to be SLED10 x86_64, 20 minutes later without lifting a finger a beautiful desktop with tons of effects pops up, all that’s lacking is the WLAN – the driver is available and licensed properly (this is a ralink 2470 based USB thingy) however it’s very unstable causing the keyboard to go missing (USB conflict I think). All in all a marvel of the modern age, no work and all play. Sadly I was then reminded that I couldn’t use Linux.. crap.

So I looked around the office and found an original Windows XP I got from Microsoft years ago, it had just been collecting dust so I figured I’d donate it to the project. Great we can install now and all the drivers will just work right?

NO! first up it doesn’t really like the SATAII controller and as the driver is on a CD it simply can’t understand where to find it – result it what was a 320GB HD is now limited to 120GB, wonderful but at least it installed. Then comes the update hell, many megs of downloaded updates later not to mention more reboots than my Linux has done all month we can finally install drivers (because naturally they all required SP2 or better). Everything is pretty smooth now, well except for the fact that every application that came bundled with the hardware like Nero likes to put upgrade buttons on the desktop, this really leads to their webstore and an upgrade involved forking over lots of money. I have a feeling Windows users are very poor people if this is the norm, that or I suddenly remember why pirating software is so popular.

Regardless, as the clock approaches 6am everything mostly works and is up to date.

However it strikes me that if Windows doesn’t come preinstalled, the experience is absolutely horrible. Everything needs seperate drivers, nothing is basically supported without lots and lots of work. The difference between Linux and Windows in this area is like night and day, Linux was literally no work what so ever..

I fail to see why people call Windows easy, all I did was install it and I’ve been working non stop for the past many hours. In use it’s horrible, it constantly pops up with questions like “are you sure this is what you want” because naturally since everything is installed basically off the web you can’t trust it.. no nice core/extras developers to sign your packages and make sure they all work with the latest update.. And if you had a faint hope that Vista was better, let me tell you how sadly fucking mistaken you are. It’s even worse, even when tampering with the slightest thing it asks you to grant a few things access to something entirely without explaining why it just gives you some arbitary file locations.. what good is that to a regular user? This is absolutely awful security (see my previous post).

The most amusing thing about Vista is that the installer greets you with “smart, meet beautiful”.. Personally I think they meant “Absurdly hard to use, meet beautiful but absolutely retarded”.. oh and I can easily make coffee during the time Vista boots and brings up the GUI, once up it’s snappy though (but what was to be expected on a 1.8GHz Core 2 duo with an ATI X300 graphics card and no less than 2GB of ram).

Given this, I think I would rather swim around in a pool of week old turds than ever touch Windows again..

Maybe this post should have been “I love my Linux” and honestly I do, but I’m so seldomly reminded of life without the pleasure of my Fedora desktop. Even though I’ve run the development version of Fedora since FC2 it’s hardly ever broken enough to make my life miserable.

So why again is Windows easier than Linux?

The desktop bugs you constantly without informing you of the implications so it’s basically just confusing and harmful to the experience. The install and setup experience is enough to drive any man nuts.. Is that claim really down to the few pieces of hardware we still don’t support out of the box, which Windows really doesn’t support either as you need 3rd party drivers?

After nearly 12 hours of Windows installation and configuration, I’m thinking anyone who honestly makes that claim is completely batshit insane..