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  • A must-read article on Microsoft’s Windows strategy, from Peter Bright

    Home Forums AskWoody blog A must-read article on Microsoft’s Windows strategy, from Peter Bright

    This topic contains 95 replies, has 29 voices, and was last updated by  MrJimPhelps 3 weeks, 5 days ago.

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    • #225944 Reply

      woody
      Da Boss

      If you haven’t yet read it, take a while and look at Peter Bright’s latest article in Ars Technica. The title needs parsing — “Microsoft’s problem is
      [See the full post at: A must-read article on Microsoft’s Windows strategy, from Peter Bright]

    • #225954 Reply

      anonymous

      I am retired and have used a laptop  for more years than I like to count for my computer needs.  AskWoody pretty much kept me from migrating from Windows 7 to Windows 10.  You also kept me out of trouble vis-a-vis Microsoft Updates.  Recently I replaced my Microsoft dependent laptop with a ChromeBook.  It is one of the best decisions I have ever made.

      8 users thanked author for this post.
      • #226355 Reply

        anonymous

        I wish I still felt that way about my chromebook experience. Last week I updated to the latest v69.0.????.120(32bit) chrome os, and promptly lost my “docs offline” function. A week of searches, setting reconfigures, reviewing settings, chromebook forum suggestions, still have not restore my ONLY reason for having a chromebook.    🙁

    • #225958 Reply

      BobT
      AskWoody Lounger

      And they’re practically forcing you to “Upgrade”, rather than supporting a version that just, works. (7)

      Literally I come home from work, turn my PC on, use it for a few hours, turn it off again. No troubles or worries.

      Once a month or less, I have to do a few minor, quick and easy updates, fully under my control. No worries about settings changing, spying, things not working, “Features” being introduced or changing under the bonnet.. I just know it will work.

      Sorry but I just haven’t got the time to deal with their ****, purely for their marketing stats. 10 is a nightmare enough at work.

      5 users thanked author for this post.
    • #225966 Reply

      Canadian Tech
      AskWoody MVP

      “All I know for sure is that Windows is on a vicious downward spiral.
      I don’t recommend Windows to any of my friends any more.
      Sad.”

      Woody, it is sad, really sad. Such a great system gone to pot. I have literally refused to have anything to do with Windows 10. I know very little about it and have no interest or intention to ever do so.

      It began with Windows 8 — which was also a mess, that I refused to have anything to do with.

      As far as I and my 130 (down from 150, 3 years ago) clients are concerned Windows 7 is the last Windows computer we will every buy. A total of 3 of my clients actually moved on to Windows 10.

      Our systems have had ZERO Microsoft updates of any kind since May 2017. Most now run Chrome and all have BitDefender Antivirus+. They run completely reliably and have not seen a single problem. We plan to run these systems until the hardware stops working. In fact, I have replaced many of their hard drives to extend their lives.

      My recommendations are, android smart phone, Chromebook or Apple. Certainly nothing Microsoft. For me, that is a dramatic change. I was a Microsoft aficionado for literally decades.

      CT

      11 users thanked author for this post.
      • #225997 Reply

        WildBill
        AskWoody Lounger

        It began with Windows 8 — which was also a mess, that I refused to have anything to do with.

        Everyone has their opinions & I will not disrespect them when it comes to Windows 8 & 8.1. I admit Win8 was a Jekyll & Hyde system; Woody was one of, if not the 1st, to point that out. Win8.1 has addressed most of those issues & given users options to handle them. No, the Win7 menu isn’t back, but there are 3rd-party products like Classic Shell that return that functionality. If you prefer Win7 & are willing to deal with bugs that MS might be inflicting on you to “convince” you to upgrade to Win10 whatever, that’s your choice. For now, Win8.1 seems more stable… For Now. There are 15 months left before Win7 reaches end of life. Win 8.1 has 3 years left after that. I won’t be surprised if Windows 8.1 starts experiencing “Servicing Stack Update” & driver update bugs come February 2020. Even if Win8.1 is only 7-8% of the platform, MS wants 100% of the platform on Win10. Looking into Linux distros & what Windows apps I need to replace… Unless Apple reduces prices on Macs.

        Windows 8.1, 64-bit, now in Group B!
        Wild Bill Rides Again...

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #226273 Reply

          Klaas Vaak
          AskWoody Lounger

          @wildbill: I agree with you. I am also on Win 8.1, 64-bit, have been on it for 4 years and have been happy with. M$ broke my Windows Update feature, so I now use WSUS Offline. I am also looking into Linux, taking my time because we have till 2023, if my laptop lasts till then and/or if M$ plays fair, which is a long shot. I also keep Apple as an option, though the price tag is steep.

          Group "B" | Win 8.1/x64 |Linux Mint 18.3 in VB

    • #225968 Reply

      anonymous

      Whenever my boss rushes me for an unreasonably quick solution to a complex problem I always reply, “You can have it fast or you can have it right!”  The powers that be don’t want to hear it but that’s the way it is where the real work is done.

      Microsoft management isn’t listening.  Nothing new there.

      4 users thanked author for this post.
      • #226186 Reply

        anonymous

        That’s a huge problem in modern Western society I think: we just want immediate results. We don’t seem to take the time anymore to make sure that things don’t fall flat on their face when they come off the assembly line anymore. To win these days is to be first, even if you are the worst.

        2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #225971 Reply

      anonymous

      I think that, if they did do what he says, I think it might still result in fewer big updates. They’d work more like Chrome, getting code out there quickly, with the assurance that it would work.

      Though I still say that expecting users to restart is a bad idea, and they should be trying to work around that.

      • #225989 Reply

        Rick59
        AskWoody Lounger

        MS is reflection of what is going on in our economy generally. The #1 objective is to “beat earnings” every quarter so the stock price keeps getting pushed higher. You don’t even have to actually make a profit  (Netflix, Tesla). Spend money on product development and long term planning ? No. Take your cash or even better issue debt and buy back your shares to pump up the stock price.

        Literally nothing has been learned from the 2008 meltdown and the next one is going to make 2008 look like a minor speed bump.

        5 users thanked author for this post.
        • #225990 Reply

          Tem
          AskWoody Lounger

          The system engineering management dilemma:  Fast, Cheap, and Good.  You may pick two.

        • #226276 Reply

          Klaas Vaak
          AskWoody Lounger

          @rick59: you hit the nail on the head, you pinpoint the root cause accurately.

          Group "B" | Win 8.1/x64 |Linux Mint 18.3 in VB

    • #225973 Reply

      bknight721
      AskWoody Lounger

      “All I know for sure is that Windows is on a vicious downward spiral.

      I don’t recommend Windows to any of my friends any more.

      Sad.”

      I’ve already migrated about 95% to Linux Mint. Windows is no longer a desktop operating system. It is an advertising platform driven by user data and telemetry. Other than their longstanding dislike for each other, there is really nothing preventing MS and Google from merging and becoming one.

      Group "L": Linux Mint dual-booting Windows 10 Pro.

      5 users thanked author for this post.
      • #226209 Reply

        rc primak
        AskWoody MVP

        Microsoft is much closer to merger with Canonical, makers of Ubuntu Linux than to having any business relationship with Google/Alphabet. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more Ubuntu-Windows hegemony in the near future.

        -- rc primak

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #226226 Reply

          MrJimPhelps
          AskWoody MVP

          I sure hope that Microsoft doesn’t “merge with” (i.e. buy) Canonical (the maintainers of Ubuntu). Linux Mint is my primary OS; and since Mint gets its updates from the Ubuntu repository, this could give Microsoft undesireable influence over Mint. I believe that most Linux users are using a derivative of Ubuntu, which means that Microsoft would be able to exert their influence over most of the Linux world.

          Group "L" (Linux Mint)
          with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
          3 users thanked author for this post.
          • #226251 Reply

            johnf
            AskWoody Lounger

            Mint has a way out if Ubuntu goes under, or if in that example Microsoft takes over Ubuntu, and it becomes unfriendly to Ubuntu derivatives. Mint has a Debian edition just for that purpose.

            I would think MS is more likely to acquire OpenSuse, they have close relationship with that distro, as you can see from this ZDnet article:

            When Microsoft met SUSE: This Windows-Linux partnership gets stronger every day

            It would make sense for Microsoft to use their own spin on a Linux distro (or acquire one), as the eventual successor to Windows 10. They could leverage support provided by opensource on Linux, and either use VM’s for legacy programs, or create Snaps/Flatpacks of current Windows programs that don’t run on Linux (Adobe, for example). The Windows Store would become a repository,  and they could create an almost exact replica of the GUI so users wouldn’t know the difference.

            3 users thanked author for this post.
            • #226279 Reply

              Klaas Vaak
              AskWoody Lounger

              @johnf: interesting thoughts.

              Group "B" | Win 8.1/x64 |Linux Mint 18.3 in VB

            • #226537 Reply

              rc primak
              AskWoody MVP

              More likely Linux will run MS servers. The current Desktop OS will disappear, replaced by a Cloud-OS, as in the Azure Windows Virtual Desktop. All  control is then taken out of end users’ hands. That’s how everyone else seems to be handling things these days.

              -- rc primak

        • #226231 Reply

          Morty
          AskWoody Lounger

          Hegemony is a scary concept. That’s not the same as cooperation.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #226538 Reply

            rc primak
            AskWoody MVP

            Exactly my intended inference.

            -- rc primak

            1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #225975 Reply

      lurks about
      AskWoody Lounger

      Peter has hit a grand slam. MS is not using the proper software development procedures with W10 full stop. Peter calls the correct procedures which he outlines as ‘Agile’. It is not Agile but just the proper methodology for all software development: define the problem, write the code, unit test the code, fix bugs, retest, send the code for review, then send for formal testing. At any point, if a problem is spotted, send the code back to the initial programmer to fix. When integrating the code, follow a similar pattern of testing and kicking back the code if problems are found. This will require more time being spent internally on testing than coding. As developer, I spend half my time (or more) unit testing my code and fixing bugs I personally find. And my code has to pass unit testing before I can release for review and formal testing. Formal testing requires about as much time I spent total on the code for us. Thus, proper QA is expensive up front but saves money much later. Or as the old oil filter commercial tag line was “Pay me now or pay me later”.

      Agile done correctly does not skip the above but is the concept of developing code is joint effort of the code wranglers and specifiers. Thus the key concept is direct communication between the specifier and wranglers is not only encouraged but expected. This communication can be by any means necessary for all involved for everyone to get on the same page and is frequent enough for the project to move forward in a timely manner.

      6 users thanked author for this post.
      • #225988 Reply

        Tem
        AskWoody Lounger

        Back in the days of, oh, NT 4.0, it was widely known that Microsoft was resisting adoption of SEI Capability Maturity Model formal software development processes, the overhead it incurred, and etc.  Whatever their process, formal or informal, they made it work well enough to be commercially successful, and to provide products that met the market’s minimum acceptable level for stability.

        I have no idea what’s changed, or not changed, but it’s no longer working.

    • #225976 Reply

      geekdom
      AskWoody Lounger

      “Test the software before you ship it, not after”
      –Peter Bright

      Group G{ot backup} Win7 · x64 · SP1 · i3-3220 · TestBeta
      4 users thanked author for this post.
      • #226012 Reply

        anonymous

        And don’t forget to make the unpaid cannon fodder testers feel special by calling them “Insiders”.

        • #226038 Reply

          Karlston
          AskWoody Lounger

          Not quite…

          Windows Insiders – unskilled, unprofessional update alpha testers mainly in the programme to get the-latest-and-shiniest.

          Windows 10 Home & Pro users – update beta testers.

          Windows 10 Enterprise users – get safe updates.

          Hanlon's Razor: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #225977 Reply

      jcn67
      AskWoody Lounger

      Windows Sad?

      Why the big surprise folks? Don’t you read the MS (MacroSpy) License Agreement? Sez right in there “May This Farce Be With You” (Apologies to Luke S. and company.)

      More Sad!

      Please stay on topic.

    • #225981 Reply

      Ascaris
      AskWoody MVP

      The article brings up Ubuntu’s twice a year updates, suggesting that it shows that it’s not Windows’ twice a year updates that are at fault in the ongoing train wreck.

      It’s not really a valid comparison.  Ubuntu is bottom-up; Windows is top-down.

      Ubuntu writes little of the software that is included in any given Ubuntu release (now that they’ve abandoned Unity).  The bulk of any Linux distro is work done by independent teams upstream, each working on their own little bit of the big picture.  There is no central authority over them all… each project’s leadership is the highest authority over the bit of the whole they produce.  Ubuntu or any other distro can ask them to do something, but they have the option of saying no.  They release new versions of whatever it is they do on whatever schedule they do, each independently of all of the others.

      Ubuntu, rather than making the entire OS themselves, merely takes all of these premanufactured bits and builds an OS out of them.  If any given component is not up to their standards, they can ask the upstream developers to fix the issue, and it may or may not happen within the time-frame needed.  If not, Ubuntu can look for an alternative package, try to fix the issue themselves, or select an older version of the package (or the same one that worked for them in the previous Ubuntu release, perhaps) that doesn’t have the problem they’re trying to get around, if there is one.

      The various building blocks that Ubuntu uses to build its OS are changing constantly and continuously whether or not Ubuntu releases twice a year, once a year, or once every two years.  It’s always going to be some work to fit them together and make sure it all works.  The longer they wait between releases, the more the various code bases will have changed.  Waiting longer between releases doesn’t suggest more time for code testing and development in this case, since each individual package is being handled independently of Ubuntu’s schedule anyway.

      It’s a totally different project than with Windows.  With Windows, the orders come directly from the top, and everyone then does their part to implement them.  The programmers working on each bit of Windows aren’t just working on their one bit… they’re also working toward the goal defined for them by whichever level of management is in charge, and that level by the one above it, all the way up.  If they wanted to institute a feature freeze (no new features at all) for the entire six month period and just fix bugs, all it would take is a memo from the top.  They can take as long as they wish to do QA, because the “upstream” bits (the various components that make up Windows) don’t keep changing unless Microsoft wants it that way.  They’re assembling a whole out of pieces too, but they also make the pieces (vertically integrated).

      From the article:

      The big, fundamental one [similarity to old Windows development methods] is that known buggy code is integrated, and the testing and stabilization phase is used to sort out any problems.

      That alone is enough to throw the whole “Well, Ubuntu does it, so MS can too” argument right in the trash.  The Linux development process does not lend itself to that particular kind of corner-cutting.

      Of course, the devs of the various projects within Ubuntu don’t operate in a vacuum, and they know that their product has to integrate within a whole to be used, so pre-production versions of project A that still contain bugs will certainly end up being evaluated by project B devs (whose project depends on A) so that the B devs know what direction to go, but that’s not the same as checking in known bad code.  There is no global check-in, and the buggy pre-production code A sent to B will be release-worthy (according to A’s specs, whatever they may be) before they get built into the while by Ubuntu.

      In addition, Ubuntu doesn’t invent new features just for the sake of justifying the release itself.  If the upstream packages add new features, Ubuntu gets those new features.  If not, Ubuntu doesn’t get those new features.  There are so many bits that make up Ubuntu that there will always be something to put in the release notes, but that’s not being driven by Canonical’s marketing department.  MS has to have “look at all the goodies we gave you this time” messages to justify WaaS, which is a departure from the long-standing way Windows has been developed, and has proven to be a big pain in the rump.

      If you’re not impressed by Ubuntu’s latest release, keep using the old one.  Chances are that if you’re not looking to be on the bleeding edge, you’re using the LTS release anyway, as 95% of Ubuntu users do (this per Ubuntu), and it’s good for 5 years.  The devs of Mint (based on Ubuntu LTS) actually try to convince you not to upgrade if there’s no specific thing you’re looking for in the new version.  It’s your choice if and when to upgrade.

      I’m pretty sure that if MS supported every 4th build of Windows 10 with with bug and security fixes for 5 years (on all versions, Home included) and gave everyone complete control over whether to update, there would be a lot less anger out there.  It wouldn’t make the “Ubuntu does it” argument any more valid, but it would at least be an accurate representation of the “it” Ubuntu does.

      Group L (Linux): KDE Neon User Edition 5.14.3 (based on Ubuntu 18.04) + Windows 7 in Virtualbox VM

      12 users thanked author for this post.
      • #226035 Reply

        OscarCP
        AskWoody Lounger

        Ascaris,

        Thanks for this excellent entry that confirms and further explains things I have been guessing, as to how the developing and updating of Linux distros “works.”

        In my opinion, while there is a basic need for a good and stable operating system that keeps evolving to stay fully functional in this ever-changing world, for a long time now there has not been a basic need for Windows to be such a system, if there ever was one. And why? Because Linux and FreeBSD, or “Unix for PCs”, one good day came along as alternatives. And got built into widely used commercial operating systems such as macOS, Android and Chrome. And into, for now, less used but quite user and business-friendly proper Linux distros such as Ubuntu, Mint, etc., etc., etc.

        And the really good thing is that, as you have noted, the various Linux projects use each others’ bits and pieces and test them an pass back and forth any corrections and changes they see as necessary, without any kind of company lawyer’s interference, thanks to such things as the FSF GPL. The pressure there being mostly in coming out with something that works well, on which developers’ reputations depend, rather than in making sure to be rowing exactly in sync to the bit of a drum setting a rhythm appropriate to the maneuvers ordered by the officers of the fleet. Which may not be always for the best, but must nevertheless be obeyed and followed.

        3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #226057 Reply

        lurks about
        AskWoody Lounger

        There one other difference between Ubuntu (or any other Linux distro) and Windows is they use whenever possible FOSS code. Also, there is a robust bug reporting system in place. With the ability to actually review the code (which is probably on done when a nasty bug rears it head) it is possible submit an actual patch to the developers.

        Another interesting benefit of Linux distros is that a number have very detailed information on the web geared to helping users solve the problem them selves. Some are so good that they many Linux users use them as a resource though they are not for the distro they use.

        The comparison to Ubuntu is fair to the degree. Ubuntu recognizes that users want a long term stable release that is supported for several years. In Ubuntu, the LTS releases every two years. The other releases, while quite stable, are intended more as previews of the direction they are going and are explicitly not intended for most users. The key difference is the LTS have 5 years of support with no requirement to update to a later release before the 5 years is up for all users. W10 has a much shorter support period which leads to more churning and major updating by users with all the problems that can cause without dealing with buggy releases.

      • #226210 Reply

        rc primak
        AskWoody MVP

        Ubuntu (like some other Linux distros) has been plagued by bugs as well. While not as widely publicized as the Windows issues lately, there are problems with Linux development which have surfaced lately.

        6 Reasons Your Favorite Linux OS Is Plagued by Bugs – MakeUseOf

        https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/reasons-why-linux-plagued-bugs/

        Why do Linux distributions have software bugs?

        https://www.infoworld.com/article/3185386/linux/why-do-linux-distributions-have-software-bugs.html

        Major Linux Problems on the Desktop, 2018 edition

        https://itvision.altervista.org/why.linux.is.not.ready.for.the.desktop.current.html

        There are some indications that the rigid twice-yearly upgrades to Ubuntu are taking a toll on core-OS stability. Features introduced in Ubuntu 17.04, 17.10 and 18.04 have not been working well upon the release of these upgrades. These are virtually the same quality-control vs. timely rollout issues as Windows 10 has been experiencing.

        Fedora since Fedora 26 has had some of the same issues, though Red Hat will sometimes delay a release rollout to fix bugs.

        So no, Ubuntu has not been immune to the same kind of decline in quality control which has plagued Windows 10. Linux just doesn’t get the amount of publicity about their many failures which Windows gets. This is largely because Linux is still under 5% of the total desktop OS market, and virtually absent at the Consumer Level (Home Users).

        Just because obscurity hides the flaws does not mean the same effect is not present. Ubuntu like Windows, needs to slow down its relentless release cycle and pay more attention to quality control.

        -- rc primak

        • This reply was modified 4 weeks ago by  rc primak.
        • This reply was modified 4 weeks ago by  rc primak.
        • This reply was modified 4 weeks ago by  rc primak.
        • This reply was modified 4 weeks ago by  rc primak.
        • This reply was modified 4 weeks ago by  rc primak.
        4 users thanked author for this post.
        • #226258 Reply

          Ascaris
          AskWoody MVP

          In general, I am not in favor of software releases on a time schedule.  Release it when it’s ready, not before.  Microsoft released Vista before it was ready (it was years behind schedule, and the powers that be wanted to ship something NOW), and look how that went.  Vista actually became a decent OS– but does anyone know it?  Nearly everyone gave up on it before that, so they never saw the fixed version (and I don’t mean Windows 7).

          It’s impossible to get ALL the bugs out of software.  Any given release will probably start out at the most unreliable point it is going to reach, and over time, it will get better and better with fixes.  Then the cycle restarts.

          I’m not blaming Microsoft for releasing software that is not bug-free.  I blame them for charging money for what is essentially nothing more than an open beta.  I blame them for forcing upgrades on people just as their old version was starting to get stable.  I blame them for ending support on their versions too quickly.  If they still supported a given version for ten years and gave the user complete control over every update, I’d be a lot happier with them, even if the new release ships with some bugs (as they usually have).

          I have had a few problems with Kubuntu in a few of the times I have tried it.  I think they rush to get a product out to meet the schedule.  Mint (which is based on Ubuntu LTS releases, but has no defined release schedule) has been much better than the Ubuntu versions upon which they are based, in my experience.  I’m now using KDE Neon, which is also based on (but not equal to) Ubuntu, and it took them forever to release their Neon version of 18.04– almost six months.  I’m hopeful that means that they’re working to get it stable to a degree greater than Ubuntu has lately.  It’s been good for me so far.

           

          Group L (Linux): KDE Neon User Edition 5.14.3 (based on Ubuntu 18.04) + Windows 7 in Virtualbox VM

          2 users thanked author for this post.
          • #226540 Reply

            rc primak
            AskWoody MVP

            it took them forever to release their Neon version of 18.04– almost six months.  I’m hopeful that means that they’re working to get it stable to a degree greater than Ubuntu has lately.

            In Ubuntu, the biggest problems in 18.04 were the sudden switch to Gnome and Wayland. Especially Wayland. Wayland is not going to be fully stable for another two to five years, yet Canonical pushed it out. They had to be argued into releasing a non-Wayland Ubuntu on Gnome, and still it was left to others to continue development of Ubuntu with Unity.  (I know, because one of the Linux pioneers holds a user group each month near Boston. He was one of those raising Cain over Ubuntu 18.04 on Gnome-Wayland.)

            Be thankful KDE Neon was having none of this nonsense. Be very thankful, and let their developers know how thankful you are. Donate.

            -- rc primak

            • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 6 days ago by  rc primak.
      • #226555 Reply

        PKCano
        AskWoody MVP

        OK, all. Please stay on topic. Take Linux to the Linux Forum. this is about Windows.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #226559 Reply

          rc primak
          AskWoody MVP

          My intention was only to compare fast-release schedules in general vs. how Windows 10 fast releases are handled by Microsoft. This narrower introduction of a Windows-Linux comparison was not intended to pull this discussion thread off-topic. My point is that the mere timing of releases is not the issue. The issue is still how the releases are rolled out, who tests them and how, and what kinds of quality controls are in place. Anything farther afield was not my original intent.

          I might just as well have been talking about Chrome or Firefox fast releases, which have had both their triumphs and their spectacular failures. (Remember when Firefox suddenly changed their entire Extensions framework?)

          -- rc primak

          • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 6 days ago by  rc primak.
    • #225982 Reply

      gkarasik
      AskWoody Lounger

      It’s entirely possible that the absurd breakneck pace of change we’re seeing masks a complete breakdown in Microsoft’s ability to produce reliable software.

      Sorry, but I missed the era when Microsoft was producing reliable software. The only “reliable” software they’ve ever produced was Windows 7, and they soon enough dumped that because it’s very reliability was hurting their income stream as people stayed with it.

      GaryK

      6 users thanked author for this post.
      • #225992 Reply

        Tem
        AskWoody Lounger

        I came from a background of DEC VAX/VMS, with its stellar reliability and orange wall of 3-ring binder documentation.  Then, on to Microsoft and PCs, with the attendant problems.

        As a software engineer / programmer, I’ve always been ambivalent about Microsoft’s poor quality.  Did they do us all a favor by lowering expectations re: quality, or did they do us a disservice?

        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #226113 Reply

        anonymous

        Heh, actually I found Windows 2.x and 3.10 fairly reliable, for those things that Windows was useful for at the time.

        That’d be, very little in the way of background tasks, little to no networking, no multiuser features or access control, and no high-performance hardware abstractions – resource-hungry applications were run outside Windows and typically had hardware-specific drivers on the application level.

        NT 3.51 was also quite good actually if you had the right hardware for it – SCSI disks, not IDE, for example.

      • #226241 Reply

        MrJimPhelps
        AskWoody MVP

        Windows 2000 was very stable, in my opinion.

        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #226017 Reply

      OscarCP
      AskWoody Lounger

      Actually those in charge of MS, same as in any other company, must keep the people they employ and pay wages to occupied doing something. The mid-level managers need to keep themselves doing something to get promoted, and the top-level executives have to keep doing something to get their bonuses, by creating at least a credible impression the business is on a permanent upswing, to keep shareholders happy enough to accept they are worth those bonuses — and also to make sure their own postures remain strong enough to discourage boardroom coup d’etats leading to their untimely overturn.

      Whether that something is something good or something not so good, nevertheless something it has to be. And if the company becomes, through poor leadership, incapable of doing something really and demonstrably good any longer, then… anything may still be better than nothing. Even Windows 10, as long as the fawning trade press keeps helping maintain the nice-looking Potemkin village around it.

      4 users thanked author for this post.
    • #226048 Reply

      geekdom
      AskWoody Lounger

      Every product and every business has a life-cycle. What is the point at which the product and the company are perceived to have failed their mission? What is Microsoft’s mission?

      Group G{ot backup} Win7 · x64 · SP1 · i3-3220 · TestBeta
      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #226059 Reply

      Marty
      AskWoody Lounger

      I have used Microsoft operating systems since the early 1980s, starting with DOS.  When friends started recommending Macs with religious enthusiasm, I kept to the Microsoft path, all the way to up to Windows 7.  I liked the fact that Windows computers were highly customizable.  I built a couple of Windows 7 computers in 2011, and they are still running just fine.

      But with the changes issued in by Windows 8, and the fiasco of Windows 10, I have changed my tune.  In my household we are now running a MacBook Pro and two iMacs (plus an iPad and a Chromebook just for good good measure).  I wanted to make the switch well before Windows 7 security updates ceased to be, and I am 100% glad I did, despite the premium prices that Apple products command.

      I’ll continue to run my home-brew Windows 7 computers offline for a few things that aren’t easily handled by Macs — copying CDs/DVDs, and using Quicken 2010 (which is far superior to any recent Mac versions).  Other than that, I’ve become an Apple guy.

      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #226075 Reply

      anonymous

      Woody says “I don’t recommend Windows to any of my friends any more.”

      Yep.  Friends don’t let friends drive Windows….

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #226087 Reply

      Morty
      AskWoody Lounger

      Oy.

      So what do those of us do who need to share Office files with co-workers (with tracking changes)? Do we go Mac or Chrome? Linux isn’t a real option. Neither Open Office nor Office Libre are fully compatible.

      As I said…Oy.

      Then again. It’s nothing really new. Back in the day, my internet provider sent me a free copy of Windows ME (aka Millennium). I was advised that free was too expensive. I tossed the CD and stuck with Win 95.

      • #226158 Reply

        anonymous

        Not like MS Office is fully compatible with a different version of MS Office, either… and change tracking is one of the features that have had problems there.

        Office has the same problem as Windows 10. Volume-licensed Office 2016 is stable but not compatible on some features with even click-to-run 2016, let alone ProPlus… sort of the same thing as with Enterprise stable w10 vs latest feature update w10.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #226165 Reply

          Morty
          AskWoody Lounger

          I’ve made it as far as Windows 7 and Office 2010. One change per century is about enough for me now.

          Compatibility is a relative term. But, to be more specific, I am a copyeditor and co-workers need to see the changes I’ve made. So far, my files work OK with Office 2016. Even old .doc files from Word 2003 come through still breathing.

          But Open Office (I’ve never used Libre), as good as it is, is similar to, maybe even better than, but not interchangeable with any version of Word.

          • #226177 Reply

            mn–
            AskWoody Lounger

            Also from my testing – you can’t really trust page rendering to behave exactly alike between different base builds of the same Office version, or those with a different set of fonts installed.

            That used to mean just Mac vs Windows version of Office except if you used a custom default font, but that’s a significant group already – graphic designers who do a fancy layout “just right” and save as a template from Word for Mac really shouldn’t be surprised when it’s not always exactly the same in Word for Windows.

            I also understand there have been some rendering differences between Android and Windows versions of Word. Android at least used to be (well, last year…) closer to the subset of features that’s the Online version of Word.

             
            Then there’s the fun part where Powershell .csv export is more compatible with LibreOffice than MS Office…

          • #226181 Reply

            woody
            Da Boss

            Any chance you could move your work over to Google Docs?

            It has excellent change tracking and collaboration features. I’ve moved almost everything over to Docs and Sheets – except the books, which shall remain forever Word.

            Yes, Google snoops, but they don’t snoop on paid accounts — and it’s arguable to me whether the level of Google snooping is significantly worse than Microsoft’s. You just see the results of Google’s snooping more readily.

            Office Online is also an option….

            2 users thanked author for this post.
            • #226234 Reply

              Morty
              AskWoody Lounger

              I’ve tried using Google docs. I find it as user-friendly as a blogging platform. Word, for all its Annoyances (remember that?), is a serviceable villain.

              I’d kvetch about technology taking over our lives, but it’s off topic. And Nicholas Carr owns that niche. Besides, remember what Mark Twain wrote about typewriters?

              …I will now claim–until dispossessed–that I was the first person in the world to apply the typewriter to literature…The early machine was full of caprices, full of defects–devilish ones. It had as many immoralities as the machine of today has virtues. After a year or two I found that it was degrading my character, so I thought I would give it to Howells…He took it home to Boston, and my morals began to improve, but his have never recovered.
              – “The First Writing Machines”

            • #226254 Reply

              johnf
              AskWoody Lounger

              But you can use Office 365 (the online version) in Linux! Manjaro has it built insee this article:

              Manjaro + Microsoft Office Online – Yup, come over

              1 user thanked author for this post.
            • #226255 Reply

              Morty
              AskWoody Lounger

              Interesting…. Will look into it.

            • #226266 Reply

              b
              AskWoody Lounger

              But you can use Office 365 (the online version) in Linux! Manjaro has it built in

              Office Online is not Office 365:

              Office Online vs. Office 365

              Cannon fodder Daft glutton Idiot Kick Me Sucker More intrepid

            • #226270 Reply

              MrJimPhelps
              AskWoody MVP

              You can use Office 365 (the online version) in Linux Mint, using Opera as your browser. That is not news. But it would be big news if you could get the installed (not online) version of Office 365 both installed and actually use the programs in any Linux environment.

              Group "L" (Linux Mint)
              with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
            • #226362 Reply

              OscarCP
              AskWoody Lounger

              I am using MS Office 2016 on my Mac and MS Office 2010 on my Windows 7 Pro, SP1, x64 PC. Going back and forth, creating a file (Excel, Word, PowerPoint) in one and editing it further in the other and vice versa, with no problems at all.

            • #226372 Reply

              b
              AskWoody Lounger

              Just don’t copy/paste Excel dates from a Mac-originated worksheet into a Windows-originated worksheet (or vice-versa): why does Excel change dates when I copy and paste?

              Cannon fodder Daft glutton Idiot Kick Me Sucker More intrepid

      • #226168 Reply

        Ascaris
        AskWoody MVP

        So what do those of us do who need to share Office files with co-workers (with tracking changes)? Do we go Mac or Chrome?

        You could do that, of course, depending on your own preferences.  It sounds like you’re not pleased with either of the two choices you listed.  If so, I am with you.  Personally, I wouldn’t buy Apple hardware just to get the OS (I don’t like their hardware design choices or the prices; I would give MacOS a try on my own hardware if it were released as a standalone, but the odds of that are nearly the same as me winning a billion dollars in the lottery, which I don’t play).  As long as I can’t use MacOS on standard PCs, it’s a no go.  I am not motivated enough to try to go the Hackintosh route.

        Anything Google is out of the question for me also, as I won’t accept the spying from Google any more than I would from Microsoft (and Google’s is worse).

        Not everyone is bothered by the things I mentioned, though, or not enough to keep them from using Macs or Chromebooks.  If this is the case for you, both MacOS and Chrome reportedly offer a notably better experience than what Windows has become.

        There are still some more options, though.

        There’s the option of running older Windows beyond its expiration date, and using it just for the things you can’t do without Windows.  If you don’t need to connect to the internet for your work, it could be a good solution.  If you do need to connect with that machine specifically (as would be the case if Office itself needs to have connectivity), connecting only to a trusted site, presumably the one hosting the document, and not doing your general browsing on that machine will prevent most threats.

        Malware won’t just appear because it is out of support, and if you’re not browsing or reading email, most of the threat vector is rendered moot.  A limited user account would be all you need for office work, and that in itself blocks most of the malware threat (the dangerous things require admin rights, by design).

        You could run Office in a VM running on Linux (or any other OS) too.  Most modern PCs have virtualization extensions in the CPU, so guest operating systems run near native speed (CPU wise) on them.  It may work for you.  Running an unsupported OS in a VM adds another layer of security versus running it bare-metal:  the ease with which you can roll it back after each use, so any malware that took root would be removed even if you never knew it was there.  Just be sure to save any documents outside of the VM before rolling back.

        If Chromebooks are an option, then you would be using the Android version of Office, as I understand.  If that renders the documents properly like the full PC version, you might be able to run that in Linux.  Google was said to be developing their own Linux runtime for Android (Arcwelder) a while ago, which makes sense given that ChromeOS is actually a flavor of Linux in and of itself. If they have Android apps running well on x86 Chromebooks, they’ve already got nearly all of the work done.

        Of course, if you do this, then you’re back to Google, but that may not bother you as much it does me.  I don’t know that Linux +Arcwelder would necessarily have any spying features… the Linux community is pretty solidly against that kind of thing, and Google would want to tread lightly (given that it is in their interest that Linux users start using Android apps).

        There are also Android emulators for Linux (and other OSes) that may work.

        If you have an Android phone or tablet, you could also do your editing in LibreOffice, then send it to the Android device for the final formatting check to make sure nothing was lost in the translation. As a plus, I understand that Office Android is free for devices under ten inches in diagonal screen size.

        There’s also the online Office option, which will work in any OS that can run a modern browser.

        Group L (Linux): KDE Neon User Edition 5.14.3 (based on Ubuntu 18.04) + Windows 7 in Virtualbox VM

        • This reply was modified 4 weeks ago by  Ascaris.
        4 users thanked author for this post.
        • #226236 Reply

          Morty
          AskWoody Lounger

          Android is out. I’m an incorrigible Luddite. I still use a flip-phone. When AT&T tried to convince me to buy an iPhone, I told them I like smart people and dumb phones.

          I’ll have to stick with the devil I know. Meanwhile I don’t update anything until I check Woody’s DEFCON setting.

          Not that I’m paranoid.

        • #226285 Reply

          Klaas Vaak
          AskWoody Lounger

          There are still some more options, though.

          Presumably you are referring to OS options. But, other than mentioning older Windows versions for offline use, you talk about Office. Looking at you signature I assume you mean that “more options”, apart from ChromeOS (= Google = not wanted, as per your intro) consist of Linux distros.

          Group "B" | Win 8.1/x64 |Linux Mint 18.3 in VB

          • #226379 Reply

            Ascaris
            AskWoody MVP

            I wrote some stuff under the line about Morty having other options too.  That’s what I was talking about.  There are options other than Windows 10, Mac, or Chromebooks if you need to use Office for work.

            Group L (Linux): KDE Neon User Edition 5.14.3 (based on Ubuntu 18.04) + Windows 7 in Virtualbox VM

            2 users thanked author for this post.
            • #226401 Reply

              Klaas Vaak
              AskWoody Lounger

              @ascaris: OK, sorry, my misunderstanding.

              Group "B" | Win 8.1/x64 |Linux Mint 18.3 in VB

      • #226221 Reply

        Canadian Tech
        AskWoody MVP

        Morty, that suggests that as history has shown, Microsoft will once again reverse itself and come up with an acceptable and useful form of Windows. From all that I have seen, although I wish for the same, I very much doubt that is something that you can realistically hope for.

        I suspect the future for document preparation will lie with Google Docs or some such like.

        CT

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #226229 Reply

          Morty
          AskWoody Lounger

          Much as I dread the Lord of Redmond (aka Microsoft), I came into Google docs through a takeover of Writerly. And I never found the G suite user-friendly. As for Google, itself,  we’ve learned that their mottoes “Don’t be evil” and “Do the right thing” have all the veracity of campaign promises. (Nobody talks much about the G+ debacle.) And Apple has its own worms.

          I was about to wax nostalgic about #2 pencils. But that wooden idol also has feet of clay.

          There are no good choices. And, as you say, Windows versions seem to be a roller coaster. I’m on Win 7. So I’ll stick with the devil I know until it goes the way of XP.

      • #226272 Reply

        MrJimPhelps
        AskWoody MVP

        So what do those of us do who need to share Office files with co-workers (with tracking changes)? Do we go Mac or Chrome? Linux isn’t a real option. Neither Open Office nor Office Libre are fully compatible.

        You can use the online or installed version of Office 365 to share files and collaborate with your coworkers – either will work. All of the files can be stored in your company’s SharePoint storage area. I am doing this as we speak with one of my customers, who set me up with a license on their Office 365 Business Premium account. I can access the Sharepoint files either from the online or from the installed version of Word or Excel. Multiple versions is the default with Office 365 Business Premium, or you can “save as” and pick a different file name, breaking out of the multiple versions.

        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #226219 Reply

      rc primak
      AskWoody MVP

      Addressing the MS Office vs. LibreOffice issue:

      Microsoft Office has an online option, both free (apps) and paid (Office 365).

      For most purposes, I find that LibreOffice has adequate MS Office compatibility. Some heavily formatted docs and spreadsheets don’t translate well, but most other issues have been reduced to insignificance in recent editions of both suites.

      I do still run and update one partition of Windows 10 Pro on my Intel NUC PC. But frankly, it’s been months since I found anything I had to use Windows for which Ubuntu Linux would not do in some way.

      I don’t understand why some people would still insist that “Linux is not an option”.

      -- rc primak

      • This reply was modified 4 weeks ago by  rc primak.
      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #226230 Reply

        Morty
        AskWoody Lounger

        Have you tried collaborating with people working in Word? How well do the tracked changes carry over?

        • #226274 Reply

          Cybertooth
          AskWoody Lounger

          @morty, I’ve worked on manuscripts that the author created in LibreOffice (I use MS Word 2007). The experience was poor enough that, next time he writes for us, I will ask him if he would do it on a different word processor. The main issues we ran into were soft carriage returns turning into hard returns, and edits made in Word not carrying over and back properly. It made for a lot of needless extra work.

          If you’re looking for an office suite that’s highly compatible with MS Office but isn’t made by Microsoft, I recommend Softmaker Office.

           

          • This reply was modified 4 weeks ago by  Cybertooth.
          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #226292 Reply

            Morty
            AskWoody Lounger

            So I feared. Thank you.

      • #226244 Reply

        MrJimPhelps
        AskWoody MVP

        I don’t understand why some people would still insist that “Linux is not an option”.

        Fear of the unknown, and the fact that Microsoft is and has been the default for so long. Also, Microsoft, Google, and Apple are all very good at holding your hand throughout your entire experience; at least that is the strong perception that they have created. But that perception hasn’t been created with Linux.

        I believe that those people who say that “Linux is not an option” would give it a try, they might be pleasantly surprised. That is, if they can figure out which distro to try, and where to go to get an install disk.

        If big retailers ever start selling computers with Linux pre-installed, then you might find less reluctance to try Linux.

        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #226291 Reply

          Klaas Vaak
          AskWoody Lounger

          @Mr.JimPhelps: with Linux there are also issue like the command line, which is a lot more important than in either Win or Mac. Furthermore, from what I understand there are also issues with tracpad, WiFi, network that Linux as an OS does not support.

          I am looking at Linux as an alternative for Win, but those things worry me a lot.

          Group "B" | Win 8.1/x64 |Linux Mint 18.3 in VB

          • #226338 Reply

            MrJimPhelps
            AskWoody MVP

            There isn’t much you need the command line (a terminal session) for in Linux Mint. Sometimes you do need it, but there is always an abundance of help out there to get you through it. If you need the command line for installing a program (e.g. Libre Office), there will probably be instructions which come with the software. (I had to run one command in order to install the latest version of Libre Office, and the download screen told me exactly what to type in order to get a complete install.) After installing the latest Libre Office, all I had to do after that was right-click on a file and tell it that I wanted to open it with that version of Libre Office Writer or Calc — it was exactly the same as in Windows.

            The only thing I have had trouble with in Linux mint has been getting my scanner to work. I finally found the install program on one of the Canon Asia websites (Thailand, to be exact). I downloaded the program and the instructions, then followed the instructions precisely. Lo and behold, my scanner worked after doing that! I created an icon to run the scanner, so I wouldn’t have to run it from the command line, and it works like a champ. But scanners have been a big issue for a lot of people in Linux Mint (and probably other Linux distros).

            If you have enough memory (at least 6GB, but preferably 8), and if you have a 64-bit computer, you can install 64-bit Linux Mint (or other Linux), then install Windows in a virtual machine. In this way, you can instantly click over to Windows if there is something you aren’t able to do in Windows. In the beginning you will be in the virtual machine a lot; but as time goes on, you will use it less and less. There are a few programs I need which don’t have alternatives in Linux, so I use my Windows 8.1 virtual machine. Works great. It’s going to work even better when I upgrade my computer from 4 GB of RAM to 12.

            Linux isn’t as hard as you think; and it’s getting easier all the time.

            Group "L" (Linux Mint)
            with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
            1 user thanked author for this post.
            • #226343 Reply

              PKCano
              AskWoody MVP

              Please stay on topic – A must-read article on Microsoft’s Windows strategy

          • #226385 Reply

            Ascaris
            AskWoody MVP

            PKCano has asked that we stay on topic here, so I’ll answer your post over in the Linux forum.  Those of us familiar with Linux will be happy to try to answer any questions you may have!

            Group L (Linux): KDE Neon User Edition 5.14.3 (based on Ubuntu 18.04) + Windows 7 in Virtualbox VM

        • #226301 Reply

          OscarCP
          AskWoody Lounger

          There are already those Meerkat machines with Linux installed. For what I have read about them, here and elsewhere, I’ve got the impression that they are quite decent personal computers sufficiently loaded, at their higher end, for some serious software development work and number crunching of the sort that used to require expensive Unix workstations back in the day. Perhaps also good enough for emailing, watching rock videos in YouTube, playing solitaire and sharing animated cat GIFS.

          If the Meerkats are successful enough, other OEM might also start shipping PCs with some of the more user-friendly kinds of Linux pre-installed (maybe also with the monitor included). That would be really nice.

      • #226309 Reply

        PKCano
        AskWoody MVP

        Please stay on topic – Windows, not Linux.

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #226565 Reply

          rc primak
          AskWoody MVP

          LibreOffice vs. MS Office can be debated entirely under Windows. LO has a Windows version. And Fast Releases are an issue in these programs as well, not just in the underlying OSes.

          -- rc primak

    • #226243 Reply

      MrJimPhelps
      AskWoody MVP

      From the article:
      by the time you have something that you can put in front of customers to use, new features have been baked into the final product, making them hard to change in response to feedback.

      If you modularize your code, it is not that hard to make changes. “Baked into” implies that the code is not modularized, but rather is all mixed in together. If that is how Windows is developed, then yes, it would be very hard to make changes. But I can’t imagine that Microsoft is, or has ever been, that sloppy with their programming. They have been way too well-orgainzed over the decades with Windows releases. There is no way they could have achieved that if they had sloppily-written code.

      Group "L" (Linux Mint)
      with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
    • #226247 Reply

      MrJimPhelps
      AskWoody MVP

      As Microsoft employees have described it, the final few months of development are split into a "tell" phase, then a one month "ask" phase. In the "tell" phase, the Windows leadership are told of the changes being made, with a default policy of accepting those changes. In the "ask" phase, the default switches to rejecting; only truly essential modifications are permitted at this stage, typically as few as a couple of changes a day.

      Wait a minute, are you saying that Windows leadership don’t know about changes being made to Windows from day one? If Windows leadership don’t know what will be changed in Windows, then the obvious question is, WHO IS IN CHARGE OF WINDOWS DEVELOPMENT? NOBODY? You can’t run a business that way.

      If this is true.

      Group "L" (Linux Mint)
      with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
    • #226249 Reply

      zero2dash
      AskWoody Lounger

      A fairly good article, though I have an issue with how Ubuntu is brought up and the context used.
      Yes, Ubuntu has twice yearly updates; they also have the LTS releases with 3 years of support. Users can choose either to use, for the same price of free. Both channels work equally well; there is no “LTS is recommended only for ATM machines” (like MS pulls with LTSB/LTSC). LTS is not artificially gimped (like MS is going to pull with LTSB/LTSC with Office not being able to be installed, supposedly).

      I don’t really have an issue with twice-yearly updates if they were done right. The problem is, they’re not. This also falls into pushing and forcing updates, and the same applies to me – I don’t have a problem if they were done right. If there were no bad updates, no problematic updates, and I didn’t have to worry so much about everything when my machine updates, then I’d be fine with being a Group A unpaid beta tester. The issue is, even though I’m not a critical business home user, I still value my machines and their health, and don’t feel like unnecessarily troubleshooting and fixing a machine (or three) broken by a bad MS update. Yet here we are, and that is a real concern because it is a real occurrence over the last several years.

      Windows 10 really is the best version of Windows released. If they remove the consumer experiences and the junk bloat and can fix the updates, I’d be ok with recommending it. As it stands though I cannot because it’s still too sketchy.

    • #226262 Reply

      anonymous

      Windows as a service

      Microsoft’s ambition with Windows 10 was to radically shake up how it develops Windows 10. The company wanted to better respond to customer and market needs, and to put improved new features into customers’ hands sooner.

      M$’s biggest lie of the decade.

      WaaS and forced twice-per-year auto-upgrades were mainly to prevent users from buying and using Win 10 for up to 10 years until EOL, unless they have already paid extra cash to MS, eg payments for Leases and/or Software Assurance, subscriptions, Ent LTSC editions, new OEM Win 10 Home or Pro licensed computers, etc.
      ___ NB: The 2009-released Win 7 could be bought and used for up to 10 years until EOL in 2020 without paying anything extra to MS, unless the users opt to upgrade to the 2012-released Win 8.x.

      It is wrong to compare Win 10 OS upgrades to upgrades for the apps/programs MS Office, Visual Studio, Chrome and Chrome OS(= a crippled web OS). They are apple vs oranges.

      It is also wrong to liken Win 10 releases to Ubuntu releases. Ubuntu’s 6-monthly or twice-per-year releases are optional and supported for only 9 months. But every 4th release is LTS and supported for 5 years, eg the once-in-2-years-releases Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, 16.04 LTS and 18.04 LTS. So, most Ubuntu users install LTS releases. Only the minority of beta-testers and bleeding-edge users would opt for the 6-monthly or twice-per-year non-LTS releases, eg Ubuntu 16.10, 17.04 and 17.10. So, bugginess in the non-LTS Ubuntu releases does not affect the majority Ubuntu LTS users.
      ___ In comparison, nearly all the twice-per-year Win 10 releases are buggy and affects all the users, especially the optionless Win 10 Home users.

      More buggy updates/upgrades in Win 10/7 was likely caused by MS-Nadella(= new CEO) cutting costs to increase profits by eliminating the Windows Testing Division of about 150 professional testers and 1,200 lab-computers in July 2014. MS-Nadella mis-calculated that the number of Windows Insiders alpha-testers and Win 10 Home beta-testers would be sufficient replacements.
      ___ In 2014, it was a novelty to be a Windows Insider for the new and shiny Win 10 that was about to be launched in mid-2015. Today, the shine is gone and the number of Windows Insiders have likely dwindled to just mostly Win 10 IT Admins. So, bugs in Win 10 releases has gotten worse and will likely get worst.

    • #226313 Reply

      OscarCP
      AskWoody Lounger

      I have read more slowly and carefully for a second time the Peter Bright article, and must say that I still largely agree with what is in it (and find somewhat reassuring his thoughts on why the Windows 10 license is not likely to become a renter’s only license.)

      However, I strongly disagree with what is not there. Because an OS upgrade might have been very carefully debugged and vetted before being brought to market and the countdown for its users to upgrade it again begins, but even so this is going to be invariably disruptive, particularly to those of us who use our PCs to do computer work in order to earn our crust.

      Reasons:

      (1) Not enough backward compatibility: some needed features and application software may no longer run, or run too slowly or too bumpily. This is practically always the case with the upgrades of any OS.

      (2) Bugs: even the best pre-tested OS is complex enough to be bound to have some lurking in it, particularly those likely to affect only 1% of all users… when, as it happens, one is in the 1% that is.

      (3) Quirks: they are not exactly bugs or features, but can either get in the way of what one is trying to do, or else unexpectedly help one with doing something. They are found by accident, but when bumping onto a helpful one, a person might think “Hmm… I could use this… and so I will!” The problem is that, when the upgrade comes, the useful quirk disappears and new means for doing what one could conveniently do with it must be found, or else one must resign oneself to doing without it altogether. But finding even that negative answer can be a time-consuming activity.

      Whether it is a (1), (2) or (3) type of inconvenience, it is very likely to spoil one’s day, and one’s week, and even longer.

      So having to install more frequent OS “upgrades” that have shorter support periods after each, only means that the same and probably serious pain and waste of time get repeated at more frequent intervals.

      One could be glad to bit the bullet and put up with those inconveniences brought in by an upgrade that truly profoundly changes the way one works, and for the better: making Windows capable of running software that could access reasonably large areas of memory, or being fit to use in machines with the x64 architecture hardware, or making it “stable” in the sense of crashing much less often (e.g. Windows NT and 2000 after Windows 9 — or ME!) are such “epochal” changes I have been glad to put up with the upgrades that brought them in. But being able to share animated Cat GIFS, now with sound and in smellorama 3-D! is not reason enough for the extra grief that will inevitably come with it. I think.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #226333 Reply

      Renee
      AskWoody Lounger

      When MS decided to mess with update method for Win 7 and force 10 upon us, I went looking for an OS for the daily stuff. After trying a dozen or so Linux variants , I settled on Mint as a long term solution, the few things that I have not taken the time to figure out how to migrate are Ross Tech Vag com, MS Access (2000) , Quick Load, and a scanner( that works better under Win 7). Win 7 no longer is allowed on line, and no longer gets updates so it runs flawlessly.  MS Access there is not a direct Linux replacement, the others may or may not work under Wine. I need time to “play” with things, so will dual boot until then. I still have XP machine for the lab test equipment that will not run under 7.

      I was upset when I had to replace many of my peripherals when I moved from XP to 7 , I was not about to do that again with 10. I also did not like the security issues associated with 10…so RIP Windows.  They certainly do not seem to want to help/ assist their customers. I feel it is time for MS to go belly-up and become a company of the past.

      • #226344 Reply

        MrJimPhelps
        AskWoody MVP

        There are three possible ways for you to get MS Access functionality in Linux:
        1. Libre Office includes a similar product – I believe it is called “Base”.
        2. Office 365 (online). Office 365 will run in Linux Mint with a non-Microsoft browser – I use Opera. Works great.
        3. Install Windows 7 in a virtual machine in your Linux computer. Then install MS Office in the Windows 7 that is in the virtual machine. As long as your computer has sufficient memory (min 6GB, but 8GB would be better), you will do just fine.

        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #226361 Reply

          b
          AskWoody Lounger

          2. Office 365 (online). Office 365 will run in Linux Mint with a non-Microsoft browser – I use Opera. Works great.

          If it’s online, it’s not 365.

          Cannon fodder Daft glutton Idiot Kick Me Sucker More intrepid

          • #226718 Reply

            MrJimPhelps
            AskWoody MVP

            If you subscribe to any of the Office 365 Business plans, you can access the online versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. You also get the online version of Outlook, with hosting of your email domain included, with Business Premium and Business Essentials.

            Office 365 Business Essentials would be ideal for a business or home which has all Linux computers, because there’s nothing to install on your local computer – it’s all web-based; and it’s only $5.00 per month per user.

            https://products.office.com/en-us/compare-all-microsoft-office-products?tab=2

            Group "L" (Linux Mint)
            with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
            1 user thanked author for this post.
            • #226721 Reply

              Morty
              AskWoody Lounger

              How does the online version of Word compare with the desktop version?

            • #226784 Reply

              b
              AskWoody Lounger

              There are quite a few features not available in Word Online:

              https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/office365/servicedescriptions/office-online-service-description/word-online

              Cannon fodder Daft glutton Idiot Kick Me Sucker More intrepid

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            • #226780 Reply

              b
              AskWoody Lounger

              I thought you were referring to the free version of Office Online, but even with the paid version there are many restrictions on advanced functions:

              Let’s be clear up front: the non-desktop versions of Office are no replacement for the full desktop version. Office 365 Online and the Office 365 Mobile Apps both offer a feature set similar to what you’d find in their Google Docs counterparts. They’re great if you just need the basic features, or if you occasionally need to view or make minor edits to documents (without the compatibility issues you’d run into using Google Docs, LibreOffice, or another suite of programs).

              For example, some of the major features you’ll find missing in the online and mobile apps include:

              Word: You cannot create captions, citations, bibliographies, tables of content. You cannot create or apply styles. And you won’t have access to some of the more advanced reviewing, proofing, or page layout tools.

              Excel: You cannot create pivot tables, apply conditional formatting, create external data connections or references, or access many of the advanced formulas.

              OneNote: You cannot edit embedded files, use optical character recognition (OCR) to translate handwriting into text, use Outlook task integration, or take advantage of template support.

              PowerPoint: You cannot create custom animations, use headers and footers, or integrate Excel charts. You also cannot take advantage of advanced design or reviewer tools.

              And there are a lot more, somewhat minor, features you won’t be able to take advantage of in the online or mobile app versions of Office, as well. For a complete list, check out the Office Online Service Description on Microsoft TechNet. While that list specifically talks about the Office 365 Online experience, most of the same exclusions apply to the mobile apps, too.

              NOTE: Some of these features we mentioned are viewable in the online and mobile app versions of Office; you just can’t create them there. For example, you cannot create a table of contents form in the online or mobile app versions, but you will be able to view one that was created in the desktop version.

              What’s the Difference Between Microsoft Office’s Desktop, Web, and Mobile Apps?

              It seems more difficult to find a detailed comparison for Outlook on the web vs. Outlook on desktop, but there must be many restricted features as Outlook on the web is not intended as a fulltime replacement:

              For example, if you’re on a business trip and only have access to a shared computer in a conference center, you can use Outlook on the web to securely access your emails

              Compare Outlook, Outlook on the web, and Mail and Calendar apps

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            • #226793 Reply

              Morty
              AskWoody Lounger

              Whew….

              Sounds like I’ll have to stay put…and pray.

              Thank you.

            • #226810 Reply

              MrJimPhelps
              AskWoody MVP

              I thought you were referring to the free version of Office Online, but even with the paid version there are many restrictions on advanced functions:

              No argument there. I would prefer the installed versions, not only for the reasons you cited, but they are just easier to use than the web versions.

              Group "L" (Linux Mint)
              with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
        • #226364 Reply

          OscarCP
          AskWoody Lounger

          I have Office 2016 installed on my Mac since June last year (the version of MS Office for the Mac) and works fine. Creates files entirely compatible with Office 2010 on my Windows 7 machine.

        • #226429 Reply

          mn–
          AskWoody Lounger

          Actually, isn’t Access the one component of MS Office that there isn’t an Online version of? (Or a Mac version…?)

          Also would seem that of all the components in the respective suites, MS Access / LibreOffice Base is the one pair where there’s the least overlap in features such as file format support.

          I mean, sheesh, MS Access supports connecting to Outlook address book but not Windows system address book – LibreOffice Base supports connecting to Windows system address book but probably not Outlook? Old Ms Works databases open in LibreOffice Base but not in Access, … Access can import a table one-way from Excel while keeping formatting, LibreOffice Base can open a spreadsheet directly in read/write mode but doesn’t deal with formatting properly…

    • #226517 Reply

      EP
      AskWoody Lounger

      hi Woody.

      Paul Thurrott has also written a recent article – “Windows 10 Version 1809 Suffers from Yet Another Data Loss Bug”

      https://www.thurrott.com/windows/windows-10/189344/windows-10-version-1809-suffers-from-yet-another-data-loss-bug

      and has mentioned that link to Peter Bright’s article from Arstechnica.

    • #226665 Reply

      Microfix
      AskWoody MVP

      Looks like this blog has attracted attention elsewhere:
      Memo to Microsoft: Windows 10 is broken, and the fixes can’t wait
      The Register
      Warning: The comments are interesting and NSFW in some cases.

      | W8.1 Pro x64 | Linux x64 Hybrids | W7 Pro x64 O/L | XP Pro O/L
        No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created IT - AE
      • #226666 Reply

        OscarCP
        AskWoody Lounger

        So three urgent changes are required.

        Firstly reintroduce dedicated testers. Don’t rely on automation and the crowd – that clearly isn’t working. Raise the prestige of testers in the company. Secondly, repurpose the Insider programme – reclassify it as a fan club. Anything, really. It’s not a substitute for professional testers. And thirdly, slow down. The rush to bring immature software to market has clearly deteriorated software quality. Are annual releases such a bad thing? Or even delaying the software until it’s actually ready?

        Elevating the prestige of Windows within the organisation is not a bad idea either, even though it goes against Satya Nadella’s proselytising of the cloud as the primary Microsoft platform. Working on Azure is the cool thing to do at Microsoft, and in the Cloud and AI Platform group under Scott Guthrie. Windows is “legacy”. Yer Dad’s OS.

        If  only.

        • #226730 Reply

          MrJimPhelps
          AskWoody MVP

          Microsoft will never recover the depth of experience that their former testing group had. And it is doubtful that they could hire them back, because they likely have other jobs by now.

          Having experienced testers is the only way to fix the quality control issues they are now facing.

          Group "L" (Linux Mint)
          with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
          2 users thanked author for this post.

    Please follow the -Lounge Rules- no personal attacks, no swearing, and politics/religion are relegated to the Rants forum.

    Reply To: A must-read article on Microsoft’s Windows strategy, from Peter Bright

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