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  • Chromebook is making big inroads

    Home Forums AskWoody blog Chromebook is making big inroads

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      • #130474 Reply
        woody
        Da Boss

        Those of you who follow along here know that I’ve been recommending Chromebooks for a long time. In my opinion, people who don’t have a need for a spe
        [See the full post at: Chromebook is making big inroads]

      • #130478 Reply
        BrianL
        AskWoody Lounger

        BUT! Which one is the best, biggest, most powerful?

      • #130479 Reply
        BrianL
        AskWoody Lounger

        By the way, Woody, Comcast is advertising for the a 6-figure + job opening. I would wonder!

      • #130487 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        As Chromebooks become more useful to many users they become a more viable option to Windows than Apple (price) and Linux (have to install or price). If Google opens up Chromebooks to common Linux software it becomes even more viable. Chromebooks are becoming a very viable option even the enterprise segment depending on the precise needs. That should scare MS to start treating customers as something below bilge water.

        Also, ChromeOS has one version for everyone not a myriad of subversions that only serve to confuse users. So buying a Chromebook is dead simple, decide on the hardware specs and price point and go shopping, much simpler and easier than trying to figure which W10 version one qualifies for and should get.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #130494 Reply
        Bill C.
        AskWoody Plus

        This is very interesting.  While I personally do not really need or want a Chromebook, I have played with some colleagues’ Chromebooks.   My hesitations are mainly that I prefer a desktop, but others are some of the same reasons I do not need or want Windows 10 (privacy, etc.). I also want a machine that is suitable for both online and OFFLINE work when necessary.

        However, from a consumer perspective, I view this as extremely good news.  Microsoft badly NEEDS a competitor that can rock them back on their heels and hopefully force a competitive reexamination and response to some of their misguided strategies, actions and policies, using the only persuasion that MS notices which is $$$, specifically loss thereof.

        Recent posts here have referred to the comparisons between Excel and Google Sheets from a business perspective, but from the consumer/individual user perspective, I do know the Chromebook users have not found they have had a system failure due to a bad forced update/upgrade and they were generally satisfied with what the device could do since they made an informed decision considering the potential limitations when they made their purchase.

        Any alternatives to break the MS monopoly and give people a viable choice is welcome.  For me, my views are increasingly looking south of Redmond to Cupertino or to Linux alternatives and distributions.

        6 users thanked author for this post.
      • #130496 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        Maybe Mr. Thurott could rewrite part of that article with this sentence fragment, “While Microsoft is leading the decline of Windows…”

      • #130499 Reply
        DrBonzo
        AskWoody Plus

        I agree that Chromebooks have some very attractive features. Apparently price, reliability, and security (although it seems there are plenty of holes found in the operating system) are among them.

        But, why do they make it so hard to print? The only easy way to print that I’ve heard of is to buy an HP Chromebook and HP printer. Otherwise you have to go through Cloudprint (don’t know if that’s the right name) or some such nonsense.

        Also, it seems that Google is going to track just as much information about a Chromebook user that MS does about a Windows user. Then the question is which company do you trust more? I no longer have any trust in MS, but I can’t honestly say I’ve got any inherent trust in Google, either.

        I don’t mean to ruffle any feathers, but I’m a bit surprised that there seems to be as much support for Chromebooks on a site where there is a lot of concern for privacy.

        Then again, I’ve just started looking into Chromebooks, so I’m probably still fairly ignorant about them

        5 users thanked author for this post.
        • #130501 Reply
          MrJimPhelps
          AskWoody_MVP

          DrBonzo, you’re right about the Google privacy concerns, in my opinion. Just about the entire Google business model is to gather as much information as they can from their users, and then make money from that information. And Google’s tentacles are in everything. If you don’t believe that, install a script blocker (e.g. NoScript) in Firefox, block scripts from google.com, then try to surf the web. Just about every site on the web breaks if you block scripts from google.com.

          Although I haven’t tested it, I doubt you would have much trouble surfing the web if you blocked scripts from facebook.com, youtube.com, or even Microsoft.com. Although you wouldn’t be able to get on those peoples’ web sites, you would be able to get on just about all other web sites (some of the links on some sites might not work). But just about the entire internet will be broken if you block google.com.

          Group "L" (Linux Mint)
          with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
          4 users thanked author for this post.
      • #130498 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        While I can certainly appreciate the nature of this topic, oftentimes I find myself wondering if Google is just as much a privacy risk.  They’re probably already the biggest data collector.  If they’re collecting it at that scale, I’m fairly convinced that they are also selling it, regardless of statements of denial.

        To me it’s coming down to the lesser of evils & none is that much of a standout.  Nobody, it seems, gives a darn about the consumer enough & there isn’t much that can really be done about it.

        Even if we could all of a sudden band together a few million people (or tens of millions) to leverage our purchasing power, will that be enough?  Then what do we all agree is the product that best matches our collective preference?  No & who knows are the answers to those questions.

        Ohhh computing, how I agonize over having to put up with the downsides of such a marvelous thing.

        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #130502 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

         

        I agree with the points made by Bill C. I would describe the situation as follows: Google may force MS to clean up its act, at least as far as the mass market is concerned.  Because, clearly, reading what Thurrott writes, this is about the mass market.

        So the challenge to Windows is at a low level in the food chain, and any improvements MS can be forced to make, I think, are likely to be at that level. If so, they will, doubtlessly, benefit users at all levels, but will not be anything like enough for some.

        For my part, I have already look south of Redmond, to Cupertino, being now the happy owner of a MacBook Pro (ca. 2015, still with USB ports) and an HP Pavilion Windows 7 machine (ca. 2011). And I am equally happy with both.

        Many of my colleges use Linux, as do I when logging in, often remotely, to their systems. However, I do not have a Linux machine myself, the reason being that, throughout my working life, I have been rather allergic to messing around with the operating system. I rather have a computer that comes with Linux pre-installed, so I only need to tinker with the OS at the edges, if I cannot get some friendly person to do that for me, in the first place.

        Problem is, the choice of available, brand-name computers with Linux pre-installed is very limited (or was, last time I checked). But I do look into that from time to time, as there seems to be a slow improvement on that score.

        I wonder if others who might read this are in the same situation: also deterred from having a Linux machine, because they do not want to, let’s say, configure, compile and install their own kernel. Also if someone might be willing and able to offer some helpful suggestions in this respect. Although that would probably be beyond the scope of this forum.

         

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #130508 Reply
          DrBonzo
          AskWoody Plus

          Two weeks ago I read the instructions for installing Ubuntu on the Ubuntu website and said to myself “Huh??!!, No way do I understand any of that” Well, today I have Ubuntu installed on 2 old laptops that had been running Vista. It wasn’t really very bad. There is some new jargon to get used to, but the Howtogeek.com website was a big help. The last operating system I installed was DOS 6.1. So, yes, I’ve been around for a while, but it’s also been about 25 years since I’ve installed an OS. And, I’m essentially a total newbie regarding Linux/Ubuntu. If I can do it you can too! Also, if you have old computer your cost is essentially zero. If you want the option of being able to use WIN 7 and Ubuntu on the same machine you can set up both operating systems and choose which you want to boot into. You may also be able to do that on a Mac; I’ve never used a Mac so I don’t know.

          If there’s any demand for it I could start a new topic of how this Linux newbie installed Ubuntu. I would feel a bit silly dong it because I’m sure there are many readers of AskWoody that are experts on Linux, but maybe a newbie’s perspective would be useful.

          2 users thanked author for this post.
          • #130520 Reply
            PKCano
            Da Boss

            There is already a forum, Linux for Windows wonks for this topic. Go for it!

          • #130529 Reply
            MrJimPhelps
            AskWoody_MVP

            DrBonzo: I went with Ubuntu, then moved to Xubuntu, because it is lighter than Ubuntu, and because the interface is more like Windows than is the Ubuntu interface. However, you can install all of the Ubuntu software in Xubuntu, and there is lots of help for Ubuntu out there, which also applies to Xubuntu.

            Group "L" (Linux Mint)
            with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
            • #130549 Reply
              DrBonzo
              AskWoody Plus

              I went with Ubuntu primarily because it had a large internet presence and got good ratings when I googled “best Linux for newbies”. I needed a quick alternative to Win 7 that I could use to get on the internet, and was basically ignorant of desktops, flavors, etc. In other words, I didn’t make much of an informed decision! I’m pretty tempted, now that I see how easy it is to install, to look at other distributions and desktops. The standard “Unity” desktop that comes with Ubuntu 16.04 is quite different from Windows, and as you say there are others that would seem more familiar.

        • #130521 Reply
          John in Mtl
          AskWoody Lounger

          If you want to use Linux, you most certainly don’t have to compile your own kernel!! This is wholly unneccessary for people who want to use a computer as a tool or entertainment hub/device.  There are dozens of Linux “distros” to choose from and they can be tested “on the fly” without installing anything on your existing hardware. Linux has come a long long way from what it was, say, 10 or 15 years ago; it is now a serious contender to any other hardware/OS/programs/apps combination.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #130534 Reply
          anonymous
          Guest

          You don’t need to configure, compile and install your own kernel. The simplest way to install Linux is to buy, say, Mint Cinnamon off of OSDisc for about five bucks. Install time took me about twenty minutes at the most. I’ve had to install and reinstall Windows a few times, but Linux is much, much easier.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #130580 Reply
          anonymous
          Guest

          Nowadays, installing Linux on a computer is pretty straight forward. Most hardware is recognized and you have no problems. Eventually you might have to buy a new wireless card or so, but for older computers, usually there’s no sweat. If you have some bleeding edge hardware, then you might have to wait a few months for the Kernel folks to add the hardware support (better that than having Micro$oft blocking updates on your Windows 7 or 8.1 just because).

          I’ve been using Linux Mint for almost 10 years now and I’m pretty happy. I’ve compiled my own Linux Kernel but just for fun and research, never out of necessity. Those days are gone and, as a home user, it’s not worth it. If the hardware is recognized, Linux just works!

          When I buy a new computer (I only buy used ones as I do not want to pay M$ a license) what I do is testing it with a live USB Linux Mint, no need to install it, just boot and run. If all goes well, I buy the computer; if it doesn’t, at least I have an idea of what I have to do get it running, and if it’s worth it or not.

          I’m happily running Linux Mint Debian Edition on an old used i3 Acer laptop that cost me €140 as my daily driver, and also on an even older Acer dual core laptop @1,66GHz that was given to me for free, as my portable typewriter. No need for bad Apples with no USB ports, or Micro$oft Surface that go berserk after those infamous Windows downdates.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #130614 Reply
          lurks about
          AskWoody Plus

          There are few vendors that supply computers with Linux preinstalled. However they tend to be high spec boxes. I have seen low spec boxes on Walmart.com with Linux installed.

          Installing a Ubuntu version or Linux Mint is more a matter of following the wizard than anything else. As DrBorzo noted is not that difficult. Also, installing a full distro takes about 30 minutes or so (hardware dependent) and when done you have a complete, usable system with an office suite, browser, video/music player, etc. already installed.

          2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #130504 Reply
        MrJimPhelps
        AskWoody_MVP

        Honestly, I won’t shed any tears for Microsoft. In the old days, they put many good companies out of business due to their predatory ways (combined with stupid mistakes by those companies). And now, we are seeing what I believe is the beginning of the end of Microsoft’s dominance.

        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
        5 users thanked author for this post.
      • #130511 Reply
        John
        AskWoody Lounger

        I have used Chromebook’s, they are not that bad although from the beginning they have mostly ran bottom end hardware except for Google’s Pixel which was too expensive. Now I see more mainstream hardware and even some premium options. I still would like to see a decent 15 inch Chromebook. Acer has one, but its budget grade. Thurrott makes a good assessment of Windows 10S being a poor reaction to the Chromebooks. For one, the Apps store of Microsoft’s is simply not even close to being acceptable. For myself I question the impact of Android apps will be on Chrome OS? It does add to the offering with Chrome OS which may sway a few Android phone users. Chromebooks are still a novelty in most of the world not as robust as in US with educational market gaining much of the sales. Who know’s this holiday season might just be a good one for Chromebooks.

      • #130522 Reply
        John in Mtl
        AskWoody Lounger

        It seems clear that with Windows 10 (and all its variants), Microsoft is once again only playing catch-up with the competition from Android and Chrome devices. It is quite possible that Microsoft has no real choice in the matter if they are to survive as a company; I’m sure they are fully aware of their (potential) market share losses.  That it does not have as solid an offer as compared to the others mentioned is only testimony of how far behind they are at this point.  That what they produce & sell is a bit (or very much) shoddy is another testimony of the urgency they sense in trying not to lose too many market shares to the competition.  But all of them are essentially offering pretty much the same thing.    And as many have already mentioned in this thread, it really depends what you need in terms of software and convenience as this will largely dictate what you will purchase, barring any influence from marketing campaigns and habit/familiarity with an existing platform.

        As far as I’m concerned, I don’t see a Chromebook or anything with Windows 10 on it in my future, regardless of how cheap they cost or how stellar the hardware and software offer is.  Both are not trustworthy in terms of user privacy and leaving the user be (no nagging, no adverts, no forced updates/upgrades, etc.).  There seems only one way out: Linux or Win 8.1 until 2023.

        Oh how I miss the good ‘ole days of “plain computing”.

         

        4 users thanked author for this post.
      • #130526 Reply
        Microfix
        AskWoody MVP

        ‘Out of the frying pan and into the fire’ springs to mind so, I’ll fry slowly, sizzle and spit in MS oil until 2023 🙂

        Win8.1 Pro | Linux Hybrids | Win7 Pro O/L | WinXP O/L
        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #130527 Reply
        JohnW
        AskWoody Plus

        A few random thoughts about Chromebooks …

        There is a desktop version called Chromebox, for those who prefer to use a real keyboard, mouse, and large monitor.  It’s a very small form factor, a little bit smaller than a Mac Mini.  Plug and play.  https://www.asus.com/us/Chrome-Devices/Chromebox/

        For privacy, you can start up in “guest” mode.  No need to create a Google account or log in, unless you want to be able to save settings.  If you do this, your session is reset every time you start up.

        Since you are running a Chrome browser, there are alternatives to Google documents, such as Microsoft Office Online.  https://products.office.com/en-us/office-online/documents-spreadsheets-presentations-office-online

        I also heard a user mention that you can connect a USB drive to store files locally.

        The things that might take a bit of consideration are, do you need to run software offline, and are you OK with cloud printing?

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #130554 Reply
          anonymous
          Guest

          Those Chromeboxes (excluding the basic Celeron 2 or 4 GB) versions are much too expensive unless you can max out the RAM and configure it to always boot another Linux/Gnu distribution.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #130576 Reply
            JohnW
            AskWoody Plus

            Those Celerons are probably all you need to use Chrome for web use.

            Check out the reviews here … 83% positive … $158.19  https://www.amazon.com/Asus-CHROMEBOX-M004U-ASUS-Desktop/dp/B00IT1WJZQ

            As far as loading Linux, I built a bare bones Core i3 with 8GB RAM and a 1TB HDD for $300.

            And Google based ChromeOS on the Linux kernel.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chrome_OS

            And, surprise!  Android is Linux too!!!  http://www.zdnet.com/article/android-and-linux-re-merge-into-one-operating-system/

            Obviously these are specially adapted versions of Linux, but their use cases are clear, if you take them for what they are!

            • #130666 Reply
              anonymous
              Guest

              If one were to spend an exorbitant amount of money acquiring a tile sized computer it could be the Meerkat from System76 or maybe an higher end Intel NUC.

              I’m trying Linux/Gnu distributions to possibly install just because some of the software performance and features seem to better using the native environment.

          • #130581 Reply
            anonymous
            Guest

            Reply;

            https://www.howtogeek.com/162120/how-to-install-ubuntu-linux-on-your-chromebook-with-crouton/
            .

            What You Need to Know Before Buying a Chromebox


            .
            The budget Chromebox usually comes with only 16GB of eMMC Flash storage. So, it should be upgraded to 64GB eMMC Flash storage, in order to install a Linux distro with the preinstalled ChromeOS, eg Ubuntu or Linux Mint.
            .
            https://www.davebennett.tech/how-to-install-chrome-os-on-pc/
            … How to install CHROMIUM OS in a PC.

            • #130598 Reply
              JohnW
              AskWoody Plus

              The whole point of ChromeOS/Chromebook/Chromebox is that not everybody needs a PC.  There are plenty of folks who just want to go online, and ChromeOS is intended for them.

              If you do need a PC, then in my opinion there is no point in geeking out and trying to hack a Chromebox into a PC.  Unless you just want to, and that’s OK too.

              But it would be much simpler and cheaper, to acquire a good used laptop or PC, wipe the drive, and install your favorite Linux distro.  It runs fine on older hardware, and then you can run offline programs, edit photos & videos, game, etc.  You can usually expand the RAM and drive storage to meet your needs.  🙂

              1 user thanked author for this post.
            • #130629 Reply
              DrBonzo
              AskWoody Plus

              Since there’s a howtogeek link above about installing Linux on a chromebook, here’s a link that I found very useful for installing Linux on a PC, at least how to create a bootable usb drive. Turns out that once you have that the actual installation is pretty easy since you’re guided all the way through it. If you want what’s called a “live stick” scroll down just a bit in the link to just before the instructions actually start and you’ll see a link for making one. This is what I did because a “live stick” will let you make some running changes to the Linux version you are using and keep the changes so you don’t have to redo them every time you boot up from your usb drive. This is useful if you’re still trying to decide whether to install Linux to your hard drive.

              Just as a quick example, I wanted to see how hard it would be to set up a Firefox browser (comes with Ubuntu 16.04) homepage and access my gmail account in Ubuntu. I could set it all up on the live stick to see how it worked. If I had decided not to install Ubuntu to my hard drive I would still have been able to get gmail from booting the stick. Plus, when I eventually did install Ubuntu to my hard drive, access to my gmail was already set up, because I had already done it!

              https://www.howtogeek.com/howto/linux/create-a-bootable-ubuntu-usb-flash-drive-the-easy-way/

              3 users thanked author for this post.
              • #130632 Reply
                MrJimPhelps
                AskWoody_MVP

                Running Ubuntu from a “live stick” (flash drive) solves a nagging problem, that is, that you can’t save any setting changes or program installs that you do when you run Ubuntu from a DVD. Your changes will save if you use a live stick.

                The only downside I see to using a live stick is that if there is malware on the computer, it may get on your live stick.

                Group "L" (Linux Mint)
                with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
              • #130663 Reply
                JohnW
                AskWoody Plus

                So if you want to access your bank account online, it would make sense to use a DVD-ROM (read only), but for everything else a live stick should be fine.

                2 users thanked author for this post.
              • #130686 Reply
                anonymous
                Guest

                @JohnW.,

                A Live Linux USB-stick can be created without any persistent storage
                = will be just like a Live Linux DVD
                = read-only Live sessions, ie no read-and-write Live sessions
                = no malware can be written onto the Live DVD or USB-stick
                = can do online banking and shopping securely.

              • #130850 Reply
                MrJimPhelps
                AskWoody_MVP

                @JohnW:

                You make an excellent point. Up till now, I have been afraid of using a public computer (e.g. in the business center of a hotel) to access anything, because of the possibility (probability) of there being spyware on that computer.

                There is a small possibility that some malware on the internal hard drive could possibly run. However, if I boot into Linux via a read-only DVD, there is no way that any spyware could get onto my disk. I will be using my own browser (the one installed on the read-only DVD), which would eliminate the possibility of a malware browser extension. And the fact that I am running Linux means that if there is Windows-based spyware on the internal hard drive, it won’t be able to run in a Linux environment.

                I think I’ll try that the next time we are staying in a hotel!

                Jim

                Group "L" (Linux Mint)
                with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
              • #130852 Reply
                JohnW
                AskWoody Plus

                Or better yet, avoid public computers entirely, and BYOD!  Use your laptop or tablet, and a VPN connection (to avoid man in the middle attacks on a public network) for all business activity when traveling.

                You could still use the live Linux disk or stick on your device for extra security if you are dealing with confidential info.  Virtually eliminates the possibility that your device has been compromised.

                Two things get covered this way, (1) no malware on your device, and (2) no spies on the network, because your entire network connection is encrypted.

                Your VPN secures TCP/IP from your device to your VPN provider. Then when your browser is HTTPS encrypted, that also covers the hop from your VPN exit point to your bank, etc.

              • #130945 Reply
                MrBrian
                AskWoody_MVP

                From Lightweight Portable Security

                “LPS-Public turns an untrusted system (such as a home computer) into a trusted network client. No trace of work activity (or malware) can be written to the local computer hard drive.”

      • #130538 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        I have family members who live in rural locations. In these areas there is usually only one ISP operating in the area and their data plans are often expensive and limited. An unlimited data plan is a rarity. When the GWX campaign hit in 2015, the family groups were in a panic as they all had W7 laptops and most of them had no more than a 5GB data plan. For W10 they found out that they would need to significantly increase their data plan and at minimum this would treble their monthly ISP costs. For them, this cost of ownership (a Windows PC), now makes Chromebooks a much more attractive alternative in 2020 (or if one of those laptops dies unexpectedly before 2020).

        Schools have chosen Chromebooks for their lower cost of ownership and it looks as though that is something that consumers should also consider. Why pay for all that bandwidth YOU do not use.

        • #130543 Reply
          JohnW
          AskWoody Plus

          Here’s a thought.  Run the Win 7 laptops until the wheels fall off, and keep using your familiar offline applications.  But just unplug Windows from the internet.  Use USB flash drives or portable drives to move files around.

          Privacy and security problems solved!

          Then get a Chromebook for your online life…

           

          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #130555 Reply
        Ascaris
        AskWoody_MVP

        Chromebooks are becoming a very viable option even the enterprise segment depending on the precise needs. That should scare MS to start treating customers as something below bilge water.

        I’d hope so, but the very observation that they are treating customers in that manner suggests to me that they don’t particularly want to keep them as customers of Windows, and would actually welcome them migrating to a platform that is someone else’s burden to maintain, while continuing to sell them cloud services that they can use from whichever platform they choose.

        Nothing MS is doing suggests to me that they are at all interested in the long-term viability of the Windows platform, and if I had to guess, I’d say they’re trying to extract all the remaining juice (value) from Windows so they can toss the desiccated husk aside and be strictly a cloud company.  Their desktop dominance is an asset of considerable value, but they seem to be wondering how long that can possibly last.

        I, for one, don’t believe the desktop is going away; it does too many things too well, and not everything that regular PCs do well can be replicated with phones or Chromebooks.  People who never needed a full general-purpose computer have moved on, but there’s still plenty of life left in the platform despite declining sales.

        As just one example that I hopefully haven’t overused to the point of annoyance: I use multiple PCs more heavily now than I ever have.  I have three PCs that I use interactively on any given day, and a fourth that does its thing without much intervention from me.  That’s more than I had in daily use five, ten, fifteen, twenty years ago, yet my gear now is older than it has EVER been in the 27 years I have been using PCs or the 32 I have been using computers in general.  In other words, sales of PCs to me are way down, but usage (and the number of licensed Windows versions I’m using at any given time) is way up.  If sales reflected usage, you’d have to conclude that I’d given up on PCs and moved on to another platform, but that’s not the case at all.

        It would appear that Nadella & crew do not share my faith in the PC platform, and that they sees the desktop dominance as an asset whose value is perishable and fated to reach zero sooner rather than later.  If that guess is accurate, it would stand to reason that MS is trying to milk that asset for every dime while it still has value, and if they can get two dimes out of it instead by taking some action that will pay off in the short term but harm the long-term health of the franchise, all the better.  Why concern yourself about the long-term implications of your actions if you’ve concluded that you’re dead in the long term anyway?

        MS has had a monopoly on the desktop for a long time, but they’ve never truly brought the full weight of that monopoly down onto our heads until recently.  They are undoubtedly aware that monopolies that are exploited as such don’t last long; a lot of money can be made in the short term, but eventually the ill will that the monopoly breeds in its own customers reaches a critical mass, and the monopoly is broken.   MS exploited their desktop monopoly power when it came to browsers, and they went from 95% market share in the IE6 days to the point that IE has been abandoned by its own devs in a bit more than a decade.  Still, they avoided doing the same with Windows itself prior to 10.

        When Vista was rejected by the computing public, they improved it (Vista SP2 was pretty decent, though few remember anything good about Vista in general) and gave us the even better Windows 7.  As a monopolist, they could have told us that Vista was the last Windows we were going to see, so there’s no point in trying to resist, but they didn’t.

        When 8 was rejected by the same computing public, MS started to go the same way.  8.1 fixed a lot of what people hated about 8, and the 8.2 “Threshold” update would have taken care a lot of what was still disliked about 8.1.  Microsoft didn’t try to force 8.x on any of us; they began to evolve it into what customers wanted, and if not for their decision to give up on 8.2 “Threshold” and to turn that into Windows 10 “Threshold,” 8.x may well have ended up being something that wasn’t just good for those of us who like to modify stuff, but to all the same people who liked 7 so much too.

        MS could have forced any previous Windows on us like they are with 10, but they didn’t.  Now they are, and there cannot be any doubt that they are acutely aware of the frosty reception 10 has gotten by many of their customers.  Rather than trying to fix the product as they had with Vista or 8, though, MS has upped the ante with many of the things customers complained about, steadfastly refusing to do anything more than meaningless token changes (like the privacy “improvements”), while continuing the “resistance is futile” marketing.

        I can only conclude that they’re no longer interested in being in the OS business, and they’re looking to liquidate the desktop dominance asset for short-term gains in stock prices.

        Group "L" (KDE Neon Linux, User Edition).

        5 users thanked author for this post.
        • #130556 Reply
          anonymous
          Guest

          @Ascaris

          Hear, Hear. Very well thought out and precisely put.   Well done.
          I hope M$ actually reads your comments as IMO they could learn a thing or two or three or more, from them.
          I am a Win10 Home user and am just fed up with the whole fiasco.
          Over it!!! and want out.

        • #130595 Reply
          AlexEiffel
          AskWoody_MVP

          I respectfully disagree. I think Microsoft really believes, or at least a significant amount of people there believe, in the new way they are doing the OS, the kool aid about feedback from users and the whole rapid development cycle and this new world that can’t wait for the new feature to be available next week. After reading the recent post from that Microsoft dev reported here, I think they are just in a direction that I find personally wrong and naive, disregarding what is important for their customers, thinking this will bring them success.

          I really don’t think they want to rid themselves of the burden to maintain an OS. Seriously, if they just kept tweaking Windows 8, respecting privacy, added the store as an optional thing for the long term, it would not be that costly and everybody would continue to buy Windows without a second thought when they buy a new PC instead of thinking of switching, so they would still make money and could slowly develop their mobile presence at the same time using the store if there is any chance it will go somewhere. If anything, pushing the store like they did and being aggressive like they did hasn’t helped them make progress in inspiring people and software companies to adopt the store and for people not reconsider switching OS.

          The problem is they don’t realize those who left were going to leave anyway because a PC has never been what they needed the most from the start. Now they are alienating these people that will buy a PC again instead of accepting the fact that new mobile technologies were going to move some users away from the PC anyway.

          And regarding this new way of doing software that would be “professional” and the proper way to develop in this new world according to who does it, I would object to the dev blog post that he really doesn’t get it. No matter how well or professionally you develop the wrong product, you still develop the wrong product. If people say we don’t want that and we don’t want twice a year releases, you are not responding to the customer’s need and I don’t believe you will convince enough of them to switch to your new way of maintaining the software. You will just slowly sink. This just opens an opportunity for a competitor to fill that unmet need. However hard this void will be to fill, it will be there. Of course with Windows, things are more complicated, because of legacy compatibility with software, but still, there is a strategy error there I believe, a business error, thinking the software process is what is the stake there and loosing focus on the market.

          2 users thanked author for this post.
          • #130610 Reply
            JohnW
            AskWoody Plus

            Microsoft should seriously consider making a LTS (Long Term Support) version available for any flavor of Windows 10, besides enterprise, etc.

            They would just have to designate one of their feature updates (e.g. Anniversary,  Creators, etc.) to be supported for 3 years or so.  They could keep rolling out new updates every 6 months, and supporting those for the following 18 months, for the folks that want to be on the bleeding edge of progress.

            Just give the customer a choice between stability, or rapid change.  Simple, right???

            This isn’t my idea, it’s just the way that the major Linux distros currently approach this problem.

            2 users thanked author for this post.
            • #130611 Reply
              AlexEiffel
              AskWoody_MVP

              They could also just do rapid-cycle release for anything non-disruptive and keep the same model for the more challenging issues, to give time to company to prepare for them.

              I mean, I don’t care if Cortana becomes better at this or this, that I can now log in using a scan of my retina instead of a password or whatever, no third-party software should stop working because of those kind of changes and they could do it in a rapid cycle model if they didn’t distract or needed constant adaptation to new UI features or require settings review prior deployment because of bad ideas (like changing settings to insecure or privacy sensitive values or adding features that could threaten these two aspects if settings related to them were not addressed immediately after an update).

              A rolling release cycle should be seamless and in my view, it should not need to be reviewed. You should be able to let the system patch and a few features without too much concern for privacy, security or reliability. Then, once in a while, you have a more substantial upgrade that has bigger implications and that needs a review.

              2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #130564 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        Chromebooks with the desktop browser-centric ChromeOS, run apps, games and extensions from the Chrome Web Store. Now, they can also run mobile Android apps from Google Play Store. Good move but not a great move.
        There are also Android 2-in-1 tablets that run mobile Android apps from Google Play Store. Will Google also make Android tablets run Chrome apps, games and extensions?

        What about Google’s coming Fuchsia OS?

        Maybe, Google should acquire a popular desktop Linux distro = a great move?

        Personally, I do not prefer Chromebooks because of limited offline usability and the locked-in ecosystem (lacks user choice and freedom).
        Android tablets cannot be used for doing serious work or online research.

        P S – Google is mostly an Ad and data selling company. So, Google devices with free software are ad and data collecting machines. To me, that’s a fair trade-off, eg for using free Google Search, Google Chrome, Google Maps, ChromeOS, Android, etc.

      • #130578 Reply
        JohnW
        AskWoody Plus

        Maybe, Google should acquire a popular desktop Linux distro = a great move? 

        There is actually nothing to acquire for Linux.  Since Linux is open source, anybody can take it and create their own version.

        Google has already based Android and ChromeOS on Linux, and if they wanted to create a plain Linux distro, they could have easily done so.

        But since companies cannot really sell Linux (it’s free), they basically give away the OS, and sell support contracts.  For a good example, take a look at how Red Hat, Inc. has set up their business model for Red Hat Enterprise.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Hat_Enterprise_Linux

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #130582 Reply
          anonymous
          Guest

          @ JohnW,

          Android Inc. was founded in Palo Alto, California in October 2003 by Andy Rubin, Rich Miner, Nick Sears, and Chris White.
          In July 2005, Google acquired Android Inc. for at least $50 million

          .
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Android_(operating_system)
          .
          .
          If Google acquires Canonical’s Ubuntu and absorbs some of their staffs, eg Mark Shuttleworth, Google will not need to do much leg-work to develop Ubuntu further according to Google’s vision and business model, eg Planned Obsolescence, the selling of ads, data and getting commissions from apps/games/programs/etc sales.

          • #130592 Reply
            MrJimPhelps
            AskWoody_MVP

            If Google acquires Canonical’s Ubuntu…

            If Google acquires Canonical’s Ubuntu, I will immediately switch to some other distro of Linux. I’ll bet a huge number of other Ubuntu users will as well.

            Group "L" (Linux Mint)
            with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
            2 users thanked author for this post.
            • #130630 Reply
              DrBonzo
              AskWoody Plus

              I agree. One of the major benefits to Linux is privacy. If Google gets Ubuntu, privacy is potentially gone and I’ll switch to another distribution.

          • #130604 Reply
            JohnW
            AskWoody Plus

            If Google acquires Canonical’s Ubuntu 

            Not sure how likely that would be, or why Google would want to do that?  Linux is open source, so all they would be acquiring with Canonical is Ubuntu trademarks and the employees.  Don’t see the business case for Google.  They already have plenty of talent, and brand recognition.

            But if they did, it would be time to switch to Debian, which is the Ubuntu source.  Mint is also a Debian related distro, but it is downstream from Ubuntu.  Maybe Mint would adjust as well, to keep Mint independent.  That would suit me, as Mint is my distro flavor of choice today.

      • #130597 Reply
        AlexEiffel
        AskWoody_MVP

        For a moment, puts privacy concerns aside for those users who don’t see a problem.

        Then,

        Which company do you think is more capable for the future, the one that:

        1) built the elegant, secure, fast, standards compliant Chrome or the complex IE and the me-too Edge?

        IE was out of the box not secure, introduced awful ideas like ActiveX and vbscript, non respect of html standards, adding proprietary extensions to the open world of the web, and incompatibilities between versions of IE on the same website. Maybe only Noel and other professionals can tweak it into a great browser, but IE has brought some of the worst headaches for IT support because they didn’t get that the world would need to be able to go on the same website for years using any browser on any OS. I had to switch online software to standard compliants ones because the banks, credit card companies, pay companies couldn’t offer compatibility with the latest IE fast enough, having built their platform using what any IT executive should have seen as dead end technologies of IE for the long run.

        2) built an OS that is arguably much more secure and managed for you, letting you focus on what you are doing with the computer (for most users that don’t require the control) or the people who took a very complex OS and tried to make it follow the models of others when it is not made for that and pushing it before it is ready for it instead of making it ready first or developing another OS that is simpler but maintains app compatibility (maybe too hard to do though).

        Windows upgrades have never been that smooth, and now, they don’t seem that smooth either but they are forced every few months. How about fixing that in the first place? How about diffrential updates that don’t require a hugh bandwidth? No, they don’t have time, the world is moving too fast, the floor is disappearing from their feet as they run.

        The truth is Microsoft is less able to compete today, because they don’t leverage their strength and instead they focus on playing me-too where they are weak. At this game, I don’t think they can win if they don’t correct course. Making people unhappy about their computer and making their experience more difficult will just give them the incentive to move from their relative indifference to finally try something else. That thing will be a Mac or a Chromebook which both markets themselves as secure, simple to operate devices.

         

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #130621 Reply
          JohnW
          AskWoody Plus

          I think those are good points, but I will add that I don’t think Microsoft is going to put any priority on the end consumer going forward.  I’m not thinking they are getting out of the game, because it is still profitable.  But it is a shrinking piece of the revenue pie.

          They are simply looking elsewhere for growth.  Cloud and Enterprise, for starters…

          If you acquire a copy of the Microsoft Corp annual report, you can see the details. Skip the marketing fluff at the top and dig into the numbers.  Particularly interesting is their assessment of competition for each of their business segments.  https://www.microsoft.com/investor/reports/ar16/index.html

          Fiscal year 2016 compared with fiscal year 2015

          Intelligent Cloud (Server products and cloud services, and Enterprise services) revenue increased 6%.

          Personal Computing (Devices, Search, Windows, Gaming) decreased by 6%.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #130626 Reply
            MrJimPhelps
            AskWoody_MVP

            Not sure why they think Facebook or Cisco are their competitors in the Office arena. I was unaware that either Facebook or Cisco had an office suite of any kind.

            IBM long ceased to be a competitor of any consequence in the office arena.

            What, exactly, is the “competitive position of Linux”? Linux is public domain!

            In July of 2015, Windows moved from being an OS to being a service, according to the MS annual report.

            They tout the Windows Phone, even though that is currently a non-starter.

            They claim to believe that they “compete effectively” by giving customers “choice” and “compatibility with a broad range of hardware and software applications”. (Funny, my impression is that they are moving away from the customers having a choice, and from compatibility to enforced uniformity.)

            They’re spending $12 billion a year on “research and development”. Too bad they couldn’t afford to retain their testing dept.

            They claim to offer perpetual or subscription licenses to small and medium sized organizations. I thought they were getting away from perpetual licenses.

            Group "L" (Linux Mint)
            with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
            1 user thanked author for this post.
            • #130662 Reply
              JohnW
              AskWoody Plus

              “Group think”, LOL!!!  🙂

      • #130603 Reply
        JohnW
        AskWoody Plus

        @ JohnW,

        Android Inc. was founded in Palo Alto, California in October 2003 by Andy Rubin, Rich Miner, Nick Sears, and Chris White. In July 2005, Google acquired Android Inc. for at least $50 million

        . https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Android_(operating_system) . . 

        Android is a mobile operating system developed by Google, based on the Linux kernel…

        Initially developed by Android Inc., which Google bought in 2005, Android was unveiled in 2007…

        At Google, the team led by Rubin developed a mobile device platform powered by the Linux kernel…

        Android’s source code is released by Google under an open source license…

         

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #130625 Reply
          anonymous
          Guest

          @JohnW,

          Initially developed by Android Inc., which Google bought in 2005, Android was unveiled in 2007…

          Android was Initially developed by Android Inc., which Google bought in 2005, and Android was unveiled in 2007…
          .
          .
          If Google Inc was the one who “invented”/developed Android, it would have been very foolish of them to pay US$50 million to acquire Android Inc from Andy Rubin, ie as if Google could easily just create the then pioneering and new Linux-based mobile OS on their own from scratch in a very short time.

          Canonical Inc had actually launched the Linux-based mobile Ubuntu Touch OS into the mobile market in 2011. It was not successful. Ubuntu Touch was recently shut down by Canonical’s Mark Shuttleworth in April 2017.
          … Mozilla launched the Linux-based mobile Firefox OS in 2013 and had to closed it down in 2015.

          So, it was crucial for Google to launch Android into the mobile market early, ie soon after Apple iOS. Google likely acquired Android Inc to jumps-start this process = able to launch Android with a commercial smartphone device in Sep 2008.
          … If Google had tried to do it on their own starting from scratch, it might have taken them 2 or 3 years to complete = they might have then missed the boat, ie M$ Windows Phone(launched in 2010) and Apple iOS(launched in June 2007) could have already sailed off with the boat.

          Notice that the tech giant M$ could only launch their pioneer mobile Windows Phone 7 OS in 2010, ie about 3 long years after Apple iOS(= June 2007). This proves that it is not easy to develop a mobile OS from scratch.

          Similarly, the desktop Apple Lisa was launched in 1982, Windows OS was launched by M$ in 1985 and Linux(= hobbyist OS) was launched by Linus Torvald in 1991.

          Seems, “the early bird gets the worm”.

      • #130669 Reply
        lurks about
        AskWoody Plus

        There is one key fact this and other threads are indicating. There is a market for an alternative OS on low to mid spec/price machines. Also, there is a strong indication of ‘restless natives’ who are aggravated by MS’ obnoxious tactics and general bungling. Both are problems MS needs to deal with in consumer friendly manner before they become just another IT company past its glory days or worse. Some have already abandoned MS, some are planning to abandon MS, and others are hoping that abandoning MS becomes a real option in the near future.

        Chromebooks and ChromeOS seem to be gathering momentum and respect. When people like Woody and Paul Thurott say one should consider a Chromebook as it fits what many users need, MS should be asking how did they s**** up. As people become more familiar with Chromebooks and ChromeOS, they might ditch Windows for the next purchase.

        • #130676 Reply
          JohnW
          AskWoody Plus

          There will always be a market for PC users, but it is a shrinking share of the market. Content creators, engineers, power users, etc., will always prefer a PC.

          But there are many PC users today that don’t really need a PC, but in the past just got one to get connected online.

          The alternative devices now available means that you can be connected without a PC.

          These are the folks who will be ditching MacOS and Windows for Android, iOS, and ChromeOS devices.

          • #130809 Reply
            lurks about
            AskWoody Plus

            There is another sizable group who need to open and modify routine office documents and other tasks that require software that properly reads the file type. Strictly speaking they do not require MS Office, just something that accurately read and edit most MS Office documents (something MS Office can s**** up). Google Docs, LibreOffice, and other services/applications are more than adequate for these users also. I suspect many of these users will stay with Windows more out of inertia than any real compelling need to have Windows. But they are a group that some could pick off from MS with some effort.

            The one area I still Windows having advantage at this time over a Chromebook is the ability to connect to a back end database, I am not sure how well this can be done with a Chromebook.

      • #130709 Reply
        BrianL
        AskWoody Lounger

        The PC owners didn’t buy just to connect. PC’s have 3x’s speed and 10x’s the storage. We like ‘speed’  & closet space.

        .

         

      • #130707 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        Chromebook is making big inroads

        This is a great alternative to the less data dependent people I know that just need to get online, do some personal banking & shopping & basically not do much that would require persistent storage.

        Such a good side conversation.  Perhaps it should be split off to the Linux area or a new topic created there for it.  I’d hate to miss something that drops out of view on the recent replies list.

        • #130735 Reply
          anonymous
          Guest

          I got around the limited local storage of Chromebooks with the purchase of a 500 GB external hard drive (about $65). I’m pretty sure the drive came formatted in the NTSF file system. I tested it by copying some files from my Windows 7 laptop to it, then I plugged it into my Chromebook and the drive and files were all recognized, no problem.

          Google’s list of supported file systems for Chromebook external drives is easily found on a search engine. (I’m not sure if pasting a link here works.)

          I really like my Chromebook. It’s fast and simple for routine online things and Google Drive keeps my various routinely-used documents just a click or two away. I do have a need for a couple of Windows-specific programs though … Perhaps I can use that as a segue to say thank you to Woody and the other contributors for the great advice on how to keep Windows 7 running.

      • #130712 Reply
        BrianL
        AskWoody Lounger

        If I could change my PC into Chrome book with compatible speed and 10x’s the storage of and speed the world would almost be great without MS!

      • #130713 Reply
        Ascaris
        AskWoody_MVP

        Maybe Mint would adjust as well, to keep Mint independent.

        Mint already has LMDE, or Linux Mint Debian Edition, based directly on Debian, not Ubuntu.

         

        Group "L" (KDE Neon Linux, User Edition).

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #130812 Reply
          JohnW
          AskWoody Plus

          So no worries at all, then… 🙂

      • #130732 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        My iPad is doing fine.

      • #2305162 Reply
        The Surfing Pensioner
        AskWoody Plus

        Even chromebooks can die on you. My HP chromebook gave reasonable service for 10 months, but then grew manky. It lagged, kept crashing repeatedly, and powerwashes didn’t help. Fortunately, I had taken out a Currys protection plan when I bought it, so Currys got it back. They couldn’t fix it, either, so they generously reimbursed me with a £300 e-gift card for a £200 chromebook (they obviously wanted to compensate me for lost time and inconvenience) and I have just spent it on an Acer chromebook with some attractive features (touch screen and wacom pen). I am idly wondering whether, if this device fails in the next year or so, Currys will give me a £400 e-gift card so I can upgrade again? You never know your luck. After all, how would any of us get through this pandemic without tech?

        1 user thanked author for this post.
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