• Windows 10’s aching Achilles’ heel: Patches

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    This has been bugging me for quite a while. New revelations about enterprise patching in Windows 10 are starting to reveal several disturbing congenit
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    • #51888

      I have been concerned about patching protocols becoming intertwined with MS’s incorporating a “customer exploitation” business model with their consumer Windows OS installed user base. MS wants to ultimately take control of the installed OS and garbage it up with all sorts of extraneous and entertainment features geared toward content consumption rather productivity. Not sure exactly how this totally evolves but they are certainly giving us some things to think about. In many ways, the MS “Start Menu” duality is part of this same philosophical drift.

    • #51889


      Interesting perspective. I don’t think it’s a conspiracy or a deliberately plotted plan. But it’s certainly headed in that direction.

      ChromeOS is already there.

    • #51890

      “It looks like those who use the free consumer versions of Windows 10 will get automatic updates, whether they want them or not.” The Horror, Horror I Say! I was already thinking that if I ever did jump on the free W10 offer it would be at the end of the offer period, I’m having serious doubts now. I figured there was going to be Something in that whole free offer deal that would leave a bad taste. 😉

    • #51891

      Woody, I think your observation about the Chromebooks and ChromeOS in general speaks to a new reality in personal computing (as opposed to Enterprise Workstation productivity).

      Consumers have been greatly influenced by the availability of broadband Internet Services. We can see this in the near-death of broadcast radio and television, and the growing reluctance on consumers to go out to see movies.

      So how does all this relate to personal computing?

      It was once said that men and women used technology differently. Men approached tech as work, and did little socializing with their devices and the Internet. The Web was used by men for searching and reading news, and participating in topic-centered news groups (the old Usenet being ammong these services).

      Women were more likely to be interested in using tech to reach out to people, to chat, to socialize.

      Well, here we are in the post-millennial genreation, and now men and women have leveled out our use of tech to a great extent. The Net is a very social place, and the desktop, sitting in its splendid isolation, is relegated mostly to at-work workstation activities.

      With no traditional desktop and little, specific-use Apps, phones have also influenced how OSes have been evolving. Phones got smarter, and laptops got smaller and more portable. All converged on tablets and 2 in 1 devices. Most of us also have had our fill of patching and updating things. Either it happens automatically, or we don’t want to do it at all.

      Backup once meant having a complete image of a hard disk in case of hardware or disk failure, or local file system corruption. Now, with solid state storage, less reliance on local storage and local backup, more Cloud Backup alternatives, and devices which Restore, Refresh and Reset to their original conditions, and Cloud Apps whose interfaces and settings are not on the local machines, system image backup is becoming a lost art.

      Businesses still need a rational way to control the rollout of OS changes and sofgtware versions, but consumers generally don’t care about version control or error-trapping before deploying new feaatures. We only want to be able to find featuters we use, and to be able to start, run and use our apps and devices with as little hassle as possible.

      So the dual Start Mennu, the breakdown of Applications into smaller Apps, and the simplification of updates and what used to be know as Service Packs — all makes total sense, given how most people use tech in our everyday lives.

      If I want to return to the good old days of desktop purity, I switch over to GNOME-based Ubuntu Linux. And I confess, that is where I spend most of my time with my own computers. But if all I want to do is stream Netflix or a Channel (not on TV, but on the Net now), I am just as likely to fire up Androis, Chrome OS or Windows 8 (or 10) on a tablet. And connect the whole experience to a HDTV via a HDMI dongle. (Miracast has the added attraction that it doesn’t use a router or a hub as an intermediary.)

      This is not about exploiting customers. It is about deploying a viable business model to the business of online streaming, downloading, and socializing. Nothing wrong with that. As long as we have a clear roadmap which everyone can follow. And as long as someone somewhere still maintains a disciplined and fully productive OS for the pure desktop.

      We can either embrace the New Normal, or grouse about it and get ourselves sidetracked into oblivion.

      Now as to the Tech Watch posting, I’m thinking the two-tiered approach to Windows 10 patching might actually make sense. Business will need tested and stable patches, while consumers may complain about errant patches, but we defintiteley will need more rapid deployment, especially in the face of Zero-Day issues on the Internet. Business workstations are a bit better insulated against Web based threats than tablets in public hotspots.

      Not being able to Notify but not Download new pathces I think goes too far and will be resisted by the public. But having different branches does allow consumers who don’t want the option to be disabled to opt for the same branch as small businesses. For a price, no doubt.

      Ubuntu also has two distinct branches. LTS (long term stability) releases don’t notify of every new upgrade or update, but maintain critical security and stability through patches. The other branch is the Current Release branch, and does notify of every possible update or patch –n even the less tested and unstable ones. I am currently on the LTS branch, but may update to Ubuntu 15.04 or 15.10 which would put me back on the Current Branch. There are also Beta and Alpha and Dev branches, but thoswe don’t appeal to the general public.

      I can see Windows doing something similar. But if having a consumer version of Widnows 10 would force every update on me as soon as it’s released, I would not go for a consumer version of Windows 10 — not even if this precludes buying a Windows tablet at all. The inability to uninstall a patch would be a deal-killer for sure.

      If there is going to be the kind of patching experience which the Tech Watch posting describes, I will not be getting a Windows 10 tablet or 2 in 1 after all.

    • #51892

      By the way, Inforworld has broken their site again so that the popover ad won’t disappear and social logins are not working. The page just keeps reloading over and over again with no possibility to post anything.

    • #51893

      @RC –

      I don’t like the commenting software, either! I’ve heard that disabling ad blockers will make it work…

    • #51894

      @RC –

      I can see Windows doing something similar. But if having a consumer version of Windows 10 would force every update on me as soon as it’s released, I would not go for a consumer version of Windows 10 — not even if this precludes buying a Windows tablet at all. The inability to uninstall a patch would be a deal-killer for sure.

      That summarizes the situation nicely.

      I don’t know what MS will end up doing. But the tea leaves right now are disconcerting.

    • #51895


      It still isn’t 100% clear if that’ll be the case. But it’s sure shaping up that way.

      There’s a lot of precedent – many operating systems update themselves, and few have the ability to block or remove specific patches. That said, no OS is as complex as Windows.

      “You can’t patch Windows like a phone.”

    • #51896

      I suppose if a genie came and granted me one wish, my wish would be that MS patches would download and install and not break critical OS features or third party software. Carefully researching and deploying MS patches is time consuming and costly. Alas, this will not happen regardless of any assurance that emanates from Redmond and anyone who is using an installation for real work or mission critical activities will need to be vigilant in rolling out patches. I offer the patch experience of 2014 as exhibit A; enough said. It sort of feels like MS is thinking about bifurcating the Windows OS into a low tier SaSS consumer environment that will be used as the patch “guinea pigs” and than use the automatic rollout experience to help assure corporate IT that the patches are safe to deploy rapidly. However, corporate IT would never accept automatic rollouts and so the paid enterprise versions of Windows 10 will still provide local control. It will be interesting to see how this all unfolds with Win 10.

    • #51897

      At Infoworld, it turned out that the Firefox extension Self Destructing Cookies was taking away the login cookies too fast. Still, that makes four extensions I have to suspend to enjoy the pleasures of the company of the regulars at Infoworld Comments. Oy!

    • #51898

      Just an afterthought — Mandatory patching “like a phone” is possibly going to be the best way to manage WIMBoot devices.

      WIMBoot needs to be updated in a very compact way, or else the patches come to occupy more space than the limited storage of the device can handle. This might mean preparing fresh WIMBoot OS images would be the best way to update these devices. A new device image or compressed OS image would not lend itself to selective patching or patch removal. Updated OS images might have to be delivered automatically to make any sense.

      That move would make sense to me in devices with very little onboard storage. (32 GB or less)

    • #51899

      @RC –

      Good point. But I think people should have an opportunity to wait and see if the patch is a good one before applying it — like, say, iOS. I’m glad I didn’t go to iOS 8.0 when I had the chance. In the Android world, the situation’s distorted because the carriers are distributing the patch.

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