Brian's Creative Countdown to Christmas 2022

Day 2, a rant...

Mimakrg mentioned the bane that is Windows 11, and trying to switch over to a variant of Linux. I can certainly relate.

My day-to-day job involves helping people with their computer issues and just this week I had to tend to a client who had elected to go out and buy a new laptop because they thought that would magically solve all of their problems. That their internet speed is only 0.4Mbps you can probably appreciate where the bulk of their problems actually lie.

Windows, in my opinion, has gone severely down-hill since Windows 7:

  • Windows Updates are mandatory and give you next to no idea how big they are and thus how long they will take; for anyone on a slow internet connection, this is a big deal. I told my client today when his new laptop informed us it was installing updates and not to switch off that this could take anywhere between 5 minutes or 5 hours. He thought I was joking (but he hadn't bought a particularly fast computer).
  • The latest variants of Windows 11 insist you sign in with a Microsoft Account; you used to be able to choose a Local Account. This was a particular problem for my client because when we installed Skype it connected to that Microsoft Account, but they had another they'd been using since before Microsoft took over Skype.
  • Actually installing Windows 11 on any computer that previously ran fine on Windows 10 will be hit-or-miss due to a stupid requirement for "TPM" - thankfully I have an old installer of Windows 11 that usually works but then there is a mass of Updates to follow. Without this a lot more computers that otherwise work would be sent to landfill/recycling - thanks Microsoft.
  • Installing Skype is a PITA too. There are two iterations, the "App" version which, like most apps, is a trimmed down babies toy, and the "Desktop" version. The latter you used to be able to download as a standalone installer, but now you have to go through the Microsoft Store. For me and my client this posed an issue because, being that their internet is slow, I could ideally have downloaded the installer elsewhere and brought a copy to them on a memory stick. Even printers often send you down the hell hole that is the Store and land you with an app, even if you've successfully installed the thing with the old-skool installer. I'm someone that has always kept a copy of any programs I run, ready for the day I need to reinstall something.
  • Paid for Microsoft Office at some point and still have the disc? Don't assume it will work in Windows 11, or even if you have Windows 10 reinstalled for that matter. Like Microsoft's Live Mail, these things, like Office 2007, will just fail to install, for the former I recommend the free LibreOffice and for the latter the free Mozilla Thunderbird (although that's not without its issues these days #mandatoryupdates)

Sadly Linux fares little better (although it is more user-friendly these days) and avoids me suggesting it to clients.

Most common variants have their own form of "app store" although they do streamline the experience of installing applications which otherwise under Linux is usually a nightmare; try manually installing display drivers and you'll get what I mean.

Other things that avoid me using Linux as a daily driver:

  • I've used Winamp since my Windows 98 days; I guess I could use Wine or some other media player that resembles Winamp.
  • I use Microsoft FrontPage and PaintShop Pro for working on my website and editing pictures; again, perhaps Wine would allow me to use these under Linux.
  • While I use Davinci Resolve for some video editing, which is available on both Windows and Linux, I also use Windows Movie Maker for some tasks. What's the likelihood of that running with Wine?
  • Another video issue I've found with Linux is that I can't find a movie player, beyond that in Windows, that allows me to drag the time timeline slider smoothly back and forth through a video to help me find a scene I'm looking for. Anything else just jumps and skips about.
  • I also take part in Einstein@home which requires BOINC. This is available for both Windows and Linux but is dependent on graphics drivers for crunching on GPUs (such as with CUDA), and all too often these drivers are a PITA under Linux to either install in the first place, or allow Einstine@home to use the card.

A recent case in point is this project I've been working on:


I call it the "MishMac"; it's a look-a-like Apple running on the variant of Linux called ElementaryOS that looks like AppleOS. MishMac because it's essentially made up of immitation Mac parts but from different eras, such as the 'EZCool' case; it was originally built for Windows (the motherboard is from 2002) but now looks Mac'ish but runs Linux... I tried to run BOINC on it with the Nvidia drivers available for its GTX 560 and none would work, even the version of BOINC from the 'Store' seems to have its own issues.

I should probably add the MishMac to my Projects section.

Some things of note that will work on Linux (in addition to Davinci Resolve) that I can recommend are:

Firefox and LibreOffice, which to be fair, for most of my clients would be all they need... oh but then there are printer drivers.

Since I'd be the one held accountable for "things not working like they used to" if I tried to convert anyone to Linux, I prefer to upgrade people to Windows 11 when they ask me to (because I'd rather not turn away the work) and then at least I can fob them off by blaming Microsoft when "things don't work like they used to". "Sorry, but this is how things are in Windows now." With each iteration of headache that is Microsoft and Windows it makes me want to quit my job. Thanks Microsoft.

Here's a video for more information and some things that might help: