Windows 7 Sins? Nope, just more whackjob FUD!
Tuesday, January 19, 2010 6:22:31 AM
First thing you see landing on the page is the use of language - and what STUNNING use of scare tactics, glittering generalities, name calling (one at which I excel as you saw in the previous paragraph), transfer, and implied malice.
It opens up with a cutesy quote that seems to have nothing to do with the topic - nice bit of pointless misdirection with a common phrase to disarm the viewer (plain folks). It follows up with terms we all want to feel warm and fuzzy about - Children and education... The children, what about the children?!? George Carlin had that one right... They follow this up with words like 'poisonous' as if it's somehow actually dangerous.
If you look past the glittering generalities and use of hot-button words, the meat of their claims are nothing more than complete made-up malarkey at best, nonsensical lies at worst!
Poisoning Education - Funny given the track record of it's competitor, Apple. You are just as likely to see Apple's on campus as PC's, the ones using PC's either doing so becuase of tighter budgets or teachers who realize that PC's are the computers of BUSINESS.
Besides, you want to talk Monopoly of education let's look at a field I know well, Web design. Guess what! Microsoft certainly isn't the monopoly there! They discontinued Frontpage, and you don't see a lot of classes in college catalogues for "Microsoft Web Expression" - you want to talk about a monopoly of education so far as the internet is concerned it's NOT Microsoft, it's ADOBE. Photoshop, Dreamweaver, FireWorks, After-effects, Flash, Acrobat... There's your internet monopoly - compared to Adobe, M$ are rank amateurs. We just have to all thank whatever deities we may or may not worship that Coldfusion never really caught on.
If Microsoft does have inroads in education, it's through making languages people want to use and beginners can understand (C#, Visual Basic) instead of shlepping along with objects shoehorned into the old AT&T Syntax any old way with convoluted makefiles and senseless header and dependency hell.
They go on to talk about lobbyists and marketing when they (the FSF) themselves spend tons of money, and worse use their feel good rheotoric to brainwash the high school and college age kids still having life paid for by mommy and daddy who make up most of thier following into acting as same. Levelling the scale further Sun and IBM also send lobbyists for contracts running the Open Source Linux Operating System. Remember my previous blog entry about Card Stacking? - well there it is again.
Invading Privacy sounds all mean and nasty, but really their example is nothing more than implied menace since the only information sent out by WGA to microsoft is a yes or no answer. Is this a legally installed copy of windows with a unique serial number or is it a OEM number and is the OEM hardware present. No to both, you've got a bootleg/pirated copy. I don't consider sending "yes" or "no" on whether or not I actually payed for a copy of something they've sunk billions into to be an invasion of privacy. How about you? By saying "Inspects the contents of the users hard drive" they imply it goes through every file on the drive instead of what it really does - just checking a few registry entries and that you've not messed with the bootloader to circumvent said checks. Oh noes, they might actually check to see if you legally own something they sell. THE HORRORS. ... and the FSF wonders why few businesses, even those EXPLOITING their offerings take them seriously. Wait, did I say exploiting?
Monopoly behavior In the example we see similar FUD. Never occurs to them that the reason vendors build around Windows is that people might actually WANT Windows, and if you give them something like Linux they might tell you where to shove it? Why not, that's what happened with NetBooks. They came out with linux, and they SUCKED. Yes, there, I said it. Remember a while back, Ubuntu confirms linux netbooks see four times higher return rate than Windows XP? The grand netbook experiment proved that people wanted XP, so you get XP... How many netbooks are listed on NewEgg right now that come with Linsux? Is that because they don't make them, or because the only people that give a shit are fringe geeks? It was tried, it didn't work! Why didn't it work, because for desktop applications Linux is a ******* tinkertoy!
lock-in An absolute riot given that much like the word 'freedom' we need to explain 'lock-in' to the FSF. Updates are not 'forced' - you can disable automatic updates any time - and it's not like any serious open source OS right now doesn't have automatic updates of it's own (Ubuntu, SUSE, Fedora, Debian, Slack). As to 'increasing hardware requirements' anyone remember how XP SP3 actually LOWERED the bar? How about Vista SP1? Makes that complaint pure fantasy.
In general Microsoft has the BEST track record of anyone on backwards compatibility and support, given that they've continued security patches for Win2k through to TODAY. Let's just say I don't see a lot of kernel patches for Linux 2.4 lately (which if I want linux I'm forced to use one one laptop thanks to 2.6's piss poor APM support not turning the CPU fan on!)...
... and if you want to talk lock-in, the only way Microsoft has built any sort of lock-in has been their willingness to say they don't care what you run it on for hardware or software so long as you paid for a copy! That's the exact OPPOSITE of lock-in. In fact, when it comes to hardware freedom Windows is hard to beat - since I've rarely come across unsupported devices, while I have yet to find a combination of hardware I own that results in a fully functional system using any open source OS. For use as a desktop OS, Open source is a **** tinkertoy; Why do you think Apple hasn't open sourced the rest of their OS? (and for all intents and purposes regrets ever going down that road?)
Much less that's a HELL of a lot more freedom than you get from the 'free as in freedom' zealots that make you have to dick with obscure settings to get MP3 playback or hardware drivers from vendors who don't want to share their trade secrets. Repeatedly you'll hear the real die-hard Open Source zealots saying their OS install has NO closed source software and if they had their way all software would be open source... Yup, because stamping out the choice of paying someone to make something that works while letting them protect their IP is 'freedom'... No, wait, not freedom; it's that other thing - Socialism?
Of course, you want to point the finger for vendor lock-in, don't look at Microsoft - you should be giving the fickle finger of fate to Apple. Their hardware, their software, their way. It's why they've embraced the 'good luck opening it much less upgrading it' artsy form factors where you need a degree in rocket science to replace an optical drive, and can only get replacements from them.
abusing standards A real laugh given their example. Microsoft didn't try to block anything - hell, they tried to participate in the release an open source file format and everyone FSF nutjob out there pissed on it. It's not like they were stopping anyone else from supporting that same file format; so where's the rub? Oh wait, it's Microsoft, it has to be evil. This is another card stacking based on outdated misinformation - if we were talking the old DOC format sure, but really all they are doing is telling you half the story of OOXML and the falling out between the involved parties and their favorite pet ODF.
Not that any of it matters, since the lions share of public documents are in PDF format, a propreitary format from Microsoft? No, wait... that's not Microsoft, that's ADOBE!
... and today it's a non-issue since BOTH FORMATS are supported fully by all the major players, has been for three years! In other words the exact opposite of their claims!
If they WANTED to talk about abusing standards; or at least blocking adoption of new ones they should have gone after them for IE; except that too is a flawed viewpoint. It's easy to forget today that IE 5.0, 5.5 and 6.0 were in fact THE MOST STANDARDS COMPLIANT BROWSERS of their time (thanks to Netscape 5 being stillborn and Netscape as a whole IGNORING the W3C and making **** up). It's just that without any serious competition Microsoft saw no reason to do anything but rest on their laurels after IE6, resulting in it aging, well, like milk once serious competition showed up. It's something of a laugh that today the fans of Netscape's heritage are able to poke fun at IE5.5 and 6 for poor standards compliance, when eight to ten years ago it was the other way around.
In that way I applaud Microsofts choice NOT to start adding HTML5 and CSS3 stuff to IE8 instead choosing to concentrate on CSS2 and HTML4... not to sound like a broken record, but with all the alternative browsers shoving these specifications out the door, I can't help but be reminded of IE 5 - where HTML4 and CSS2 were implemented before they were out of draft. This resulted in the 'broken box model' developers love to make fun of today, but was not really an intentional mistake by Microsoft so much as implementing a standard when it was in draft, and then being forced to support it since the 'non-standard' interpretation had become the norm. It will be SO much fun when we see the same thing with the current HTML5/CSS3 implementations.
Enforcing DRM Another easy one to rip apart because their example is complete bull; for one simple reason... Windows Media Player can't record video in the first place - and frankly if you don't like the DRM, they have done NOTHING to stop you from using any of the alternatives nor do they force third party software to use DRM... as opposed to open source that removes the freedom to choose to use something from a DRM source if you want to. That source might not be free to copy/abuse, but removing the CHOICE is not freedom either. Of course, they go after Microsoft for this without mentioning the actual KING of DRM in the commonplace.
APPLE. iTunes much?
Threatening user security They start out here with factual statements, then go right into FUD mode. Sure, all users are dependant on Microsoft to fix them; but how many windows users are qualified to dig into it's guts and start pulling on things? That entire arguement only matters if you are a programming geek - and even a geek like myself is willing to say "You know what, I'd rather pay someone to handle that for me."
Again though we have the implied malice - "Microsoft has it's own security interests at heart, not those of it's users". Bullcookies. It is in Microsofts best interests to keep it's users safe becuase without users they don't have a company. The old motto "the customer is always right" stems from the same ideology.
But of course Windows has the most security vulnerabilities reported - it has the most USERS. It's got a giant bullseye painted on it; Yet when you hold a cracking competition like say PWN2OWN who's #1 and #2 to fall? Here's a tip - it's not Microsoft. As one reporter said a while ago, vulnerabilities follow success.
Usually it's actually Apple first to fall since security by obscurity isn't going to be all that effective when the source code to your kernel AND your browser engine are freely available to all. Linux would probably have a whole slew of viruses if there were enough users for it to matter; But let's look at open source products that HAVE had major security holes and vulnerabilites...
Like Wordpress winning the 2008 Pwnie for Mass 0wnage having more security holes than windows managed to accumulate in three years. Anybody remember the "nevernosanity" worm (aka "Santy" that took down not just phpBB installations, but any sites that were unfortunate enough to be even hosted on the same machine (even under different accounts on *nix servers!). How about the SAMY worm that was completely platform neutral going after mySpace users? Did your precious firefox protect you from that?
Or even the current pissing contest blaming IE for an exploit that has nothing to do with IE and everything to do with Adobe Flash; and that works JUST FINE in most browsers with flash installed! Oh, but let's point the finger at Microsoft for that just like the German government did.
They go on to try and make some historical factbuilding, but as usual end up with nothing more than misinformation, bandwagon, and indoctrination.
The bit about "antifeatures" is one of the real rubs - Those extra features they disabled probably cost more to develop, and that increase in price to have them enabled likely covered that development cost! This is called project scaling. Had they released just one version instead of two with everything enabled, it's most likely that Workstation would have inherently had to cost a heck of a lot more. Let's say you sold four copies of workstation to every one copy of server - that would have meant that $800 increase divided over five copies, increasing the price of all of them $160. Sure that's a bargain for the guy buying server, but it's a ripoff for the guy buying workstation.
... and anyone who's ever run a business or knows ANYTHING of finance would know this - but of course the FSF and it's followers are incredibly naive about the financial aspect of doing, well... anything. Part of why IBM loves them so much - what company doesn't like free labor and dirty hippy teenagers naive enough to work for peanuts and personal glory. (oops, name calling, my bad)
Their bit about "Microsoft's predatory NT pricing is impossible for GNU/Linux, where users can program around it." is also a great laugh. Ever seen the licensing prices for CPanel and WHM? 'Nuff said.
You start digging for sources, of course you find them hidden on sub-pages usually quoting random users on places like slashdot instead of legitimate sources... and quite often they make nonesensical statements like the one here:
You replace a DLL with a hacked version, the program stops working, and magically it's Windows 7's fault? I would suspect if it was Windows 7's fault it had NOTHING to do with DRM, and everything to do with it's stricter memory policy seeing the hacked image in the DLL as a potential source for a memory leak.
Or the claims of degraded recording inside the OS - when most likely they didn't take the time to learn that you have to set the OS to match the recording rate since they upped the default to 48Khz instead of 44khz, so any 'degradation' comes from the OS built in re-sampler. That or dumbass was using a 32 bit version of the application in the 64 bit version of the OS, in which case they'd have had the exact same issues in XP x64, which not only lacks DRM, it lacks WGA too!
... and there is NOTHING in their DRM preventing you from using third party software in the OS that lacks it. But of course, it's the first thing people who know JUST ENOUGH about media to be a danger to themselves and others will kneejerk to blame instead of looking deeper.
Of course, they have to tout the pride and joy of their rheotoric slogans "Proprietary software is inherently less-secure than free software" when there's really no proof one way or the other. Are these closed source programs less secure or are they just bigger targets?
In a way, the best place to look is the track record of open source software. Let's look at say... Let's use the media darling of the community and something in my area of specialization: Firefox. Open source when it has bugs is inherently faster to be fixed because there are more eyes to see the bugs and more hands to fix the bugs. That's their arguement - the cornerstone of all their claims.
https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=915 (my personal favorite)
Hmm... maybe not so much? Many of those can be considered gaping holes in either the HTML 4 or CSS2 implementations, but because they are not 'trendy' or 'fashionable' or don't matter to the people with the skills to actually fix it, they remain untouched a full DECADE or more after they were filed. Yeah, that Open Source really gets stuff fixed quickly...
Now apply that attitude to security issues and, well...
Really though, their idea works for environments where the program will be used and maintained by people with the skill to fix it - this is why for SERVERS, all the different open source *nix implentations kick some serious tail. We've got lots of Apache users qualified to dig right into the code and start fixing things. Dovecot? PostFix? mySQL? PHP? PERL? The latter two in particular can get lots of action since they are used by programmers...
It falls apart the moment you get to the general consumer level who just want to turn it on and use it - which is why the majority of open source desktop applications are tinkertoys compared to the more mature closed equivalents. OoO is like a trip in the wayback machine to Office 95 except that even back then windows rendered characters better than the best tweaked freetype. Blender is a cute toy, but it's no 3ds Max. (though I will admit in a number of ways Max is no Blender). The GIMP is a complete toy barely having the functionality of the old Aldus Photostyler for windows 3.1 - and don't get me STARTED about the various window managers or how multiple display support is still a total joke; something that Apple perfected sometime around 1993 and Microsoft added native support for with Windows 98. It's why I laugh at the people bragging about their twinview setups when I was running multiple displays on Windows 3.0 using a targa board. (Excel on one display, word on the other) which worked a billion times better than twinview or Xinerama.
The larger the non-programmer userbase, the more bugs are going to be found than you have programmers willing to work on - especially if the problem isn't 'cool' or 'trendy' (again, HTML5 and CSS3 come to mind). It's that simple. Sure, you could set a bounty, but at that point why not have just paid for it in the first damned place.
I'm no fan of Microsoft - back-read my posts you see I full on rip them a new hole in their posterior over what they did to hotmail, but with trying the RC of Windows 7 the past year alongside pretty much every Linux distro there is and a few more obscure BSD's, as well as OpenSolaris, I came to the conclusion that once again (and unlike vista) they made an OS I am more than willing to pay money for...
While frankly for desktop use, you couldn't pay me enough to suffer through ANY of the Linux distros or any other open source OS for that matter. Not only is it the wrong tool for the job of a web developer, it's all-around the wrong tool for most anything I would want to do with a computer. I do feel a degree of comfort in knowing it's there should Microsoft TRULY screw the pooch, but it's definately NOT my first choice.
... and all the half-truth propaganda in the FSF's arsenal isn't going to change that; and I suspect for any rational adult the answer will be much the same... limiting the people who dip into the FSF kool-aid to students still having life paid for by mommy and daddy, career students, educators, professional lecturers, and the fraction of a percent of programmers lucky enough to have a job at a company willing to pay them to create IP they'll never be able to collect a penny of royalty on.
You know, the traditional audience for "Rah Rah Fight the man, corporations are evil" nonsense. What was it my grandfather said? "If your not a democrat in college you're a evil cold hearted money grubbing bastard... If your not a republican by age 40 you're an unemployed idiot". It's much the same phenomenon - only this time it's a movement started by 70's and 80's back-room UNIX server geeks pissing and moaning about how the computer revolution left them behind.
A revolution driven not by their POSIX bull or 'free as in freedom' nonsense, but by successful companies marketing products people wanted... Companies like Microsoft, Apple, Tandy, Commodore, Atari, Borland, AOL, IBM, Dell, HP, Lotus, Corel, Novell, Netscape, I'll even be nice and list NeXT (and only as paying tribute to TBL) - Many of them have fallen by the wayside or been absorbed into others, but let's be HONEST - these are who REALLY got us to where we are today, and if you know anything about having a healthy and thriving economy, it's going to be companies like those which will get us to the future - NOT some pipe-dream feel-good nonsense that is more about slapping on the rose-coloured glasses than any sort of legitimate plan to have people paid for what their work is worth.
When it comes to the Sins of Windows 7? FSF, have you heard the term "people in glass houses?"
But what do I expect from a group that blatantly and unforgivingly uses the ugliest of propaganda techniques, indoctrination of the young, and media grandstanding like some second rate cult? (that not one serious media outlet has EVER given them a spotlight says much for their legitimacy)
Trust me, from one whackjob to another, we can smell our own.