I can't even remove 'Recommended' from the start menu, not even on a Pro for Workstations.

Every time I search on the start menu there is a web search, impossible to turn off. How is that acceptable?

I install Edge Beta to test something, and the I uninstall it. All of the sudden my search provider in my normal Edge is reset.

And the nagging everywhere. No I don't want 'back-up' my files (OneDrive is not backup, it's sync). And I don't want to be reminded later. I don't want to be reminded ever. All this fuzzy language makes me feel like I'm dealing with a kindergarden teacher addressing his/her pupils.

It's not my computer any more.

Oh, I update a driver. And 2 days later Windows installs an older version. Since when is 6.6.1.40 better than 6.6.1.72? Why would you do that?

Here are some things I found helpful using Windows at work (at home I use Fedora):

Debloat / Software Management: https://github.com/ChrisTitusTech/winutil

Command line software management (Scoop): https://pilabor.com/blog/2021/12/automate-windows-app-setup-...

Comparison (Scoop/Chocolatey/Win-Get): https://daftdev.blog/2024/04/01/chocolatey-vs-scoop-vs-winge...

I would also recommend starship (https://starship.rs/) for your Powershell, which is cross platform and therefore usable for all popular shells. Scoop can also install and manage nerd fonts:

    scoop bucket add nerd-fonts
    scoop install nerd-fonts/JetBrains-Mono
Here is my starship.toml config:

    format="$all\u001b7${fill}$cmd_duration | $time\u001b8"
    
    [fill]
    symbol = " " 
    
    # right_format = """$cmd_duration$time"""
    
    [username]
    show_always = true
    format = '[$user[@](red)]($style)'
    
    [hostname]
    ssh_only = false
    format = "[$ssh_symbol$hostname]($style): "
    
    [time]
    disabled = false
    format = '[$time]($style)'
    
    [character]
    success_symbol = '[>](bold green)' 
    
    [git_branch]
    format = "[$symbol$branch(:$remote_branch)]($style)"
    
    [cmd_duration]
    min_time = 0 
    format = '   [$duration]($style) '
    show_milliseconds = true
Why do you even need those? Software and hardware should be under the human, helping, not hindering.
Yes!

I'm also running a number of additional software on mac to make the experience more liveable (Alfred, scroll inverter, ice, rectangle, iterm,...). I think the big companies got to the point where they do the bare minimum for Gene Public to accept the useability, and leave the rest of us with our ### dangling to fill in the gap.

Probably something to do with maximizing profit and minimizing expense?

> scroll inverter

You can invert “natural scrolling” in the OS (System Preferences / System Settings).

I want to use natural scrolling on the trackpad and the normal mouse wheel direction. There's no way to do that out of the box, you need scroll reverser.
Absolutely. In my company I'm forced to use Windows, because we develop Windows software (WPF). I'm not totally happy with Windows (especially 11), but I tend to look for jobs that have nothing to do with what I'm too familiar with to gain new knowledge. However, I'm trying to make the windows experience as good as possible for my personal taste :-) Additionally I hope I can help to migrate to a web based solution in the future.
At work if we have to code on windows, I always ask for a remote development environment. I use arch, btw.
Better yet - just switch to Linux Mint.
As already stated: At home I use Fedora (and others). Company restricts me to use Windows - well technically, the project does, but company IT would not be happy, if I'd use Linux there.

And no, this is not a reason to leave an otherwise perfectly fine job behind.

same boat, fedora at home, windows at work. and that's fine -- keeps me plugged into the windows infra that runs the world to some degree.

older jobs let us put whatever on the laptops, and even had hardening scripts if we wanted to use linux. only approved linux was ubuntu, but you could slap mint or other derivatives in there and get away with it / not have concerns.

Manjaro with KDE is much better.

Or Fedora with KDE.

PS sucks so I've always installed git bash and used it instead since I first discovered it ~12y ago

Starship seems quite promising, this is the first time I'm seeing it. But I'm a bit confused on how it works, can you go into a bit more details?

Can I use starship+ps to get all Unix and git tools or should I stick with my existing workflow with windows git bash?

Besides git bash you could also use wsl, like in:

  wsl ls -lsa
  wsl cat file.txt

Basically, starship is a config generator for your shell. It transforms a cross platform config file (starship.toml) into a platform specific configuration shell script, e.g.:

  starship init zsh
will output something like

  zmodload zsh/parameter  # Needed to access jobstates variable for STARSHIP_JOBS_COUNT

  # Defines a function `__starship_get_time` that sets the time since epoch in millis in STARSHIP_CAPTURED_TIME.
  if [[ $ZSH_VERSION == ([1-4]*) ]]; then
    # ZSH <= 5; Does not have a built-in variable so we will rely on Starship's inbuilt time function.
    __starship_get_time() {
        STARSHIP_CAPTURED_TIME=$(/home/andreas/bin/starship time)
    }
  else
    zmodload zsh/datetime
    zmodload zsh/mathfunc
    __starship_get_time() {
        (( STARSHIP_CAPTURED_TIME = int(rint(EPOCHREALTIME * 1000)) ))
    }
  fi
  # ...
  # ...
For PowerShell the output will look accordingly - the config stays the same. I've had a bunch of custom zsh / powershell config dotfiles for years now, starship just eases it out :-)
Starship is just a fancy prompt that just happens to be crazy cross-platform (works on Linux, MacOS, and Windows shells), but it's super-informative, and easy to install/configure. Beyond that, you'll still need to choose a shell you prefer for when you want/need to use a terminal/console window for things. Contrary to popular belief, the shell is not obsolete by a longshot, even on Windows. On Windows, PowerShell is probably gonna be your best bet, as it's the current standard going forward. I use Starship on Fish shell on Linux and love it.
powershell is light years easier than bash. like, im fluent in bash enough to get stuff done, but i only got there over years, while i picked up powershell fairly quickly. also wayyyyy more readable.

i'll admit the object vs text thing is annoying, i feel like bash is more straightforward there, but PS will let you do the same thing eventually.

My experience is almost exactly inverted. WTF is Invoke? Am I a sorcerer? I want to call a function, I think…
I would have thought Microsoft on is dotnet multi-platform journey would find a way to make PowerShell just POSIX compatible, supporting at least standard all day commands like `grep`, `wc`, `find` and others. All it would have taken is to create aliases or replacements for the top 50 shell commands.

Instead they re-invented the wheel. It's not a bad wheel, but the wheel is completely different than most people would expected to be and for POSIX enthusiast it just does not feel right.

With wsl or git bash you can do this but it feels slow and clunky most of the time.

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Have you tried MSYS2? It even uses pacman for package management!
the first tool does work for removing web results, but not so much for the "recommended" section. it can stay empty though.

also, while the tool is nice, it needs admin permissions to work.

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> All this fuzzy language

That's not the exclusive problem to Microsoft - it happens all around us within the IT world. The corporations stopped acknowledging the permanent "No" anymore and the actual user choice. It's a plain harassment up until you give up and agree to what you get shoveled with.

Whenever I read comments regarding last two Windows versions and issues people had or have with these, or news about newest Microsoft "ideas" - I ask myself, where the hell are regulators?

> where the hell are regulators?

We have killed them. If a government tries to do anything against a company that isn't a perfect 1:1 mapping to an explicit thing in the law that they are breaking, the company will sue back and win. And if they try to pass such a law, the biggest companies are powerful enough to get rid of them next term, so they don't even try.

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You get what you vote for.

If you want less government interference then less regulatory power will exist.

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They are in Europe, and heavily criticized on HN everytime they regulate.

I love GDPR, yet so many complain about it for cookie banners, which are not even what the law requires: There Is No Cookie Banner Law (https://www.bitecode.dev/p/there-is-no-eu-cookie-banner-law)

Reading through this thread as an user of Windows from the EU most of the issues I see mentioned here are just non-existent, like OneDrive nagging that has never happened to me
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> just non-existent

You have just been lucky. Nothing more.

A classic case of it doesn't happen on _my computer_ so it must be a lie.

I have been lucky on multiple installs on multiple computers? I'm not saying what people are complaining about are lies, I'm saying the issues don't seem to exist in EU installs on Windows. For example the only ads I've seen were during the initial setup screen and pre-installed apps/shortcuts that are gone in a minute of work, and OneDrive can be uninstalled in two clicks.

The only issue that is still here would be bing in start search but that's trivial to disable compared to the configurations I had to do on my linux desktops, so while it is bad and shouldn't be a thing I don't see it as a big issue when comparing to linux.

Windows is literally different in the EU and the rest of the world.

https://blogs.microsoft.com/eupolicy/2024/03/07/microsoft-dm...

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Author says what I'm repeating since day one when GDPR and these so-called banner with "preferences" were introduced: this should be handled by the browsers.

The idea was good but the interpretation and implementation of this law failed - the banners, cookies aren't as permanent and universal as browser sending the header.

Only problem with GDPR is that while the spirit/intention of the law is great (and it even prohibits malicious compliance such as consent prompts that make it more difficult to decline than accept), enforcement is significantly lacking which means it's still more profitable to breach it than respect it.
I would say the problem is rather that companies are becoming too big to cares. Meta has been fined several times, in total for more than 2 billions. Amazon ? 746 millions. Tik tok? 345 millions. And yet it's a small price to pay for them
did cookie banners exist without the law? largely not, which is why people perceive it to be a "cookie banner law" no matter what is technically written in it.
Sure, you can also blame condoms for increasing the safety of people cheating on their spouses.
> did cookie banners exist without the law?

Yes!? They existed long before GDPR was even passed.

Happens to me all the time with Google because I'm choosing not to pay for their backup. They constantly bother me about almost running out of space, even with a modal that requires you to use a toggle to dismiss it without accepting. It's gross.
I used to use O&O defrag and recently found out they're still going at it old school styles

https://www.oo-software.com/en/shutup10

and this free tool took care a lot of painful things in windows

Thanks for the suggestion!
Presumably all the executives, PMs, and designers all use Macs.
And half of software engineers (the other half have Linux laptops).

I only use Windows as a game launcher (and I’m still on Windows 10), I don’t understand why anyone would need it anymore except games.

> "I only use Windows as a game launcher (and I’m still on Windows 10), I don’t understand why anyone would need it anymore except games."

Thanks to Valve/Steam and Heroic (Epic Store client), and a few other handy tools including Valve's Proton (WINE fork) I haven't even needed Windows for games for ages now. I can live without the small handful of Linux-hostile Windows-only games that still won't run due to draconian DRM/AntiCheat, as the vast majority of my Steam library is "Click 'Play' and they just work", for Windows games and the many native Linux games I also have. Same for more'n half of the games I have on Epic (all from their freebie giveaways). The ones that don't work I can live without. Every other thing I want to do on my PC I've found native Linux software for that more than handles the task.

Pitching in to say that there is some proton stuff to enable the draconian anticheats to work on linux if one is keen on running such a thing.
Would love to know more, maybe some pointers to tools/utils for getting these more difficult games going. I haven’t had the time to go further than using Steam and Lutris, which covers most of what I play, but would be good to have more options.
One example would be Proton EasyAntiCheat RunTime
Here are some thoughts:

#1: Apple locks you into their ecosystem, and feels even creepier than MS. #2: The Linux distros I've used are designed in a way so you shouldn't have to use the CLI and sudo for normal tasks, but you end up having to anyway in practice. It's a combination of annoying, and I, sooner-or-later, end up in a state where the system is "totaled"; easier to do a clean install than get it working again after the wrong CLI C+P broke something important.

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I have to use ubuntu, and it is getting creepy too.

just off the top of my head:

- whoopsie - uploads crashes to canonical

- motd - telemetry and nags

- forced automatic updates

- snaps and other features lots of people don't want, but can't be disabled

- removing the ubuntu-advantage package disables most of the OS

etc..

Do not use Ubuntu. It is becoming nearly unusable due to this stuff. Fedora or Debian or whatever else.
They also defaulted to sending searches through Amazon a few years ago.
How, on macOS, does apple lock you into their ecosystem when you can run whatever you want?
You can't run whatever you want.

e.g. I used to install qlplugins on every new macos device as our company bought them. Then one day Apple refused to run any 32-bit library despite the fact that 32 bit code still runs natively on x86-64 chips (this when everything still ran on x86-64 btw).

Designers still ask me: "Hey, how do I see the dimensions of this picture when pressing spacebar to preview it?" And I have to say: "Sorry, Apple said you can't do that anymore".

Because maintaining 32 bit libraries when most of the world is 64 bit doesn’t make sense.

This is not the same as apple actively forcing you into their ecosystem. This is apple not supporting old technology.

> Because maintaining 32 bit libraries when most of the world is 64 bit doesn’t make sense.

64bit code is the extension, not the base case.

32bit (x86) code just straight up runs on an x86-64 (64-bit) processor.

It's an artificial limitation that just doesn't make sense, and it can also be worse for performance too.

> This is not the same as apple actively forcing you into their ecosystem.

No?

Apple prevents 32bit libraries from running. This effected almost all the common cross-platform layers from running on MacOS.

In a single action, Apple eliminated the libraries that Steam games on MacOS used. Games would now have to be recompiled and were pushed to be downloadable through the Mac App Store, giving Apple their 30% cut.

> This is apple not supporting old technology.

If it's old then apple shouldn't support it? By that logic, we shouldn't be using ints in our code, we should only use 64-bit quaternions.

There is a difference between old and outdated. 32bit code is old. 32bit code is not outdated.

I didn’t read but the first sentence because you clearly don’t know that an OS must have both 32 bit libraries and 64 bit libraries to run both. Apple chose to leave 32 bit behind to stop maintaining it.
In every company I worked for (Germany, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland) it was all Windows laptops, that for the Linux component either used a VM, WSL or straight up servers.
I just don't want to work under such incapable management / IT department, that forces developers to use Windows. I have worked with Linux for 17 years and the last time I was forced to have a Windows VM was 14 years ago.

Yes, it limits available jobs and probably doesn't pay any top salaries. But better than selling myself to people I don't respect.

Although I probably have my price, I too otherwise refuse to work for companies that'd force me to use windows. I've been lucky to be able to use macs since 2008 and some of those companies had linux users. Most top tech companies will happily give you a choice between a mac or windows. For me it has generally mean I don't work for banks, the government, or very large organizations that aren't recent tech companies.

That being said, at a certain scale or type of company centralized management, software support, and security risks mean "allowing" random people to run their own OS becomes difficult and risky. Lots of large older companies probably have proprietary software, too (thankfully more of this is becoming web based).

Yes, in theory linux is more secure and anybody who would want to use it is probably capable of taking care of themselves, but it is probably (at large companies) corporate lawyers and CISOs ruining the fun. And linux can have its own risks and dedicating a team to support (from a security perspective) them isn't economical for the what would be very small user base. Ye old big bank can't and arguably shouldn't allow it without an otherwise good reason.

The good reason is to get your job done, which is what the computer is for. The tools many developers use today (e.g. containers) are Linux only and their target environment (i.e. the servers where their code will run) is Linux. The typical workaround is to use VMs. This results in terrible filesystem performance on both Mac and Windows, and on Windows I've also had to deal with things like time, DNS, and routing breaking in the VM, so now I need to know how to be a Linux and Windows sysadmin (i.e. not what you want to be paying me for) to fix it instead of just using e.g. Fedora which I've never had any issue with; it just works.

Another user commented about how it's unreasonable to ask them to run CAD software in a VM, but this is exactly what (some? many?) companies ask programmers to do. It's especially goofy if it's a software company where that development is their core business.

I admire this spirit, probably because I am still unable to put it in practice -- and those are typically moments where I dream of my own business. IT at my current employer is capable enough ( though there are rumblings of moving everything, but hardware offshore again.. I am starting to think it all moves in waves ), but our executives, well, lets just say over the past few weeks I was questioning what I am doing here.
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I'm a dev who switched from desktop Linux to Windows with WSL without regrets.

That devs at a company use Windows doesn't mean they're forced to. Often it just means the designers also work on Windows.

Why would engineers need to use the same OS platform as the designers?

Most designers use Figma these days, which has clients for Windows and macOS, and can be used fully in a web browser as well.

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Figma's valuation is a fragment of that of Adobe. Saying most designers use Figma is as distorted as saying most designers use macOS, even if both things may be true in a specific niche (e.g. tech companies in the US).

In my experience of the rise of macOS among developers, the biggest driving force was mobile app development and mobile web development because Apple refused to provide first party developer tools or emulators usable on other operating systems and made it intentionally difficult to run macOS on non-Apple hardware or in a VM. Previously macOS was largely associated with designers, not developers. This move also started blurring the lines more with designers making the move to development and (to a smaller degree) vice versa.

No, developers flocked to macOS because it runs unix and has a complete and nice looking UI with sensible design patterns designed by an actual designer instead of an engineer.

Development across the board is better on a mac for some / many people.

I think that's a fair take, it really does depend on which platform(s) you're developing for too.

And you're probably correct that Adobe has a larger share overall, but I would highly doubt that Illustrator or XD are being used more than Figma for UI design these days. Even less so, Photoshop, since it's a raster tool. Adobe was about ready to phase out XD when they were getting ready to purchase Figma.

Figma is free starting off, and their basic plans are extremely affordable compared to anything Adobe offers.

[flagged]
Weird, all the Microsoft engineers I know all use Surfacebooks with WSL.

Is that different from the Microsoft engineers you're friends with?

Linux requires you give up on cutting edge hardware.

Basically there's no alternative to the Surface Pro or the Asus' Z13 (or even X13), or Lenovo's dual screen or tablet lines that works with Linux.

Incidentally these form factors also doesn't come to macs either.

I've used a SP (7) with Linux. It works as a PC, but is not the move. Notes:

  - Needed a custom kernel to get the pen (or was it touch) working?
  - No good note taking applications (eg OneNote competitor)
  - Notably latency on the pen.
  - The first distro I attempted to install didn't work. (Manjaro?)
What's preventing you from installing Linux on a surface pro or Z13?
Surface Pro: missing support for MIPI cameras

Z13: until very recently, BIOS bug that made Linux not recognize the sound chip

Linux doesn't require cutting edge hardware.
I've been using a Linux desktop workstation for like a decade. Never got on the laptop revolution, don't really understand it, seems like you're just setting yourself up for some savage RSI.
For laptops, there are no alternative to Apple silicon anyway, and macos is still unix, so I don’t mind. For desktops, sky is the limit.
Apple Silicon means no discrete graphics card and no CUDA, no DirectX. It seems fine for machine learning, it falls short for other intensive applications.

Apple Silicon has the power envelope advantage, Intel and AMD chips remain faster for those who can deal with the power consumption (under lock when longer battery is really needed, and either be plugged or have a backup battery when going full throttle)

CAD software
I use Blender3D for everything I (as a total non-professional novice) would need 3D graphics-wise, but as I understand it, there are a few CAD options available on Linux, and several more that run fine in WINE for those who need more professional or proprietary options.
On Linux there's FreeCAD, SolveSpace, Dune3d and OpenSCAD in (subjective) decending order of capability. FreeCAD still suffers from the "topological naming problem", though there's a fork that helps with that and merging it upstream is an ongoing process.

I purchased Alibre Atom3d because it was the only non-subscription affordable package I could find, but it's quite disappointing and won't run in wine anyway due to the licensing rootkit it uses. So I end up using one of the above linux capable tools, depending on the needs of the model. Each one has its strengths and weaknesses and none is satisfying overall. I reach for OnShape for any design that is going to be open source, because it is a pleasure to use (even though it is web-based), but I don't make enough money from CAD to pay for a $1500 annual subscription.

Not CAD. None of the Linux options are on the level of SolidWorks etc.
Ah, right, CAD is still stubbornly there.
OnShape works well enough for most hobbyist uses of CAD, and runs fine on Linux. It’s quite a bit better than 360 IMO.
FreeCAD is ok, I use it for simple 3d printing designs, but you have to be very careful how you build the model as it likes to ruin dependencies if you change something in earlier sketch. 1.0 dev builds seem more user friendly.
Like some other good-bones free software, the UI is terrible. I challenge anyone who has prior CAD experience, but no FreeCAD experience, to install the software and design a simple bracket in under an hour.

I tried Fusion under Wine and it didn't really work. I haven't tried NX or Solidworks in the last few years.

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The world is not a Mac user on IT, Linux is the main environment for backends/serious CS work. At least in Europe.
Windows for games is dying out -- Proton on Linux works great
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Really? I thought Microsoft was pretty strict about dogfooding.
They used to be and I think it changed at some point, possibly around the end of the Ballmer era
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I know that a few years back before WSL was even a thing someone at Microsoft "leaked" that some departments were using macOS almost exclusively. I would be surprised if the decision makers who force all that crap into Edge actually dogfood the product. WSL, Azure and Windows Terminal are a different story though, which might explain why they hold up and aren't overloaded with bullshit.
https://privacy.sexy is what you want/need!

Works well to disable various telemetry, bloat and other baddies.

Until it doesn't.

I shouldn't have to run on a privacy treadmill to stay in the same place.

every software that ever updates has options that are subject to change; a user needs to be proactive in knowing whats running. i do agree we shouldnt need the privacy treadmill, but until we have better consumer laws the treadmill will continue...

as far as powershell scripts; i cant say i am a fan (i do like the potential targeting of offline machines with something like the mentioned website) - but my favorite to date is still: https://github.com/hellzerg/optimizer/

edit: if you end up trying out hellzerg's optimizer: do know that reboot button, once clicked, reboots right meow

Or you can just use Linux.
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I love fighting my libinput drivers every time I update. And lately the driver for my laptop keyboard is suddenly crashing without warning prompting a hard reboot every time. This was not an issue prior to a few months ago.

Linux software is not immune to frustrating changes

It's amazing how I've been running Linux as my daily driver for 20+ years and never had problems other people raise about Linux drivers.
The upgrade to KDE 6 (and switching to Wayland) has been particularly painful for me lately. Lots of bugs and stuff not working correctly (like zoom).

So yeah, Linux is not a refuge either.

It's not a refuge from issues, true. But it's a refuge from deliberate issues.
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You still have to turn off ads and tracking in firefox.
I don't since I use debian.
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AIUI Firefox on debian still has telemetry and phone-home on by default.
The Debian Firefox package ships a config with most of that disabled by default: https://wiki.debian.org/Firefox#Disabling_automatic_connecti...
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Not justifying the shitty antics of MS, but most of the junk can be turned off by registry settings which most large organisations automate via GPO
This illustrates just how ridiculously screwed up Windows is now.

No one should have to resort to registry hacking or the many scripts or hacks available to regain control over basic UX, privacy, or usability selections. It is absolutely absurd.

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To be fair, Linux configuration is not exactly straightforward in comparison to Windows. Dozens of obscure config files (each with a different syntax), stored in various random places in the filesystem, with the general expectation that every user should be able to run a terminal command once in a while to fix something.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a Linux lover and user, but from an outside perspective Windows registry (a central, structured database of configuration for everything) looks easier.

A sane program knows were to find the "random" configs: first, in cwd, then $XDG_CONFIG_HOME, then $XDG_CONFIG_DIRS. This is not exactly "obscure", you learn it soon and it's documented in every program.

The big advantage of this is that you can take your local config files and take it to other system. Can you do that with the Windows registry? Ironically, the only way to port settings in Windows is to have a .reg script and execute it, the thing you critisize.

And the Windows registry might be a single centralized config file, but config values are scattered through all the tree, and usually undocumented. E.g. this is a commonly recomended tweak:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop] "UserPreferencesMask"=hex(2):90,12,03,80,10,00,00,00

Can you tell what it does?

I've been wondering if these magical registry things are documented anywhere... Searching, for example, "site:microsoft.com DisableSearchBoxSuggestions", only leads me to tons of forum posts.

I would love a configuration system with centralized database and centralized documentation, but no OS currently seems to be able to achieve that, and Windows' missing documentation appears even worse than obscure but documented config files.

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NixOS system configuration is centralised and documented.
With Linux you can configure it further to your taste. Which is not even necessary on most distributions for basic usage.

With Windows you have to patch it through the registry (which is not bsckupable config files) to remove ads and other annoying "features".

So the out-of-the-box experience is better with Linux. My mom even understands Linux GUIs better these days than Windows, it's just less bloat and distraction. And for basic apps you don't have to configure anything on the CLI. I recently got a Raspberry PI for my parents to use as a HTPC, installed some basic apps on it, and they can just use it like that.

While those configs are different in syntax, each is meant to be read, edited and backed up by a human. All of the system config files are in /etc

Registry hacking, with all it's resets and duplicate keys is hard to backup, constantly reverts ( because m$ doesn't believe it to be user editable) and is a pain in the ass to back up and restore.

Oh yes, and is your registry value supposed to be a dword, or something else? No way to tell.

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That is the paradox of the registry. It sounds like a great idea. "all your config in on place" "structured data" but in practice, I have found it sort of sucks.

I am not sure why this is. My best guess is it unpleasant to use because now you have two trees. only one has all the nice tooling and the other is sort of second class and can only be accessed via special mechanisms.

Honestly, I think it would have been better if the following was true:

1. it was portable 2. it was well documented ( I absolutely hated that I was finding out about some magical way of enabling something by putting magic string somewhere from a magazine ) -- all those options should be available for me to peruse. I am not even suggesting third party software, just Windows.

But I agree, somehow this idea seems better on paper than in practice.

> Dozens of obscure config files (each with a different syntax), stored in various random places in the filesystem, with the general expectation that every user should be able to run a terminal command once in a while to fix something.

The good thing is that explanations is often a `man` command away, and the location of these files is often listed in the same place. Also general computing is an expert subject. You may as well have a kiosk if you start hiding away capabilities. The expectation to drop to a terminal is often because the terminal is the fastest way to get things done.

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But with the terminal you still have to learn commands, it's not as discoverable as the windows 95 environment. There you could do things as a noob by just looking around and after a while you could do things without even thinking. Every windows version after that has broken that flow in some way. In Linux I keep forgetting what file to edit to get what I want. I need to look up location and syntax for most things every time I want to do something.
I like to describe the shell and commands as a big dashboard with many levers and indicators compared to a much simpler one with just a small bunch of ON-OFF switches. They're indeed complicated, until the day you need to change something that isn't on the simple panel, or isn't a simple ON-OFF choice, because every operating system is complicated; you can hide some of its complexity behind a graphical interface, but you always lose something in the process because you can easily have a command with 100 options but you can't put 100 buttons on a screen. It simply doesn't scale. So the next question is "how do we put a complicated system under control of a simpler graphical interface?" We make assumptions of course (read: we write code that makes assumptions), and there is where bugs arise or more complexity is created, because machines (still) aren't good as humans at doing some things. As an example, very complex string operations can be performed using sed, awk and the usual shell command with regular expessions, where on Windows for years (I have no experience with its new shells) many people would have to load Office, import the text, write a macro, and export back the text. The difference being that Office would likely need two orders of magnitude more computing power, memory and storage.
> but you can't put 100 buttons on a screen. It simply doesn't scale.

You can scroll, use pages, tabs, nested menus, guided wizards, Chrome or VS code style searchable settings lists, buttons which appear or disappear dynamically when necessary.

> where on Windows for years (I have no experience with its new shells) many people would have to load Office, import the text, write a macro, and export back the text.

If you can assume office, why can’t you assume gvim or any other text editor with a gui? And why is text editing your yardstick? At least you can do that with a gui somehow, image processing you can’t do with a cli - yes you can write the code for ffmpeg or graphviz but you can’t see the result without a graphic interface.

I agree with you that an application needs discoverability. Like a text processor for a writer or a photo editing software for a photographer. It should make sense for a particular domain, requiring only minimal training for the medium. But we can't abstract away the notion of computers. An analogy is car. Driving a car only require a minimal interface. Racing with one, however, requires a lot more knowledge. Repairing a car is where knowing the internals is the minimum. Different needs, different levels of knowledge. Most people would be happy with the iPad if only the applications were a tad more useful (File sharing is aweful). But some people do "general computing" and graphical interfaces usually fail in some way or another (especially with automation).
With help of codeLLM or shellLLM, that is no problem any more
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The basics I'd say are still pretty much configurable via GUI so a newcomer wouldn't have hard times with either KDE, Gnome or Xfce. For majority it probably would be enough if GPU, sound and network drivers are working and it's possible to easily install apps they used to use on Windows or OSX/

Back around 2003 I read in local "Linux Magazine" about some project that tried bringing kind of a registry equivalent to Linux world. Sadly these were Internet caffee times so it was hard to track projects, so I really don't know what happen to it. The closest thing that resembles that idea is dconf.

With Windows nowadays you do all this tweaking or juggling within registry/group policy editor to protect yourself (and of course you do that if you care - majority of people don't) while with Linux I'd say it's more a matter of fine-tuning your distro of choice to your needs.

> stored in various random places in the filesystem

What config files have you found outside of `/etc` and `~/.config`?

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Ones that come with third party software installed in places like /opt[1], ones that go with website folders like .htaccess, MySQL looks in $MYSQL_HOME/my.cnf and [datadir]/my.cnf

[1] https://knowledge.broadcom.com/external/article/8596/warning...

There’s still a few on my machine. The main ones I’ve edited:

~/.gitconfig, ~/.bashrc, ~/.bash_profile, ~/.vimrc

~/.ssh/config

~/.gnupg/gpg.conf, ~/.gnupg/gpg-agent.conf

> ~/.gitconfig, ~/.bashrc, ~/.bash_profile, ~/.vimrc

> ~/.ssh/config

> ~/.gnupg/gpg.conf, ~/.gnupg/gpg-agent.conf

None of those settings are going to be edited by a non-technical human, even on Windows.

OTOH, all of those are easier to edit in their respective files than via a registry hack.

Changing a setting in the registry is “hacking” now?
Dozens of obscure config files

…most of which are backed by a man file. I’ll take that over the registry any day.

Every time I read one to figure something out I just end up searching it online. Maybe I’m just dumb but they all read like they were written as self reminders for the author of the software, not for someone who doesn’t already know how to use it.
I beg to differ, Linux is way more straightforward. Within each new Windows version they keep switching things around, adding layers upon layers and options within options within option that point back toward the initial options page, where you end up in a loop. The search function rarely finds the settings I want. Edge search results by default, including digital cancer such as Instagram, TikTok, et cetera, on the start menu by default.

Now too, for normal computer users who don't want to tweak their operating system and only need basic utilities, and are able to read and follow simple instructions, Linux has long become way more accessible than Windows.

I think there's always a pressure in balancing the ability for anyone to contribute to the software ecosystem with the convenience of a unified interface. Many people who like Apple's ecosystem seem to really want one extreme of this spectrum (A tightly-integrated ecosystem with design choices that standardize throughout - though this has not quite exactly been my experience with that ecosystem in practice), but there are grades of it everywhere. Mainstream linux distros increasingly favor centralized system services, like systemd or upstart, to manage several processes under a quasi-common hierarchy. Config files often get unified in /etc when a project becomes mature and integrated into a lot of distros, and there are conventions in how people write config files that are pretty straightforward in commonly used applications, but much less so in niche projects. Windows seems to be growing less customizable over time in an attempt to tighten its grip on its users, but of course even windows and macos seem to allow a bit more user control than mobile or game console operating systems. It's all degrees.

To be frank, I think the only battle-tested reliable ways to make a config language or a set of command line flags easier to use is good, complete documentation, though little things like integration with tab-completion or syntax highlighting can often go a long way too. These exist in almost any commonly used software found on a linux distro and are more than enough for someone willing to actually try stuff, which describes most of the people who can navigate doing anything that's not a default behavior of any OS anyway. Most people seem to have what I can only describe as learned helplessness about computers doing things they don't expect, but to be honest if you put people in an environment where they are motivated and don't feel afraid to mess up (which most educational contexts fail miserably at, both in terms of social norms and systemic incentives), most will actually start to figure stuff out a lot quicker than they expect themselves to. A small portion won't, and unfortunately most social environments are either too rushed or too high-pressure to facilitate this kind of exploration. But if we just accept that people are "non-technical" in the sense of "can't try anything remotely new in order to fix their computer", the only real way to satisfy those users is going to be keeping a system they already know how to use the same, which companies are simply not willing to do

To me, the main difference between open (like linux distros, but there are others) and closed computer operating systems is that the former tends not to tell you "Sit tight and we'll send a company-certified adult to help you" (or sometimes "This is not allowed", or "You need to pay extra for that now"), and the latter, increasingly, wherever possible, makes these the only options available

While I agree with you, the registry is the windows way of hiding away config files. It's either the GUI, or it's the registry.

Linux alternatively uses config files directly meant to be altered by the end user. It's less user-friendly, but better than the registry.

The real crime is having a registry in the first place instead of a .config directory.

Kinda. I wish they had a standard format for the config file. Instead every file has its own special syntax, sigh
every program has its own unique style of settings; its a little bit of history repeating - see xkcd standards https://xkcd.com/927/
I mean, i'm aware, it still makes for a horrible experience
Yeah I actually miss the days of .ini files. They typically lived in the same directory as the program, so you didn't wind up with gigabytes of leftover tidbits from software you uninstalled or just ran once.
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The problem isn't the registry per se, but rather how so many settings are either undocumented totally unavailable on the most common versions of Windows.
It's just config settings. It's not hard to understand. The registry is like Linux config files, and group policy is like a settings GUI menu. It's not absurd at all.
There’s official documentation for all Linux config files. Package managers are aware of config files and handle user changes during updates, if required. Config files are designed to be edited by humans and nearly all support some sort of comment syntax. None of these properties apply to editing registry settings.
Package managers are aware of config files and handle user changes during updates

Only system config files. I know of no package manager that scans config files in users' home dirs.

> No one should have to resort to registry hacking

Tell that to UX developers. It is the same in web browsers.

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Yes we had the time of total customisations with Firefox years ago. And now we can happy if they don't drop the about:config settings keys for some behavior.

Same as chrome with flags.

Good UX means nowadays eat or die.

Until some update resets all those values behind your back.
That's why you use group policy to edit them.
Which means paying extra money for a Pro license just be able to edit settings on a computer you own. Microsoft's policy is bullshit.
Would MS dare to do that to their enterprise customers who make up the majority of their Windows license revenue?
Yes, absolutely, they couldn’t care less.
Routinely.
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Microsoft has market leader syndrome; they aren't afraid their customers will switch to a competing option.
Yeah, that seems to happen according to the story posted, and in many comments here.
This wouldn't even be sooooo bad if we could still google how to disable and fix everything... but complete google search collapse is exacerbating microsofts shit to an unbelievable unfixable level.

Like if some drastic new search doesn't appear within a couple years we are talking IT not being able to fix problems anymore

But that turns me into a deshitifcation cron job, working for my operating system to work.
You can use Windows Firewall to block outbound connections from the Start bar. It would be nice if some basic features like calculator would still work, but no luck.
Wait... Windows calculator needs an internet connection to work?
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Money exchange related maybe.
This, and it also sends diagnostics to microsoft so they can try to glean how people use it.

The calculator app is open source so you can see the code here: https://github.com/microsoft/calculator

If you have a w7 install the calc exe still works on 10/11
I think they mean calculation from the start menu search (on a default installation, it will Bing the calculation and show the search result, which I find absurd since it requires an internet connection to solve x+y). The calculator program still works fine offline, but is often overkill when you just want to quickly solve something

I'll note that Microsoft's PowerToys run solves this properly, just like MacOS's Spotlight and the built in search on most Linux desktops

But spotlight replaces alt+space so you can’t minimise or move a window from the command line :(
If you mean "PowerToys Run", you can reconfigure pretty much any if the PowerToys shortcut key combinations.

Though for now I've just turned that one off as I don't have obvious need for it and haven't looked at what else it might offer. I use PowerToys mainly for FancyZones and plain text paste.

You meant Microsoft's PowerToys Run, correct?

Spotlight is Mac-only and uses Command-Space by default.

As the sibling comment mentioned, you can customize the keyboard shortcut so you don’t lose alt-space.
> And the nagging everywhere.

This. Oh my god this.

> Every time I search on the start menu there is a web search, impossible to turn off. How is that acceptable?

I'm not sure if it works on Win11, but this was used to disable it in Win10:

REG ADD HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Search /v BingSearchEnabled /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f REG ADD HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Search /v CortanaConsent /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f

Windows is free unless you value your time... or your money
You just use Mac or Linux without changing anything?
I built my GNU/Linux config years ago. The amount of time I spend changing things per year is asymptotically approaching zero.

My other comment was not actually about that though. It was about my computer not actually fighting me over random things, such that I have to circumvent normal means like using the Windows Registry to get what I want done. If you get to the point where you're twiddling with Registry values, you have sunken a lot of time into that problem.

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> You just use Mac or Linux without changing anything?

Mac, no. It's almost as bad as windows in terms of having to chase perpetual change for no reason.

Linux though? Absolutely. Nothing changes unless I want it to change. Here's an admittedly extreme, but very real example: I build my parents a simplified Linux desktop setup ca.1996 (neither had any computer experience so wanted to keep it very simple).

Today ~28 years later, my remaining parent is using the exact same setup. The last thing you want to impose on a 95 year old with fading vision is an interface change. So it is exactly what it was in 1996. Through several hardware replacements, countless updates and even distro changes, it is still exactly the same.

This is what user-friendly means. I, the user, own the experience. Neither microsoft nor apple are able to respect that.

> Today ~28 years later, my remaining parent is using the exact same setup. The last thing you want to impose on a 95 year old with fading vision is an interface change. So it is exactly what it was in 1996. Through several hardware replacements, countless updates and even distro changes, it is still exactly the same.

Thats impressive and something I wouldn't expect to work. Are they running CDE or is there some other desktop environment that was around back then? What distribution are they using now? Do you have to do much configuration to keep the kernel up to date with an old DE?

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fvwm, customized to be basically a kiosk-like desktop with a few large buttons for different use cases (each one a virtual screen).

Currently on debian, don't remember which distros I used initially. Probably started on slackware.

For email, mutt & emacs. Although both are heavily customized to have simple and minimal commands available, so a regular mutt or emacs user would be a bit lost.

I can't stress enough the power of customizable software! The ones on list list (fvwm, mutt, emacs) are prime examples of excellence on this front.

There is nothing worse than "opinionated" software that doesn't allow extensive customization. Even worse, when they change interfaces every time a new PM joins the company. For older people, any change in interface is a huge setback. There is unappreciated value in software than can be fully customized and then left alone.

The one and only change I made to the setup over the years was to remove the connect/disconnect icons for the (dialup) modem when I upgraded them to DSL and even that small change took a months before they stopped asking about it.

The most problematic part of this stack has been the browser, which I can't keep static and has changed a bunch of times in the last ~28 years. To the extent possible I configure the toolbar to be minimal. But the basic functionality of clicking on home button and back button hasn't really changed in the last three decades and that's basically all they need, so it's been manageable.

more or less, yeah. i have an apt install one-liner, a big one, saved in a .txt file saved in my email.

install basic ubanto and then run that bad boy. walk away for 15 min while it does its thing, and then generally good to go. at that point it's just changing the desktop background and ps1 colors

And people complain about using the CLI on Linux :D
> Every time I search on the start menu there is a web search, impossible to turn off

I hate this as well, same with Spotlight on the Mac. Doesn’t it make sense to look for things on my own device first?

Anyway, here’s a solution I found for Win11:

## Disable web search from run menu

1. Select Start, type regedit.exe and select the Registry Editor to launch it. Accept the UAC prompt that is displayed.

2. Navigate to Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Search

3. Right-click on Search and select New > Dword (32-bit) Value.

4. Name the value BingSearchEnabled.

5. Double-click on the new Dword and set data to 0.

From <https://www.ghacks.net/2021/11/26/how-to-turn-off-search-the...

My start menu hasnt even worked for over a year on 2 seperate computers now.
What do you mean when you say it doesn't "work"? You click the windows icon and nothing comes up? It displays but nothing is clickable? On 2 different machines? Really? This seems like hyperbole. It sounds like there's a specific feature that doesn't work for you as it used to, but instead of describing the issue you've thrown up your hands and declared it to not work. If it truly does not open or respond to clicks I'd love to know about it and retract this comment!
Not an OP, but same issue on Windows10 on two laptops, non of the workarounds work

https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/all/startm...

For me, it's either:

- the start menu opens but displays only an empty box.

- the start menu opens fine, but application search produces zero results, not even if I type the complete name of the program I ran yesterday.

Yes, when something like this happens I throw my hands up and declare it not-working today. At least Winkey+R works and my most-used programs are pinned to the taskbar anyway.

Most of the time it's fixed after a good night's sleep, other times Windows manages to pull itself together after a few hours. It's usually not a blocker for me, so I don't care enough to keep rebooting my machine in the vain hope that some user action might fix it. It's my employer's machine, so my employer's problem, not mine.

Virus? I’ve used window for over 2 decades, along with Linux and I’ve never seen the start menu do anything like that. I’ve seen it hang of course, but I don’t even remember the last time.
> You click the windows icon and nothing comes up?

Not the GP, but, yup. Got fixed about 6 months later in a routine update.

Wasn't just the start menu, none of the icons are responsive in the taskbar either, so I couldn't change the volume, or switch networks, etc.[1]

Luckily, for me, Windows is used almost exclusively for unimportant stuff, like games, netflix/disneyplus/prime, surfing, etc.

[1] Not a major issue: all my game (and firefox) shortcuts are on the desktop, my headset has a volume knob and the wifi can be turned off/then on again using the laptop Fn-key (which I only did when it lost a connection once).

For me it truly does not open or respond to clicks, many times per day. Routinely the start menu opens on the wrong monitor, in a remote corner somewhere. And it does nothing when I click on it or press Enter. It's not a permanent condition, but a frequent one.
It is just a blank black box. It occasionally works after a restart but quickly goes back to being a black box.
You may own it, but it serves a different master.
You don't own it, just paid for it.
> All this fuzzy language makes me feel like I'm dealing with a kindergarden teacher addressing his/her pupils.

Very fitting… both the kindergarten teacher addressing her pupils vs Windows abusing its users have the one thing in common - people who have zero chance of escaping their control and little influence to chamge their situation. In the business world, it’s called a captive market

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Where is "Recommended" on the Start Menu? I don't even see that.
> Since when is 6.6.1.40 better than 6.6.1.72? Why would you do that?

well, recently, there was a compromised update to a software package and the recommendation was to roll back to a previous version. there are definite times when removing the latest not-so-greatest for a previous version is the best solution. there's no reason to lose the plot in your ranting. you just lose credibility in your arguments at that point

"The US federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has issued a security advisory recommending that the affected devices should roll back to a previous uncompromised version."[0]

[0]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XZ_Utils_backdoor#Remediation

I wish there was a registry key you could set that would make it impossible for Microsoft to put up any kind of modal UI element whatsoever.
For some consolation: Windows Autoupdates can be disabled and likewise driver installs in general via Group Policy, which is available if you use Pro or above.
Windows updates can be disabled on any edition with my "I wasn't asking" approach of moving C:/Windows/system32/wua*.dll somewhere else. You can put these dlls back when and if you want to install updates.
I find approaches like that ultimately end up borking Windows more often than not.

Disabling autoupdates via Group Policy is supported and won't bork anything.

Thanks! But I don't want to disable driver updates. I just don't want it to install older versions.
Maybe they know something that you don't or it's just a glitch.
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But shouldn’t they inform you and let you opt out of the downgrade even if they know something?

Ubuntu at least asks if you want to proceed with a package update, you can look at the changelog to see what the update is about, and you can mark packages to be on hold and skipped for updates.

That was before snap. Now, Ubuntu doesn’t ask you, and just refreshes snaps in the background.

Which is why I have stopped recommending Ubuntu.

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That’s fair. But Debian would also let you mark packages, and I imagine other distributions, too.
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Nope same for me with intel drivers. Intel update utility recommends one, installs it.

Leave computer idle windows rolls it back in the night to a driver from 2021.

Is this the case for corporate installs? I cannot imagine the security teams at big banks like Chase, Bofa, Goldman, et al tolerating this.
In my experience large corporate Windows installs don’t have these hostile features.

But I don’t know how much credit is due to ongoing config work by central IT versus Microsoft.

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Not exclusively a Microsoft/Windows problem. It reminds me the nagging "Update iOS" messages in iphone, that take you to a new screen to dismiss them. Also in iOS, you can't use their wallet app for tickets and other cards if you don't add a payment card there, because they have this huge banner that says "Get started with Apple Pay" and that can't be dismissed. Disgusting.
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This is false. I don’t use Apple Pay and I have lots of tickets and such. You don’t add them from within the Wallet app. The Apple Pay prompt is shown whenever you don’t have any passes or whatever in the wallet.

Try adding some passes and see.

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I've added some passes, thing is there. Last time at the AWS summit I had to hold the blasted banner on the edge of the iphone with a finger while they scanned the pass.

This is a well-known issue: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/253699496?sortBy=best.

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I literally just opened the wallet app and clicked the little dismiss X in the top right of the Apple Card ad. It disappeared with a little analog TV powering off animation, collapsing down to a scanline then sliding in horizontally to a little dot and disappearing.

Both before and after I could pull up my other passes easily.

I am at a total loss as to why anyone is using windows in 2024.
I use it everyday in place of my MBP.

1) WSL2 is fantastic to work. Having various Linux images on my system is nice, this is huge for me alone

2) plenty of things work just better on windows like Docker

3) stuff like power tools is insanely useful

4) monitor, windows and desktop management is very well done in comparison to the mess of MacOS

5) I don't have all these issues the article describes. An automatic update has never broken my computer let alone ruined my flow

6) I don't see these ads, maybe in the start menu there are but I just never use it I have shortcuts

7) MacOS is way more annoying for me. I really dislike the filesystem, the window management, the fact that it will be always a third class citizen to Linux for software development (still have nightmares about installing Haskell and other languages on MacOS), the fact that it keeps resetting the output of my monitors at every sleep

I could provide other reasons but essentially it is way better for me and my use case than alternatives.

Unless I'm using a laptop, there I prefer MacOS for hardware.

I find it curious that you say things like "Docker runs better on Windows" but also "MacOS is worse than Linux for development". It reads like you think you have two choices Windows or MacOS, and that it's very unfortunate that they're both worse than Linux. Why isn't Linux one of the options?

And yes, Docker and most other development works better on Linux than any other OS.

> Why isn't Linux one of the options?

Because WSL 2 satisfies all my Linux needs, and yes, it runs Docker perfectly and Windows is a better desktop OS, with more tools and software.

I used to run mint, ubuntu and some others up to Windows 10 I never considered a productive machine on my desktop but this has changed during the last years and Windows is an incredibly productive machine for software development.

Anyway I'm not trying to sell anybody Windows, was just answering a pointless comment like "I don't understand why would anybody use Windows", and I answered that there's plenty of reasons and tools for me, but I ain't gonna die if you force me on other OSs too.

> Windows is a better desktop OS, with more tools and software.

What tools are you using on Windows specifically? Visual Studio, maybe?

I only ask because, other than workflow-specific tooling (Photoshop, etc), no one is creating non-Electron GUIs anymore, and with non-GUIs Windows used to be far behind for Windows-specific software.

I’m very surprised re “docker works better on windows” - at work we do web dev and we use mostly macs.

We’ve tried windows machines for docker and hit a ton of performance problems that just aren’t there on modern docker for mac.

> plenty of things work just better on windows like Docker

This makes no sense. It’s a Linux virtual machine. You are not running docker on windows.

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He's comparing it to macos and there it is a VM as well but it feels less well integrated.
1) I'll agree that WSL2 is excellent, but the native "unix" environment of macos has meant that I haven't had very many issues doing work that ultimately runs on linux natively from a mac.

2) This makes no sense to me. I've run docker on my mac with zero issues, except that the move to apple silicon has caused some disruption for cases where I build and push images locally (99% is done via CI/CD, but there are always exceptions) and I have to specify linux/amd64, which with some tooling is actually quite painful.

3) Yeah, powertools is nice.

4) This is absolutely true. The most recent macos announcement does add some better native window management, but all I really want is to be able to plug in my external monitors and have macos not switch them around half the time. It's frustrating as this used to work until around 2012 or so, and then just broke and was never fixed.

5) I've run into windows updates reverting settings or replacing defaults that point to third parties. To be fair, macos has sometimes done this, too. In particular it used to re-enable siri after every OS point release.

6) The ads are there and (with effort) can be removed. But it's the principle. Some product manager thought that this is a good idea - the good idea being something that's good for microsoft and not the user. This way of thinking can and does lead to rot by a thousand cuts. What's next enabling location tracking for the advertisers, thus making my laptops battery slightly worse? - google did this with android. This way of thinking has been killing google.

7) Most of this is repeating point 4 which I agree with, but its filesystem is just a posix filesystem. Mind you the finder has it's strengths and weaknesses - it took awhile to get used to, but it's never really gotten in my way. Calling macos third class for linux development is just plain incorrect. One of the main reasons MacOS took off when it did is because so many developers moved to it because they could use the same "unix/linux" tools more natively than windows, but didn't have to deal with linux on the desktop. Web developers in particular could easily run apache/php/etc as well as various design tools from Adobe or whoever. I've not seen too many complaints with most languages on it, but I could see more niche ones like Haskell being painful.

> I could provide other reasons but essentially it is way better for me and my use case than alternatives.

This is what ultimately matters. :-)

> Unless I'm using a laptop, there I prefer MacOS for hardware.

Hilariously for me, the one thing that's more painful than anything else when using windows is the poor quality of the bloody trackpads, even on more expensive/premium hardware (I haven't bought a windows laptop since before covid, so maybe this is better now?). Though a close second is having to deal with various pop-ups (from both windows and other software/utilities) that seem to vie for my attention.

Literally just adobe products on work machines where I can't sail the high seas and run it with WINE
> Every time I search on the start menu there is a web search, impossible to turn off. How is that acceptable?

YMMV, but this is what I used to disable web search on my Win 11 Pro workstation:

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
    
    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer]
    "DisableSearchBoxSuggestions"=dword:00000001
On Pro it would be better to use the group policy editor. As a bonus this also ensures the setting survives updates, which is not always a given for raw registry edits.
(Unsolicited related advice)

If gpedit.msc gives you unexpected results (I.e. policies just don’t seem to work) then do two things:

1. gpupdate /force 2. Download the latest ADMX templates; newer versions of Windows often introduce similarly-named - but still distinct - policy templates, for unwanted “features” in older versions, just like Start Menu web-search and forced-restarts for updates.

Lastly, while Windows LTSC is really what Microsoft should make available for everyone, don’t forget that Windows Server is still Windows LTSC too - so if you’re outside the MSDN Subscription Garden-of-Eden, you can still get Windows Server tricked-out as a real LTSC Workstation OS.

It's frankly offensive that this utterly pointless "feature" can't just be disabled. Starting Photoshop used to be windowskey, "ph", enter. Now, by default, it will give you an Edge Bing search for "ph"...

But even if you wait a few seconds before confirming, you'll get some garbage like Windows Photos, even though that's literally never been used.

At least the start menu got a lot faster with the net search disabled, but dropping usage based ordering is just another sign that Windows is NOT aimed at power users anymore.

On an older version of Windows I used the Classic Shell start menu. It's rockin', and works how you'd expect a start menu to.
I have absolutely none of these problems on my Windows 11 pro for workstations desktop. My computer is very much my computer and I seem to have full total control over everything. I'm not sure what I do differently than everyone else but that's just how it is.
Try completely removing one drive to understand the rest of our pain. Even if you manage to get the program gone, somehow the default file save location for many applications is still a (now deleted) one drive folder. If you forget and click save.. well now you have one drive again.
Don't. Do. That.

Leave it alone, that's why Windows is breaking for you. You keep fucking with core components. It's not Linux. You can't do that and not suffer consequences.

Leave it alone? It's unnecessary bloatware, that performs absolutely zero required functionality. It's continuous prominent presence in the _always_ visible part of the file tree on the left of _every_ explorer window is a constant reminder that what used to be my favorite OS is now user hostile.

At least in Europe it did get a proper uninstall a while ago, which proves that it really was just there for promotion.

I'd gladly pay for a version of Windows that just leaves me alone. No I don't want Edge, Bing, a weather snippet, start search, Cortana, forced updates and a regular black pattern maze promising a somehow "improved experience" while trying to force metrics participation down my throat.

But I also don't want Linux, because many tools I rely on (plus games) won't run on it and I don't want a Mac because it's too opinionated. It feels exactly like being stuck in an abusive relationship at this point.

Unnecessary bloatware? Bloatware really? What does it bloat? You can make all of these things disappear without removing them from Windows itself. You also have to remember that an inaction is an action. Ignoring a pop-up or not reading something and then just clicking x doesn't equal this thing will not bother me anymore. You can make the weather snippet widget thing just not be there anymore and it's not hard. I have more than just edge installed for my browser and I could switch between them even though I favor edge and use edge as my default browser. Cortana hasn't showed itself on my computer for... I have no idea how long and that's just because I went through every setting and read everything... No group policy changes, no registry hacks, just using Windows. If you are on professional or higher of windows then you could just pause updates over and over and over. If an update is waiting then go into Windows update in the settings and click pause and then it doesn't install it. I've postponed updating since January because I'm on an insider build that has a known blocker where it can't be updated from.
> Unnecessary bloatware?

Yes. I don't want it, I don't need it, my OS does not need it to function, I never asked for it and (until the EU forced them to change this) I could not remove it.

> Bloatware really?

Yes, really. "Unwanted software included on a new computer or mobile device by the manufacturer". What in this definition does not apply, according to you?

> What does it bloat?

My OS, duh. It probably does not waste too many resources, as long as I don't engage with it, but the fact that it's there and it was shoved into my face on every explorer window is something worse than spam. It's basically the modern day equivalent of those shitty browser toolbars that some programs used to try to sneak install.

> You can make all of these things disappear

False. I was only able to fully disable OneDrive with registry hacks, before EU forced them to take it out.

So you are telling me, a Windows power user since 3.11, that I should just rtfm?

It's not about being able to turn certain things off, it's about the playbook that Microsoft is following these days, displaying malignant, almost petty behavior, like restoring the Edge shortcut on the desktop after updates.

It's about all the black patterns, like how you need to first go back a page in the post-update maze before you even get the option to continue without attaching a Microsoft account to your OS. Yes, I know that you can turn the maze off, but that option is hidden so far in the settings most users have no idea it even exists.

It's about the fact that they even dared to suggest putting ads in Explorer windows. It's about the clear sensation that my OS is no longer on my side. It's selling out, stabbing me in the back, turning rotten. It's a crying shame, but I may need to take it out to the back of the shed one of these days.

You can disable OneDrive pretty easily
Now you can, in Europe. It used to involve registry hacks, which, as others keep pointing out, could break stuff because it's not the way you are supposed to modify your OS.
Thus proving OP's point: it's not your computer.
If you remove glibc in Linux, it will start breaking too.
Onedrive is not a core windows component. It’s not a dependency of other applications. It’s just a Dropbox replacement.

Windows works, and has always worked, just fine without onedrive. Microsoft just doesn’t want you to know that, because they are obsessed with the idea of upselling you on subscription based cloud services.

> Onedrive is not a core windows component.

Unfortunately this is changing in the wrong direction for you or I.

I uninstalled onedrive from windows 11 and everything seems to work fine.

Don’t leave us in the dark. Is that option being removed in the future?

There’s actually a few different glibc replacements available for Linux.

And if you think OneDrive is essential for Windows then I’d suggest you do a little reading on the history of Microsoft and how they falsely claim dependencies on their own software stacks. Especially the court cases around debundling IE4 with Win98, and DR-DOS vs Windows 95.

Well, "technically" - it wasn't a false claim. It WAS dependent on IE and other things. It didn't have to be dependent - MS made it that way on purpose, so things would stop working without (even though the dependency didn't need to be baked in).

It's akin to adding webview to your application to display a text file, even though you never would display an HTML file. It could have been done another way, but it wasn't.

Except that it was demonstrated that IE could be removed from Windows 98. So Microsoft then claimed that Windows ran slower without IE. A judge (because this whole saga went to court) argued that Microsofts video evidence proving that point was falsified and so Microsoft later also dropped their slowness claim too.
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No, it wasn't. There was w98lite and such where you could replace WIndows 98's (i)explore.exe/shell32.dll with a Windows 95 one and yet the rest of the software just ran like nothing, while being able to run IE in a standalone way.
Ignoring the fact that you're comparing a cloud storage client to what is essentially a kernel wrapper that all software depends on, you actually can remove glibc without breaking things. You just also have to install another libc (say, musl) and replace your software that targets glibc with software that targets musl, or install a glibc -> musl compatibility layer (gcompat).

So, yeah. If you actually know enough about libcs to want to get rid of glibc for a real reason, you can do it without breaking things. If you just want to go around and start deleting core system dependencies (which I think is very silly to put a cloud storage client in that bucket, regardless of the brand of cloud storage) without replacing them, then chaos seems to be the goal, and maybe order is the "broken" state for that machine :P

Stop holding it wrong!

Have you considered that maybe not being able to use your computer how your want is precisely why this post exists?

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> core components

A Dropbox clone is now 'core OS compinents'? That's just as much a valid criticism of Windows as anything else in this thread

> You keep fucking with core components.

What exactly tells you that OneDrive a core component?

I completely agree. Removing vital parts of the Windows subsystem just leads to unintended consequences.
You’re the ideal windows user…whatever that may be??
It's not fucking with core components that aren't supposed to be fucked with.
It’s software running on your own computer. If you’re not supposed to turn off ads and OneDrive, change the default search engine, etc then that’s a pretty sad state of affairs.

Though as an ex-Windows developer and hacker, I can tell you that NT is pretty modular and is designed to be “fucked” with in various different ways. Microsoft just like to ship defaults that are more favourable for their own business than your typical power user.

How is OneDrive a core component? It even has an uninstall in Europe, because baking it in is clearly anti-competitive.

http://windowscentral.com/software-apps/windows-11/microsoft...

How is Dropbox now a "core component" of computers? Have we collectively lost our minds?
> It's not fucking with core components that aren't supposed to be fucked with.

I suppose the problem for many people is that advertisements are now "core components", when they really shouldn't be.

First-party upsells are now core components when they shouldn't be.

Third-party resellers are now core components when they shouldn't be.

Look, I get it: minesweeper is no longer free, and I'm okay with that. But FCOL, now the start button is ad-supported?

If cloud is core component does it mean that Windows requires internet to run?
I wouldn’t mind the defaults if they weren’t horrible. No, I don’t want Microsoft selling my data to 3rd parties. I don’t want an AI “assistant” watching everything I do. I don’t want crazy right wing conspiracy theory news stories in my start menu, or popping up next to the clock or wherever that junk lives. I don’t want my start menu to do an internet search. Or to try and get me to play candy crush. If I want a dropbox like service I’ll research my options. Don’t auto install onedrive and make it start automatically at boot.

None of that stuff is a core component. The only reason any of that stuff is part of windows is because windows is a mature product. And all their desperate product managers need to add stupid features to windows to justify getting promoted.

Maybe I’m just old fashioned, but I don’t use windows because I want to be part of Microsoft’s software empire. I just want an OS that boots fast and lets me play video games. I don’t buy ram from the computer store so some tasteless bozo at Microsoft can justify their 6 figure salary.

You're getting downvoted, as will I, because presenting an alternative anecdotal experience isn't acceptable in Windows threads. I've learned this the hard way.

Unfortunately just like the original post is anecdotal (I haven't had a machine fail to startup after an update since XP) not all anecdotes are born equal.

Interestingly, I don't see adverts myself, and I've never seen any at work. I -suspect- that's heavily regionalized.

Are there features I don't care for? Sure - I don't use OneDrive, I don't internet search from the Start bar, and I use Edge only occasionally. But it's not like somehow you -have- to use everything they ship.

I get it. An OS is personal. If you don't like Windows, use MacOS or Linux. All 3 have different approaches and one of them will fit you better than the others. Arguing over which is better or worse is like fighting over ice-cream flavors.

Yes you have to use what they ship. Because they force you to. You cannot turn off one drive nagging. You cannot turn off the start menu search. When installing windows these days you have to use a Microsoft account and so on.

Yes there are work arounds, but that’s not for the average user. If I need to start tinkering and hack around in registries I might as well use Linux.

I confess I don't have a Microsoft account, and installed without one. I'm not sure how I did that, I guess I just passed on it. Every month or so it after a reboot it prompts me to "finish setting up my computer" and I just "remind me later".

I haven't touched the registry, so that's not in play.

OneDrive doesn't nag me.

As I said earlier this is all anecdotal, clearly your experience is different to mine. This post is just anecdotes, not data, and I'm not suggesting my experience is your experience.

I had to install a temporary windows 10 (not 11) install so that I can unlock the bootloader of a xiaomi phone and install a better rom. I managed to avoid the microsoft account use by not connecting to the internet before the setup was finished. It asked me like 2 or 3 times it looped 2 or 3 times in the select wifi / use MS account screens before giving up and sending me to the local account creation.
> Every month or so it after a reboot it prompts me to "finish setting up my computer" and I just "remind me later".

Why do you ask them to remind you? It sounds like you're already set up?

> I don't internet search from the Start bar

Unless you keep modifying the registry to disable it, you do, every time you do a search. You're just not using those results. But you're still getting the crappy experience of delayed actions when you just want the local results.

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I just looked and I don't get them but I see them on others computers. I can't remember doing any registry hacks on this so not sure why I don't get them... Maybe because I upgraded from windows 7 and never had a windows account, running as local user only?
It's normally active for local users as well. It is for me and I never logged in. You're (accidentally?) running with an unusual config for some reason. The way to turn it off also changed a couple of times already, so you're really lucky you've avoided it.
Don't really appreciate you speaking for me. I down voted them and you because of wild baseless assertions
It's because people fuck with the registry, run those decrapifier scripts etc. They completely mess with the guts doing nonstandard things and eventually it turns into a mess. Ask me how I know.

After I started administering fleets of Windows machines, I learned that if you don't fuck with it, it's fine!

If you need to make changes, use group policy. Don't like OneDrive? Don't use it! Uninstalling it is going to fuck things up.

Install updates as they come. "But it breaks things!" No it doesn't. It only does if you've fucked your registry to hell.

Just leave things alone and stop trying to customize it like a Linux box is my advice. It is what it is and will work fine if you use it the way it's intended.

> Don't like OneDrive? Don't use it! Uninstalling it is going to fuck things up.

OneDrive in the end is a component designed to exfiltrate documents. Wanting to remove a security vulnerability should not brick a device. Asking people to not use it is not a solution because you are prompted to send your documents over the internet to a third party every single time you save a new file.

If uninstalling it breaks things, at least one of these must be true:

1. It should not be uninstallable and MS screwed up by making it so.

2. The uninstaller is broken and MS screwed up by making it so.

Either path is MS’s fault, not the user’s.

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> Don't like OneDrive? Don't use it

No, I absolutely want it off my computer. But then I'm not going to bother with weird registry scripts. Windows won't let me easily remove things, so I removed windows.

You are just confirming the sentiment in the original post.
> Install updates as they come. "But it breaks things!" No it doesn't.

KB4541335 entered the chat. If you haven't seen a broken vanilla update, you haven't been doing this long enough.

<< It is what it is and will work fine if you use it the way it's intended.

That may be true for work PCs, where my access is already restricted and heavily monitored, but I don't accept that for my personal machine.

<< It's because people fuck with the registry,

Hey, if MS wants to put configs somewhere else that is cool too. I don't understand how it is somehow expected that I don't touch the magic box ( because it is all held by rubber band and glue ). It is not some rinky-dink shop that made its first release. It is a global company. I simply expect more.

<< Install updates as they come.

This is for the user to decide. I am personally livid that windows machines update bios these days without any user interaction. If I ever saw retarded setting just waiting to cause a major issue, this is it.

<< Just leave things alone and stop trying to customize it like a Linux box

I use my Windows instance in a VM so I suppose I technically am leaving it mostly alone, but even then I chose to make some changes to registry to make the access easier for myself.

If I may get a little personal for a moment. I think your professional experience may be clouding your judgment in this case. I see it fairly often across a wide variety of professions, where various representatives consider client/user/buyer a hindrance of sorts that should make their lives easier 'by just doing X'. The thing is, the relationship is really not about making the representative's life easier.

About a year ago I dumped Windows from my personal PC for good. I ran a Linux desktop at work for a decade, but my Steam collection get me with at least a bit of a tether to Microsoft. But Valve finally made Linux gaming a reality. I hope more people can make the switch someday because I'm quite happy with the system (Pop!_OS is my distro of choice these days).
I did this about three months ago in response to Windows insisting again that I must link my desktop user with my Live account. I'm blown away by how viable Linux gaming is now, entirely because of money dumped in by Valve. It's only looking better, too, the deck means people are motivated to at least make sure it boots in Wine, and if they support Vulkan the perf will likely work out well.
I installed Windows for a media PC for the first time in many years, and holy shit it’s insane. The dark patterns. The nags. It’s a given they are somehow tracking everything I do and selling all of my files. They are milking boomers who will never switch from Windows as a cash cow, longterm they know Windows is dead as a personal desktop. Their revenue is no longer dependent on Windows PC so it’s an end game scenario.
That's what finally gave me the confidence to switch to Linux a year ago. I'm running Manjaro on my main system and Valve's efforts in improving WINE/creating Proton have been fantastic. The amount of games that "just work" has been nothing short of amazing.
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I also moved over to PopOS over a year ago and have been quite happy with the end result. Between Steam and Lutris I’ve been able to run everything I want to, and I don’t have to play whack-a-mole with Microsoft’s “features” that I’m not interested in.

Bonus points: I’m having fun with my computer again!

I also use Heroic Launcher with Epic Games as well on Pop_OS, check it out!
I am also have been using PopOS for gaming.
My last version of Windows was 7. After that I used a MacBook for work for a few years, and I somewhat missed windows for gaming (but mainly used a PS4 during that time so I got by). Then, a few years ago, I switched exclusively to Linux (I’ve usually had a dual boot or a second machine running Linux, but it was rarely my exclusive OS), and haven’t looked back. I’ve since also got a Steam Deck which has completely replaced my PS4, while I also play a few games like Crusader Kings on my Linux laptop.

Gaming is what kept a lot of people on windows over the years, but thanks to valve and the proton team, Linux gaming works as well as Windows gaming (and some people say better than — I certainly don’t have to deal with all the crap Microsoft tries to put into windows).

Some people refuse to use Linux because they’re afraid of having to tinker with it, but that hasn’t been my experience in over a decade. Things have generally just worked for me.

Would not say that Linux gaming works as well as Windows gaming. Plenty of things won't work in Proton, at least not out of the box, and you're kinda restricted to AMD GPUs. That's fine cause I don't play video games anymore, but people who really care about that will put up with a lot of MS's BS.

AoE2:DE is one example of incompatibility. Simple game (by modern standards) with no advanced anticheat.

What doesn't work in AoE2:DE?

It's been a few months since I played but the only thing that doesn't work is Xbox login. I needed to download a DLL to get multiplayer working, which I agree isn't really userfriendly, but compared to the early Wine days Proton is a walk in the park.

What I do miss a bit is Capturage, apparently it's really hard to make it work in Proton.

There's nothing restricting you to AMD GPUs though? Proton works great on my 3090.

It's even been less troublesome than when I used to use AMD GPUs, where IIRC accelerated graphics drivers and the ROCm drivers had some sort of conflict unless installed a certain way (a few years ago now, my last AMD card was a 5700xt).

You're not restricted to AMD, but Nvidia Linux drivers are notoriously bad.
> Nvidia Linux drivers are notoriously bad.

This is true, but have also improved substantially in the last year or so.

I would need to check if it’s the DE or which, but I’ve played a good bit of AoE2 on Linux through proton about two years ago without any issues. It was whatever version was recommended by the AoE2 YouTubers, not sure if that was DE.

The only problems I’ve had are that the intro video and menu for supreme commander forged alliance runs at very low frame rate (but the actual game runs without problems), and that Gothic 3 was very glitchy on steam deck. Everything else I’ve tried ran without issue.

Probably DE. Singleplayer is fine, multiplayer desyncs.
Thanks, but I stopped playing for unrelated reasons before that was posted. Previous fixes people posted involved inserting some different DLL, which didn't work for me. Not sure if I did something wrong or they were outdated in newer game versions.
Skyrim doesn't work well at all either. I'm blown away that probably the most re-released game of all time never added Linux support. Even before MS took over.
What makes Skyrim not work well at all for you?

I haven't tried that game, but I know for a fact that Fallout 4 works quite well, and it -- like Skyrim -- has a gold status on protondb.

There is no music or NPC dialogue. I spent a few hours scouring for all manner of fixes before giving up. So many "This is what fixed it for me:" that didn't work on my machine.

There were also some rendering issues, but I could let that slide given my GPU is ~10 years old.

Skyrim runs fine on my steam deck.
Using PopOS for 4 years now, currently with an Nvidia 4070 Super(TI?) on my gaming rig ... no issues whatsoever
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> and you're kinda restricted to AMD GPUs.

No idea where that came from but it's not the case.

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I am VERY happy running games on a nag-free windows 11 retail install.

- I download games from gog via linux and put them on an NTFS partition

- I boot windows 11 in a proxmox VM with passthrough gpu + usb controller for sound

- I mount NTFS partition in VM, install and run games

- my windows 11 install has no network device

- tbh there was a windows defender nag, but I managed to disable it.

I've been wondering if I can do something similar for steam, but haven't touched my steam login in 5+ years. I think you can use a proxy for steam.

Windows is such execrable trash now that, when my late-2014 25-inch 5K Intel iMac got orphaned, I didn't even consider putting Windows on it. Now it's running Mint, and I use my M1 MacBook Pro in clamshell mode connected to a monitor.

That monitor, incidentally, is a 25-inch former iMac. I gutted it after it suffered the widespread burned-out-GPU problem that afflicted many (most?) Macs of circa-2010 vintage, and put an LCD driver board in it.

The unfortunate side effect of valve supporting linux better is they seemingly gave up on mac os.
Apple was also kinda asking for it
Well as of a couple of years ago they have some of the most overpowered hardware. Its not the intel era anymore. The fact I can run many of these unsupported games on max settings through an emulation layer no less is saying something.
They made the Mac a compatibility nightmare with games, so it doesn't matter so much how fast the hardware is. And going from a 2009 Mac Pro with an RX580 to an M1 mini, every game was slower, especially csgo (before it became cs2).
I suspect that the x86-64 to ARM transition had more to do with it.
And the corresponding deprecation of 32 bit which killed so many games
And the fact that Apple didn't seem to care to cooperate much in terms of things like Metal etc. Mac would've been a much bigger ask compared to Linux, where they can usually just contribute to and work with any component that may need bug fixes or additional features.
Valve updated most of their other ports to 64 bit recently. Save the mac port of course.
Why? Arm macs run that software fine through emulation. The transition was an excuse to also drop support of x86 mac ports for companies that used to put these out as part of doing business. I run mac ports of x86 games through rosetta. Max graphics. The only cap is a seemingly frame locked 40fps that I think rosetta has something to do with. Seems to me if that cap were lifted the fps would rocket considering how cool and quiet it was, and this is through emulation not a native arm port.
Photo editing is my last holdout. And a European-compatible banking software.

Everything else works well on Linux. Gaming included. I've run Linux many years, in fact.

But Capture One and Lightroom are not available over there, which is what draws me back to MacOS. Of course I could just use darktable. Have done that for several years. But at the end of the day, I just prefer Capture One, and that's enough reason for me to switch my OS.

What banking software do you mean? For home use? Isn't browser based good enough?
Some european banks are still struggling with the whole internet concept and have win32 apps using emulated dial up for both home and business customers.
Oh wow, can you name which are these?

The few I had a pleasure of using have a really good browser and mobile app support. The only problem I ran into is that sometimes mobile apps refuse to run on rooted Android devices.

Raiffeisen in Austria is/was? one of the stragglers, but I haven't dealt with them in 2 years or so - a company I worked for was stuck with it, but I noped out for Erste Sparkasse ASAP, and they let you do everything in browser. (Since 2011 at least.)
Raiffeisen in Russia let one do everything in a browser on Linux since 2008 for personal accounts. Possibly earlier, I did not have an account with them back then. For business accounts, it's since February 2016.
Raiffeisen is a generic name used by several semi-independent groups of banks.
Raiffeisen is european for credit union.
A good, HBCI capable software that can list transactions and make transfers from and to multiple banks. Think Quicken or MoneyMoney.

The browser will only ever log in to one bank per tab, and with different UI per bank. If you have more than one bank, it becomes a hassle quite quickly.

Video editing is still a bit rough as well. Kdenlive's arguably more than a bit lacking, and a fair bit too unstable to rely on.
Have you tried DaVinci Resolve? It works great.
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I switched to Pop OS in 2018 because I was in college, and I wanted to spend less time gaming. Unfortunately for me, that was also the year Valve released Proton, and my gaming didn't (immediately) drop very much :>
I think Proton is a great project (and CodeWeavers deserve credit there as well), but why does it have to be a choice?

I have been multi booting for 20 years, preferring Linux distributions the whole time, but other OSes when I want to use them.

I recently started using a dedicated Windows system for gaming and other Windows favored tasks. I am running a KVM switch, using AMD Graphics on a Linux system and Nvidia on this Windows system. I also have a macOS system, that I use as needed.

I do this with mobile devices as well. It doesn't seem worth it to squabble over choosing a path.

Not everyone has multiple desktop computers at home, especially powerful ones. (With an Apple device to top it up.)

But hardware is more affordable than ever (unless you want a really powerful GPU). What's worse is that you have to separate the tasks between OSes, you can't easily have a default computer for everything, with everything relevant locally available. It's fine if you keep Windows for gaming, and want gaming to be explicitly separate. It's harder if you need Windows for graphics / video, or for CAD/CAM, or for Office. Having important related bits and software on another box may be a hassle.

Why do you need multiple computers when you can have multiboot and use one computer to run different OSes?
Cause it's not fun having to reboot every time you want to run a Windows program, especially if it means dealing with Windows nagging.
It's actually a pretty good thing to compartmentalize your computer. I use it to reduce procrastination.

Put all your fun things on one OS (or user account), and all your business stuff on another (possibly blocking distractions via hosts or firewall rules); and you've added a bunch of friction to switching from work to play. Not that it can't be done, but it needs to be a deliberate choice and you can't just bounce between them.

I've found that this only works in very specific circumstances. If you have any flexibility to your work schedule (which is a lot more common nowadays with any amount of remote work) this becomes massively inconvenient, as every small context switch means reseting your current system state (eg closing your dev tools).

I don't really have a set work schedule, so it's normal for me to jump between a work context and a play context. It's much easier to do by very rarely rebooting my computer (once or twice a month), so I can always pick up where I left off. The regularly scheduled update meetings do a good enough job of keeping procrastination in check.

Better to quit playing video games altogether
If you're careful with how you handle the ESP and other shared drives on Linux's side, I found it reasonably ergonomic to suspend to disk, rather than hard shut down, when switching between OSes.

At least back when win10 was new, Proton is good enough that I haven't needed Windows in a good few years.

I can live with this if I occasionally want to play so-called “AAA” games. I don’t use Windows for anything else.
In a way, it's worse the less frequently you want to play, cause it means you'll have to wait for Windows updates every time. But it works.
Author said he was using KVM switch, hence multiple computers. Also you can't install macOS on a PC. Also you might need switching between OS in real time and often. Just some thoughts.
This is very true, most of my rescues are older laptops that said were “broke”. I offered to help figure them out what was broke because I hate calling something obsolete when I can usually throw linux on it and bring it back to like. 2 of them just need an OS install, and 2 needed a new SSD. All the owners said “I was looking for an excuse to get a new laptop anyway” so I took them off their hands.
I don't know if I'd say its a choice between a squabble or no squabble, its just a different set of squabbles.

For me, there are evenings when I am hacking away on a hobby project for 2 or 3 hours. Then suddenly just go, 'I wanna just veg out for another 2 hours then go to bed.' When I'm in that mood, I don't even want to be bothered changing machines. Just hit the steam icon and veg. Thats also bout the only time I end up gaming though, haha.

Last time I dual booted though, I remember why I didn't for along time. Did a Windows update, windows rebooted my computer and it did something with grub and I couldn't easily boot into linux anymore.

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I refuse to dual boot unless I can physically disable the drives I'm not booting into
Sounds familiar. Dual boot sounds nice but in practice isn't always that nice.
It was my experience as well. For the longest time, I had dual boot with a thought that I will switch between OSs as needed ( and as a back up if things break down ), but that never really happened and I spent majority of time on Windows ( and games ). Eventually, I just realized VM works better for me.
Works better for me as well, plus it keeps windows in a nice little bundle that I can cut off from the network at will, it’s really nice with a dedicated GPU to play games as well with pass thru
Holy mackerel, yes. Once I realized pass through can and does work, I never looked back. This is also why I dislike how nvidia seems to do everything in its power to make it as painful as possible for anything after 3060, but that is a separate rant.
If you have two GPUs, you can run a Windows VM in Linux and configure GPU passthrough for Nvidia card.

[1] Doesn't work for games requiring kernel-mode anti-cheat.

[2] https://looking-glass.io/ to use both GPUs on the same monitor.

I was that dude, but I hate using Windows! Microsoft kept giving me more and more reasons to stop using Windows, on a silver platter lol. So now my gaming PC runs fedora, and all of my other computers are Macs.
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Why in gods name would I use windows in the first place!! 40 years of patch Tuesdays?? Get a Mac.
I used Windows from about 1993 to 2006. In 2006 I was given a Mac Mini as a thank you for completing an unpaid internship. I fell in love with macOS and have basically been a macOS user since.

At the start of the pandemic I bought a PC to game on. 16-core Ryzen, 64 gigabytes of ram. I'd been kind of pleasantly surprised with WSL and just general improvements in cohesiveness. It's still got that Windows jank under the hood though.

But then... It won't f**ing run Windows 11 because it doesn't have a TPM. And they pester me about buying a new computer. You have to be kidding me.

It's just absolutely incredible Microsoft decided to declare very powerful machines only a few years old essentially eWaste.

I'm probably going to give Desktop Linux another go, at least for a bit. I have no idea what distro though.

I ran Ubuntu on some of my older machines for a number of years. I actually loved Unity, I still think it was the best Linux desktop and I'm bummed they basically killed it.

I tried Pop_OS! a couple years ago on a MacBook Pro but it just up and imploded on me after a couple days Windows ME style. I've got Elementary OS on an old MacBook and I've had a decent time with it. The apps not made specifically for it though. Felt real out of place.

I would recommend checking out one of the Universal Blue images of Fedora Silverblue like Bazzite (for gaming) or Bluefin (for developers who are fans of Ubuntu but want something cleaner and less... Canonical). Because they're based on an image based distro they're incredibly resiliant and reliable, and they really use all the cutting edge (but proven) tech going into OSI-image based distros to the utmost to provide a really great user experience, taking care of all the pain points and rough edges of Silverblue and providing a really complete well rounded setup right out of the box full of stuff that's just done for you and full of nice little thoughtful touches. I've moves three friends to Bazzite (from Windows) and they love it. I use my own custom image based on one of their base images too, and run their version of Fedora CoreOS on my home server.
Your CPU should have a TPM built-in. It's most likely just disabled in the BIOS (it was often disabled by default on motherboard BIOSes in the pre-Windows 11 days). Have a look in the BIOS for something labeled fTPM or Firmware TPM.
"You can only use our OS if you opt in to some malware that pre-empts the OS" - Microsoft having a normal one
On Ryzen, in particular with their use case (gaming), the fTPM was known to introduce issues. Lag spikes of some sort. I don't remember how or why, but there's a bit of a concert where this is concerned

I'm pretty sure it's fine now with updates applied...

I went and bought a discrete one since my platform was in a weird middle ground. New but not integrated

I thought every TPM has issues like that, because interaction with the TPM puts the CPU in System Management Mode to prevent the OS/application from performing timing attacks against the TPM. Or does that only apply to TPM 1.2?
I don't think there's any issues with TPM on recent CPUs/firmware, but people often misattribute random stutters from things like a bad over clocks to TPM. The old amd TPM stutters made games basically unplayable because it happened continuously
The best gaming machine indeed runs Linux, and is called Steam Deck.

I don't like macOS, but I'd take it over Windows without much hesitation. MacOS is like an authoritarian but tidy country. Windows is more and more like a corrupt third-world country :(

Windows is like Carthage right after it got burned and its earth got salted, if that actually happened.
Fenestrae delenda est.
Omnia systema in tres partes divisa est... Fenestrae, Linos, Pomum
Lini*
I would compare them, perhaps at my own risk, thusly:

MacOS:Windows::Singapore:Brazil*

(*The US is probably a better comparison, in all honesty.)

I was thinking as a Mac user who quite likes Mac and also quite likes Singapore that that's quite an apt analogy. I gave up on Windows a while back. I guess Linux would be like the metaverse where you can be/do anything but not many people go there.
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>But then... It won't f*ing run Windows 11 because it doesn't have a TPM.

You can keep using Windows 10. The LTSC version will be supported until 2032. Even the regular versions will get (paid) updates probably until 2028.

I recently started running Fedora KDE on my work laptop, and it has been pretty much perfect for me, so I'd recommend you give it a shot
Also try Fedora Kinoite if you don't modify your system packages enough. Immutable OS is a game changer. All app installs are Flatpaks. CLI applications run in OCI containers.
Honestly I run both a regular and immutable fedora on 2 different laptops and I wouldn't say it is "a game changer". There are pros and cons of both systems, but under most usage I haven't found a difference that I would call game changing. App installation and update is different, starting flatpak and toolbox installed apps from the terminal is different, your homedir is somewhere else...and that's it?

And while I have enabled the flathub repo, to have more choice over the limited but curated fedora repo, I am a bit wary of the flathub ecosystem as it:

- includes proprietary stuff - a lot of "community build" flatpaks for which it is not obvious in a quick glance who build it exactly? - I don't think the flathub packages are analysed for malwares?

I could see flatpak becoming a source of malware. Sure most flatpaks are setup to be sandboxed and you can fine tune sandboxing but most people would not know about it and a lot of flatpak already have access to your files otherwise they are not usable.

If your gripe with Windows is that it requires TPM, the Mac is strict too.
Default Ubuntu is still pretty good. I have been using the default Fedora Workstation for almost a decade and it works great for me. I also don't spend time on tweaking it anymore (used to be the complete opposite). The defaults work, I concentrate on my work, side projects and games.
Suggesting a GNOME distro to someone who's using Windows is a sure way to get them to hate Linux. I personally couldn't stand Ubuntu as a desktop until I tried Kubuntu and KDE which has a much more similar workflow and is actually customizable. I switch between 22.04 and Win10 a lot and on some days I almost forget they're different systems.
I switched to Linux Mint a couple of years ago and couldn't be happier.

So far I had one problem with a botched nvidia driver update, but with the magic of Timeshift, reverting that was painless, and I could upgrade properly later.

I haven't missed Windows a single time since making the switch.

I also love unity! I was devastated when it was dropped. It's been kinda revived recently iirc. I've since switched to Linux mint for my daily driver which I can highly recommend.
How were you able to buy a PC in ~2020 without TPM? I thought that's been built into every PC motherboard since ~2013ish (and ~2008ish for Intel).
Manjaro is pretty good for gaming. I found that arch based gives you access to more solutions and packages.
Try Fedora 40. If you love MacOS I would say you would enjoy the latest Gnome
People don't switch operating systems at the drop of a hat. There's got to be a pretty good reason for it. All the people switching away from Windows, those are probably users that are lost to Microsoft forever. I get that their money comes from other places, but I bet there's a second-order effect of people who don't use Windows—maybe even people who now hate Windows—not having any desire stick with their other products or services either. It's weird that they don't seem to care about this slow diminution of their brand.
I wonder if we're already lost (including myself in "we"). The average home user has ditched MS Office, and is using cloud apps such as Google Docs. They don't even have a reason to know what OS they're using. Things like battery life and wake-up times are what my work colleagues talk about at the lunch table. Setup might be a hassle, but occurs once in the life of the computer. Often, the discussion is in the context of an elderly relative who they're supporting.

At the workplace, a large Microsoft shop is buying a complex package of products and services that I can't even identify all of the pieces of. There's Microsoft stuff on my work computer, and on my company supplied iPhone. I must sheepishly confess that it all just works.

For myself at home, my main computer related interest is programming, and a programmer can live a platform-independent life if they want to. This is what I advocate, above and beyond my actual platform preference.

What I suggest to friends if they're thinking of switching (to Linux, Mac, Chrome) is: First, achieve platform-independence by finding the tools that work across OS's. Get up to speed on those tools. Second, switch platforms. That way, you're 99% up to speed before you even switch.

Can confirm, already use Linux more than 5 years. Never did touching desktop version of libre doc, google doc is better. Opened libre calc sometimes to open local csvs, otherwise google sheet for more advanced use case.

Online tools are already advanced enough for most use case

And once the online dominance is complete, the dark patterns will appear there too, I think. Just like Google search has gone down the drain.
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The issue is the people switching are the kinds of people who set up family computers and recommend things to others. So there is this huge hidden knock on effect of people going from pro-windows to nutrual or recommending a different os.

In the simplist terms, it's a similar reason youtube allows users with ad blockers, those people with ad blockers will still share videos to people without ad blockers.

Very short-sighted move from Microsoft. All of this gain now from ad revenue but long-term damage to the brand.

YouTube is absolutely not ok with adblockers. They try their darnest but just can't keep up with the workarounds.
Switched to Linux in Windows' "golden age" - XP. Never looked back. There's one thing that reminds me that old Windows - cloud providers. Their configuration in UI looks a lot like group policies on Windows. Every time I have to deal with those IAM permissions in Google Cloud I get flashbacks, except now the UI is much slower
- stock is at all-time high

- "all the people" is probably actually well under 1% of users

- successfully switched all corporate accounts from single-purchase w/ occasional renewal to ongoing monthly subscription

- also a lot of of consumer subscriptions

- Azure

- Github

- LinkedIn

- OpenAI investment

I actually agree with you that the Windows experience is getting worse, quickly. But on balance, seems more is going right than going wrong.

I don't think stock would be a good metric. If I had to guess, Windows at this point is probably just a cost center. Their main revenue streams are office362 and azure. The Windows OS itself is just a rounding error.

Another way to put it. People aren't buying Microsoft stock because of Windows. They are buying because of Azure and Office365.

And I think that's why Windows gets worse. They just don't care anymore. I have wanted to like Windows and hoped Microsoft to get serious against these consumer-centric companies like Apple and Google, to use their cloud revenue to pump Windows up. That hasn't happened.
> Microsoft to get serious against these consumer-centric companies like Apple and Google

Microsoft can't do that. It's not in their DNA. Every time Microsoft has tried to make something consumer-centric it ended up flopping eventually. Sometimes things lasted a surprisingly long time!

But their consumer-focused stuff like Zune, Xbox, even their keyboards & mice, eventually all kinda lost focus.

Windows mobile was a weird one because they tried to use the same formula they always use - a corporate OS that had all sorts of knobs and buttons for SysAdmins to manage corporate phones. You could join a Windows phone to a domain and manage it.

Xbox was pretty successful for a while because MS just has so much clout with game developers.

Zune flopped HARD. I think the Surface product line has been kinda here and there - a total failure for consumers but some businesses like it... but not many, because most businesses have a relationship with Dell.

RIP Zune. It was my favorite music player, especially being able to control it without looking at the controls. Tech industries have developed alternatives, but the intuitive features built into the Zune are something I've yet to see be matched. I suspect they moved some of those same UX engineers to the Surface & phone departments, but MS marketing departments seem to have control over things more than the actual UX designers, aaaand it all went to shit.

I sincerely wish more people were able to enjoy the UX that their clever engineers designed, but I suspect their marketing departments were the downfall of those efforts.

What OS does Bill Gates use these days?
To be fair, the Windows experience on managed corporate PCs that are imaged without all the fluff and adware is far superior to what consumers get.

I frankly don't know why anyone who isn't tied to very specific software requirements would ever choose Windows anymore.

I had to replace an aging Pixelbook last year and eventually decided the right decision was to get a Mac. It's stable, the hardware is high quality, it does what it needs to do, most non-enterprise software is available, and the custodian of the operating system isn't licensing my data to 3P advertisers. I almost went Linux -- and have built my own Linux machines dating back about twenty years -- but I just wanted a polished, lightweight laptop I didn't have to worry about. I almost bought a new Chromebook, but the software problem is more acute even if the OS is dead simple, and frankly, the hardware -- ever since the Pixelbook -- has been lacking polish (no matter which OEM you buy from).

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The problem with the Chromebook is that it's basically an educational market product. And that's a different market from most professional users. I'd love a new travel-optimized Chromebook to replace one well out of support. But it really doesn't exist (and there really isn't a perfect MacBook either although the Air isn't bad, if pricey).
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Desktop operating systems are increasingly irrelevant (to a first approximation). Windows is still very relevant, especially on servers, but even on corporate desktops; you just don't see a lot of Windows laptops at the sort of events and companies that most of the readers here are probably most familiar with. But it's not like most companies developing software for the largely Linux ecosystem are doing much desktop-specific investment either. Apple's a bit more complicated because they still want to sell Macs so their operating system can't get too bad--but it's only there to sell MacBooks.
> Windows is still very relevant, especially on servers

Really? The only remnants of Windows Server, that I've seen within the last couple of years, were running Exchange and ActiveDirectory.

Even SQL Server installations are moving to Linux.

making profits and having a good product is 2 different things
yes but making huge profits (and employee compensation rising w/ stock grants and options) explains why nobody there is all that worried that users are unhappy with Windows
a whole bunch of older pcs are going to be completely useless or quickly become virus machines next year when windows 10 hits end of life and windows 11 won't support the intel 7x00 series of chips. A lot of people are going to be making the decision what computer to get next.
This! I've switched to Raspberry Pi OS on a Pi 5 now that a hat lets me use an m.2 SSD drive to boot the OS off of. It's a game changer for web surfing and email. It's also pretty quick for file transfers of music and video.

As for my traditional Windows 10 machine that I game on, in the near future I'll be switching to the best Linux OS for Steam gaming. Two things made me mad enough to change: Win 11 with it's ads and other BS and I'm tired of transfer of data problems relating to both USB-3 and C plug-ins. I've had some experience with Linux, so the transition isn't a problem.

Compatibility with hardware and software means I have to use it even if I don't want to.
Nothing electronic I own feels like mine anymore

My Mac, iPhone, and Apple TV are owned by Apple. My Sony TV is owned by Sony and Google. My Windows PC is owned by Microsoft. My Quest 2 is owned by Meta. My Kindle is owned by Amazon.

At best, the Mac and PC I could install Linux on to make them mine. The rest, not so much

I feel like I own my Mac because it doesn't bother me for anything and lets me do what I want. The iPhone, less so because it's secured against me in many ways.
My Mac is constantly bugging me to install OS updates. Same with my iPad and my iPhone. Apple gives you no option to skip the updates. The only way to avoid the constant carping is to allow Apple to do the update automatically, which is not by any means having control of your own devices.
This is just simply untrue. Go to System Settings, General, Software Update, then click on the "i" next to Automatic. Turn off "Check for updates".
Your suggestion doesn't solve the problem. I want to know about updates without being forced to install them to avoid being badgered. AFAIK that's not possible.
> My Mac is constantly bugging me to install OS updates. Same with my iPad and my iPhone. Apple gives you no option to skip the updates. The only way to avoid the constant carping is to allow Apple to do the update automatically, which is not by any means having control of your own devices.

I've re-read what you wrote several times, and I can't help but come to the same conclusion that the problem you're reporting is related to "constantly bugging" and "Apple gives you no option to skip the updates". Turning off the updates solves both of these.

Now you say you want the harping, but don't want the automatic updates. That's easy: "Check for updates" is on, "Install macOS updates" is off, "Install Security Responses and system files" is off. Now you'll be alerted but the updates won't happen automatically.

I'm not sure if you really couldn't figure this out, or if you're just venting a bit, so I'm happy to give the benefit of the doubt. Either way, now you'll have exactly what you want :)

I think GP wants to have the notifications, and have the option to "skip and don't bother me again with this version", instead of having the same OS upgrade notification popping up every once a while.

It seems like a valid use case (except it goes against Apple's policy of encouraging people to upgrade), but awfully awkward in the context of disputing "(Mac) doesn't bother me for anything and lets me do what I want".

There’s no OS way to do this, but you can certainly kill all the nagging and find out or subscribe to updates through other means.
Idk what you tried, but it's never bothered me. I went out of date without realizing.
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Yet you can't upgrade it, install any non approved software you want, repair it by yourself...
Assuming we're talking about the Mac, which "non approved software" can you not install? I have brew and ports installed and can install tons of stuff. I was even looking into macFUSE to enable NFS but didn't end up finishing the setup. It requires unlocking some parts of the OS and I didn't feel comfortable doing that right now.
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You can replace the Kindle with Kobo. For the most part, Kobo just gets out of your way. Integrates tightly with Calibre. Easily hackable. Many extensions available with installation as simple as dropping a file on the device.

Not a perfect device but good enough that I feel like I own it.

Is there a guide for this you can point to? Exciting to hear, hope it works on older models.
This Reddit post will give you a good high level overview, and has links if you want to explore further.

https://www.reddit.com/r/kobo/comments/18yizux/i_finally_cav...

Here's a detailed guide on how to use Tags in Calibre to set up Collections on Kobo. This was the primary reason I bought a Kobo this year. I have over 1k books. They were mostly unsorted on Kindle. Amazon wouldn't let me use Calibre to organize them, and I didn't want to organize them on the device with its slow interface. With Calibre, I just got everything tagged and they were instantly organized upon upload to the Kobo.

https://www.reddit.com/r/kobo/comments/qlgha1/how_to_create_...

If you end up getting a Kobo, make sure you set up the Calibre Kobo plugin to auto convert every book to the kepub format. Just makes things smoother on the ereader and the plugin does it intelligently. Only sending the kepub to the device but preserves disk space by keeping the books on your desktop in their original format. The first link I mentioned links out to a guide on that.

Thank you!!!
Your Kindle feels like it's owned by Amazon because you're using their books as a service stuff. Zlibrary, Calibre, 24/7 airplane mode, and it's as yours as a ZX Spectrum my dude.
And jailbreak that Kindle and install KOReader on it, too; now it supports epub in a much more awesome reader app (not to mention having the capability to install any gtk app - I have a term emulator with ssh on mine, among others). And you're now root and can remove the amazon crap for real, no need to use airplane mode after that.
> Linux Respects Its Users

Maybe I'm just ranting, but Ubuntu seems to be by far the most common distro for Windows users, and they're definitely not perfect in this respect. I've been running Linux as my main OS for about 20 years and I can't rid myself of snaps. Synaptic will show that the package provided by Mozilla is the latest version and the snap is the installed version. If I reinstall, it goes back to the Mozilla package, only to mysteriously show the snap is the installed version within a few days.

I don't want to bring up the discussion of the Snap Store again, but this experience is pretty much what you get with Windows, just on a much smaller scale. I'd strongly encourage Windows users to install Mint or some other friendly alternative rather than going with the standard recommendation.

Ubuntu lost me over a decade ago or about a decade ago when I did an install and saw Amazon ads in the DE.

The good news is, as you highlight, today there are quiet a few good distros, some that are not that much more of a hassle then Ubuntu for people to get up and going.

And the whole wildly inconsistent UI elements of Linux shows it doesn't respect users.

You have one default app that does things one way (say, with a "Save" button, and a nice "Settings successfully changed!" message), and another that does things a totally different way (say, with an auto-save and no message that it's been saved).

Linux respects developers, in that it allows the people who make aspects of Linux to do anything any way they way -- but without consistency of UX, is it really respectful of users? Or does it just leave them at the mercy of the devs who often give the impression that they don't care about the user at all and can't be bothered to build anything consistently, or re-factor old code to bring it up to modern consistencies, or put even show a little empathy for users who aren't also advanced software developers.

Not everyone wants to learn how to build a car just to drive a car.

(Disclosure... My exposure to Linux is running various distributions on my Raspberry Pi side projects... Pi Hole, Retro Gaming, silly home automation toys. I tried to set up my elderly parents with Mint Linux and that was a complete disaster.)

Is Windows any different in this regard? Windows itself (at least 10, I haven't used 11) has very different UI elements for something as crucial as its own settings, and third party programs very often have wildly different UI styles.
It looks like you don't understand what Linux is at all. It's just a kernel that other distributions build on top of to create an OS. You have multiple "UIs" available in that space, like gnome, kde and others. I have no idea how having choice and being able to customize your desktop experience is a bad thing but I guess some people won't be happy no matter what.
Inside of any one distribution of Linux is what feels like a prom dress made out of fabric remnants.

It feels like they don't have UX designers planning the workflows (or even involved). And that's largely because they don't, right? They have developers building some stuff and doing it however they want, and not really following any sort of enforced brand or style guidelines.

Mostly the various Linux distros still feel like "model train sets" -- built by one guy, for one guy to enjoy alone in his basement. It's work to build something as part of a larger team... designers, developers... then you'd need a manager... and probably some sales people to keep it all funded... easier to just avoid all that stuff and build a model train set. (=

Most of the distros don't take kindly to UX people or product people giving suggestions on GitHub, or other places. It's very much a "if you aren't a dev, we don't want your input" type situation. "You don't get to tell us what to build, not here, not outside of work..." and until Linux makes a real effort to include a variety of people (especially designers!) in the build process, the results will always be the same.

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Gnome is very well designed and consistent. And yes, they employ UX designers.
I'm guessing most those people are just late and came in after the couple "exoduses" of sorts of people jumping ship from Ubuntu to the offshoot projects (Mint, etc.).

As far as my memory and perception of the situation go, there was a time where Ubuntu was #1 on distrowatch and couldn't conceivably be dethroned. Then, they added the spyware in '12 and snaps in '16, neither of which were by any measure without controversy, IMO. (And, spoiler alert -- they have since tumbled down from that position.)

Everything makes sense if you take a moment to understand the business structure of these projects.

Microsoft is a publicly traded, for-profit company.

Canonical Ltd (Ubuntu) is a privately held, for-profit company.

The Linux Foundation is a 501(c)(6) non-profit organization.

Software in the Public Interest (Debian) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

See the pattern?

Use Linux Mint, it's Ubuntu without snap and some other crap.
I switched to Ubuntu from Windows gradually over the last two years and have now dropped Windows entirely. I agree, Ubuntu isn't perfect, but I was a Windows user for about 25 years and the difference in terms of control is night and day.

By the end, it was like Windows was shoving me into things like OneDrive that I hadn't (at least deliberately) installed, didn't want to use, and didn't understand. This set me up for a risk of breaking things when I'd treat it like the regular Windows filesystem, and eventually I did break Windows and had to reinstall.

I've had none of these problems with Ubuntu. I wouldn't be surprised if alternative Linuxes are even better, but I'm satisfied enough with Ubuntu that trying alternatives isn't a priority.

Yup, a 20+ years Linux user here. Most of that time I used Ubuntu but their insistence on shoving shitty snap system down everyone's throats broke the camel's back for me. Switched to Fedora two years ago. Another great example how a clueless business person can mess up otherwise great software.
Ditto - long-time user here. Ubuntu was my intro... and for probably 200 of my classmates.

Those free CDs were incredible in the time of dial-up. This lasted longer than you think for most of America. My rural area and many others didn't get affordable ISDN/DSL/cable until the early 2000s.

Anyway, I didn't stick with them too long. This insistent nature of theirs goes back that long. It was a bit more acceptable, if not something to encourage, given the smaller size of the community.

Fedora/Red Hat are generally, in my opinion, better participants.

That said, with what happened RE: CentOS [releases] to Stream... I truly, honest to goodness, worry for Fedora. It might be next for some other business-minded shenanigans.

Technically/version-wise, whatever - I use Fedora! I'm not worried about new software. Upgrading, especially without testing, isn't compelled.

I'm more worried about new/unfriendly policies to the community; the systems I'm well in control of!

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Removing snaps is trivial.
As is accidentally bringing them back. Choosing another distribution is also trivial.

Results in less work and represents the wider ecosystem, too. Canonical does what Canonical wants.

2024 won't be the year of the Linux desktop, but it will be the year of the Linux desktop for everyone who gives a damn about having control over their digital life. PopOS is lovely so far, I cringe every time I have to interface with Windows 11 for my job.
I don’t think Linux needs to win in one big swoop year. I can see it slowly eating away at windows until it’s as big as MacOS or bigger. I think there could be a tipping point when certain Linux distros are just better for almost everything and windows looks silly in comparison.
There's basically 2 reasons I haven't been able to switch to linux:

1) Fusion 360 - Just can't get it working under linux well enough. 2) Monitors - Always issues mixing highdpi and low dpi monitors in linux, my main is a 4k 144hz 43", the sides and tops are all 2560x1440 27s. Oh and there's my Ceiling 4k projector which I turn on to watch movies or baseball when I lean back and think. Which leads to the other issue, Nvidia seems to greatly limit the number of outputs you can have under linux compared to windows. With 6 monitors, I've never gotten it to work even with 6 of the same monitor, let alone my messed up setup.

Yes yes, woa was me. I've had linux as a daily driver for at least 10 years of my main computer use since 1998. I do really prefer it but so far just making the tradeoff.

Also I tend to play games that have anti-cheat like CoD / PubG, etc which further locks things out.

I do like the direction things are going

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There’s basically 1 reason I haven’t switched back to Mac: I want a non reflective screen - I don’t want to look at an outline of myself when working, and I want a laptop I can work with in any position, not just where light sources and reflections behind me are carefully removed.
Just put an anti-glare screen on it. Tons of Mac users feel the same way and do this (myself among them).

And fwiw, you can make a glossy screen into a matte one with a cover, but you can't make a matte screen into a glossy one the same way. Which may be why Apple makes all their screens glossy.

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Apple doesn’t offer such thing. And their laptops are too thin, you’re supposed to take them off before closing.
Apple doesn't but tons of third parties do. And I leave mine on my MBP M2 permanently fwiw. There are ones that don't prevent sleep on lid close.
It's sad to see Windows fall so far from the Win2k days but this trajectory has been obvious since Windows XP.

Fortunately or unfortunately, for most people for most things, the host OS hardly matters anymore. The operating system is now the browser. And this "doesn't feel like mine anymore" is 100x worse there because corporations have fogotten that they're voluntarily presenting data upon the request of an external client and what said client does with the data is none of their business. It's as if visiting a website and downloading the publicly available contents is a nation setting up an embassy of "foreign soil" on your hardware. Editing CSS (or whatever) is equivalent to vandalizing a physical storefront because the pixels on your monitor are theirs not yours despite it being your hardware. Even the very protocol of hypertext transport (HTTP/3) is now designed around being encryption verified JS application delivery for corporate person use cases with no allowances for HTML hypertext transport for human person use cases. So not even linux/mac/bsd/etc is free from the trend.

The first time I needed to install Linux on my computer was last week because Wireshark didn’t support 802.11 packet capture on Windows or WSL. So, I installed Ubuntu on my Surface Laptop 3, and my experience had been quite terrible. (Disclaimer: I’m a former Windows engineer, but I’ve also been using Linux since Slackware 3 occasionally)

* Setup started in 100% HiDPI scaling, making everything impossible to read. Every time I ran setup, I had to set it to 200% using display settings before I do anything else.

* Installation software crashed twice mid-installation. I was only able to complete installation on my third attempt.

After the installation, I noticed that Ubuntu doesn’t have the features below out of the box: https://x.com/esesci/status/1803374884858347856?s=46 You either had to go through painful and complicated configuration steps, or install third-party software:

* Hybrid sleep (is a must for laptops).

* Face login.

* Live full disk encryption on demand. I’m actually baffled by this as Bitlocker on Windows makes this trivial. I actually expected FDE to be enabled from the installation by default but I wasn’t even asked.

* Fast fractional scaling on HiDPI displays. 200% is just too big and 100% is too small, and 150% hogs the CPU (or GPU?). As I understand, fast fractional scaling is impossible with Linux because fractional scaling is a bitmap operation while it’s just a rendering parameter on Windows.

* No factory reset. If you ran a script that messed up your system, your only option is to reinstall the OS. The problem with that is, if you had to install it using a very slow USB stick in the first place, a reset operation also becomes a multi-hour operation while Windows could just use its local recovery image to reinstall itself in a much shorter time.

All in all, Ubuntu felt like a huge step back from Windows. I haven’t tried other distros, but I don’t think the difference would be significant for the issues I mentioned.

Yes, I also dislike the features in Windows that inconvenience people, but man, does Linux have a long way to go.

A lot of that is based on the hardware that you're using it on. If you want to run Linux and go out of your way to find the right hardware (like an Ubuntu certified model[0]) then your experience will be pretty darn close.

Fingerprint login, graphics scaling, sleep, and everything works out of the box on the Thinkpad I bought for my non-technical GF to run Ubuntu on. (She installed it herself!)

0: https://ubuntu.com/certified/laptops

Thanks, but I don’t understand what those laptops have that enable high-performance fractional scaling that a Surface Laptop 3 doesn’t. It probably has the same GPU as many laptops in the list have.

Or, what does my SL3 lack to prevent it from going to hybrid sleep? Doesn’t make sense to me.

Indeed, if you get well-supported hardware these become non-issues. This was also one of my learning points when diving into Linux. It's something you have to take into account. Most hardware is made to run Windows, so with most hardware that you get, you don't have a problem when running Windows (apart from Windows itself).

With Linux, you are dependent on the community that it made good support for the hardware you're running it on. And unless you're a pro you'll have a very hard time getting to make certain hardware work if it's not well supported.

Therefore you should think about the hardware you buy if you want to run Linux. With Windows you don't have to think about it because most hardware is made to run Windows or it's even already pre-installed. Macs have their own dedicated hardware wirh their OS pre-installed so you also don't have to think about it. But with Linux you suddenly have to consider which hardware to buy. It's something you have to get used to coming from Windows / Mac.

>As I understand, fast fractional scaling is impossible with Linux because fractional scaling is a bitmap operation while it’s just a rendering parameter on Windows.

Windows, like every modern operating system 2006 or newer, has a graphics compositor to do basic things like allow GPU-accelerated window stretching, prevent screen tearing, and so on (OS X had one slightly earlier). Meanwhile while Linux has had multiple modern attempts to build a composited graphics stack (Compiz, Wayland) certain very vocal elements of the Linux community complain about any attempt to build a graphical stack you can't send via carrier pigeon and have dragged their feet or otherwise thwarted wide(r) adoption.

For the most part, Windows doesn't achieve fractional/integer scaling by doing gpu-accelerated bitmap scaling.

On Windows and MacOS and iOS and Android the GUI toolkits are aware of the scaling factor and draw themselves appropriately. It has nothing to do with the compositor.

Some legacy apps on Windows are indeed scaled like you describe, resulting in a blurry mess like on Linux, but they are few and far between.

That's a fair point. I could also have said "certain very vocal parts of the Linux community have resisted every effort to move to modern UI toolkits".

DWM, Direct2D, Direct Composition, and the fact that major Windows UX frameworks use them does allow significant offloading of drawing to GPU instead of CPU, however.

What happens in the datacenter where you don't have a GPU but each user probably does?
Remote Desktop Protocol supports those APIs natively and can work with locally accelerated surfaces (RDP is way, way better than VNC or other Linux remote access options, particularly over low bandwidth connections - it's generations better technology).
It's mainly because of your system of choice. For an alternative OS to run smoothly on a Windows-only device, the manufacturer needs to either have good documentation (so that someone else can do the work) or not do proprietary non-standard stuff.

See https://github.com/linux-surface/linux-surface/wiki/Supporte...

If you are using a recent version of Ubuntu, FDE and HiDPi should not be an issue except for old apps. Factory Reset doesn't exist on most desktop distros but things are moving towards other (and better IMHO) approaches. e.g. Deterministic NixOS or Fedora Atomic Desktops. Hybrid Sleep and Face login is not available OOTB but can be configured. I agree with your remaining points.

All good points but you were likely asked for encryption during setup, you just didn't notice (it's at the partition step).

You are correct that it's impossible to do after the fact whilst the system is live. LUKS is also not very resilient. Bitlocker stores several copy of its headers in case of sector damage. With luks2 you're SOL.

Basically, I just picked “dual boot” and how much space I wanted for Ubuntu partition. Don’t remember any question about encryption.
I know this is going to sound stereotypical Linux user-y, but it's really because Ubuntu is pretty terrible nowadays. Several of those are enabled by default on Fedora for example, and Fedora is nowadays about as easy to use as Ubuntu
I tried to install Fedora last week but I couldn't because my mouse cursor would disappear when it was over the installer window.
If you'd been riding tricycles your whole life you'd fall off a bicycle the first time. Keep at it. It's worth it.
[flagged]
What do you mean by “learn to install and use”? I installed and used it and wrote about the issues in the process. Did you mean “learn not to complain about your problems”? :)
This reads like a parody of those old stereotypes of arrogant dismissive types - the ones who rubbish new users' experiences and intelligence on the basis that 'it works for me'. You're surely not serious?
I don't see myself moving away from Windows due to the software ecosystem that has been built upon it for decades, but if I was forced to use the "Home" version I would be long gone. That being said, when I can, I use Linux on various PCs and it's a refreshing experience.
What software specifically is preventing you from moving, if you don't mind me asking?
I am chained to Windows (not the OP) all over the place.

CAD programs, e.g. SolidWorks, Alibre, SketchUp, eDrawings, Fusion 360? Windows.

CAM programs, e.g. BobCAM, MeshCAM, MasterCAM? Windows.

Office? Windows (LibreOffice is not a functional replacement - you can’t risk having documents being sent to clients looking bad).

FileMaker, Act! Pro, other desktop databases? Windows.

Router control software, e.g. Mach3, Mach4, UCCNC? Windows.

Adobe anything (GIMP is worse than a joke)? Or, if you don’t like Adobe, Affinity? Windows.

No shortage of Windows and Mac only programs in a business. Other than MasterCAM, my family uses or has used every piece of software I just listed in our small business. Linux is not an option; only for home hobbyist use, maybe. If you could get by with a Chromebook, Linux will work for you, otherwise it probably won’t. (This might sound like a slam, but remember Steam also runs on Chromebooks now.)

> you can’t risk having documents being sent to clients looking bad

So I have some terrible news for you about what happens if your client has an older version of Office than you do...

Thanks for the answer! I have a follow up question, if you don't mind...

> Office? Windows (LibreOffice is not a functional replacement - you can’t risk having documents being sent to clients looking bad).

What kind of documents are you sending to clients? In my experience I would only share PDFs 99% of the time. So is your concern that the PDF will look unprofessional or that you need to send .docx or .xlsx or .pptx files to clients?

> Adobe anything (GIMP is worse than a joke)? Or, if you don’t like Adobe, Affinity? Windows.

They run on mac

Most of these will run in a VM just fine.

I have a barebones 'just installed' win10 image that I use to clone a new VM for each new app I add. Solidworks, NX, Cadence, Altium and ISE all work fine with no problems because of 3d acceleration or such.

Admitably my impetus for this was conflicting FlexLM emulators cough, but there's no reason it can't work just as a way of keeping things organised and clean on a host OS that isn't windows.

> Most of these will run in a VM just fine.

Emphatically, no. Running CAM, or CAD software, in a VM, is almost unusably slow with any large models. I’ve tried. It’s not fun to zoom through a large model at 5 FPS. You need to have GPU passthrough, and even though you can make that work, it’s very risky (hardly a stable sane thing to build a business on), and you’re just running Windows again, but worse. We need GPUs in Windows already (primarily NVIDIA) just to keep the CAD from being too slow, and to keep our rendering options open.

Even if it worked brilliantly in a VM (which it doesn’t), why would I double my operating systems and run them simultaneously? That’s just begging for compatibility issues, frustration, and defeats the point of avoiding Windows entirely. Any benefits for avoiding Windows are almost completely negated.

CAD is exactly what I'm using VMs with GPU passthrough for, and it's working briliantly there. The advantage is that most of these VMs have no internet access at all (they only see a single SMB share on the host) - so most of the security and privacy issues are just non-existent.
Running Windows in a VM us still running Windows.

I would consider Wine instead, or Proton. It may work really well with some software, but may have trouble with other software.

Wine won't work with a lot of the enterprisy stuff that also requires license servers, etc.

Besides the design stuff, the entire manufacturing industry is dependent on Microsoft. There are thousands -- probably hundreds of thousands -- of air-gapped NT4 machines in factories running very specific but unsupported for 20 years software, for example. All the big MES systems, test software, and various tooling to run factories are all designed for Windows only.

This is correct.

Some of that software, especially for controlling specific hardware, can even be DOS software.

The hardware can be reliable and expensive; software support, long unavailable.

Wish it worked with SolidWorks. Their compatibility page for that application is mostly "Garbage" rankings.
You can with a tremendous amount of effort create a brittle config that will run some of that software acceptably, especially if you're sailing the high seas. In a real world situation it's an absolute no-go.
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I run exclusively Linux, don't even really feel the need to keep a dual boot partition around, and have probably installed Arch Linux over 50 times, but I do understand that there are many a plethora of different Windows software ecosystems that aren't duplicated in Linux. I'm a firm believer in if there is a will there is way, but sometimes I've had to walk away and either say F this or break out the Window's partition. Luckily I don't "need" Adobe products, or perfect support for some of my hardware devices, or the exact right libraries for that kinda obscure game, or 99 other things. Linux is probably good for a vast majority of us though.
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I was about 25 years into my career when I started a new job and the desktop was running windows. I explained I had never really used it and they would need to let me run Linux.
- no more solitaire

- cortana

- ads… ADS… in the OS

- forced updates

- windows live accounts (or is it microsoft.com? wait, no, I think it’s office.com?)

- two system settings screens

- major new versions after “last version of Windows ever: 10”

Oh man, the absolute clusterfuck of settings screens is irritating. OS settings interface isn't a fucking micro service project; it's like technically, yes, they're updating the same things underneath but I don't want to spend mental energy thinking about the best way to update network settings in <current year>
To be fair, I still have no idea how to set the DNS server on an Ubuntu server in a way that won’t get wiped out on reboot. Is it resolv.conf? Nope, that’s generated by another tool. systemd-resolve? I think that’s getting closer… network manager? By the time I figure it out they’ll add another one to the pile.
The network config for out-of-the-box Ubuntu server has been stable for 6 years. You need to modify netplan's config: /etc/netplan/*.yaml (default is 00-installer-config.yaml). This renders volatile systemd-networkd configs in /run/systemd/network which, in turn, will configure systemd-resolved appropriately.

If you've opted out of netplan, then you need to configure one of systemd-networkd or NetworkManager manually (on server, NetworkManager is only present if you've installed it).

I personally used to be opposed to netplan but I had to do some very esoteric network configuration which was super easy with netplan.

> I personally used to be opposed to netplan but I had to do some very esoteric network configuration which was super easy with netplan.

Unless it still insists on realizing all state or no state, I think I still prefer the things doing the work for/underneath Netplan

To your point, esoteric configurations. Netplan is all or nothing: done improperly, it can more easily break the whole house of cards.

It tries/applies everything... where the others allow more utility

Ah right, I remember I ended up writing a netplan YAML. I still couldn’t get it to persist across reboots, and just resorted to running “sudo netplan apply” every time it rebooted.
The ecosystem has settled on NetworkManager for desktops/laptops. The systemd ones are great for servers or VMs.
Windows settings have always been bad, but the new UI is truly an atrocity.

I think it's intentional because they don't really want users changing stuff, especially the spyware parts.

Android is also truly horrible, with some settings (like privacy settings) redirecting you to a sluggish embedded remote web page.

> two system settings screens

I dread the time when they remove the old one. Small settings that I like to tinker with are hidden here and I doubt program managers will care about them at all.

Example: customizing the mouse theme. Seems frivolous, but without changing the text cursor, increasing the cursor size too much makes it very difficult to pinpoint text since the effect point is on the center of a big cursor rather than on a clearly defined edge.

I just purchased the new Surface Laptop (7) coming from MacOS. I boot it up, ads are in the start menu, ads are in the weather app, ads are in the email application, ads are in the notifications, and edge’s start screen. I research a bit and you much pay $70/year for the office suite and $20/month for copilot+. Yah, nah, already returned it and back with macOS.
I actually thought everyone other than linux was forcing updates at this point. Do apple devices let you shut them off?
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Apple devices don't even turn it on. iOS devices it's offered to you during setup, but on the Mac only Rapid Security Responses and XProtect autoupdates are on by default. Changes are a simple toggle. Auto check, on or off. Auto install, on or off.
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Oh don’t tell me MacOS treats me as the true owner. Would you want to switch to Safari as the default browser?. Would you enable iCloud sync, your disk is low. Would you update tonight or tomorrow? Can be annoying just as Windows.
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I don’t understand the complaints about the software updates (IME they are all letting me know it will happen tonight unless I stop it).

I asked me one time about safari. Over the life of each computer.

Macbooks won't apply updates unless you leave them plugged in overnight. If you do the totally normal thing of not charging a full battery, you get to enjoy the riveting experience of watching a slow update screen 30 minutes after you next use it.
But you don’t have to, macOS, AFAIK, will always ask you before it reboots into the logo-and-progress-bar update screen. Even if you manually launch the update, after it finishes the Preparing stage, it will again warn you that the machine is about to reboot, and gives you the option to cancel that. I’m genuinely curious about the sequence that leads to macOS forcing an update on you, I’ve never had that happen in my 10 years on a Mac.
That has never happened to me
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I always leave mine plugged in (and connected to a monitor, etc)
It's okay if our usage is different. I like keeping mine in a bag when it's not needed. That shouldn't be an unreasonable place to keep a laptop.
MacOS has been no exception to the enshittification trend, but Windows has always led by piles of shit, and is now shitting laps around the competition. Apple is trying to sell Apple to you. Microshit is selling you.
Stallman for all his faults at least got this fundamental message right.. these software ain't free.

When I was logging into my work the other day, using MS Teams it suddenly dawned on me that my younger self is very disappointed. There I was in the process of logging into work VPN, the teams app is actually scanning my face couple of times... and god knows what else.

I don't know why people even need to write the disclaimer "for all his faults". Who doesn't have faults? At least his fault isn't being a greedy capitalist like most of our "thought leaders". Oddly nobody ever mentions those faults, though.
You raise an interesting question, so I'm resisting the urge to lazily guess.

Everyone could benefit from more grace. Him, myself, all of us.

We do all have faults. They aren't all the same, though. Measured responses are important.

I completely agree with RMS on a lot of things, how I interact with people (and his big area of contention) isn't one

Windows is just plain humiliating and embarrassing to use at this point. MacOS is starting to creep that way with lots of pushing for signing up for additional services, as well. It’s a real shame, but it’s no wonder no one wants to deal with a PC anymore outside of the office where most of the trash is turned off by corporate IT.
I don't think that's the right causal direction. People aren't using home PCs anymore because they use their phones, or their work laptop. At least that's my take.

Part of me wonders if all this advertisement and service hawking is related to a fear of massive market size reduction, overall.

[dead]
There is a reason why it was renamed from "My Computer" to "This PC".
I've been out of the Windows loop for roughly as many years as the "skip every other Windows release" is holding: Windows 98 good, Windows Me bad, Windows XP good, Windows Vista bad, Windows 7 good, Windows 8 bad, Windows 10 good, Windows 11 bad ... has this meta rule changed? There seems wisdom or even intent behind it in that MS keeps correcting their overreaching changes every other release.

The one thing Windows gets right IMO is binary backward compatibilty, in particular with games, but also with older apps still from the pre-subscription era (3D modelling, Adobe sw, ...). Unfortunately, x86 seems kindof going under. Haven't tested extensively, but I wouldn't be surprised if a regular (non-pro) iPad can run old DOS games on RetroArch/dosbox longer on a charge than any outdated x86 hardware can. Right now, MS also again attempts to bring Windows onto ARM after their former attempt failed miserably with no exclusive software available that people actually wanted to use (cf Dells new ARM-based XPS and others). Is there instruction-level emulation with JIT on Windows ARM for x86/64 like Apple's Rosetta/Rosetta2?

I mean, it's a classic tactic used by many companies like supermarkets to increase prices, for example. For supermarkets it goes like this: increase price (e.g. 1.75 to 2.00 per unit) and simultaneously put the product on offer (e.g. 3 for 5.00). Then remove offer, leaving the price increased to 2.00 per unit. It basically softens the blow by tricking the consumer into thinking every step is at worst neutral.

It's the same tactics with Windows: introduce shockingly bad new version, but continue support of old version (seems neutral because "I'm never upgrading"). Force new users to new version. Release new "good" version with all the compromises of previous version (seems positive).

Use LTSC, it's marketed for "enterprise" but it's functionally identical to the regular versions with the bonus of advanced configuration that lets you disable AV, forced updates, telemetry, ads, etc.
Where can I buy a license / key for LTSC?

I looked on Microsoft's site but all it says is to contact their sales team. Did you have luck with that process? Usually when a company says 'contact sales' that means it is very expensive.

It seems like Microsoft are afraid to make it easily available because if word got out every enthusiast and power user would switch leaving them without the ongoing ad revenue.
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Much better business choice to have the enthusiasts move away from MS products forever.
> Where can I buy a license / key for LTSC?

You need to buy into Volume Licensing, which requires at least 4 licenses. You can't buy it directly from Microsoft, but there are resellers that will sell it to you ( https://appsource.microsoft.com/en-us/marketplace/partner-di... ). It works out to about $200.

Afterwards, you'll be able to buy an LTSC license. It's around $300 per device.

I'm pretty sure that individuals can't just buy any Enterprise edition, this one included. Everyone, or almost everyone who's running LTSC outside of enterprise settings is doing so through "other, mysterious ways" that I'm not sure I can mention on here. There may also be unrelated scripts that can strip a normal install of Win10 into something resembling LTSC, but I might be misremembering.
It is also not meant for regular PCs, so you won't be able to get a license legally.
Volume licensing only.
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Windows, after 98SP2 and XP it just became absolutely untenable. (it started during XP already) Any pre-installed version was rife with junk one just wanted to get rid of. What still remains to this day, the inexplicable slowdown between a fresh install and a couple of months down the road, at boot time processes which keep writing to hd choking the os for tens of minutes, restore point hell, ... anti-virus which guaranteed ruins your OS ... software that somehow gets installed out of nowhere ... a printer completely impossible to install, then there's the 600mb HP printer software you need to install ... the endless dialog questions you are bombarded with at random times ... I think many people accept this as normal, part of how things are. I switched to Linux and it stays out of my way. I do recognize that some of its configs are difficult for the non-experienced user, however on the flip side you can actually do fixes yourself. Its comparable to someone who can work on his/her own car. YMMV.
About the first time there was some hidden Registry value jacking up my life, Windows made me feel like the product, instead of Microsoft's OS or application.

Open Source isn't challenge-free, but it's much closer to the chess experience that I seek than the poker experience of proprietary alternatives.

I don't understand the chess/poker metaphor; could you elaborate on that, please?
Just guessing: in chess you have all the information, whereas in poker you don't.
I want the details that matter to be in view, as on a chess board.

Not stashed away in some obscure, poker-style location.

Been trying out AtlasOS recently (in a VM), which is one of those Open Source projects for debloating Windows: https://atlasos.net

It's been pretty good so far, and makes Win 11 seem like a usable desktop rather than the piece of shit that MS wants to inflict on people.

Linus Tech Tips reviewed it a while back, and gave it the thumbs up:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dc7CIkZcWYE

Bizarrely, the earliest versions of AtlasOS used to disable security updates. No idea what was going through their heads when they did that.

Thankfully that stupidity has passed (after lots of people complained), so (security) updates work as expected these days.

I love the irony of how this article is plastered in so many awful video ads that is almost unreadable.
Huh? There are ads on that site? I guess it's on you that you're browsing the web without an adblocker.
The only reason I still dual boot win11 is for 3 programs that require windows only drivers. I purchased that laptop specifically because it supported dual ssd.

Win11 offline install and de-dork instructions is a must:

https://github.com/StellarSand/privacy-settings/blob/main/Pr...

Even then, one must assume win11 comes with a telemetry payload every second update.

Linux has its own share of issues, but is far easier to develop on (if you check the hardware support before purchase). The only parts of win11 that are any good was the FOSS they packaged in.

Strange times for sure, MS still chasing a set-top box market 30 years after it flopped =)

Update: This Debloating tool seems promising: https://github.com/LeDragoX/Win-Debloat-Tools

It’s one of many I was able to find!

My favourite version of windows was Windows 2000. It was a true get shit done and stay out of the way experience. I believe the enterprise server versions retained some of that appeal (might still).

I'll probably be building a new desktop in the next year or two, and I'll try running Debian on it first. (Or maybe a SteamOS fork.) I don't want to run Windows 11 on anything, and Windows 10 doesn't fully support new CPUs anymore, and official support for everything stops October 2025.

Forcing ads into something is a sure fire way to get me to stop using a product.

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Although not non existent, I’ve found this to be less of an issue with the Surface laptops and look forward to trying the Surface CoPilot PCs. Have never had that much of an issue with Windows 11. I think Recall could be a useful feature once implemented. On non surface laptops, I still don’t understand why PC manufacturers are so beholden to McAfee?
McAfee pays the bridge trolls :)
I agree with the sentiment but this particular website is so chokefull of ads, it’s hard to take the complaints seriously
I hate the term, but this is a crude instance of 'whataboutism'. You don't run your life through howtogeek.
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My friend recently got a new Windows PC. Out of the box, it spent maybe 15-20 minutes updating itself.

"We're getting things ready", reboot, create a Microsoft account, 10 data sharing settings to turn off, "almost ready..."

Iirc, a MacBook is ready to use without any updates.

I am exclusively a Linux user (mobile and desktop) but I gotta be fair: if updates upon installation are the main complaint...

Pretty sure some vendors update phones in the store to avoid bothering the customer with it. Seems like a lot of effort to boot the full inventory's amount of phones every time there's a security patch only so people don't have to download a diff on first launch (edit: found it https://www.macrumors.com/2024/03/27/what-new-machine-to-upd...)

Which Linux phone and on what phone hardware?
Just a regular Samsung (S10e because it has a headphone jack; bought second hand to reduce e-waste), running Debian in userspace on the stock kernel because I didn't want to give up things like the camera 960fps slow motion feature. I like open source but I also like practical usability ^^'

The Debian "app" gives me access to apt and anything that has an ARM build, which is nearly everything. Sometimes I write code on it, like a PoC to brute force a numeric parking lot voucher was the most recent instance, but most commonly I use qalc (best calculator ever, also use it on desktop) and sshd to remotely access photos/Screenshots. It used to be more featureful and you could run things like wavemon and aircrack, but selinux restrictions have made that a thing of the past. Surely it's possible to adjust, but I haven't invested the time in finding out how yet

I just got a new MacBook Air a couple of days ago, and a couple weeks before that I helped my mom set up a new Win 11 laptop.

The Macbook's setup is definitely a bit faster than Windows, but it's not way faster. I still had to turn off a lot of the things it suggests, and I still was prompted to update the OS. However, the Macbook was less pushy and I felt the features at least seemed to offer some user value.

Win11 install was v.slow, much slower than Pop_OS!, say, and infinitely more annoying. And each user (on Home edition) that logs in has to be configured ... "we're still going to advertise to you, you may as well let us spy on you so you get adverts you'll like" ... sheesh.

You're immediately hit with apps you can't uninstall (Edge) too.

Fwiw, CS2 ran away smoother for me on Kubuntu than it does on Win11 (same hardware). I wasn't expecting that.

I think it will ask, but it’s optional. You can do it later if you’d prefer.

The only time it’s mandatory is if you are restoring from a back up or transferring from another computer with a newer operating system.

So if your old machine was on 10.20.1 but your new machine is 10.19.4 because that was the newest when it was put in box then you’ll have to update it first.

> a MacBook is ready to use without any updates.

Do you want to give this app access to downloads? To desktop? To microphone? What about this app? Sign in to iCloud. Sign in again. Maybe this time? Nope, sign in to iCloud.

I’ve picked my poison, and it’s Apple, but it’s far from perfect.

Those aren’t updates.

They’re obnoxious. I’m getting more annoyed with MacOS too for that and other reasons mostly around services.

But you can start using it without OS updates.

They aren’t updates, but a new Mac is not completely ready to go and nag free.
I'm not sure why you'd want to start using an OS without running the latest revision.
You can choose to run updates if you want. Choice bing the operative word.
What business is it of yours?

Or Microsoft's?

Or Apple's?

Microsoft care quite a bit because security vulnerabilities of end user machines that were out of date was a huge issue. Since they basically stopped allowing users to run outdated versions, that problem has effectively disappeared.
So it was necessary to destroy the product in order to save its users. Got it.

Suggest reading up on the history of personal computing, and then ask yourself if this is how it was supposed to go. At this point, even Mac and Linux users are starting to feel the loving embrace of their OS vendors' paternalism.

As soon as computers are on a network that changes things. A compromised machine is a danger to others.

> So it was necessary to destroy the product in order to save its users.

I fail to see how an updated OS is a destroyed product.

As soon as computers are on a network that changes things. A compromised machine is a danger to others.

I don't think you want to go there, broheim. Wait'll you hear my opinion of how "safe" your computer is, and whether it should be allowed on a network.

I fail to see how an updated OS is a destroyed product.

A personal computer, along with its operating system, should do what its owner tells it to do.

That was kind of the original idea, anyway.

What is the alternative to the access problem? Would you prefer apps be able to access that stuff without permission? I get it’s annoying but at least it’s safe?
> What is the alternative to the access problem?

I don’t have a perfect solution, but I also don’t have billions in the bank and lots of employees tasked to the issue.

One popup with a list of apps and their permissions would at least be a one stop shop, but even that wouldn’t be great on a new machine setup as your apps aren’t all there yet.

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I agree. My solution is to remove software that keeps asking after being denied (logitech!).
I have to admit, I read the article and the comments and can't help but smile a little. Personally, I switched from Windows to macOS & iOS (Linux on my second computer) back in 2013. Even though I am still ridiculed by Windows users for my Apple ecosystem, I have never regretted this step myself. macOS has never felt like it was patronizing me or getting in my way - it just works. While all my colleagues who use Windows are still busy setting up their development environment for every single project, I've been able to work for a long time because I configured the whole thing once many years ago. In short, my tolerance threshold for poor user experience in software has simply dropped to 0. And I can only encourage everyone to make the switch if you're not happy - sometimes the grass really is greener on the other side.
MacOS is not without its issues - the delays in application launch while it checks Apples whitelist for apps you've installed on your own machine, yourself, are pretty obnoxious.
What delay are you talking about? I never encountered such issues. Apps are launching extremely fast. With an ARM Mac almost instantly.

But maybe it’s just an issue if you are using the App Store variants of those apps. I don’t have experience in that. I am using zero apps from the App Store.

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In addition to the obvious, Windows feels like a neglected ecosystem. They pile on new, half-baked features without fixing what’s already present and broken for years.

Try searching for a file by name. Third-parties have had this figured out for years and yet Microsoft can’t deliver accurate or quick results.

Two different interfaces for settings since the failed Metro experiment. The jarring introduction of old NT menus where they haven’t updated a setting to the new UI.

I could go on, but the author has done a good job of cataloguing a broken product.

It's pretty sad, but with each iteration of Windows, it feels more and more impersonal and intrusive. There could be a mass migration to MacOS and Linux for many of us.
MacOS is going through the same thing. It’s not nearly as bad, but Apple keeps pushing their services and being more in your face about it.

I don’t mind them trying. But don’t keep asking, or ask again on every update, or badge settings because I haven’t my added to my wallet, or keep telling me how much better a family plan is when I’m single. It’s not better, it’s a waste of money.

I can’t imagine switching off macOS/iOS. I don’t want Linux or Windows. But I’m getting less happy every year.

MacOS is getting worse, for sure, but compared to Windows, it's way "behind" in all the bad ways. As a life-long Windows user, who is also comfortable with Linux, MacOS seems to have the best of all worlds, currently.
I bought my first Windows computer in about 20 years a few months ago. It’s got 11 on it.

It's an insanely tiny very low power thing that was almost as cheap as I could get. I just needed a Windows PC around and it fit my needs. Totally fine for basic stuff.

But wow. I’ve seen articles about how it was getting worse, new things MS has done, pulled back on, and put in later.

I was used to all the stupid advertisement stickers that have been there forever. Bing desktop images I’ve seen before and is a nice default IMO.

But the big ads in the start menu? And the thing of the day on the search bar? Candy Crush and other crap? CONSTANT OneDrive and Office 365 nagging? Are you sure you didn’t mean Edge this time? Really?

I’d heard of it all but it’s so comically over the top in person. And takes a while to find out how to disable.

My last personal PC was XP Pro in the early 2000s. I’ve used a number of work PCs with newer versions but they were all locked down with group policy so none of that appeared.

Windows is a self parody at this point. I know it’s a very good OS technically. But wow they found out how to ruin it.

Thank you for sharing your story. I'd like to add that it's very much possible to disable many of these annoying things. But doing so: 1) requires some research 2) can cause your system to become unstable (e.g. if you run a script that tweaks many settings in the registry) 3) those settings may get reset with a major Windows update 4) you hardly need to do this on MacOS. Myself, I have my ways of dealing with all of these things. But it feels like an uphill battle.
It is, I did it. It just took a while.

There were system settings for the start menu things and the search bar. All the preloaded crud like Candy Crush, which I got the impression was more of a placeholder(?), was removed easily enough through the add/remove software panel. There was a preference somewhere to get Edge to shut up too.

I think I might’ve had to Google something to find one setting. None of it was really too bad. It’s just a bunch of wasted time that I shouldn’t have had to deal with.

And it feels like the OneDrive pop-up comes back every once in a while after a system update. But that’s easily dismissed too.

Nothing came from my OEM, it was just a bog standard Windows install. All the junk comes with windows. As the user, none of this was for me.

I view some of the stuff Apple does as an attempt to help me by selling me something, though not all of it. I don’t want it to happen. It’s annoying. But it somehow feels more appropriate than what Windows does.

Preloading Candy Crush? I mean come on.

Wait until you run a PiHole and see all the telemetry and dns requests that are made to *.apple.com even when you are not signed into iCloud.
That's a fair point. I just find that Windows is far more aggressive in throwing their latest feature or "desired user behavior" (example #2 below) in your face. Examples include:

* Cortana. Nobody should have been forced to use a modern version of Clippy, but at the OS level, and one named after a video game (AI) character. It made the whole OS feel like a joke - to me, at least.

* Tricking/forcing people to sign in with Microsoft/Outlook credentials, so their Windows account would now be tied to MS online credentials.

* Tricking/forcing users to upgrade into Windows 10. This happened to countless people, including to someone in my family.

* Displaying literal ads in the Start Menu

I’m signed in and use a lot of Apple’s stuff so it doesn’t matter to me.

It’s the ads for services or upgrades to service plans or new features of services that I don’t care about that I hate.

IAPs ruined the App Store, services are ruining the OSes.

Seriously. macOS is getting this same sort of thing, but it’s being slow walked.
There is no perfect choice here.

I left the MS Windows ecosystem in around 2001, did not really use XP or 7. I was on various linux distros until 2015- and for my needs at the time they were great! I used mostly desktops (power management/sleep not a big issue) and did not have to interop with "regular" users using MS Office, etc. I did some development, and in this area Linux excelled. I also had time to tweak and twiddle until things worked well.

2015 - 2021 I was on Mac OS. It was an improvement over Linux in several ways- mobile HW was great, sleep no problem, and I could interoperate. MacOS is great in so many ways (and as mentioned Apple HW is generally top-notch), but not perfect. For example, they don't really want you running "unapproved" (unsigned) software, and I understand network is needed to check if the software is approved: https://appleinsider.com/inside/macos/tips/how-to-launch-any... . Together with the fact that I had very little HW control (can't upgrade or replace parts myself on Macbooks especially) and that Apple make their stuff software pretty "sticky" (hard to get your data out) I ended my run using MacOS as my primary computer.

So now I am on MS Windows again, like the old days. It has the issues indicated in the article for sure- but I do feel a little more control than MacOS, strangely. Its easy, it mostly works and gets out of the way, and I can still upgrade RAM etc (for now, anyway- ARM PCs might be more like current MacBooks and could change this). Dev is better than in the past, and interop is no problem. The main reason I am on Windows is backward comparability. As I have aged, I value being able to use old things- and on this MS Windows is unmatched in my experience. I will see how long I last before the next leap ;-)

I agree with all the points you made. Windows is very open in many ways - at least relative to MacOS. In my main laptop, I have 2 SSD slots and the memory is also swappable. Not to mention what's possible with something like the Framework laptops.

Meanwhile, Linux may be far more open, but a lot of hardware might not work at 100% feature parity (e.g. various peripherals, especially anything bluetooth).

It's also true that the interop situation has gotten far better on Windows. WSL works very well. But I'd also say that all 3 main OSs have much better interop than in the past. For example, gaming on Linux is more than viable, thanks to Valve. Finally, The Browser has become an OS of its own. And Electron-based apps like VSCode, Discord, and many others, are multiplatform.

Personally, I find all the 3 of the main OSs to be very compelling and impressive. They each have their own set of pros and cons. For someone who just wants things to work, MacOS is a great choice - but one that feels quite limiting (but some people feel a sense of freedom in that, actually). Windows also works very well in that regard. It's just that for many, it feels like Microsoft is treating us Windows-folk as dumb cattle and that they are taking our loyalty for granted. Meanwhile, Linux.. is hard to define. It's a lot of things and it's a constantly moving target. For me, I have found Linux on the desktop to have the most pain points. Not ones that I cannot manage or work around, but ones I'd rather not have to deal with.

ChromeOS could step up as the Linux destination. One way or another, I'd like to see Windows get what it deserves for treating its users this way.
I still use Windows for gaming, and it still shocks me every time how poor quality it is.

Within minutes of turning it on I get broken features, disjointed UIs, poor performance, outdated software, and exploitative functionality. Not just from third parties, who are a big problem, but Microsoft itself! They've had decades to address these issues but instead just chase marketable ideas. If they course corrected even a little every year they'd have something viable but it doesn't seem like that's part of their corporate culture.

But I guess I'm wrong because they're a multi-trillion dollar company and still dominate the PC market.

I only ran Windows (11) for gaming and today I tried to install Steam with Proton and... all games just work. Some (like Quake Champions) even work better without lags and better graphics.

I think I might be able to completely get rid of Windows now.

> At this point, I have lost count of the number of times that I've left my perfectly working Windows computer at the end of my work day, only to return to a completely broken computer that won't boot the next morning.

Has this happened to anyone else? I've never experienced an official Windows update rendering a system unbootable. I've certainly broken Windows before, especially when messing with the MBR, dual booting, changing system files for customization etc., but never with a random Tuesday patch.

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Never, between my windows PCs, family ones, and ones I manage at work I've never had one randomly not boot other than hardware failures.

They're all basically maintenance free, nothing really breaks and they just chug along.

Amazing to me that people are still only just realising this a full 15 years after I made the switch. And I was by no means some kind of pioneer. I honestly don't think I'd still be doing computers if free software wasn't a thing. Get the shackles off and dump Microsoft for good! It feels great. Give it time and before long you'll start doing things that Microsoft/Apple etc won't let you do. Compute freely, my friends.
Ditto this. I still have to use windows occasionally, but the extra friction over linux make me wince each time.
I sort of figured that anyone capable of leaving that abusive relationship would've done so long ago, but apparently Microsoft Windows still has something to lose.
Reading Microsoft's post on the EU's DMA shows that the only way they will make user experiences better is when forced to do so by regulation.

https://blogs.microsoft.com/eupolicy/2024/03/07/microsoft-dm...

I know the feeling. Recently I switched to Linux because of it. Now I’m running:

Manjaro Cinnamon LTE: I know there’s some controversy with Manjaro, but it’s been working fine for me and it drastically increased my laptop’s battery life.

AtlasOS, a trimmed down version of Windows 11 for gaming: I know it’s a bit controversial as well, but I’ll never install or store anything sensitive in it. Only games.

You could see where it was going when Candy Crush came installed with Windows 10 Enterprise.

If you treat Apple hardware like a subscription model where you make sure not to hang on to anything for too long (these engineering problems that happen after a couple years seems awfully convenient) then you get the arguably better OS / general computing experience without the risk of expensive hardware going wrong over time. And it's an expensive subscription model today, the days of a top spec Apple laptop for £1500 are gone, so a decent general computing experience is now at a premium.

Owning a MBP beyond a few years these days puts you in the ticking time bomb territory, at some point whether it's the soldered SSD endurance or an exploding SSD/T2 chip, it cannot be affordably repaired when it bricks.

In the meantime, hackintoshes have a little bit of life left, and Linux looks to me finally like its only another 5-10 years before the year of the desktop is here, and I say that positively having used it on and off for 25 years

I followed tutorials to remove the search using the internet.

Three days later the computer rebooted and had undone all my fixes and now search was back to using the web!

Definitely never felt like MY system. It feels like a creepy corporation changing my settings. Which is exactly what it does.

Another three days later, Recall was announced.

Three days later, I wiped Windows from all my computers.

All going well for me, I love Pop!_OS

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Every problem has a top-level part and you only have to look at its main contributor: Bill Gates, to see where the problem comes from. Microsoft is based on cut-throat greed as its most fundamental principle. It overshadows everything else including all the friendly, intelligent and hard-working people that contributed to its products.
I’ve been really liking emacs across the 3 major OSs - pretty much works the same everywhere. The joke is that emacs itself is an OS, but it makes a decent shell. Setting save-desktop to 1 and it survives Windows reboots. Change some keybindings, get meta and control in the same location even when using MacOS.
I really hope there will be some way in the future to get a version of Windows (that's not for enterprise users) which gives you the choice to have Microsoft butt out of the daily running, appearance, and settings of your computer.

I have not looked much at the OS-modding scene recently, but there used to be huge communities around deep customisation, and they produced "distros" of Windows with very different defaults and much of the annoyances removed, and popular useful thirdparty software installed. It's not 100% legal of course, and that "choice to have Microsoft butt out" is usually an absolute --- no updates at all except ones you manually install, some things might not work (possibly a feature for some), and you are truly on your own (with the community) with those mods.

I'm using Ameliorated Windows (https://ameliorated.io/) for the Windows that I have (just keeping it on there for if I sell the laptop), but I use Garuda Linux KDE 99% of the time. It's gotten quite good. The AME version of Windows just runs a bunch of power shell scripts and guts Windows of all the bloat, similar to what Atlas OS does. Cool thing is they're open source too. Revi OS is another good one. Revi OS does less removal, AME is the middle ground, and Atlas OS removes the most. Have tried all three and the AME one works best for me. Haven't seen an ad in the OS since.
(The entire "pretense" [even that] of it ever having been your computer while running a Microsoft OS is just coming off. We have reached the point were it either does not pay or does not matter to keep the "pretense" on.-

And this, in a "paid" OS. One, on top of everything, where - other than money - you are paying with compute and ever increasing disk space for "updates" to cover the vendor's incompetence incorporating bug fixes on the fly ...

In no other area of human industry is this model tolerared: Would you buy a car only to gradually receive better (correct) tires aftermarket?)

> Would you buy a car only to gradually receive better (correct) tires aftermarket?

Isn't that what Tesla did with "Full Self-Driving"? And people are buying Teslas like crazy

Great point.-

(Then again, Tesla's aim has been bringing the "software model" to manufacturing. Thinking like primarily a "technology" company ...)

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You MOST NOT GET in the way of me doing the thing I need to do on my computer.

My computer is how I interface with the critical functions of my life; family, friends, income, entertainment. That is important time to me.

If you put any friction in front of me accessing those things, you are getting the boot. Interruptive advertising? Popups and popovers? A forced login where none is necessary? Delete.

I don't give a baker's fuck how valuable you think your service is, you get about 5-10 seconds of my time before you're wasting it. This is why people want book summaries and reviews, why they scan headlines, why they'll install ad blockers.

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Using Windows Server as a personal OS can be an option: https://www.windowsworkstation.com/win2016-2019/
can someone suggest tips to remove all the bloatware from HP/Dell/etc and reinstall a cleaner minimalistic windows in a laptop? How do I know all the compatible drivers that exactly map to my specific laptop? The vendor websites are sometimes ambiguous and I don't get the confidence that right drivers would be installed. If reinstallation is too much of a hassle, is there at least some kind of script that can remove all the non-essential bloatware and make windows lean?
If you want to make it easy, then the best way to go is to download Windows ISO from Microsoft. Then install Wifi driver if it is not working out of the box. Then install something like Dell Command Update to install the rest of the drivers.
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Last weekend I finally removed windows from my private laptop, dual boot from my desktop and set up WSL on my work laptop at least.

I thought that some things like games would stop working, but instead I had to install absolutely no drivers, fix nothing, video playback on my laptop has gotten better (before I often switched to 720p on YouTube) and even high performance requirement games on my desktop just work thanks to proton. It’s actually the year of the linux desktop for me now.

Yesterday on my laptop a survey popped up in tray. "Would you recommend this computer to other people?". What the hell do you mean? I wouldn't recommend it to other people. They can't have it. It's mine!

It's especially bizzare that it's a 4 year old laptop with dying battery and Windows 10.

Was it a Window thing or a hardware manufacturer thing? Either way it was very strange

I hope you answered with a flat and aggressive 'No'!
I know iPads aren't macOS, but, despite the mention that "My Mac doesn't feel subsidized," one of the cheapest-feeling things to me about my iPad is that I've got an un-dismissible notification constantly asking me to upgrade my iCloud storage for $0.99/month. I don't mind being presented with such a reminder once, but it is literally permanent.
I hate when it outlook it shows me email following a keyword in "relevant" order and not in "recent" order.
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It’s the dumbest, most complained about feature of the whole office suite - why would they enshittify search of emails? So bizarre.
I love windows. I hate how they are degrading the experience too. Testing where the line in the sand is very short sighted.
I have only used Windows under duress, i.e. at work. Windows 7 kept it down to an acceptable level of user-hostility.
Windows is the SF of operating systems. I first moved to SF because I wanted to be there, not because it had a job for me. It was amazing. Regular people lived there and did interesting things and raised the next generation. You could enjoy the city because it was a city built for people and that was amazing. Then tech completely took over. I noticed my friends that had kids move first. They were the canaries in the coal mine. The city stooped being a place that made people want to put roots down, they were just there because of the job, so people have stopped moving there and started moving away. When you can work from anywhere why work in a place you don't want to be? I became one of the people that left and I don't regret it, unfortunately.

Microsoft and their operating systems are exactly the same. I started using MS operating systems with DOS 2.0. I was hooked. Every new version really was an upgrade. I couldn't wait for each new release because they were all amazing and truly 'upgrades'. I used their stuff because it was good, not because I had to. Slowly however things started to change. Each new 'upgrade' came with things that didn't help and didn't improve. One day I realized they were upgrades, just not upgrades targeted at me. My machine slowly but surely became less and less mine. Eventually I couldn't take it anymore and jumped on the Linux bandwagon. The last two machines I have purchased haven't even made it to the windows startup screen before I wiped them and, just like SF, you would have to pay me a lot of money to move back.

I hope SF and Microsoft learn a lesson from this: If you aren't raising the next generation because they love your product then you are creating a group of people that will leave as soon as they get the chance.

Remember windows 7? Holy moly it was so good. It was like Jesus came down and designed an operating system.

Been on macOS for nearly a decade now. Ironically it still has some things that are objectively worse. Looking at you, lack of alt tabbing.

This app has solved alt-tabbing for me: https://alt-tab-macos.netlify.app/.
Thank you, but I specifically mean the windows XP alt tabbing era. Pressing alt tab should always go back to the previous window in focus, not the previous app. This one looks app-based too, sadly.

Pressing alt tab tab should go back two windows of focus, and alt tab tab tab should be three, etc. It was the best feature and now I regularly lose vim windows and terminals because switching windows seems to ruin the tabbing order. It’s never history-based anymore.

I’ll try it out though.

It's been so long since I used XP that I can't recall Alt-Tab behavior being different. But I guess for my purposes, this app did the trick.
Maybe I was too quick to judge based on the splash screen.

Pop quiz: you click on a chrome window, then a terminal window A, then a different terminal window B. Does pressing alt-tab-tab take you back to the exact same chrome window?

The idea is that it’s a history-based list of active windows. So each time you press tab while holding alt, it goes one further into history. It’s immensely helpful for maintaining context when you’re switching between four different apps during a dev session.

But, I appreciate the recommendation. I’ll test drive it tomorrow.

This is how alt-tabbing works on modern Windows as well, so I'm not sure why you've singled out XP. It wasn't the earliest one to implement it either - I'm pretty sure 2000 did it.

I don't have my macOS device on hand right now, but I'm almost certain that the AltTab app replicates that behavior. Or, at the very least, it throws out the incredibly annoying obsession that macOS has on separating switching between applications and switching between windows of one application.

After trying it out: Thank you so much zeppelin101 / tavavex! This app is perfect.
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I just want to make sure you’re aware of Cmd-` (the key right above tab).
Ironic because Microsoft's biggest OS competitor Apple uses a lot of SF inspiration in their OS.
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For the past few years I've had this thought in the back of my head . If I use a Samba server as a domain controller, how much cruft and hostility can I shave off a standard Windows 11 Pro installation with GPOs. I keep kicking around the idea of trying to do it as an exercise in absurdity.
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If you have Pro, you don't even need the Samba server, you can just edit group policy locally.
True, but I want to be able to join a computer to my domain and everything gets applied automatically.

The absurdity being the creation of an enterprise environment to use enterprise tools to shape a personal computer into something that closely resembles an experience you used to get out of the box 15 years ago.

To build a castle so as not to be treated like livestock.

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Fortunately O&O ShutUp10++ exists.
> Honestly, it might sound weird, but macOS feels like the offline Windows experience of old to me. In fact, the operating system tends to stay classy and out of my way as far as possible.

It does sound weird to be hoenst, as this has not been my experience at all. My Macs have never felt like my own, and the obtrusiveness has been of a different form.

But reading through, my experience with Win10/11 has been slightly different as well. I haven't come back the next morning to find it 'broken', so I do wonder if it's about use cases and regional settings too - after all, isn't there a reduced jank in the European zones?

I occasionally use a mac at work and I do see what the author is describing, but this flips on its head the moment I go off the "happy path".

For most of the usual things I do, I forget Apple the company exists and just use the computer as a neutral tool. Windows 10 and especially 11 on the other hand makes Microsoft's "presence" known at every turn, kind of like I'm working in a team composed of 70% Microsoft sales reps.

But the moment I want to exercise control over a Mac, like install some software, I hit the Apple "bouncer", telling me that I need to identify myself and do everything through them.

On every new Windows device I set up, I disable everything via a powershell script. The fact that no one complains about things missing tells me that very few people even make use of the "features" Windows now has.
I switched to Linux when I got frustrated because of windows just updating and restarting itself over night when I left my unfinished project for the next day to continue. That was a trigger for me
O&O shutup does a good job of disabling most of the modern Windows garbage though you may need to occasionally re-run it as sometimes Windows update decides to re-enable some garbage marketing you'd previously disabled.
I just got a new computer with windows 10 installed. First thing when it booted up, it asked me wher I live. Using that "fuzzy kindergarten teacher language". Ugh.

Destroyed that abomination with a nice debian install.

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I prefer Linux (Ubuntu, Alpine, etc) over MacOS X because it can be locked down a lot easier and you have a lot more control over actually what's going on behind the scenes. not to mention all the software is free.
The experience of using Windows is so much better these days, IMO. I too started on Windows 3.1.

> At this point, I have lost count of the number of times that I've left my perfectly working Windows computer at the end of my work day, only to return to a completely broken computer that won't boot the next morning.

What? I have had this happen maybe three times in my 30 years of using Windows products (from automatic updates). Do people really forget what a pain it was to patch things from scratch in 98, Win2k, or Windows ME? (Probably before then as well, but I didn't have the Internet). I remember using CDs for service packs, specialized software to download updates that MS didn't serve anymore, so many things. When that process failed, it was a all night event for one system.

I do remember rampant malware on Windows (unless you kind of knew what you were doing) until about 2007 when windows defender actually started helping and you didn't need to nuke your computer with Malware Bytes or something every time you used a web browser.

This belly aching and nostalgia is everywhere on the web, and I really think there is a trend toward selecting only the good memories.

We get old. It gets harder to deal with change. IMO, drop the ego, and say what you really mean.

However, I agree with the privacy and advertising gripes.

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Every time this comes up I read most of the comments. The control we have lost is so important. I'm finally getting to the point where I almost don't care and move on from windows entirely.
I grew out of Richard Stallman, but it's starting to grow back on me.
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It never was...n The EULA stating you have a limited use right and stop... As any commercial software and black boxes. It's not just ads and co, it's the concept behind it's development.
The software I miss the most from Windows is MusicBee. The best music player I’ve ever used. I’ve tried Strawberry on Linux and it is the closest but way far off.

Swinsian on Mac OS is pretty good when im using a Mac.

Opening the web browser on fresh install was hilarious already 10 years ago with Msn front-page full of clickbait articles for the masses and some thumbnails even including women in binini.
If a hacker would attack the ms ecosystem, replace win with a similar looking lin, that just uses a vm to run win programs, goes back to win7 gui wise, what hat would that hacker wear?
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Really i Don't like windows but the text editor or the official tools like powerpoint, mas word, Excel more good than LibreOffice. I use it for my paper because my collage.
Did you mean colleague or college?

In the latter case, some (most?) countries require the use of open software and standards in government and various regulated environments unless there's a specific and documented reason why that's practically impossible. You may be able to tell your college they need to support open software rather than requiring everyone to buy proprietary licenses and get familiar with those specific products

(A bit off-topic, but I can recommend using a translator to turn what you've written in English back into a language you're familiar with, to check that it says what your intended. That way, you practice writing and can check the result for good communication also. I've been doing this for German and this is helping me practice in situations where I otherwise would use a translator from my languages into German because the translation's correctness matters.)

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For casual use Google is fine, otherwise use LaTeX
There are many, many academic journals that require Microsoft word and won’t accept LaTeX
For professional use, Office is also fine (there is a web version)
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Try a Mac... you won't even have read-write access to parts of your own file system.

Thankfully Linux Desktop is now a completely viable thing for many many professions.

I use windows to run obscure hardware vendor tools that flash chips. Can I expect those to keep working under Proton? Is the serial port / USB pass-through stable?
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M$ is cutting the branch it sitting on. Have been using Windows for over two decades now. And I clean wiped one of my brand new Windows 11 machine for Linux just a couple of days ago. And I was surprised to see how good Linux had became.

Put all that aside, satisfactory of Windows peeked at Windows 7. Never seriously used Windows 8. Windows 10 was trouble, but still much better than Windows 11. When Windows 10 started rolling out, I heard there was lots of issues, so I ignored the upgrade notice. Soon I noticed the fan on computer was running crazily in midnight, but when I checked in the day time, it looked alright. It went on for around half a year or so, I was woken up and was so annoyed decided to check what was happening. It was M$ trying to upgrade to Windows 10. Alright, let me upgrade then. The manual upgrade failed and the rollback also failed. Had to clean wipe and install Windows 10 to avoid such nonsense. Then I started to notice after almost every update, there would most likely something got fixed or broken randomly. Also the Active Hours setting just annoyed me, but still not quite enough to force me to go to Linux.

Windows 11 is even worse. Got a Surface pro for the kid, took a couple of hours to get it working. Then an upgrade broke the display driver. Uninstall of the offending patch failed, could not rollback neither. So first clean wipe for Windows 10. On my gaming PC, all my settings to disable those defender etc would be lost after an update, the UI is sometimes very lagging, don't want to touch it yet as too much effort required. Then I got a new PC with Ryzen 7840u and 64G RAM, after booting up, the CPU would constantly be around 20% for no obvious reason. Since I didn't really have anything installed, so I directly wiped it and installed Linux. It was so good. Video/Audio drivers installed correctly automatically. CPU usage when idle now drops to ~2%. The only thing I miss about is Visual Studio, but that's about it.

m$ has successfully stretched the "you don't own the software, you lease it" model to its extremes.

unpopular opinion - almost all annoyances are most affecting those who can then find a solution and apply it (provided they don't get a restricted account from work).

on the other hand, have to agree that when even those publishing such circumventions had enough, m$ got to tread a bit lightly.

I wish I could just pay and have an actual Pro version of Windows without ads, and also that Surface devices came with that version by default.
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Because it’s not. Switch to Linux.
Just to put things in perspective - MacOS forces you to run on their update treadmill for the OS, and you can't even update your xcode dev environment if you refuse. Ditto with Linux, you can't refuse OS updates if you use a package manager because eventually you can't update anything without accepting all the dependencies. Windows for all its warts did do something well with binary compatibility. I am happy as a pig in poop with my work supplied LTSC install.
MacOS doesn't force updates for general users. But if you want to run the latest Xcode, yeah you need the latest OS.
Its funny that a compiler forces you to update your OS.
It's a lot more than a compiler.
Yes it has an editor and a debugger, and some other stuff. So what? Its still an application. An application forcing you to update your OS would be laughed out of the room in any other situation. Personally I wouldn't defend such a broken design, but to each his own.
Sorry, but the Linux part doesn't make sense. If you want to update system components from the system repository, it makes sense that the dependencies are rolled into it. But if you don't want to upgrade everything, you don't have to. Install a specific app version from flatpak, download binaries, or compile it yourself for your current system. You have so many ways to do this - same as you're doing on windows.
>Install a specific app version from flatpak, download binaries, or compile it yourself for your current system.

Then you can't have those dependencies managed by a package manager, which means you'll constantly be compiling (and dealing with conflicts yourself). This is not a viable path forward as it seems to be presented here.

>You have so many ways to do this - same as you're doing on windows.

On Windows I copy a binary and run it w/o giving a crap about the OS updates. Vastly different workflows for it to be called "same".

> On Windows I copy a binary and run it w/o giving a crap about the OS updates.

You don't just copy the binary on windows. You copy the binary and its dependencies. Unless it's based on .Net-framework, then yeah, you still care about it being updated through windows.

> Then you can't have those dependencies managed by a package manager, which means you'll constantly be compiling (and dealing with conflicts yourself).

That's not right. You don't need to use dependencies from the system. If you're compiling yourself, you can either make them static, or use your custom location. In either case, there are no conflicts to deal with.

If you're using whole app packages, then you don't care about system deps at all. Flatpak apps ship their whole environment. AppImage apps do too, just without full isolation. (https://appimage.github.io/apps/ entries are all "download-and-run")

>You don't just copy the binary on windows. You copy the binary and its dependencies. Unless it's based on .Net-framework, then yeah, you still care about it being updated through windows.

Sure, but I can install s/w built for Windows XP into Windows 11 and it will just run 20 years later w/o modification - And I can do this with a large amount of commercial software, so its not a special case example which you can demonstrate on any OS. Simply not possible on any other desktop OS. Even if you have the source (which you won't for commercial s/w), its not just a simple recompile after 20 years.

>You don't need to use dependencies from the system. If you're compiling yourself, you can either make them static, or use your custom location. In either case, there are no conflicts to deal with

Static linking glibc.. yeah. :)

>If you're using whole app packages, then you don't care about system deps at all. Flatpak apps ship their whole environment. AppImage apps do too, just without full isolation. (https://appimage.github.io/apps/ entries are all "download-and-run")

Yet another "standard" that ultimately will fracture the deployment of software. These are just buggy half-baked standards anyway. Vendor releases 32bit AppImage and goes out of business, it stops working on 64bit OS.

I don't think you guys really get the insane backwards compatibility effort that Microsoft does to help keep line of business applications running.

I experience nothing of this. Just run w10privacy once, takes 10 min.
We're basically at Vista again, but in a different dimension. This time instead of performance, it's invasiveness, and erosion of both discoverability and general cohesiveness.

Windows 11 installs all sorts of stupid stuff and turns it on.

I feel like I only know how to use Windows 10 and 11 because I know about all the old dialogs from old versions.

I struggled today on a Windows 10 computer with Wi-Fi and ethernet to turn on/off Wi-Fi due to mixed meaning of tile highlight state. Maybe it's just me.

And when Windows 11 installs updates and says "You're almost there" I say, "no, you're almost there and why are you doing this now."

I'm optimistic that eventually leadership will change and this will be corrected. Edit: or somehow a new OS will be developed that's backwards compatible with Windows.

Almost nobody cares about privacy or control. I wonder if there is a market there. Maybe you can make people perceive privacy as something valuable and capitalize on that and on Windows. But people mostly don't care and will put up with anything.
In addition to all the privacy and "MS knows best" bullshit...

None of the fucking app store icons work?

Terminal, one of the better additions of 10, shows up in the start menu with the image preview app icon...

I have tried all the stupid solutions around the icon cache to no avail.

I agree mostly, but not about updates. Updates are necessary for a system that it connected to the internet. And the more the publisher manages the system, the more likely it is that it's updated timely. If the user has a say, then the updates won't get applied, then the system might become compromised or deprecated, and in either case the user will blame the system, not themselves. So it ends up as a question of brand management.

Otherwise, yeah, Windows nowadays, especially the Windows 11 feels like a cheap bazaar.

Install LTSC
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My prediction for power users: Linux distros away from Ubuntu. MacOS will be AI crap-ware in no time. People love this bullshit. As usual. Windows Adware AI crap-ware will stay for gamers and specific apps. And please, use simplewall. It's a free app which solves a lot of problems, as Little Snitch on macOS.
This article is full of made up shit. Is this AI generated content?
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A reminder that microsoft owns more products, in different lifetime stages.

I thought of that recently, when I noticed that Github started displaying links promoting Copilot.

I will never own or use another Windows PC again. Full stop.
Felt similarly. Embraced NixOS. Not looked back.
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NixOS and Guix are in some areas about a decade ahead of Mac and Windows. It's incredible what you can do with those (I can't work on new projects without guix shell anymore). It almost has the same feeling that in the 90s, when distros had package managers and proprietary OSes did not.
I’m not familiar, what do you like about them?
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I am going to try to ELI5, but the concepts run very deep.

Both nixOS and Guix are different to 'regular' distros in the way that they are declarative: there is a file that describes the full OS: every user, every package, every system service, where the bootloader goes and so on. The main idea is that you can take that file, nuke your hard disk, reuse it and you'll have the same OS byte by byte. This concept of reproducibility is not only very comfortable, but has profound ramifications in security (you know no compiler or library has been tampered with malware) or science.

But it goes deeper: Since the OS is described by a single file you can roll back to a previous version if your file is hosted on git (both OS manage this transparently without the need of a VCS). Users can have their own 'local copy' of that file with their own programs, including their own libraries with different versions. You can have different files as 'profiles' (one for work, one for personal projects, one for gaming) you can activate at any time when you want to switch tasks, or you can try your friend configuration on a chroot or isolated environment on top of your own system.

The main difference between nixOS and Guix is that guix uses guile scheme as configuration language for that particular file. I have plenty of '(packages (if is-laptop acpi)...)' entry on my own files.

guix shell is just a way to create a temporary environment to try something quick without polluting my OS. For instance, if I want to do some hacking on python2 I would do 'guix shell python2' and it will open a shell for me with python2 without changing my python3 binary and python3 libraries on my main system.

BTW you don't even have to change your whole system, both nix and guix can be installed on top of 'regular' distros (google 'guix foreign distro', which is the way I manage my rasperry pis).

There is way more than all that, I definitely encourage everyone to give it a try, it's a mind bending new way to use a OS.

>This concept of reproducibility is not only very comfortable, but has profound ramifications in security (you know no compiler or library has been tampered with malware)

If you want to "profoundly" improve security, you verify the whole install against a cryptographic hash on every boot, and you refuse to boot if the verification fails, and you keep the hashes in tamper-proof hardware -- like Android and ChromeOS do, but no other Linux distro does except for a distro specialized for cloud servers called Bottlerocket that is poor in resources (e.g., attention from developers).

NixOS's security is pretty poor even compared to the low standard of popular Linux distros because although it does incorporate one very good idea (and it is not reproducibility -- its refraining from giving packages as much ambient authority most OSes give them), security is mostly about paying attention to dozens of boring details, which the NixOS project does not care about as much as for example Fedora does. E.g., here is the project not caring about supply chain integrity: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=36268776.

Another example: if you install Google Chrome onto Fedora the standard way (namely, dnf install google-chrome-stable) it points your Fedora install to an RPM repo hosted by Google, so that from then on, even if everyone in charge of the Fedora servers lost their minds, your Fedora install would continue to keep your browser up-to-date in a very timely manner (because it has been configured to look directly to Google's servers for updates, and Google's Chrome team is well-paid and has a stellar reputation for security and in particular for timely delivery of security updates). In contrast, when I installed NixOS's Chrome package, it arranged things so that every time I updated my NixOS install (using nixos-rebuild IIRC) it would look to NixOS's servers, so the security of my browser (and the browser is the source of many, many security vulnerabilities) depends on a NixOS maintainer getting the update from Google, then providing it to me. But you see, the Fedora way of handling that package has a single point of failure (namely, Google) whereas the way NixOS chose has two points (namely, Google and a NixOS maintainer who is probably a volunteer and might quit or die at any time -- and the NixOS project has not system in place to respond to that event in a timely manner if my experience with the NixOS project is any indication).

NixOS's machinery for updating packages is very flexible, so I'm sure it would've been pretty easy to arrange for NixOS's Chrome package to work the way Fedora's does, but the relevant decision maker at NixOS simply didn't think of it. But security consists in large part in paying attention to details like that. ADDED. Actually, now that I think of it, the Chrome project's servers provide only RPMs and DEBs, so for NixOS's maintainer of the Chrome package to handle updates to Chrome the way Fedora does would require that the installation of the Chrome package causes (as part of dependency satisfaction) the installation of RPM or dpkg and maybe parts of dnf or apt (so that later on, the nixos-rebuild command can look for updates on Google's servers), so it is not as easy as I was envisioning when I wrote that "it would've been pretty easy". (Still, that is probably how I would do if I were the NixOS maintainer.)

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you are right and thanks for adding on my ELI5. TBH I never used nixOS, only guix, which does not use a central key to sign packages, and uses signed commits (https://guix.gnu.org/manual/en/html_node/Commit-Access.html) , the project is sponsored by the FSF and it's the official distro for the GNU project, so they take security very seriously. (You can always install a random channel and throw all that out of the window if you want).

(quick edit) Guix packages are basically .scm (scheme) files on git, so the fedora/nix example does not apply either. Every file can be opened and inspected, most of them are basically a git clone + checking a hash. You can decide to use substitutes (binaries) or no, and substitutes are usually similar byte by byte across systems. As an example, this is the guix config for installing CRIU: https://git.savannah.gnu.org/cgit/guix.git/tree/gnu/packages...

Given said that, I am ready to spend some of my funemployment time installing and using nix as my daily driver for a few months, so I will have more info and first hand knowledge of all that.

The saddest thing I see about Windows is that most people (outside work) refuse to switch because they need Windows for gaming. Like really? With so many ways to play these days you let your video game addiction keep you on this invasive, user hostile piece of crap OS? Really?
Enshittification.
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Windows is the only reasonable option for someone who wants a modern desktop but doesn’t want a Mac. Apple has been integrating ID into their systems for years and nobody bats an eye. Do you want a computer that “feels like” something or do you want to get work done?
I sure manage to get a lot of modern work done on my Linux desktop.
Here’s a representative example of what I mean, an issue from one “modern” Linux desktop:

https://gitlab.gnome.org/GNOME/gtk/-/issues/3787

At least with Windows you don’t have to gaslight yourself into thinking that blurry fonts are better. If you have a setup with multiple high-res monitors (or, God forbid, have to mess with scaling), it takes a lot of work to be happy with the looks and feel of a Linux desktop compared to what you get out of the box with Windows or a Mac.

This is the quintessential Linux issue. The whole system works, but there's always some minor hitch that makes the experience less seamless than the "corporate" counterparts. Oh, there's lag when you scroll, or the scroll behaves erratically in general? That's actually been an issue for 10+ years, get used to it. Screen tearing? Well, here's the solution, but it has drawbacks and breaks something else somewhere else. System nukes itself after an update? You're on your own now.

In terms of modifiability and openness, open source anything is far superior to anything else - which is valuable for a community like this. But there's still plenty to do in terms of providing as seamless of an experience to some average Joe as what macOS/Windows does.

And yet you still don't need to sign in with an Apple ID unless you want to. Microsoft makes it annoyingly hard to set up your computer with a local-only account.
People need to get over the in OS ads. They’re easily removable honestly. Personally I’ve never seen windows look this good in years. The whole system shell looks really good and well designed these days. On top of that the included features like wsl2 and hyperv are great.
I disagree that we should just "get over" ads, I fucking paid cold hard cash for a Windows license after all. It's either ads with a free license, or no ads with a license bought and paid for. No fucking double dipping.

That said, most if not all the nonsense can easily be disabled or removed so I agree with your overall position.

While my rhetoric was overly dismissive of people’s gripes, I do agree completely with your sentiment.
But Microsoft is subsidising cost of the immense infra and development cost by showing you ads in excahnge for a cheaper license.
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I hope that was sarcasm
I don't know for Microsoft but xiaomi has been saying this

https://www.androidauthority.com/xiaomi-ads-business-966584/

>This advertisement business is what allows Xiaomi to subsidize and offset the cost of the hardware and reach those astonishingly low price points.

So it wont be surprising if Microsoft says the same

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Microsoft doesn't have astronomically low price points.
I'm paying around $200 bucks for a Windows 11 Pro license, you bet your ass I am not expecting ads after paying two motherfucking Franklins.
Why? I’ve found practically any license key from any old pc as far back as win7 will enable win11 pro. Am I missing something here? Did you actually buy a $200 win11 license? If so yeah that's a pretty fair complaint.
This is the road to hell. We all know that advertising eventually corrupts the advertising platform. It happened with radio, broadcast TV, cable TV and the web.

You'll be very sorry in a very short time if you put up with ads in an OS you paid for, on hardware you paid for. You're letting Microsoft externalize some of the cost of advertising to you.

Apple is no different other than the fact they are slow walking it.
And so? The context is Windows and Microsoft. I, personally, am a Linux user. The warning about advertising is still true.
Point is all commercial desktop systems have already fallen for it.
And you need to get bent.

Pardon my French, but someone had to say it and you needed to hear it.

I wonder when the HN police are gonna show up to tell you you’re violating site policy. Any day now.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html

They're always hot on my trail... but between you and me, you want to know what they can do? :)
Hah. Nice
I still maintain, despite the gross ads this release of windows is one of the best. I was much more bothered by past versions.
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it's really not the ads that upset me, it's the remotely exploitable vulnerabilities that take Microsoft 3 years to fix that's kind of where I have a problem. I stopped using Microsoft products in like 1991 man sorry
I totally agree here. My point was more that I am more happy with the improvements to windows than I am annoyed with ads I can easily disable.
There's no substance to any of these gripes. What advertising? The section hardly describes where/what that is. Sure there's Microsoft Store/app related things (if you use them) but other than that, isn't most of it third-party/manufacturer-included bloat and ads? I don't see any ads on my Win 11 install anywhere. I never use the Start menu except for my already pinned/frequently used apps. Most of my apps are no MS-related.... VS Code and OS stuff excepted. No ads there. Not using Edge browser so that eliminates any of that MS/Bing/whatever related ads. The file explorer mostly works. Problems with updates come and go, but are minor/years apart. There's no particular lock-in at the level of Mac OS, and I can manage my device/files/plug'n'play mostly without any restrictions. It still feels like my machine in ways that Macs never do.
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If you're not a paid shill then you sure do a good job of it
There's only a couple of positive windows posts. Even their astro turf division is sucking rocks these days.