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Windows 10 is bringing ads to File Explorer – how to turn them off (thenextweb.com)
260 points by doener on March 18, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 329 comments



Here's a better idea - show Microsoft that you don't accept this type of behaviour by switching products/services.

I'm aware that Windows 10 is a "free" OS, but trying to ram this type of behaviour down my throat is despicable unethical behaviour and I don't condone it. It is why I've switched to Linux for my daily computing needs.


> trying to ram this type of behaviour down my throat is despicable unethical behaviour and I don't condone it. It is why I've switched to Linux for my daily computing needs.

Last time I used Linux (well, Ubuntu specifically) every time I searched for anything in the file system I would see at least half a dozen ads for products on Amazon. Significantly worse than anything I've ever seen in Windows 10 personally. Uninstalled it and never using it again.


I believe Ubuntu was the only Linux distribution doing such thing (https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/ubuntu-spyware.en.html). You may want to try some other distribution like Fedora, openSUSE or Debian.


Yes, one distro (of dozens people use) tried running ads once, it was a PR disaster, and they stopped doing it quite a while back.


The Unity fiasco wasn't the only PR disaster Ubuntu has had over monetizing Amazon integration: around the 11.04 timeframe they semi-blackmailed Banshee over their integrated music store and added Canonical affiliate links.


That a bit like saying "Google, one of dozens of browser makers".

Ubuntu has 50% market share.


If you want to be pedantic about it, why not focus on the ads being half a decade ago and not in the past couple of LTS releases?


There was just 1 checkbox to turn it off, not lots of checkboxes and hidden registry entries like in Windows and I think not all telemetry can be turned off on normal Windows, you need Enterprise


Not anymore, they (Ubuntu) turned it off.


Really? I've never seen that. Is it under GNOME in the default install?


It was in one of Ubuntu's releases, 16.04 I believe? Unity included Amazon results in its search results.

EDIT: 12.04. Time flies. Memory sucks.


I'm using 16.04 right now, how does one trigger those? I've never seen them.


I was wrong, it was actually in the 12.04 days. Didn't remember it to be so long ago. I believe it's disabled by default in newer releases.

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2840401/ubuntus-unity-8-deskt...


It was indeed 12.04 and only affecting Unity (Canonical's Desktop Environment), not other DE's like GNOME or KDE.

You should check out https://fixubuntu.com nonetheless, which surfaced at that time, is still up and relevant.


Ah that's good that they seem to have come to their senses.


I found it fairly easy to turn those off. YMapparentlyV'd.


Windows 10 is not free. The "free upgrade" period is over. MSRP for Windows 10 Home is $119.


That's why the parent put "free" in quotes. Unlike all the previous versions of Windows, MSFT decided to make this upgrade "free" for a while, but AFAIK it's still ridiculously easy to pirate Win10, and the "accessibility technologies" free upgrade loophole, which was said to be closing "very soon" many months ago, is still open.

In other words, if you really don't want to pay, Microsoft still seems desperate to get you to "upgrade" to Win10... precisely so they can monetise you with ads (and might make more from you eventually even if you never paid for their OS). As a mass-exodus to Linux and macOS curretly seems unlikely, their strategy appears to be winning so far.


> As a mass-exodus to Linux and macOS curretly seems unlikely, their strategy appears to be winning so far.

... or people just install windows 7 / avoid upgrading to 10. Hard to call that a "win"

Take everything with a grain of salt, but metrics still point to Windows 7 dominance:

http://gs.statcounter.com/os-version-market-share/windows/de...

https://www.netmarketshare.com/operating-system-market-share...


I did that recently on a laptop. It involved finding some relatively-obscure drivers from the actual hardware manufacturers and inserting them into my Windows 7 install media (NVME and USB, I think).

It took me a few hours of research (having never had to add drivers to get a machine to boot into a Windows installer before). I imagine that a lot of other people wouldn't have had any idea where to start.

And even after getting everything working smoothly, the touchscreen doesn't work (no drivers available, and the hardware isn't detected at all; good riddance), and there are some bits of power-management hardware that still show up as question-marks in the device manager.

New hardware will be increasingly difficult to run a reasonable Windows OS on. At least in my case, there were drivers for everything that matters to me.


How hard would it be to replace the ads with instructions to do a parallel Ubuntu install?


Assuming they're on a network you control, probably around as hard as upside-down ternet.

Wait, what if you were to redirect the download links for the automatic updates to a Linux installer? Assuming Microsoft's security is still as lax as it was during the XP era, you could get this to work without much difficulty.


Alas, the narrow window of time in which a novice could reasonably be expected to install Linux without undue hassle came to an end with UEFI and SecureBoot.


Linux distributions work fine with UEFI a Secure Boot[1]. Maybe even better than with BIOS and MBR, because now, there is no excuse to just overwrite the MBR. OS Installers are supposed to just add an entry into UEFI boot manager.

[1] Secure Boot comes into play only when 1) you use distribution in SecureBoot enforcing mode (RHEL, CentOS, Fedora) and 2) want to build your own kernel modules. Then, you have to enroll your Machine Owner Key into UEFI and sign your modules with it. However, building kernel modules is not something that grandma is going to do. For normal use, all the mainstream distributions come with a signed bootloader (shim.efi).


I like the way you open source.


Isn't Microsoft starting to block updates to Windows 7 on new hardware?



They're not "blocking" updates, they've stopped writing and compiling them with the backwards compatibility shims that made them work on older hardware. They probably do this because it drives updates AND because it's cheaper, but please try to describe it accurately.


> they've stopped writing and compiling them with the backwards compatibility shims that made them work on older hardware

That claim doesn't stack up. Windows 10, for example, works fine on older hardware. As Microsoft said, they're blocking updates to Windows 7 and 8 if you try to run those OSes on newer hardware.


I'd argue that even the 'free' upgrade is not free. For example a windows 8 install which used the free windows 10 upgrade will require purchasing a full license to make any significant hardware changes.

I'm liking lots of things microsoft is doing as of late, but I still don't like a lot of their business practices and they are ruining their operating systems infesting it with ads.


Installing Windows 10 on activated Windows 7/8 installs still upgrade to digitally entitled license. Just did it the other day. I didn't believe it 'til I tried it, but it worked.


That's great.

Here's why most people don't: they like editing Word documents, using Bluetooth, playing AAA games, printing and scanning, connecting to external monitors, watching DVDs, and transferring files from their phones.


>they like editing Word documents

LibreOffice supports this and it works quite well. I would guess most people prefer google drive these days, though.

>using Bluetooth

Do you actually know anyone non-technical who has used bluetooth at all in the past 5 years? Or technical for that matter, I've used bluetooth maybe 3 times in that time frame and always had no issues on Linux.

>playing AAA games

This is your only legitimate point, but it grows less legitimate every day.

>printing and scanning

Works fine OOTB for nearly all printers and scanners using only GUIs to configure and use the devices.

>connecting to external monitors

This has worked perfectly fine for at least 10 years...

>watching DVDs

Also works just fine.

>transferring files from their phones

I do this all the time. Works OOTB on popular distros.

The real problem is that people are change averse and that people like you spread uninformed FUD. Cut it out.


> >they like editing Word documents

> LibreOffice supports this and it works quite well. I would guess most people prefer google drive these days, though.

I run LibreOffice on my Mac and documents ALWAYS render differently than on Word. I always have to proofread on an office computer before I send files out to my colleagues.

> Do you actually know anyone non-technical who has used bluetooth at all in the past 5 years? Or technical for that matter, I've used bluetooth maybe 3 times in that time frame and always had no issues on Linux.

I literally used Bluetooth this afternoon. I was playing music on an external speaker. I also use it to connect my phone to my car, and my friend was using it late last week to play back an audio recording that we needed to pay close attention to.


>I run LibreOffice on my Mac and documents ALWAYS render differently than on Word. I always have to proofread on an office computer before I send files out to my colleagues.

If you're authoring the documents, you don't need to use docx. Use a more open format that's supported better by both. As for reading documents, who cares if it renders differently? So long as you can read it that's enough.

>I literally used Bluetooth this afternoon. I was playing music on an external speaker. I also use it to connect my phone to my car, and my friend was using it late last week to play back an audio recording that we needed to pay close attention to.

I was only referring to using your computer for bluetooth, not your phone, since that's the only subject that's relevant to the discussion. Audio is a fair point, though, but I'll point out that I have a pair of bluetooth headphones that works fine with Linux.


A more open format? You mean ODF? A niche format that literally only cough free software enthusiasts cough care about?

You know what happens when you give someone .ODF in the real world? "Hey, (I can't open this|This looks completely broken), can you resend as doc/docx please?"

As for reading documents, who cares if it renders differently?

People in enterprise, which accounts for most usage of Office.


> A niche format that literally only cough free software enthusiasts cough care about?

And ISO and Microsoft. Microsoft cared enough about ODF, that they implemented importers and exporters for the MSO.

> "Hey, (I can't open this|This looks completely broken), can you resend as doc/docx please?"

Do you realize that you can open and export ODF formats in the MSO?

> As for reading documents, who cares if it renders differently? > People in enterprise, which accounts for most usage of Office.

They are already used to this - each version or language version of the MSO displays the documents slightly differently. Some layout calculations even depend on the printer driver installed!


Do you realize that just being able to save a file in a format does not necessarily mean being able to properly render files in that format that were created by other programs?

ODF is basically XKCD 927. It solves no problems in the real world. It has no new features. The effort spent by OpenOffice in implementing it could have been better spent on making the Word filters not suck - to this day I still have Word2003 format documents with tables that OO won't render properly.


If I had a dollar for every document made in Word version X that didn't display correctly in Word version Y... As an Office for Mac user, I could tell you long stories of inconsistencies (e.g. they finally fixed dropdown controls embedded in documents in the july 2016 update).

In LibreOffice defense, it is kind of difficult to implement specification, that says things "works like Word95".

In the end, these inconsistencies are not a big deal. Neither between different Office versions, nor between LO a MSO. If you want pixel-perfect layouts, use tools intended to do that (i.e. InDesign or other DTP).


Both plain doc and rtf are way better than docx in portability, docx is a disaster.


> who cares if it renders differently? So long as you can read it that's enough.

The idea behind word processing is that how you've authored your work should be rendered accurately and consistently without unintended side-effects.


Even docx hardly ever guarantees that. Use PDF if you really want that. Most Word documents are written to be read, not to be rendered the same way everywhere.


> This is your only legitimate point, but it grows less legitimate every day.

As a gamer I've not seen much more progress (outside of WINE workarounds, some GoG ports and Valve-specific games). Most AAA games still exclusively windows due to things like DRM (Denuvo is windows-only IIRC)


There are others, like BioShock Infinite, Mad Max, Hitman, Tomb Raider, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, DiRT etc. which are not really Valve or GOG-ports.


I don't even game very much and I still have a lot of big titles on Steam+Linux - Rocket League, Alien: Isolation, Bioshock Infinite, Civ 5, a ton of Valve games, Torchlight II, PAYDAY 2, Saints Row, SOMA, FTL, Kerbal Space Program, Metro: Last Light, Borderlands 2, Tomb Raider, Towerfall Ascension... I could play nothing but positively rated games on Steam on Linux all day every day for a year without running out of things to do. Looking at popular releases I don't own, I see DOOM, ARK, XCOM 2, CS:GO, Borderlands pre-sequel, Cities: Skylines... gaming on Linux is great, man. Xbox controllers, PS4 controllers, steam controllers all work great, the steam link lets my play games at my couch, I can play everything with the gfx settings maxed out...


Linux is not great for gaming. Tombraider took 4 years to come on Linux. And Rise of the Tombraider hasn't yet. No Witcher 3. No Dishonored. No for honor. None of the top rated new games. You generally have to wait for years before something appears and there is no guarantee of it.


The Witcher 3 is making great progress on Wine, along with a lot of DX11 titles in general. You won't get every game, but you will get more than enough to keep you occupied with great games. It's no different than all the games you're missing out on Xbox when you buy a PS4. Linux is great for gaming.


The game library on the Super Nintendo means that I could play nothing but positively rated games every day for a decade without scratching the surface of what's out there. Problem: Good games aren't fungible, timing matters, and people want what they can't have. There's social value in being able to take part in talking about the games that my friends like.

Let's see: 183 games listed on my Steam account, 54 of those are available for SteamOS+Linux. A lot of those 54 are great games, but so are a lot of the 129 others. In my game catalog here, I've got about a 30% chance that the game I want to play right now will actually run in my current OS without rebooting. I don't like those odds much.

Wine? It's got the same issues that complex compatibility layers usually do. I consider it an option of last resort.


What you call "uninformed FUD" are unfortunately real problems I have had in the past 12 months on Lenovo Thinkpad W530 with Ubuntu 14.04.

Perhaps I am missing the ever elusive combination of distro and machine.


Looks like there are a couple of minor issues that can be resolved with a trivial amount of research: http://www.linlap.com/lenovo_thinkpad_w530

If you hit other problems, did you do any research? Did you ask for support anywhere?


Every minute I spend "resolving minor issues" is a minute I have to repeat if I ever reinstall, a minute where I could be getting work done but am instead dinking with the tools rather than using them, a minute where I am not using my computer for the thing I want to be using my computer for.

Manual screwing around in .conf files, having to care about what GPU is in use and fussing around with configurators before using certain ports, features dropping out between driver upgrades.. and all this just from your link on one model of one computer that supposedly "supports Linux".

Look, I'm sorry, this is 2017, not 1997. This is not even a sorta okay standard of usability anymore. Not for home, not for enterprise, nor should it be accepted or defended as such.


I completely agree. I stopped using Linux on my desktop a few years back (coincidentally, when Windows 7 came out).

On the other hand - I would rather fiddle with Linux drivers than fiddle with Windows ad/telemetry settings. So I suspect I'll be switching back once Microsofts decides to force me off of Win7.


[flagged]


> fixing your shit and quit bitching or stick to your ad-ridden Windows 10 Spyware Edition.

I'm a "computer guy" so I'll take the former. Most every one takes the latter.


> can be resolved with a trivial amount of research

If someone has to do a hundred trivial fixes then you might start to believe that there is something fundamentally broken with whatever software confronts me with a hundred trivial problems.

I'd absolutely love to get away from windows but I tried it multiple times in the past and linux just isn't close to being an alternative in the desktop market. There are so many problems and almost everytime the solution involves doing some arcane stuff in the terminal. This isn't going to win your average user over to linux.

Linux runs on all my servers, where it does an excellent job, but I can't see it replacing windows on my desktop systems, not until they fix some fundamental usability and driver issues.


A hundred trivial fixes? More like 3 trivial fixes max! Jesus christ, Linux isn't that complicated. You're likely to run into a similar number of problems setting up your scanner on Windows! I've run Linux on desktops and laptops for years with next to no problems.


https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2254322

That's a 156 page thread. The result? Ubuntu still doesn't fully work on that particular machine.

And that machine isn't particularly unusual in its class.


I will concede that ASUS laptops tend to take a year or two to sort out. But they do get sorted out - as far as I can tell most of the issues mentioned in that thread are also solved in that thread. Did you read any of it?


I've read all of it.

It's a considerable amount of work for an average user to get a working Ubuntu, and even after all that work there are still things (headphone audio ffs) that don't work.

This thread is about how people today should move off Windows, and how it is trivially easy to do so.

I agree people should move off windows. I disagree that it's trivially easy to do so, especially for these class of netbook style machine. I think that your advice (basically "wait until the kernel is updated") is proof that there are problems with these machines.


ASUS is the exception, not the norm, and dealbreaker bugs are generally only found in recent models. My point is that for nearly everyone, switching to Linux is easy, and people who generalize the whole platform as broken are spreading FUD.


So I tried yesterday installing (as a dual boot) Ubuntu on my desktop. 3 year old system, Intel 4770 CPU, Gigabyte motherboard, nothing fancy.

Ubuntu 16.10 wouldn't boot from a USB stick, with some PM error and the CPU watchdog errors.

Fine, go to all the trouble of plugging in a DVD drive, go out, buy a blank DVD. Same thing. The Ubuntu installation media just hangs with an error. Googling that didn't help.


> Did you read any of it?

How weaselly. His conclusion is plain to see:

"The result? Ubuntu still doesn't fully work on that particular machine"


How do you figure that as weasely? You could easily argue that posting a link to a 150+ page forum thread with a dozen serious issues in the OP is misleading when today only one minor issue is outstanding.


One minor issue?

You seem to misunderstand that thread.

If you do a stock install of Ubuntu you'll have very many, showstopping, errors.

If you use a custom script that forces a custom bootloader, custom kernel, and a bunch of other fixes, you end up with a machine that still doesn't have headphone audio and some problems with bluetooth.


The relevant kernel changes are shipping in 4.11, though. Bluetooth seems to be working according to the latest messages. What's this about a custom bootloader? The other fixes so far as I can tell are pretty easily applied in <20 minutes work. It seems very do-able to get this laptop working correctly, especially when 4.11 ships.

A self-defeatist attitude won't make this more comfortable. If you don't like that Windows 10 is full of ads and spyware, the time investment to get this laptop working seems pretty small in exchange for a better OS. Throw in a little extra time to get these fixes applied in the form of patches to the relevant projects. If everyone gave up because they can't put a few minutes into troubleshooting and tweaking their setups, Linux will never grow to the threshold necessary to get vendors to support it OOTB.


You didn't dispute his conclusion (the topic being whether linux requires 3 trivial fixes max) , settling for undermining his post in general.


You're just picking nits here.


Interestingly, there's always someone like you making such claims in every online debate about Linux on laptop. And yet I have never succeeded in making Linux run as well as Windows or macOS on any of my laptops over decades.

I never seem to have one of those unicorn hardware/driver combinations that perform well, don't drain battery, don't run hot and don't break on dist-upgrade. I have researched my issues every single time because I would prefer to use Linux for many reasons, but the fixes I find are often partial, temporary and fragile. Eventually I give up and go back to macOS or Windows.

dist-upgrade almost always breaks things for me, especially all those hard fought for fixes. And it's not just minor things that break. Last time (Ubuntu 16.04 to 16.10) networking stopped working completely because some maintainer had decided that network manager should no longer manage wired connections on my particular variant of Ubuntu.


This kind of response to reported problems is why Linux has been hovering at 1% desktop user share for over a decade now. It was exactly the same back when I was first installing Mandrake in 2002, and it seems like nothing has changed in that regard, even though the DEs etc look very different nowadays.


>I do this all the time. Works OOTB on popular distros.

Debian doesn't connect with android phones OOTB. What's the opposite of FUD?


Debian isn't really a hands-off distro. It works OOTB on i.e. Ubuntu, Fedora, Linux Mint, etc. It's trivial to get working on Debian, though: https://wiki.debian.org/mtp


Bluetooth is massively popular among millennials who enjoy listening to music streaming from their phone on wireless speakers, in cars, etc.


>I'm aware that Windows 10 is a "free" OS, but trying to ram this type of behaviour down my throat is despicable unethical behaviour and I don't condone it. It is why I've switched to Linux for my daily computing needs.

That would make sense if the benefits were more than the costs. Which, for the average people, aren't.

Just the hassle of using a new interface, much less one that needs more admin work like Linux, is enough. And let's not go with compatibility with the various tasks people do.

(And no, most people don't just "browse and read email". They also want to be able to see all kinds of videos, they want to be able to do stuff with Office documents they receive, they want to transfer and/or edit their daughter's birthday videos, and so on...).


That would make sense if the benefits were more than the costs. Which, for the average people, aren't.

I'm not so sure any more. The average home user probably does most of their stuff online these days, and you can see your friends' photos on Facebook or write a message in Google Mail or access your online banking or watch a show on Netflix just as well on pretty much any platform today.

What desktop applications do most home users really run now? Gaming, sure, for part of the market. Maybe some basic spreadsheets or word processing documents or accounting for organising household stuff or writing the odd letter that still needs sending on paper.

Other than that, you're probably into niche territory. There are a lot of niches, and no doubt some of them still rely on Windows desktop software or Windows drivers for related hardware, but they're niches because most people aren't that interested in them. And even then, for significant fields such as programming or graphics/creative work, many of the interesting developments in recent years have been on non-Windows platforms and it's the Windows software that tends to lag behind.

Remember, one popular switch already is from Windows to Linux, when home users dump the traditional PC entirely and just do things on their Android phones/tablets instead.


>There are a lot of niches, and no doubt some of them still rely on Windows desktop software or Windows drivers for related hardware, but they're niches because most people aren't that interested in them.

Each individual niche is tiny, but once you add up all the niches, it adds up to a significant part of the market. Windows has a huge "tail" of niche software on it, and just finding substitutes on Linux is a daunting task, to say nothing of actually getting back up to the same level of productivity as one had on Windows.

>Remember one popular switch already is from Windows to Linux, when home users dump the traditional PC entirely and just do things on their Android phones/tablets instead

Is that an actual trend? Yes, PC sales have slowed down. All that means is that the PC market has reached saturation. Pretty much every household already has one PC that meets their needs. I don't see any evidence to indicate that people are throwing away their computers and using their phones and tablets exclusively.


> Each individual niche is tiny, but once you add up all the niches, it adds up to a significant part of the market.

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

> Is that an actual trend?

It points to a solution anyway. Have one family PC with Windows to run the one niche app you need, but don't put Windows on anything else. Even if the other devices are laptops and not tablets, it still works.


Each individual niche is tiny, but once you add up all the niches, it adds up to a significant part of the market.

Perhaps, but certainly not all of the market, and (I'm guessing) probably not even most of it. It won't be everyone all the time, but surely there are numerous people using Windows PCs today who could switch quite easily to another platform and carry on using their online services without too much hassle.

Is that an actual trend?

I'm pretty sure it is. Over the past few years, we've watched access patterns on B2C sites shift steadily from mostly PC to mostly mobile, and Android dominates most segments of the mobile market today. I suspect that at this point the PC, smartphone and tablet markets are all close to saturation, but device lifecycles are longer in the PC market so people are getting access to more powerful and higher spec mobile devices sooner, which is making the shift more practical.


Linux sometimes isn't even compatible with standard open source software. Recently I installed Lubuntu LTS on a 5-year-old Celeron laptop and was dismayed to see LibreOffice with clunky grey window borders looking like a 1998 Java applet. The menu bar was also blacked-out. The owner was not impressed.


Your basic point is legitimate, but in passing I want to say that in Linux distributions you can change the windows decorators/formats to suit yourself, often including a theme designed to resemble Windows.

Not to detract from the point you're making, which is quite valid.


On Windows, you can change the presence of ads in Explorer to suit yourself also.


But advertising/"telemetry" preferences seem to accidentally get reset every few forced upgrades.


Which advertising preferences in Windows have you seen with this?


The earlier post is correct -- as time passes Microsoft changes the advertising configuration within Windows. For example, the presence of advertising within File Explorer is a new development. Earlier, harangues about Edge being a superior browser when one launches any other browser (or tries to change the default system browser) suddenly made its appearance and is now a fact of life.

It was once possible to disable advertising about OneDrive, but Microsoft has reconfigured things so that's no longer possible without deep hacking (no user-level configuration options). There's an "Uninstall" option attached to the OneDrive client's listing in the Start menu, but if you choose the option, instead of uninstalling the OneDrive client, the system opens the Control Panel Programs & Features applet, where OneDrive is nowhere listed.

As time passes the advertising is becoming more aggressive and less controllable. On February 14th a commercial announcement related to Valentine's Day appeared, but I wasn't able to track it to its source. Just one example -- Microsoft is jealous of Google and they're becoming an imitation.

The deep issue here is that corporations have to decide how to most efficiently grow their companies. Do they pay attention to customers, or stockholders? At some point in the past (I think it was during the Reagan years) corporations turned their backs on customers and made stockholders the focus of their attention. And from a corporate perspective, it was a good choice, because customers are fickle and unpredictable, but stockholders only care about quarterly earnings reports -- no earnings and they walk.


Changing the look of window borders vs having ads and telemetry baked into my OS and being opt out by default are a bit different.

Also, there's plenty of distros that look great out of the box.


"You can turn off ads" is clearly much, much different from "you can change the appearance". Are you serious?


Yeah, I'm serious. Two "much"es in from of "different". They seem more similar than different to me in this context. We're talking about changing operating systems based on the preferences of the user.


I know right?! How horrendously vile! "Hey, I know it wasn't clear that the consumer was actually the product before, so let's cut to the chase and let you know that you're really just an advertising-consuming-biological machine."

How painfully and uncouthly reductive. Making your products skip the whole "getting infected by Malware before they show you advertisements all the time" is not the solution to making money, or growing your brand, or having long-term success. Rather, it looks more like the final hoo-rah of a sinking ship.


Sinking ship? Microsoft's financials are quite solid. And just look at the comments here in this thread, on "Hacker News", a site you think would be full of techies: they're mostly advocating sticking with Windows. How on Earth is Microsoft a "sinking ship"? Apple's laptops, by contrast, are the ones that seem to be going downhill, with that company concentrating on its mobile phones. Where are all the Windows users going to go? Not to Apple, and apparently not to Linux either judging by the marketshare numbers and comments here.

Microsoft is doing exactly the right thing here, loading up their OS with spyware and adware to make money from their users. I see nothing at all wrong with them abusing users as much as they want, with forced reboots, forced ads, poorly-QAed driver updates causing system malfunctions, etc. Their customers have proven over and over and over that they will not abandon the Windows platform no matter what, so it's perfectly sensible for Microsoft to exploit this for monetary gain. And given that the techies on sites like this are generally libertarian, anyone who complains about MS's behavior is most likely a hypocrite.


Probably less effective than showing a celebrity you're no longer a fan by unfollowing them on twitter. They won't care. They can get people using other means.


I'll say it again on HN:

I have never seen an ad on Windows 10 Pro except:

- Candy Crush - Edge Homescreen (hardly counts)


I have Windows 10 Pro AND an Office 365 subscription and the damn thing showed up for me. While I use and enjoy quite a few Microsoft products, I feel like there are just some baffling, ill thought out, and ham-fisted mistakes going on there with how these ads are being pushed out. They look tacky and I can only imagine they're doing more harm than good.

For example, the ads for Edge that now show up touting that you can stream longer with Edge. Really? I don't know anyone that that would convince to stop using Chrome. How about maybe something more basic like changing the logo, since every non-technical user that I know just thinks it's Internet Explorer and it's been pounded into their brains for years (and for good reason) to use Firefox or Chrome instead.


Linux isn't entirely immune to this. Ubuntu had Amazon search integration https://www.howtogeek.com/188589/5-things-you-need-to-know-a... A while back. Not sure where that stands today.

Firefox was paid by Google in the past and I believe Yahoo these days.

macOS had a connection with Bing in Spotlight.

The current incarnation is just a dog with different fleas.


> Linux isn't entirely immune to this. Ubuntu had Amazon search integration https://www.howtogeek.com/188589/5-things-you-need-to-know-a.... A while back. Not sure where that stands today.

This is the most relevant of your 3 examples and Canonical got heavily criticised for it. They ended up reversing their decision. Which makes it all the more important that people take this example not as "It's ok for Microsoft to do it as well" but rather "We also shouldn't allow Microsoft to get away with this".

>Firefox was paid by Google In the last and I believe Yahoo these days.

The thing here is that when you type something in the search bar you are actually wanting to search for something online - given that it's a "search" bar. It kind of made sense for Google to be the default search engine as that is the most popular search engine in the west (ie what most people would prefer to default to) so even without Google's investment I can see the logic of having a Google search bar. In fact I would go further and say that's a well received productivity tool.

However It's also very easy to change which online service is used in the search bar - or even to remove it entirely. So the Google investment does not lock you into using Google services on Firefox.

Thus I see no conflict of interest with regards to Google's donations to Firefox.


Canonical didn't just get criticized for the Amazon search integration: a bunch of users jumped ship to other distros, especially Mint (which is basically Ubuntu + other DEs on top).

There's a good and simple lesson here: if you don't like a company's behavior, you need to be willing to jump ship. If you're not, then your complaints are futile and useless. Why should the company listen to you if you're not going to abandon them?


Re: Ubuntu's decision to reverse ad integration, perhaps there's hope that with enough criticism Microsoft may re-evaluate integrating ads into explorer?


Hopefully. But I wish people wouldn't keep bringing up the Ubuntu example as if to say people are hypocrites for moaning about Microsoft. Most people weren't happy with Canonical either.

Hopefully most people wont use the "well it happened in Ubuntu too" excuse and instead think more along the lines of "people were mad then and it changed things so lets get mad again".


|Not sure where that stands today.

Then why say anything? You're referencing an article from 2014, on howtogeek.


In any discussion of Windows privacy a load of posts about Ubuntu "spyware" appear, suggesting an equivalence between Win 10's myriad issues and that short-lived much criticised easily disabled feature of Unity on one release of Ubuntu.

It's a bit desperate.


This kind of shit is exactly why I retired my PC. Done with all Microsoft products.


Let's just be realistic here, the general public is not ever going to switch a Linux desktop. I've been hearing about it for 25 years, how this year is going to be the year of Linux on the desktop. Not ever happening. Mac MAYBE, but Linux, never. And for the handful of us nerds that do switch, Microsoft doesn't care. The Enterprise is where they make their money, and they are DEFINITELY NOT switching away from Windows desktops.


I feel like there's a cyclical gridlock between businesses and business software vendors in which neither party can afford to be the "first" to move to a new platform.

It's like a comical game of chicken because in less than a decade all of this software is going to be in a web browser anyway.


> It's like a comical game of chicken because in less than a decade all of this software is going to be in a web browser anyway.

Will it, though? On the surface it stands to reason, but I distinctly recall seeing this exact argument a lot back in mid-00s already, during all the initial RoR craze. And yet, here we are.


It might just be my own personal experience, but the business tools I'm using today are very different from those of the mid-00s. We weren't using salesforce or google docs or even webmail-for-business back then.


I think with the rise of cloud based productivity software (Google Docs, etc.) we'll see a rise in alternative OS's.

I know one of the big issues with adopting Linux on the desktop in companies is the issue with access control (something like AD's Group Policy). It's amazing how you can control pretty much every permission/policy imaginable within your domain using AD, and until something like that comes out for Linux it won't get adopted.


The sad part here is that Linux is actually really good for that by design (if you take the time to understand Unix permissions).


That's true, we use Red Hat's IDM and it's very nice.


The sad thing is that MS office is about more than editing documents these days. Thanks to embedded VB scripts etc the suite is more a RAD environment for office drones. There is an untold number of business processes that are effectively encoded into a excel spreadsheet sprinkled with scripts.


Chromebooks are having quite a success already (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chromebook#Sales_and_marketing). I've seen many people say they were happy to use a Chromebook for their current use instead of trying to fix/upggrade their old Windows computer as well.


The risk that ads will appear on Chromebooks is quite high though.


When Google can push an ad on every search page, is there a need for ads in the OS itself? Microsoft pushes ads into the start menu (and other places) because it doesn't have anywhere near that kind of search traffic.


Certainly, The Enterprise - if that means the enormous multinational companies at the very top - will be the last to switch since they are change-averse and such a change would be extremely disruptive. But SMEs and new companies are undoubtedly using non-Windows desktops more and more. Anecdotally, the 15-person 5yo company I work for uses chromebooks, mac laptops, a mac desktop and, possibly, one or two pc laptops (not 100% sure).


Change-averse is putting it extremely mildly. You understand the IMMENSE amount of software required to run on Windows. Just Office alone is not going to change for any corporation. It's really just not worth it at all.


Well, I didn't want to be TOO rude ;-) I realise that there are a lot of huge companies that have tied themselves into Windows. I'm just pointing out that the trend I've observed, at least here in the U.K., is for new companies (which will one day become the behemoths) to use a variety of clients, either running cross-platform apps or webapps. Our company went from a mac shop to a chromebook one practically overnight. There might still be some barriers there, for some companies, but far less so today than 10 years ago.


yeah, if i used my laptop for personal use is no problem bit i doubt there is solid CAT software for Android or Linux which could compete with SDL Trados studio


Do you really use Studio?

Most people I know seem to prefer the old Workbench. Big customers are also switching to web-based tools, where they can, among other thing, track the progress status easily.


tried few others, they are inferior to SDL Trados Studio, web based tools are also pretty horrible, I currently work on project for major search engine and tool we use is just horrible, I mean the speed, I waste like 30% of my time waiting for response from their server (I have like 150Mb home internet), when it works fast then it's great and I can do a lot of work, but most of the time I have to wait

same goes for another major Chinese phone producer, their virtual phones in browser are just horrible, something I would check even with screenshots and Excel in 30mins take with virtual phone 1.5hour, complete waste of time

I am yet, to experience any web based tool which would be superior for my work compared to offline apps

oh, now that I mentioned it, certain big Japanese phone brand have really nice web tool where you can work superfast no problem 150-200 screenshots per hour including editing and highlighting bugs, but that was only exception to my experience with all other companies


I'm already out of this business... The push for the web tools, I know only from talking to former colleagues.

However, I did use the Studio few times and I didn't like it for the same reason you don't like web apps - it was big and slow like molasses. I did most of my work with (Trados) Workbench and TagEditor - these were lightning fast compared to Studio.

So I guess, that it comes in cycles: fast forward few years and people will be complaining about the latest tools and how the previous web apps were quick and easy :).


oh yes, is extremely slow to launch and load files but then it's ok, online apps have same issue but they stay slow even when using them and can't work with them when traveling on international train like i did last time with Studio


Sure, give me a product which handles all of my use cases (that includes gaming) and I'll switch any minute.


Yes,I using macOS now.


> how to turn them off

Switch to Linux.

Windows 10 Home is now $119 and tracks you. Microsoft is trying to sell you a product and monetize your behavior. They are pursuing a way to maintain their cash cow and have an avenue to push Google out.


I agree. To be honest I'm not even angry at Microsoft, just very disappointed and surprised. Windows 7 is a technological marvel in my eyes - it's stable and dependable with amazing backwards comparability. How many millions* of man-hours of productivity has it enabled I wonder? How can Microsoft be so quick to burn decades of credibility and trust?

I switched my very very non-technically savvy parents to Ubuntu several years ago and I don't regret it for a second. Once I got their wifi, browser and printer set up and reminded them about the UI once in a while, the tech support burden was minimal. They use their PCs even less now that they have large Android phones for email and messaging.

I'm still hoping Microsoft will come up with something to challenge Android. They have the resources and brains. Unfortunately they're copying Googles business model of dark patterns to swallow as much of their customers data as possible (whether you choose to call it smart business practice or privacy destroying unethical behaviour), but additionally charging them for the privilege.


My mother loves Ubuntu. She has actually taken to it quite nicely once she found out she didn't have to install printer drivers.


My mum (Linux user for over 5 years now) recently started to make fun about windows. I am so proud


MS used to treat home and soho users as a smaller cousin of their enterprise ones, but in recent years they seem to have developed a hard mental split between home/soho and enterprise.


I second this. I avoided W7 for so long because after the ME and Vista debacles, I just wanted a stable system and figured W7 was just more of the same. I was so wrong. W7 is an awesome OS.


I'm really hoping for a proper GUN/Linux phone operating system. I hope Ubuntu Touch works out well eventually.


This works well if your hobbies include manually editing obscure config files and replacing perfectly good hardware, and if your hobbies do not include playing games.

I frequently explore the possibility of switching to Linux, and while it's not the garbage fire it was 15 years ago, it's still just not a peer to Windows for the way I use my computer.


I have to replace perfectly good hardware more often under windows than linux, with osx being the worst offender (though to be fair, hackintosh isn't what they had in mind).

With windows's new mandatory driver signing, some of my hardware will never work with newer windows. I have to either dig up a copy of 7 or XP, or throw it out. Even on 7 it's a pain. The same hardware works fine under linux.

Also, your "manually editing obscure config files" is my registry hell. I'm pretty sure every operating system sucks (I'd say OSX's equivalent is defaults.write)


I agree. Linux is a world full of obscure acronyms and undiscoverable CLI commands. RTFM or nothing. I would like to switch to Linux (particularly when I read these things) but I just don't have the time to learn all the basic things the hard way and deal with all the compatibility issues.


See, this is exactly the problem I have with Windows. It's full of obscure exes and undiscoverable settings (wtf is the registry? fuck). It's like I'd have to have years of experience (since 98 or something) to understand fully. Also it has compatibility issues out the butt with hardware that 'justworks' on linux.

With windows 10, this has gotten /way/ worse. Sure bluetooth works out of the box, but sometimes it just disapperates. I'm doing like, rain dances and getting tons of wrong answers out of google, only to find out that somehow Windows decided to turn the radio off, and there's actually no way to re-enable it except booting into linux because when the radio's off, windows says the hardware is physically /not there/.

I install it for a while, play some steam games, then usually just boot it out and go back to linux.

It's generally hard to switch operating systems, not just one way.


I agree that Windows is insanely hard to use. I helped someone get their new windows computer up and running and I spent more than an hour figuring how to make it not open MSN.com every time it booted, I had to edit some registry key.


Agreed. Beeing used to Linux Windows is the most complicated operating system ever. 98 and XP kind of were still easy but now... I picked up using mac easily, as well as even more obscure systems.


At this point all the available desktop OS choices suck. They suck in different ways for different reasons, and they suck by different amounts. But they do - all - suck.

It's truly tragic. As a species, we're hoping to build a self-enhancing mega-AI, but we can't even keep relatively basic OS technology stable without breaking it.

I absolutely understand that some of the reasons for breakage are economic and political. But even so.


At this point all the available desktop OS choices suck. They suck in different ways for different reasons, and they suck by different amounts. But they do - all - suck.

Thank you.

As someone who uses all common OSes on a regular basis I am always surprised, almost intrigued, when seeing the huge confirmation bias causing some users who mainly use 1 OS to bash on the others with reasons which usually come down to 'I actually don't know how to use your OS but once I did and it sucked so yeah my OS is definitely better than yours'.


I have to say that I'm absolutely in love with Arch linux. It's some work to set up, and it's not exactly novice friendly, but once it's set up, you barely have to muck with it—it just works. Truly a wonderful OS for the tech savvy.


Use Antergos and skip the convoluted Arch install.


I'd suggest trying Fedora in a VM at some point. IMO, it's the closest Linux has come so far to a cohesive (graphical) experience. I actually found myself using a bunch of features which I'd ignored in macOS when I switched because of how well they work in together. As long as the manufacturer supports generic drivers(which they really should) most things should just work.


You really do not need to learn the command line to use Desktop Linux these days. At least for what most people do. Browsing, office, gaming (with Steam).

I would highly encourage you to learn the command line as it is considered a valuable skill on this site. You do not need to learn every obscure program. I often forget how to use quite a few Linux comamnds and just refer to Google or man.


Yeah but a few examples of common things that I can do with a UI with windows but had to edit text files and figure out the syntax in linux:

- Setting up a scheduled job

- Manipulate the firewall (I don't include third party packages as "UI")

- Configuring a website

- Changing permissions on a .py file to execute it

I also had huge problems a few years ago when the only Linux servers I could rent from OVH had no UI, and I didn't manage to figure out how to install the UI from a command line.

I'll need to get into Linux. But I find it to be hard work (for someone who does that as a hobby).


> Setting up a scheduled job

http://corntab.com https://github.com/alseambusher/crontab-ui

> Manipulate the firewall

http://gufw.org

> Configuring a website

http://apachegui.net (How can you do it in gui on windows?)

> Changing permissions on a .py file to execute it

Any normal file manager, i.e. thunar.

> I don't include third party packages as "UI"

Why? They're not hard to install if you need it.


> How can you do it in gui on windows?

IIS has a UI for pretty much everything

> Why? They're not hard to install if you need it.

Yes but 1. pretty much everyone uses txt commands so configuring these things with a UI would typically not appear in search results when looking for how to do something 2. having a UI is about making the OS self discoverable and intuitive. If it takes to be aware of and install some third party packages then the UI failed its objective.

Another thing that often tripped me in linux is the variety of distributions and tools to do the same thing. I can understand why advanced users appreciate having the choice, but from a beginner point of view, it makes it quite hard as the syntax that will work on one distribution of linux or with one tool will break another.


> IIS has a UI for pretty much everything

And it was game of "where they did hide that thing I need to configure right now?" at the beginning. Fortunately, later they did allow config files.

Additionally, GUI does not allow all the thing you can (and want) to configure using the config file.

You can also put your config files into svn or git repository and track changes to them over time. No more "what did I set to that server two years ago?" moments. You can also recycle config from one server to another, without clicking all the days.

So as a beginner, do not get used to GUI applets. Later, you will be thankful you didn't.


> And it was game of "where they did hide that thing I need to configure right now?"

And sadly that is a game that the Linux user space devs are getting very adept at implementing...


You didn't say system administrator work. From your earlier post I got the impression you were struggling with desktop usage. Alot of people prefer the command line as it gives them more flexibility, especially with Devops (I makes courses for this).

> I also had huge problems a few years ago when the only Linux servers I could rent from OVH had no UI, and I didn't manage to figure out how to install the UI from a command line.

Never heard of OVH. Try Digital Ocean and select their premade options, you can get a fully configured WordPress image from them.

> I'll need to get into Linux. But I find it to be hard work (for someone who does that as a hobby).

I don't know what to tell you. Sounds like you need to take a class or attend a Linuxfest where people will sit down with you and guide you through it.

> ... (I don't include third party packages as "UI")

Keeping UI as optional is deliberate as it reduces the surface attack structure of a Linux system. It also reduces resources with scaling a server farm. This is an important point to understand if you want to learn why Linux (and Unix like) dominates in servers. If you really want a UI, rent a CPanel managed Linux system.


On servers, an UI is just a waste of resources, and doesn't allow you to configure the server automatically (with tools such as ansible).


I can understand why they do it. But my point is about how hard it is to transition from Windows to Linux.


The default for windows servers is also gui-less install. You have to specifically select the gui when installing.

So I guess you are talking about transitioning from Windows client to Linux server.


> (I don't include third party packages as "UI")

That seems like an unimportant distinction, if it otherwise does what you need. It makes it sound like you're not making a sincere appraisal of the tools based on their merits.


I've played TF2 and CS:GO on Linux; although it's true many games aren't available on Linux.


Completely agree. I tried Ubuntu a few years ago because I heard that distro was comparably easier to use and my experience was frustrating. It took me 3 hours just to get the speakers to work, and the wifi connection would regularly drop off.

Windows just works, and I'll happily pay money for a good product.


I have a reasonably noob-unfriendly linux distro (arch) on my bleeding edge kaby lane xps 13 laptop (month or two old) and even the touchscreen worked without any messing around with config files and so on. It came with ubuntu pre-loaded and I assumed they tweaked the arse out of the configs for it, and so expected pain when I replaced the OS. Turns out I was wrong. Vanilla with a minimal distro and even the touchscreen and suspend worked.

Woah? I was impressed anyway..

As someone who's suffered OS pains you wouldn't believe (I mean.. I ran solaris 10 on a hp probook as my main workstation for a year one time...) and for well over a decade -- things are MUCH better these days then they were.

Windows? Fair enough for you I guess. I'm not trying to convert you...

I'll come off badly here, but I'll be honest: I kind of judge people who use MS tech by choice and while claiming to be technologists as being in the lower end of the skills spectrum.

I'm not an elitist or at least; I'm really not trying to be.. Please don't take me wrong. At the same time I'm don't understand how anyone with who works in tech and is thus capable of really understanding these things would voluntarily pick this stack as their daily driver.

If you're a photo editor or a journalist or writer or something, sure -- I get why that stack works.. Programmer? Sysadmin? I can't get my head around it.

I'd like to understand, though.. What do you do? What tools do you use? Are you just living inside some IDE all the time and not interacting with lots of different tools?

Thinking out loud as I type, maybe that's the difference here then? We *nix folks tend to use lots of small tools and if you're just sat in one big IDE perhaps the OS around it doesn't matter so much to you as it does to us??


>I kind of judge people who use MS tech by choice and while claiming to be technologists as being in the lower end of the skills spectrum.

In return, I judge people who use technology choice as an indication of skill as inexperienced. At one point, I was like that too. I was all about tweaking and customizing Linux; getting it to run just so on hardware that, in some cases, was actively hostile to it (I still haven't entirely forgiven Broadcom). Moreover, at that time I was time-rich and cash-poor, so it made sense for me to spend extra time in order to gain open-source versions of closed-source tools that cost hundreds or thousands of dollars.

But, at some point, I realized that I wasn't really getting anything out of it. Watching stuff fly by on the command line, and tweaking config files by hand makes you feel like a 1337 h4x0r the first time you do it. But after you've had to tweak config files to get your wifi working for the twelfth time, after you've had to apologize to your collaborators because you can't edit their documents, after you've wasted people's time because your laptop can't connect to a projector, you realize that the real determinant of success isn't whether you're using Windows or Linux. It isn't whether you've memorized man pages or obscure command line flags. It isn't whether you can rattle off the contents of your xorg.conf and smb.conf by heart. It's whether you get stuff done. All the rest of it is just means to that end. And I realized that Linux, on the client, was more of an impediment to getting stuff done than a help.

I still use Linux. I have a half-dozen or so Linux VMs running on this machine right now for various projects. The fact still remains that new programming languages and server technologies come to Linux first, OSX second and Windows much later. But in terms of desktop/laptop experience? Linux still requires far too much tweaking and configuration, and I find it much easier to get stuff done with Linux on the server and Windows on the client.


Super late reply and I supect I'm talking to myself at this point, real life got in the way again. I did see your comment when you posted it and did mean to respond at the time.

Well, better late than never.

First off; I totally agree with you.

I wasn't trying to say that ability to configure xorg or tweak your desktop setup constantly was any indicator of technical skill and I've also met a lot of people who think that it is and they irritate me significantly too.

I'm not one of those. I don't judge skill on how well one can edit config files and I disregard the views of most of those who do as juvenile and in search of a measuring tape.

I had a similar journey to you w/r/t the need to get shit done vs having a fragile mess of customization to maintain and eventually it drove me to OSX (one 'yum update' before going away for lunch and coming back to an 80x25 console just as a change window opened was the straw for my particular camel).

I was comfortable there for a bit. It stayed the hell out of my way for most of the time (I just have fullscreen terms and a browser) which is what I needed from a machine that I'm working on. OSX stopped being the best tool for that job recently, but that's a post for another time.

So, back to my judgmental/biased statement.. I'm not really sure in both what I'm trying to say here or how to say it, but I'll try again for the hell of it.

I have found through years of personal observation (YMMVx1000) that windows users in any tech position that I'm involved with is an immediate smell of lack of technical skill. Again, that sounds really bad. Once again to be clear: I'm not saying there aren't smart .net or whatever folks around and I'll be proven wrong at some point (happily!), however I'm sticking to my view that as far as I've seen, on any team I've had (be it java devs or sysadmins) that the one or two folks using windows are always the weakest members of those teams.

While you can shoot me for being honest, I find the idea that a capable ops engineer or java developer would willingly choose MS as a driver, after they're at the point where they understand the issues around closed source and privacy, incomprehensible.


I wouldn't put it like that. I would put the notion of Windows users as sign of conservatism, rather than lack of technical skill. They're not entirely divorced, but it's not the same.

It also depends on your field. Yeah, if you're doing web dev, seeing Windows on the desktop might be a smell. But if you're doing embedded programming? Or gamedev? Or even just native software development for desktops? All of those areas pretty much require Windows. The toochains are, in many cases, Windows-only, and even if there are cross platform toolchains, 95%+ of your users are going to be using Windows, so you may as well run it to experience the app as your users will see it.

In fact, this is why I lament the lack of Windows in web development. There are so many web sites out there where you can tell (usually from font choices) that the entire development team was using Macs, because the site looks fine on a Retina display, but absolutely atrocious on, say, something like a 1366x768 TN laptop panel.

Moreover, in the Seattle area, at least, I'm see a slow but steady movement back to Windows machines from OSX because Apple is neglecting its offerings, and people are finding out that most server-side programming languages and frameworks actually work just fine on Windows these days. While setting up, e.g. Python and Ruby on Windows was really complicated and annoying at one point, these days it's as simple as just downloading the .msi installers from their respective websites and running them. And that's leaving aside WSL, which (though currently unfinished) promises to bring a full Linux userspace to the Windows kernel.

I don't know what you mean by, "Choose MS as a driver," but I personally have willingly chosen to go back to Windows as my normal day-to-day computing experience. Linux GUIs are atrocious messes designed by people too busy cargo-culting what Microsoft and Apple put out in their last iteration to do any actual UI/UX research. And OSX, for whatever reason, never really sat well with me. Maybe it was the lack of a proper "maximize" function. Maybe it was the menus at the top of the screen rather than the top of the application window. Maybe it was the fact that closing the last application window didn't close the application. There were too many decisions that I, personally found weird and unintuitive, even though OSX is supposed to be the more "intuitive" GUI environment. Again, this is all client-side. On the server, I still have no hesitation in choosing Linux. It works, it's stable, and it's very well supported.

As far as "closed source", well, honestly, I don't care that much. Like I alluded to above, I've seen too much crap open source software to have the illusion that open-source is some magic pixie dust that makes software better. It doesn't. The continuing state of Linux GUI (un)usability proves this. The fact that there are no open source IDEs that even approach the power, speed and usability of JetBrains products or Visual Studio proves this. There's a reason that "the year of the Linux desktop" only happened when Google took over and transformed Linux into something indistinguishable from a closed source OS.


Yep; like I said I have definite biases and my experiences are only from unixy shops and server/backend stuff - I hope you don't think I'm claiming otherwise. In my specific area of tech it's a definite smell.

When I said 'choose driver' I really meant 'daily driver' which means workstation/laptop OS to me (so apple, linux, windows, bsd, etc etc) -- almost everywhere I've worked with in the last few years allows anyone to use whatever they want so the choice is personal and not enforced.

It's all personal, I'm not sure what we're debating anymore. Use what works for you. I guess I have less requirements than you when it comes to interfaces. It's good to have alternatives and I'm glad that MS is becoming more friendly/capable as a host for developers..

My workflow for the last few years is I ssh into some big linux/bsd servers and do almost all my work there via tmux, my workstation is just a terminal and browser (two workspaces, both fullscreen). OSX was okay for this, the hardware was great (I had one of those fanless tiny macbooks after a few MBP's and it lasted 10 hours on battery weighed nothing and was really pretty) but now I'm on a XPS and I spent a single afternoon customising dwm which has turned out to be a much better fit for me (even though I still don't do anything locally).

Linux isn't a great desktop os for non-developers. It can work, sure, but I don't see it owning the consumer market and getting a tagged year :}

As for IDE's -- that's another personal matter and is largely dependant on where you work. You'll lose patience being the only member of a team using jetbrains when everyone else is on netbeans or the other way around; but I duck in an out of teams without having their specific IDE setup with just git and a term no problem.


Honestly, I think we agree more than we disagree. Use what works, indeed. Moreover, even if you're not personally invested in Windows or Microsoft, you should be happy that Microsoft is investing in making Windows a more capable platform for developers, if only because that'll drive everyone else (cough Apple cough) to step up their game.


> At the same time I'm don't understand how anyone with who works in tech and is thus capable of really understanding these things would voluntarily pick this stack as their daily driver.

Because it's way less work. Simple as that.

Windows, in my experience, just works. The things about it that don't work are the exceptions. Windows gets out of my way and lets me work with minimal setup and maintenance.

Linux, on the other hand, has been a pain in the butt every time I've tried to make it my primary desktop OS, and I have tried multiple times (granted, the last time was 6 years ago). Editing endless config files; building some obscure driver from source to make a device function correctly; and heaven help you if you want to do an OS version upgrade.


After hopping back and forth between Windows and Linux for 6-12 months at a time for a many years, I've realized that I spend at least as much time dorking around with Windows and related software after a clean install as with desktop Linux distros. Still I keep hopping, because both worlds get too frustrating after a while.

Out of the box, Ubuntu & friends (which have improved a lot in 6 years) are far more functional than Windows, assuming the hardware is properly detected and configured. When something goes askew, it's a toss-up whether it will be easier to fix on Windows or Linux. Familiarity/experience play a huge role here.


Well, my point was kinda exactly that things are better now.....

Yours was the exact reason I used OSX for almost 6 years; it stopped being true and I switched back to linux at the end of last year.

Since then, I've had exactly one time my laptop didn't wake up from sleep in around 2 months VS daily crashes and annoying popups from my last mac.

Also lots of grateful family/friends who recieved all my old apple gear ;)


> things are better now

Ubuntu 16.10 can't handle an external monitor with a DPI/resolution. And keeps throwing up error boxes after a fresh install on a Linux machine that came with Ubuntu by default.

Better? Maybe. Good? Hardly.


As one of those people: I've used Linux for quite a while in the past but switched to windows since windows 10 came out.

As someone else in this thread pointed out, I've only seen the Candy crush ad once, that's all.

With bash on Ubuntu on windows, great hyperv based docker and the windows system I'm just much more flexible. I have an the advantages of Linux with WSL (windows subsystem for Linux) and at the same time I don't have to spend time on getting my computer to work.

Whenever I see someone presenting using Linux, they have to spend like 10 minutes configuring their beamer. I'm just connected, with great scaling handling and ready to go.

Additionally, I have a surface pro 4, so whenever I want I can just start sketching on it (great for a programmer).

Stop judging people by the technology they use, because maybe you're the one being fixated.

EDIT: Oh, and PowerShell is actually a nice to use terminal.


It's easy to forget how obscure is a technology to someone who doesn't have the experience and understanding of all the underlying concepts. I tend to do the same with programming. I tend to think certain things are trivial, until I see a beginner struggling with concepts that are so obvious I didn't think it was worth spending more time than just mentioning them.

I am a beginner on linux, and outside of a few basic settings, I find myself very quickly in front of a terminal window, trying to guess the state of the system or what syntax could work and not break anything.


Yep so I'm definately being biased by personal experience here -- not claiming otherwise. I've been using and working with unixy types for >15 years or so and probably type 'grep' a hundred times a day (I'm a lead dev).

I'm genuinely just curious how your world looks as it's so different to mine -- I must live a sheltered life but even junior devs I have with routinely push makefiles and bash scripts etc..

Are you a dev? Do you just live in one big contained environment like visual studio or such that has all these kind of tools rolled in?


That's the thing. I'm not a dev, I am a banker. And there are only so many hours I am willing or able to spend on a week end relearning the basics.

GUI are infinitely valuable in that case. Windows allows to do quite sophisticated stuff all the way with a UI. You can always observe the state of the system, know what can be done from there, etc. I know a few command lines for some basic things I do all the time, but for things I do occasionally, it is just not worth me investing time doing it with a CLI, like creating a VM.

But then I am hostile to this new Microsoft...


> GUI are infinitely valuable in that case. Windows allows to do quite sophisticated stuff all the way with a UI. You can always observe the state of the system, know what can be done from there, etc.

People from Windows commonly have this impression because in Windows everything is either a GUI or the registry, and nobody wants to touch the registry without a long pole and a hazmat suit but you occasionally have to anyway. So you quickly build the intuition that anything without a GUI is painful and wrong, which isn't the case on other operating systems.

Most configuration files on Unix-like systems have manual pages that list what options you can set and what they do. For example the man page for logrotate.conf says you can add the line "mail address" to have it email the oldest log to address before deleting it. It's no more difficult to read the man page and find the option you want than look through seven pages of GUI settings to find it, and often easier because man pages are searchable. With the further advantage of actually describing what the option does rather than just giving you a GUI text box with the word "mail" next to it and letting you guess whether you're supposed to type an email address or a filename to mail or something else.

> like creating a VM.

There is a GUI program called virt-manager to do this on Linux. Most desktop Linux distributions have GUI programs to do a lot of things like that, people just don't use them as often because the GUI-alternative on Unix-like systems is actually reasonable. Although you picked a good example in the sense that creating a VM directly using qemu-kvm is harder than it probably ought to be.


Hmm. I've never worked with the 'frontend' of finance -- I know how your infra, payement processing, massive enterprisey stacks etc work but the day to day stuff the folks on the desks are doing I've not really observed.

It's a wide field I guess, but at the end of the day would I be safe to assume that you're mostly playing with data in interesting ways then telling various services/apps (aforementioned chunky java apps, for e.g) to do things based on what you work out from those manipulations?

If that's the case, then I really think there is an advantage for you in mastering the 'unix ide', but only if you're doing really custom stuff all the time...

If you're working with a bunch of tools that do everything you already need them to do, then of course there's no point in working out how to do the same with different tools. If you're constantly hitting the limits of how you can play with your data, then perhaps it's worth looking into a language which is good at manipulating data and you'd be suprised how powerful this mysterious CLI can be..


I'm gonna suggest taking a look at Fedora/GNOME. I feel like that's the closest Linux has to a cohesive GUI.


> perhaps the OS around it doesn't matter

Of course it doesn't matter. Windows, macOS, and Linux are all good enough. More than ever, you pick the operating system and hardware to support the applications you want to run.


Well, okay.

The tools I use will work on all these operating systems, but I wouldn't consider windows or OSX 'good enough' for me.

I suspect most developers could get their stacks to work on everything from freebsd to windows (well, unless you're a .net dev) -- so that's not really the reason to pick one or the other?

I don't run linux becuase 'vim' works better than it does on opensolaris... right?


I'm guessing we don't really disagree on this.

You are right about vim. It works well everywhere, so that's not likely to be the application that dictates what the rest of your system is. If you use vim and play a lot of Call of Duty, then you are probably going to use Windows. If you use vim and absolutely depend on Final Cut Pro, you're going to be on a Mac.


Some hardware makers do not like to play nice with Linux.

If you want a system that 'just works' with Linux you should buy from a vendor that supports Linux like System76.

Blaming Linux for not supporting hardware that the vendor did not bother to patch in support is like blaming MacOS for not working with your hackintosh.


These things changed quickly though. Drivers that were an issue three years ago will now often just work.


15 years ago is a long time to base a tech argument.

I just played Tropico 5 on Ubuntu with Steam. All the hardware was detected. I installed a PPA to download the latest driver; that will keep me updated.

> This works well if your hobbies include manually editing obscure config files

I had to edit obscure entries the registry to block Microsoft's spying on my Windows 7 system. I have had to edit entries to fix obscure issues in Windows XP. I have yet to edit 'obscure config files' for my Ubuntu desktop in years.


[flagged]


We ban accounts that comment like this. Please post civilly and substantively, or not at all.


This is a terrible comment. The OP makes valid points. I run Linux on several boxes and have been a user for years and I still have trouble dealing with it sometimes. For all its faults, Windows just works.


In general, you haven't made any arguments.


I have a primary Linux box, but my Windows box is still used for games.

For the PC gamer, the indie game market on Linux is growing, but it's still not the same as the Windows market. Microsoft had one of the last minimal-bloat systems up until Windows 10. I don't want to enter a world where we need to start ad-blocking the entire OS via custom DNS servers.

Microsoft is still making money of the initial OS license with every new machine. People will still pay for Windows. Why do they keep fucking it up?


And I seem to remember when Microsoft squeezed out the market of accelerated sound cards, like SoundBlaster Live.

It effectively killed their audio market overnight, with the fact that everything had to go over their DRM stack.

We could have had machines with DSPs for sound, GPUs for accelerated array math, and general purpose CPUs for everything else. But MS decided that for us... Even though us Linux people can use advanced DSPs and the like.


Perhaps that's why I use Linux or OSX for any serious work. Windows really fucked up the sound subsystem. I can't get anything outside of "7.1 output, maybe 1 or 2 channels in" to work without horrible hops and skips. Like Microsoft never thought I'd be trying to record 24 channels at once.


I wonder how much of that had to do with the MAFIAA...


A lot.

The switch from XP to Vista and the concurrent death of CRTs were a lot about holywood.

Sound Cards, analog screens and advanced video programming (ie: changing how the screen acts directly instead of sending pixels on an standard defined manner) all allowed people to skip DRM and also all prevented new formats from getting popular.

This is still that way, note 4k video cards and screens showed up at the same time a new bluray variation is coming out, despite tech for that being ancient. (in 1995 Silicon Graphics was selling workstation that could push in the monitor 48bit colour images at resolutions around 1080p, if you had deep pockets 4k 48bit was possible...)


Feral has really put a good effort to get alot of AAA games on Linux. XCOM, Mad Max and Shadows of Mordor I have played alot of on Linux. XCOM 2 and Deus Ex is next.

Virtual GPU support in KVM is something I am looking forward to maintain Win7 on a future Ryzen system.


I tried that quite a few times on a rarer pc setup (intel nuc 6i7kyk, 6i5syk). Doesn't usually end that well. What windows has that works great is the driver support, graphics drivers in particular. On ubuntu and mint especially. I'll try building a Ryzen pc this summer to see how well that works though.


Related: just yesterday I saw a system pop-up on my only windows 10 box (connected to my TV) suggesting to switch from Chrome to Edge which would be faster... pretty anticompetitive behavior IMHO.


I use Ubuntu, one of the most popular desktop Linuxes. The one that has this: http://www.pcworld.com/article/2840401/ubuntus-unity-8-deskt...


Are the ads only for storage service? At first I was thinking we'd start seeing banner ads like we do on blogs. If it's only Microsoft pushing their own integrated services I don't really have much of a problem, but for software I paid for showing third party ads when I never ever had an expectation of such a thing then I do agree it is very horrible.

The "Not now" button does seem like a anti-pattern instead of a simple no. Reminds me on how iOS apps bug you over and over again to rate them. I assume in X amount of time, it would show the banner again? I think it should be like "Learn More" or "Dismiss". Then have Dismiss never show it again on that device(unless they did like a reinstall of the OS). I'm sure it's useful to know it's available, especially to non tech people but you shouldn't have to jump into a long list of settings to stop it.

Imagine some day your car dashboard updates and starts showing banner ads for deals at near by places when the car never did it in the first place. That'd be kinda creepy too.


The only one I've seen was for their storage services. I admit it surprised me initially, but I suppose it could be worse. Hopefully it does not go the way of Skype which (for me) is almost entirely unusable on Windows these days due (I assume) to the ads locking up/hanging the process.



Yes - it's for storage services and as of today the only one advertised is OneDrive. But I fear that Dropbox could show up tomorrow.

Right now the only problem I have with it is that it looks like an ad and shows up in too many places. Had it just shown up in in the OneDrive app or just once during setup then I'd have zero problems with it.

Storage is advertised in iOS and Mac OS too, it's just a little more tasteful.

I completely trust Microsoft will not advertise shoes and hamburgers in windows. They'll keep that crap to e.g the consumer version of Skype I hope. I hope they will never even display a third party service in any part of windows itself.

I think the whole "omg Windows shows ads!!" reaction is - at this point - totally an overreaction.


My mom already had OneDrive installed and it was pestering her. I don't know what they want me to do. I went in and turned the notification off, but 98% of people won't know to do that and will accept a shitty aspect of the user experience.


Just to clarify, this is basically the same exact thing that macOS does with regards to storage.

Try running low on storage and see how long it takes to get spammed with notifications to buy more icloud storage.


> Try running low on [iCloud] storage

That bit's important - I don't have to be using Microsoft's storage system at all to loose a good 200 pixels to the banner after every restart.

I'm not even signed into a Microsoft account with my account; doesn't matter.


That's the point though; I'm not running low on iCloud storage. I've never put a single file in iCloud storage, at least not from my MacBook (my iPhone seems to automatically back up, but I'm not sure that counts as 'files').

I'm running out of disk space on my MacBook and it wants me to buy iCloud storage so I can offload things to the cloud. I'm not an existing customer, I've never given them a dime for storage, and yet they keep pestering me to buy.


Interesting. I've never seen an advert for iCloud storage, unless I'm looking at the iCloud settings page, or when I've consumed all of my available space. Then again, I haven't filled my disks to the point of exhaustion recently.


We're doing some qualification of Windows Server 2016, which we use to run some business logic [insert history here]. Imagine my surprise when I found some Cortana-related processes running on one of the test boxes.

Cortana. On an OS that's supposed to be a server. I can tell that I'm going to have a ton of fun locking this stupid thing down. Also, seeing a process named "NetworkSpy" got fun, fast; whoever named that thing sure knew how to get my attention.

I like the core Windows OS; it's a nice kernel. But there's a lot of crap on top of it, and their testing is getting worse. Ask me about Remote Desktop regressions... well, don't. It's the weekend and I want to forget.


The forced restarts on a server are funny too. As is the feedback information to Microsoft (which iirc can not be turned off completely, only to basic, maybe there is a registry/gpo hack but i havent played with this yet).

Can't set the "active hours" to more than 12 hours to prevent restarting when it dictates, so end up disabling the update service entirely which is a complete anti-pattern to what they were trying to "achieve". I mean, the active hours stuff is a good idea, but for the love of god in a server environment it should be easy to disable automatic restarts.


> The forced restarts on a server are funny too.

If you're already using Windows Server, have it serviced by someone trained in it, and you won't see forced restarts. If i can have 100% control of it on my pro system with only out-of-the-box tools, including selection of which updates i want to install and which not, then so can you on the server version.


As i said below i am more on about MS even considering this as a default option for a server environment, not about the lack of control.


For one: There is no lack of control. I don't know about Home, but from Pro and up you have full and fine-grained control available if you use the correct APIs.

For the other: This is primarily a shift in their philosophy of considering every user someone who would happily endanger the entire internet for their convenience. If you're not the type of person to have received notification of this change as part of your training and/or doesn't double-check it as part of their job duties, they expect you to be the type of person who lets their servers go unpatched and infected by worms sending out spam and DDOS attacks for years.

Mind, they're not saying this out loud, but their actions speak very loud.


Might want to check that, anniversary update simple made many of the previous group policy functions, and API calls, only functional on educational and enterprise versions.


Nope, i'm using them on an up-to-date pro version. They work.

A lot of that is also misreporting and half truths by journos who don't give a damn about anything but being the first to get the clicks with the most exciting headline. For example the group policy update configuration was changed with the anniversary update to not reflect in the user update ui, but still works perfectly fine and is still reflected in the group policy ui.


You need to read up on using group policy to change this behavior. It's not reasonable to expect an end user to know about this stuff but if you're really worried about servers, you should already know this. I'm guessing that's why you were downvoted.


I'm fully aware of gpo, thanks. I was more on about the shift from the default of do not update (in server 2012) -> update and restart (as a default in server 2016)


I can't really fault them for picking the safest default option (for the user and for the network) out of the box, even if it's an option that will negatively affect uptime if not altered. That's just the world we're living in right now.


When will Microsoft stop with this shit, and do a 180 degree U-turn? What does it need?

It's unbelievable how MSFT turned Windows from the great Win7 to the worst spyware operating system in human history aka Win10 in just 5 years. Is it just greed? Is it that they failed with Mobile (WinPhone is dead and has 0.1% world wide market share) and Android amd iOS have a bigger market share than Windows 7? (Win10 has way smaller market share). On desktop Windows 7 has like 50% market share, where as Win10 is around 20%. Is it that they failed with XBoxOne, now Sony and Nintendo eat MSFT former console market share as breakfast.

I bought two highend notebooks one a MacBookPro, the other with Win7 Pro preinstalled. The will last for the next five years. I stay with Office 2010 and additionally installed LibreOffice. I skip Win8 and Win10, and I am running Linux in VMs.

What's really disgusting is that in future many smaller companies like law firms, doctors will leak your private confidential data to Microsoft - as Windows 10 collects audio from connected microphones, collect keystrokes from connected keyboards, and indexes all files on local drives and sends a lot of data home to many different domains (some are owned by Microsoft, some have very dubious names and owners).


Well, I think we should calm down from the paranoia a little bit. Nobody has ever proven any actual spying on windows 10 (it's actually a very secure system)

What everybody's talking about are metrics. Anonymous usage metrics. And trust me, as a user and programmer I know of no company that doesn't collect metrics like that. It's totally common.

Between, as far as I know, from the next update "creators" (this or next month) you can actually turn them off too.


As a MSFT employee: Provide a proof that Win10 is not sending home the data I mentioned.

Oh wait, it has been documented by third parties.

Win10 has a whitelist in the signed 64bit kernel mode network driver, so you can't stop it except by putting a hardware firewall in front of your Win10 box - good luck with your Win10 notebook.

If an app sends home metrics, it can be stopped with a software firewall. If you can't trust your operating system any more, it's a whole different ballpark.

Adware and spyware companies with their unwanted toolbars and what not got problems with the US law since 2004. Win10 is an adware and spyware per definition, see news article of this HN thread.


I haven't denied the metrics. But please provide proof of it sending home non-anonymus data the kind you mentioned. Also, as I said, it should be possible to turn it off soon.


Unless the metrics are sent over tor, they aren't really anonymous. How many times have companies claimed they've anonymized data only to find out it was trivial to correlate it with something else?


The burden of proof is up to Microsoft in this since they don't disclose the source or the communication protocols in full. There is information being sent we cannot decode right now. We can't even begin to investigate properly with the information we have.

Furthermore, even if the current system is OK, this might change at any time without prior notice due to a pushed update.

Finally, others doing it, too, doesn't make it any less wrong.


It doesn’t even matter if certain information is not sent now; with a well-established mechanism for doing so, anyone can make it happen in the future (new management, disgruntled employee, whatever). The correct course of action was to not have that crap in there in the first place because it is not necessary by definition for an operating system to function.


The GNU/Linux systems get to be in the VMs hosted by Windows? That's the other way around, man!


> Is it that they failed with XBoxOne, now Sony and Nintendo eat MSFT former console market share as breakfast.

I'll think you'll find that XBone has sold pretty well (faster rate than the 360 in the same time period). It just that the PS4 sold extraordinarily well in comparison. Too early to tell for the switch but WiiU (which was competing with xbone) was nowhere near eating their breakfast.


Note there's ads in lots of other parts of Windows 10 too: the Start menu tiles, the preloaded programs, and the Notifications area. There are different ways to turn each of these off. They are multiplying.

Fuck everything about this. My computer is my tool and my work environment.


The lock/login screen too.


We've gotten quite attached to the random login screen pictures in our house. At some point they started adding textual explanations after you clicked so you could read a little about what you were looking at. I was surprised how disappointed I was yesterday when instead of the usual explanations it was an ad for some Adobe product. I'm used to ads in the browser but this was personal somehow.


This sucks, of course. Yet all the comments on this thread saying the solution is to simply switch platforms ignore something very fundamental.

I like to say "Nobody goes to Home Depot to buy a drill bit; what they want to buy is a hole."

I don't use Windows because I want to use Windows. I use it because there are things I need to do that can only be done with it.

The "just switch to Linux" reaction is an understandable engineering reaction. And, frankly, if your world is limited to web development and some forms of embedded development it might make a ton of sense. Yet, from a business perspective it makes no sense outside of scenarios that fit Linux well.

For others it isn't that simple. What would the Linux proponents suggest we do with hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in software not available on any other platform? Solidworks, Siemens NX, Altium Designer, FEA and other simulation tools, CAM and other manufacturing tools, an myriad other applications ranging from business to medicine to engineering that depend on this platform.

The goal of a business is to deliver goods and services, not to play with operating systems. The operating system is irrelevant. It's all about the software that runs on it and the utility it provides to users. As an aside, this, I believe, is exactly where Apple has gone wrong. By insisting on having totalitarian control over everything on their platforms they have effectively limited the utility of their devices. At the same time, this is what makes them so good for a certain range of utilization scenarios.

We use Windows because it is the only way to buy a hole. We could not care less what OS is under the hood. All we care about is the hole we need to drill.

And, frankly, Microsoft has been making a better product with time. I've been using MS products since DOS on the original IBM PC (I bought one when they came out for $3,200). Save missteps here and there, MS software has always improved with time. What they need is our feedback in order to make it even better. The criticism is fair, of course.


> an understandable engineering reaction

The point about switching to an alternative isn't an engineering reaction, it's a political suggestion that is based on sending the right message. When MS does something you find objectionable, the way to signal that you strongly disagree in a capitalist system is to vote with your wallet. Continuing to use Window only sends the message that the recent changes are acceptable.

> For others it isn't that simple.

I'm sure it isn't, but that was one of the risks in building a business that depends critically on a product you have zero control over. MS has a very long history of doing things their own way, and usually in their own interest.

> What would the Linux proponents suggest we do with hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in software not available on any other platform?

Accept that you may have made hundreds of thousands of dollars in bad investments? You invested in tools that depends fundamentally on a risky platform. Investing in new tools and/or rebuilding your business to not depends on tools that are risky or unavailable will probably be time consuming and expensive. Do you want to start paying those costs now? Or do you want to continue using Windows, encourage MS to abuse their product even more, and generally throw more time and money at your current situation? I suggest paying for past mistakes now, because problems tend to get more expensive when you ignore them.

--

Note that none of the above comments mentioned Linux. I do recommend moving to a Free (as in speech) platform, but the point about switching is to leave MS. Often there isn't any alternative; fortunately Linux/BSD and a lot of really good does exist, so you have an alternative, even if it isn't perfect.


Free as in speech is the only point where Windows is still ok, it's free as in beer and free as in freedom where it falls down.


Windows is not Free Software, and this entire discussion is about Microsoft's decisions that ignore the wishes of the actual owner of the computer.

Microsoft is forcing changes onto other people's property. If this was a physical product you bought, the manufacturer forcing changes onto your property would be considered vandalism. Of course, apologists will try to shift the blame to the victim - the users lacking technical training - by pointing to dark patterns in the setup or "EULA".

Microsoft isn't the worst offender re: platform freedom, but calling windows "free" ignores decades of bad behavior, the current moves to lock down Windows while adding spyware and other miss-features, and the simple fact that proprietary software outside your control is by definition "not free".


> The point about switching to an alternative isn't an engineering reaction, it's a political suggestion that is based on sending the right message. When MS does something you find objectionable, the way to signal that you strongly disagree in a capitalist system is to vote with your wallet. Continuing to use Window only sends the message that the recent changes are acceptable.

No. What I meant to say is that only engineers or technical folks without business experience say these kinds of things.

My mission as a businessman is to get shit done. It also happens to be my mission as an engineer. I could not be bothered to worry about these OS issues. Windows allows me to buy 50 workstations, load them up with a pile of engineering software and get shit done. From a business perspective that is the right decision and the right solution. Quirks don't matter.

Switching OS isn't a consideration or an option because it is irrelevant. The goal is to spend 10 to 12 hours a day working with specific applications to get specific work done, not to spend 10 or 12 hours a day playing with the OS. That's a huge difference in mindset and focus.

> I'm sure it isn't, but that was one of the risks in building a business that depends critically on a product you have zero control over. MS has a very long history of doing things their own way, and usually in their own interest.

You are absolutely wrong on this one. MS has ALWAYS protected their users. The stability afforded to business users across decades is probably without match. In sharp contrast to this Apple has gone through a number of episodes where they pretty much said "screw all of you, all your software is now dead", most notably with the transition in and out of the PowerPC platforms. MS has never done that.

No, MS has always been the soundest investment. Not even Linux can match the stability of the platform. Over the years there have been driver issues as well as UI confusion. In many ways Ubuntu is the greatest thing to ever happen to Linux and it still has faults and is a challenge to use outside of technical environments.

> Accept that you may have made hundreds of thousands of dollars in bad investments? You invested in tools that depends fundamentally on a risky platform.

The truth is exactly opposite your statement. The platform has never been risky because MS understands business and the hundreds of thousands of dollars invested are perfectly safe. We still have some very expensive software from a couple of decades ago that runs very well under Windows Vista, 7 and 10.

Also, I don't think you understand that these tools are simply not available on any other platform. There's a reason for which all the major MCAD companies have product that runs on Windows. It's because their multi-million dollar investment across decades is safe there and goes nowhere on other platforms.

Look, I wish Windows had a Linux foundation and a bunch of other things under the hood. That's me, the geek, speaking. Me the businessman fires-up a VM with Ubuntu and, as they say, is happy as pigs in shit. My job isn't to play with the OS, it's to get useful work done with the tools we need to use to get product out the door.


I wonder how many of these industrial applications will want to remain on a platform that pushes unblockable updates that keep adding more telemetry and leakage of data. I am not even convinced windows 10 is usable in a sensitive environment like a law firm, a bank or in healthcare. Big companies will use enterprise versions and pay IT people full time to block all that shit. Smaller and medium companies just use the pro version and don't have the resources to configure it properly.


That's a valid question. Forget law firms, ITAR (part of our work) is a big question. I can't say I've looked into it but would be surprised if MS didn't have a path forward. Most of the large aerospace companies use Windows and they are all under ITAR. For now I think everyone is staying put with Windows 7 until 10 can be understood further.


We have technical debt in software. Investing in holistically proprietary and locked down ecosystems in enterprise, where you are talking millions in software and more in labor training, you are incurring your own form of technical debt.

The enterprise does not want to hear this. To learn in hindsight their early decisions to take easy paths with well advertised and pressured products would end up stabbing them in the back over the long term can quickly bring your decisions into question and make you emotionally defensive.

But the solution is to acknowledge mistakes and work towards fixing them, rather than just kicking the can down the road and ignoring the problem.

Every year the sectors that consistently say they cannot switch to Linux continue to pay for the Windows-only closed ecosystems they depend on directly sabotage their future potential success by funding their own antagonists. But they are not technically minded, or maybe just not informed enough, to know that the solution is not that complicated. Keep self-sabotaging on proprietary ecosystems that rob your freedoms, but also dedicate funds to correct your accrued technical debt by funding (if not using) the FOSS competition in that domain - and if none exists, start funding it yourself.

> We could not care less what OS is under the hood.

The whole point of this discussion - from the OP on - is that people, on Windows, do care when Microsoft behaves against their interests and forces those decisions upon them. They have no say because that is what they signed up for, but this is exactly the ignorance to the technical debt of business I speak of.


> We have technical debt in software. Investing in holistically proprietary and locked down ecosystems in enterprise, where you are talking millions in software and more in labor training, you are incurring your own form of technical debt.

I understand, yet the challenge is exactly the same every time. Say, for example, you launch a brand new electric car company and need a bunch of integrated software and automation tools to help you do everything, from running the business to designing the cars, manufacturing, supply chain management, document processing, etc.

You have two choices: You can be an operating system, FOSS, free beer, free speech, pink unicorns for everyone zealot. Or you can go buy shit that works and get on with the business of getting shit done.

The difference is this: A business should only be concerned with delivering it's products and services and doing so on a timely manner while staying ahead of the competition. A business should not waste one microsecond on "technology jihad". That is not their job.

It is up to entrepreneurs who are "believers" to identify opportunities --if and where they exist-- and work hard to create solutions that appeal to the businesses who need them. It's a tall task, because success might require replacement solutions across a wide range of disciplines. This guarantees that multiple solution providers would have to engage in this "holy war" (sorry, sticking to a bad analogy at this point) in order for the car manufacturer to be able to even consider making a switch.

And then there's the other factor: Even if you could switch to an alternative universe and make it seamless within your organization it could still be a terrible business decisions. Why? Because if the vendors and suppliers you have to work with depend on communicating across company demarcation lines by using files produced by specific types of software you are almost assured a great deal of friction if you don't use the same tools. Don't believe me, call-up 100 machine shops and ask them if they accept Siemens NX or SolidWorks files and see what you learn. And both of those platforms run on Windows.

> people, on Windows, do care when Microsoft behaves against their interests and forces those decisions upon them.

Any professional is very careful about OS and software version transitions. Microsoft has had glitches here and there but they have always been nothing but rock-solid-reliable in their support of the needs of their business customers.

We might be looking at another glitch, I don't know, but I don't really care, they'll do the right thing. Not saying this because I love MS. It's just a matter of historical fact. Thinking back over 36 years, I can't remember the last time MS boned anyone. I can remember multiple times where both Apple and various Linux issues did.


Everybody knows what you're saying. There are many people who only use Windows because they need software that only runs on Windows.

Switching to something else requires you to replace that software. That's a cost. But having an OS that you first pay money for and then have it show you ads is also a cost. Every time they do something like this, it increases the number of people for which the second cost now outweighs the first. It also provides an opportunity for people who don't use any Windows-locked software to consider that there is nothing standing between them and a viable alternative.

And even if you don't switch today, you can still contact your software vendors and ask them for a Linux version. The more people do that the more likely they are to produce it, and once they do then you don't have to weigh one cost against the other anymore.


> Switching to something else requires you to replace that software. That's a cost.

My point is that this is impossible. You can't buy the software you need at any cost. It does not exist. You can't even consider other platforms for this reason.

> you can still contact your software vendors and ask them for a Linux version.

Zero interest in that for on simple reason: There's nothing wrong with deploying and using the software on Windows. Why would a company bifurcate their development effort to support multiple platforms when it isn't necessary.

Programs like Solidworks, for example are highly particular about drivers and, in addition to that, need tools such as MS Office. CAMWorks, which is an integrated CAM programming tool for manufacturing uses an MS Access database for tool and operations parameters.

Coming back to the ads in Explorer. I lack context because we are switching all of our workstations to Windows 10 and I have yet to see any such ads. Do they exist in the higher level editions or just in Home edition?

Don't get me wrong, I don't like the idea at all. But, frankly, we probably spend significantly less than 1% of our time fiddling around with files in Explorer. When I am spending 12 hours a day on SolidWorks I couldn't care less what happens with explorer.

This is no different from visiting StackOverflow and ignoring the ads. Yes, I know one is paid and the other isn't. Yet, in the context of a workstation with $30K to $50K of software installed, the cost of the OS is a rounding error, it might as well be free.

Now, if ads start to pop-up in the middle of an 18 hour FEA run it's war.


> My point is that this is impossible. You can't buy the software you need at any cost. It does not exist. You can't even consider other platforms for this reason.

There are people who can. Most people don't use $50K worth of Windows-locked CAD software. 80% of people who use Microsoft Office can get by perfectly well with LibreOffice or Google Docs, despite the loud objections from the remaining 20%.

> Why would a company bifurcate their development effort to support multiple platforms when it isn't necessary.

Because it's profitable. There are already people who use other platforms. Typically software prices are the inverse of popularity; more specialized software costs more. How many users does it take at $50K/user to justify the porting cost? 50? 500? That is not a large number against platforms with millions of existing users.

And porting to three platforms costs about the same as two, because the differences between Unix-like systems are much smaller than the difference between Windows and Mac, and by that point you're already on a cross-platform framework like Qt and cross-platform database like postgres. So adding support for Mac justifies adding support for Linux, whether it did initially or not.

> Don't get me wrong, I don't like the idea at all. But, frankly, we probably spend significantly less than 1% of our time fiddling around with files in Explorer. When I am spending 12 hours a day on SolidWorks I couldn't care less what happens with explorer.

The problem is the only thing they hear is money, and you need to be objecting to this more than anyone else for your own benefit.

Every time they do something like this they lose users at the margin, because the annoyance pushes those users above the switching cost. Those users are gone, because then the cost is to switch back. But every user they lose increases the level of ad spam the average remaining user will tolerate, because they know those users have higher switching costs and therefore a higher tolerance for ad spam before losing their business.

Which means the only way for you, as someone with very high switching costs, to avoid being inundated with ad spam in the near future, is to push the switching costs down for as many people as you can. Demand that all your professional software be supported on Linux, even if you aren't going to use it on Linux. Encourage the people who can switch more easily than you to do it. Because that's the point where they stop -- when the number of users they lose costs more than the profit from the ads.

If they stick you with ads and you don't like it but nobody does anything about it, tomorrow there will be even more ads.


With respect, and I don't mean this as a personal dig but rather a statement of fact as I perceive it, I don't think you understand how business works.

None of what you say above makes any sense in the real world.

Absent a clear, true and significant competitive advantage not a single responsible business owner would make the reckless move of switching platforms.

And, BTW, these advantages go far beyond cost. Frankly, in the end, if you have a real business, cost isn't as significant as function. And, by "function" I don't mean how the software works. I mean how the enterprise functions, with software being one set of tools at your disposal.

Simple example: Hire office workers familiar with and trained on MS Office tools, of course on Windows. Now hire 1,000 of them. Shove them in front of Ubuntu Linux with Libre Office.

The productivity dip will be significant and it might last a while while they learn both a new OS, new GUI and new tools. And, of course, now you have the potential for one or many compatibility issues as you communicate across departments or with other businesses.

So long as you don't use MS Office compatibility, by definition, will always have a question mark next to it. And, if there are tools that depend on MS Office you have a serious problem. One example would be domain specific Excel add-ins.

Yet, that's not the worst of it. This forced switch at scale causes the company to lose focus and have to concentrate on something totally unrelated to what it is they do for several weeks. Not only is that bad, that's irresponsible.

And, in the end, what do you gain? Nothing. Actually, no. You gain problems and potential problems. The kinds of things you might regret in six months or five years as documents and work accumulate.

"If it works, don't fix it" is sage advice.


Your post can be summarized as "nobody ever got fired for buying IBM."

But now 30 years later, hardly anybody is buying IBM -- they don't even make PCs anymore and there are more than a hundred commodity server customers to each mainframe customer -- because the more and the longer people say "you have to stick with the incumbent" the larger their competitive disadvantage becomes because they know they can get away with it.

The only question is, do you want to be the company that spends $1 to avoid $1 in costs and disadvantages sooner, or do you want to be the company that waits until later, gets even more locked into the incumbent and then has to spend $100 to avoid $200.


Funny that Satya Nadella is praised on HN for his business sense and revolutionary thinking, yet when something like this happens, no one seems to remember about him. He is a CEO, it's his signature that allows this. Think about all Windows 10 spying, stupid updates policy etc. next time you praise him.


I don't understand your problem: the Windows 10 spying, "stupid" updates policy, etc., are all good examples of Nadella's excellent business sense and revolutionary thinking. He's finally cast off this obsolete, idiotic thinking about not pissing off your customers, and realizes that Windows users aren't going to switch to another OS no matter what, so it makes perfect business sense to milk them for every penny they're worth with ads, spying, forced updates, etc. He's doing an excellent job, though personally I think he could do even better (though it'll make Windows users even more unhappy, but that's their problem).


I'm so divided on Microsoft these days. On the one hand they are doing all the right things in terms of supporting FOSS and making Windows into a truly great OS. But then they pull stuff like this and you remember it's Microsoft.

I think this is just the price we are going to pay for "evergreen" operating systems. As a consumer, you now only buy Windows once. Microsoft has to make up for these lost sales so it makes sense. I don't agree with it, but having to toggle off advertising is not going to keep me from using what I consider to be the best operating system for my needs.


>On the one hand they are doing all the right things in terms of supporting FOSS

Could always end up as Embrace, extend, extinguish v2.0 - but here's hoping they get it right this time

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embrace,_extend_and_extinguish


The best embrace and extend strategy would be to include lots of FOSS software pre-installed, and have an app store with more open source options. Windows could then be sold as a "batteries included" premium product. The average consumer would have no idea that the software was initially developed by someone else, and why would they even care. It would show a clear advantage over IOs and Android. And it is what a lot of customers actually want.


It is like a bipolar company.


Its always seemed to me like a company driven by committee. And that committee is strongly non-technical business types.


> As a consumer, you now only buy Windows once. Microsoft has to make up for these lost sales so it makes sense.

Once per device. Consumers (with a few exceptions, of course) don't, in the standard sense, really "buy" Windows. They pay for it, sure, when they buy a new computer, phone, etc., but most consumers don't buy a shrink-wrapped copy of Windows 10 off the shelf. Microsoft is still making money off of Windows with every purchase of a new desktop or laptop.

I'll grant that they may have lost some revenue by "giving away" Windows 10 upgrades and such but it doesn't seem to be affecting them too much. From a quick glance, it looks like $MSFT is currently at an all-time high.

> ... having to toggle off advertising is not going to keep me from using [Windows] ...

Out of curiosity, where will you draw the line?

Will you change your mind when they remove the option to turn the OneDrive ads off? What about when the ads change -- from OneDrive ads to ads for other Microsoft products? Or ads for other, unrelated, third-party products?

What about when the ads expand to other parts of the "Windows experience"? Right now, according to TFA, they're only shown in Windows Explorer. Will you change your mind when Microsoft starts injecting ads into other applications you use on a daily basis? What if they begin showing video advertisements before you can watch a home video of your kids in (the modern equivalent of) Windows Media Player? Or when a slideshow of your family vacation photos is interrupted by an advertisement being shown every tenth photo?

It sounds absurd, I know, and these scenarios are a long way off from what's happening now -- showing OneDrive ads in Windows Explorer -- and I wouldn't really expect any of the above to ever actually happen. Then again, as recently as a couple years ago, we wouldn't have expected our operating system to ever show us any ads at all.

If we had been asked a few years ago, most of us (in "the tech community") wouldn't have ever expected that Microsoft would someday implement the privacy-invading tracking features ("telemetry") that now exist in Windows 10. It would have seemed absolutely crazy that they'd do something like that -- but they did. If memory serves, it was -- at first -- relatively easy to disable. My understanding is, however, that they continued to implement more and more telemetry while at the same time making it even more difficult to completely turn off. Even today, I don't think there exists any way to reliably -- and with 100% certainty -- prevent a Windows 10 PC from sending any "telemetry" back to the mothership.

If these ads make Microsoft money -- and I have no doubt that they will -- why wouldn't they expand on this idea and squeeze in more ads anywhere they can? We've already seen that customers will not move away from Windows as their desktop operating system (in any significant number) when Microsoft implements these new "features", so what do they have to lose?

Rest assured that these ads will not be going away. To the contrary, they will almost certainly continue to exist and become even more widespread. We will, someday, reach a point where the average Windows desktop resembles a NASCAR race car -- covered with logos and advertisements -- and wonder "how did we get to this point?".

---

Myself, the line that I drew was crossed by Microsoft many, many years ago. Looking back, I'm glad that it happened when it did. It saved me from dealing with a decade's worth of Microsoft's bullshit.


You make up for one loss of revenue by creating new products or services. You don’t ruin what few products you have.


I think their Windows division is still stuck in Balmer's era. OTOH, Dev and Cloud divs are new Microsoft.


I again see a lot of outdated comments about Linux here. Not saying there aren't problems, but as somebody who uses macOS every day, it's nothing I haven't experienced on other OSes as well. Give it a shot yourself and make up your own mind.

If you're thinking about switching, I'd recommend you looking past stock Ubuntu, it is no longer the premiere distro in the community, instead consider:

First off, pick supported hardware - you'll do that for Windows and macOS as well. Use known hardware, like Intel, use DELL XPS or system76, it will save you a lot of frustration.

Ubuntu MATE - https://ubuntu-mate.org - If you need the Ubuntu ecosystem, UM offers a more polished experience, if not as much eye candy.

Arch Linux - https://www.archlinux.org - Before you skip this, no it's not unstable, at all, I clock one of my systems at 3+ years without an issue, the rolling release is great and the AUR makes any software just a command away. No fuss, just works.

The ArchWiki is the best resource on all things Linux, it' great.

Fedora - https://getfedora.org - If you want stock GNOME.

KDE - https://neon.kde.org - If you want upstream KDE.


'Sync provider notifications' sounds like a useful API for cloud file services such as Dropbox or Drive to be able to communicate with the user. If that's what is actually for, and some other part of ms thought it might be a good place to push OneDrive, it will probably have the unfortunate effect of people turning off an otherwise useful part of windows.


Serious question: does MS sell a version of Window 10 outright that doesn't include all of the snooping? I've been a Windows user my whole life but I will NEVER use an OS that collects data on the OS level.


The LTSB edition is supposed to be this version, except it still includes the ads for OneDrive, so who knows what they're doing.


Consumers can't buy that edition though.


Right. For consumers, there is no version of Windows 10 where telemetry can be switched off.

I use the "Shutup10" tool to disable everything can be disabled, but I don't use Windows 10 as my everyday OS.


For people who like dead comments: get the Windows (N) LTSB Enterprise edition. It's not _just_ the LTSB edition.

Some perks to note of:

* No bloatware

* Updates every 60-90 days (as opposed to the oppressive every 5-7 days); choice to reboot auto or not.

* No Windows Media Player

* No MSFT Edge; Only Windows Explorer classic

* Classic calculator

* No Windows App Store

* No background apps

* No upselling shenanigans annoying my experience

* No MSFT cloud

* Cortana is removed completely not disabled

* Mission-critical updates only...avoids needless flair in favor of stable security.

* Never seen an ad ever.

All in all, I would highly recommend it. For those that can see dead comments: you're welcome.


I've noticed there's a "vouch" button for dead comments, and I believe your comment is informative.

Although, problem is, this edition is just not available to mere mortals... well, legally. As far as I understand, it requires Volume Licensing, which may not be available for individuals (depends on reseller and jurisdiction, I guess - most probably won't bother to deal with non-companies at all) and, AFAIK, requires to purchase at least 5 licenses.


If you are not a gamer or don't care about invasive/live widgets, etc. and just want a more simplistic desktop interface then you should consider running Server 2016 as your desktop OS. You can turn off the telemetry.


Not sure what you mean about "not a gamer". After my problems installing the drivers (which turned out to be me downloading the wrong thing) i'm using server 2016 as my daily driver, with an rx480 and getting 60fps ultra on overwatch. Server 2016 is fine for dx11/12 and will be great for any games. Would highly recommend (i did the same with server 2012 for years, ran several games with no issues whatsoever).


The only option mere mortals can get their hands on is Win 10 EDU, which has to be downloaded through schools IIRC. (enterprise isn't an option for us individual types) EDU can be managed with Group Policy, like Enterprise. Apparently Group Policy is the only way to configure it to stop snooping.


I'm also interested. Can a person buy/subscribe to a LTSB version? I've found news links saying it was to be both for volume enterprise customers and also subscription based? What happened to that?


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