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The Surface Book 2 is everything the MacBook Pro should be (char.gd)
407 points by ChrisLTD on June 27, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 450 comments

It’s 2018 and I still see people walking around with Windows laptop lids open because they presumably have no confidence in Windows’ ability to sensibly preserve state after closing the lid. Software matters, and how it integrates with hardware.

And I keep waiting for them to fix just the basics in Windows 10. Not utterly losing both the sizes and positions of all windows just because the laptop was undocked. Not failing to recognize the external display upon docking, despite the display working a few minutes earlier. Not completely failing to find files and apps based on how I typed them (“A” brings up “abc” but typing “ab” makes “abc” go away!?). Such a long list.

Not spying on me and not transmitting unknown to me personal information to unknown parties would be a killer feature.

I treat any windows machine as if it has a keylogger and submits all my activity to all major governments (maybe only one today and “all” in a few years when my data gets sold, shared or stolen).

This is a serious issue for me.

This issue comes again and again, I'm getting really tired of this "issue". After all this time this is the top comment, while discussing a really good convertible?

He mentions that people don't trust Windows for savely restoring their session, but if i'm not mistaking, it's Ubuntu ( i think) that had such a bug for a VERY long time ( https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2321399 ). I have never heard such problems on Windows...

It's measuring activities and performance yes, it's not stealing your information. Ubuntu did it too and even integrated Amazon in the search field.

You can even see what it sends: https://www.howtogeek.com/348699/how-to-see-what-data-window...

PS. Probably going to get downvoted to oblivion, but please respond with comments and not with (too much) downvotes.

PS 2. I also use Ubuntu a lot, which is why i can compare it too Windows on experience. Can't compare to other distro's, if i didn't use it. Both have their pro's / cons.

Nico I ha estado major issues and they were the original reason for switching from Windows. I'd love you feedback on them.

1. Apple doesn't slow down due to not being rebooted. I rarely reboot for this reason; basically only for system updates.

2. Suspend I believe is the service? I just close the lid, open, login and keep working. This last time I used Windows wasn't possible. From crashing applications and the direct loss of data due to that crash to not waking and needing me to reboot the whole system.

3. My entire experience with Windows aside from the need to frequently reboot is that it always slows down from the first day of purchase until the day I lose my mind over the speed of it's activity and go buy a new one... This slow down is the slower more incideous one that progresses over months until nothing not even a reboot nurses enough out of it to make it performant anymore.

These are literally the three issues that cause me to be terrified of switching. When Apple did the 'it just works' commercials I switched, because I didn't want to be so involved in the OS. I wanted to just use it and do my things, which aren't nearly as intensive as some others ex. I just do front end work minus the crazy designer apps that require huge RAM and expensive Graphics Cards.

If these 3 things are no longer issues on Windows then I'd really consider it because they are the only reason I'm with Apple at this time. Since Jobs died they've gotten even worse at servicing their MacOS base that it's crazy to be using their product at this point, since they clearly don't give a shit about us.

Lastly I used to use Linux back in the day, but left it because the lips stick (GUI) doesn't abstract away enough of the day to day tasks and I refuse to be a 'programmer' when I just doing regular stuff like writing emails, productivity tools and looking at photos. I'd totally be game if losing a file on download wasn't still a distinct possibility along with the anxiety of not knowing if an app was installed right or full removed; an issue I have with Windows too btw, but not with MacOS.

I reboot once a month, never have an issue.

I do research the laptop that I buy though, but can't think of anything else, except my laptops are about 1000€, not 500 :)

> It's measuring activities and performance yes, it's not stealing your information. Ubuntu did it too and even integrated Amazon in the search field.

Not sure why you think that is a justification. People weren't happy about that either.

Comparison to ubuntu is silly. Comparison should be with osx.

Apple also tried ads ( failed) and is a lot more expensive. And as said in the comment, i don't use/care about osX. I do use Ubuntu a lot, that's why i compared it.

Look at those prices again, Apple is not “a lot more expensive” in fact the surface book cost as much or more. at least apples machines are high quality, when was the last time you saw a 10 year old PC laptop running like it was new?

You are targeting the Surface book, while i mentioned ( everywhere) Windows in general and a laptop of 1000 € ( in another comment).

The discussion was also about hibernate or suspending, where some seem to complain about. I have never had issues with it, i mentioned issues about it in Ubuntu.

--> at least apples machines are high quality -> Didn't read: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17413572 + https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15496745 + https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13797042 ? Top dollar for a failing critical component. Yeah, you are so right ;) - you can keep your device :)

I will keep working on my Convertible HP Spectre x360 with docking station for attaching 2 external monitors through the USB-C standard on Windows :) .

Thank you for the links.

No problem, thanks for a decent response ;). I'm always cautious when it's a "we vs them" story. In case of Windows it could be vs Apple, Google, Linux... So :)

> Probably going to get downvoted to oblivion, but please respond with comments and not with (too much) downvotes.

Probably due to the fact that you're using whataboutism[1] as a defence rather than tackling the fact that Windows does log user activity and report it.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whataboutism

I mentioned what Windows does and talked about something else i can compare.

My relevant point was : It's measuring activities and performance yes, it's not stealing your information as the user activity is also anonymous.

I don't see you making a relevant comment though.

> My relevant point was : It's measuring activities and performance yes, it's not stealing your information as the user activity is also anonymous.

Firstly, how do you know it is truly anonymous? And is this anonymisation being done on the users machine, or one Microsoft's servers? If the latter, MS has access to unanonymised data.

Secondly, cross-referenced with other 'anonymised' data sets it is quite possible to de-anonymise people. I'm not convinced there is any such thing as a truly anonymous data set anymore, not when it comes to data collected from a users device.

They are pretty specific without hiding the fact what they collect here : https://privacy.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-10-feedback-diag...

A governement can automate it to follow it back to the user, but a corporation can't.

They are the only ones that show it this straight forward, can you find a page like that on one of the other big tech companies? ( Apple, Google, Amazon)

TL;DR; You can follow it back to a specific device, but you can't follow it back to "who is the user". Which seems to be a valid business decision, considering the complex matter they are in ( the biggest variety of devices and users).

You can also check it for yourselve: https://www.theverge.com/2018/1/24/16927056/microsoft-window...

Telemetry can also be disabled

This seems to be the worst, if a part of a document contains your personal data, when you are working on it and it crashes.

Full data includes all Basic and Enhanced data, and also turns on advanced diagnostic features that collect additional data from your device, such as system files or memory snapshots, which may unintentionally include parts of a document you were working on when a problem occurred. This information helps us further troubleshoot and fix problems. If an error report contains personal data, we won't use that information to identify, contact, or target advertising to you. This is the recommended option for the best Windows experience and the most effective troubleshooting.

Personally I just downvote someone immediately when they mention anything about being downvoted in their post. It's called losing the game.

> I treat any windows machine as if it has a keylogger and submits all my activity to all major governments (maybe only one today and “all” in a few years when my data gets sold, shared or stolen).

Why is Apple's OSX, which exhibits a lot of the same behavior with spotlight, exempt from this concern?

Don't get me wrong, I don't like these as-you-type-send-it-up search interfaces. But if we're gonna call companies on doing this, Microsoft has scaled back its analytics more than Apple and its App store have.

Apple deserves the same scrutiny, but Spotlight Suggestions is designed for privacy. It uses randomly generated frequently rotated IDs and is easy to disable.

Disabling Windows 10 telemetry is difficult and cannot be done via user settings. Microsoft has also been adding telemetry to other products such as VSCode and .NET Core.

The only assurance you have that Apple isn't producing a profile is their honest promise. Nothing stops them as it stands other than some hand waving.

And you cannot disable application telemetry in the App store which everyone has, including Apple's apps. Apple's approach doesn't stop anyone from turning their apps into a privacy disaster.

But sure. Windows telemetry is unique. Right.

I would prefer if they’d formalize their promises into some kind of gaurantee that was enforceable. I believe them today, but what about tomorrow? We’ve all seen companies change dramatically (for both better and worse) and do things that were extremely unethical and/or illegal. Companies are run by people after all.

except for MS windows is a product, and for apple macos is a means to an end. plus apple doesn’t advertise in my app launcher or then use their data in their search engine (that they don’t have)

> Why is Apple's OSX, which exhibits a lot of the same behavior with spotlight, exempt from this concern?

They aren't. Neither is Ubuntu[0]. Luckily there are plenty of other operating systems that take your privacy seriously.

Join the bright side.

[0] https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/ubuntu-spyware.en.html

Realistically, you probably shouldn't be running them on anything with Intel Management Engine, which has a Minix OS with an IP stack that you don't control.

This. What does it matter what OS you are running if you want nothing to leak unless you do complete vetting of the hardware as well. Preferably by ordering many in the same configuration and dismantling one to see it does not have anything extra. And if you do that, there is still the case of the firmware of oh so many components that are integrated to a modern pc. How do you know your network stack is not spying on you.

To be dogmatic, either you have to have enormous amount of resources to create your own secure hardware, or abandon all computing devices.

I prefer using off the shelf computing devices. The only level of security I excpect of them is that no-one will abuse my credit card if I don't act stupid.

>How do you know your network stack is not spying on you

Meh, that's true, but you can always monitor your device from an upstream router or network traffic monitor.

I'm not sure that Intel ME fits into most peoples privacy threat model the same way that OS and application analytics do.

Ubuntu used to, and Apple's measures are wholly ineffective. They're token gestures.

But I don't trust any given computer os very much. They're all projects run by folks that have given me 0 reason to trust them.

One of the most insufferable parts of your post is the assumption I don't use Linux as a primary OS. I do. I hate it slightly less than OSX. But they're all awful in equal but unique measures.

I'm sorry if the post came across as assuming. I just wanted to spread awareness, not necessarily aimed at you.

There are good and trustworthy projects out there IMO. I use GuixSD and OpenBSD for all my computing needs and have 0 reason not to trust them. Curious to hear any arguments against either.

To paraphrase the venerable Mutt email client: All operating systems suck. These ones just sucks less...

> There are good and trustworthy projects out there IMO. I use GuixSD and OpenBSD for all my computing needs and have 0 reason not to trust them. Curious to hear any arguments against either.

If I could use them for anything besides bespoke server projects and really awful desktop environments I might be more interested. As it stands, they're of no use professionally, I've had poor luck on the kinds of hardware I am interest in using as a hobby, and they make Linux seem thoughtful and snappy when it comes to desktop environments.

> To paraphrase the venerable Mutt email client: All operating systems suck. These ones just sucks less...

I'm trying not to be too Negative Online, so don't get me started on that. :D

disclaimer: MS employee, this is solely my opinion

Does the GDPR do anything to put your concerns on this issue to rest?

(By those regulations, MS is required, under penalty of very large fines, to not do what you are accusing them of doing.)

It's my understanding that companies only need to comply with GDPR when providing services to end users in the EU and that companies that comply with GDPR globally are only doing so due to resource constraints that Microsoft doesn't face.

However, I'm probably less informed on GDPR than the average HN user, so it's very possible that my understanding is off-base or incomplete.

> Does the GDPR do anything to put your concerns on this issue to rest?

If the company starts doing things right ONLY after there's some legislation making the wrong thing illegal, what does that tell you about the company?

I think you're misreading the statement - he's implying that what they actually already do is in compliance.

It will, after I see MS getting caught and going through a lawsuit which results in tools providing accountability.

MS already lets you see and delete what they collect on you at account.microsoft.com/privacy

We did a lot of work to comply and provide these tools and people still think MS is part of some grand conspiracy.

Why do you expect people to trust corporations at their word? Specially someone like Microsoft!

> We did a lot of work to comply and provide these tools and people still think MS is part of some grand conspiracy.

Given Microsoft's history I'm not sure why you're surprised.

I doubt intelligence agencies are limited by the same standards.

I guess you should stay away from North Korea's Red Star Linux, in that case.

. this plus they own linkedin, skype, a ton of media, and now github as well as have plugins into almost every major company/government in the world via their Active Directory.

More Americans use Apple products. If anything the American Government would be more likely to target Apple products for domestic mass surveillance programs.

> I treat any windows machine as if it has a keylogger

I found the problem

> It’s 2018 and I still see people walking around with Windows laptop lids open because they presumably have no confidence in Windows’ ability to sensibly preserve state after closing the lid.

At my workplace it's about 60:40 Windows to Mac user ratio. Regardless of the machine, nobody closes the lid when moving in the office between desks and meeting rooms. So, I'd say it's probably not that.

Probably don't want to lose their ssh connections.

Back in 2004 I had an ssh terminal open from my Mac (12" PowerBook) to my home Linux server. I closed the lid and took the laptop away with for a trip. For some reason I didn't use the laptop during the week. When I got back home 6 days later I opened the laptop and saw the ssh session. I tried it out and it still worked! I was amazed!

The ssh client had no keep alive. And the sshd had no keep alive. There was not firewall and a long DHCP lease. So it all just worked.

But because of firewalls aggressivly closing xonnections, these days we tend to need keep alives and so I don't this this would work today.

mosh doesn't support port forwarding. There is a $400+ bounty for the feature.

Great, they seem to have just solved `-R` (reverse) tunnels: https://github.com/MisterTea/EternalTerminal/pull/80

Link? I'll throw in $100 right now

I'm sure many people would appreciate that gesture


EternalTerminal does though, and it integrates better with tmux.

~$ 400 ? Not tempting at all.

If you have tmux or your remote machine, you can add this alias to your mac's bashrc

    alias my-server='ssh server-hostname -t "tmux new-session -s user || tmux attach-session -t user"'
It will connect to a tmux session on the remote machine if it exists or start a new one if it doesn't. If you Cmd+w your terminal window or disconnect, the tmux session stays running on the remote machine.

You could also tell it to try reconnecting every second and bind it to something easy to type like 'kj' (too bad df is already taken)

    alias kj='while true; do my-server; sleep 1; done'

There’s tmux, abduco, & screen for that on Linux.

mosh is an infinitely better user experience for certain use cases, particularly poor/intermittent connections. session establishment is very slow and requires a lot of round-trips, and if you have high latency and packet loss, it becomes painful. if you establish a session once with mosh, you don't have to establish connections after that, you just blit UDP packets.

mosh on its own doesn't handle scrollback buffer. So you're back to tacking on other things like tmux on top.

Those three are only neighbours to maintaining ssh connections problem.

You can run those on the remote side of the mosh session

Modern Standby/Connected Standby in Windows 10 won't lose any network connections while in standby.

Regardless of the reasons for people not closing their laptop lids, these issues exist and they shouldn't.

> Not failing to recognize the external display upon docking, despite the display working a few minutes earlier.

Now that you mention it... I have exactly the same problem with rMBP since upgrading to 10.13.5. Just this monday morning I've spent 20 minutes checking all the cables and why it doesn't work, until I rebooted the machine and then it suddenly worked.

>> Just this monday morning I've spent 20 minutes checking all the cables and why it doesn't work, until I rebooted the machine and then it suddenly worked.

Mnyeah. The fabled Mac-Windows convergence, as foretold in the days of yore. MS hardware gets sleek commercial blogposts from evangelists, like Macs; and Apple's OS needs to be rebooted every once in a while to work right, like Windows.

Given the recent updates in 10.13.x for external GPUs, it might not have been a reboot that fixed the problem, so much as a deferred update to a point-release that fixed a problem created in the previous point-release.

It's so bad. My MBP used to work flawlessly here, connecting and disconnecting from monitors, shutting and opening the lid. Now every time it goes to sleep it loses the ability to talk to my mouse. I've given up and just set the display to remain on for an hour. Sigh.

UGH, it’s so frustrating!

Just so we can have all parties involved here, this morning I had the same issue with a Dell notebook running Ubuntu (and nvidia graphics which are probably to blame). Couldn't get my external monitor to work until I rebooted.

Had the same issue with one of my monitors with my MBP this morning. It's rare, but it does happen from time to time.

I've noticed this problem across all of my DisplayPort based monitors regardless of manufacturer of the display or the driver.

I’ve stopped upgrading when Apple introduced the kernel panic feature in Yosemite...

I tend to do a PRAM and SMC reset after major updates ... seems to flush most of the kinks out.

That's one thing I don't get. Why doesn't apple do this periodically instead if the user having to do it? I have had several occasions where resetting PRAM or something else resolved problem. Why not do it once a day, week or whenever?

The first thing I always do on a new laptop (or install) is go into Power Settings and change the Closing Lid action from putting the computer to sleep to just turning off the screen.

It's surprising how many people never change the settings on their computers. Whenever I saw someone with the taskbar icons combined, I always asked them if they liked it that way, and they would say "No." So I always offered and they always accepted me going into the settings for them and changing it to 'never combine'.

If you put it in your bag, you're more likely to fry something. Was extremely common with spinning rust media. Incidentally, the common cause was "close lid" action set to "sleep", but Windows being unable to actually put the computer to sleep for some reason.

You can sleep after n minutes of lid closed. I find this a good compromise of not toasting my laptop in a bag, and being able to head to a different room without losing any application state

Sleep doesn't lose any application state.

It does if your application state happens to include TCP connections. When Windows wakes, prior to powering up the NIC hardware, it sends all applications a notice indicating that the network is down so everything kills their network connections. This happens on my hardwired desktop. It's one thing if the device can potentially be roaming and changing networks while the system is asleep. But for a wired network connection it's BS.

>It does if your application state happens to include TCP connections.

That's not really what's meant by state though...

It’s what I mean. Losing the TCP session is more or less the only thing I care about with my vpn, ssh, and occasional cifs session. A dead putty window is 98% useless.

Sleep isn't supposed to lose any application state, but I've certainly had many issues before with applications freaking out after waking up from sleep, on both a Mac and Windows machines. Sometimes it seems like more of an issue with the way the application handles sleep/network interruptions etc, but the end result is still the same.

There is another comment floating around on this thread about how expecting network state to be preserved after sleep is unreasonable; when the system wakes up most likely its open connections will be stale. Might as well close them gracefully at sleep time.

You can have the power button put the computer to sleep. So, close the lid --> lock the screen; press the power button --> go to sleep. So you don't have to open the lid, log in, put to sleep, close the lid, put in bag- just open lid, push button, put in bag.

True. In those instances, I would manually put it to sleep via the Start Menu button.

However, I've had my laptop wake up from Sleep while in a bag several times, causing it to overheat. That pissed me off. If I recall correctly, I think it was a Bluetooth event causing it to wake up.

> The first thing I always do on a new laptop (or install) is go into Power Settings and change the Closing Lid action from putting the computer to sleep to just turning off the screen.

Yikes! Why? I haven't had an issue with a laptop properly going to sleep and coming back in many years. This was something I used to do back in 2008 but it's hard to imagine today.

Because I close the lid when not in use, and don't want programs running in the background to stop when it goes to sleep.

If you want some program to finish processing something (e.g. video render), there are programs on both Mac and Windows to keep the laptop from sleeping on demand.

The normal situation, 99% of times, when one closes the lid on a laptop is to not use it, and to not want to have any programs run in the background. You close the lid to put the laptop in your back, take it to the office, etc.

Except if you have your laptop always on your desk and never leaving it. In which case it's not really used as a laptop...

> Except if you have your laptop always on your desk and never leaving it. In which case it's not really used as a laptop...

This is exactly how I use all of my laptops, both personal and at work, about 90% of the time. I consider them "portable desktops" ;)

I close the lid of my laptop constantly and, even if (when) sleep works, I don't want to wait around. Have never had an issue.

I had an issue where I got a pink screen of death every time i woke my windows 10 laptop up from sleep. I believe it was a driver bug. It finally got fixed with the Spring Creators Update, so now I can sleep my computer again!

(side note/separate complaint, windows 10 tries to update one driver repeatedly, every time I check. I wish there were some way to disable that update.)

>The first thing I always do on a new laptop (or install) is go into Power Settings and change the Closing Lid action from putting the computer to sleep to just turning off the screen.

Or you can get a Mac laptop, where getting the computer to sleep when you close the lid and start again fast when you open it just works.

Why would you let the laptop keep running, waste battery, risk overheating and endanger any spinning HDs you might have in it, when the lid is closed?

You should talk to the last couple MBPs I’ve had. Sometimes they pretend like they’re going to sleep but they actually stay up late and when I pull them out of my bag the next day they have 30% of their battery left or less. Sometimes I’m lucky and the fans will be screaming so I realize before I put it into the bag that it didn’t actually sleep.

You could say it’s my (non-OS) software and you might be right, god only knows how much redundant shit security teams put on there to protect us (read: cover their asses) but why is any software allowed to prevent the laptop from sleeping when I close the lid? It should be assumed it’s going in a bag and should take protective action.

Also, you may want to talk to my laptops about kernel panics on docking or randomly losing window placement for no apparent reason.

I think it’s pretty neat that you’ve had such a bug-free experience but unless you work for Apple and are intimately aware of the frequency or infrequency of these types of issues it might be worth exploring a decrease in snarkiness.

When I had this problem it was because I had Bluetooth on, and the setting "Allow Bluetooth devices to wake this computer" (on the Advanced dialog of the Bluetooth system preferences) was enabled. I turned that off and the problem went away. I think it was being awakened by my phone.

> Or you can get a Mac laptop, where getting the computer to sleep when you close the lid and start again fast when you open it just works.

Except it doesn't "just work." It sometimes works, sometimes doesn't, and the doesn't work happens often enough that I don't close my laptop. And let's not get started with plugging into external Apple monitors.

> Or you can get a Mac laptop, where getting the computer to sleep when you close the lid and start again fast when you open it just works.

With the added compromise of a touch bar instead of function keys. And a horrible typing experience. And a default OS with a recent history of downright laughable security issues.

Or change sleep to hibernate. Noticably slower on my surface pro than sleep on my macbook, but not slow enough to actually cause a problem. We are talking difference between 'instant' (macbook) to a second or so (surface pro).

That isn't in the cards for most people considering you can buy laptops for a fraction of the price and also that most people are getting Windows PC's from their employer

So problems with suspend aren't Windows. It's cheap crap laptops. Yep.

> It’s 2018 and I still see people walking around with Windows laptop lids open because they presumably have no confidence in Windows’ ability to sensibly preserve state after closing the lid. Software matters, and how it integrates with hardware.

Interesting. I've never seen or even heard of this. Windows didn't do a great job at this in general like a decade ago and the Surface Pros had a bug that was eventually fixed relating to it but I've never heard or seen an issue beyond those. I have multiple Windows and Mac machines and they both do great at preserving state when closing the lid.

I manage a few hundred Windows notebooks. Probably about half of them have issues hibernating. Despite the fact that they are identical systems, identical image, etc. I just tell everybody to shut it down before you put it in your bag. Otherwise we end up with overheated, melted laptops. It's always been this way in my experience. Windows is certainly better than it used to be at this, but I would be willing to believe that the hardware vendors aren't implementing things properly. I guess that's the downside of not controlling your hardware.

Are you sure it is Windows not Chrome?

If you closed the lid while Chrome is running, it prevents Windows from sleeping.


Chrome has a very parasitic relationship with it's host OS's. Stopped using it when it halved the amount of hours a brand new MacBook lasted on a battery. My apologies for the webdevs that have to maintain Safari compatibility for me but the difference is just too big to ignore.

While it probably still loses to Safari in a Mac battery benchmark overall, Chrome is much better today in this regard than it was a few years ago - the gap isn't what it once was.

At this level, do you have "premium" access to Microsoft support? At some point the company actually listens to you, right? What happens when you contact them, get ahold of a person, and say "yeah we paid you $300k in license fees the last 3 years. This pretty basic feature of your product doesn't work. Can you fix it for us?"

Do they really just tell you to go pound sand when a corporate client asks them for support?

>Do they really just tell you to go pound sand when a corporate client asks them for support?

I'm guessing they tell you to call Dell or HP because that's who's responsible for whether hibernation works on their specific machines.

What enterprise security tools do these systems run? What Anti-virus? Systems management? Logging? Hardware diagnostics? What group policies have you set?

Windows is far from perfect, but these other tools that are supposed to help you are more often the source of site-wide problems like what you've described.

Yeah, I saw a dude in the elevator (this year) because his Windows 10 started installing updates when he shut it down, but he needed to leave the office.

I get so much crap when I say this online, but Windows is a complete shit show. Yeah, there are issues with macOS, but it is lightyears better. Yeah, I know Apple has dropped the ball on hardware, but my 5 year old MBP is just fine.

> Windows is a complete shit show

I have more problems with my late 2016 MBP now than I do with any of the Win10 machines I use, and I've been using both OSs for 25+ years. The whole" Windows is a shit show" feels like the tired diatribe of people that want to crap on Microsoft but haven't actually used the OS themselves in years.

Okay, so recent story from a Mac user here. My boss got a new Surface thing - I don’t know which exact model, sorry - and actually he really likes it. (He’s also a Mac guy.)

So we’re sitting on a plane and he’s showing me how easy it is to sort email in tablet mode, and it blue-screens. Really unlucky, right, because normally it doesn’t do that of course. But hey, shit happens, we chuckle, whatever.

So he puts it in the seat pocket. Then 45 minutes later we land, so he gets it out of the seat pocket. And the thing is burning hot because it hasn’t shut down. It’s just sitting there, on the blue screen, fans going mental.

This is a device made by Microsoft, running Microsoft software. And we’re in 2018. And that’s the default behaviour. It’s not great, is it?

This exact same thing happens to my MBP, and it's 2018. In fact, it happened today then I unplugged it from an external display and it froze and didn't respond to closing the lid.

Unprompted, sheer coincidence, message from my boss 1 day after this post:

“Closed laptop at office. Put in bag. Took car to Paddy’s. Got on train to finish off email. Laptop still on. Bag almost of fire. 7% battery left. Microsoft, your products are total shit.”

I’ve run a Mac for 15+ years and I can say, hand on heart, this has never happened to me.

I've shutdown my laptop/closed the lid loads of times during updates, Windows manages just fine. It rolls back the update if needed and tries again upon boot.

In a way it doesn’t matter if the OS can recover because people don’t think it will, and it also says “do not turn off your computer”. It’s not at all hard to imagine people feeling glued to their desks or afraid to take the machine away with that information.

If the OS can recover, it should just say “you may still shut down at any time but the update will start from the beginning if you do”.

Yup, done so as well. I was surprised it went well!

My 5 year old MBP is more than fine, it's great, but I am worried about what I will be able to buy to replace it. Eventually it will break; if not then someday I'll want something with more computing power.

My mid-2012 MBP was one of the best laptops I've ever owned. Unfortunately I eventually broke the screen and it was going to be $800 to replace it. This happened about the time the MBP line got refreshed in 2016 so I got one of the new ones.

My 2016 MBP has been the worst laptop I've ever owned... fails to sleep, fails to wake, physical keys keep dying, touchbar freezes and won't unlock the machine, it can't keep external monitors straight (to be fair, that might be more of an OS issue than hardware?)

Keep that old one as long as you can! I wish I hadn't "upgraded".

Sell it and buy a refurb from a reseller. I did to replace my busted 2013 with a 2015, and now I'm set hopefully for another few years until Apple comes to their senses. I use Windows just for games, and the sheer frustration even there is enough to turn me off of it. Basic things like launching apps and control panels from the search bar don't work. It fails to pick up the right resolution on my external monitor sometimes. "Geforce experience" is a piece of crap that requires an account to use. Everything feels like I'm at a mall, instead of on my own PC: tacky, hostile, fake, noisy, incoherent.

There is no Mission Control, no Time Machine, no Spaces, the UI still thinks of document windows as applications, there is no Application menu, the keyboard shortcuts are crap, application installs dump stuff all over, settings don't apply immediately, resolution scaling is broken, ... People who think Windows is on par with macOS don't know jack about macs and never bothered to get good at them. It'll be a cold day in hell before an NT-derived windows can compete. MS needs to clean house and commit to doing what Apple did with OSX in 2001... Get rid of the cruft, put the user first, and make everything work.

The article's mention that ejecting the screen takes a software release and that certain apps can prevent it is the kind of bullshit Steve Jobs would've mocked and told the developers to fix if they expect to be taken seriously. A product should serve the user and provide affordances, not hold them hostage.

Migrating to my new MacBook was trivial, and the machines set up an adhoc WiFi network automatically to transfer all the files. Once done, everything worked as before. All without my involvement. That's why people use and want Macs.

Well said... Two more I would add to your list of things to fix - 1) Windows always starts out great, but in a couple of years needs a reinstall to get performance back. It needs a way to really uninstall and not depend on an app to make it's own uninstaller 2) Dismal battery life. The article indicates they helped with that on the SBP by using two batteries (plus using an 8th gen CPU), but that is a band-aid. Windows to apples on the same HW and running the same apps have vastly different battery life (provable when running boot camp), and in my experience Windows is more likely to have a rogue process or service which sucks power (although OSX can have that too, it's at least easier to identify and kill).

Just upgraded to a 2015 MBP, and still use Win10 for my home system which is fine there. For mobile tried a new Dell XPS with both Windows and Ubuntu for a couple of weeks thinking the shiny HW would make up for the OS, but it was not a good experience. Was a relief to get back to OSX...

A few years ago I'd have agreed with you. Do you know a way to make OSX not force every fullscreen window into a separate desktop for no reason? It started doing that a few versions back.

hold the ALT (option) key while clicking the window's green maximize "button." It toggles between an enlarged and "normal" window size, without going into full screen mode.

These are fair criticisms, but I don't think anybody has this nailed. I use a mix of Windows, Mac, and Linux, and have found myself walking around with the lid open in all three. Mac seems to handle what you describe better than everyone else, but it's far from perfect.

I have one monitor that used to work fine on Windows and Mac. After a software update the Mac only recognizes it about 1 in 20 tries of plugging and unplugging.

Macs seem to be pretty good in my experience. It was something I really noticed about them when I first started using about 8 years ago. The only real monitor problem I've had was with an iMac that decided it didn't want to initialize the dual displays properly if the 2nd was plugged in when it was booted. Took me about a day to figure I needed to unplug the 2nd display. Eventually some OS update fixed it.

Linux is a lot better than it used to be. I can reliably close the lid on my Lenovo X200 running Fedora. And anecdotally there seem to be fewer people going between meetings with laptops open these days so that's presumably a common experience with RHEL and Fedora on company-issued laptops.

My G4 iBook was amazing at suspend/resume, but each revision, it has gotten progressively worse.

I am afraid of my brand new MBP w/ touchbar. I use it with the lid shut as a powerful Mac Mini.

It is too fragile to move frequently.

    man pmset
OK, so RTFM jokes aren't funny anymore. Specifically, what you're looking for is to change the hibernation mode. Old macos used to keep the RAM powered during sleep, so there's a slight drain on the battery, and if it runned out, well state was lossed. BUT the upshot was that wakeup was instant.

As it turns out, that's the default mode on desktop. And you can set your laptop to do that too (assuming you're ok with the tradeoff).

    sudo pmset -a hibernatemode 0
Here's the relevant section from the man page:

     hibernatemode supports values of 0, 3, or 25. Whether or not a hibernation image gets written is also dependent on the values of standby
     and autopoweroff

     For example, on desktops that support standby a hibernation image will be written after the specified standbydelay time. To disable
     hibernation images completely, ensure hibernatemode standby and autopoweroff are all set to 0.

     hibernatemode = 0 by default on desktops. The system will not back memory up to persistent storage. The system must wake from the con-
     tents of memory; the system will lose context on power loss. This is, historically, plain old sleep.

     hibernatemode = 3 by default on portables. The system will store a copy of memory to persistent storage (the disk), and will power memory
     during sleep. The system will wake from memory, unless a power loss forces it to restore from hibernate image.

     hibernatemode = 25 is only settable via pmset. The system will store a copy of memory to persistent storage (the disk), and will remove
     power to memory. The system will restore from disk image. If you want "hibernation" - slower sleeps, slower wakes, and better battery
     life, you should use this setting.

People in my office (including me) move around with their MBPs pretty frequently. I know saying "other than the keyboard, they seem to be pretty well built" is the tech equivalent of "other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the show," but I've never had any issue with waking up from sleep, or display issues when I disconnect the external monitor, whether or not the laptop lid is closed at the time. (I generally run with the lid closed when I'm at my desk.)

Definitely not my experience. I usually have to open and close the lid to get the external display to work properly.

It could be my monitor or usb-c to displayport adapter, though.

Also, this is my 2nd current gen MBP in less than 6 months.

> Not completely failing to find files and apps based on how I typed them (“A” brings up “abc” but typing “ab” makes “abc” go away!?).

It's the 'basic' stuff like this and bizarre feeling UI pauses at blank windows that make it unbearable to work with. It's the opposite of snappy and constantly interrupts a productive workflow making me wonder 'why is it doing this' rather than thinking about my work. It's like having an essentially perfect phone that inexorably buzzes every 1-5 minutes (at random), you would throw it against the wall in less than a day.

I use Windows 10 at work and at home, and in my experience it's been more stable than Windows 7, which I similarly used at home and at work for years. Annoying mandatory updates aside (and now less annoying since you can control when they happen), Windows 10 is pretty much the same Windows experience as before, in a slightly different skin.

One thing I noticed that was fixed with Windows 10 that was a problem in Windows 7: my laptops now handle state properly after the lid is closed (assuming you use hibernate or sleep rather than just screen-off).

Completely the opposite experience. I paid for windows 10 because I was going through a gaming streak and hoped that the more premium version would be more configurable from the privacy-invasion standpoint, switching from Linux. What a mistake. After a miserable experience of figuring out how to disable the spyware and the auto-updating bundleware crap, it worked fine for a while... then: BSOD after BSOD. Sometimes it was once a month, toward the end it was multiple times a day. Pretty much it would grind to a halt over the course of a few seconds and stay completely frozen for a few minutes before totally giving up. I ran memtests and they checked out. Put CPU at stock speeds and kept having problems. Disabled all non-essential hard drives, reinstalled drivers, it still persisted.

Yes, I absolutely get that it's probably a hardware issue, but I couldn't figure it out based on the logs and driver installs/reinstalls. I had nearly identical hardware with Windows 7 and Linux and never encountered these problems. I get that these things happen but I'm a lot more confident in 1) it almost never happening on modern linux distributions and 2) it being more-or-less diagnosable if it does.

There were other issues as well. Mysterious microstutters on top-level hardware, more and more unwanted crap being installed and re-enabled after each major update, the update system as a whole....

After a while I got tired of it and switched back, regretting wasting the money.

I have literally this same list of problems on MacOS. Connecting to external screens is apparently hard. MacOS also ignores commands to lock the screen until it’s done changing screens. :(

Problem I have is apps remembering their screen position even when the monitor is disconnected. It’s off to the side in phantom monitor space.

Not Windows fault, but annoying none the less.

I have sleep wake problems on my 2015 mbpr and a bunch of other complaints. But it’s still light years ahead of my work laptop.

I can’t say how much is windows fault and how much is corporate spyware.

Win10 on my mbpr is a vast improvement, but macOS is still the clear winner for me.

>I have literally this same list of problems on MacOS. Connecting to external screens is apparently hard.

Never had any problem connecting 3 different MacBook Pro's (across the years) to 3-4 different external monitors (Dell, LG, Samsung, etc) and to several projectors (including through a VGA adaptor and HDMI ones).

>MacOS also ignores commands to lock the screen until it’s done changing screens.

So for all of 2 seconds it takes?

I personally enjoy my MacBook Pro (15-inch, Late 2016) but it has a problem with going to sleep after being plugged into an external monitor all day. I find at least 1/3rd of the time it has frozen after being disconnected from the monitor and I am forced to do a hard restart. Perhaps this is user error, but I do not remember having as much issue with the older generation. I use two Dell IPS monitors which are relatively new and connect via HDMI => USB-C adapter. It's an inconvenience which you shouldn't have to deal with on several thousand dollar laptops.

> Never had any problem connecting 3 different MacBook Pro's (across the years) to 3-4 different external monitors (Dell, LG, Samsung, etc) and to several projectors (including through a VGA adaptor and HDMI ones).

Consider yourself lucky.

> So for all of 2 seconds it takes?

Most times. But occasionally I've seen the OS seemingly get confused/stuck in the process. Flickering, moving windows into various locations on the screen, taking 10-15 seconds to get back to functional/usable.

Have you used multiple external monitors at the same time? My MBP often gets confused about which one belongs on which side

I ended up labeling the cables and making sure to use them in the same configuration this has mostly been solved. Still get's confused at times.

That's funny because I'm pretty sure Windows has a setting that you can set it to NOT go to sleep at all when you shut the lid, but MacBooks DO NOT have this feature.

> And I keep waiting for them to fix just the basics in Windows 10. Not utterly losing both the sizes and positions of all windows just because the laptop was undocked. Not failing to recognize the external display upon docking, despite the display working a few minutes earlier.

I use and seriously like OS X but...those are two of my biggest pet peeves with the OS. I constantly need to re-arrange my windows every time it notices that an external display had been added or removed, and it frequently (maybe 2 per week) will inexplicably refuse to recognise an external display until I go through a little dance of power cycling things, unplugging them, plugging them in, and trying again.

Worse, it also periodically stops working with my (bog standard USB) keyboard and mouse until I unplug them and plug them back in. It's amazing how confusing it can be trying to debug why a UI element isn't working when clicked until you determine that the computer has decided a modifier key is stuck down.

The Apple ecosystem was fantastically stable and reliable a few years back, but things are changing, sadly.

Mac has similar issues. Keeps losing bluetooth connections with mouse & keyboard, sometimes have to restart to recognize the display. Still does not have simple way to hide icons on desktop or to dock multiple windows and resize them without using a third party solution.

Which desktop items? Using Preferences in Finder, you can hide any automatic ones (disks, servers), and everything else is just a question of whether you put files in the Desktop folder.

I’ve used windows since 3.11. Sure I’ve had a stint of Linux here and there, especially when I was young enough not to be bothered by the configuration.

I’ve never not liked windows, though I did skip both ME and 8, but windows 10 has been such an awful experience that I bought a mbp late 2015 version last year, and I doubt I’ll ever use windows as my main OS again.

I still use it at work, and while you avoid a lot of the shit, like auto-installed pre-installers for Facebook styled games in an enterprise setup, it still lowers the brightness of my screen when I undock it, even though I’ve specifically told it not to in every setting I’ve been able to find.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg, windows 10 is quite frankly the worst OS I’ve ever used.

Do you have Intel graphics in there by any chance? I've had the brightness issue on xps 15, and it turned out that the Intel drivers were responsible.

> (“A” brings up “abc” but typing “ab” makes “abc” go away!?)

To be fair, this one happens to me with Spotlight all the time.

This and other similar things are so often and easily ignored. I see people talking about Macs not supporting pro use. But hey, tell me, how am I going to power my 6 external displays on a Surface product of any kind?

I get that people want some more variety and excitement, and maybe feel like the Thunderbolt port thing is problematic (despite absolutely enabling my most “pro” setup I’ve ever had on my ’17 13” TB MBP) and obviously the keyboard design has issues.

But as a whole package it’s still the best commercial product you can buy in its space, and considering actual size, has no real competition even if you ignore the many, many software issues one faces when leaving the warm, design-loving embrace of the macOS software ecosystem.

I’ll reconsider this situation after Microsoft releases a Surface product that isn’t almost guaranteed to require one or more returns to the store and oh, yeah, has Thunderbolt 3 support so I can plug in 2 cables to get: 6 external displays (1 4k, 5 2560x*), NVMe speeds to external storage, gigabit ethernet, digital audio, SD card reader, spare ports, etc. etc. (aka OWC TB3 Dock with nearly every port in use.)

There are a few non-MS laptops that might handle the hardware requirements I meet with my current setup, but, nothing that couples the hardware with the Software. Show me even one single app that matches the care and design of Things for macOS + iOS, for example. These are things I use every. single. day. for nearly every. single task.

Frankly, I look forward to Apple fixing some of their issues with the MBP line and hopefully by then the situation with mobile processors will be improved enough to allow for some bigger memory footprints and the like, though, honestly, despite running minikube based workflows locally, I’ve never ran out of RAM at 16GB. I guess it’s because I don’t use Slack.

> I see people talking about Macs not supporting pro use. But hey, tell me, how am I going to power my 6 external displays on a Surface product of any kind?

I have many friends, most of whom are professionals, but none of whom are software devs. A bunch of them do devops and SRE work, a bunch of them are creative professionals, and a bunch of them are in other professional services, like finance and law. Personally, I work for an "IT services" company, essentially doing outsourced devops and ops for numerous other professional services companies.

What I'm getting at is that I know literally hundreds of professionals, across my personal and work life. The sum total of those in my life who need or use 6 displays: Zero.

You are not, in any way shape or form, a typical professional. If you need 6 displays (which you might, but I'd bet a dollar you don't) you're basically so far out of the ballpark of standard professional that you're on the moon.

Let's not pretend that the Surface Pro — or the Macbook Pro, for that matter — are in any way not suitable for the vast majority of professionals.

Dxxvi beat me to it, but yeah, traders. Old friend of mine at Raymond James told me once he had ten. But I don’t think they were all one computer.

I guess he is a stock dealer. That's why he needs 6 monitors.

I don’t know of any stock dealers using kubernetes, but, maybe I’m just out of the loop.

No, I’m a developer, I work in, I dunno what you want to call it, Machine Learning Data Engineering? Stuff like that.

I use seven displays because I like spatially organized workspaces. Four of them are only 10”, effectively 1280x800 displays, two of which are always showing terminals. I have a particular way I like to work that I’ve developed around how macOS handles multiple displays/Spaces that benefits more from many small displays than few large ones.

You are a prime candidate for a tiling window manger such as i3, designed specifically with fixed windows at fixed locations in mind.

I used a tiling window manager years ago when I ran Linux as my main OS. I’ve used similar third party tools to try to get... a similar effect on macOS but it always falls apart.

In the long run, I more greatly value the software I get to use on macOS (not to mention things like first party hardware and software support) over the window managers and that type of thing available elsewhere, and frankly, as a geek, it feels cool having a matrix-operator-like setup as my workstation so I’m happy.

You must be close to PCIe limits pushing that many displays.

It’s up there. Well, kinda. The eGPU asks for all of the PCIe bandwidth available on its TB3 controller, actually, it asks for it twice, once for the video and once for the audio devices. But in reality it requires far less. For one, the entire screen data set isn’t sent constantly over TB3, that’s going to be highly variable but never especially demanding since I’m not running any games or anything like that there. And two, the displays on that are all 2k (2560x1600) resolution.

On the other controller, although it’s the one that doesn’t actually offer the full 40GBps, we have a 4k and a 2560x1400 display actually driven via DP over TB3 so that does eat up a lot of bandwidth. About 24Gbps. What’s left is basically powering a USB 3 hub with a handful of devices rarely using their full capabilities simultaneously. So it’s plenty of remaining bandwidth. But the official requested throughput is actually well above the real capability of the hardware so it’s hard to say exactly how close to maxed out it all is. Just that I’ve not yet had any issues or conflicts with the setup.

The instantaneous system wide search is my number one favorite thing about Mac OS. I wonder how many hours of my life I have spent waiting for a Windows explorer search to complete only to accidentally click on one of the results, hit back, and have it start the search all over.

"Everything" is the among the greatest pieces of Windows software ever written. It is wonderful. I cannot figure out why, with all of their money, Microsoft doesn't just pay the guy a little cash and make it a built-in feature of Windows. It would increase the usability of Windows, especially among novice users, enormously.

I think they refuse to use the technique because it doesn't respect file permissions the way they prefer (IIRC).

Not utterly losing both the sizes and positions of all windows just because the laptop was undocked. Not failing to recognize the external display upon docking, despite the display working a few minutes earlier.

Both of my MacBook Pros (2015 and 2018, Sierra and High Sierra, respectively) exhibit this exact behavior.

I deliberately avoid letting my laptops go to sleep, and try not to unplug them from their monitors because I don't want to spend time re-positioning every single window and tool palette. It really defeats the purpose of having a laptop.

I used to leave my (very old) laptop lid open not because I didn't think it would restore properly but because it took much longer than I liked to come back from suspension. My new Thinkpad X1 Carbon restore quickly (much quicker than my much more powerful desktop even).

My understanding is that window size and positioning issues on Windows are a graphics card driver issue and it's up to the graphics card maker to finally fix it. I don't know the details though, that's just what I've read. It's obnoxious for sure.

It probably sleeps too deep. Because it takes that long to resume, It looks like your laptop hibernates instead of sleeping. It can be quick enough with a fast SSD and not too much RAM. I usually disable hibernation on my PCs, the sleep consumes some power maintaining RAM state but the amount is low, a laptop can sleep for days. Wake up from that state takes about 1-2 seconds.

People do that with both operating systems where I work and they’re both hit or miss which is why people do that. Am I exchanging messages from HN users through some kind of time portal to the Snow Leopard era? Apple has been dropping the ball big time with macOS for a while now and if you haven’t run into window rearranging, bizarre monitor connecting issues or kernel panics from docking I am insanely jealous.

My favorite feature of Windows 10 is displaying ads for Minecraft or Candy Crush or whatever in the start menu.

To be fair, it is very easy to remove those adds.

Probably a moot issue with Connected Standby enabled laptops. It doesn't actually sleep - just puts everything in low power mode - my X1 consumes 0.3W in that mode and the desktop is right there as soon as I open the lid and place my finger on the FP reader!

That reminded me that I once had Windows XP and Vista RC1 installed as dual-boot. I was finishing slides in XP and closed the lid. When I opened it a few minutes later to give my presentation, it was running Vista.

Personal anecdote

I like to walk short distance with lids open to maintain wifi connection as I usualy keep remote connection to server. For longer walk distance, close the lid for easier walking.

Consider using MoSH[0] if you switch networks often


Sleep works great on my Lenovo P50. The only device that sometimes fails to come back up is the finger print reader.

I can't even turn off my friggin' monitor without Windows losing track of my window sizes. Baaaaah.

Author uses IntelliJ which is a $1000 IDE ghat steals focus as you type in it...

The window resizing on dock/undock absolutely kills me.

This is exactly how I feel about my 2016 MacBook Pro

I don't disconnect my MBP from power because it could go to sleep and disconnect the WI-FI after a few minutes regardless of network activity

I guess it's just that Windows users know the system they use and its flaws (even perceived so) better than Apple users

Such articles always give too much importance to the hardware (which is somewhat important, no doubt) and not enough importance to the software.

Many people are looking for quality alternatives to Macbooks, Mac Mini, etc (myself included). Mac Mini hasn’t been updated for 4-5 years. So, I started setting up a Windows desktop as a Mac Mini replacement. But when it came to finding all the alternatives to the OS X software I was using, and when Windows started showing me notifications about “try Edge,” “give us your valuable feedback,” etc, I went back.

If only Ubuntu could have native MS Office (needed for docs from lawyers), Sketch / Adobe products (needed for working with our designers), etc!

Hey! Writer here. I discuss the software at length in here, but as I point out in the piece I've already covered why WSL and Bash work very well at length, so didn't want to muddy the water too much:

1. How to use Bash on Windows to retain your previous setup: https://char.gd/blog/2017/how-to-set-up-the-perfect-modern-d...

2. Why WSL/Bash is good enough these days: https://medium.com/charged-tech/why-i-left-mac-for-windows-a...

Although WSL is great, having a system that could lock itself and start updating at any moment even ignoring user preferences is unacceptable. Trust is at the core of a lot of complaints against Windows, and Microsoft is not helping by forcing updates or reinstalling applications/ads the user specifically removed.

I use windows 10 on several computers and while I did see that updates-mid-day behavior in the beginning I haven’t seen it in a long time. I’m not sure whether this is a real problem anymore, especially with windows pro where you can defer updates.

I tried Bash on Windows and it was absolutely not good enough. Not yet.

What problems did you find it with it?

I've been using it for the past 6 months after dual booting and running VMs for a long time and found I haven't found a reason to boot into my VM yet.

I have the same problems as most people: it's a separate subsystem, which means you either need special integration or simply can't do what you want to do. The filesystems aren't the same, the devices aren't the same, the networking isn't the same, and all three are pretty much needed for daily work.

I suspect that most things that you can do in mingw64 will work the same in WSL, but things you need to do beyond that are basically broken in WSL and sub-optimal in mingw and almost always gets you to a point where you need a VM.

At the same time WSL has super limited benefit if you don't need any of the windows stuff, it basically means you are using linux inside windows but not using windows. When you use 'shell oriented workflows' on macOS, it just works, be it with BSD vs. GNU diffrences, which are easy to overcome by either learning or installing GNU versions of the tools you want (using a package manager like brew). In this setup, everything is the same system, what you do in the GUI also exists in the CLI, they interact directly with eachother, maintain state equally well, integrate directly with the rest of the OS, and basically has desktop functionality that isn't in the way of your development capabilities.

The only downside you can expect is if you need native windows development or windows-only tools, for everything else, windows doesn't really count anymore in almost all environments where I work (which is mostly retail, ecommerce, FOSS, infra). Only a small subset of things (large in quantity, small in configurations/versions/specific needs) that are managed by MSP's are still embedded windows or enterprise windows.

We do have a few people that actually like windows (be it the GUI, long time experience or simply brand affinity), but that's about it.

Can you provide some examples? I've used the fs and networking without issue, so I'm wondering where you hit issues. I can host a server in WSL and hit it from windows via localhost. I can download a repo in windows and access it from emacs, I can download a repo using Linux git into a windows file system and edit it from either OS. Is it that some parts of Berkley sockets aren't implemented fully (or weren't last time I took it for a spin last year)?

IO performance is atrocious. git status on a Linux tree takes a 10s of seconds.

I don't know when you last tried it, but IO performance is much better in the new (Fall Creators Update) version. I had the same problem with git status but after updating it's much quicker. Things also seem like they're faster in the WSL file system than when you're using WSL in the Win32 file system.

It is much better (and even better if you disable Windows Defender on your WSL stuff), but it's still not nearly as fast as actual Linux. I switched from WSL to a Linux VM primarily due to IO still being slow enough to be a problem for me.

Git works perfectly in PS, why would you need to run it in WSL?

Not the original commenter, but I do everything else in bash, and zero things in PS. Why would I want to remember which shell runs which program best?

That makes sense, however if you are Windows user, bash is not an obvious choice for primary shell there.

I don't think that is correct. If you install WSL you are not a typical Windows user.

I didn't mention "typical" Windows user. WSL will always be a second-class citizen in Windows, so if you are power user trying to improve your performance, what's the point in choosing a second-class solution after choosing this OS? Learning one more shell, just like learning one more programming language, has some benefits.

Because I like Windows for myself but my company uses Linux based servers and bash as our shell. It's not just about ME switching to PowerShell, but getting 30 other people to do it too. Not gonna happen.

Because compiling the Linux kernel doesn't? And well, that's another big thing with WSL, you can't share files.

I periodically boot into Windows 10, mainly for join.me calls with customers, and I'm always curious to see how the WSL is progressing. It's clearly come a long ways, and I'm encouraged by the recent support for multiple Linux distributions. But for development purposes, it's doesn't yet come close to replacing a native Linux environment.

The performance is frankly terrible by comparison -- for example, running `bundle install` in a moderately complex Rails application will take nearly an order of magnitude longer (not to mention the Windows virus scan process soaking up 30% of your CPU the entire time).

Another issue is with background services -- I've had numerous issues running PostgreSQL, Redis, and other services (e.g. some services fail to start, or cannot be cleanly stopped, or I'll encounter strange network errors). However, these issues are all documented extensively in various GitHub issues, so hopefully they'll be resolved going forward. For PostgreSQL, the usual suggestion is to install PostgreSQL in Windows, and then access it from the WSL, but that kind of defeats the purpose.

I don't mean to be overly negative, but at least for my purposes, the WSL just isn't quite there in terms of being a viable alternative for daily development work.

file corruption was the worst, incomplete apt package support second.

It says officially: don't edit ubuntu files from windows editors, so it's not their fault. But not ready for work.

I can't open files in VSCode that live in the WSL virtual file system. Which is a huge problem for setting up the same exact dev environment I have on my Mac.

It's honestly dumbfounding. VSCode works great on Mac with the existing terminal but the WSL team can't figure out a good way to allow you to edit WSL files from a normal Windows application.

The way you do this is to cd into your Windows system from within WSL. WSL can see files from the Win32 subsystem just fine.

That is not a solution. I want to work on files in my WSL home folder. Lots of language based package managers like npm and composer "live" inside a folder in your home directory. It's very important that VSCode running as a windows application be able to read/write to these files.

As it is right now I can't even edit my ~/.ssh/config from VSCode without jumping through hoops.

If you want to access your home folder in both, all you have to do is first create the folder in Windows, for example, create a wslhome folder inside your user folder in windows. Copy everything in your current WSL home folder, including hidden files, into that one. Then rename your WSL home folder to back it up and replace it with a symbolic link to the Windows folder. In WSL, use ln -s /mnt/c/Users/[your Windows user name]/wslhome /home/[your wsl user name]. The real folder exists in Windows and is usable in either environment.

This is exactly right. Having interop is great.

> I want to work on files in my WSL home folder. Lots of language based package managers like npm and composer "live" inside a folder in your home directory. It's very important that VSCode running as a windows application be able to read/write to these files.

No. You don't want this. Linux and Windows are different platforms; if your Windows application could use your packages installed through Linux (and vice versa) then none of the native modules would work without a reinstall.

The side effects suck and they can make it better IMO but not sharing dependencies isn't an issue at all IMO.

> As it is right now I can't even edit my ~/.ssh/config from VSCode without jumping through hoops.

Yeah that sucks though for some things like git bash, etc, they use the proper windows home directory. So I end up just keeping those there and straight up copying or aliasing them to the WSL home folder.

It's not a great experience but it works.

Of course I want this!

Globally installed npm and composer packages live in ~/.npm/ and ~/.composer/ and they both have a global packages.json esque file that I need to occasionally edit. The packages installed in those folders MUST be parsed by VSCode for intelesense to work properly.

All I'm saying is I'm not gonna jump through all these hoops. I'd rather just keep working on my mac.

Hell I'd rather hackintosh a surface pro rather than deal with these issues.

Running VSCode through X is annoying.

npm/node works fine in Windows (and I'm pretty sure it's the same with composer), so why do you want to use it in WSL?

Edit: this is a genuine question of an engineer, who uses Git/npm/node for fullstack development on Windows 10 every day. What kind of setup do you have and what UX do you expect, that requires running the tools in WSL?

I just don't want to use Windows to test my code when production is in Linux. There are things all those tools do when running in Windows that is specific to Windows. And I'm not some anti-windows Microsoft hating guy. My main desktop is running Windows 10 and I was quite excited for WSL to come out so I had Windows 10 Insider Preview running on my machine for more than a year. But at the end of the day when I want to do "real" work I keep going back to my Macbook.

Windows command prompt compared to bash is simply horrible. I personally find Powershell to be just as bad. The console app in windows is still light years behind Terminal in OS X. In fact VSCode's built in terminal wrapper is orders of magnitude better.

Things like wkhtmltopdf to generate PDFs or ffmpeg to work with videos should run as they do in Linux on the production server. In OS X I can use brew to set things up. In windows I have to hunt down binaries, put them in the right place, and set the path manually via an OS level GUI many clicks down in Advanced Settings.

The extra work I need to do to make all those tools work in windows makes setting up a windows dev environment cumbersome and annoying. The way it's laid out in OS X gives me way cleaner interoperability with the way the code actually runs in a Linux environment.

It's one of the reasons I love WSL! Finally I can have a ~/.ssh/config in Windows! But I still can't edit the file from a Windows text editor.

Finally if I'm on a team where the production environment relies on some of these linux binaries being available I don't want to waste work hours researching and writing on boarding documentation for the one dev that feels like working in windows when the rest of us are on macs.

C:\Users\Windows Username\AppData\Local\lxss\home\WSL username\.ssh ?

Unless i'm misunderstanding the issue

Stuff in lxss is treated "special" - files in that directory have unix numeric permissions on NTFS instead of ACL permissions. Windows doesn't know how to set those, so if win32 subsystem is updating permissions (for instance, on file save) and the linux subsystem is updating metadata (for instance, on file save), it's possible to end up in a state where neither subsystem is able to get permission to touch the file again.

For this reason, it is recommended to only edit files outside this directory from both subsystems (not to say this isn't issue-free, but it's relatively reliable.)

The file becomes invisible to WSL right after it gets edited in Windows. It's because it's doing weird tricks to associate UNIX permissions to files stored in Windows. The Windows app will break those permissions so instead of mitigating that in WSL it simply stops being able to "see" the file.

There's a perf hit. You may have noticed disk access in WSL outside this directory is slow. Inside this directory, wsl should be the same speed as w32 native, because it doesn't hit the magic layer.

Do you have more detail about this? I edit files in VSCode/Notepad++ and execute them in WSL daily and have never run into this issue.

Would drvfs and symlinks solve your issue with ssh and npm?

I'd install vscode in wsl and run it through a Windows X server.

Did you raise any issues on GitHub for the problems you hit?

How about stuff like defragmentation, Windows registry issues, malware, adware and all the other stuff I vaguely remember? 10 years ago, I used to be a power user at Windows before that (as a gamer/kid) but really though I forgot what time I needed to put into the laptop just to keep it up to performance.

Have you not used a Windows computer in 10+ years?

> defragmentation

No longer an issue. I'm honestly not up to date on why not, but nobody ever mentions it anymore.

> Windows registry issues

What issues? I haven't gone into the registry for anything in a long time.

> malware, adware

Not an issue as long as you run a modern browser and avoid going to sketchy websites and installing random things from them.

If you haven't used Windows since early XP, it's really worth another try. It's a whole lot better now.

A point to add about malware. Make sure your user account your use is a standard one and not an Administrator account. That goes a long way towards cutting down on potential malware.

> No longer an issue. I'm honestly not up to date on why not, but nobody ever mentions it anymore.

SSDs, primarily. Depending on who you ask, defragging an SSD ranges between only slightly beneficial, totally pointless, and actively harmful.

> Depending on who you ask, defragging an SSD ranges between only slightly beneficial, totally pointless, and actively harmful.

Fragmentation will slow down your SSD. For non-server workloads, the SSD is very likely still plenty fast. Running a hard drive defragging program on your SSD will only address one of the two forms of fragmentation that SSDs are subject to, and thus will not help performance much. It will also unnecessarily burn through some of the SSD's limited write endurance, but that is almost never worth worrying about.

Windows Vista started running defragmentation as a background process nightly. Then SSDs happened.

Defragmentation is something from prehistoric ages of Windows (if I remember correctly, they made it automatic in Vista). Malware, adware etc are the same class of problems as unprotected sex: if you are careful, you are safe and will never see it. It's not a Windows "feature".

I've always felt this was just the law of large numbers: The world has more PC users running Windows, so people who are writing malware would be casting the widest net by attacking PCs running Windows and since the bad guy is also likely using/familiar with a PC running Windows.

The second the paradigm changes, the value equation changes for everyone involved.

I second the WSL recommendation. I use it every day building a large SaaS product that is Rails (backend and legacy front end), Vuejs, C# (WinForms app for deep system integration on point-of-sale computers).

That's exactly the problem: they work well enough for some limited applications. Thing is, "well enough" isn't a reason to get people moving to MS's platform - if I already have a great dev environment that runs on Mac or Linux, why would I switch? I already have perfect integration between my CLI tools and the OS, first-class support in a lot of FOSS projects, and a strong community around the platform, all of which I'd lose if I switched. In exchange I'd gain nothing but the numerous headaches (forced updates, spyware, in-OS ads, general cruft and legacy baggage, etc) of Windows.

"Good enough" might stop people switching away from the platform, but it's not enough to bring back those who've already left. If Microsoft wants to bring people back to Windows as opposed to just stopping the bleeding, they'll have to deliver an experience that's actually superior to the other platforms. Given the current state of Windows 10, I don't think they'll have an easy time pulling that off.

Have you tryied ignoring the annoyingyang major points of opinion popups with <microsoft-product-placement>?

The windows is dead, but the M$ Fish-trap attitude exists on in the Eco-system, being natural opposed to all things open to the source.

My previous setup was “any modern os except the windows trash fire”. I’m not sure how WSL is going to solve that.

Windows keeps breaking with every update. My touchpad randomly stops working. Startup is excruciatingly slow even on an i7 laptop with 16GB of RAM. Starting up from sleep takes nearly as long, and for some reason, it takes at least 5 minutes for the machine to work at normal processing power again.

The search function is still as broken as ever. There is a useless "People" tab near the clock that hogs my memory. Then there is that other useless thing - Cortana. There are random noises for whatever error or notification that keeps playing in the background. Permission control is still completely broken. The Control Panel is a confused mess.

If I could go back to Windows 7, I might still be interested in keeping a Windows laptop. But 10 just keeps getting in my way. I just want to launch Chrome and use Google Docs, but Windows wants to distract me with a million little nuisances.

I had similar issues with a home-rolled desktop(nothing ridiculous! intel CPU, amd GPU, adaptec raid card, stack of ram. No old or weird hardware) and eventually just gave up and sold the entire lot. The last straw for me, after many update issues, is when it decided to update on its own in the middle of the night and then refuse to boot due to some date/time mismatch error killing the windows activation so much it wouldn't even start up beyond the error message. I googled it, and it ended up being faster to reinstall than fix since i had an install USB on hand.(it was some huge mess of "mount the boot drive on another system and then...")

I just use my(pre-current design/mk1 retina) macbook pro with the same monitor at my desk now

That’s not normal behavior (random sounds, slow startup and wake). You should check the event viewer for errors, something is wrong with your system. I’ve had problems like that in the past with bad drivers. Once the driver was upgraded the problems went away.

Yeah, you can turn off that "People" tab. Just right click.

In my experience it comes back after every major update. I've installed StartIsBack[1] to get rid of this nonsense for good but it's a pretty awful out-of-box experience.

[1] http://www.startisback.com/

It's never come back for me. Turned it off once when it first came out. I wonder what the difference in our setups is? Never had to resort to third-party programs either.

Chromebook is nice here.

But software preference is a very subjective thing - it's better not to venture into analyzing it if you've mostly been working with a single OS.

As a Linux user (who also owns a Macbook), I find OSX to be a weak substitute. Many features (that we take for granted in Linux-land) require downloading binaries from unknown sources, vastly inferior package management, can use 32 gigs of RAM, relative lack of server-side packages, installs and updates take longer, poor support for NVidia etc. But this is all just my opinion - I'm quite used to running Linux.

Windows is actually a fine OS too - just different. In fact, running on an uncountable number of hardware configurations is a feat of engineering. Not to mention backward compatibility.

> In fact, running on an uncountable number of hardware configurations is a feat of engineering. Not to mention backward compatibility.

They are feats of engineering that are remarkable externally, but mean absolutely nothing to me as a user of only one of those uncountable number of hardware configurations.

High Sierra has had some bad bugs, some that made my stomach churn even more than root access. One's that directly impacted my work flow make me the most angry: regular screen flickering, occasional computer falling asleep, and two times a complete logout. This is on the current model 13" Macbook Pro touchbar. I bought it in december to upgrade from my 2012 model.

I keep up to date on the software, but I sincerely hope after High Sierra Apple poured the necessary resources into making Mojave different. The thing about OS X is when it's working in my opinion it blows every other operating system out of the water. Clean. At least for my own workflow.

I don't buy a macbook for it's hardware. It could be two pounds heavier, have half the RAM for twice the price and look like a shoebox for all I care. OS X is what I'm paying thousands of dollars for.

I've had more issues with high sierra than any release since lion, but still less than i've had with windows 10(and i even own a surface pro!). I really hate having to choose between two bad options, but it's more a borderline unacceptable option with 10 and a begrudgingly workable one with HS.

I'm completely with you, and i don't understand how it seems to have peaked in reliability somewhere around 10.9-10.11 and just slid downhill since. 10.9-10 was probably the most reliable release since 10.6. I would pay significant extra money for some kind of ESR/enterprise release that was that stable just to get stuff done.

Couldn't agree more.

From a usability perspective peak Windows was 7. Despite years of use I still dislike Windows insistence on extreme flatness, and still find it counter-productive. Even with the huge gain from WSL and some other newer features of Windows the horrible privacy model, ads in menus, and a return to commonly occurring BSODs cancel out the improvements.

I could have failing memory, but I don't recall ever seeing a blue screen in 7 across a selection of machines.

Over on the Mac peak seems to have been around Mavericks, most of the changes since have been rearranging the furniture, and adding pointless flatness (thankfully not to the extreme variant of Windows). The number of minor annoyances and niggles has been growing steadily. Reliability has been trending down to the point that High Sierra during my 6 month ownership of a '16 MBP actually felt more flaky than Windows - a first I never thought I'd see. Back on Sierra with a '15 has fixed that.

Like you I'd vote with my wallet for an ESR or Mavericks with security and driver updates. I'll take dark mode on that though. :)

Windows 10 is really annoying. Tons of notifications and random stuff preinstalled. Even on the Enterprise version. I also don't like the Edge/IE split. Now we have two half baked browsers.

And on my HP blue screens are back. I thought that was a thing of the past.

> and random stuff preinstalled

It's less horrible if you buy MS hardware like the Surface - only a few games come pre-installed, unlike the misery HP & Dell inflict.

An OS should not have any bloatware at all.

This should not exist and yet it does: https://github.com/W4RH4WK/Debloat-Windows-10

Holy shit. https://github.com/W4RH4WK/Debloat-Windows-10/blob/master/sc... is actively harmful - it's one of the better pieces of security software these days.

That's one of the ones I don't run but I can imagine why someone would want to rip it out for various legit reasons.

If you're running another product, Defender is disabled.

One persons bloatware is another persons answer to "So .. what can I do?"

Every major OS distribution I know of come with at least 1-2 games

Personally.... I feel that if I don't use Onedrive I shouldn't see a prominent Onedrive icon always visible in Explorer or have onedrive.exe constantly running in the background using resources.

So I guess I'm stuck with using hacks to keep my operating system from shilling products at me.

It's no different than Apple's integration with iCloud, but I agree with you. OneDrive is one of the first things I uninstall.

I don’t understand this complaint. What notifications are you getting? The only thing I get is the notice from windows defender telling me a scan completed.

With the latest Windows update that notification had a button with something like "see fewer of these" which took my into the settings where I could turn off that specific notification.

Also the focus notification when using a fullscreen app. Had to turn it off in two different places. Granted my mac gets a ton of notifications too so its not that big of a deal. Microsoft could just use with a little better notification management screen to quickly turn them off.

Is ironic how all, Apple, MS & Google sabotage theirs efforts with the PRO crowd.

Everyone agree we are a small niche. So anything below will have a minimal impact in the so important shareholders pockets, and win a enough love for us, IMHO:

- Apple hate to give better, more powerfull hardware with enough flexibility (change SSD, Memory, so not more glue. End). Make a limited true mac pro, heck, make it semi-ugly, non-thin so most will not want that, and VICTORY.

- MS give the hardware but refuse to give away the spyware. Give a solid Windows 2000 Server alike thing without cruft, give it with a LTS edition and even ask money for it, dammit. VICTORY

- Google could give a combo chrome machine/linux with the hardware/LTS edition, stick to it, VICTORY.

Apparently you can now run Linux apps in ChromeOS/Pixelbook.

I spent a minute trying to figure out what PRO stands for.

Care to spare other people some time?

My assumption is Pro, as in professional. Why it's in all caps is beyond me.

> Pro, as in professional

Yes, no idea PRO will be confusing :)

I think they thought it was an acronym, but the commenter just meant "pro," i.e. a dev or designer.

Agreed. Windows updates and the fact that it still doesn't have a viable shell after 30 years make it a no go. Powershell and Ubuntu Bash on Windows10 isn't as nice as having built in native support.

Ubuntu bash is a huge step up for me. I recommend using cmder too, which will give you a massively configurable shell with a tabbed interface.

I mean, this article in particular was written by a developer who can develop in any language they want, and chooses PHP. Of course they don’t pay attention to how important software choices are.

> If only Ubuntu could have native MS Office (needed for docs from lawyers)

Crossover by Codeweavers works very well with Office 2016 on Ubuntu.

FWIW, the article does talk about Windows vs MacOS and the software ecosystem nearer to the end.

Libreoffice has some ms office compatability, and a surprising (and rapidly increasing) amount of stuff works fine in wine. I think an old but relatively recent photoshop version (cs6?) has an almost perfect rating.

In Ubuntu I use WPS office, and it does an OK job. Not perfect, but native office is just out of the question.

Hey, at least you can dual boot!

> If only Ubuntu could have native MS Office

I'm using Google Docs and it works perfectly

Between Google docs and libre office I haven't used Microsoft office since they destroyed the UI with the stupid ribbon. There simply is no need for it personally or professionally anymore.

>try edge

So exactly what safari does, no?

Other users can report their experiences, but I've never been prompted to try Safari in three years of using OS X daily. Default web browser is available in the first page of system preferences and all the stock applications (Mail, Notes, etc) open links in there, unlike Windows settings opening Edge if you click something like "Learn more".

Just google “try the new safari notification”

Have you ever tried something else than Ubuntu?

Honest question

My work machine is a Debian with KDE Plasma 5 and it's everything you ever dreamed of plus I can go back to Xfce whenever I feel like life is moving too slow

LibreOffice works perfectly well for 99.9% of MS Office documents.

I’ve had to work with, presumably, the same types of documents from layers as the GP. LibreOffice is fine if everyone is using it. It ends up being a bit of extra work to actually use in practice in a mixed environment. Some legal documents have a lot of formatting that imitates creating a layout with a typewriter and the structure is important. LibreOffice can be slightly off in meaningful ways from a WYSIWYG standpoint, but not necessarily a file format standpoint. So while you can open and edit, the output you will print may be off in subtle ways because you added some extra spacing, you have a different version of a font, etc.

While it’s possibly to make documents that work correctly in both editors with this formatting, you’re simply not going to get people out of their flow. It’s received as well as if the legal team started telling you what your Vim config should be ;).

It ends up being cheaper in terms of time saved for everyone to just buy office. I have a copy of Office just for Word based legal interactions and Excel and use LibreOffice for everything else out of preference for the “old school” UI.

I've been a Linux user for ages, and I disagree. Readable yes, but the formatting is almost always off (in Writer and Calc).

Basically unusable if the docs have to be shared back with MS Office users.

Make sure you have exactly the same fonts available (Cambria, etc) as the Windows machine. That solves many of the formatting issues.

Same here, fonts are very important

Even MS Office is not always compatible with MS Office.

Some time ago (shortly after MSO2016 for Mac release), I had to fill in a certain document, which I did and returned. Except it wasn't filled correctly, because Word 2016 for Mac didn't support the form controls, the document used them and I had no idea about that.

The other party called, we met, compared what we have both seen on the screen, corrected the document and closed that with "word acting funny for whatever reason" (the other party used 2013 for Windows). If I was using LibreOffice and something similar would happen, despite that they do a great job, the blame would be distributed in another fashion.

Fast forward several months and I see in the monthly update release notes, that the forms feature was added to the Mac release.

More like it spoils the layout of 99% of documents. It works perfectly well for really simple stuff. Like letters and a little bit of what-if doodling in the spreadsheet.

My experience differs drastically.

Unless it crashes and loses your document like it happened to me a year ago. Auto-save apparently exists but is not turned on by default or something. Infuriating when it happens.

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