Windows 8


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Yesterday, I had the "priviledge" to test Windows 8. Luckily I had the chance to use it on a friend's PC, so I know now that I'll not purchase it.

It marks a new low in the Windows series. The traditional desktop has been replaced with a Mac style board of apps. Everything is designed for the absolute IT noob. You're beeing treated like a child. Idiocracy is here. If you want to change any settings, you have to dig deep into carefully hidden parts of the software. Once you actually manage to open a settings window, you'll find out that your PC is designed to record and report everything you do to Microsoft, from WLAN settings to IE anomalies to user habbits etc...
Any change in settings that is not deemed beneficial to Microsoft is deliberately complicated. E.g. if you don't want to have automatic updates, it requires you to search through dozens of tabs before you finally get to the right checking box.
Additionally, data safety is dimished, because you're forced to save certain data within Microsoft's cloud, ie out of your control/harddrive. Not only do they control parts of your data, they also force you to be online to use some programs or enhanced functions of programs (eg Word).

Overall, it's a piece of trash :flushed:
I have to strongly agree!

As part of a family member's business, I recently went out to a local store to buy some work computers. The only operating system they offered on any of the business computers was Windows 8. Having not used it yet, I didn't know that buying a Windows 8 computer was such a bad idea. Taking it back to the business office and setting it up for them was a giant pain! It is completely unlike older Windows editions and does a poor job of imitating an Ipad type interface. I promised them the next time I came by their business I would convert the operating system to an older version.
Depending on your IT knowlege, my advice is to assemble the pc yourself. Just buy the different hardware parts and software and put them together. It might even be cheaper.
Depending on your IT knowlege, my advice is to assemble the pc yourself. Just buy the different hardware parts and software and put them together. It might even be cheaper.

Actually, I could do that. If it is just for a work computer for internet, quick books, excel, and outlook then it really doesn't need to be very powerful. These days you can get a bare bones desktop for roughly $300. It is faster and cheaper to just take one of these out the box, wipe it clean, and install just the programs you need.
Does anyone know if I can simply do a boot to disc and overwrite Windows 8 with a legitimate copy of Windows XP?
yeah, don't even get me started on Win8... It is a catastrophic disaster, in my opinion it is worst operating system that MS have ever released, period. I could bore you to death with the details of user interface design best practices and dos and don'ts that they have outright butchered, but sufficient to say, that Microsoft themselves has fired the guy responsible for overlooking Win8 release. And it wasn't "some guy" down in the trenches, it was Steven Sinofsky, who was thought of as one of the possible Ballmer's successors (if not THE successor) - he has parted his ways with Microsoft, shortly after Win 8 disastrous release, to "pursue other opportunities", and the press release of that non-event, was released in the dead of night, on some weekend (ie, when nobody is listening to any press releases :))

I don't know why Microsoft hates their user interface/user experience designers so much, or what bad things they are doing to them, so they came up with something soooo monstrous, as the Win 8 shizophrenic interface - because it is NOT just "novelty" of the new "Metro" UI styling (which is extremely questionable on it's own - as I mentioned earlier, it breaks every fucking rule of efficient, user-friendly interface design making that ever existed - and I mean it). Nonono - it is bad enough on it's own, but spend some more time with it, and you will learn, that actually, some things, you can ONLY achieve, when you switch over to the "old" style windows desktop metaphore - to be able to reach some of the system settings or programs.

This whole thing therefore feels like you are running TWO, completely different and separate operating systems on your machine, it is extremely confusing and inefficient for users, and I have no fecking idea what they were thinking, when released this aberration. To the point,m that even when you run Internet Explorer in the "tiles" (ie, the new Win8 interface), it is completely different application, than if you run it from the "traditional" desktop part of the system. With separate browsing histories, etc. That's unbelievable crap, they came up with.

Sales figures show the same - Win 8 installs grow UNDER the normal, expected rate of PC depreciation. Ie, people are buing new PCs when their old ones are no longer up for scratch, they come with Win8 preinstalled (obviously), and then they downgrade them to Win7. It is Vista all over again, only much, much worse.
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Does anyone know if I can simply do a boot to disc and overwrite Windows 8 with a legitimate copy of Windows XP?
You certainly can, but I would recommend Win 7 Pro//Ultimate, ancona, it is very good incarnation indeed, XP is no longer supported (ie no security patches, no latest software running on it, might be dodgy to get drivers for hardware you bought etc).

IMHO, had Microsoft released XP, than waited & released Win 7, than waited & released Win 9, skipping all the crap that they came up with in between, the world would be a much, much better place.

Remember, every time somebody installs Win8, a puppy dies. That's actually 100% true

...or, if you have some older machine - you mightr check out Ubuntu Linux - depending what you use your PC for - if you are not into gaming, than I'd say most people would be covered by what Ubuntu has to offer. Certainly, it is much better user experience on a PC, than Win8. Just download install & fire it away - it is actually SIMPLER installation proces than Win 7 (and much more so than XP). MAny people use it with Wine instaled (which is Windows compatibility layeer- allows you to run many Windows applications on your Linux machine.
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ancona - the short answer is yes, probably. If you're going to stick yourself with windoze, I'd suggest win7, however - it's xp with most of the bugs and annoyances fixed, and a hell of a lot more secure. Near-zero relearning curve. It's real stable, and my windoze loving friends have nothing but good to say about it - even compared to good old xp, it's a winner.

I made my money fixing what was wrong with windows, more or less - writing everything from ring-0 drivers for customer hardware, to specialized apps. Now that I don't have to do that anymore, I don't run windows on the metal, period, in any of my 10 or so machine network (I don't count them, I just have a lot of places and specialized workstations, it's enough).

All run linux of various flavors here, often ubuntu, always a long term support version, some one of the older 10.04 versions - it ain't broke. I despise the UI in the newer versions of linux - unity, gnome3 - suck. But unlike windoze - you just download a different one you like - in my case "mate" is the one, simple, no relearning, it just works, and the price is the usual "free as in beer".

For the very few things I need windows for - my mass spectrometer and its horrible .net software, and the IDE for programming microprocessors I use - I run windows on top of virtual-box, which is free. A little tricky to set up at first, but good once its going. There are some tips on my website for that. Windows in a window is far better and more stable than on the metal (when the host opsys, in this case linux, is many times more stable and secure - this machine has run 5 years with no crashes at all). Backups are a single file copy - that's it. Simplifies my life as an ad-hoc IT guy for my own computer systems - and I can dupe the same guest opsys everywhere easily, so no matter where I want to work - on any of the 3 machines in this room, to any downstairs or in the next building over - I can have the exact same setup, which I only have to do once.

I build almost all the computers I've owned. Maybe one exception, but even then it has few of its original parts. I use a family run "chinese gansta" store for all the parts, and save a ton of bucks doing that - they treat me right all around. Think huge discount over the online sellers - in the 10-50% range for the latest-greatest stuff, along with some good quality help choosing the combo of stuff I need for a particular job - so I don't have to keep up with every new CPU spec, GPU, mobo, and so on - I just tell them what I want it to be like, and let them choose most of the parts for me. I reuse the boxes and power supplies till I get tired of how they look or the lack of extra front panel connectors or the like.

These machines I build to far higher quality and reliability than say, dell or hp, and they cost less on top. I use big boxes with good cooling, don't cram disks into tiny places to overheat them and so on - I do it right, and they live till I wind up giving them away to someone less fortunate when they become obsolete by my standards.

Right now, my hot new build, slated to replace this machine (my main squeeze) is an i5 (main squeeze currently is a core-2 quad - it's getting long of tooth - only in-use machine without an SSD main drive. The new one draws half the power, uses a samsung SSD, and a terabyte spinner, 8 gigs ram at present, and is much faster. It has onboard vid, but I use a separate card (fastest you can get with no fan is about right) to drive up to 3 large monitors (most of the power usage is monitors 2-24" and a 35").

benjamin is right - for a lot of things, you don't need that much power. I'm using a rebuilt dell 780 (core2) for my house NAS and database server.

I also built an i7, top of the line everything, with 2 huge Nvidia cards, for training neural networks and the like. It's just too much for normal use, and heats the room, for most it'd be a waste, and I don't even turn it on that often unless I have some huge NP-complete type job to do (or vid editing). I don't like the heat output and power drain of that one much, but when you need T-flops, it's the way. Frankly, the i5 is far better in ops/watt, cooler, smaller...and for most things - so fast it just no longer matters - your finger is still on the click button when the job is done.

While there IS a learning curve, I find linux far superior to windows for almost everything, particularly in the cost of the various software tools I use, from advanced cad to plotting to software dev - all free, and one hell of a lot more stable, with good support and frequent pro-active security updates (unlike known MS bugs that go years unfixed, people see a possibility of a bug in linux and fix it *before* there's an exploit). I've had my network here pen tested by a pro - no dice for him, he couldn't touch me other than a port scan that returned "fuck you shadow" to every ping.
FWIW, this same guy tried the same tricks on my website ISP and was able to recover both halves of their RSA key in 25 seconds flat. They had conniption fits when I emailed them those and asked if he was for real - he was.

I consider that more than important, since I'm trading large quantities of my own money through these - there is no recourse if I get hacked, I'm done in.

A caveat on win7 (and I'm sure, 8.x) - I bought two copies (32 and 64 bit) to run in virtual box. Every time there was a VB update - they broke and declared themselves stolen. I had to pirate a copy of the huge "everything there is" DVD and a key cracker to solve that one - so I'm running "stolen copies" since the paid-for ones are unreliable, and tend to fail just when I need them. Go figure. After spending that money on MS - it took around 4 hours waiting on a phone to get them re-enabled each time, and finally I just gave up on that crap. So I don't feel like a pirate, I'm just getting what I paid for, I don't cheat and run multiple copies at the same time (there's only one of me).

Note to those not tweakers - most 64 bit opsys are slower and flakier. With PAE you can easily run more than 4 gb ram - just not more than 4 gb/process, at least in linux. Unless you're running an oracle DB in ram - you don't need 64 bit at all (and can even host 64 bit opsys up to 4 gigs each in a 32 bit host if you like).
The reason is simple - they haven't worked out all the bugs from just changing a few #defines and recompiling - this is industry wide. It's hard to find all the places where changing all integers to double wide makes a difference, sometimes things depend on a 32 bit number rolling over - and those are tough to find in the huge bloat that is most opsys, until someone hits a bug...and the track record of most vendors in fixing those in timely fashion is dismal (linux excepted, but even then it was a time waster).

The reason? AMD's x64 extensions are dumb, but got to be the standard. This makes all pointers to addresses 64 bit instead of 32 - even if they only point a few bytes from "here". This almost doubles the required memory bandwidth to do the *exact same job*. This might change, in part if code is rewritten - but the world doesn't do that very often, never in some cases (banks still run on Cobol, some labs still run fortran, it ain't broke, they ain't fixin it - ever - they can't because they don't understand it anymore anyway).

Unlike with windows, you can easily tell linux to only use the SSD for WORM (write once, or rarely, read many) jobs, so you boot fast, your apps come up fast, but a magnetic spinner takes all the write pounding, so the SSD lives forever and stays fast. That's a real consideration around here. Windows write patterns are sick, and can ruin an SSD in short order, and the newer SSD's (MLC) have less, not more, resistance to that issue. Just a FWIW.
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You might be able to install a dual boot system, ie keep Win8 installed:

If you have relatively new hardware, you should check if it runs under XP, too.

...yeah dual boot is an option, only I must ask WHY do it to yourself :). You will end up with utterly depreciated system, together with utterly frustrating newest system.

You'd need to:
1. wipe your Win 8 that PC came with,
2. install XP
3. Install Win 8 on it in parallel

(you cannot just install XP in parallel onto existing Win8, it doesn't work that way.)

There always remain the option of virtualization, like some people mentioned in the links you posted, but that option is also available on Win 7.

I still think Win 7 is the best option for majority of users now (unless you have specific need for one of the other systems). And just like XP, it will refuse to die a quick death - there will be rather long support for that one, given how good it is, and utter monstrosity of the newer alternative (I can bet money on it, if people were actually given a choice of OSes, they would prefer Win 7 to be shipped on their new PCs over Win 8, on average). Additionally, there will be HUGE push back from corporate users, to prolong support date for Win 7 for as long as possible - just like it was with XP. Trust me, I am one :)
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Unlike with windows, you can easily tell linux to only use the SSD for WORM (write once, or rarely, read many) jobs, so you boot fast, your apps come up fast, but a magnetic spinner takes all the write pounding, so the SSD lives forever and stays fast. That's a real consideration around here. Windows write patterns are sick, and can ruin an SSD in short order, and the newer SSD's (MLC) have less, not more, resistance to that issue. Just a FWIW.

That's interesting Fusor - I thought that typical HDD have about 100k MTBF, but the latest generation SSDs, have 1Million MTBF, typically - thanks to data spread controllers etc.? Manufacturers' small prin that I've missed, somewhere?
I appreciate all of the quick responses here!

I use XP because .Gov uses it and it makes interface so much easier. Everything they send me is compatible with XP so to use a newer version is to create trouble for myself. I know that places me behind the curve but I really don't have much choice. In fact, they only got rid of the last Windows 98 machines in this last year.

Also. if I log on to .Gov and have a different operating system, it causes me a lot of unnecessary delay getting in and finishing what I came for in the first place. i learned that the hard way by trying to work one weekend using Mrs. Ancona's laptop. It sucked pretty hard. :-(
...well you might look into virtualization in such case, indeed. See Fusor's explanation - it is quite handy to manage your virtual system as one single file, you can even put it on the removable HDD (eSATA or internal removable HD bays), and have a mobile version of your "work" OS, that you can hop from one PC to another, preserving state of your work and all - you'd only need to have the same virtualization software installed on the "host" PCs. Much smaller to carry, than even a laptop! And how geeky, check this out :)
Unless they are sending you software, xp compatible has zero meaning. You might mean "MS office of a certain version compatible" which has nothing to do with the opsys, and the older versions will run on windows 7 - just install an older office there.

I did dual boot for awhile on a couple machines - waste of hardware since you can only run one at a time...and sometimes one can't "see" the disk space of the other, depending on how you do it. In my case, it was xp and ubuntu 7 or so. Ubuntu could see (and fix problems) in the windows part, even with windows not running, but there are other ways for that - just boot a live linux disk on a windows machine and fix it that way - linux understands all the windows disk formats, but not the other way around. Since I'm the suport guy for my entire neighbourhood, that's what I do when a customer has an issue - just bring a live linux disk and fix their issue without even booting their machine to it's own opsys except to test the fix afterwards.

SSD's have a write lifetime limit. Even with the more advanced controllers, which spread the pain around. They tend to get fragmented quicker as well, since the write granularity is much larger - have to erase an entire page (which get bigger as the drives do) to write a single byte. And that means in all filesystems, also re-writing part of the directory so it can find the stuff in the new place, hence a single byte write can wind up erasing and re-writing multiple pages. Windows has no respect for this whatever as far as I can find out.

There is quite a long history of manuf's over-rating how many writes flash/eeprom can really handle. I know this from actual experience - many hardware products I've designed use the stuff. We wound up writing our own filesystem to reduce this problem, but it's still there.

A friend (a super windows guy who used to work here - and the best programmer I've ever met other than myself) found out the hard way when they tried to convert a database to SSD drives - they last maybe a few months in that use - and it's not a system that gets pounded on very hard. The older (like Intel x25) drives are more expensive, and do last longer, storing only one bit per cell. The new ones that store multiple bits per cell - it's an analog scheme that looks at the size of the stored charge) have much lower write lifetimes, since writing involves essentially arcing (punch through) an insulator, and eventually it gets electrically leaky due to the physical holes you've punched in it.

Yes, there's error correction, over provisioning, "Smart", you name it - but the fact is, they get slower over time as you have more "bad sectors" and more fragmentation, and defragging one, well, that's a ton of more writes, right?

Lots of people have found this out - and that's why "enterprise" type SSD's cost 3-4x the consumer ones, and have less capacity stated.

The whole thing is a disaster waiting to happen, IMO, though I love these things when used right - it's the biggest performance upgrade per buck you can have, again, if you do it right.

This is one reason the big boys run large DB's in huge's still the fastest, and doesn't degrade over time. There's an entire industry revolving around "big fast storage" that tries to make a hybrid of spinners, SSD, and ram to obviate this, but it's only palliative, not curative. They need raid 5 or better on the SSD's so they can replace them as they wear out, without losing data - it ain't cheap!

So, I set linux up to use the SSD for the opsys, the apps, some data that rarely changes (my music collection for example, or my science databases for my data), and use a spinner for my "home" directory, public, shared stuff and so forth.
Since I rarely need to read my system logs, on most systems I set up a tempfs in ram (linux doesn't need much ram, this still has a smaller footprint than any windows) which get lost when I power off - I don't care, as they are full of BS anyway, just messages about how it booted, accesses to the DB I run on all machines (they back each other up), and perhaps the odd error. If I get a hard error problem, it's a one-line edit in fstab to put the logs back on a spinner for later examination. Works for me, minimal effort, and the systems run several times faster than a "dumb off the shelf" system made of the same exact parts. And cost less - you don't need much of an SSD to just hold what I put on mine anyway.

And in linux, you can set the FS to not update "time accessed" and other metadata, on the SSD, so they last forever - and you really do get those 100k hour lifetimes.
Not that spinners suck, unless you get cheap shit. I've got some 2 gb drives from back when that was the biggest there was - they still work, decades later. A heck of a lot depends on the heat issue there...stupid manufs mount them in a way they can't cool...I don't.
inspiring, DCF :) must dust off my Ubuntu and start playing around with it, try to get it configured the way you mention - defo, one thoughtful config, with Ram disk and all. I haven't bought into SSD myself, didn't really need that much speed on my PCs at home, but I would use one exactly the way you describe - OS and apps, with all the stuff that changes more frequently on a HDD/gigabit NAS. Which would be kind of hard to ensure in Windooze, because of what you said, many of the things are getting updated anyway on the filesystem there, that you don't have control over

We are in the process of upgrading Ram in our workstations, and setting up Ram disks - for our daily development stuff. Compiling projects on a ramdrive, versus 5200RPM hard drives that we currently have - sweet :grin:...

Must check this all out now, you get cogs in my little head spinning! Would like to see how'd my Thinkpad T60p run with some huge memory upgrade (to set up Ram disk on it), and replacing HDD with SSD.

cheers :wave:
Ubuntu 12.04 (the current LTS version) has some teething issues on new hardware - you have to use the 64 bit one if your mobo has that MS UEFI "lock out all but MS" crap, but it works (Cannonical only bought the key for the 64 bit version, so far).

Unity (or gnome 3) are a decade step backwards in usability - Unity may as well be win 8, stupid to have a "tablet/phone" UI on a machine with 3 huge monitors that aren't touch-sensitive and have plenty of pixels anyway.

So I installed great (and tried a few others, which may have added features I'm not sure where they came from, but they don't eat much room).
I have it looking so much like the familiar windows most people can't tell - except it's faster and and cleaner. I have a menu bar with shortcuts on the bottom (auto-hide) and a task bar (shows running tasks) on top - also auto hide, instead of the dumb MS version that tries to put both into the same bar. I paid for all those pixels! I want them not wasted on some huge tablet icons you can't hide, or if you do, they don't come back when they should...the new GUI sucks. It's because someone noticed that big PC sales are down, and that most people never change opsys for the entire life of the hardware, so they design for what they think is most used. They don't understand that the drop in PC sales is because your old one is already "good enough" and you just don't need a new one - except to upgrade the opsys...yeah, marketing makes too many decisions everywhere.
With mate, you can even use gconf-editor to put the tic-tac-toe buttons back on the upper right of windows, where they belong if you're a long time windows user. And still use synaptic package manager, rather than the stupid "ubuntu software center" that always seems to be trying to sell you something. Synaptic just gives you what you ask for, period.

The system uses less than half a gb of ram just running a browser with a few tabs open. I've never managed to come close to using the 8 gb I've got, but time will tell, I'm planning on doubling it anyway to take advantage of the more "lanes" when you use two ram sticks, just for grins - I have a lust for speed. And for fun, sometimes I'll run 8-9 opsys at a time in my big machine just to show it off, and virtual box does hard-allocate the ram for them, even if they aren't using their full allocation. It's fun to see a bunch of virtual opsys running their screensavers (which normally use 100% of a cpu) at a time, and the main system still loafing...since it has 8 cpus, and you can tell each virtual machine to only have X% of that.

You opsys has nothing whatever to do with how the other end sees you - ancona, you have some other issue (browser compatibility? Had to find your login/password again?). I can even change the ID string on my firefox here (and I think you can do it in chrome too) to tell the other end it's whatever the heck you want it to believe, and that's just not a problem. Nothing whatever id's the opsys to the other end, unless they are penetration testing you and hitting ports not normally used for web/email/remote terminals. That, in fact, is the entire point of an opsys - to abstract away those kinds of differences. That's why websites work on icrap, android, linux, bsd, windows version anything, and so on.

BTW, software if defined as an excel spreadsheet is also not opsys dependent at all - it's interpreted inside excel (VBA is an interpreted language) - if excel of the correct version runs, you're golden. Ditto MS word - same issues (hell, the same DLL's that run that code).

There is no need (and it's damn slow) to have a carry around opsys file. VB, and I'm sure VMware (pay for stuff) - can run from a virtual disk on any machine you're connected to, if a bit more slowly (forget doing that dialup). You can even swap "live" while they are all running without so much as a glitch. To get a virtual machine disk file to move around - you have to use "export" in VB - and that is slow since it's doing compression and so forth, and on the fly defragging to keep the export file small - and changes to that need to then be re-imported to the other machines to keep state. That in fact is why they don't suggest you do it that way - and have the "live replication, move the machine in realtime" option. The reason is because the file it's running from in any given hardware and opsys host has "machine specific" junk in it, like links to the shared directories, hardware available lists and the like. Exporting and importing are what "fix that up" for the new host - but takes a long time to do. So I don't do it that way here.

Believe me, the .gov will be moving off XP soon enough - it's in the contracts they have with MS, and the dreaded internal policy about support contracts etc. They will probably have fits with changing from one incompatible office file format to the next doing it, too. You might as well be (get) ready for that one.

Me, I just use libre office, but there are, yes, differences - even though it can export/import to/from any version of MS stuff, specifically as you tell it to (does pdf's too). It doesn't copy all the MS bugs perfectly...but for what I do, that's not an issue - in anconas case, it probably is, though I'd check first, as it's really getting to be pretty mature these days.

It's more likely you had a problem because you were coming from an unfamiliar IP address, and if they have anything like security - they check those return addresses, which is easy - it's in every packet. In other words, if you moved your work system to another isp - you'd have the same exact issues with "hard to get in" - and should, if they have anything like decent security.

Bushi, if I were going around the edit/compile/test loop a zillion times a day, as I used to do, I would not do that on an SSD (except for the editor and compiler code itself) - I'd use a ram disk. Even faster, and compilers do a hell of a lot of writing, erasing, replacing.

You can find out how to set up a ram disk (called a tmpfs on linux) from the bunch of junk on the web about how to maximize ssd life from back when linux couldn't make sense of them either. I can find it for you if you can't, as that's how I learned the trick. The only limit there is ram size, and in my case, that lust for speed. For a huge project, I'll use a script that spawns multiple compilers to "build all" each in its own process, to get multi-core cpus doing the best they can for ya. Then link - it's by far the fastest and cleanest for a big project. For little stuff (like a windoze app, or a linux one or uP one) it's not worth doing that script, but...that's not all that's out there to do, I realize.
... you'll find out that your PC is designed to record and report everything you do to Microsoft, from WLAN settings to IE anomalies to user habbits etc...

... and thus, the NSA. :noevil:
Bushi, if I were going around the edit/compile/test loop a zillion times a day, as I used to do, I would not do that on an SSD (except for the editor and compiler code itself) - I'd use a ram disk. Even faster, and compilers do a hell of a lot of writing, erasing, replacing.

yep, that's what we are doing/testing right now. It is all .NET/Visual Studio stuff, and our options are additionally limited by mother company hatred towards anything new, but getting stuff compiled tens of times a day from a ramdrive versus slow HDD, is a blessing already. We are done testing, and it simply flies in comparison :)

I remember from the beginning of my career, when I was coding in C++ (man, that was a PIG for compile times, all these includes!), I could go for a lunch break when rebuilding the whole solution (custom makefiles and all, it was too big & complex for Visual Studio to handle in a reasonable way), and it would be MAYBE ready when I was back :). We were "blessed" by our H/W upgrade dept, by newer machines - only, with smaller RAM amounts (and without option to upper RAM - some really stooopid leasing deal!), because, you know, they knew better, and those pesky developers, nah, they just want the most expensive computers, because they are, you know, stoopid or something, and have that thing for expensive computers....

Surprise, surprise... we weren't able to configure them the same way as our old ones, with more RAM to cache includes etc. (old Pentiums @166MHz, vs. new @300MHz), and our compile times actually went UP :rotflmbo: We have invited our whole H/W upgrade dept to demonstrate a full build on "old crap" vs. "new shiny" computers, and have had a good laugh pointing fingers at them and saying "I told you so" all the time :). ...Priceless!
I've been on a home built machine since 05 and running linux for over a year now. No more winderp around here.

One thing to be aware of is that when running Wine you are somewhat vulnerable to viruses out there that can exploit Wine the same way they do Windows. Still way better than windows, but not as safe as plain linux.
You're right about that, and I don't run Wine on most machines for that very reason - it even dupes the windoze bugs! (has to, as some code depends on them).
Safer to run windows in VB, with a backup of the file - if it gets "sick" you just restore to an earlier version, and I keep the critical data in a linux folder that windows can't see - so there's two copies - one windows and my ide etc can see - and one it can't, only linux has access to that one, with a simple script that does the copy once in awhile, running from anachron.

Further, in VB, you can just tell the hypervisor not to give the guest opsys a connection to the network at all...and do file-sharing internal to the box it's running on only. Amazing how much more stable windows is without a don't need the "security" patches, even, or any of that waste of time and resources - it ain't broke, so don't let them attempt to fix it, in this environment.

I used to love dev studio - up to rev 6, and MFC, believe it or not - it's actually pretty good code in there once you get over the steep learning curve for it - and Paul DiLascia and I have had some fun conversations about huge batches of code he wrote for microsoft dev journal (now called MSDN) that was completely a waste if you knew MFC well enough to set the right style bits...funny. .Net is when I quit doing windows at all (as a coder, I use it but no longer write for it). Frankly, it was a trick to keep competitors running in place while MS continued (and does still) to use MFC/C++ for most of their main products.

A hint - never, ever use a tool from MS that they don't use in their own product. They'll change it and break your stuff, or stop supporting it if it doesn't get momentum in the market, and you are screwed. We found this one out the hard way.

I didn't feel the need to go through that learning curve again, just to support a slow, interpreted language designed so that monkeys who can drag-drop can "code" - I don't produce monkey code and don't need tools to make that easy, I create good stuff. I prefer a high think to coding ratio - works better and is actually faster when the code works on the first go.

And as a result, most of the .net code I've gotten (say for my mass spectrometer) is the crappiest, slowest, crashiest stuff out there. I really feel for anyone stuck with that. When I have to go with an interpreted language, my own choice is Perl.
Java sucks. Change things so there are no pointers (but everything is a reference? What a joke!) - so programmers who can't code a proper delete for ever new can still do work? What quality code does that get you? Further, Java's garbage collection can cause the machine to simply lock up for the duration of it - and if you're doing anything with realtime deadlines, you're screwed. And, it's slower than perl, since perl and the interpreter were written for one another, not the case for .net or Java (until lately, but it still sucks and is slower with all the class overhead - sometimes you don't need a class, just procedural code).

And forget the rest of the security hole built in scripting languages, particularly that one that uses whitespace for syntax, ugh. Very easy to have horrible errors in a merge of new code that the compiler can't find (and sometimes doesn't report either).

Give me C, C++ sometimes, assembly sometimes, and perl, I'm a happy camper.
Since it's my own business, that's exactly what I use. I never really learned bash, since it makes one's head hurt to go back and forth with perl and bash - everything that is one way in one, is the other way in the other, syntax wise. I don't have time for that junk.

At any rate, there's no security issues with windows running in VB unless you set them up yourself. Just tell it the cable is unplugged, it can't talk to anything external, and won't even have a shared folder on your disk unless you set that up, which I do, to move things around (windows thinks it's a network-shared folder, but it isn't). But if it's got a network connection, it's linux, not windows, period.
SA/Bug, you're right about that - I've run wireshark here on my network to see what MS does send - despite denials, yes, they do send quite a bit back to the mother ship.
So, don't give it a connection at all... and it's fine.
Thanks DCF for the confirmation. I frist learned about Windows (and other) backdoors from Richard Stallman

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