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LesNicholls (TechnicalUser) (OP)
30 Jun 08 6:08
I am increasingly frustrated with being told I need to 'upgrade' the OS or that the one I use and am quite happy with is no longer being supported.
Surely all we want an OS to do is allow us to boot up and use the computer?
All the extras and add-ons just use up the computers resources and run things in the background that eventually slow everythign down.
So why can't we have a simple OS and then install the applications we want?
Or must we continue to do whatever Microsoft tells us to do?
benlinkknilneb (Programmer)
30 Jun 08 8:05
In a perfect world, we would still have to upgrade the OS because there would be constant improvements in efficiency, features, and considerable advances in technology.  In light of Microsoft, are you laughing at this yet?

I personally upgrade my OS every six months.  That's the release cycle for Ubuntu.  I don't have to upgrade, but there's so many new things with each release that I do it anyway.  On top of a regular release schedule, it's free.  I have no reason *NOT* to upgrade.

The good news is that you don't have to do what Microsoft tells you.  The bad news is that there's a learning curve.  If you've got a curious mind and you're willing to give up some productivity for a while, make the switch.  Ubuntu has a vast community of very helpful people; you'll find all the answers you need but you may have to do some research!

Ben
The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't. - Douglas Adams

RiverGuy (Programmer)
30 Jun 08 8:16
What add-ons are you referring to?  I have more issues with third party addons than Microsoft applications bundled with Windows.  Adobe Reader is a perfect example.  You would think it would be a simple thing to read a document, but Adobe Reader has to load all those libraries, show you a fancy splash screen, and then after a minute or so, your document is ready to read.

Although from a 30,000 foot view, it is rather interesting to think about how it takes my Windows XP machines much longer to boot up than my MS DOS 5.0 computer from 1992.
Opieo (Programmer)
30 Jun 08 8:38
An awesome replacement for Adobe Reader that I enjoy is Sumatra PDF. As long as you don't need a ton of the bells and whistles (although this does have a few) and you only need to view the PDFs, this program is speedy quick.

Sumatra PDF

There are other free PDF viewers that are also much better than Adobe Reader, but this one also happens to be open source. 2thumbsup

~
Chuck Norris is the reason Waldo is hiding.

LesNicholls (TechnicalUser) (OP)
30 Jun 08 8:48
By add-ons I mean all the things Microsoft includes that most of us never use. I use Mozilla for both Internet browsing and Email so why do I have to have Outlook installed with the OS?  That is just one example but I just think that the resources that Windows is now taking up as well as the way it writes files all over the place makes theh whole PC slow down after a while.
Rememeber when we just had to use ini files instead of the registry?  Ah now THAT was simple. You could make backups of each ini file and if something went belly-up you just restored them and it all worked again.
Oh I do realise we have to upgrade, but what I meant is upgrading to a completely new OS.  Windows 95 to ME, to 98 to XP to Vista to ????
CajunCenturion (Programmer)
30 Jun 08 9:35
The qualities of a good OS are:
  • Functional
  • Stable
  • Reliable
  • Consistent
  • Backward Compatible
  • Add-on Configurable
  • Free from all Application space, interrupts, etc.

  • With respect to upgrades, the OS must be fully upgradable, but no update can happen without user permission, but when permission is given, the update is seemless and transparent.
     

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    Welshbird (IS/IT--Management)
    1 Jul 08 12:02
    [warning - mac user preparing to post!]
    CC: I read something that was trying to explain the difference to the user between OSX and Vista. It described Vista as a exhuberant teenager - constantly asking if it was ok to do this and bouncing around you showing you things it was doing. It described OSX as a butler. Everythign was done for you, but there was no song and dance about it - it just go on with things quietly and without fuss, and mostly in the background.

    I just thought it was a great analogy. I might rename my Mac to Jeeves..

    Fee

    "The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears, or the sea." Isak Dinesen

    CajunCenturion (Programmer)
    1 Jul 08 12:11
    HeHe - I'll take the butler, thank you.
     

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    Opieo (Programmer)
    2 Jul 08 8:58
    I really want to get ahold of a 2nd hand Mac and just get used to using it as a user. Just so I have some experience with Macs.

    ~
    Chuck Norris is the reason Waldo is hiding.

    Welshbird (IS/IT--Management)
    4 Jul 08 10:03
    Opieo - Careful though. I borrowed one for a morning to see how it worked, and had ordered one that afternoon.

    I now have four. And I don't have any Windoze at all..

    Fee

    "The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears, or the sea." Isak Dinesen

    dennisbbb (MIS)
    9 Jul 08 15:28
    A great OS is one that you can control, be it windows, linux or Mac(unix).

    I'm tired of people claiming MAC OS is better than windows and linux.. "I now have four" MACs.. so what you have 4 Macs.. are you better off now because you can do things that windows and linux can't do? The way I see it is you're so limited on a MAC, but if that's your choice so be it. It's like saying AOL internet is better than the rest of the internet. woohoo.
    KornGeek (Programmer)
    9 Jul 08 16:42
    dennisbbb,
    I don't think she was saying that she was better off or that she can do things that can't be done on Windows or Linux.  My interpretation was that she was saying that she preferred it, and that simply by trying it for a morning, the preference was strong enough that she immediately bought one and hasn't looked back.

    As far as the original question, I think CC has a good list, but I think Ease of Use has been overlooked.  While this may not be a significant issue among technical people (personally, I'm a fan of DOS), the vast majority of computer users these days are non-technical.
    CajunCenturion (Programmer)
    9 Jul 08 17:09
    Actually, I left "easy of use" off on purpose, but the reason perhaps may not be that clear.  I do not believe the user interface should be part of the OS, but rather, an application that is a configurable application whose function is to provide an interface between the user and the OS.  The user interface should be easy to use and configure, but the OS itself should be doing its thing far enough in the background that there appears to be nothing to judge.
     

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    dennisbbb (MIS)
    9 Jul 08 19:40
    CajunCenturion:

    You can strip Themes down to just bare naked OS. But there has to be a "default" Theme to get everyone started don't you agree? If you want to make that as an option during installation, that's fine too.

    On another note, with the new development of web designs such as Google and Yahoo or youtube offering free practical applications equal to the desktop counterpart, we are in fact realizing a lesser dependence on the OS, and more reliance on the browser and website combo. How many of us cannot live without Gmail? Thus, a lot of people find themself in less of a need for an OS upgrade these days. The future of computing is indeed Web 2.0/3.0 combined with a few flavors of browsers.
    CajunCenturion (Programmer)
    10 Jul 08 3:00
    ==> But there has to be a "default" Theme to get everyone started don't you agree?
    No, I don't agree.  In fact, operating systems were very much alive and well, and quite functional, long before we had themes or elaborate user-interfaces.  What is needed is a stable OS interface protocol and specification.

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    Opieo (Programmer)
    10 Jul 08 8:51
    @dennis
    I would have to disagree with the direction of everything headed to the browser. At least for the time being. As you try to replace larger applications on the desktop with web based programs, you will need more bandwidth to handle them. Broadband penetration in the US is far far less than even the FTC has been claiming. They have even admitted it (right after their last release).
    I do love Gmail, but e-mail is internet based to begin with. If my internet goes does, I have no need for email. There are many other applications that I would still want to use even if the internet went down for some time.

    Also, the move by cable operators lately in wanting to charge people by how much they download / upload will stifle some innovation in the field of moving applications online. There are some alternatives to cable, but even fewer people have access to those.
    Do not get me wrong, I like the idea of easy to use free applications and think that the internet may be viable, just not for many years still.

    ~
    Chuck Norris is the reason Waldo is hiding.

    lionelhill (TechnicalUser)
    10 Jul 08 12:43
    dennisbbb, there was a discussion a bit like this somewhere else in tektips, can't remember where. I think it sprang from a debate about whether web browsers could become the next "operating system".

    The gist of it was "what is an operating system"? There were two schools of thought. One assumed that the interface and everything under it are one homogenous mass of code, and the user is seeing the operating system in action; this school didn't really differentiate between an operating system and internet Explorer. The other school felt that the operating system is the hard-core stuff that provides an interface with the hardware; this school felt that internet explorer is merely an application that makes calls to an operating system that we don't see.

    I'm in school 2, and suspect Cajun might be.

    My personal concern is creeping featurism, and maintenance. The more code you have, the less likely it is to be fault-free. To me, the ideal operating system is therefore as small as possible, and does a single job: it provides application software with a uniform interface to a lot of very non-uniform hardware. For example, I don't care what the physical disk-drive looks like, or how files are arranged on it. I just want a "save" and a "load" and a "seek" function, and a few ways to call up file-names.

    Good code is usually modular. To me, it's thoroughly un-modular to start mixing pretty user interfaces with the low-level hardware interface stuff, even if the mix is more illusion than real. You should be able to run any pretty interface program on top of the hardware bits, just like in the days of DOS, you could use windows, but you could also choose various other semi-graphic-oriented user interfaces to the operating system. The operating system was the int021h calls of DOS, and the bios.

    Incidentally, while many features of modern operating systems are very attractive, many also come with a down-side (e.g anything that helps automation of processes also helps viruses). It's always a trade-off. I'm biased towards low functionality.
    kmcferrin (MIS)
    14 Jul 08 16:23
    Rememeber when we just had to use ini files instead of the registry?  Ah now THAT was simple. You could make backups of each ini file and if something went belly-up you just restored them and it all worked again.

    That's funny.  I remember when we had to use .INI files instead of the registry too.  I remember having literally dozens of applications and OS components that each had their own separate .INI file that was stored somewhere on the disk (sometimes in system folders, sometimes in app folders, sometimes in the root folder).  If you needed to make a change you had to back up the .INI file, then edit it with Notepad.  That's assuming that you could find the .INI and recognize it as the file you wanted, because many times and .INI file would use the same filename as other .INI files.  Sometimes installing an application would result in overwriting .INI files for another application other and breaking that app.  Often times you wouldn't notice until weeks later when you couldn't figure out why the app doesn't work or even know which application overwrote the .INI file to begin with.  Yup, those were the days.

    I think I prefer the good old HKLM\Software hive myself.

    ________________________________________
    CompTIA A+, Network+, Server+, Security+
    MCSE:Security 2003
    MCITP:Enterprise Administrator  

    strongm (MIS)
    14 Jul 08 19:34
    Most of the criticisms you level at INI files are not the fault of the INI file concept, just of some poor decisions by developers. The same sort of poor decisions can also effect the registry.

    Also you can still use INI files if you want ...
    Helpful Member!  Sympology (MIS)
    15 Jul 08 4:00
    As a person that has been using computers for a fair few years, the biggest issue with most O/Ss is feature creep, the pointless toys that most have, be it Linux, Windows or MAC.

    However the problem is that the OS creators have a few issues.
    1. They need to constanlty supoprt more and more devices, just look at what has happend in 10 years since windows 98. Mass adoption of:
    USB, Firewire, SATA, Multicore's, massive graphics cards, powerful sound cards, processor extension, Flash RAM, CD-RW, DVD's, BluRay/HD-Ram, digital camera's, MP3 players, the WWW, optical mice, WiFi, PCI-X the list goes on and on.

    Yet we still expect our old modems to work, our serial cables (yes a lot of us still need them), IDE drives, legacy software, old soundblaster cards, PCI (even ISA).

    So the OS writers have a choice, ad more and more layers of compatabilty, or lose the old stuff. Dammed if they do, dammed if they don't.

    The 2nd issues, is the majority of people like shiney things. You present a green screen with lots of text and tell them to type the name of the program they want to run, or, a full blown destop with pictures of the kids, 256 colour icons, sliding menus, what do you think most people will choose?

    The problem many people on these forums have is, putting it bluntly, they have there heads shoved to far up their own backsides, to see what 99% of the population want.

    What Techs want:
    Fast
    Reliable
    Steamlined

    What most people want:
    Ease of use
    Pretty
    Lots of features

    I'm not going to enter the this os is better, because most OS's are damned good, just because YOU think that Windows is to bloated, Linux is to unpoloshed, Unix is to geeky and Mac's are to limtied, doesn't mean everyone feels the same.

    I'm happy using Windows XP, it does what I want and does it well enough. I've tried Linux and it's not for me, but I'm will not say it's rubbish, it's just not what I want.

    So as all level headed people say, if you like your OS, then feel free to stick with it, if not, try something else. Ignore what the fanbouys say, because, if they get so passionate of what essentialy is a item less important than your hot water boiler, then they need to get out more.

     

    Only the truly stupid believe they know everything.
    Stu.. 2004

    Welshbird (IS/IT--Management)
    24 Jul 08 4:28
    I agree Stu.

    I don't want everyone else to agree with me when I say I prefer my Mac; but by the same token I don't expect them to tell me I'm stupid for having that opinion.

    Fee

    "The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears, or the sea." Isak Dinesen

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