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Author Topic: I Don't Do Windows  (Read 29896 times)

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TA

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Re: I Don't Do Windows
« Reply #420 on: December 11, 2013, 08:43:41 AM »

As far as making the Metro UI more optional than it currently is, that sorta sounds like what they're doing?  I mean, Enterprise version aside, that sounds like one version for tablets and touchscreen laptops - where the Metro UI is really effective, and far better than the traditional desktop - and another version for desktops, that eschews it.  It's not a switch back and forth at the flip of a setting situation, but it still seems geared around delivering the preferable version of the OS to the specific platform.
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Brentai

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Re: I Don't Do Windows
« Reply #421 on: December 11, 2013, 09:18:46 AM »

Well yeah, but my point is that there's no reason not to have a single, not confusing OS choice that does have such a switch.  Maybe I want my thousand dollar PC/tab to act like a tablet when I'm carrying it and act like a PC when it's docked, and not one or the other or some weird Frankenstein amalgamation of the two all the time.

The foole platforms succeed in part because they're wonderful at adapting seamlessly to different usage modes. Microsoft simply cannot get with that program and it is killing them.
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Thad

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Re: I Don't Do Windows
« Reply #422 on: December 11, 2013, 04:30:09 PM »

Probably still tied to a Microsoft account and a bunch of other terrible things they learned from Apple/Google.

Yeah, but I doubt they can make it mandatory.

Note I didn't say that I doubt they'll try.  I just don't think it's feasible from an implementation standpoint, between the legacy codebase and established user expectations.

It would, of course, be utterly suicidal to try and do this in a corporate environment.  But then, that didn't stop them from releasing 2 out of 3 of their last major OS revisions.

I remember hearing a rumor that Microsoft was considering moving Windows to a more frequent release cycle--like, say, yearly or every couple years--and charging must less for each release--like, say, $20.

That's what Apple's been doing for years, culminating in finally releasing Mavericks as a free upgrade.

Difference is, Apple's a hardware company.

That's about the sweet spot for me:  I'd pay $20 for Windows.  Pay $20 and half-heartedly toss it on whatever I've got lying around, just to look at it?  Sure, why not.

Meh.  $50 upgrade is how they got me to buy Windows ME.  Not falling for THAT again.

Well yeah, but my point is that there's no reason not to have a single, not confusing OS choice that does have such a switch.  Maybe I want my thousand dollar PC/tab to act like a tablet when I'm carrying it and act like a PC when it's docked, and not one or the other or some weird Frankenstein amalgamation of the two all the time.

This is what Ubuntu's trying to do.  So far, it's resulted in a shitty desktop UI and a not-even-functional phone UI.

Not to say it's a bad IDEA.  And MS, unlike Canonical, already has all the pieces; they just have to figure out how to put them together the right way.
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Angryoptimist

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Re: I Don't Do Windows
« Reply #423 on: December 15, 2013, 12:18:23 AM »

Yeah, but I doubt they can make it mandatory.

Note I didn't say that I doubt they'll try.  I just don't think it's feasible from an implementation standpoint, between the legacy codebase and established user expectations.

I know you're a programmer.  I haven't written much (well, anything) for Windows/Win32/etc., but I wouldn't be surprised if you have.  And, if so, could you answer this:  how does their legacy codebase hold them back from, say, making it difficult or unpleasant to install things from outside of their own 'app store'?  Honestly asking.  Does Windows legacy code really prevent them from, say, making it so that unsigned executables (barring the use of an exploit) couldn't be loaded and run?  Why?

If you mean to say that they'll try and end up having to backpedal--well, that'd be the reasonable outcome.  I'm not sure reasonable outcomes are the only ones on the table now.

It would, of course, be utterly suicidal to try and do this in a corporate environment.  But then, that didn't stop them from releasing 2 out of 3 of their last major OS revisions.

It's hard to see what their logic would be, trying to push that on a corporate environment.  What would they gain?  How could they possibly not understand what they'd stand to lose?

However, were they to lose the personal desktop, I think they'd probably, eventually, start losing the corporate environment--but maybe not for a long, long time.  I'm thinking about how the home OS and work OS being the same probably cuts down on training costs--even if they lost the desktop tomorrow, it'd be a while before the familiarity with Windows in the workforce really began to drop off.

That's what Apple's been doing for years, culminating in finally releasing Mavericks as a free upgrade.

Difference is, Apple's a hardware company.

If Microsoft did it, it'd be more of an intermediate step to a subscription model than what Apple is doing--like where Adobe has gone with their creative suite.  Though it remains to be seen whether doing that with the creative suite was really such a good idea, it's clear to see why Adobe thought it was one:  frogmarch people into upgrades, continually extract money from your customers, cut down on piracy.

Microsoft has a persistent problem of having trouble moving people to newer versions of their OS.  It's not a completely unreasonable thought that a subscription model might solve the problem.

I'm not sure it would work, mind you--and I have the faint hope that taking a stab at that transition would further loosen Microsoft's hold on the desktop--but I could certainly see intermediate steps towards it.

If I recall correctly, the rumor was something like 'compelling improvements + yearly releases + low price = profit'.  It's conceivable, if you consider that Microsoft can make compelling improvements to Windows--maybe 'compelling improvements' is code for 'we'll only patch it for a year'.  I don't know.  It would probably help if I could actually remember or find where I heard about it.

Meh.  $50 upgrade is how they got me to buy Windows ME.  Not falling for THAT again.

Funny you should mention Windows ME.  My first machine was a ME box, just as ME was coming out.  I was on that for a good 4 or 5 years, I think.  Overpriced Gateway PIII 733MHz with integrated graphics and nothing else to really soften that blow; it did not dazzle, it did not amaze.  I'd tell stories if I had any:  that was my calibration for 'normal' at the time, and after XP I sorta forgot all about it.

Getting back to the subject:  $50 would be too much.  $20, on the other hand, would be fine, no matter what stinker was produced.  If nothing else, I could have the pleasure of tearing it apart with the benefit of my experiences with it to lend authority to my arguments--that's probably worth the $20 itself.

Aside from that, I don't actually have a copy of Windows right now.  I don't want to pirate it, don't want to spend ~$100 on an OEM copy I can't move from machine to machine (see: "I don't have a copy of Windows right now") and even if I could afford to drop $200 or more on a retail copy, I wouldn't do it because I don't actually want to use Windows--not for day-to-day stuff--I'd just want it to run that copy of Saints Row 3 that I've got moldering on my Steam account.  I'm not really willing to pay $200, $100, $70, or even $50 for that--but I'd shell out $20.

Maybe I want my thousand dollar PC/tab to act like a tablet when I'm carrying it and act like a PC when it's docked, and not one or the other or some weird Frankenstein amalgamation of the two all the time.

Absolutely.  I want different things out of a mobile UI than I want out of a desktop UI.  I'm just not sure you can reconcile the needs of the mobile use case and the desktop use case in a decent way with a single design.  So, obviously, two designs.

However, unless we want to take a significant amount of freedom from client applications in terms of how they may do their UI, a lot of the burden must necessarily fall onto the common programmer.  That, I think, is where the dream of convergence breaks down.
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Zaratustra

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Re: I Don't Do Windows
« Reply #424 on: December 15, 2013, 02:07:46 AM »

Windows is that thing that comes for free with a new laptop, right?

Thad

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Re: I Don't Do Windows
« Reply #425 on: December 15, 2013, 04:34:56 AM »

Yeah, but I doubt they can make it mandatory.

Note I didn't say that I doubt they'll try.  I just don't think it's feasible from an implementation standpoint, between the legacy codebase and established user expectations.

I know you're a programmer.  I haven't written much (well, anything) for Windows/Win32/etc., but I wouldn't be surprised if you have.  And, if so, could you answer this:  how does their legacy codebase hold them back from, say, making it difficult or unpleasant to install things from outside of their own 'app store'?  Honestly asking.  Does Windows legacy code really prevent them from, say, making it so that unsigned executables (barring the use of an exploit) couldn't be loaded and run?  Why?

I wasn't suggesting anything that extreme; I was thinking more along the lines of simply forcing you to import a profile at install time, which would be easily circumvented (especially in a corporate environment where it would already be stripped out of the OS image before putting it on any client machines).

As far as actually releasing a version of Windows that tells customers they can't use any of their existing programs and are going to have to buy everything through the Microsoft Store?  Well, they have that; it's called Windows RT and it's an abject failure.

If you mean to say that they'll try and end up having to backpedal--well, that'd be the reasonable outcome.  I'm not sure reasonable outcomes are the only ones on the table now.

Backpedaling is exactly what they're already doing on RT.  Have you seen any Surface commercials lately?  They're hammering the "and you can run all your programs" part pretty hard to make sure potential customers know they're not buying RT.

Speaking technically, RT can force users (inasmuch as it has any) to use only App Store apps because it runs on ARM and there's no existing infrastructure of ARM-based Windows apps.  If it were to appear on the desktop, well, the first thing that would happen is that nobody would buy it, and the second is that someone would find a trivial method of jailbreaking it.

Speaking in terms of user reaction, I can't believe MS would be that utterly suicidal.  I could only see it happening after the scenario you posit where MS loses the desktop completely and nobody's using their products at all anymore -- if they're starting over from scratch, they might try this; short of that, I don't see it happening.

(I don't see even Apple going that far on the desktop.  Adobe CS represents a line in the sand -- Apple makes more money from Mac users who want to run Photoshop than Adobe does; if Apple tries to force Adobe to sell CS exclusively through the App Store, the likely outcome is that Adobe takes its ball and goes home and Apple loses the entire graphics professional market.  At that point Apple may as well give up the Mac entirely and just sell phones and tablets -- which I think is a likelier prospect than a fully-locked-down Mac OS, but still not likely to happen soon.)

However, unless we want to take a significant amount of freedom from client applications in terms of how they may do their UI, a lot of the burden must necessarily fall onto the common programmer.  That, I think, is where the dream of convergence breaks down.

Fair point.  Developers can't even converge on something as similar as an "Open File" dialog (and I JUST FUCKING LOVE how you can't just copy your current directory from Photoshop's to paste into Explorer); a program that can easily switch its entire UI is another level entirely.

Then again, there's probably a certain "If you build it, he will come" aspect to setting up the infrastructure -- if your OS, as one of its major selling points, actually allows this sort of varying app interface, that's incentive for developers to get on it and support it in their software.

And on the "take a significant amount of freedom from client applications" front -- while I'm not a big fan of Unity, I have been impressed at how they managed to make apps from a bunch of different toolkits all work correctly with its menubar.  (Originally only GTK apps were supported, but last I checked they'd managed to make it pretty seamless across programs.)  Course, Canonical's working almost exclusively with open-source software, so it's a lot easier to figure out compatibility.
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Angryoptimist

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Re: I Don't Do Windows
« Reply #426 on: December 15, 2013, 06:12:54 AM »

You make a fair point with RT.  It failed, and it failed because it didn't do what users wanted to do--which is run existing programs.  With such a clear example, it's an argument that writes itself against a total lockdown of Windows--everyone can see that it'd fail.

What about a more Android-y model, though?  Unless something has changed recently, Android still lets you install and use .APKs that you find any-old-where, but to be able to do this you must go into the settings (can't remember how many levels deep, but I don't think it's top-level) and check a box and (I've heard, recently--can't verify, as my Android phone runs a 'historic' version of Android) you get a big scary warning.

If Microsoft ends up going that route, they don't actually prevent anything from running on their OS, but they get nearly the desired result.  Most users won't go in and check the figurative box--the tyranny of the default--so most new program sales go through Microsoft.  And the end result might not be open revolt or mass-exodus, either--technical, knowledgeable users wouldn't have any trouble with going into the settings to enable non 'app store' program sources--a trivial, one-time fix.  Maybe a week of furor in tech news and then it's all forgotten.  Non-technical users who find a need for something outside of Microsoft's store will probably get along just fine as well--getting instructions on what they need to do from a friend or the Internet or something.  For the balance, they just start getting their programs from Microsoft's store and don't give it much more thought.

So it's not really a matter of locking things out as just making them more difficult.  Actually, maybe 'difficult' isn't the right term.  It's really more reducing relative convenience.  Nonetheless, possibly quite effective--especially in the long term.

I honestly don't know if Microsoft really intends to go there, but I think that might be what Valve's worried about (prompting all that SteamOS stuff).  For the users heavily invested in Steam, they probably won't be torn away any time soon by such an effort.  Prospective Steam users or Steam users with a low level of investment in the service might be pried/turned away if Microsoft put a barrier to Steam installation in the form of not being able to install it without toggling a setting somewhere--or just not letting Valve distribute it on Microsoft's store!  If they do a good enough job with their store that people start using it for discovery of new programs, programs not on there may be significantly disadvantaged.  At the very least, they might be able to slow Steam adoption while working on making their own equivalent services more competitive.  Potentially a threat to Steam, and I'd think Microsoft would want to threaten Steam--all without preventing it's installation in Windows or truly making it difficult to install.

(I don't see even Apple going that far on the desktop.  Adobe CS represents a line in the sand -- Apple makes more money from Mac users who want to run Photoshop than Adobe does; if Apple tries to force Adobe to sell CS exclusively through the App Store, the likely outcome is that Adobe takes its ball and goes home and Apple loses the entire graphics professional market.  At that point Apple may as well give up the Mac entirely and just sell phones and tablets -- which I think is a likelier prospect than a fully-locked-down Mac OS, but still not likely to happen soon.)

What about Gatekeeper?  It isn't a full lockdown by any stretch of the imagination, but they might not need to go so far.  I find it especially interesting that it's got an App Store-only setting, though the default is apparently App Store + 'identified developers'.  In any case, it represents a certain increase in Apple's control over their desktop platform.

Skimming through, I wasn't clear on whether or not this thing is actually enabled at all, or if it's in the latest OSX, so I searched on the subject and found something with a bit more detail on how it works.  Even when it's on, it's not completely effective at preventing unsigned applications from loading, it seems.  Actually it doesn't seem that difficult to get around at all.  Still, it and Apple's stern warnings are probably more than enough to keep most users from straying from the App Store.  That combined with it not being that difficult to circumvent makes me wonder if the song and dance Apple gives about increasing the security of users isn't just blowing smoke and 100% of their rationale behind it is just increasing the barriers to users installing programs from outside of Apple's control and/or purview.

Maybe I'm reaching a little, but I really don't think it's all that implausible.

Well, maybe DEVELOPERS will end up revolting (SteamOS), and that might end the party, but I could see why Microsoft might think it was a good idea.

Oh, hey tinfoil hat idea:

What if Microsoft threw out Windows 8 the way they did so that they could 'make good' with the next version while quietly introducing soft walled-garden features, so as to deemphasize the misfeature and encourage the users it'd annoy to migrate anyway?  Possibly timed with a EOL to Win 7 or along with some genuinely compelling features?

Just to be clear, I don't think this is what actually happened; I'm still attributing the mistakes of Windows 8 to stupidity, not malice.

Tying it all back into Linux discussion:  I hope it all happens and it all blows up in Microsoft's big, dumb, entirely-figurative face.  Their fucking up a little has ended up improving my gaming experience enormously--I can only imagine what them really screwing the pooch will do!
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Thad

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Re: I Don't Do Windows
« Reply #427 on: December 15, 2013, 07:58:55 AM »

What about a more Android-y model, though?  Unless something has changed recently, Android still lets you install and use .APKs that you find any-old-where, but to be able to do this you must go into the settings (can't remember how many levels deep, but I don't think it's top-level) and check a box and (I've heard, recently--can't verify, as my Android phone runs a 'historic' version of Android) you get a big scary warning.

If Microsoft ends up going that route, they don't actually prevent anything from running on their OS, but they get nearly the desired result.  Most users won't go in and check the figurative box--the tyranny of the default--so most new program sales go through Microsoft.  And the end result might not be open revolt or mass-exodus, either--technical, knowledgeable users wouldn't have any trouble with going into the settings to enable non 'app store' program sources--a trivial, one-time fix.  Maybe a week of furor in tech news and then it's all forgotten.  Non-technical users who find a need for something outside of Microsoft's store will probably get along just fine as well--getting instructions on what they need to do from a friend or the Internet or something.  For the balance, they just start getting their programs from Microsoft's store and don't give it much more thought.

This is pretty close to the current state of OSX with Gatekeeper, as you mentioned -- you're right that Apple currently requires that apps be signed using their toolkit, but doesn't actually require that they be purchased from the App Store.  You're also right that it would be simple for Apple to flip the toggle and require that all apps come from the App Store by default, but I don't think they'll go so far as to refuse to run outside binaries at all, for the aforementioned Adobe reasons.

It would be trivial for MS to implement something similar, but there are a couple nontechnical MS-is-not-Apple hurdles.

The first is MS's dominant market position.  Requiring purchases through its app store would be a surefire way to put itself right back in antitrust regulators' sights.  And while the US courts never did more than slap MS on the wrists, it was still a lengthy and costly legal fight that MS would prefer to avoid -- and the EU courts have been a lot stricter than the US ones have.

The second is psychological.  I think MS has seen that it needs to tread carefully as far as trying to use the kind of "one login for everything" setup that's worked for Apple, Google, and Facebook.  Consider another two of MS's recent failures: the Windows Live suite that attempted to integrate Hotmail with a bunch of other, less desirable online apps, and Games for Windows Live, where MS learned one of its recent harsh lessons that console gamers and PC gamers have different expectations.

At some point, customers get angry that there's just one more login, one more thing they have to sign up for, and they don't like that.

Keeping it optional is probably in MS's best interests -- but again, I wouldn't be surprised if they acted against those best interests.

(I haven't really tooled around with MS's App Store at all, but my experience with app stores in general is that someone saw apt-get, thought it was awesome, and then removed all the good shit from it.  There's a convenience advantage to being able to install all your programs from one place, but without versioning and dependency resolution it doesn't make a whole lot of sense.  Why does Steam pop up that "Installing DirectX..." box on the first run of every single game instead of just doing it once?  And I've got a whole rant about how the OSX App Store has made it impossible to do something as simple as increase your resolution if you're still running the OS version it released TWO YEARS AGO.)

Skimming through, I wasn't clear on whether or not this thing is actually enabled at all, or if it's in the latest OSX, so I searched on the subject and found something with a bit more detail on how it works.  Even when it's on, it's not completely effective at preventing unsigned applications from loading, it seems.  Actually it doesn't seem that difficult to get around at all.  Still, it and Apple's stern warnings are probably more than enough to keep most users from straying from the App Store.  That combined with it not being that difficult to circumvent makes me wonder if the song and dance Apple gives about increasing the security of users isn't just blowing smoke and 100% of their rationale behind it is just increasing the barriers to users installing programs from outside of Apple's control and/or purview.

Maybe I'm reaching a little, but I really don't think it's all that implausible.

I don't either.  I definitely think there's a trend toward using security as an excuse to tighten control -- obviously there are plenty of political comparisons to be made here, but I'm limiting my point to computer design at present.

There really ARE arguments to be made in favor of code signing for typical users.  But it sure can make life tough for tinkerers.

Apple, MS, and Google are all doing this stuff right now.  It's been interesting contrasting my new Chromebook (which has a legacy BIOS that will boot any old x86/64 OS you attach it to) with my old one (which only has the Chrome BIOS and which, while comparatively easy to get to run non-Chrome Linuxes, still requires a signed kernel).
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Angryoptimist

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Re: I Don't Do Windows
« Reply #428 on: December 15, 2013, 09:25:10 PM »

This is pretty close to the current state of OSX with Gatekeeper, as you mentioned -- you're right that Apple currently requires that apps be signed using their toolkit, but doesn't actually require that they be purchased from the App Store.  You're also right that it would be simple for Apple to flip the toggle and require that all apps come from the App Store by default, but I don't think they'll go so far as to refuse to run outside binaries at all, for the aforementioned Adobe reasons.

It would be trivial for MS to implement something similar, but there are a couple nontechnical MS-is-not-Apple hurdles.

The first is MS's dominant market position.  Requiring purchases through its app store would be a surefire way to put itself right back in antitrust regulators' sights.  And while the US courts never did more than slap MS on the wrists, it was still a lengthy and costly legal fight that MS would prefer to avoid -- and the EU courts have been a lot stricter than the US ones have.

The second is psychological.  I think MS has seen that it needs to tread carefully as far as trying to use the kind of "one login for everything" setup that's worked for Apple, Google, and Facebook.  Consider another two of MS's recent failures: the Windows Live suite that attempted to integrate Hotmail with a bunch of other, less desirable online apps, and Games for Windows Live, where MS learned one of its recent harsh lessons that console gamers and PC gamers have different expectations.

Yeah, you're probably right.

At some point, customers get angry that there's just one more login, one more thing they have to sign up for, and they don't like that.

Tangent:  are you familiar with SQRL?  It sounds pretty interesting.

Keeping it optional is probably in MS's best interests -- but again, I wouldn't be surprised if they acted against those best interests.

I get the feeling even Microsoft doesn't really know what it's going to do these days.

(I haven't really tooled around with MS's App Store at all, but my experience with app stores in general is that someone saw apt-get, thought it was awesome, and then removed all the good shit from it.  There's a convenience advantage to being able to install all your programs from one place, but without versioning and dependency resolution it doesn't make a whole lot of sense.  Why does Steam pop up that "Installing DirectX..." box on the first run of every single game instead of just doing it once?  And I've got a whole rant about how the OSX App Store has made it impossible to do something as simple as increase your resolution if you're still running the OS version it released TWO YEARS AGO.)

You put a lot in the parenthetical aside.  This is what Valve has to say for themselves on the DirectX subject.  To summarize:  this is for games which use the D3DX helper library--apparently the D3DX ABI is highly unstable or something and you need to have the precise version/build of D3DX/DirectX the game was linked against when a game uses it.  Unfortunately, Microsoft's licensing terms prohibit distributing this in any way but as an installer and manually determining what versions of D3DX are already install is 'extremely complicated', so running the DirectX installer the first time for each game that uses D3DX is the only practical way to ensure it all works.  It's a stupid situation that's all Microsoft's fault, so I'm leaning towards believing Valve's excuse.

The OSX bit is hilarious.  The most broken bit, to my mind, is that you need XCode to set a particular resolution, though.  Not providing the proper version of XCode is a close second, though, because I could think of many reasons to want a particular version of an IDE/compiler.

I can't help but think that the reason for 'app store' packaging formats/systems not providing state-of-the-90's features probably comes down to sheer laziness.  After all, dependency resolution and versioning is actual work.

In mobile, I've heard the excuse that things like dependency resolution are too CPU intensive to have in a mobile package manager; that it uses up too much battery, and that's why they don't do it.  I don't really buy that installation is happening frequently enough to warrant that kind of worry and, also, OPKG exists.  And I have seen instances of proprietary Android packages needing other packages to be installed in the past, so I'd say there's still a use for the feature in proprietary systems.  (I'm sure you've heard that old saw about 'proprietary systems don't need/can't use dependency resolution because etc. etc.')  So:  laziness.

EDIT:  Maybe, in Microsoft's case, it's because their programmers are honestly incompetent at package management.

Quoting my friend, who brought this article to my attention: "Exponential algorithm? Everybody knows if your algorithm is exponential, you look really, really hard for an algorithm that isn't exponential. Just imagine if Debian used an exponential algorithm for updates. I sometimes have 200 or more updates waiting for me, and I stay up to date (ish). Upgrading from one stable release to another can involve over a thousand updates easily. You'd never finish..."

There really ARE arguments to be made in favor of code signing for typical users.  But it sure can make life tough for tinkerers.

In a limited sense, I think it's a very good thing.  It's basically how software installation already works for the Linux distributions I'm familiar with--there's a curated repository of packages and they're all signed.  Granted, the executables aren't signed.  Granted, running of things outside of repository isn't prevented...  But, the user has reasonable assurance that the software they get is 'legit' and they can casually install whatever they want from the repository without too much worry.

On the other hand, going much futher than that is throwing the baby out with the bath water.  We need tinkerers--that's how we got here; that's how we'll get where we go next, if we go anywhere.

I think it's much better to just discourage casual installation or running of code from sources the user doesn't know.  And let's not forget the browser, either:  even if we end up signing all the native code that's run on a machine, there's still all that javascript.  The browser continues to be a major attack vector, and I don't think that's going away--and good luck getting that stuff signed.  My feeling is that browser installation isn't finished until you've got NoScript or ScriptSafe installed.  If the end goal is safety, I think it's much better if there's user education on the subject--don't run code you don't know, don't grab from places you don't have reason to trust.  It's not enough to absolutely protect the user, but that's not really achievable anyway; this is good enough, and I think it's better tradeoff too.  Requiring the signing of executabables on its own, depending on the impelmentation of the system and what you then allow those exectuables to do, might end up being little more than security theatre.

Apple, MS, and Google are all doing this stuff right now.  It's been interesting contrasting my new Chromebook (which has a legacy BIOS that will boot any old x86/64 OS you attach it to) with my old one (which only has the Chrome BIOS and which, while comparatively easy to get to run non-Chrome Linuxes, still requires a signed kernel).

Interesting.  Would you say that's a general trend--letting you more easily run your own OS/kernel--or is it only isolated models?  Haven't kept up with Chromebooks much.
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Thad

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Re: I Don't Do Windows
« Reply #429 on: December 16, 2013, 04:47:55 PM »

I get the feeling even Microsoft doesn't really know what it's going to do these days.

I don't think they've known what they were doing since Windows XP.

Longhorn was a wonderful hypothetical OS that never got anywhere near working out in real life.  Win7 is good damage control for Vista.  Everything else...well, it's a series of halfbaked UI ideas that nobody wanted (Office 2007, Win8), johnny-come-lately imitations of other people's more successful software (Office 360, Windows Phone), and attempts to focus on the products that ARE selling well and trying to shove them sideways into markets where they don't really work.  I've linked articles already on why Windows Live was such a failure, and it comes from some misguided idea that Windows is a dominant product because of brand loyalty and people's strong positive feelings toward it -- a notion so bizarre that only a Microsoft publicist could possibly believe it.

And in the past few years, MS has learned something anyone could have told it (and did): PC gamers accept that they can't resell their games but don't like having to sign up for a Microsoft account to play them (and sure as fuck aren't going to pay a subscription fee to play them online, unless the game happens to be called World of Warcraft), while console gamers will happily sign up for an account and pay a monthly fee but will openly revolt if you tell them they can't buy or sell used games.

Interesting.  Would you say that's a general trend--letting you more easily run your own OS/kernel--or is it only isolated models?  Haven't kept up with Chromebooks much.

I think it's too early to tell, but it seems to be a general trend in the higher-powered/Intel-based models.  I expect if you're already putting an Intel-based board on the thing, the cost of adding SeaBIOS is trivial.

I also think that, while Google management is certainly geared toward Big Brother data indexing and profit maximizing, a large part of Google's actual developers is still made up of good old-fashioned hackers who want the same kinds of stuff you and I do.  That's why there's stuff like Crouton (Google-developed software which lets you run Ubuntu inside ChromeOS) and other, similar support for running third-party Linux stuff, and also why Google-branded devices (Chromebooks, the Nexus line, etc.) tend to be pretty easy to jailbreak/set to Developer Mode.  Google's smart enough to keep guys like me happy, and keep us as customers (even if sometimes reluctant ones) despite our grave misgivings about the general thrust of its business.
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Mongrel

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Re: I Don't Do Windows
« Reply #430 on: December 16, 2013, 05:03:43 PM »

PC gamers accept that they can't resell their games but don't like having to sign up for a Microsoft account to play them (and sure as fuck aren't going to pay a subscription fee to play them online, unless the game happens to be called World of Warcraft), while console gamers will happily sign up for an account and pay a monthly fee but will openly revolt if you tell them they can't buy or sell used games.

It's funny how odd this dynamic is, I wonder what the breakdown of why (not how - I think most of us know the history) we reached that point looks like.
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Brentai

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Re: I Don't Do Windows
« Reply #431 on: December 16, 2013, 05:46:50 PM »

People will accept restrictions if they seem to have a valid technical purpose (even if said purpose is anachronistic) but not ones that feel arbitrary or fully intended to make a profit.

Best Example: Diablo 3 always-online vs. SimCity always-online.  Nobody was happy with either, but the first one didn't cause a shitstorm because there was a pretty solid reasoning behind it (even if everyone knew that the actual reasoning ended at a point of Blizzard making money.)  The second example serves no useful purpose to the end user, same as most Windows Live services.
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sei

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Re: I Don't Do Windows
« Reply #432 on: December 16, 2013, 06:11:44 PM »

No. There were many tears about the lack of Diablo III offline play.

Stuff from soldiers, people with flaky connections, etc. was showing up on forums.
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Angryoptimist

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Re: I Don't Do Windows
« Reply #433 on: December 16, 2013, 11:19:15 PM »

I've linked articles already on why Windows Live was such a failure, and it comes from some misguided idea that Windows is a dominant product because of brand loyalty and people's strong positive feelings toward it -- a notion so bizarre that only a Microsoft publicist could possibly believe it.

That really is astonishing; I'll have to go back and look at those links a bit (more, if I have already).  You'd think they wouldn't forget that their business model's strength traditionally stemmed from chaining their users to the proverbial radiator.  Just goes to show:  never believe your own hype.

I also think that, while Google management is certainly geared toward Big Brother data indexing and profit maximizing, a large part of Google's actual developers is still made up of good old-fashioned hackers who want the same kinds of stuff you and I do.  That's why there's stuff like Crouton (Google-developed software which lets you run Ubuntu inside ChromeOS) and other, similar support for running third-party Linux stuff, and also why Google-branded devices (Chromebooks, the Nexus line, etc.) tend to be pretty easy to jailbreak/set to Developer Mode.  Google's smart enough to keep guys like me happy, and keep us as customers (even if sometimes reluctant ones) despite our grave misgivings about the general thrust of its business.

Play somebody well, and they'll do what you want.  But when someone realizes they're being played, resentment follows.

On the subject of being a sometimes reluctant user of Google services, here's something actually-Linux-related:  I found a FUSE filesystem doodad for Google DriveThese are the instructions I used, but if you're using Ubuntu or whatever, they've got special stuff for you (typical).  I've used it, and it works.  Be warned, though--it's ass-slow.

PC gamers accept that they can't resell their games but don't like having to sign up for a Microsoft account to play them (and sure as fuck aren't going to pay a subscription fee to play them online, unless the game happens to be called World of Warcraft), while console gamers will happily sign up for an account and pay a monthly fee but will openly revolt if you tell them they can't buy or sell used games.

It's funny how odd this dynamic is, I wonder what the breakdown of why (not how - I think most of us know the history) we reached that point looks like.

I honestly don't know.  I'd say that part of the reason for part of this probably comes down to money though.  Console gamers probably care more about the ability to resell their games because of the cost of buying them in the first place, compared to the PC (even used console games vs. PC new games sales is sort of a wash in the PC's favor).  But, then, there's the paid accounts.  PSN+ supposedly has a decent value with that game-a-month thing, but I don't know anything about Xbox Live and it's more abstract value, not having been an Xbox (360) owner.  I could point out that PC gamers are accustomed to (and, apparently, happy with) running their own servers for multiplayer, but those same people go on the consoles and accept the other way around.  Maybe it's a matter of putting on a culture like you put on a hat, and that's down to a difference of culture?
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sei

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Re: I Don't Do Windows
« Reply #434 on: December 17, 2013, 08:53:17 AM »

PCs make it easier for players to host decentralized game servers. Players would rather host their own shit than pay monthly. I can run Starbound, Terraria, etc. servers, so I wouldn't want to shell out.

Until the last gen or two, that would've been computationally expensive for consoles.

On the console side, PSN+'s freebies supposedly offer good values. XBL was just "pay us or go fuck yourselves."

The deal with PSN+ becoming mandatory on the PS4 is that Sony is claiming they'll use fees from it to keep servers for games up. This hopefully means less evaporating multi-player support (see: Demon's Souls).

So, while it sounded bad, at first, it may be a boon to players who use online multi-player consistently enough to justify it. This assumes that Sony will be controlling the servers.

My understanding is that some companies (EA) are not playing ball with this, wanting to keep tight control for themselves. Maybe their plan is to eventually force people to buy season passes or pay monthly to EA to keep their servers up. EA is nothing if not innovative in the field of villainy.
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Thad

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Re: I Don't Do Windows
« Reply #435 on: December 17, 2013, 04:12:29 PM »

PC gamers accept that they can't resell their games but don't like having to sign up for a Microsoft account to play them (and sure as fuck aren't going to pay a subscription fee to play them online, unless the game happens to be called World of Warcraft), while console gamers will happily sign up for an account and pay a monthly fee but will openly revolt if you tell them they can't buy or sell used games.

It's funny how odd this dynamic is, I wonder what the breakdown of why (not how - I think most of us know the history) we reached that point looks like.

Brent's halfway there; technology and availability are the other half of the coin.  PC gamers have been installing software on their hard drives for decades now; the disc, if any, is merely a thing they use once to install the game (obnoxious games that require a disc in the drive as DRM notwithstanding).  Likewise, they've had free online play at least as far back as battle.net; for a long time subscription fees were considered an accepted part of MMO's, but as WoW has become completely dominant in the genre other games have had to resort to the free-to-play model instead.

The technological limitations of consoles have led in much the opposite direction.  The game IS the medium it's played on, the cartridge then the disc.  And by the same token, a used game market sprung up for consoles in a way it never really did for PC's -- installing a game on your PC and then reselling it tended to made retailers nervous due to the possibility for piracy (and the possibility that they'd be sued by vendors), so you never saw used PC game sales take off.

And consoles didn't have a viable online platform until Xbox Live.  Sony is still playing catchup, and Nintendo straight-up does not give a fuck.  When you spring up as the de facto distributor of a service, people are more inclined to think your price is fair.

It's pretty simple psychology when you look at it like that.  MS was dumb not to understand it, especially given how incredibly savvy it's been, on the whole, in parlaying its dominant status as a PC software company into a dominant position in the console market.
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Catloaf

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Re: I Don't Do Windows
« Reply #436 on: December 21, 2013, 07:47:32 AM »

So my desktop finally crapped out; Vista (I know, I know) finally corrupted itself with what I believe is an astonishing 2500~ registry errors.  Now the problem is how the fuck I find the discount I'm entitled to with the 'upgrade' version of Windows 7, sure it's easy to find it for 8.  But like hell I'm putting that on my machine if I can help it.

Now I could just go to a computer repair shop, but that would cost me $70+ that I shouldn't need to spend--and would be quite useful given the current steam sale--if I could just get through the confusing mess that is trying to find an upgrade to 7 online, and I'm damn sure I won't find what I'm looking for in real life retail.

Seriously, fuck you, Microsoft, I will not buy a second defective OS from you in a row!
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