Ode to Microsoft Surface Pro

 

This could be a much longer post. but I will restrict myself to a premature eulogy for my beloved Microsoft Surface Pro (5) from around 2017, which annoyingly did not bear a version number (hint IT WAS FIVE) but instead bore simply the designation “Pro”, which was annoying, as there had been a Pro (1), Pro 2, Pro 3, and Pro 4, and it was followed by a Pro 6. Pro 7, Pro 7+, and Pro 8, while the Pro X is a separate product built around a different chip family (ARM, IIRC).

Simply calling this thing the “Pro” is a disservice unworthy of a company that presumably understands the importance of data integrity — each of the models mentioned so far should be considered a “Surface Pro”, while the number appended to each should serve to discriminate between all these Pros. So Pro (5) or Pro-2017 it is, and woebetide the hapless seeker of assistance or information who hasn’t yet become a freaking expert in Microsoft’s truly pathological naming schemes.

Good luck, sucker!

Incidentally, notice that there is (as yet) no Surface Pro 9, just as with Windows versions. Have you noticed that consumer MS Windows versions go 1, 2, 3, 95, 98, Me, Xp, Vista, 7, 8, 10, 11? I salute the shift to year-based versions — at least those are based on something, and are just as valid as serializing version (as in Win 1, 2, 3, and all of their subversions, such as the MAGNIFICENT Windows 3.11). So no complaint about year-based naming. The interim Me, XP, and Vista made little sense, but at least each had the good grace to stick around for a long time (XP) or a short time (Me which should have been called 98 SP 3, Vista which sucked) and at least be distinct from its respective predecessors or successors.  If you’ve used many of these, you’ll never mistake one for another once you get going.

But Microsoft has a problem in that software needs to know which version of Windows it runs upon. An easy way to do this is to query the OS for a version strong, and then filter it by some criteria.  This is an urban rumor in my experience, but it rings true: a LOT of software, some of which may be made by Microsoft (ahem!), simply gets the string, and if — like Windows 95 or Windows 98 — it begins with “Windows 9[…]”, then the software expects the OS to behave like the truly DOS-based 95 and 98 would.  After all, more modern operating systems (such as Windows XP) don’t respond to some system calls with DOS-style answers.  And that apparently is why there is no Windows 9 — What we know as Windows 10, if named Windows 9, would have told software that it was running on a 20-odd-year-old system (based on the foreshortened question asked), and to expect 16-bit options, to access no hard drives larger than 2GB, and so forth.  For those who get the concept but not the specifics, your hard drive is now specified in terms like 256GB at the low end (now measured at the TB level for middle and high-end drives), as opposed to back in the Windows 9x days, when enormous 2GB to 20GB drives were the province of nerds and data-hungry professionals. And you had to do some magic to get anything larger than 2GB to work with the system — it simply was larger than the system could comprehend, like saying “Meet me at exit 4,397 on Interstate 8,962.”

Logarithmic scale of HDD size over time according to somebody.

Ennyhoo, I have this Microsoft Surface Pro (ver 5, or 2017 or bqhateverw) which I simply adore.  It is the “sweet spot” model, with an i5 processor (better than i3, but does not require a cooling fan as the superb i7 does), 8GB of ram, and a 256 GB HDD.  I lost the digital “pen” some time ago, and never missed it.  The flimsy fabric keyboard is remarkably good — it’s no IBM Model M, but neither is yours.  I recall being impressed when I tried the keyboard at the store, and to this day it is excellent for what it is.  Most consumer PCs come with a cheap rubber-dome keyboard that feels mushy, misses your keystrokes and doesn’t let you know, and wears out quickly.  This thing is just the IBM of detachable, fabric, 250g (8 oz) keyboards. Color me impressed.

I did have to replace the keyboard-thing after nearly four years, which is not bad, considering the miles it has seen, the way I type, and the fact that it works at all to begin with.  It developed cracks in circuitry, I suppose, with intermittent errors rapidly becoming regular, then insurmountable, and fixed with a replacement, harrumph.  It didn’t owe me anything.  For how easy it has been to just slip this thing into a bag and go, it paid for itself.  I have the “brick” which is silently another tiny PC designed to handle all of your peripherals and such, and that stays at home, plugged into the printer, USB drive, IBM keyboard, mouse, what-have-you.  When I need to go, I just unplug a single connector, drop this thing and its magnetic-magic attaching keyboard/cover into a computer bag with the lightweight travel power supply (which just stays in the bag) and I’m oot.

It runs Excel and Access, it browses, it musics, it spools up several different captive flavors of Linux, it runs Scrivener, Audacity, Git, LibreOffice, Reaper (DAW), Oracle VirtualBox, Thunderbird (email), and World of Tanks!  Yes, it games.

I spent a bunch for this thing when it was the hottest pancake on the stack back in 2017, with all the bells and whistles, and I don’t regret a penny of it.  I knew I was paying up, but I had been waiting for this platform (Surface 1, 2, 3, and 4 were getting better but still had deal-breakers for me, I forget what), and then when this thing was released, everybody said MS had finally figured out how to hit the target they were obviously aiming at.  I don’t mind paying for the right thing — it’s cheaper than replacing the almost right thing shortly after purchase.  So I tend to buy a really nice thing and then hold on to it, and hope to leapfrog a generation or three.

So now my 5 is starting to complain with some screen flicker and some OS cruft build-up.  It’s not bad, yet, but it will be — that’s the way these things go.  So, which new Surface to buy?  Assuming that all Pro 5s (2017, remember) are in about the same condition or about to be, should I go for the remarkably well-regarded Pro 7, or the new and fancy Pro 9?

Well, none of the above, and I’ll tell you why.  Because they’re made by Microsoft.  Yes, I know, I just spent pages pouring my love for the Beast of Richmond onto your screen, but that’s appreciation for a product that has served me well.    Meanwhile, what it serves me is getting worse and worse.

It’s nigh impossible these days to just use a copy of MS Office.  I have discovered that once you connect to pretty much anything based on Sharepoint or Teams, it will capture your software license under that name or address or something, and then continually either refer to you as “offline”, or warn you when you open downloaded (DOWNLOADED, MIND YOU) documents that they are being edited “by another user”.  I am used to seeing this on share drives, no problem.  It is entirely unwelcome on my home PC.

Make no mistake — Microsoft retains a position of information dominance that may rival Google, sliced along a different plane.  You think Google knows about you?  How much more the people who built your OS, your work apps, your browser (if you’re a sucker, or if you NEED to hit poorly-written sites which complain about browsers, sigh), who may run your email (Hotmail, Outlook), and who DEFINITELY run most of the software you (probably) use at work.  Why does MS always want you to log into everything?  (Just making sure it’s you, tee-hee!).  I tried to use Edge for a balky website (to pay a bill) and it hung up on some login nonsense, insisting that I update some setting before using Edge, and insisting that I log into something before I could access the settings.  The CANCEL button just re-launched the same dialog window.  I was livid.  This is new and unwelcome behavior.  I don’t want my browser itself to know ANYTHING about me — it should sit there as a transparent and ignorant tool.  I want the software to do tasks, not compile a profile on me.  I don’t want to take a ride with my best friend.

Someday and it won’t be long, I’ll shift to a Linux daily driver.  I bought a refurb laptop for my side gig stuff, and they can require and desire whatever they want on it.  No problem — it’s their email address for me, their Microsoft Gulag365 subscription, and their crappy websites.  Amen, Hallelujah, let ’em stick it to ya.  I don’t care — that’s what that machine is for.  And I have a rabidly fancy Windows gaming PC, which doesn’t browse while logged into anything, doesn’t handle email or carry paid subscriptions to Office, etc., do this or that — it’s my “promiscuous” rig, which is allowed to engage in all sorts of silly behavior.  And that will be it.

So I’ll be in the market for a nice Linux rig before too long.  I have several crufty old candidates sitting around, but for once, I may just let somebody sell me a laptop with Linux onboard and a warranty.  Imagine!  So long as the hardware is good enough to virtualize, fine!  Just don’t make me responsible for getting it from point A to point B.  Got tired of that in 1997.  I know what a “busmouse” is.

So my beloved Microsoft Surface Pro 5, from which I write to you now (via an IBM Model M from 1984) is soon to go the way of all things.  And when it goes, Inshallah, most of Microsoft will go with it.

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  1. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    It’s nice to see the Surface get some well deserved respect. It’s a fine machine, with a terrific (albeit small) display and plenty of performance. I have clients who use them as touchscreen machine control panels on their products, because they’re quick and reliable and easy to network.

    I don’t use them. I develop software on Windows and Linux, but the machines I code on are bigger and faster than the Surface. And, frankly, at my age and with my eyes I need a big monitor; I can hardly read the little screen on the Surface. And I have hands appropriate for an adult man, so I use a real keyboard. But I’ve been keeping Darling Daughter in last-generation Surface Pros for years, buying a “new” one on eBay every year or two to get her through college. Her eyes are 21 years old and sharp as can be, and she has hands to fit her 5’2″ Asian frame, so she’s perfectly comfortable on the Surface.

    I don’t like Apple, actively detest Google, and yet am ambivalent toward Microsoft. They always seemed like an old-school software company to me, never cool, never edgy, just focused on making an obscene mount of money selling the software on which America runs. Their software development tools are, in my opinion, the best available. Their productivity software is capable, though I dislike the graphic menus that have infected the Office suite over the past few years. It used to be that I could talk someone through an Office function over the phone, even if I was unfamiliar with the application: it was usually enough to ask them to read the menu choices and go from there. Now it’s almost impossible to walk a real neophyte through Word or Excel without having it open in front of me.

    The Surface is a winner. Good post.

    • #1
  2. Guruforhire Inactive
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    Factcheck.  There was an 18 month gap between the end of the surface hub and the 2s.

    So, I made the lifestyle change to linux awhile ago.

    I use ubuntu, it installed when debian did not.  UEFI is weird, and canonical worked it out.

    VMWare Player is free for personal use, but cannot support advanced directx and so forth on the client OS.  There really isn’t a good answer to this problem, virtualbox and others have the same problem.

    Every kernel upgrade will require that VMWare have some components recompile and installed which will require the use of new signed certs.  kind of tedious.

    I over time have stopped using the windows stuff at all except for excel solver which is clearly superior to the libreoffice stuff.

    steam has a good windows client and offers a managed version of wine with a game compatibility list.

    I use freecad, and jetbrains IDEs for my personal projects.

     

    • #2
  3. She Member
    She
    @She

    I’m glad I retired when I did.  I’m resigned to the fact that my current desktop–and whatever is on it–is probably going to have to see me through to the other side.  I’ve bought, and then trashed, software that won’t let me do anything unless I’m connected to the cloud (most recently whatever the new version of Photoshop Elements is/are), and I haven’t logged into my Microsoft account for eons.  My version of Office (19) works pretty well without doing so, although I’m sure Microsoft still knows far more about me than I’d like them to.

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    I dislike the graphic menus that have infected the Office suite over the past few years. 

    Seconded.  It’s the computer equivalent of the annoying, wordless–but pictureful–instructions from IKEA, or those helpful stickers on shopping carts that–if you have someone explain them to you–tell you not to put your baby in the cart upside-down. And don’t get me started on those little icons that showed up on the dashboard of my new car last year.  It took me ages to figure out what some of them mean (it’s a tie for first place in that regard between the one that says “your tire pressure is low” and the one that says “something is blocking the view of your front-facing camera.”) 

    • #3
  4. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Guruforhire (View Comment):

    VMWare Player is free for personal use, but cannot support advanced directx and so forth on the client OS.  There really isn’t a good answer to this problem, virtualbox and others have the same problem.

    Every kernel upgrade will require that VMWare have some components recompile and installed which will require the use of new signed certs.  kind of tedious.

    I over time have stopped using the windows stuff at all except for excel solver which is clearly superior to the libreoffice stuff.

    Heh.  The virtualization will be for running different distros without hamfisting the main install.  Originally looked at Xen, but the fancy-schmancy laptop won’t boot it.  Or something — I forget.  Fair enough, it’s kind of exotic.  Might try straight Qubes.  I’m rambling.  No coffee yet.

     

    • #4
  5. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    She (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    I dislike the graphic menus that have infected the Office suite over the past few years. 

    Seconded.  It’s the computer equivalent of the annoying, wordless–but pictureful–instructions from IKEA, or those helpful stickers on shopping carts that–if you have someone explain them to you–tell you not to put your baby in the cart upside-down.

    The creeping illiterate-kindergartening is infuriating.  It gets harder and harder to use a keyboard.  Like a grown-up.

    • #5
  6. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    It’s nice to see the Surface get some well deserved respect. It’s a fine machine, with a terrific (albeit small) display and plenty of performance. I have clients who use them as touchscreen machine control panels on their products, because they’re quick and reliable and easy to network.

    I don’t use them. I develop software on Windows and Linux, but the machines I code on are bigger and faster than the Surface. And, frankly, at my age and with my eyes I need a big monitor; I can hardly read the little screen on the Surface. And I have hands appropriate for an adult man, so I use a real keyboard. But I’ve been keeping Darling Daughter in last-generation Surface Pros for years, buying a “new” one on eBay every year or two to get her through college. Her eyes are 21 years old and sharp as can be, and she has hands to fit her 5’2″ Asian frame, so she’s perfectly comfortable on the Surface.

    I don’t like Apple, actively detest Google, and yet am ambivalent toward Microsoft. They always seemed like an old-school software company to me, never cool, never edgy, just focused on making an obscene mount of money selling the software on which America runs. Their software development tools are, in my opinion, the best available. Their productivity software is capable, though I dislike the graphic menus that have infected the Office suite over the past few years. It used to be that I could talk someone through an Office function over the phone, even if I was unfamiliar with the application: it was usually enough to ask them to read the menu choices and go from there. Now it’s almost impossible to walk a real neophyte through Word or Excel without having it open in front of me.

    The Surface is a winner. Good post.

    Although Microsoft sponsors the NFL’s use of Surface, I don’t think the pros would use it if it didn’t get the job done.  I considered a Surface when I was looking for a second laptop, but I got a Dell 14″ Inspirion instead.  I use it primarily for writing and travel, but I do have a few games on it, including SIMS 3 which needs a lot of graphics horsepower.  The onboard video in the Dell handles the game just fine on medium to high settings . . .

    • #6
  7. Phil Turmel Coolidge
    Phil Turmel
    @PhilTurmel

    My daily driver is a System76 Oryx Pro.  Loaded to the gills.  I don’t use the recommended “Pop! OS”–customized Ubuntu fwiw–so there are a couple minor warts working with 4K external monitors.

    I don’t use VMWare or Virtualbox.  Both have kernel upgrade hassles.  And are totally unnecessary, since Linux has had native virtualization for several years.  (KVM/QEMU + LibVirt + Virt-Manager)  All standard Ubuntu packages.  OpenGL passes through into my Win10 VMs so well that large Solidworks 3D models rotate, pan, and zoom in the VM at what appears to be native speed. (Using their free viewer software.)

    I have quite a bit of industrial control and configuration software that requires Windows.  Thanks to Linux’ mastery of all things network, it is even easier to support multiple customers via VMs than it would be with Windows on bare metal.  I only ever configure static IPs in Windows once, when I create the corresponding virtual network for a new customer/site’s network.  When simulating a customer setup in my office dev environment, the Windows VM simply behaves as if it were really there.  Switching customer sites simply requires telling Linux which virtual switch should tap into the real ethernet jack. I’ll never go back to bare metal Windows.

    • #7
  8. OmegaPaladin Moderator
    OmegaPaladin
    @OmegaPaladin

    All of my private laptops run Linux.  My travel laptop runs Linux Mint with a Cinnamon desktop (I really love how Linux allows you to change the desktop environment) – it’s used, but newer and in decent condition.  I use it for web browsing and streaming, mostly.  My older laptop running MX Linux with XFCE desktop.  I switched from XUbuntu to MX because it is a 32-bit machine, but it can still handle basic tasks.

    It’s not hard to get a laptop/desktop for home use that can do 90% of what Windows can without added headaches.  The era of Linux being for tech geeks is past: give me a few minutes, and I can show you how to use it.  Linux is like older cars, in that anyone can use them normally, but they never interfere when you want to start working under the hood.

    • #8
  9. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    I have a surface pro 6 and love it. 

    And I use windows etc. Not clever enough to be all sneaky. 

    • #9
  10. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):
    The era of Linux being for tech geeks is past: give me a few minutes, and I can show you how to use it.

    I’m delighted to see the enthusiasm for Linux here — and it makes me wonder if it’s representative of the Ricochet crowd, or if Linux people, like Vegans and Cross-Fit fanatics, just talk about it more.

    As for whether or not Linux is ready for the desktop of the average computer user….

    I remember talking to a friend of mine twenty-some years ago about the computer he used to manage his small bakery and coffee shop. He struggled with Windows, and I’d periodically have to help him with this or that when I dropped in for a cup of coffee. Then one day he announced that he’d finally given up and bought a Mac. He was fine after that, hardly needing help and quite happy with his choice. Until that moment, I didn’t really believe that Macs were actually easier to use.

    I run a mix of Ubuntu and Debian, depending on the platform, but spend most of my time in Windows. I think it’s more fun programming C++ on Linux, as long as the project doesn’t require a significant user interface or I can implement the UI as a simple web page. I still think Visual Studio is the best general purpose development environment.

    I haven’t written software for a Mac in almost 20 years. I’m good with that.

    • #10
  11. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Linux sucks.

    It sucks hard.

    It is like fusion,  the version that will compete with windows is just around the corner. Ha!

    I want an easy to use visual interface that just works and runs everything I want to run. That means every bit of software.

    Linux does not do that. I tired it, and hated it. 

    Never again.

    Windows works out of the box. It runs everything. There is no reason to switch other than bei g worried about data collection. I gave up on that.

     

    • #11
  12. Goldgeller Member
    Goldgeller
    @Goldgeller

    Great post. I’ve really enjoyed the Surface family devices whenever I’ve encountered them. 

    Right now I am running a 2013 Macbook Pro and I’m really enjoying it. It does most everything I need but is starting to get slow. I got my mom a (then) current Surface Laptop and it is a really great device. Windows 10 works fairly well. I think I’m just so used to having a macbook now. Mac Mail syncs with my school’s servers (Outlook doesn’t) and there are a few R packages just that basically work only on Mac and not Windows such that I feel I need to keep a Mac around, but the Surface devices are excellent. I’m very tempted to find a cheap Surface tablet to serve as my main reader/web browser to replace my now dying iPad Air 2. 

    • #12
  13. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Linux sucks.

    It sucks hard.

    It is like fusion, the version that will compete with windows is just around the corner. Ha!

    I want an easy to use visual interface that just works and runs everything I want to run. That means every bit of software.

    Linux does not do that. I tired it, and hated it.

    Never again.

    Windows works out of the box. It runs everything. There is no reason to switch other than bei g worried about data collection. I gave up on that.

    Brother, I feel you.

    Linux doesn’t suck, but it is different.  Those differences can be appalling to face.  For all my wanking, I’m still not using the LibreOffice suite — it wants me to use regex for search, and I don’t speak that — despite its CLEAR superiority to the crufty half-baked search that I’m accustomed to in MS Word — I’ve had thirty years to learn it one heartbreak at a time, and have never been confronted with the need to learn Windows all at once, as if dropped from a different planet.  So here I am — still using Windows.

    • #13
  14. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    BDB (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Linux sucks.

    It sucks hard.

    It is like fusion, the version that will compete with windows is just around the corner. Ha!

    I want an easy to use visual interface that just works and runs everything I want to run. That means every bit of software.

    Linux does not do that. I tired it, and hated it.

    Never again.

    Windows works out of the box. It runs everything. There is no reason to switch other than bei g worried about data collection. I gave up on that.

    Brother, I feel you.

    Linux doesn’t suck, but it is different. Those differences can be appalling to face. For all my wanking, I’m still not using the LibreOffice suite — it wants me to use regex for search, and I don’t speak that — despite its CLEAR superiority to the crufty half-baked search that I’m accustomed to in MS Word — I’ve had thirty years to learn it one heartbreak at a time, and have never been confronted with the need to learn Windows all at once, as if dropped from a different planet. So here I am — still using Windows.

    That pretty much defines suck.  If Linnix was any good and didn’t suck you’d be using it instead of windows.

    • #14
  15. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    BDB (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Linux sucks.

    It sucks hard.

    It is like fusion, the version that will compete with windows is just around the corner. Ha!

    I want an easy to use visual interface that just works and runs everything I want to run. That means every bit of software.

    Linux does not do that. I tired it, and hated it.

    Never again.

    Windows works out of the box. It runs everything. There is no reason to switch other than bei g worried about data collection. I gave up on that.

    Brother, I feel you.

    Linux doesn’t suck, but it is different. Those differences can be appalling to face. For all my wanking, I’m still not using the LibreOffice suite — it wants me to use regex for search, and I don’t speak that — despite its CLEAR superiority to the crufty half-baked search that I’m accustomed to in MS Word — I’ve had thirty years to learn it one heartbreak at a time, and have never been confronted with the need to learn Windows all at once, as if dropped from a different planet. So here I am — still using Windows.

    That pretty much defines suck. If Linnix was any good and didn’t suck you’d be using it instead of windows.

    Hang on a sec there hoss.  You’ve described one of your requirements “runs everything I want to run.”  This may seem esoteric to you, but Linux will never run Windows software — that’s not how this works.    It’s a different operating system.  There are meaningful differences.  If your and my development had not been retarded by Microsoft, we would all prefer Linux.  There is a there there.  Windows  is market dominant, which fits with the saying that “there is a quality in quantity.”  But that’s what Windows is.  What it is not is a more sensiblem user-oriented operating system.  If you had spent the last thirty years learning Linux, you would never miss with the trash offered by Bill Gates.  Every windows improvement, including its origin (CP/M), has been a step toward Unix, but with enough retardation built in to maintain their vendor lock-in.  Bill Gates is smart, and old habits die hard, but that doesn’t mean Linux sucks.  It may be that your use case is inappropriate for anything other than Windows, which is FINE. 

    Do you know how many Windows developers use X-type OS’s?  Even Microsoft got busted fifteen years ago or so for using Apache instead of IIS — say what you want, and I agree that not everybody’s use case is right for Linux — but it doesn’t “suck” in the sense that Windows is a better system.  Windows just has us by the balls.

    • #15
  16. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    I understand everything you say about Linux. I’ve tried to install the Linux desktop. Not only did it run none of the software I really wanted it to run it was clunky and difficult to use.

     

    • #16
  17. OmegaPaladin Moderator
    OmegaPaladin
    @OmegaPaladin

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Linux sucks.

    It sucks hard.

    It is like fusion, the version that will compete with windows is just around the corner. Ha!

    I want an easy to use visual interface that just works and runs everything I want to run. That means every bit of software.

    Linux does not do that. I tired it, and hated it.

    Never again.

    Windows works out of the box. It runs everything. There is no reason to switch other than bei g worried about data collection. I gave up on that.

     

    Bryan, I’d be willing to show you Linux Mint (Cinnamon edition) on Discord.  It has a start menu, a task bar, a desktop, etc.

    • Linux can install a boot menu called GRUB that will let you choose between a windows installation and Linux.
    • Instead of My Documents / My Pictures / etc on Windows, you have a home directory.  Just put your files there.
    • In order to do anything that could harm your computer, even to install programs, you need to enter your password.  This makes it very kid-safe.
    • Most applications are installed via a Software Manager – think of a free app store on your phone or tablet.  They have free equivalents to software that would normally run you hundreds of dollars, or is not even supported any more.
    • Updates and other tasks are only automated if you want them.  Nothing is forced.
    • Linux tends case sensitive to be case sensitive – Bryan.doc is viewed as a different file from bryan.doc 
    • Most stuff in the computer is tracked in terms of files – this is why the file system looks so different.  If you use the Home directory and flash drives / CDs / DVDs it should feel similar to windows.

    Now, I use Windows a lot.  It is better for gaming, though Linux gaming is getting better all the time.  However, it is much, much more restricted than Linux.  I had to install Classic Shell to get the Control Panel back, and the default edition of Windows 10 does not allow for delaying updates.  If I don’t need high end gaming or specialized applications for work, I can do it off my Linux laptop that cost $150 including the bag!

    • #17
  18. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Linux sucks.

    It sucks hard.

    It is like fusion, the version that will compete with windows is just around the corner. Ha!

    I want an easy to use visual interface that just works and runs everything I want to run. That means every bit of software.

    Linux does not do that. I tired it, and hated it.

    Never again.

    Windows works out of the box. It runs everything. There is no reason to switch other than bei g worried about data collection. I gave up on that.

     

    Bryan, I’d be willing to show you Linux Mint (Cinnamon edition) on Discord. It has a start menu, a task bar, a desktop, etc.

    • Linux can install a boot menu called GRUB that will let you choose between a windows installation and Linux.
    • Instead of My Documents / My Pictures / etc on Windows, you have a home directory. Just put your files there.
    • In order to do anything that could harm your computer, even to install programs, you need to enter your password. This makes it very kid-safe.
    • Most applications are installed via a Software Manager – think of a free app store on your phone or tablet. They have free equivalents to software that would normally run you hundreds of dollars, or is not even supported any more.
    • Updates and other tasks are only automated if you want them. Nothing is forced.
    • Linux tends case sensitive to be case sensitive – Bryan.doc is viewed as a different file from bryan.doc
    • Most stuff in the computer is tracked in terms of files – this is why the file system looks so different. If you use the Home directory and flash drives / CDs / DVDs it should feel similar to windows.

    Now, I use Windows a lot. It is better for gaming, though Linux gaming is getting better all the time. However, it is much, much more restricted than Linux. I had to install Classic Shell to get the Control Panel back, and the default edition of Windows 10 does not allow for delaying updates. If I don’t need high end gaming or specialized applications for work, I can do it off my Linux laptop that cost $150 including the bag!

    See, that is the same stuff said from 20 years ago. I was told, and shown, all of that. I get that it works better, is more efficient, etc. I even understand that there are free versions of office software that work almost as well as office. Every time I have tried to move over, it has not worked. Linux has always failed to live up to the hype. Always.

    So, here we are. Maybe MS has me by thr balls, but really, it all works fine without me having to think about my computer any more than I think about my toaster. Linux has always been complicated and a move back to my computer being a hobby. I don’t want my computer to be a hobby, I want it to support my hobbies.

    • #18
  19. GFHandle Member
    GFHandle
    @GFHandle

    I still miss my Amiga.

    • #19
  20. kidCoder Member
    kidCoder
    @kidCoder

    I love my Linux setups. However, nobody, not even my wife, can use my setup without direction.

    But that’s by choice.

    I wonder what you guys think about https://arewelinusyet.com/ and the recent youtube series by a daily Windows gamer trying to use Linux as an honest attempt to learn to use Linux as a daily driver. Is the series worth anything? Should the Open Software experience be improving along these lines, or is it acceptable, or should it get more esoteric for only the most skilled, since Windows and OSX exist for the rest?

    • #20
  21. Phil Turmel Coolidge
    Phil Turmel
    @PhilTurmel

    I had my children go through school using Linux w/ LibreOffice for just about everything.  My eldest from high school onwards (15 years ago).  My wife has been using LibreOffice on Linux for about that long, too.  (Her work gave her a Windows laptop–and her work has to support it.)

    No, it isn’t as easy as a Mac.  Yes, there are Windows-only and Mac-only software packages you can’t use.  There are alternatives for most (except I know little of the gaming scene, beyond the existence of Steam).  Linux has been my daily driver for a really long time.

    • #21
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