I just wrote to you, and I know you haven’t had a chance to ponder everything I said. However, something else has recently come to my attention, which I think you should know about.
About two months ago, the Windows XP installation on my beautiful dual-boot system got corrupted. Even though Ubuntu is very good at playing the scapegoat for Windows’ errors, Ubuntu was actually not at fault: “Microsoft Windows XP” was available in my GRUB menu, and loaded enough to show me a DLL error. My Windows Recovery Disk was in the wrong continent, and frantic ransacking of your official website and Google proved fruitless. I drew a deep breath, and started using Ubuntu full-time.
Recently however, I came across an ingenious workaround: using a product called BartPE to launch winnt32.exe from my otherwise-dead C drive. This enabled me to reinstall Windows. I now present my humbly constructive criticism of the process, with examples of how the GNU/Linux world does it better.
*The disk itself. Now lookie here–I am a legal Windows owner. I have a product key and everything. Mistakes happen, and I find it unreasonable to expect that every single Windows owner is going to keep their disk in good condition (and easily accessible.) You should have an option to download the .iso from your website, and only make it worth anything with the product key and activation. No, I would not like to pay the OEM to send me another one. Now that I think about it, I don’t even want to waste time/money having it come through the mail–a simple burn is all I need. Take GNU/Linux: Lost the CD? No problem, it’s easily burnable, and you don’t even need a product key (though I understand it’s necessary to prevent piracy)(which Linux vendors don’t have to deal with.)
*Setup. When I installed Ubuntu, I started Setup, selected a few options: time zone, keyboard layout, language, partition and username/password. Then I hit a button, and everything was done at once. I could go have a cup of coffee while it worked, and come back to a beautifully installed system. Whilst installing Windows, it was something like this: Select, wait, select, wait, reboot, select, wait, select, wait, reboot. This is not efficient. I won’t even get into the sheer ugliness of the text-based installer, when you could load a pretty graphical one. And I have yet to figure out why you don’t use (or clone) gparted for partitioning–it’s very convenient to see how your parititions are laid out, not just take an educated guess based on seemingly arbitrary numbers displayed on the screen.
*Drivers: The first thing I noticed was that my beautiful widescreen had been compressed to something the size of my fist–something I would like to use against whoever made the driver decisions at Redmond (the fist, not the beautiful widescreen.) However, I took a deep breath and said, “No problem, I’ll just download it from Sony’s website.” That’s when I discovered that neither wireless nor wired networking was working. And I can’t install the appropriate drivers because they control the internet, and I need the internet to get them, and you see where I’m going. Great. Luckily, I had a backup of the previous, driver-full XP install, and Windows was gracious enough to recognize my external hard drive. I forget if I used the Device Manager or the Add New Hardware wizard to install the WLAN driver–I just remember being frustrated by both, and having Windows search through the “Drivers” directory more than a few times before it found the appropriate file. Once the internet was working, I fired up Internet Explorer 6. I immediately wished I hadn’t, but I realize that most of my complaints have been realized in IE7, so I won’t vocalize them. Whilst navigating to and through Sony’s website, I realized that the right side of my touchpad didn’t scroll. Frustration. And I especially needed to scroll since the screen resolution was so shrunken. I finally got and installed (a time-consuming process in itself) all the appropriate drivers. Let’s compare this to Ubuntu, where the only thing that didn’t work out of the box (er, burned CD) was my sound, an issue easily rectified through a simple graphical utility, appropriately labelled “Sound Preferences.” I’m still not sure what I would’ve done if I didn’t have the backup of my old (driver-full) install. I’ll give you a hint as to what probably would’ve happened–there’d be one less NTFS partition on my hard drive.
*Updates. I understand that XP is on SP3. My installation was slipstreamed with SP1. I had to update once for security reasons. Reboot. I had to update a second time to get SP2. Reboot. I had to upgrade again for security reasons and IE7. Reboot. I haven’t gotten to SP3 yet, because I ran out of free time to reboot in. I also was getting kind of crotchety about the repetitiveness of the whole thing. The only ‘booting I would like to do at this moment is that which involves my foot connecting with something squishy and stress-relieving. Meanwhile, Ubuntu lets you select one of three options:
- Show a small, noticeable-but-unintrusive icon when updates are available, and let the user download and install them in one click. Only reboot if the kernel itself is upgraded. If rebooting is necessary, allow it to be postponed in one click, and not pop up every ten minutes with a countdown timer.
- Show a small, noticeable-but-unintrusive icon when updates have been downloaded, and are ready to be installed in one click. Only reboot if the kernel itself is upgraded. If rebooting is necessary, allow it to be postponed in one click, and not pop up every ten minutes with a countdown timer.
- Download and install updates in the background. Only reboot if the kernel itself is upgraded. If rebooting is necessary, allow it to be postponed in one click, and not pop up every ten minutes with a countdown timer.
As you can see, only one action is required to make a dinosaur system fully updated.
As I told you before, I’m sure I can find many more grievances, but I think these are the most important ones.
Have a nice day, and best of luck,
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