Microsoft Operating System Rant

I posted this to alt.hacker this morning and thought I’d post it here as well so I can refer back to it when I discover that MS Vista does nothing I want it to do.

I bit Bill’s hand off when he offered W2K because it was the first NT based OS with USB support. I ran it from early Beta and upgraded to each new one until it hit release. When XP appeared on the scene all it seemed to offer was bells and whistles I didn’t need (or want). I upgraded eventually just because work presented me with a copy and told me to install it.

As I use Windows primarily as a display station for running Unix consoles, (and a bit of CD/DVD burning), I can’t think of any reason why I would need to upgrade to something that will have a larger memory footprint, will take up more disk space and will burn more CPU cycles. Not to mention that it’ll have some nasty WGA phone-home technology integrated into it.

It seems that each new iteration of Windows brings some new shiny bits but never actually resolves any of the core weaknesses of the architecture. Access rights are a good example: In a Unix environment I’m protected from myself by the limitations of my user account. Occasionally I need to become root but it’s far from a daily occurrence. In Windows, even my kids need full admin rights and are basically signed in with carte blanche privileges at all times. Needless to say, their PC needs rebuilding on a regular basis. IMO this is a security hole that MS will never patch away, it needs a fundamental rethink. As for the registry, well that’s too close to Hades for me to even know how to begin. Package management? Nope, hasn’t got any of that. The list goes on (and on) until I get to my sorest point with it; I don’t feel I’m in full control of my own system! I’m competing with all the software vendors whose products are trying to phone home, supposedly just checking for updates. Spyware is a constant problem and the gap between that and the phone homes seems pretty small. I want to decide what talks to who and when it happens, it is my PC, my software and my bandwidth after all. Come on MS, give me security, give me control and give me manageability. I don’t need a new version of Media Player.

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