Linux and Microsoft

Windows 8.1 is still being supported, and they say will be until  January 9th, 2018. Windows 7 has, according to their site, been cut off though. A terrible decision, in my opinion, given the huge success of that OS. A lot of people have jumped ship because of Windows 10, and I don’t blame them.

Linux has a bit over 3% of the market share, according to Wiki’s graphs. Linux has been gaining ground for many years, while interest in various Windows iterations is dropping. Fewer people are using Windows as time goes by.

I use Linux (PeppermintOS 7, built on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS) more than ever now; it’s my primary OS and I rarely go near Windows. Thanks to privacy and glaring security concerns, I don’t think I’ll ever feel safe using Windows anymore, despite having used and loved them since Windows 3.1 at primary school. Linux has opened my eyes to a new way, ‘though it wasn’t an easy journey.

I don’t like the way Microsoft conducts their business and I don’t think they care about the customers at all, only money. I find them deceptive, manipulative, and underhanded.

Linux, however, is open source; it’s all about sharing, creativity, and freedom. There’s even a Hannah Montana distribution; ridiculous? Sure, but wonderful that someone was able to create that and freely share it. At least if you don’t like a developer of your chosen distribution, you can jump to another; it’s not like you’re short of options.

That said, I am, or at least was a gamer. I still dabble. I’d need Windows for gaming. Linux does support games, and I do have Steam on it, but the graphical performance in many games seems terrible or lackluster in comparison, at least in my experience.

I have a feeling I’ll eventually just let go of the many Windows-only games on my Steam account and stick with Linux indefinitely. I barely game anymore anyway.

With Linux gradually gaining ground and Windows steadfastly losing it, that leaves Linux an opportunity to really step up. I think it needs some serious work in both gaming performance and a more approachable UI for those uninterested in the command line interface (Terminal) before it’ll have a shot at some day besting Windows.

I’m all for choice though, so if Microsoft is offering what you want, that’s fine. There’s a lot of Linux fans that generally make it all really personal against users of Windows and probably Mac too, but that’s not where I’m coming from here — not at all.

My issue is with Microsoft.

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Windows 10 and the Privacy Concern

I’m so tired of people like myself being attacked and/or ridiculed for giving a crap about privacy and security. Yes, I have the common sense to actually care what happens to my personal information and data. How could that be anything other than simply looking out for number one?

If you don’t yet know, there are countless articles out there that go into a far deeper detail than I can quite honestly be bothered, as it’s almost two o’clock in the morning and tiredness is hitting me hard. The general gist, is that Windows 10, since the days of the Technical Preview, has had a growing issue of privacy as a result of questionable wording in their EULA and a few other privacy-related issues in the OS itself.

There are a few typical responses I see floating around the interwebs:

“You use Google, Facebook, and who knows what other services; surely they collect your data, too? Why are you then so bothered about Windows 10?”

Simply put, the reason this is not a fair comparison to make is, at least with Facebook, because it’s completely different; this service is optional. The information shared on Facebook is chosen by the user. I don’t like Google and have pretty much despised and avoided most of it since it got its grubby mitts on YouTube, and so I do not have a Google account and if I did, I would restrict its access as much as I could.

I don’t get why so many people don’t seem to understand why choice is so damn important, especially it being such a data-heavy age in which data can so easily be shared.

Microsoft burying very important so-called options for them to have the ability to rummage through my private bits and bobs, which, by the way, are on by default, is not acceptable. Microsoft claiming their new operating system is “free” to those with Windows 7 and 8.1 when it clearly isn’t—it’s merely an eventually-permanent trade-in for the current operating system you own—and shoveling adverts at me while damn-near giving them the keys to the house is not OK.

“Windows 7 and 8.1 already collect your personal information, so why are you bothered now?”

As I understand it, Windows 10 has additional concerns that the previous operating systems didn’t have, but yes, there are definitely similarities. The difference, at least to me, is mainly that Windows 10 doesn’t allow you to disable all these features, and there is apparently data sent to Microsoft regardless of disabling features such as Cortana.

Honestly, Windows 8.1 pissed me right off to begin with, and I’m still unimpressed with what Microsoft did to it, but I still use it, and will probably continue to use it for a long period of time. I found Windows 8.1 to not be too bad of an OS, once I got past the Microsoft Account, the charms bar, revived the start menu they stupidly removed, fiddled like mad to get some decent visuals back, and did various other tweaks to help it feel less jarring and obnoxious.

I had hoped Microsoft would learn from the mess that was Windows 8 before they fixed it up, but they seem to have just made certain things worse. Eventually, Microsoft will be ejected from the face of the Earth, and nobody will give a fying shit, because we’ll all be fed up of their ignorant, almost-oppressive decisions—sure we all wanted you to completely take away that start menu, eejit!

“You’re just paranoid.”

I’m sick of hearing this. When Bob the caveman was about ready to go out and hunt for a snack, do you think he just hopped out of his stone bed and strolled out of his cave, grabbed the nearest stick, and went off into the unknown for some Doritos? Of course not! He was cautious, looked around, and made sure that he wasn’t the snack. Would it totally have been OK for little Bob to just wonder out without a care in the world only to go get himself killed?

Granted, most of us don’t fret much about tigers jumping out of bushes to munch on our bodies, but we do focus our concerns on other things, such as privacy and security, especially when these things are linked to our families, our friendships, our finances, and our work; we’re not paranoid for being cautious and concerned; we’re simply being human.

I could have perhaps given a better example, but I’m right about ready to pass out and thinking up fancy analogies isn’t really my forté, anyway.

“If you don’t like it, don’t use it!”

How the hell has this come to be an argument for just about everything that is put into question? Do people actually think this is clever or justified? Hey, I don’t like paying bills, so I’m not going to eat, leave my home, cancel my Internet contract, never wash, stop drinking clean water, and, … you get the idea. The silliest example I could quickly draw up, but it sure as balls puts the point across, as far as I’m concerned.

For many, Windows is essential, be it for managing finances, playing games, compatibility with their hardware and data, or whether it’s a requirement of their school or work. Simply telling people it’s Microsoft’s way or the highway gets nothing solved and I can’t help but to think this argument—if you can even call it that—is simply a cop-out. At the very crux of it all, it’s stupid of Microsoft to focus on what they want rather than what the customer wants! I hate to sound self-centered, but it’s about us and not them; at some point they seem to have forgotten that.

Mac is often (or always) unnecessarily expensive, Linux can be unnecessarily complicated, and I can’t imagine any other operating system is worth going near for a lot of people, at least currently. Windows is often the choice for a reason.

I apologise for this being a bit ranty—I’ll surely battle this another time when I’m not so tired, but my view on this matter will likely hold true.

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