Archive for March, 2012

Dear Microsoft: A Geek rant

Dear Microsoft:

Find a way to bring your operating systems up-to-date in one run of Windows Update. It makes no sense that one can install Windows in 20 minutes, migrate gigabytes worth of user data in about the same amount of time, and then need to spend 3-4 hours running 15-20 passes of Windows Update in order to get the job done properly. It’s embarrassing. To that end, I’ve got some tips for you to help you out in this matter:

  • Service packs should be the first thing to show up, not the last. Make them mandatory if you have to. I do not even want the option of installing a tiny security patch from last year that was integrated… or even made obsolete, by the Service Pack that came out a month later.
  • If I’m getting a new application through Windows Update (e.g. anything related to Office, Silverlight, Internet Explorer, Power Shell, .NET Framework, Security Essentials, etc), I should receive the newest version of the application; none of this “security update for the thing you just installed” garbage.
  • I should never see updates for “Program version n” and the offer to install “Program version n+1″ in the same window. Ever.

Every Linux distribution had this figured out years ago. Even Mac OS X can be fully up-to-date in two runs (one run for the latest Combo Update, one for anything left over). If I install OS X 10.7.1 (can’t imagine why I would but I have done odder things), I can jump straight to the currently-recommended release of 10.7.3 without needing to change flights in 10.7.2-land.

I’d like to threaten to take my business elsewhere, but I’ve already done that. Most of your “customers,” however, whom I support both professionally and pro Deo, will probably never quit using your operating system as long as they own a desktop or laptop computer… or have a job. Here’s why you should care anyway, and it has nothing to do with your users. I can download (granted, illegally) a copy of any edition of Windows I want with the updates already built-in. They come out every week. Most hilariously, if it’s Vista or Windows 7, the updates were probably integrated into a factory image of Windows using your own highly respectable Windows AIK.

This makes Microsoft Windows is the only product I know where the pirated, so-called “counterfeit” copies floating around on the Internet are in fact superior to what you are prepared to offer for a fee.People who you would label hackers and criminals use your own tools to make their own job easier, and as an afterthought, share it over BitTorrent… illicitly, because that is the only option there is to “sharing” Windows. In the Open Source community, this is business as usual.

Once again, you are being upstaged by both your traditional competition (Apple) and the “alternative” (e.g. free) competition that you try hard to not take seriously. Take some pride in the product! You did it with Internet Explorer 9 (biggest tech shock of the new decade, so far). I think you meant to do it with Office 2010. Think you can squeeze out one more?

That is all.