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Author Topic: A bit of Microsoft loving  (Read 2216 times)

mnemonic

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A bit of Microsoft loving
« on: May 02, 2009, 08:24:14 AM »
Before I start, I will say that I am in no-way affiliated with Microsoft.

I'm currently using a self-built desktop (old AMD64) running Windows 7 RC (takes some getting used to, but is a great step in the right direction), a low-end Dell laptop running Vista Business (never had any problems with it at all) and a Tranquil home server running Windows Home Server.  The desktop and laptop back-up their important files to the server via Microsoft's Synctoy (Windows Home Server offers the ability for the computers to completely back themselves up, but I'd rather just re-install Windows from scratch and copy the important files back).  Files that I want easy access to are managed by Dropbox and off-site backups are performed using Jungledisk on each machine, backing-up to Amazon S3.

Switch-on either the desktop or laptop and they automatically login to the home server.  Jungledisk runs once an hour and does off-site backups.  Dropbox does its syncing without asking.  Synctoy runs once a day to backup files to the server.  Each time I switch on my Xbox 360 to watch a video, the home server serves the files without complaint.

It all just works.

I've tried to love Ubuntu and even went so far as to install Ubuntu desktop, syncing with Ubuntu server (serving the xbox via Twonky server), but it was all so fiddly and Ubuntu server would occasionally throw its toys out of the pram and fail to share its folders with the rest of the setup.  After a while, there's only so much tinkering I can take before I just want the bloomin' thing to work.

So, I never thought I'd say this, but are Microsoft actually getting it right?

f0dder

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Re: A bit of Microsoft loving
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2009, 11:05:39 AM »
So, I never thought I'd say this, but are Microsoft actually getting it right?
Obviously depends on who you ask ;)

Their systems work pretty darn well for many people, even if not perfect (but neither is anything else). If we look aside from the company and politics, yes, I do believe they're getting things right.
- carpe noctem

mwang

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Re: A bit of Microsoft loving
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2009, 11:18:44 AM »
Getting what right, may I ask?

Making it easy to sync on a home LAN?

Well, I don't know how you set up the Ubuntu server and what problems it gave you, but my Fedora Core box served me well before I switched to Ubuntu server last month. It ran Fedora Core 6 for more than two years on very modest hardware (a 5-year old box that felt slow as a Windows desktop), and for 2+ years didn't require a single reboot except when required by software updates. It's not just my file server, but also my mail server and web server. Haven't had that kind of stability on any of my Windows boxes yet.

Or perhaps you're suggesting Microsoft gets it right that proprietary software developments beats open source ones?

In that case, I would think the evidence is inconclusive, yet.

I'm also using Windows 7 RC1 (x64), and I think it's the best OS Microsoft has produced so far. But I like Ubuntu 9.04 a lot, too.

mnemonic

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Re: A bit of Microsoft loving
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2009, 11:43:08 AM »
I'm definitely not saying that proprietary software beats open source, just that Microsoft is heading in the right direction.  In the example I just gave, there was no configuration necessary, it all fitted together and was configured through usable GUIs.

In terms of the Ubuntu server issues, it all seemed to be down to Samba.  In a world without Google, the whole Samba setup would be nigh on impossible for a novice user.  With WHS, you open the graphical console and it's all there (although I'll admit that I bought the server with WHS pre-installed).

In terms of stability, I can't remember having a BSOD since Windows 98.  XP, Vista and now Windows 7 have been rock-solid.  WHS is the same.

And, I agree with you that Ubuntu is coming-on leaps-and-bounds, but its software installation still has a long way to come.  Synaptic works well, but there are still too many programs that need to be manually installed (I know that ./configure, make and make install isn't difficult, but a modest user would baulk at needing to do this).

One thing that I think Microsoft has done really well recently is their communication with users.  You just have to look at their WHS blog and their Windows 7 blog to see that they're trying to adapt to a more open and listening culture.  I'm not saying that they're perfect, just that they're getting better.

Although, like Vista, the 57 different versions of Windows 7 is not such a great thing...

mwang

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Re: A bit of Microsoft loving
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2009, 12:42:18 PM »
In the example I just gave, there was no configuration necessary, it all fitted together and was configured through usable GUIs.

Not that I disagree, but if this is the only standard of "heading in the right direction", Apple would probably take the crown.

My main beef with Microsoft, though, isn't the GUI, but those proprietary, mysterious and under-documented configuration files. A plain-text file is much easier to customize, script, and search, and I'll take plain text logs over the Event Viewer any day.

In terms of the Ubuntu server issues, it all seemed to be down to Samba.  In a world without Google, the whole Samba setup would be nigh on impossible for a novice user.

Samba indeed isn't easy to configure for a novice, but it owes a significant part of its complexity to Windows networking. If it doesn't have to serve in such heterogeneous environments, it won't be this difficult. Does WHS serve Linux clients?

In terms of stability, I can't remember having a BSOD since Windows 98.  XP, Vista and now Windows 7 have been rock-solid.

BSOD is indeed rare (though not extinct) since XP on my desktop, but performance is another matter. Even with Vista (Win 7 is still in beta, so it's unfair to compare it here), I have to reboot at least every couple of weeks, otherwise it begins to slow down and act funny.

 
And, I agree with you that Ubuntu is coming-on leaps-and-bounds, but its software installation still has a long way to come.  Synaptic works well, but there are still too many programs that need to be manually installed (I know that ./configure, make and make install isn't difficult, but a modest user would baulk at needing to do this).

I'm afraid I lost you here. Isn't it true that more Windows applications have to be installed manually? Many Linux applications not in the repo provide pre-built packages for major distros that are just as easy to install as Windows applications. I'm not that Linux savvy; I hesitate to compile my own software as well.

I see the competition among Windows, Linux and Mac OS a healthy thing, and I look forward to the day that I can choose on merits, without feeling trapped by any of them.