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Comment Re:Is Windows10 a thing? (Score 1) 189

I've had mixed success with that: most hardware will indeed work, but you may run into problems. For instance, for some reason older webcam drivers will work on Windows 10 in desktop applications, but won't work with Modern applications (you get a black picture or a “camera is busy” error). Display drivers are also problematic: I had a kind of netbook with an AMD APU, bought just two years ago, for which AMD have stated that they won't release a proper driver for Windows 10, and that I'm not supposed to use the one for Windows 8.1. In other cases I have solved the problem as you say by forcing a specific driver in place of the one that Windows had selected automatically, but it has happened to me that some time later Windows Update replaced the driver that I had installed with a newer version of the one that doesn't work. I can live fixing that each time it happens but I wouldn't recommend my aunt to have a machine in this situation.

Come to think of it, my biggest source of trouble with the Windows 10 update have been AMD drivers: I can report a laptop which can't adjust the brightness level, another one that pauses for 60s on startup and resume, and another one which isn't able to play videos without stuttering.

Comment Re:Is Windows10 a thing? (Score 1) 189

One reason to stay behind could be owning a device that has drivers for Windows 8.1 but no driver, or a crappy one, for Windows 10. While Microsoft have an interest in the users of those devices upgrading to Windows 10, device manufacturers and laptop vendors have no interest in spending resources to support people who have already bought their products. As a result, a surprising amount of recent hardware doesn't work or is buggy under Windows 10.

Comment Re:Backwards compatbility is why Windows is a succ (Score 2) 125

If we’re talking about Linux proper, then Linux's binary compatibility goes as far as letting you run executables in the a.out format even with the very latest Linux kernel. As long as you provide the ancient libraries required to run them. Why, on Linux, through Wine, you can run 16-bit Windows applications, which won’t even run on 64-bit Windows.

The fact that distributions no longer ship old libraries, or that the community of developers has a certain tendency to introduce new “frameworks” and deprecate existing ones, shouldn’t be confused with an alleged technical inability of the Linux kernel or its traditional GNU userspace to maintain backwards compatibility.

Comment Re:nobody uses 64 bit browsers? (Score 1) 125

Firefox stable for 64-bit Windows has been released, you can get it from the mozilla FTP site.

Download link, Download link for the EME-free version.

I think that they aren’t offering it yet from the main download page because they want to prevent non-tech savvy people from downloading it and finding out that flash doesn’t work. To me, that’s actually a plus.

Comment Re:Not Excessive Tracking (Score 2) 227

I've been on the internet since the time of 28.8 modems and I don't remember ads being more obnoxious than today. Once upon a time they were just banners of animated gifs of two different sizes, with a couple of frames of animation. Things started getting awful when advertisers began taking advantage of javascript to manipulate the browser window, favorites and so on. Which got fixed after browsers began blocking pop-ups (and IIRC that move was induced by the appearance of third-party plugins, too). Nowadays, with HTML5, advertisers are free to do whatever they want - and they exercise that freedom to the maximum extent. Pages are artificially restricted to one third of the visible screen, with the two remaining thirds reserved for huge ads that often contain - let's say so - eye-catching content that cannot be hidden. Self-playing videos will pop up from every corner of the page, either automatically or when you make the mistake of hovering the mouse pointer over them, perhaps while the pointer was on its way to click a link that you effectively were interested in. Such videos become full-screen, have extremely bandwidth-intensive content and play abrupt, annoying audio tracks that are always recorded at an extremely high volume, and the button to close them, when it's not missing or not working, is extremely hard to find and use. And I haven't talked about the extreme espionage put in place by ad networks: not only they will make a dossier about you even if you don't log into any site you visit, but now they will even associate that dossier with your real identity when you buy stuff in the real world.

I have nothing but admiration and respect for the United States of America. I think that you are a great country, built by great people, who have a lot to teach to the rest to the world. But I also think that you should stop believing the FUD that the world will end if you don't let mega-corporations rape your rights in every possible way. Compromises can be made, too, once in a while.

Comment Re:Is there a browser that doesn't try to be a nan (Score 2) 199

It's not that Firefox disables flash behind your back: it displays a security warning in place of flash boxes, having a button to enable the plugin again. Also, it will only do it for versions of flash which are known to be vulnerable. This is quite a good thing IMHO: remaining within the nanny terminology, it's not a matter of how much grown up you are, if you have a vulnerable plugin, and you visit a compromised site, your machine will be owned.

Comment Re:People go to museums to see dinosaurs (Score 4, Interesting) 283

It would be nice if Mozilla completed their project of a javascript-based interpreter for flash. It would be the same thing that they’ve done for PDF. The overlap between flash and javascript + HTML5 is complete so it should be viable, and as a bonus SWFs would run under the same security sandbox as javascript.

Comment Re:Depends (Score 1) 517

While I prefer to stick to documented facts rather than anyone's anecdotal evidence, including mine, when I make absolute statements about correctness, since we're entering this realm, I'll tell you that I do have a late-2011 HP laptop, DV7-something, with no antivirus running and no extra software installed besides the ones that I actually need. Formatted after the purchase in order to get rid of the extra manufacturer-installed stuff. The last time I've posted a measured sample of its performance here on Slashdot, I was greeted with 6 responses telling me how slow it was. And to be honest it's not a machine that I personally find excessively slow to use.

Comment Re:Depends (Score 2) 517

Why, I'm citing specific, documented misdesigns of Windows components that cause the machine to progressively slow down until it becomes unusable, which is what this article is about. I'm picking specific ones because the post I was responding to spoke of "superstition without numbers". I'm also citing two specific ones that wouldn't be fixed by an SSD, which is another point that was being made by the same post. No amount of care would have prevented you from incurring into those bugs, unless you don't use Windows Update, which of course is not feasible today. Such slowdowns are not "apparent to me", they are measured and recognised by Microsoft, as the links that I've put in my comment show. I also was careful to choose two slowdowns that aren't related to machines with insufficient system resources: the first one would manage to freeze a Core i7 running Windows XP, the second one would hinder machines with double the amount of memory recommended by Microsoft themselves for Windows 7.

Finally, about the fact that you have to be careful about the stuff that you install, which is orthogonal to the problem that Windows systems slow down themselves even if you don't touch them: the problem is that people need to install stuff to make their computers work. Want to read PDFs (most people will)? You get one knick-knack with the relevant auto-update. Want to watch YouTube (most people will)? There goes another one. Want to be able to download stuff from the internet? If you're not an expert, and most people aren't, you're going to need an anti virus, and there goes another invasive software you'll need to install. The point is that my bathroom can be cleaned without burning down my house, whereas there's no such option to clean up Windows, which is another major design failure - in addition to the fact that the system slows down by itself.

Comment Re: Hate to be that guy, but Linux (Score 1) 517

The point is that you cannot just stick to the desktop in Windows 8. Even if you hack the OS with third party tools in order to make some fake Start menu return from the afterlife, you just can't change the fact that some functionality remains into the Metro side (both OS functions and third-party applications, because Microsoft strongly pushed third-party developers to use Metro). And some of the broken UI design still bites even on the desktop side (invisible magic areas, undocumented destructive gestures that get activated by mistake if you happen to use a touchpad, the “charms”...).

Comment Re:Depends (Score 0) 517

Oh come on, every Windows installation slows down with usage, to the point of requiring to be formatted. Even without anti-virus software and third party add-ons (not that it would be a justification, because one buys a computer with the intention of using it somehow, not to look at the desktop background). Buying an SSD is not an acceptable solution, because SSDs currently cost 6 times as much as spinning rust drives.

It is not a matter of HD activity, either, and it's not superstition. Just two examples: in the case of Windows XP, which is post-Windows 98, we had the catastrophic Windows Update failure to scale that caused all Windows XP machines to become unusable for hours just some months ago. Back then it was a matter of CPU usage, not disk. In the case of Windows 7, which is post-Windows 98 too, you might have noticed that on machines with 2 GB of memory or less (which is twice the minimum required amount) another Windows Update bug caused the Windows Update service to eat all the available RAM and thrash the machine, again, into the land of unusability. In this case, it was a matter of RAM usage, not disk.

Comment Re:Here's a FAQ for slashdotters (Score 2) 126

Point A: Java was standardized by a consortium as well. I believe that even the APPLET tag was standardized by the w3c. Oh, and that was before the w3c had began “standardizing” DRM hooks.
Point B: When Java was added to HTML, everyone and his dog (including Microsoft) thought that Java was the future and that every software in the world would have been rewritten in Java. Proof in the fact that the "Java" branding was added to Javascript in order to increase its appeal.
Point C: the sandbox for Java applets gave the unsigned ones even fewer permissions than the current Javascript sandbox does for the most obscure of the web pages.
Point D: Compilers have been written targeting the JVM bytecode for pretty much every modern language (Python, Ruby, Scala, Lisp and, of course, Javascript), many of them actually faster than their reference C implementations, so I don't know how much lower in level you can get.
Point E: Look, DOM manipulation from an applet. And do you know what else integrated even more with the DOM? Microsoft's ActiveX.

But above all, all points, even if they were true, are but minor differences in implementation, compared to the huge fact being the very nature of a bytecode that is supposed to be run by web pages, that alters the open nature of the web by making its pages write-only, and the introduction of a compiler into the workflow of HTML development. (Who will make the better compiler, Microsoft or Mozilla? Will php scripts output bytecode or do we have to change server-side scripting? What's the failure model for browsers implementing an older subset of the bytecodes?)

Comment Re:Here's a FAQ for slashdotters (Score 1, Interesting) 126

3) How is this different from Java, Flash, Silverlight?

It is different because:

A) It' s a w3c standarized effort

B) All the big players are behind it (Google, Mozilla, Microsoft and Apple)

C) It relies on the browser security model, it does not bypass it

D) It' s a low-level bytecode, more so than AS3, JVM or Silverlight, so it can run any language.

E) It runs in the same "space" as the DOM, it's not a separate/embeeded app.

In other words, it's exactly like Java but instead of being designed by a software company, it's being introduced by personal data sellers, ad designers, NSA henchmen, DRM paladins, government lobbyists and walled-garden tenders. And unlike Java, it's going to be used by every single web page and we won't be able to uninstall it. Sounds great, what could possibly go wrong.

Honesty is for the most part less profitable than dishonesty. -- Plato