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CNET Reviews Windows XP Beta 2 591

Imran wrote: "CNET has an in-depth review of Windows XP's second beta release, with focus on performance, stability, and the new Mac OS-ish interface. Lots of screenshots, too."
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CNET Reviews Windows XP Beta 2

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    I think you're letting your paranoia run away with you. Do you seriously believe MS with 24 billion cash in the bank would bother to chase you down and make you give them a couple hundred dollars for a legal copy of Windows ? I seriously doubt it.

    MS has always been and if they stay on track always will place a higher priority on the proliferation of their software over making money on every copy of it.

    All actions I've seen MS take to prosecute software pirates have been against people reproducing it and selling it on mass. People who've copied it to learn its features are never going to be persecuted by MS as they are their foot soldiers carrying it into the front lines in the work place.

    I think your mistake is that you believe MS is as short sighted as yourself.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I've always had a use for windows despite my Linux leanings. Alway those need to have apps that required booting up into win95 and recently win98. But the other day, I was on irc and somebody mentioned windows XP. And I didn't even know what it was! And even more recently I watched debate over the NET thing and couldn't help but sense that I'd been drifting away from something, since I've not looked into NET that much either. I really don't have an /active/ dislike for MS products. I've just been too busy with Linux to spare much time looking into the other half of the computer world.

    Microsoft has been busily 'redefining' things and taking all their followers with them. Meanwhile others like me are drifting someplace else. I make no claim as to which group is drifting in the more appropriate direction, just that the distance is increasing. I get the feeling that when the NET applications begin to come around, that this distance will be something that is a pointed aspect of one's chosen OS. Keep in mind I have no intention of saying what is good or what is bad in this case. Just that there is an irreconsilable gap that is growing that will play a part in all of our futures. I think it's safe to say that Microsoft is the cause of this. They are trying to distance themselves from Linux and it's working. It's as if they're demanding a person to choose one camp or the other. I mean, you're either doing NET with microsoft or not doing it at all!

    They're gonna split the world right down the middle. Hard to say just exactly what the impact is gonna be but I can't help but think it's gonna happen. They're embracing and extending to whoever listens. How much effort should the linux world devote to trying to stay compatible with Microsoft? Perhaps that depends on the quality of their endeavors. But if it's just some business game they're playing it seems a waste. A waste of their time and everyone elses.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 25, 2001 @04:15PM (#340447)
    2GB hard drive space? 128Meg RAM minimum? What are they trying to run here, Nautilus (rimshot)

    Seriously though, is this the 'future' of software? Bloatware? Where will this leave users with yesterdays computers? Oh [] right.. []

    My biggest gripe tho is the 2GB they talk about needed. The biggest, baddest install of Debian I can come up with is smaller then that, and we're talking about enough development tools and libraries to recompile the kernel, the display server, the UI... I don't even want to think how big Visual Studio XP will be. Save me!!!
  • Hmm. Windows 1.03 came on 5 low density floppies,
    and I used to run it on a machine with a 20m hard disk.

    I think your table should be:
    1 5
    2 10
    3 40
    4 120
    5 2000

    Which leads to: y=0.71e^1.44x

    A bit over a terabyte for version 10.

    * Starts saving now *
    * Stops saving, disk prices will fall *

    I'll probably still be running Win98 just for games anyway
  • Although I would generally be termed a Windows-hater (or, probably more accurately, a "Windows-strong-disliker"), I have to say that this looks like a strong step forward for Microsoft's OS. Interesting that while Apple seems to be moving away from the "dumbed-down" niche of operating systems, Microsoft is moving towards it - which makes sense.

    Perhaps MS has finally noted the vast lead in usability that competing desktops (BeOS, KDE 2, and OSX being the primary contenders) have taken over the standard Windows interface. More competition means better interfaces for everyone. Does this mean that (finally!) the consumer is starting to count in this industry?
  • "For example, when you click a folder full of music files, you'll see links to publish the entire folder to the Web (using a wizard, of course) and buy music online from But at this stage--and in the upcoming final version--this feature publishes only to MSN sites or to a local network, not to your own Web or FTP site."

    Oh, _that's_ an oversight. I'm sure they'll just rush lickety-split to fix that one and keep their users from being compelled to use MSN for the feature! :P

    (BTW, anyone else very weirded out by all the 'now has X feature, like MacOS' talk? When did _that_ start happening?)

  • Actually, the way I heard it was that the Classic compatibility layer (sorta like a virtual MacOS 9) needs the 128 megs. If you only run OSX apps, you can get away with a more Unixish 64M (not bad for a glitzy window manager running antialiased Display PDF on everything)
  • what if you don't have an internet connection? are you now excluded from running windows if you aren't connected?

    ... or what if you're connecting via dialup. It seems to me that's going to be a pain unless you have DSL or cable. Updating via dialup will likely be slow. The machine may dial up when it thinks it's out of date, etc. ET, phone home.
  • I'll bet unless you have 256Megs of RAM, you'll be seeing lots of your disk drive light. I'll also bet that unless it is preinstalled, most people will not be able to get it to run worth a damn or even half a damn.

    If anyone was surprised at how long there were Windows 3.1 systems still in use, just wait. Heck we've never made the move to Win2k. We're still running NT at work.

    Does M$ honestly expect people are going to run out and buy a new PC just so they can run this OS? Win2k and WinME have not exactly set the world on fire. Why will WinXP?
  • Actually, my gdm (Gnome -- I guess there's probably other G-ish display managers) has a menu option that allows anybody to turn off the computer. I'm happy enough with it. The lack of such a thing on the console login has caused me problems (mostly when someone who doesn't know better turns on the computer and can't figure out how to turn it off properly).

    Others have said it differently, but security is a process. Generally, keeping people from turning off the computer when they are sitting at the computer is false security -- something that's merely obnoxious without providing any security benefit.

    I kind of wish Linux was wiser about hardware permissions. Anyone who is logged into the console should have complete access to the sound and any removable drives (floppy, CD, etc), and any other peripherals attached to the computer. Anyone else doesn't really need that access. I don't know how one might do that in Linux...?

  • The *new* Mac-OSish interface?

    Gosh, where have I been?
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [].
  • by Sanity ( 1431 ) on Sunday March 25, 2001 @04:51PM (#340469) Homepage Journal
    I note that there is now a built-in firewall, I wonder what this will mean for P2P applications such as Napster, Gnutella, and Freenet. Will this application permit incoming connections? Will software producers need to get "authorized" by Microsoft to allow the application through the firewall? What does this mean for free software on Windows?


  • Yeah, what a way to make $20,000 worth of hardware run like an old 486 with 16 megs of RAM. (which is how IE Solaris performs on a Sun e250).
  • At least 500 meg of OS X (at least the Public Beta) was a few Quicktime demo movies. Easily deleted.
  • Nobody wants to design and build a system, and charge customers up the ass for it, and have them take it home, turn it on and go - heeeey, this has way more RAM and Disk Space than I actually need. When I buy machine #2, I'm going to buy the next model down. . .
  • Let's put it this way;

    Sherlock Holmes was having a conversation with Watson, who was telling Sherlock about how it was proven that the Earth orbits around the Sun.

    Holmes then rebuked Watson for filling his brain with useless trivial information - space that should be devoted to valuable information about the science of criminal investigation, which was the sole topic in which Holmes was interested. Mind you, that one topic led him to amass an enormous quantity of bizarre trivia (manufacturers of shoes by tread, paper by quality determined from microscopic analysis, poisons and drugs, bicycle tires, cigar wrappers, etc.) Such basic facts about our life and universe were of no use to Holmes, the crime fighting genius.

    If your life is well served by intimately detailed knowledge of the Unix kernel, then why allow Microsoft's marketeers to occupy any of your mindshare? There's no point to it. Even if the human brain had infinite storage capabilities, it's only alive and aware for a finite time. 16 hours per day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, in 80 years with luck or even less. There's not a lot of time we really want to spend reading useless Microsoft propaganda, especially when they're likely to change the name of the DDE/OLE/COM/ActiveX/DCOM/DNA/NET thingie at their whim.
  • I tried Litestep and it was great, except for one thing, it didn't allow me to change my widgets.

    I don't need a frickin maximize widget, I don't think I've EVER used one in the 10 years or so I've been using windows. I prefer CLOSE to be on the left side of the title bar, and minimize could be whereever. The way MS does it is just plain stupid, and has been so since Win 1.0. I was hoping LiteStep would change that , but it didn't.

    It didn't get rid of the most annoying (to me) feature of WIndows, and it seems there is no way to do that.

    And then you load KDE up in Linux, and you get the same garbage as in Win95. Fuck that.
  • If you think you feel out of touch with Windows by a move from Win95 to Win98...

    Your going to be in for a culture shock when Windows XP comes out. NT turned a lot of Win95 assumptions for a loop, and it's taken several years for most developers and admins to really get a grasp of that.
  • Thank you for the informative post.

    It's so rare to see real information on /. :(
  • And for those enlightened souls who point out that disk space is cheap, you still have to do backups on a regular basis. Backup media like Zip disks are still expensive.

    I'm asking this in all seriousness. Does anyone use Zip disks for backing up more than some personal data? I used to use Zips, but I decided that $0.10 per meg was a bit too pricy, especially since modern hard drives can be had for less than $0.004 per meg.

    Yes, I realize that not everyone can afford a backup tape drive. I was fortunate that I had decided on a particular drive just before my student loan check came through (<grin>). Still, when you can buy a 24GB DDS-3 tape for $20 that will allow you to do an unattented backup of your entire system, those $10 ZIP disks start to look very expensive.

  • I've used NeXTStep, you're right in that OS X is based on it, and not on the traditional MacOS UI. But NeXTStep and OS X are near-useless monstrosities. And I've got a rarely-used NeXT Cube and installed (and then removed) OS X on my Mac over the weekend. If it's as stable as Win2K has been in my experience, WinXP is looking pretty good.

    Oh, and Steve didn't design it - he's not a designer. (IIRC Keith Ohlfs was at the heart of the NeXTStep UI, as well as WebTV's) In fact, Steve generally does really terrible things when he tries to micromanage. e.g. telling engineers that the chips on the Mac 128k's logic board were too close together to look good, and only relenting when they showed that it wouldn't work how he wanted because he knew nothing about board design. There are tons of anecdotes about Steve's horrible, arbitrary management practices and their effects. Any good history of Apple or NeXT is likely to have some. I suggest "Infinite Loop" and "Steve Jobs and the NeXT Big Thing" for starters.
  • 0) ICS and ICF are OPTIONAL. Just in case you missed it: OPTIONAL. So is IPv6, but no one here is whinging about that yet, are they?

    1) scriptability; use Windows Scripting Host (easy) or Group Policy (a custom ADM / inf file pair will be needed, but do-able) to change the settings of the personal firewall.

    2) The way in which the personal firewall work is very similiar to a number of other personal firewalls, and also the old IP filters present since at least NT 3.51 days. Since that was a hoary ol' chestnut needing much hair on the chest to make work, this is too, and is no worse than using Checkpoint's Fw-1 (which admittedly has a range of protocols and services already pre-defined). There is an effort on to improve things here. If you are a beta 2 user, and you don't like what you see, report it to the .security newsgroup for fixing. My personal beef: no pre-done settings in group policy. It would be easy to make happen. So I've logged the bug, and hopefully it'll get fixed.

    Now line up, according to the NDA I have to kill you.

  • What is your problem? 8 GB hd: less than $USD100. 128 MB of RAM: less than $USD100. I can't see the issue here.

    On my dual PPro with 128 MB of RAM and gobs of disk space eaten away from a full SuSE 6.4 install (2.5 GB gone), I find that Nautilus + Netscape + KDE + a few xterms makes Mr Swap nervous, particularly if I don't restart Netscape from time to time.

    On my single PIII/800 with 128 MB of RAM, out of the box, 2446 uses 41 MB of RAM. Then I installed Office. On my laptop with 256 MB of RAM as I type this, I'm using 129 MB of RAM, and I have 26 things open, including media player, Outlook, 8 IE windows, and Citrix. The windows directory is using just over 1 GB on disk (about 970 MB in file sizes). The 2 GB gives it some head room to install in and a pagefile. And in case you're wondering, I haven't had a blue screen yet. It even plays my DVDs and gets me over 4 hours of battery life on my new Dell.

  • by ajv ( 4061 ) on Monday March 26, 2001 @12:51AM (#340494) Homepage
    Actually, WinXP Pro and Per both contain multi-user bits, both in terms of how X11 does it, and in the TermServices method. As most of you clueless ./ weenies wouldn't have a clue how to make two Xservers work side by side (Ctrl-Alt-F7 / F8 for example), these features are unusual for you guys.

    Both Pro and Per allow other users to take control of your desktop using Remote Desktop Connection. This uses RDP, just as TermSrv does

    Both Pro and Per use the TermSrv's multiple winstations to have multiple users logged on at once. I've installed software as administrator in one session and read e-mail and surfed the web in another.

    The hotkey to go between users and the replacement for SAS is very nice too: Win-L. This allows me to go to the toilet in safety with many fewer keystrokes than before, and even beats the good ol' xlock for non-rodent use.

    In addition, NT has always had impersonation. This allows software to run as something else. This is like a more granular version of seteuid(), but nicer and more granular. Most people didn't know about it because it's mainly for programmers. For example, the Server process impersonates you when you connect through ipc$ so that when it tries to do something, it does it with your credentials, not the System's. And unlike Unix, a single process can impersonate many different security principals simulataneously.

    For the more Unix like approach to su, such as sudo or priv, in Win2K they gave us some UI and a service to make it easier: runas. Hold down the shift key on a program and use Runas to run as another security principal. This comes through for Pro, but they're busy hiding it in the mom-n-pop Per.

    And ever since NT 3.1, services have been running as different users to what you might log in as.

    In NT 4.0 reskit, there's a little utility to log in remotely to a command console. This is brought forward in the Win2K reskit. This logs you in without a UI on the remote host, and you can run all your favorite command line tools. Which in NT 4.0 is useless but in Win2K is useful as you can do nearly everything via the cli (the number of cli .exe's jumped from ~80 to over 400). But why you'd want to when you can use MMC on your local box to do ~everything and install the RDP admin service for (1.0 - ~everything), it remains astonishing to me that people would subject themselves to such torture.

    All this multi-user stuff works and is very smooth. Now line up, according to the NDA, I have to kill you.

  • Uh, dude. I think you've got issues with the software you installed. Not Windows 2K itself.

    If the software installed can hang the system that *is* an issue with Windows 2K. Civilized operating systems don't allow user processes to bring down the OS. Buggy Linux software causes core dumps, not system crashes.

  • But what if the software he chose clearly wasn't acceptable in Windows 2000?

    You are reasoning circularly. Obviously, the software was unacceptable because it crashed the system.

    All of the software I use with Windows 2000 has been tested with Windows 2000

    Most people simply don't have the option of throwing out their software whenever MS makes a little patch. It isn't reasonable to expect this, particularly when many upgrades aren't free in the Windows world.

    You wouldn't expect games written in glib0.4 to run in glib2.1 would you?

    No, but they certainly don't crash the system -- they complain about missing symbols. And I certainly don't have to buy new copies to run. The few programs that aren't open source have free updates.

    I've had more than a few old Linux apps crash not only the ap but the system itself.

    You should put up the binaries for others to test and verify, as this is a truly unusual event if true
  • Also, try this one.. it will lock-up every Unix system I've come across:

    If this crashes the UNIX systems you use, you have horribly incompetent sysadmins. One can (and should) limit the number of processes that any one user can have simultaneously.
  • Out of curiousity, I wonder if Linux coders could add one feature Win XP is touting:

    saving sessions completely

    For shell programs, use screen. For GUI programs, run multiple X servers and lock screen, switch between users with Ctrl-Alt-F7/8/9/etc.

    and listing each user with their currently running programs

    Login and type ps aux or use a GUI equivalent such as kpm. No need for non logged in users to see all that.

    and whether or not they have email

    I'm sure scripts exist which examin /var/spool/mail, this will be harder with ~/Maildir systems though.

    all in one place.

    Why does everything have to be in one place all of the time. Is your house organized like that, having everything in one room?

  • Hmmm... X looks fine to me when I install a True-Type font server like xfstt. I would post a screenshot but I'm at work :P

  • Really? There's less than 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 atoms in the universe?

    Who counted them and when did we find the end of the universe? Man, out of touch for a few days and everything changes...

  • Check out /etc/login.defs ... in Slackware at least.

  • That's an acceptable amount of information leakage for me. After all, in Linux I can use 'ps aux' to see everyone's (including root's) processes... with the arguments they were launched with, how much CPU they are using, etc.

  • Why what are you doing with your other hand? >:^D

  • You idiot, it is no secret that Western and Caucasian-majority countries have higher standards of living and personal incomes than most other parts of the world. He didn't place any value judgments on their race or culture. He merely picked appropriate names to contrast third-world and first-world countries.

    Take your knee-jerk political correctness to some forum where people can't think for themselves and you'll get a much more positive reaction. Or, you could grow up and stop seeing the world in black and white.

  • Still after 64 iterations the total is a hell of a large number.

    Yeah, that is a whole lot of rice. :)

  • Gee, that's nice. Gnome and Window Maker both can save session as well, but that's not what we're talking about. We're talking about leaving your processes running when you log out, not just remembering what was running and starting it up again.

  • but it beats anything that Linux has to offer by a long shot.

    I don't think so, it's a matter of personal preference isn't it? There are lot of things I like about X (once I get the True-Type font server installed, of course :), especially the way I can integrate my own scripts easily with the UI and not have to use abominations like DOS "batch files" or VBScript. Yeah, I know I can get shell or perl for Windows but it's just not the same, the architecture of Windows distorts my normal scripting flow. I can't live without virtual desktops anymore (and every virtual desktop program for Windows is awful). The network transparency is also nice.

    And I think the Start menu sucks ass, by the way. Nothing worse than multiple nested menus.

    Windows has good points too, like consistent (for the most part) look and keyboard bindings. But there's just something about Windows that has always turned my stomach... to quote Steve Jobs, "They just have no taste." If I ever really need a state-of-the-art GUI I'll get a Mac (with OS X, of course :).

  • It really does. Try it and see!
  • You'd think so, considering all of the bloody hell that Apple screams when someone creates an interface that even resembles Aqua.

    (Note: Aqua may be a word meaning water, but it's still a trademark of Apple Computer Corp. Hell, so is "Apple" for that matter.)

    -- Give him Head? Be a Beacon?

  • "I don't know what the current figures are. But on the date that Windows 95 was released, the most common type of non-server computer hardware in businesses was... the 80286!"

    The 286 was obsolete by the end of the 1980s - the most common hardware in 1995 was probably either the 486 or Pentium. I had a 486 laptop in 95, and the desktops around me were Pentia.
  • I'm not sure I trust the XP login procedure. Does anyone know the details about this? Does it register your password on the net with Microsoft Password? How does it give you "an instant login" to hotmail and
  • OK, fine, I'll bite.

    My girlfriend and I both have Dell Inspiron 5000's. Both came pre-equipped with W2k. I nuked it and loaded up Mandrake 7.2.

    Once, while playing Hoyle's Card Games, she bumped the CDROM eject button. It ejected. The game hung. The OS hung. She had to reboot (hold down the power button, etc).

    Once, while hurriedly opening and closing Word documents, her mouse pointer disappeared. Gone. Poof! OK, fine; "Hit alt-f4, honey, and close Word down." No dice. Hmmm. "Hit the Windows key, honey, see if it comes up." Came up blank. Hmm. "Ctrl-alt-delete?" Now she was pissed at *me*, like I was causing all this. We eventually got it to reboot.

    Another time she suspended, and it woke up, started to come back to life, and then just froze.

    Mine runs like a dream. I note that XFree86 4.0.2 seems to really detest suspend mode, but that's no real bother for me most of time.

    W2k is more stable than NT4, but its not perfect. In fact, its just starting to get usable, and I fear that all this new crap will hurt more than help.
  • Microsoft makes IE 5 for Solaris (6 is on the way). You can put a Solaris machine on your network (the OS is free now and old Sun hardware is easy to find) and have IE in Linux via X11. A great way to impress your friends.
  • You're making the implicit assumption that the interface will allow you to open ports. That's not necessarily a safe assumption to make. Microsoft has been known to do some rather odd things for the sake of "security" or "standards" or "making it easier for the end user". It's no big stretch to assume that they might make it hard or even impossible to open a port by the end user. I can think of a number of ways for them to do this and allow things like web servers that are blessed by MS to work...

    Don't you know how firewalls work? Just because every one YOU have used gave you the ability to give ports pass-through capability doesn't mean THIS one will be customizeable at all.
  • by Zico ( 14255 ) on Sunday March 25, 2001 @09:11PM (#340551)

    Check out Paul Thurrott's review at his WinSuperSite page: []. Whether or not you share his enthusiasm for WinXP Beta 2, at least he presents an enormous amount of information about it (I haven't even read it all yet). From some of the misinformed posts based on the c|net review (which apparently, from their screenshots was based on an older build) to questions I'm seeing asked which I remember seeing answered by Paul, I'd say that he did a more thorough job of it.

    (Note that Paul's isn't technically the latest build either. His was based on build 2462, but MS made a last minute change and released build 2462a as Beta 2.)


  • I kind of wish Linux was wiser about hardware permissions. Anyone who is logged into the console should have complete access to the sound and any removable drives (floppy, CD, etc), and any other peripherals attached to the computer. Anyone else doesn't really need that access. I don't know how one might do that in Linux...?

    Poke around in the PAM configuration. I believe the pam_console module can do this, but I can't check it right now. Otherwise you could use the pam_group module to add users who login to the console to the "console" group which has rw access to the various devices (audio, video, cdrom, etc.). I do wish this was taken care of in a more elegant manner by the distro makers though, it is a pain to implement this after the fact. I usually create seperate groups and add myself to them, one group for each device that I need access to.

  • The rubber duck (as well as the badminton birdie and most of the other icons) are stock photos. You can buy the same set of images (plus 25,000 more!) and use them for your interface for about $49.95 on a six CD set....

  • Dummies are not supposed to run servers.

    Er, you do realise that firewalls can block outgoing ports too, don't you?

    Not to mention that some clients require the server to make a connection back to them on another port - ftp springs to mind; I've had lots of fun with misconfigured firewalls letting the command connection through, but not the data one... :-)

    I don't think MS will use this for anything objectionable, but it certainly puts them in a position where they could do so, if they wished, and it wouldn't be the first time...



  • Besides the obvious reponse that others have given (if they sit at the machine, they can pull the plug), W2k has a security option to require a user to login before being able to shut it down. I think your making too much out of a few *BETA* screenshots.
  • This is just continuing a trend that has been ongoing for two decades.

    Most of you youngin's don't remember the early days of computing. Rest assured that it's not much different from today. You went and bought a brand new IBM PC with 48K RAM. Then you rudely discovered that all the programs needed 64K. So you upgraded and discovered that programs needed 256K, so you upgraded again. And again. To 640K, 1MB, 2MB, 4MB. A mere six years ago 4MB to 8MB was sufficient for DOS/Win3.1. OS/2 was considered a memory hog because it wanted 16MB. Then you had to upgrade yet again, to 16MB, 32MB, 64MB, and 128MB. Six years and the memory considered "barely adequate" has doubled five times. At this rate you will need Four Gigabytes of RAM in the year 2008!

    The developers (and their tool manufacturers) are at fault for ignoring the user. When they want to know what the minimum requirements should be, they don't find out what the users actually have. Instead they go to Circuit City and Best Buy and see what the less-than-two-day-old systems are shipping with.
  • They think about what most of their users are likely to have as hardware and what features their users would like to see.

    I don't know what the current figures are. But on the date that Windows 95 was released, the most common type of non-server computer hardware in businesses was... the 80286!

    The entry of *new* customers into the market has been driving the Microsoft profits since 1981. Well, the market it levelling out, and in not too long of a time, this year or next, the majority of computer users will not be newbies. That's going to kick Microsoft right in the teeth. For once they're going to have to market to the second and third time owner of Windows instead of relying on preinstalls for the majority of their sales.
  • It's a technology fact that as hardware power goes up, software requirements and features do as well.

    Non sequitur. If the speed limit increases does technology demand more horsepower for the automobile? Of course not!

    The technology doesn't drive software requirements, marketing does.
  • I wasn't talking about the home consumer market, or the power users, or the developers. Reread my post again. I was talking about the hardware in businesses. You know, that box that the secretary was using WP 5.1 on to type up reports...

    Unlike you, businesses don't throw away $1000 to $5000 investments just because Bill Gates says so. The CEO's Assistant may get the newest box at Office Depot, but his/her old box is still being used somewhere in the company. The old boxes only get replaced when they break. And remember, businesses include more than the Fortune 500. It includes the everything from IBM to the corner liquor store and the family farm.

    I'm sorry, but I don't have the figures. It's been six years, so I doubt I can find that Business Week, as the trashman has long since come and gone. I know, I should keep all my old magazines for times such as these...
  • I notice on the screenshot for the login page [] two things:
    (1) The number of running apps that some users have open, including the Administrator.
    (2) A button to shut the machine down.

    Does this mean that non root^H^H^H^HAdministrator users can shut down higher privaleged (sp) programs? And services? All this time after the original release of NT (1994?) do Microsoft still not understand multi user OS's?

  • I just want to be able to rearrange the window control buttons (close, minimize, maximize, and the tiny icon) in the title bar. I can do this in X Windows with most window managers. I can even do this on the Mac, with the right extensions. If the skinning feature of Win Xp will allow me to move the close button to the left side of the title bar, I will be happy to suffer through almost anything else. (DISCLAIMER: I don't willingly suffer the Windows blight, but my job essentially requires it)
  • by meldroc ( 21783 ) <meldroc&frii,com> on Sunday March 25, 2001 @08:52PM (#340570) Homepage Journal

    The one basic change that I've noticed that many people have overlooked is that Win XP is using the Win NT/2000 kernel and finally retiring the MS-DOS/Win 3.1 codebase. Say "So long" to all the MS-DOS drivers that mucked things up. Kiss goodbye to hidden pieces of 16-bit code lurking inside of Windows' innards. I won't miss having to put up with an OS that swiched to cooperative multitasking and froze everything while one misbehaved program refused to relinquish control. Good riddance to holes in the memory protection architecture that allowed misbehaved programs to scribble on the kernel.

    It only took fifteen years after Intel released the 80386 (first x86 CPU with 32-bit addressing & registers, virtual memory, a usable protected mode (though Protected mode and virtual memory date back to the 286) for Microsoft to remove all the 16-bit code from its OSes and move to a more worthy architecture.

  • I'm sure my experience is identical to that of many Linux users: Win98 was the last windows I bought. I was dual-booting Linux at the time, fiddling to get my modem working and to connect to my ISP (Compuserve).

    Well, about 12 months ago, I realized it had been a year since I'd booted Windows at all, and I wanted a few gigs of disk space back. So I reformatted the partition to ext2 and that's that. I have neither the reason nor the means to boot Windows, period. (Well, I'm sure the Win98 CD is lying around somewhere, but why the hell would I go through the hassle to install it?)

    So, a new Windows finally comes along. Who cares? Who cares if the interface is new and improved? When I want a new interface, I download something interesting from [] -- and can get a new theme every day, if that's what I want. Thanks to TurboTax Online [], the one reason I thought I'd have for using Windows this year disappeared. Games? Yeah, there are a few Windows-only games I'd like to play, on the other hand, Nethack [] is my favorite game and all it needs is 80x24, baby :-)

    So there's a new Windows. Who cares? I'm a non-smoker. The new Windows is as relevant to me as a new flavor of Marlboro.

  • Compare this to the average hard drive size available and you'll quickly discover the relative size of OS's is actually getting smaller as functionality increases.
  • That's the weakest argument I've seen yet. Gee, the folder looks like a folder, the magnifying glass looks like a magnifying glass, the off button looks like an off button. Apart from the duck, they're both simply copying real-world items to use as metaphors for system features.
  • Certain OS and UI features will be unavailable unless you use the XP interface. Some software may not work properly, or not work at all.
    And exactly how can that be considered a feature? Sounds like XP is not really 100% backward compatible...
    You think being a MIB is all voodoo mind control? You should see the paperwork!
  • Apart from the duck, they're both simply copying real-world items to use as metaphors for system features.
    Except that Microsoft's desktop metaphor somehow seems more innovative than Apple's! :->
    You think being a MIB is all voodoo mind control? You should see the paperwork!
  • or use one of the real tools that *will* move the swap file (usually to the top end of the drive, with the rest of your files at the bottom. The defrag tools that come with Windows are just crippled versions of the Norton tools anyway.

    You can also boot into dos mode and delete the swap file, and when it recreates, it should be contiguous...

    The other (and nicer) option is to create another partition for the swap file, and never worry about it again... of course, you can't take a full memory dump on a blue screen if the swap isn't on the boot partition, but hey... that's a lot of time to waste for something that you are almost guaranteed never to use...

    The 3x physical ram can be a problem too (especially for those of us with 768MB of physical) :)
  • by Tofuhead ( 40727 ) on Sunday March 25, 2001 @05:20PM (#340598)
    Well we wouldn't want people to steal something that they have not paid for. The MS programmers need to receive payment to take care of their families and if you steal the software that they make you are going to hurt them in the long run. This is one reason why MS takes precautions to keep theft at a minimum.

    Well then what else are they supposed to steal? Stuff they have paid for? Whoops, I forgot that with Windows EULAs, that's exectly what MS would like to have us believe they're doing, especially if they're doing so much as (gasp) buying Windows from a friend who got (read: bought) it with his PC but never once used it.

    See, that's the great thing about free software: There's no paranoia over making sure you're "legal," because there's no way to steal it. Unless, of course, someone's trying to swipe my FreeBSD CDRs, in which case all their bruise are belong to my fist.

    < tofuhead >

  • Yes because nobody in MS has the imagination to actually think up new icons. They have to spend $50.00 like the rest of the world.
  • Your typical MS luser of course would never be able accomplish such a thing so it will be a great way for MS to sabotage free software or any competing p2p protocol. Ms protocols get opened up by default and anybody else has to convince the dumb MS lusers try and change something they don't understand.
  • That 99 percent is perfectly happy eathing whatever shit is shoved down their throats by MS. They don't give a crap about anything except maybe who won the best picture oscar.

    Lucky for us they don't hand out at slashdot either. Except for a few paid astro turfers anyways.
  • Bingo!

    I can strip down to icewm and run Opera. Can a WinXP user strip down to a non-bloaty interface and not run IE6?

    -grendel drago
  • that new interface looks like a skin to me... and yet Microsoft still hasn't thought of a skinnable UI

    There must be some reason they don't include a customizable UI. I know it's not a hard thing to do. I'm the author of the Open Source GUI PicoGUI [] and it must have taken about 1000 lines of C to write a fast theme interpreter. Maybe they just don't like giving people choices? Or maybe they want Windows to have a distinct look so they can target their advertising to it and make people upgrade to make their desktop pretty.

    Oh well. I like enlightenment :)

  • Well, I don't use windows except when absolutely necessary, so I may be wrong. But, from what I've seen the windows 'themes' only let you change things like wallpaper and color schemes. I'm talking about an interface that lets you completely reprogram the look and actions of every single UI element. In many GUI systems I've seen (enlightenment, sawmill, picogui) there is no built-in look, everything is defined by a theme file. Everything is customizable.
  • In fact, the design and method MS is using to implement "skinning" has caused some concern in the community of various commercial and open-source Windows shell replacements. There was recently a thread on the Litestep [] mailing list about some of the contortions that will now be required to do what was previously a simple modification to the registry (or .ini files for the 9x OS versions) to replace the explorer.exe shell.

    Sure you can still skin windows but with XP MS is apparently moving towards requiring the explorer.exe shell in order to do so.. thus leaving the user without a choice again. Well, a choice dependent on the terms and whims of MS. And explorer.exe is notoriously bloated and slow, especially in comparison to the Litestep shell (which is a shell based upon module loading in essence)

    I don't see this as a good thing.

    I would highly recommend to those who still use Windows at all to investigate some of the various shell replacements [] out there. I avoided Windows like the plague after becoming used to how *nix will allow me to setup a shell to work the way I want to work and not the other way around. Litestep in particular is the only reason I have MS on one of my boxes, it's that sweet.

    Plus I still get a kick out of people asking me how I managed to get Office working in Linux. :)

  • by NetJunkie ( 56134 ) <jason DOT nash AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday March 25, 2001 @04:08PM (#340617)
    The current builds have to be activated, just like a retail copy. When I've done the activation is has been quick and easy. If you don't have an Internet connection you have to call...but since mine are connected I just do it over the internet.

    Also, there is a difference between activation and registration. Registration is optional...that's where you fill out the form and send them info about you and your system. If you do not activate the system it will start warning you in a week. If time runs out the system won't be useable until you do activate it.
  • by NetJunkie ( 56134 ) <jason DOT nash AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday March 25, 2001 @04:05PM (#340618)
    I've been using the beta of XP, and so far it has been stable...especially for a beta. The interface takes some getting used to, and frankly, I find it a little too cutesy. Also, they have dumbed down a lot of the file options so that a user will have to try and delete important things. So, you have to spend the first 15 mins after an install turning off these self-protection options.

    Games have been working fine.... IE6 is nice (I'd kill for IE under Linux).... The install was easy.... And the stability is there.
  • by citizenc ( 60589 ) <cary@glidedesi g n . ca> on Sunday March 25, 2001 @04:26PM (#340619) Journal
    I'm sure your post won't be the first -- I don't understand why everybody keeps slagging on MS. I'm currently running Windows 2000 Server as my webserver in the corner of my room; it runs Apache, an FTPdaemon, and ActivePerl, and has had an uptime of almost 3 months, completely error free.

    I'm getting really tired of people just blindly assuming that Microsoft is going to turn out a poor piece of software. Have you even RUN Windows 2000? It is the most stable operating system I have ever seen, and yes, I've run Linux as well.

    This isn't flame bait, or a troll, or anything else -- it is simply my opinion.

  • Running Windows XP? Home edition? Not everything is a *NIX server folks.
  • This is on the NT codebase.

    No longer will we have to, after writing our apps under the stable-by-comparison Win2K, have to test, debug and tune under the P.O.S. 95/98/ME OS.
  • > >...rips CD...
    > Great copyright control. Won't the RIAA be happy now.

    i love the part with "When you enter a folder with mp3 files it presents a option to Upload to the Web" or smth. Who needs napster? We have WXP :)
  • Since IE 5 for Mac OS X doesn't seem to have a system registry (and the Mac OS X version would probably be the code base from which a linux port would be made), I would guess that a registry is unnecessary for IE.

    Now the whole, XP thing is likely to be interesting, since this is the, what 7th Windows operating system (98, 98SE, NT 3.1, NT 3.51, NT 4, Win2k, ME) that is trying to match the stability of Unix. I wonder if they've made it this time.


  • I'm sure that you could fix that with a dns hack, pointing to the site of your choice. Let's face it, no marketing scheme over the internet is safe from somebody who controls the physical box and the dns servers it points to.

  • Just make sure that your particular jurisdiction has appropriate laws. DO NOT reverse engineer anything in a jurisdiction where it is illegal. Of course that brings up the point, if the computer you are reverse engineering is in a jurisdiction where reverse engineering *is* legal, whose laws apply?

  • Actually...

    The rubber ducky is someone's own self selected (I assume) ICON, much like the log-in screens of many multi-user desktop environments. It's not just a mirror image of the one used by Apple, as one might immediately think. Close examination will reveal that.

    As for the O/I power icon. As far as I know a 1 inside of a 0 has been a universally accepted power-button indicator since Ugh first chisled his first power button out of stone and showed it to the rest of the tribe.

    "Everything you know is wrong. (And stupid.)"
  • Comparing XP to 95 is purely insulting.


  • In that case, I offer my most humble apologies, it had seemed you were serious, and that would have been just incredibly stupid.


  • have you actually tried OS X? first of all, it most definitely will install with less than 128MB of RAM: that's only the recommended amount. furthermore, OS X only requires 128MB of RAM when you're running classic, which basically loads OS 9.1 inside of OS X!

    without classic you can get by with only 64MB of RAM easily, and 128 is plenty. classic is a memory hog though, but it's not really possible to do much about that as OS 9 is OS 9.

    with any luck, most major apps will be carbonized by the end of the year, and classic will be something that MacOS X users only have to use on occasion.

    - j

  • Apple of all people to ship brand-new, just-announced computers with the ability to run their own OS, but that isn't happening.

    that's true, but this release of MacOS X (March 24th) is meant to get the OS in as many developer's hands as possible. Mac users like a complete system, with all the bells and whistles (why else would the major complaint be a lack of a DVD movie player?) the only way to do this is to ensure that all developers have enough time to use the final APIs and development environment before the "real" release at Macworld New York this summer. this is also why OS X comes with a separate "developer tools" CD.

    when it comes down to it, this was the best way Apple could do it. it pleases the developers and gets a great OS into the hands of the early adopters without forcing the average Mac user to put up with a "just the OS" (and no fancy apps) on their new Mac. (of course almost all old apps can run through classic, but native apps are much nicer).

    but don't worry, apple will get around to bundling OS X on all their new shiny boxes this summer! ;)

    - j

  • That's not true. Developers have had access to OS X for a couple of months now, this is so they can have enough time to build the much needed application base.

    actually yes it is true. i'm a developer, and i never had a copy before now. why's that? because only some of the top-dollar ADC members got copies, and it wasn't even all of them! this release gets it in the hands of, as i said, as many developer's hands as possible, which includes people like me, who don't work at Adobe.

    - j

  • That link really interested me, so I gave it a quick google search. Here's a link [] to a picture of the layouts, in case you were wondering like me what they look like. It looks like you can do the layout on a standard keyboard. Might be really interesting to try. I know I'm tired of shuttling back and forth between the keyboard and my mouse/trackball! enjoy, anyway.
  • Or maybe they actually think about these things. They think about what most of their users are likely to have as hardware and what features their users would like to see. There's always a tradeoff between making an application compact and efficient and coding new "cool" features. Also, there's a tradeoff between supporting older machines and implementing an application with better features. Most mature software companies study the market and make decisions about the appropriate value at which to make that tradeoff.
  • The one thing I really love about XP is the monitoring/administration aspect.
    Take Performance Monitor.. In NT/2000 it cant do to much, sure it can save a set of stats to a csv or binary file, you can look at a machine live, but thats about it.
    One of the best parts of XP is it's PerfMon.. It can write counter values to a SQL server, monitor 2 machines side by side..
    I'm actually starting to enjoy monitoring and administrating Windows systems now.. And when you have over 2000, thats an amazing thing to say. Hell, the admin portion of Windows just keeps getting better and better. I love it.

  • Bull.

    I spent a week installing Win98 on an old P200 w/ no existing OS.

  • >"True, that doesn't include setting up every imaginable now-defunct company's mysterious hardware"

    I absolutely agree with you. Most users install Linux an an old machine to try it out, and then complain that the installation of Linux is a nightmare.

    It's not, it's just a warped view. Linux typically gets installed on old equipment starting with another OS installed, while Windows comes pre-installed or upgraded on a machine already running Windows.

    I can install Linux quickly on x86 machines that would never install Windows (for example, my laptop has neither a floppy drive nor a CD -- but I was able to install Linux).

    I've got a machine (currently catching dust) that my brother-in-law wants to give to his brother once I install Windows on it -- but I can't find a DOS based CDROM driver for this old machine so I can start the installation. I could have this thing running as an xterminal in my house in under five minutes.

    But, my point is, Linux gets a bad rap that's not justifiable -- Windows is harder to install, and, as the article points out, is getting worse.

  • It even goes beyond that. In order to even use the system *at all* for more than 14 days, you must "activate" the system with Microsoft. You can generate a key with any number of keygens, but if it isn't one that MS's servers like, they won't let you run their OS.

    It sucks, but that's what they are up to. The goal, I suppose, is to stop people from casually warez-ing their operating system. I fully expect Office 10 to be this way, as well as any further major MS software releases.

  • by rograndom ( 112079 ) on Sunday March 25, 2001 @04:33PM (#340699) Homepage

    Fill up your desktop with unused icons, and Windows XP asks you whether you want to keep them, then sweeps them into one tidy folder.

    Hey! I wanted to keep those *there*.

    "No David, I think you want to keep them *here*."

  • It sucks, but that's what they are up to.
    Yeah. Thank god that in the commercial UNIX world, you never ever see companies selling licenses that need to be activated. Why, worse yet, they might even tie licenses to the hostid! Wait a minute.....
  • by Enonu ( 129798 ) on Sunday March 25, 2001 @06:55PM (#340732)
    Modeling the installation requirements with the following:

    1.00 50
    2.00 120
    3.00 320
    4.00 650
    5.00 2000

    where the first column is Windows generation, and the second column is minimum installation size requirements, produces the following exponential equation:

    y = 19.865 * e ^ (0.9067x)
    R^2 = 0.9964

    Skip to genation 10 to shit your pants. I know this data isn't anything conclusive, but it's fun nonetheless.
  • by Chester K ( 145560 ) on Sunday March 25, 2001 @06:39PM (#340748) Homepage
    See, that's the great thing about free software: There's no paranoia over making sure you're "legal," because there's no way to steal it.

    Actually, [] you [] don't [] need [] to [] worry [] if [] you're [] "legal" [] because [] Slashheads [] will [] worry [] for [] you [].
  • by motek ( 179836 ) on Sunday March 25, 2001 @04:11PM (#340826) Homepage
    I fail to see, how the interface is "Mac OS-ish". Has the use of silly pastel colors been copyrighted by Apple?


  • by phaze3000 ( 204500 ) on Monday March 26, 2001 @09:31AM (#340842) Homepage
    Try Konqueror 2.1 [] - it's fscking amazingly quick at rendering, and is far more standards compliant that IE5.5.
    I really can't over-state how great it is..

  • by BlueboyX ( 322884 ) on Sunday March 25, 2001 @04:19PM (#340995)
    Why would an operating system need 3 gigs of hd space and 128 megs ram minimum!? That is insane. You need to build a system to use the os, rather than getting an os to use a system. I admit the hd requirement is probably for their goback feature, which can proabably be reduced if necessary (the gateway goback program has an option to reduce or enlarge the size of the database, limiting or increasing the extent to which you can 'goback' to). But why is everything else so nasty that even ms admits that it will only work good preinstalled on a new computer? My only explanation is that they made this bloatware in order to get people to pay extra for an outrageously powerful system, since right now most people are either happy with what they have or are paying $450 for a low-end (only 450 Mhz!) Gateway...
  • by Waffle Iron ( 339739 ) on Sunday March 25, 2001 @06:33PM (#341006)
    Here's the list:

    (I had to add a space after each slash to get by /. lameness filter)

    Use windows classic folders (not web view)
    Unhide all files
    Show extensions
    Reverse most other settings in "Folder Options"
    Remove spam from 'Favorites' menu
    Add to favorites: / prj / volatile "/ Program Files"
    Set "Explore" as default for folders
    Add 'attributes' column to explorer view
    DON'T remember each folder's view settings
    Set up a folder, select options/ view/ LikeCurrentFolder
    Move address & toolbar to menubar, remove most toolbar buttons
    Add "Command prompt here" to 'Folder' file type: / Cmd.exe / k cd %1

    Set screen resolution to 1240x1024
    Turn on anti-aliased fonts
    Set font size to large
    Turn off "Hide keyboard navigation" (Actually, I don't turn this off anymore)
    Change color scheme: Brick
    Window bkg: 240 240 220 (Pale tan)

    Delete all icons except MyComputer, NetworkNbhd, IE5, RecycleBin
    Taskbar and startmenu properties:
    Display admin tools, display logoff, turn off customized menus
    Add buttons to task bar:
    IE, Outlook (Express), CMD, Explorer, Calc, TextPad,
    DevStudio, MSDN, TaskMan

    Label each drive with its letter
    Create / prj Directory
    set "HKCU/ Software/ Microsoft/ Windows/ CurrentVersion/
    Explorer/ Shell Folders/ Personal" to / prj
    Create / apps/ bin and / prj/ bin and add to path
    Install DELETE VOLATILE batch file task to run on login
    (This does "rmdir / s / q d:/ Volatile" to emulate an
    old DOS RAMDRIVE for scratchpad files. I put most temp work
    and downloads here until I know I want to keep them.)

    Set homepage to my own Links HTML file.
    Move address and toolbar to menubar, remove most toolbar buttons,
    show toolbar icons only (no labels)
    Set text size to "large"
    Set max temp file size to 20MB (saves lots of time on "find / blah")
    Disable stored cookies
    Set shortcut to Alt+Ctl+I

    Set TextPad as default for all files
    (or TXT, CPP, H, JAVA, C, HTML, XML, PL, PY, PM
    Copy files from / USER to new installation
    Copy textpad reg branch to new installation
    Set shortcut to Alt+Ctl+T
    LUTRS14 font (From an old terminal emulator -
    the best monospace font in the world)
    Adobe Acrobat
    MS Office
    Real Player
    Zone Alarm Pro

    Set MSDOS shortcut with Alt+Ctl+P key
    Set to a good font
    Set window size to 500 lines
    Set color BG: (200, 200, 170) Text: black
    IMPORTANT: Set completion key to TAB
    (HKCU/ SW/ MS/ Command Processor/ CompletionChar = 9)
    Change calculator to scientific view
    Change task manager applet to not "always on top"
    Set "net use / persistent:no"

In English, every word can be verbed. Would that it were so in our programming languages.