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Comment Re:Expected /. response (Score 1) 495

Well, I don't think staying on Windows 7 is a losing battle, for reasons I've described in my other comments in this Slashdot discussion. Short version: It works just fine for now and for the near future. I hope Microsoft will change their strategy before the Windows 7 option eventually ceases to be viable, but if they don't, yes, we will look at migrating to some other platform.

Another comment I was writing prompted me to look at how much of the software we use in my small businesses these days is still proprietary native Windows applications, and it's actually a very short list these days. Most of what we run natively on the desktop and literally everything we run on our servers is now freely available and widely portable to different platforms. The rest of what we run is hosted either on those servers or online and accessed via browsers and sometimes also mobile apps. The number of software packages we depend on that are actually Windows-only is trending to zero, and might well reach zero within the useful lifetime of our current Windows 7 systems.

Comment Re:Expected /. response (Score 2) 495

Obvious, but possibly naive. Small businesses in first world economies typically make more money, employ more people, and basically do and contribute more as a group than large businesses. And as the saying goes, every successful large business was once a successful small business. Also, small IT businesses, independent professionals, and "prosumer" geeks are disproportionately influential when it comes to IT decisions. Playing to the huge enterprise customers at the expense of the little guys may be a successful strategy for the short term, but in the longer term, neglecting the little guys will surely come back to haunt them.

Comment Re:People agree that Windows 10 has better tech (Score 1) 495

It's easy to say you have better tech if you ignore the complaints about it.

That's been Microsoft's SOP for a long time. Remember when they said they hadn't broken the networking in Windows 7, even though it suddenly took minutes or hours to copy large numbers of files over in Explorer that would have taken seconds or minutes on XP, or even from the command prompt on the same Windows 7 box?

Comment Re:Upgrade refuseniks are idjits (Score 1) 495

Not necessarily. For example, we're good for another hardware cycle at this point, and our software base is all paid up and permanently licensed to go with those machines, to the extent that we're still running proprietary local applications anyway.

For business planning purposes, we are assuming that by the time we get to our next major upgrade window, either Microsoft will have come to its senses regarding the Pro version of Windows typically used by smaller businesses like ours, or some other platform will be more attractive anyway.

Unless some of our businesses expand significantly more rapidly than anticipated after the possibility of buying new PCs and using downgrade rights has run out but before we migrate to some other platform, we're fine.

Comment Re:More like... (Score 5, Insightful) 495

Quite. I read this:

Microsoft says that continued usage of Windows 7 increases maintenance and operating costs for businesses.

and my immediate thought -- as someone who runs a few small IT businesses and is typing this on a Windows 7 PC -- was... well, it would be impolite to write my actual immediate thought at the time, so let's paraphrase it as "No, it doesn't".

With Windows 10, we offer our customers the highest level of security and functionality at the cutting edge.

The thing about cutting edges is that if you're not careful, you get hurt. And I have little interest in helping Microsoft's security at the expense of my own businesses.

Oh, and just for completeness while we're debunking every single statement in TFS, we bought a final round of PC gear just in time to still get Windows 7 preinstalled, and so far the total number of devices or software products we wanted to use that haven't been compatible with it has been 0, and the number of malware infections we've had to deal with has also been 0. Literally the only thing we've had to do with drivers that was even slightly awkward was slipstreaming USB3 drivers in when installing because PCs tend to have all USB3 ports these days, in contrast to the numerous reports of driver compatibility problems with Windows 10. We're far more concerned about the potential security, reliability and confidentiality risks fundamentally built into Windows 10 than we are about any threats Windows 10 is supposedly better equipped to defend against than Windows 7.

Ironically, the single most annoying and time-consuming thing in setting up those new PCs was applying the latest Windows security patches, because Microsoft have made such a dog's dinner of Windows Update in recent times that you basically have to use one of the alternative channels instead of the built-in one. And they want us to move to a new OS that relies on their update infrastructure and gives even less control over when it runs or what it does? Don't make me laugh.

Comment Re:Thanks, Obama! (Score 2, Interesting) 205

Treat terrorists like what they are, criminals.

If only our political leaders had had the courage to do that after the major attacks of recent years.

Statement from the President/Prime Minister: "This was a horrible crime, and our thoughts are with the victims and their families and friends today. We are confident that the police will find the perpetrators and they will be brought before the courts to face the consequence for what they have done. In addition, the security services will investigate whether lessons can be learned to reduce the risk of similar crimes in the future. However, this appears to have been an isolated incident, and we urge everyone to remain calm and to carry on with their daily lives as normal. Thank you."

End of discussion. End of free publicity for people trying to use violence to advance their political cause. Spend the rest of the money and attention and other valuable resources on more useful things instead of making everyone's life worse.

Comment Yes, psychology matters (Score 1) 205

Psychology matters.

So our governments and media should stop doing the terrorists' job for them by hyping the threat out of all proportion and trying to keep their populations in a perpetual state of irrational fear.

Some people will still be excessively concerned about something awful happening, whether it's a terrorist with a gun or being hit by a stray asteroid. At some point, that paranoia becomes a significant mental health problem, and the best thing you can do for people in that position is recognise it as such and provide the support they need to help deal with it, just like the PTSD you mentioned.

That doesn't mean the overwhelming majority of the population should be forced to share in the paranoia, particularly when doing so comes at such a great cost in both resources and in freedom.

Comment Re:Free software is required to gain privacy. (Score 1) 183

You've overlooked an important benefit of freedom: only software freedom grants users the ability to either learn what needs to change and change it, or hire someone with the needed skill to do this job for them.

I didn't overlook it, I just think it's mostly illusory. It's like saying that in the age of the Internet, the only thing stopping anyone with access from becoming a self-made millionaire is not spending the time to learn new creative skills, to create something valuable using them, and to learn the sales and marketing skills to then sell it. It's probably true that many people could actually do that and be successful under the right circumstances, but it's glossing over a lot of other details, and those details are why in real life very few people actually succeed that way.

You appear to have a preference for init over systemd

I'm not expressing any view on that particular subject. It was just the first controversial and substantial example that came to mind given where we're discussing this.

Your claim is akin to arguing that freedom of speech is pointless because you don't plan to speak against the powerful.

Not at all. My claim is perhaps more akin to arguing that freedom of speech has little practical value to someone if no-one they are talking to speaks the same language anyway. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with freedom of speech, or that it couldn't be valuable to someone else under different circumstances. I'm just saying it doesn't immediately help the person in the original position, because while they may have the same freedom as others, they have no way to benefit from it without learning a lot more first.

To take the analogy a little further, someone who was in trouble in a foreign country and didn't have the time or resources available to learn the native language themselves might benefit from using a translator. Sure, they have no way to verify that what the translator is saying on their behalf or telling them in return is actually correct, but it's much more effective than the alternatives they actually have available in practice. At some point in life, you have to trust that someone else is doing something properly. It's often difficult to decide when and to what extent you will give that trust, but unless you're planning to live as some sort of entirely self-sufficient hermit, the alternatives aren't very practical.

Comment Re:Well Received? (Score 1) 183

The professional media seemed to be singing its praises in their reviews, with barely a mention of the concerns about updates and privacy that alarm the geek community.

Among friends, family and professional colleagues, there are clear dividing lines in my experience. Some of my non-technical friends haven't had any problems with it and are generally positive about it. A few have had serious problems and think it's... well, something quite unpleasant. I don't know of any friend or family member with geek credentials who uses it. The only professional use of it that I've seen in person so far has been for evaluation purposes in corporate IT departments. Otherwise, the geeks and professional users I know have either kept Windows 7 or already use non-Windows systems anyway.

Comment Re:Updates? (Score 1) 183

There was an announcement on that just recently as well. I don't have a link handy, but the reports I saw were talking about allowing Pro/Enterprise/Education users to defer updates for about a month and to choose not to apply driver updates at all. It didn't seem to include Home users, and it wasn't a reversion to allowing full, indefinite control over which individual updates to apply. Probably worth a Google if you're interested.

Comment Re:Free software is required to gain privacy. (Score 1) 183

And how much is that theoretical freedom worth to, say, someone using a popular Linux distro that made a controversial change like switching to systemd? Most users aren't technically knowledgeable enough to change back to init if they want to, and even those who are would effectively be separating themselves from the distro and its support system. It's legal to fork and produce a new distro that doesn't use systemd, but few people have done it, and the alternative distros typically lack the scale and ecosystem of their mainstream sources. Their real alternatives are still, essentially, to stop using the software altogether or to spend a lot of time going against the flow and trying to make it do things other than what its suppliers intended. I'm picking on systemd as a controversial example that's widely known around here, but obviously the same argument applies in other contexts as well.

There are real trust issues with closed source, commercial software houses like Microsoft right now, but it does no-one any favours to pretend that switching to entirely free software magically makes everything better for normal people. The extra freedoms you get with free software are only worth anything in practice if you're in a position to exercise them, and most people aren't.

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