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2007 06 11

native works both ways… or does it?

So, in the young years of OS X, thousands were complaining that Office and other mac ports of Windows software didn’t look native enough. There is even a vocal group advocating native Aqua controls for Firefox on OS X.
Now, Apple just released Safari for Windows, complete with Aqua scrollbars and widgets. I’m waiting to read the rants of those pro-native users, about how Cupertino’s team could and should have made Safari fit in on Redmond’s desktop. Oh that’s right, not their problem.

(I’m going through the “mild hate for hype” part of my love-hate relationship with OS X, and software in general. Among my drafts is a rant on the annoyances in Coda…)

2005 07 22

desktop nonsense

I’d go further than Asa and say a truly seamless install would achieve equivalent compatibility that OS X achieves – install into NTFS, run Windows apps from the shell via double click, and reading resources from the Windows executables for display in the shell. Users should be able to transition what is effectively a new “shell” and still run all their productivity apps – MS Word, Photoshop, etc.

Ben Goodger‘s fantasy about desktop Linux

I suppose this is sarcasm, after Asa Dotzler’s pieces on desktop Linux and migration from Windows which defined a bloody long list of near-impossible goals.

So here’s a desktop Linux vs Windows story, partially focused on hardware support, since that’s the usual complaint against desktop Linux.
Months ago, I was kind of fed up with Gentoo and thought about installing both Ubuntu and Windows XP in the spare partitions I had.
I proceeded by installing Windows and then Ubuntu. Both installations took about half an hour.

At the end of the Windows install, here’s what I had:

  • a 800×600 resolution on the natively 1280×1024 screen, with no way to get a higher one than 1024×768 until I download the graphics card’s driver
  • “unknown” peripherals: my webcam, and a USB gamepad
  • no network (I was using Wi-fi at the time)
  • no Bluetooth

Since I always lose my hardware’s driver CDs, I was at a loss with an ugly resolution and no internet connection.

At the end of the Ubuntu install, the situation was different:

  • screen resolution was the LCD’s native one, 1280×1024 ; 3D acceleration wasn’t provided by the included driver (blame nVidia), but at least the desktop didn’t look like a stretched piece of blurry ink spills
  • in the menu was an app named Camorama that, as its name implied, allowed me to use my Logitech QuickCam Pro 4000 webcam
  • had I had games to install, I could have played some with the USB gamepad (a Logitech, can’t remember the kind)
  • Bluetooth apps were there in the system menu, using the D-Link DBT120 dongle
  • I could browse the web with Firefox, since my Wi-fi card (a Peabird WLG PCI) was recognised and I could configure the connection during the install process

Draw your own conclusions.

I for one bought a used G4 yesterday, and relocated the PC to the living room, where it will run until I am done transfering my data to the Mac.
(Because, since no desktop operating system is perfect, I couldn’t mount my ext3 /home partition with Tiger, while I could do it with FreeBSD… help?)

2005 05 07

no more BSOD

No more BSOD on LongHorn! Instead, they’ll be red.

2004 08 11

XP Lite, OMG MUST BUY

Microsoft to release a cheaper Windows in Asia.
In places like Thailand and Malaysia where buying a pirated copy of Windows XP for $1 is a common practice, you would think this would encourage people to buy a real version for a few more bucks. But here come the catches:

Microsoft’s new software – dubbed “XP Lite” – will feature lower resolution graphics and limited options for networking computers together.

It will also limit users to running three programs concurrently – a far cry from the full version of XP, where the only practical limit comes from the speed of the computer and the size of its memory.

Now let’s put ourselves in the shoes of some Thai, Malay, or Indonesian person: would we rather pay $50 (wild estimate) for a really crippled Windows XP, or get the full deal, albeit pirated, for $1?
(Or better, save the $1 to buy a blank CD and get Linux instead?)

2004 05 05

who can you trust?

Yesterday, Microsoft did a demonstration of Longhorn, comparing it to Windows XP. Both OSs ran on the same hardware.

What happened according to Reuters (in Yahoo! News):

The Longhorn machine, although slightly better than Windows XP at displaying graphics-heavy Windows, failed to respond when Allchin also tried to bring up another graphics-intensive application, the popular first person shooter game Quake.

The same event, according to IDG News Service (in InfoWorld):

On a Windows XP PC the images got jittery and the video memory quickly maxed out, on the Longhorn system the images were fluent and the system was able to run the Quake video game in the background.

So, according to one journalist, the machine wouldn’t respond when Allchin tried to run Quake on Longhorn. Another journalist saw it running fine in the background.
Who is reporting the fact, and who is playing Microsoft’s PR game?