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back to article I just LOVE Server 2012, but count me out on Windows 8 for now

Overall, I think Windows 8 is a truly wonderful operating system. The under-the-hood changes make it a fantastic improvement over Windows 7. I am completely in love with Server 2012; I can't imagine the next few years without it. Despite being in love with the technology underpinning Windows 8, I ultimately have to walk away …

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If you don't move onto Windows 8, will you stick with what you have or move onto another OS?

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Linux

Already looking

I've ruled out Apple, I've tried their software before and just don't like it. Windows 8 I tried the RC and again wasn't fond of it, the mishmash of desktop and tablet just felt far too forced.

Instead I'm looking at various linux distros to see which are the easiest to use, right now I'm torn on ubuntu and mint. For me Ubuntu is winning in spite of the unity interface (I like the unity interface, I created something very similar to it for a uni project 5 years ago, they could have just done it better)

Mostly because of Steam looking at an Ubuntu launch. Steambuntu anyone? I've already found applications to replace most of the windows apps I use (just wish I could find a GOOD replacement for VS, mono develop just isn't there yet).

Right now literally the only thing keeping me on windows is the games. Soon as Steam arrives on Linux? BAM

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Re: Already looking

how reliable are linux ports for games though? I mean how plausible is it that a game you really want to play comes along without a linux port?

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I'm starting to like Mountain Lion a lot. I also have Fedora 17 with Cinnamon as a potential candidate, and I am trying to learn Mint with Cinnamon. (There's a lot more mainstream support for Debian than RHEL.) Android ont he desktop is a real possibility if the x86 version ever gets born. I rather like Android, and can do all my legacy Microsoft stuff through RDP.

Overall, it's Windows XP/7 for now, with my next desktop likely a Mac and my next ultrabook likely Android.

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Re: Already looking

You're looking at Ubuntu?

(Buy Ubuntu for Dummies from Amazon for £9.99)

This used to be the posterboy (Buy posters from Amazon from £1.99) of the Linux community, however recently they have made some grave (Buy gravestones from Amazon from £50.99) decisions relating to their desktop (Buy office desks from Amazon from £19.99) environment.

I'm sticking to Mint (Buy Polo Mints from Amazon from 50p) even though it's WiFi adaptor drivers are sketchy (Buy sketchbooks from Amazon from 99p)

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Re: Already looking

Mint major version upgrades are a PITA, though. It's a backup/reinstall/restore process. Ecccchhh.

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Re: Already looking

@Sir Wiggum: Can you combine this with a Yahoo! posting, or will the ensuing unreadability break El Reg's Forums?

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Re: Already looking

Ah yes, Yahoo! search!

Party like it's 1997!

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FAIL

Re: Already looking

@sirwiggum

sudo apt-get remove unity-lens-shopping

There you go, fixed.

If only metro was as easy to uninstall.

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Re: Already looking

Have you considered Eclipse as a VS alternative?

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Re: Already looking

You're doing it wrong, but it's a simple fix. Move your /Home directory to a separate hard drive partition. You'll still have to reinstall the apps that don't come with the OS (for me, the big ones are True Crypt and Virtual Box), but you don't have to touch your data files. I have over 1TB of data in my /Home directory, and I'd hate to back that up and restore it every time. Plus, in any Linux distro, a clean install is always a better idea. I've had mixed results with simple updates.

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Mushroom

I shall...

Be sticking with Win 7.

Does everything I need... and I have ZERO reason to go to Win 8

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Re: Already looking

It will be a likelyhood of a number approaching Zero

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Already looking

"Mint major version upgrades are a PITA, though. It's a backup/reinstall/restore process. Ecccchhh"

LMDE

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Linux

This is an awesome opportunity for Linux to move in and get a good share of the desktop market.

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Linux

Re: Already looking

one thing though, if you don't like Unity in Ubuntu, open up the software center and pick desktop that you do like. The first thing I did in 12.04 was to install the Gnome desktop. One click and it was done. Try that with Windows 8.

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Meh

"Ultimately the reason I'm walking away because what I need from a computer is not what Microsoft wants computers to become." - op

Which other OS other than a headless server with web admin? Gnome and Unity are sort of going the same way and won't support MS specific tools. KDE? Running VMs?

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Except for the fact that...

... every single "consumer" desktop environment on Linux is rubbish.

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JDX
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Moving to nix just because you don't like W8 seems a big overreaction, if you like W7. Wait until W9 before deciding is my view... by that time the OS might genuinely be of little importance.

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Meh

Re: Except for the fact that...

I recently had a nightmare trying to set up multiple monitors on a Linux machine. If you stick with two monitors off one graphics card you should be ok, which will be the majority of cases, but as soon as you add multiple graphics cards then you're pretty much stuck. You can fudge it with multiple X screens but you can't drag applications from one monitor to the other which is pointless. I also had it working to the point where a desktop was full screening over two monitors so everything appeared stretched out and all the message boxes which appear in the centre of screen were split over two monitors.

On Windows this works without any issues at all. This is just a fact of better driver support in Windows which has plagued Linux forever.

On the server, Linux is king. On the desktop, Windows is king.

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Installing Linux

I assume that Microsoft have (illegally) locked out other OS's on 2012 certified hardware via secure boot, like Windows 8?

Stay as fair away as possible unless you want an expensive brick.

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Re: Installing Linux

Technically not.

The OEM license requires that Secure Boot be present and enabled, so all new devices will come locked. But Win8 x86 licensing requires secure boot be user disableable - but IMHO that's only to avoid the anticompetitve hammer still held over Microsoft.

It's a certainty MS will insist Secure Boot is shipped enabled or yank licences, it's a fair bet they'll do nothing if OEMs forget to give the user disable rights or a buggy setup that cannot be disabled. Or worse, one that somehow fails to accept 3rd party licence keys.

The end result will be ordinary consumers in a world of pain if they try replacing Win8 on new devices, even where that's as simple as turning off Secure Boot that will stop most even trying.

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Re: Installing Linux

In addition some linux distros have their boot loader signed by MSFT

Probably annoys Richard Stallman a little but means that Linux will install with no questions asked.

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Re: Installing Linux

"Or worse, one that somehow fails to accept 3rd party licence keys."

Any code signing infrastructure working with centralized points accepts "3rd party" license keys. It's a design feature. You go there, either with a court order, an bribed employee or though a Flash applet and get whatever you want signed.

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Thanks for the warning..

I haven't tried Windows 8 but, being an old f**t with a disinclination to drop all previous experience for a "new paradigm", I think I will wait a while before experimenting to see just how many people are like the author. If there are a lot, MS is pretty good at high speed U turns. Truthfully though I have mostly dropped Windows 7 (which runs virtual on Centos) for Linux (Kubuntu), just doing CAD and one or two other tasks on Windows 7 so (for example) I never use Windows to access the Internet.

What bothers me most though is that there are indications that the Linux GUI teams are dashing down the same route as MS and making simple things trivial to do and trickier things radically more difficult.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Thanks for the warning..

It's all part of this shift from sitting in the spare room with a big box PC to sitting in the living room on the sofa with your family using a tablet PC.

Of course so long as what you use a computer for is communication and web surfing this progression is fine. But for office work, productivity and real games it's less ideal.

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Re: Thanks for the warning..

it's bullshit isn't it. no-one seriously uses tablets anyway except to do asine shit like play angry birds and "follow" someone on twitter.

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Re: Thanks for the warning..

But then this is where they are touting Hybrid PC/Tablets, you can fondle away in the Living room, then dock it in the spare room for a proper gaming / spreadsheet session.

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Unhappy

@Sir Wiggum

"Hybrid PC/Tablets" are fine, but I think the problem is that Win 8 needs to be hybrid too. At the moment it seems like a phone/tablet OS with a few grudging afterthoughts to keyboard/mouse use.

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Devil

Re: Thanks for the warning..

You forgot Reddit

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Trollface

Re: Thanks for the warning..

>it's bullshit isn't it. no-one seriously uses tablets anyway except to do asine shit like play angry birds and "follow" someone on twitter.

yeah but that is what people want to spend $$$ on. Just because you don't agree with the market doesn't mean it gives a sh_t what you think. Follow it or die as Dell and Acer are learning the hard way.

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Trollface

Re: Thanks for the warning..

> MS is pretty good at high speed U turns.

WebTV (1997), Tablet PCs (2002), WinFS (1990s), Sidewalk.com (1997), Passport (2000), Windows Live Spaces (2004), .NET (2002), WinG (1993), Silverlight (2011), Kin (2010), Vista(2006)

That they are. It helps having a near endless stream of OS and Office cash to cushion the fubars though.

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Re: Thanks for the warning..

And that is where MS have their panic.

Bill Gates said something like "a PC on every desk, and a PC in every home", and MS continued to believe that until the iPad proved that actually, most people didn't need ( or want ) a PC in their home, since they do just want couch potato internet access.

Not only are they missing out on a big new market, but their old replacement market could implode; then their endless streams of cash would begin to look less endless.

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Happy

Re: Thanks for the warning..

@Ray Foulkes, That's why there is XFCE.

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Anonymous Coward

Metro on 2012 suicidal

Until MS release a patch allowing 2012 to boot without metro, I'm not installing it in production.

Forcing a tablet / end user oriented GUI on a server OS........what drugs are MS on and can I have some?

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Re: Metro on 2012 suicidal

I thought Microsoft's preferred position for Server 2012 was no UI at all on the server, with management via Server Manager.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Metro on 2012 suicidal

You want drugs to make you suicidal? Well there have been suggestions that paroxetine can have this effect.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Metro on 2012 suicidal

> Until MS release a patch allowing 2012 to boot without metro, I'm not installing it in production.

That "patch" has been around for a couple of years - just install Windows Server Core.

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Anonymous Coward

There's always going to be people complaining that Windows 8 isn't for them because of (insert highly technical reason here) - but as the OP points out in his closing remarks, these days, by a wide, wide margin, the main market for computers is ordinary, regular consumers.

However I disagree with the sentiment that Microsoft are forcing Metro on us in order to sell new phones. Metro makes the most sense on tablets and phones, but the reason we're also seeing it on the desktop is that Microsoft want to foster the largest possible market for developers to target as quickly as possible, and that means leveraging the tens of millions of PCs that ship with Windows every /month/. Once that market has been created, and buyers of tablet Windows PCs have a huge marketplace of apps to choose from, keeping it 'forced' on desktop users will begin to make less sense, and it's entirely possible it might become optional at that stage. In the meantime - it is the way it is, and there's no actual problem jumping on board. I use Windows 8 on my work PC daily - I barely see the start screen except for launching programs I /don't/ have pinned to my taskbar!

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The issue

is that both MS and Apple are dumbing down their flagship products. This isn't just about tablet-ising the experience - it's about their (wrong. I think) expectations of what users want to do with technology.

PCs have always been completely general information processors. The point about a PC (and I mean 'personal computer' not just 'Wintel box') is that you can get it to do almost anything with data - video, music, art, photography, coding, internets, messaging, geeky low-level command-line stuff, and many many more.

Metro and the 'post-PC' tablet idea destroy that generality. Instead of a free-for-all with low cost of entry for developers and relatively relaxed rules about what's possible, the hardware, file system, and user experience are becoming increasingly proscribed and locked down.

This is a very, very bad thing. It destroys the entire point of personal computing.

I *want* to be able to use professional tools to make things and do cool stuff. If I can't because it's too hard, too slow, or too complicated, what's the point?

MS+Apple should have kept the generality and bolted on touch features for specialised applications. Instead they have created systems that throw away generality and power in exchange for a simplified Mickey Mouse experience that doesn't improve on the original and is also harder to use productively in a fully general way.

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Re: The issue

But then a lot, if not most, people use computers as appliances. It gets them on to facebook, twitter and maybe write the occasional letter, they don't care if the ecosystem is walled garden as per Apple, or a free for all as per Windows of old / Linux.

People generally don't want to do "cool stuff" with their TVs, toasters etc. they just want them to provide a function, same now with post-PCs.

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Re: @Sir Wiggum: appliances

1st: other peoples use patterns has nothing to do with *my* usage and is no justification for reducing my choices and experience.

2nd: this use of computing devise as appliances explains why users *can* switch to devices with simpler form factors, lower prices and lower capabilities. It's *why* a simpler UI/OS is acceptable but that UI/OS is *not* why they're switching. Forcing the extremely tablet configured Metro on the desktop won't stem the switch to tablet or phones, it's a 2nd rate experience on highly capable hardware that lacks the convenient form factor and any price saving.

If Microsoft cared at all about end users they would configure Metro apps to fit the desktop, not just clone the tablet/phone experience on a bigger screen. This whole misadventure is about what Microsoft needs to avoid irrelevance in a post-PC world and PC users really don't matter to them - other than as potential future MS tablet/phone users to be hooked.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The issue

I guess that is why Windows 8 *does* support traditional applications, and you can choose to use Metro, or switch to desktop mode.......?

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Re: @Sir Wiggum: appliances

> Forcing the extremely tablet configured Metro on the desktop won't stem the switch to tablet or phones

Not-Metro is not intended to stem the tide of switching to tablets and phones, it is intended to change that tide to switching to Surface and WP8.

An analyst (pronounce that any way you feel is appropriate) told them that the reason for WP7 failure is unfamiliarity with the UI. MS are trying to fix that by making it "the most familiar UI" on 400 million machines within 12 months.

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Re: The issue

You do realize that you can do both. The Canon Cat, for example was both an appliance, but it had a little unmarketed "execute" feature which made it a full blown computer.

I wouldn't have a problem with those "appliances" if there wouldn't now be the tendency to lock them down. I can live with buying a used Thinkpad, yanking off the Windows XP and installing some Linux, but once the boot-loader will be locked down because of some idiots who believe that improves security in any way, that will not be possible any more.

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Don't be too obsessed by home users

Home users do not fund the industry. Home users tend to stick with the commercial software installed on the machine when they bought it, at massive OEM discounts. Anything else is either a free download, pirated, or not bothered with. The industry seems to be obsessed with home users now that industry is basically saturated, but you need at least ten installed home systems to provide the same income as one commercial system. For many or even most commercial environments the PC form factor - monitor, keyboard, mouse, is still the most general, productive, and cost effective. How many PCs are primarily used for data entry, word processing and email? Keyboards are still a pretty central feature to most users who are actually paying the bills.

If companies forget that core market they will be abandoned and they will lose the income to fund the loss-leading trendier stuff. We moved to thin clients a long time ago for flexibility and ease of management, so it ultimately makes no difference if an app runs on Windows, Solaris, Linux or whatever. Microsoft can't provide a decent word processor? Fine, they get one on Linux or whatever.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The issue

"PCs have always been completely general information processors. "

My first integrated PC was an Apple II back in 1979. That was a machine that could be customised in both hardware and software.

My next one was an IBM PC clone in the1980s - which could also be customised in hardware and software. Apple's Lisa was an expensive sealed "appliance". Since then Apple have seemed to make more noise about their styling than any capability useful to me.

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Big Brother

Re: The issue

I have spent a working lifetime around this stuff, and have reluctantly come to a conclusion about 'dumbing down'. I suspect that Microsoft, Apple, Google and Canonical have research data that suggests that many of their potential new users are incapable of using their traditional products - It is all too hard for them. We are, perhaps, insulated from this because we tend to like this stuff, and are prepared to put in the effort to use it.

It is also in the interests of these companies to attempt to roll back the whole free Internet thing - It is much better for them if they can lock a user-base into a propriatory locked-down network - A modern version of AOL, or the MicroSoft Network. There may be a trillion dollars riding on the choices that new users make, we are on the edge of a technological and societal change as big as those that came from movable type and broadcast radio.

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Re: @Sir Wiggum: appliances

> An analyst (pronounce that any way you feel is appropriate)

lol !

And the "analyst" pronouncement was not even correct either. No-one was familiar with iOS or Android when they appeared either, yet both are vastly more popular than WP7. The majority of the population has now grown up with tech; learning new interfaces is not that hard if it is a new device anyway; and particularly if it is considered mainly as a consumer-electronics style limited-function device.

I'm sure Microsoft has as many fanbois as Apple, but beyond the confines of those "irrationally committed" to one camp or other, ordinary people perceive Apple and Google as new and fresh, while the Microsoft brand is seen as old and stale.

I have my doubts that Surface/Modern UI will suddenly make Microsoft seem a leader again, but putting Modern UI in Win 8 means they will be able to spin their numbers by including PC users in their figures for platform share.

From a personal point of view, I can work around Win 8's shortcomings, but didn't see anything in it that appealed - I used the preview for a while before wiping it yesterday.

I particularly see no point to the "live-tiles as desktop"; I spend all my time on a PC with applications open, so I never see the desktop. The current model of small popup overlay windows is much more useful, although I can see that the tiles idea is useful on a phone. In fact it would be much more useful on a PC to have the live-tiles as a application in a window - but that would be off-message....

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Re: The issue

Aha! BG was right - Blackbird returns!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackbird_%28online_platform%29

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