back to article Remember those holy tech wars we used to have? Heh, good times

2018 has barely begun, and it already feels like we'll be nibbling techwar milquetoast all year long. If 2018 ends up being at all like 2017, that is. We used to get our collective undies in a bunch over whether Linux or Windows was best, until smartphones rendered the debate somewhat moot. Still, we carried on a version of …

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Perhaps the Battlefield Has Shifted?

I'm not at all convinced that people have somehow magically become less dedicated to tribalism. I do wonder if the battlefield has changed. Our brave new cloud world has taken away all of our precious on-prem hardware pets and turned them all into cloudy, expendable cows. Few seem to care about hardware anymore, and like them or not, any of the big OSes can run cloud-based workloads (to varying degrees of performance and success).

What's left to fight over, then? Well, are there holy wars raging in the areas of agile methods, development tools, containers, hypervisors, and/or HCI technologies?

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Trollface

NetWare or NT

"there was serious bloodsport over whether NetWare or NT was the better network operating system "

Well I know which one was the best......

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Re: NetWare or NT

They both had their strengths. NetWare was more stable in the beginning, but by NT 3.51 when Windows came into its own, people already chose their religion.

NDS was really great, but when Active Directory came along, most of us didn’t need all the features. When group policy happened, NDS was more of a burden than a help.

Novell was way too slow to adopt IP as well. IPX was great for LAN but wouldn’t scale for WAN. Multiprotocol router was too expensive too.

Eventually Novell forgot who they were and their file server wa mediocre. Their print server was no longer needed. Their identity services were obsolete. They lacked group policy support. They didn’t do Internet.

Strangely, I was in an NDS training course for a new deployment two weeks ago. It’s still there and it’s still great. It actually can be used to make Linux manageable.

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What no mention of gnome or unity ?

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It used to be Gnome vs KDE.

As I was back then a KDE user, it slightly saddens me that you are saying that Gnome / Unity is where the flamewars are now.

<flame>Does anybody know if KDE still better than Gnome? </flame>

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I should made it clearer. it's gnome/ unity vs every thing else as people saying those two have jumped the shark. I member when people were pissed at KDE and said we are jumping to gnome. Now people are like gnome devs are fucking nuts.

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"Does anybody know if KDE still better than Gnome?"

AFAICS Gnome are winning the race to the bottom. Nevertheless each version of KDE gets uglier than the last and more replete with who-on-Earth-wants-that features.

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KDE?

KDE I've always liked, I'm not happy on any other FM but Dolphin. Could do with some of Konquerors features, like more than 1/2 and 1/2 split.

The only issue I have is the bloody QPE as I often like to use a simple Window Manager and not the whole Plasma desktop occasionally. Now I have to ensure some variables are set otherwise all the applications look like TWM, no theme, no icons.

Some things I like about Gnome, but mostly it's the little niggles that piss me off. Habit of pressing letters expecting to go to folder starting with letter really breaks workflow in Nautlilus as it kicks off a global search every damn time, switch that to local only, then the search button only does local too (and local isn't any use as it rearranges the viewport contents making you feel like you've been spun about seven times hold a broom and looking at the brush).

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>>>Does anybody know if KDE still better than Gnome?<<<

Since anything would be better than Gnome, by default it has to be.

--

Penguin botherer since before either KDE or Gnome were a thing.

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Anonymous Coward

Try Budgie now, thank me later.

<runs and dodges for cover>

It still has some dependencies on that SCCW (Serial Clock Cycle Waster) of Gnome, but that should change sometime along this year.

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Gnome vs KDE

I was a huge fan of KDE up until KDE 3, but then KDE 4 came along and was bloaty, ugly and really dreadfully slow unless you had a reasonably decent graphics card.

I didn’t like Gnome 2 quite as much, but I gradually became comfortable with it.

Nowadays, I have to say I do quite like Gnome 3: it has borrowed a lot of nice features from MacOS (eg, app finder/launcher, window previews), works well with minimal use of the mouse, and, although this may be faint praise, it sucks so much less than Windows 8 ever did, which is really rather a damning indictment of the latter!

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Coat

Sarcasm...

"Google, an erstwhile champion of the open web"

Please tell me that this is supposed to be sarcasm. It might have been that way once, but now Google doesn't give a shit about anything except its own profits and how much data it can gather these days.

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Re: Sarcasm...

Hence 'erstwhile'.

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Re: Sarcasm...

A lot of people seem to think that "erstwhile" means "distinguished" (or something similar implying respect or quality) - it actually means "former", hence the correct use here.

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Re: Sarcasm...

Most likely "erstwhile" is confused with "worthwhile".

I have to admit that I only vaguely recognise "erstwhile", and had no idea what it meant.

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Windows

Bigendian vs. Littleendian

I can remember having to write code to switch tapes from one endian scheme to the other (and vice versa, obv). Since we sorted out those fundamental issues things have been much quieter. I still think in EBCDIC rather than Unicode though.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bigendian vs. Littleendian

Since we sorted out those fundamental issues

We did? htonl() & friends, anyone?

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Re: Bigendian vs. Littleendian

TIFF solved that, at least for cat-pictures.

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Re: Bigendian vs. Littleendian

Umm, no. TIFF merely guaranteed that you would have to write byte-swapping code, whether it was ever used or not.

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What happened?

What happened was that "the good guys" lost, and the major corporations won. Now, at least amongst many of the people who remember the old days on the internet when freedom (and the battles that accompany it) was still a thing are now trying to figure out what to do, or if nothing can be done, how to replace what has been lost at least in some corner, somewhere.

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Re: What happened?

What happened was that "the good guys"

Nonsense. The 'good guys' won. But the adversaries had slipped in round the back and were sitting on the committees before we all knew it.

Take Microsoft (please, god), all those years calling Linux and OSS a cancer, then, all of a sudden, they turn up joining the Linux Foundation (or whatever) and running Linux in Windows 10 as a subsystem , no armistice, peace treaty or apology.

Reparations, you say - here, have Powershell....

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Sinclair QL or Amiga

That was a good one in its time.

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WTF?

Thus spake Matt Asay

A more apt description of, as you put it, the 'tech wars' could be compared to a philosophical dispute between socialism and capitalism. Except on the one side you had a bunch of sandal wearing hippy types and the other side, whilst being careful to depict itself as a cuddly teddybear, was in reality a sinister and ruthless monopoly. That some commentator in the media could depict this as 'silly holy wars' merely demonstrated just how successful Microsoft has been in managing its image. Just to take one example, Microsoft is currently extracting revenue out of handset manufacturers for using Googles Android. I see nothing silly in this.

"At one time there was serious bloodsport over whether NetWare or NT"

Are we living in the same universe. The historical record patently demonstrates the lengths Microsoft went to to sabotage the Netware client running on Windows.

"the City of Munich is still paying for its dalliance with that ideological war"

Only after Microsoft moved it's European headquarters there and sponsored a review of the project, which coincidentally found that Microsoft was the best solution.

"Mozilla kicked off a business that today generates hundreds of millions of dollars by playing off Internet Explorer as the saviour of the free web"

What have you been smoking, there was *no* Internet Explorer when Mozilla produced the first version of their browser. What there was was the Spyglass browser, which Microsoft licensed from the company and then proceeded to give away. This after first trying to buy Netscape, after failing to acquire an exclusive license from the NCSA. Spyglass source code was later on incorporated into IE3.0. Later on Spyglass went broke suing Microsoft.

"Today we have Google Chrome largely replicating all the wrongs of IE yet without the angst"

I don't think Google ever managed to embed the browser into the OS such that it was impossible to remove?

"now been through these cycles enough to finally understand that which desktop OS you use really doesn't matter"

Because once they move all the usability in the local apps to 'the cloud', *we* can rent the software back from you into perpetuity.

There's just so many inaccuracies in that article, I quite frankly find it almost unreadable. Here's some reading to help you recover your memory.

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Re: Thus spake Matt Asay

"What have you been smoking, there was *no* Internet Explorer when Mozilla produced the first version of their browser."

Mozilla released the first version of their browser in 2002, which was after the release of IE 6. Releases prior to that were Netscape.

"I don't think Google ever managed to embed the browser into the OS such that it was impossible to remove?"

Not specifically, but they are using their near-monopoly status to try to force their product to become the de facto standard, allowing them to set their own standards instead of using the actual standards they helped to write.

Microsoft used their power to try to dominate and own the web for their own corporate benefit, and now Google is doing exactly that. The means they employ are not the same as Microsoft's, but the ends certainly are. I've often blasted Mozilla for being the alternative to the corporate giant in the early 2000s, while now they seek to eradicate every difference between their product and the corporate giant's product. They've been on a "be Chrome" kick for years now, and the elimination of their powerful addon API in favor of Chrome addons is just the latest in a long line of questionable decisions.

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Re: Thus spake Matt Asay

A soon as you start seeing suited up "top people" representing organisations you know the end is near.

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Re: Thus spake Matt Asay

"I don't think Google ever managed to embed the browser into the OS such that it was impossible to remove?"

Google's instructions on uninstalling Chrome from Android: "Chrome is already installed on most Android devices, and can't be removed."

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Anonymous Coward

On the bright side...

Game engines / game tech overall has definitely gotten better, and isn't filled with the usual hype. Plus, religious wars are still alive there too:

Unity3D

vs.

Unreal-Engine-UE4

vs.

Lumberyard

vs.

Cryengine

vs.

Frostbite etc....

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Anonymous Coward

'game tech overall has definitely gotten better'

Blender versus Maya versus Max versus Modo versus Daz3D

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Anonymous Coward

slashdot

@disgusted(whoever)

Tend to agree about slashdot, which, however recently came up a little in the world by grabbing a lot of articles from here.

Either their code is broken or they've decided to "like" me. Or is that hate? I seem to have infinite mod points over there now, as soon as I run out, I get more.

I'm doing what I can with mod points and posts to cut down on the silly partisan politic stuff and the losers who just pontificate about things they have no clue about.

But it's like trying to empty the ocean with a thimble...At least there is still an ocean of users there, a few of them smart. And as to politics, at least there are two sides there, unlike that other tech site that starts with Ar.

In real life, problems do not have only two sides, and just because your favorite felon didn't win, the clown that did isn't responsible for all that's gone wrong over the last 4+ decades I've been watching, unless there's some shenanigans with a time machine - now that would be news, but people seem to prefer what would be cognitive dissonance, that is, if they cognated at all. The other guy being wrong doesn't make yours right - all pols lie, cheat, steal, and leave office wealthy and a trail of abused people behind, while we all pay for it - their job is to pick our pockets to buy our votes, when they can't get some big corp to do the pocket picking for them by making anti-competitive rules for campaign contributions. Get over it, partisans - you've been divided and conquered. Keyboard warring over things where both sides are wrong is a cop out.

"All restaurants are Taco Bell now, John".

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Re: slashdot

I gave up on Slashdot when beta appeared. Having gone back recently, it seems just like it used to be with the same old commentards (I recognise some of the Sigs). Agree with AC about mod points. I get about 5 a day, sometimes 10. Not the once a week batch that I remember. It does allow me to do my duty and push irrelevant political posts into obscurity and boost the tech comments. There are still some very knowledgeable people posting though.

Phil.

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Re: slashdot

Oh Christ, don't start on about Ars.

Why are technology forums so full of furiously left wing* posters? El Reg excepted, somehow. This place seems to attract just the grownups. I wonder how long that'll last.

* If they were furiously right wing, that would be just as bad. But they're not.

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Anonymous Coward

Tech wars? - What's the point:

Who wants to argue when we're talking about leaky IoT devices, slurpy Smartphones, spying Smart-TV's (visio), Win-10-spyware. Basically Smart anything! Is MINE really any BETTER than yours? Hardly! They all suck!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Tech wars? - What's the point:

Used to dream of the day I could watch giant TV's in every room and on every wall I wanted. Didn't dream it'd be watching me!!!

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It's 12 January

...and still the pre-canned could-have-been-written-anytime-in-the-last-year articles roll on out.

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No time for tabs versus spaces

I think we're all in shock at how many people think Trump is a good idea. Even some techies like Trump based on the "It's easier to fix things when they're completely broken" concept, as if there weren't real humans to suffer while things are broken.

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Just can't be arsed anymore

I belong to that great generation of 80's home computer nerds, there are thousands of us working in IT today and we are now middle aged, many of us have mortgages, wives, kids... basically I think we have all moved on and really just don't care anymore, there's more important things to worry about. I still see people get riled up about Windows vs Mac etc., but now I just walk away, I have better things to spend my energy on.

I just can't be arsed any more.

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Someday...

...my grandchildren will ask "Grampa, did you *really* fight in the OS/2 wars on Fidonet?"

On second thought, nah, that's stupid...

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powershell VS bash

We are just having a nice powershell vs bash flamefest in another topic's comment section. Vi vs emacs it ain't, but there is still hope.

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I still remember

the battle between Atari ST and Amiga users, yes even the battle between ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64 users!

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Re: I still remember

Well, at least in those two wars, each side was comparably-specced, so there was legitimate room for argument.

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I feel old today...

Ouch, this is the first tech article I can remember that actually makes me feel old.

The passionate "religious wars" in tech started (and named as such) on the USENET (not Slashdot) in places like comp.arch, and was about EBCDIC vs. ASCII, 32 vs. 36 bit, big-endian vs. little-endian, VMS vs. Unix (vs. TOPS-10/20). And later, RISC vs. CISC. The database ones were Oracle vs. Sybase vs. Ingres vs. Informix vs. DEC Rdb. Someone writes an article about the old technology religious wars, and is so wet-behind-the-ears, he misses mentioning every one of them.

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Re: I feel old today...

"wet-behind-the-ears"

I should add, I suppose my comments are not so much a ding on the author (missing those old wars didn't really detract from the article) but my surprise how long ago those things were that someone can write an article about "the old days" without any of those things.

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Re: I feel old today...

VH1 plays music from the 2000's now. What's "old" has moved on.

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Luckily we have Intel fanboys that hate anyone saying AMDs are not bad.

And Apple haters that hate anyone paying good money for iThings or Macs. Even when an Android phone hits $1000.

And the habitual MS defender, for whom no amount of privacy invasion is enough, and no amount of Windows telling them what to do, and when, will annoy them. They don't care when the previously bundled applications are dumbed down and/or removed and turned into rent-ware either. Bricking is but a minor annoyance.

And the Linux hater, for whom a command line represents witchcraft that needs to be stamped out forever.

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Fidonet

Ahh Fidonet.. please come back, all is forgiven... at least you had time to contemplate your responses before you polled for the evening...

In fact life was almost easier on 56k....

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Happy

No more religious wars?

Powershell is far superior to Bash and I call BULLSHIT on your suggestion that Bash is superior.

Just one quote from this comments thread from yesterday.

I rest my case.

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Which side is up?

Part of it, for me at least, is that the "camps" have all been torn asunder, to where I am not really sure which way is up anymore.

From the beginning, Apple was the bad guy for me. I started out using Timex-Sinclair, then a Commodore 64, only to discover the snooty superiority complex of Apple fanatics over their 1 MHz 6502 powerhouse. That soured me on Apple very quickly.

I kept using the Commodore until college, at which time I built my first PC, a 386-33, at that time an incredibly expensive but potent beast. Immediately I was swept into the Mac vs. PC wars; I had little opinion about Macs before that, other than a general contempt because they were Apple products, but soon Mac fans came out of the woodwork to insult my new pride and joy, and so I became a PC partisan.

Many years later, the iPhone came out, and while I to this day do not have a smart phone, I soon became aware that the choice was between a severely limited, walled-garden iDevice and a more customizable Android device. Not only that, but as with PCs, Android users had a broad choice of hardware, while Apple users had only what Apple offered.

Apple was again the bad guy, but something else wasn't right with it. Google was also the bad guy. Apple is overpriced and snooty and artificially limited to prevent their poor sheep from having to tax their widdle brains trying to use their products, but Google out-and-out spied on people, and as much as I despise Apple for the aforementioned reasons, it's not as bad as spying on people (I know people say Apple does it too. Well, I am unconvinced they do it even somewhat close to what Google does). On top of that, Android has an absurd means of updating the OS... depending on device OEMs or cellular carriers to push out updates is just insane.

So smartphones are crap either way, but I still have my PCs, right? Up through Windows 7, sure. Now we're in the Windows 10, "Windows as a Service" era, and it's all turned upside down. Windows 10, quite simply, is an abomination. I cannot adequately express how much I loathe it without bursting into a string of profanity that is uncharacteristic of my writing, and it would probably be too much even for the Reg. Given that MS has made it clear that there is no Windows in the future besides 10, it means that Windows, as a platform, is essentially dead for me. I'd stop using computers completely before I migrated to 10.

Windows hasn't been an OS designed for the traditional PC with mouse and keyboard since Windows 7. After that, Windows ceased to be an OS for the purpose of its users, and it began to be a vehicle for selling Windows phones. It failed miserably, and MS has exited that market, yet they press ahead with the bizarre and stupid phone interface in 10 anyway.

MacOS, though, was meant to be used on the kind of PC I use. How can Apple be the bad guy now? If I had to recommend a PC operating system for someone who wasn't up to Linux, or who had to use programs like Photoshop or a recent version of MS Office (which apparently won't run on Linux even with WINE), it would have to be MacOS. If I had to suggest a device for someone who was a complete tech neophyte, but who wanted to use the internet anyway, it would be an iPad.

Apple, somehow, is the good guy now. It boggles my mind... I still despise the cultism and the smug superiority complex a lot of Apple fans have, and I still detest the idea of having such a limited choice of hardware if I want to use their OS, but Microsoft is so much worse. I'm very glad to have Linux as a third choice, as I think otherwise my head would explode.

That's where I am headed now... I have Linux Mint set up on both of my "main" PCs, and my brand new ultraportable laptop (got it a couple of weeks ago as I write) that came with 10 is my very first Linux only PC so far. I got it cheap, and it's one of those that has only a paltry 32GB eMMC "hard drive." To have two thirds of that used by Windows itself right out of the box is just... stupid. That's not enough storage for Windows... maybe for ChromeOS it is fine (is this thing just a Chromebook with real PC firmware?), but Windows... no way. With Mint, though, it's quite usable with that tiny eMMC.

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Here's another war front that gets frequently overlooked: one with actual real-world consequences. How to deal with the Stupid User? Some feel we need to coddle them lest they take the rest of us with them, others feel they should just let Darwin sort 'em out.

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Well, if 95% of the computers have turned into bots, we might have a problem.

So for the ignorant, I'd suggest protecting them from themselves is desirable. It should just be optional.

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But opt-IN or opt-OUT? Remember, one of the signs of true idiocy is the inability for the idiot to recognize the condition in him/herself.

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