Should I "Upgrade" To Windows 10's Sweeping New Intrusiveness?


#1

Perhaps a not so simple question. I understand the ins and outs. My job involves the retail sale of computers and I’m no novice, even though I wouldn’t call myself an expert on all things computer-related. I like the new features, but there is one things that concerns me:

The Privacy Policy, especially the part where it says Microsoft can access and disclose whatever it wants to whomever it wants in the name of “protecting their customers.”

That is not something that can be deactivated in the settings.

Does anyone know how unique this kind of thing is to Microsoft? It defeats the point of being able to encrypt a drive, doesn’t it? This shit has me seriously considering a Mac, and while I’m very OS agnostic, I can be swayed with vague and sweeping TOS. Still, if this is a fairly common practice and shows up everywhere… perhaps I shouldn’t be so hesitant?


#2

People will offer various sorts of advice. But really, I think we’ve long since passed the point at which you have to assume that every major software vendor and Internet service provider, including most of the free ones, is involved in marketing personal data or has strong ties to the government, usually both.

As in most parts of life, all the frequent, detailed advice you’ll get is really about making you feel better about a problem that you, as an individual, cannot solve. Don’t exhaust yourself with useless gestures.

(NB: I’m badly sleep-deprived, stressed out, and more angry than usual, so this likely colors my responses to, well, everything.)


#3

Nah, bullshit - you should totally be hesitant. Particularly given your OS-agnosticism, you should be thinking long and hard about blowing off Windows.

Damn straight it seems like rendering disk encryption moot - fuck that noise. So folks will call you paranoid; fuck them and the panopticon they rode in on. We have a right to privacy, and a right to not be boiled like bloody frogs. Resist.

Could an OS be effectively quarantined inside a VM somehow?


#4

Speaking of, can anyone recommend a current flavor of Linux that does pretty much everything? I’ve done many distros over the years, even as primary, but I’ve been away for a bit.

And my triple monitors make Linux hairy in general, but I did get Ubuntu working properly on them a couple years ago.


#5

DistroWatch is a useful index of Linux and BSD distributions, with reviews.

It’s hard to make a recommendation without knowing more about what your preferences are. Why’d you stop using Ubuntu?


#6

Current versions of Linux Mint handle multi-monitor pretty well, if you’re willing to use NVIDIA/AMD binaryblob drivers. I honestly don’t care enough to try for the opensource drivers anyway, they take too much work on a machine that’s supposed to be fun.

But yeah, I like and use Linux Mint with Cinnamon desktop. It basically looks just like GNOME2 and is pretty much binary compatible with Ubuntu packages. You can even have it directly use Ubuntu PPA sources.

There’s two versions of Linux Mint. One is the normal Ubuntu-based version, the other is a Debian-based version that’s binary compatible with the Debian packages but doesn’t necessarily maintain compatibility with the Ubuntu stuff. In anycase the points for choosing are listed on the Linux Mint website.


#7

Since Linux comes up, I’ll just put this in: I like and use it, but I also want to keep playing my PC games and frankly, LibreOffice does NOT play nice when working with DOCX, in ways that make it hard to use considering that I’m often required to use the format, or to use computers that use Word. It’s not the only issue that keeps me from living on Linux, but it’s a big one.

Maybe I’ll do dual boot and live a double life? Do all my serious stuff in Linux and just use Windows for games and word processing? But any OS that makes me do this is fundamentally broken, no?


#8

I say this about every three years, and live mostly in the Linux OS for a few days, and then it’s about half and half for a few days, and then I skip it at boot and never notice it again.

But my workhorse Win7 is aging, and since I don’t intend to get anywhere near Win10, it might just be time to really, seriously do it. Again.

It almost always comes down to the box not playing nice on a Windows network. We do a lot of folder sharing around here, and I have a really hard time getting Samba to dance for me.


#9

Depending on which games you play, WINE is a viable alternative, or if you’re willing to cough up a little dough, you can get Crossover (a product based on WINE that was originally specifically designed to get MS Office working in Linux) for about $60 USD with an option for phone support and everything. Personally, I find most stuff works pretty well under vanilla WINE, but Crossover is better for enterprise environments.


#10

Copycat.


#11

I have never gotten WINE to work. Not once. I don’t know if it’s the specific games I initially tried it with, but I’ve long since given up. I have a feeling trying to get it to work with Origin well enough to enjoy the gameplay is a way to waste time, hope, and patience.


#12

I also have tried and failed with WINE, and I decided long ago it’s not worth the fight. If I’m moving to Linux, I need all native solutions.


#13

Origin? Well there’s your problem! I use either Steam or just indie games that are self-distributed. Usually they’re even compiled in WINE from the beginning, it’s a wonderful tool to ensure compatibility with Genuine Windows. If it runs in WINE, it’ll run well in Windows after all. Anyway, there’s a Steam client for linux as well, and there’s a lot of games in the Steam store with the SteamOS+Linux compatibility.


#14

It’s broken by design. It’s been an open secret for years that Microsoft pushes upgrades to Office by making each succeeding file format unreadable by prior versions. Vendor lock-in through incompatible proprietary file formats was the main weapon used when there were competing word processors. Funny story: SGML, of which HTML is an instance, was invented specifically as a solution to the problem of government archives becoming unreadable due to proprietary file formats.

I’ve lost count of the number of people who’ve told me that they have to use Windows for exactly the same reasons you site: games, and DOCX. They complain a lot less about the sacrifices if they switch to OS X instead of to Linux, though.

My desktop is set up for dual-booting, though really it’s only games that I ever use in Windows, and an increasing proportion of games are available in Linux through Steam. However, Steam certainly collects and markets user data. And so does Ubuntu Linux; I expect others do as well.


#15

At my house we’re OSX except for one machine where like @FoolishOwl I keep a dual boot for games. But I’m old in my game tastes, and the games I enjoy settle for XP SP2. I just played a bit of Banished which is the newest game I have and other than that thanks to allocating not very much space for the Win partition I have Caesar 3, Ultima up to 7, and Eve Online loaded up.

But all our 3 macs are aging and I just got a new ASUS laptop specifically for a work project over the next few months. I turned off everything it is possible to turn off, and gave it only biz related identifying info.

I can tell you this, 8.1 was my first experience whatsoever since XP…WHAT A LOAD OF SHIT THAT WAS. Despite my loathing all things MS, I opted for the upgrade to 10 specifically because I’d read/heard that interface wise they’d stepped backward/forward/AWAY from the 8.1 BS.

And it is better. You get prompted constantly to violate yourself tho I’m learning to ignore it. So far the worst thing about 10 was the upgrade experience. 3 days it took to get it right. I d/l 10 4-5 times including a try at using the media creation install, which wanted a product key, which I found in my bios, which MS rejected (Fuckers! It is a Legit Key You Fucks!)

When it finally installed online, it killed my touchpad, that was easily fixed in half an hour but it was the thought that went into releasing an OS that upon install on probably tens or hundreds of thousands of laptops immediately disabled the primary interface that impressed me.

Then there was the usual 12 hours of removing bloatware, bullshit and BS, realizing I didn’t want to fuck with Java to force Open Office to work & settling for renting the Office 365 suite for a month or 3 using a work CC and no real info. Gritting my teeth setting up everything I would need.

It was like stepping back in time for me. Everything I hated about all of the 90’s & early teens returned in stark, vivid, amplified detail. All so I could temporarily save two grand and have a throwdown work machine I’m not committed to.

If you have the option, go OSX or any of the other suggestions. 10 is an upgrade, but it’s still just the top of a pile of shit.


#16

Ars’ coverage of Win10 (example) has not been complimentary. Win7 is, I think what the upgrade from XP should have been, and it’s been the best Win OS since. IMHO, obvs. But 8 and > are just so obnoxious in so many ways.

I used to think, “it’s still Windows, and probably a better Windows”, but now it’s not the same experience, and it’s not better (for a lot of reasons, I wasn’t just less picky then).

Win7 won’t cut it forever and I’m not “upgrading” to MS’ new vision of licensed OS’s, and I’m not giving money to APL, ever. That pretty much leaves a *nix, which is why the question is getting more important every day.

By which I mean, thanks for indulging me with Nix talk in a Win thread. :smile:


#17

Google and Apple BOTH have their versions of this same thing, privacy is something you have to have a lot of skill and technical know how to opt-into these days and doing so disables many modern features users are coming to expect.

When you talk to your computer and it knows you have a lunch meeting with John Smith at 1:00 at the Chic Diner, it is because it is accessing your calendar. All these “smart” features are based on the interconnected data mining of your life. For better or for worse.


#18

Well in that case, it wouldn’t matter which Linux distro you use, since they’re all going to be using more or less the same upstream version of Samba.

I’ve had okay results with Samba in the past, but not great, and I think newer versions of Windows have layered more stuff on top of the older network file sharing that Samba can’t handle. It might work somewhat better if you’ve got a central file server, and can configure it so that Samba can work with it easily. In general, it works a lot better to have a file server running Linux, with Windows clients, than the other way around.


#19

At least this makes sense. I’m more concerned about MS’s little rider allowing them to disclose your data pretty much on a whim. They’re super vague about the circumstances under which they disclose your data to enforce the terms of the license.


#20

Samba seems to hate me with a passion.