Saturday, November 7, 2015

Me and Windows 10

The Silicon Graybeard has an excellent post on the Windows 10 almost-forced "upgrade" that's coming.

Go RTWT. I'm sure there's some good comments coming, as he has LOTS more readers than I do.....

He and I have exchanged a few emails about the state of Amateur Radio software for Linux, and I assured him it's a very healthy state, and MUCH Ham software for Linux is under active creation and development.

Here was my reply in the comments, edited here for linking and clarity:

I know exactly how you feel.

I have two applications that depend on Windows, and will NOT run under WINE (A Linux program) or the CodeWeavers "Crossover" stuff.

One is PowerSDR that runs my Flex Radio Systems 5000A, and the other is the drivers and software for my Maxtrox High Definition video capture card.

Those two machines will stay with Windows 7, and after Micro$oft stops supporting Win7, I'll just do my best to keep all the required anti-virus and anti-malware software updated, and pull the Ethernet cable out of the machine so it's off my LAN when I'm not updating them.

When the two vendors stop supporting the software on Win 7 is another matter, which I haven't thought much about.

Matrox still releases updates for the card, as does Adobe, who updates their Premiere Pro video editing suite that came bundled with the card. When they completely stop supporting the card, I'll probably try and sell it, possibly with the PC it's in, as the PC was built specifically for that card, and it's pretty well optimized as an audio/video editing system.

Flex Radio Systems has already said they'll be doing one final "rollup" update for PowerSDR, but as with all things Flex, it's anybody's guess when that will happen, so I'm not holding my breath. As long as the radio continues to function, I'll keep a PC to use it with cobbled together, and complete disk images, made weekly, in case I lose a drive.

The only thing I AM sure of is that Micro$oft is not getting one more dime from me......


  1. Hmmm, it was late 90's when I switched to Linux as a primary OS for home use. Not sure when I stopped using Windows at home completely. Recently, I did set XP in a VM, because word processing in Linux just sucks. I'm thinking maybe I ought to get a laptop running Win7 while I still can, exactly because of the things you and Greybeard are talking about - if I encounter something which needs software for which there is Linux equivalent. Don't have anything like that right now, but insurance against the future is on my mind.

    On my work PC, I de-installed the patch that put the "Get Windows 10" in the system tray. I also made sure to not install these patches, and I've turned of updates completely. I will not have those annoyances at work, on top of all the other annoyances at work.

    If I do acquire a newer laptop with Win7, I will do the same on it. Might even air-gap it. No route to host, except via USB stick that doesn't go anywhere else, except my Linux machine. If there's good AV for Win7 being kept up-to-date, I might plug it in to the network when needed. My existing decrepit laptop almost never goes on the net.

    In other news, won a door prize yesterday - a 6M Yagi from Arrow Antenna. No place to put it though.

    1. What do you use for word processing? Does it "suck" because of incompatibility issues with Micro$oft Office, or because it's "different" than what your used to and therefore harder to use?

      I do all my documents with LibreOffice, and when I'm done collaborating on them, I convert them to pdf for distribution.

    2. At the moment, I use Word97 in an XP VM. Not that I do much word processing these days. I actually used Scribus for business cards on Avery stock - that worked well. But Scribus isn't the right tool for things such as my resume. Oh, I could make it work.

      On Linux, I just don't do any word processing. I was an early adopter of OpenOffice. I actually used Star Office back in ... 1999? ... so OpenOffice was an easy transition for me, before they ruined it by piling ever more gunk into it, trying to keep up with M$Office. I was also an early adopter of LibreOffice, or tried to be, but the installation hosed my fonts something awful, and I had to spend a couple hours fixing that, after de-installing LibreOffice.

      I haven't actually been really happy with a word processor since AmiPro v3.1, back in about 1992. It had some bugs, and font management wasn't as easy as it is these days, but it worked very well.

      The problem with word processors these days is everyone is in an arms race to keep stuffing features into them. Both OpenOffice and LibreOffice were dog slow on my machine. When such programs are slower on a Core-Duo than AmiPro was on a Pentium ... uh, how slow were the processors back then? (133? 266?) Well, something's wrong there. And, the developers just can't seem to keep themselves from messing with the gui.

      I tried AbiWord. Pretty clunky. I don't recall what it was I wanted to do that it wouldn't, but I gave up on it pretty quickly (and no, this isn't in contradiction to the above -- there are some things word processors really do need to do).

      I keep a few spreadsheets around for various things, and for that, I use Gnumeric.

      At this point, I hope I never need to do any real word processing using Linux. Not sure what I'll try in that case - maybe LaTex? Again, wrong tool, but it'll work. I'm not afraid of using markup - used to use reveal codes all the time, in WordPerfect. Heck, HTML could be a possibility.

    3. That's interesting, as I've never had any problems with LibreOffice whacking out some other part of my system.

      What distribution are you running? Did you try and install LibreOffice from your distributions software repositories?

    4. At the moment, I'm running Mint-Debian. I went with that, because it was supposed to be a rolling distribution, and I've been forever lax about doing dist-upgrades when I need to. Uh, so yeah, about that rolling release schedule. (There was a better announcement, but I can't find it now.) Haven't decided what to do next, distro-wise. Pondering Arch.

      However, since I don't have any pressing need, I'm still taking the Great White approach.

      I have plenty other things to mess with, Linux-wise, without spending time on bloated office-suite software. Possibly, once I upgrade the mobo, CPU, and RAM, I'll chance it, but in general, I rebel at the notion that I should have to do hardware upgrades just to do word processing. It ain't as if I'm a gamer, chasing framerate here.

      I might possibly look into some of the lightweight word processors.

    5. OK, that explains a lot.

      I'm not a Debian guy precisely because of issues like that.

      FOSS is a Good Thing, but not when it gets in the way of trying to use my system to get work done.

  2. I'm about done with them also... Slowly converting to MAC.

    1. Macs are nice, but man, you sure pay for that privilege!

  3. The software which runs my HVAC program for the facility I manage is Win 7 compatible. And only Win 7. An upgrade to Win10 is $6,600 for the license.
    You can imagine my reluctance. to budge.

    1. Yeah, I'm in the same boat here as far as my two applications.

      One of these days I'll upgrade the Matrox card I have to one of their newer external devices. The newer ones have better performance, and cost about half of the $1200 I originally spent for the card.

      Buying a newer Flex SDR radio will cost me a minimum of $2500, with their other two models going for $4300 and $7500.

  4. There is a bit of freeware called the "GWX Control Panel" which kills off all the Win10 nonsense. The .exe sits on your desktop and does nothing until you start/run it. The best thing it does is to delete the Win10 prep files which I'll bet are sitting on your C:\ drive right now.

    1. Yep, I'm aware of the program, but haven't looked into it very far.

      Perhaps I'll try it on this little laptop after we get back.....


Keep it civil, please....