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My solution to the people bitching (again) about M$ vs MS

tomhudson (43916) writes | more than 5 years ago

User Journal 10

Apparently, from all the b*thcing going on in this thread, and this one the article summary contained the term M$, and people are whining - again, and saying "Just use MS".

Apparently, from all the b*thcing going on in this thread, and this one the article summary contained the term M$, and people are whining - again, and saying "Just use MS".

I think it's a great idea, as I write here (reproduced below for your convenience)


Sure, stick with MS - Vista certainly runs as if it has Multiple Sclerosis.

In people affected by MS, patches of damage called plaques or lesions appear in seemingly random areas of the CNS white matter.

We've all heard about the notorious MS patches screwing up things ...

No two people get MS in exactly the same way and the expression of each individual's disease is as unique as their fingerprints. However, the different courses of the disease, both within an individual and within the whole population, principally differ in their timing, location and severity. Underneath similar processes (including demyelination and sometimes other forms of nerve degeneration) are going on.

True - Some get MS pre-installed with their computers, some get it via an upgrade, a friend, bittorrent, but the damage ends up being the same no matter how you got MS.

In general, people with MS can experience partial or complete loss of any function that is controlled by, or passes through, the brain or spinal cord.

Wow - MS Blue-Screens YOU!

"That's sounds terrible - doesn't almost everything go through the brain?"

Well yes, MS can be and often is a very serious disease but almost nobody loses function in all possible areas and some people are affected much worse than others. People with MS can experience any of the following problems either fully or partially - numbness, tingling, pins and needles, muscle weakness, muscle spasms, spasticity, cramps, pain, blindness, blurred or double vision, incontinence, urinary urgency or hesitancy, constipation, slurred speech, loss of sexual function, loss of balance, nausea, disabling fatigue, depression, short term memory problems, other forms of cognitive dysfunction, inability to swallow, inability to control breathing ... you name it.

MS makes Open Sores software look positively benign ...

"Crikey, it sounds devastating"

Yes, but don't forget that it is usually a slowly progressing disease and few people, if any, experience all the possible symptoms. Three quarters of people with MS don't need to use a wheelchair and those that do find that it gives them greater freedom to do the things they want. Many people will require a cane after a number of years of disease activity. Other people will have only very mild and occasional symptoms. Still others have been found to have had MS as a result of an autopsy even though they never presented with any clinical symptoms during their lives. A minority of people with MS die as an indirect result of the disease in its later stages. The majority of PwMS will lie somewhere between these extremes. Adjustments have to be made, but most people with MS can live fulfilled and active lives.

Fuck that shit!

"Can you catch MS from someone with it?"

Absolutely not. Studies have been done on children adopted into families where one of the parents has MS and they have been found to have the same incidence of the disease as the background population [Sadovnick, Ebers et al, 1999]. Other studies show that the number of husband-wife copresentations is almost exactly what you would expect for a non-contagious disease [Ebers, Sadovnick et al, 2000]. This is worth emphasising - you cannot catch MS from a person with the disease. MS is not contagious nor infectious.

So it's okay to hook your linux or mac to a network with MS present and you won't be affected by the disease. Cool - I'm safe.

"Are their different types of MS?"

Yes, there are four main varieties as defined in an international survey of neurologists [Lubin and Reingold, 1996]. (All the graphs show level of disability over time - where two lines appear in the graph it denotes two possible courses of that form of MS.)

The article is a bit out of date - the new version of Windows will have 6 different types of MS.

1. Relapsing/Remitting (RRMS):

This is characterised by relapses (also known as exacerbations) during which time new symptoms can appear and old ones resurface or worsen. The relapses are followed by periods of remission, during which time the person fully or partially recovers from the deficits acquired during the relapse. Relapses can last for days, weeks or months and recovery can be slow and gradual or almost instantaneous. The vast majority of people presenting with MS are first diagnosed with relapsing/remitting. This is typically when they are in their twenties or thirties, though diagnoses much earlier or later are known. Around twice as many women as men present with this variety.

So just because you've been MS-free for a time doesn't mean you can't relapse.

2. Secondary Progressive MS (SPMS):

After a number of years many people who have had relapsing/remitting MS will pass into a secondary progressive phase of the disease. This is characterised by a gradual worsening of the disease between relapses. In the early phases of Secondary Progressive, the person may still experience a few relapses but after a while these merge into a general progression. People with secondary progressive may experience good and bad days or weeks, but, apart from some remission following relapsing episodes, no real recovery. After 10 years, 50% of people with relapsing/remitting MS will have developed secondary progressive [Weinshenker et al, 1989, Runmarker and Andersen, 1993, Minderhoud et al, 1988]. By 25 to 30 years, that figure will have risen to 90% [Ref].

So, the longer you have MS, the worse it gets. Switch to linux, bsd, or a OSX asap, or 90% of the time it will just get worse. BAAAD user experience!

3. Progressive Relapsing MS (PRMS):

This form of MS follows a progressive course from onset, punctuated by relapses. There is significant recovery immediately following a relapse but between relapses there is a gradual worsening of symptoms.


4. Primary Progressive MS (PPMS):

This type of MS is characterised by a gradual progression of the disease from its onset with no remissions at all. There may be periods of a leveling off of disease activity and, as with secondary progressive, there may be good and bad days or weeks. PPMS differs from Relapsing/Remitting and Secondary Progressive in that onset is typically in the late thirties or early forties, men are as likely women to develop it and initial disease activity is in the spinal cord and not in the brain. Primary Progressive MS often migrates into the brain, but is less likely to damage brain areas than relapsing/remitting or secondary progressive - for example, people with Primary Progressive are less likely to develop cognitive problems.

So you'll need to use a wheelchair, but you'll still be able to think ... maybe. Thank $DIETY for small mercies ...

Other terms often used to describe forms of MS are:

Benign MS

Never seen in the wild - usually associated with outbreaks of astroturf or get-the-facts.

Malignant MS: Also known as Marburg's Variant and Acute MS. This is a label given to forms of MS where the disease progresses very rapidly from onset leading to severe disability within a relatively short period of time. Fortunately, this form of MS is extremely rare.

Chronic Progressive MS: Primary Progressive and Secondary Progressive used to be lumped together as Chronic Progressive (CPMS) but this term is no longer officially recognised although you will still see it referred to now and then.

CPMS is also known inside Microsoft as XP.

Transitional/Progressive MS: Another form of the disease which is sometimes referred to but not widely used, is Transitional/Progressive (TPMS). This is characterised by a progressive course beginning many years after an isolated bout.

Mostly people on Windows 2000 who are being forced to upgrade (often accompanied by bouts of "keyboard-from-my-cold-dead-hands-itis")

Devic's Disease: Also known as Neuromyelitis Optica, Devic's disease is a related condition to MS that is characterised by an attack of Optic Neuritis in both eyes followed by severe inflammation of the spinal cord (Transverse Myelopathy).

That's what you get for surfing pr0n sites on an unpatched Windows box ...

MS is a scary disease, for sure. We should do everything we can to stop the spread of MS. Support alternatives.

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Think of the Moderators (1)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 5 years ago | (#28497877)

Every moderator who up-moderates in that thread will permanently lose their moderation privileges.

Re:Think of the Moderators (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#28498007)

Nah - more than likely anyone who down-mods will get whacked in M2.

Now to be fair (1)

Com2Kid (142006) | more than 5 years ago | (#28498335)

(Note I took a job with The Evil Empire 2 years ago, also note nothing I say is representative of their beliefs, I am an independent asshole on my own time) I have had almost every Linux system I have ever run get screwed up doing package updates. The first Linux system I ever used (and again, to be fair, this was over a decade ago) didn't boot after I clicked the "install updates" icon on the default installation's desktop.

My first experience with Linux: Dead box after installing updates. It was a retail boxed Mandrake system, I had figured that would be "easier" than using some burned CD from online. From that experience I learned I mine as well use a CDR, the system is going to get b0rked anyway!

I'll also note that while at MS I set my Grandmother up with a Linux system, she eventually forced me to switch it over to Windows because one of her favorite game sites required ActiveX for some of their games. Also, if I am programming in C, Linux (BSD, some *nix) is definitely my preferred platform.

From what I understand the reason people get offended is that M$ implies there is something evil about making $$$.

As for Vista's suckage, come on, KDE ran like a dog for how many releases again? I graduated High School and College before they got a decently performant release out the door!

And yes, we of Borg frequently use a variety of OSs at home, Linux, BeOS, BSD, OSX, whatever, we are geeks, we like cool shiny tech. :)

Re:Now to be fair (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#28498657)

There's nothing evil per se about making money. There's been a lot of illegal shit over the decades with how Microsoft has made their money. Lies, backstabbing and strong-arming partners and trade channels ("sell anything else and we double the price of your SKU"), pretending to want to partner with other businesses then, after getting a peak under the skirts, betraying them (Go pen-based computing), illegally using code from others (Stacker, anyone), market dominance abuse (Dr. DOS), astroturfing, more lies, broken promises ($VERSION is the most secure Windows ever). Remember about how Windows was supposed to be virus-proof ("DOS viruses can't run under Windows")? Then it was Windows95 was supposed to be virus-proof ("viruses can't run in a 32-bit protected-mode environment"). FUD on everything from mouse drivers to ODF to ... gee, people have written entire books about it.

So, M$ - because their way of making money has been less than honest.

Re:Now to be fair (1)

Com2Kid (142006) | more than 5 years ago | (#28501209)

betraying them (Go pen-based computing)

Yah, about that, I worked with the TabletPC team for a year and a half or so.

From what I understood, TabletPCs were a personal favorite of Bill Gate's, he reportedly used a Motion tablet daily.

Everyone in the TabletPC group was really excited about what could be done with the technology. We all believed in it.

And when laptops started to sell for $700 our OEMs would go ahead and charge $2000 for a TabletPC version then wonder why no one was buying.

Microsoft has invested a ton of resources (money and people) into pen based computing. From awesome research projects (our handwriting recognition can read my crappy handwriting, and I cannot read my crappy handwriting!) to continuous improvements of the platform (the rather irregularly released Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005 ).

Every time we saw the huge markup our OEMs were putting on TabletPCs we wanted to scream. Even a $100 mark up could perhaps be justified by students and regular consumers, but the $300-$500 mark up commonly seen was ridiculous. At a time when everyone was buying sub $1000 laptops, getting a TabletPC for under $2000 wasn't easy.

HP has finally come to the rescue with a decently priced TabletPC machine that actually performs quite well and doesn't weigh 7 pounds. Of course now everyone is buying $250 Netbooks, so that $750 TabletPC is still 3x more than the price tag people expect. :(

As for dedication, well, I went ahead and used a Tablet PC as my exclusive machine for the next two years of my CS program after my internship. (Note I wasn't interned at MS, I was interned with one of their vendors who did TabletPC evangelism) The first year I didn't use a single piece of paper, I did everything in One Note and submitted my HW electronically (CS classes after all!). Unfortunately the second year I had a math prof who demanded paper in one of my classes, so I am unable to claim 2 straight paper-free years!

Everyone I know who worked in or around the Tablet PC department used them. Microsoft pushed them heavily to their own employees throughout the company. At one point I was part of the team that bought and setup a Tablet PC for each and every senior exec in the company.

Not our fault our OEM partners screwed things over.

Crappy handwriting (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#28504913)

"I cannot read my crappy handwriting"

I suspect that's one of the reasons for getting into IT. Crappy handwriting. Easier to learn how to type than to learn good penmanship ...

Re:Now to be fair (1)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 5 years ago | (#28529827)

From what I understand the reason people get offended is that M$ implies there is something evil about making $$$.

I just get offended by people saying 'M$' because it paints the Linux community as a bunch of pimply-faced teenage dorks that think that calling Microsoft 'M$' is like the greatest insult in the world. I use Linux at work. It's a great developer platform. I use it t home for my server. Great at that, too. Just have a windows box for games. So you can call me a Linux geek... but I hate two things about the linux community:
Those that insult proprietary companies like a kid would
Those that insult others trying to learn Linux (if someone was to say "RTFM" to a newbie in real life, I'd kick him in the nards)

Re:Now to be fair (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#28530141)

You have a couple of valid points ... there's certainly room for businesses to produce and support proprietary software - not everything has enough of a natural constituency to support open source solutions, at least in the beginning ...

As for "learning linux", what's there to learn nowadays? Just get someone to install and configure it for you, and start working ... The real problem is that people don't want to pay someone a few bucks to set up their "free" software - but they'll shell out $100 to Worst Buy to "set up" their new computer, which is pretty much an automated task that even a coked-out zombie can do (oh, wait a sec ... Geek Squad's coked-out zombies DO do that - my bad :-).

Re:Now to be fair (1)

Com2Kid (142006) | more than 5 years ago | (#28533343)

As for "learning linux", what's there to learn nowadays? Just get someone to install and configure it for you, and start working

My mother can handle installing minor bits of new hardware on her Windows PC. USB plug and play type stuff, scanners, printers, mice, keyboards, and so on.

She also handles software updates, Windows Update, Firefox, Flash, her Antivirus software, and so forth.

She personally has installed dozens of apps on her PC. When she tires of some game or other application, she is able to uninstall it.

These are all trivial tasks. They are also all tasks that can go wrong in Linux. From mouse buttons and keyboard volume controls not being recognized (though I imagine, hope, that is fixed by now, I haven't tried esoteric keyboards + mice on Linux in a few years) to printers being a hit or miss affair.

As for software installation, well... Lets not even go there. The ecosystem around installation and uninstallation of software on Windows is pretty crappy from a developer's point of view, but for the user's it is far better than anything Linux has to offer.

It is funny because I could come up with a standard for how installation damn well SHOULD work rather quickly. It would not be possible (or at least it would be non-trivial) to implement in Windows, but technically not that hard to implement for Linux. It will never happen because it would require a degree of cooperation amongst different OSS communities that is just not going to happen.

Installation Done Right
Program files consist of a compressed archive.

Archive Contents
The archive contains the following meta-data:

  1. A list of Directories/files to create under ~ for storing application settings
  2. A list of files/directories created in any other location on the drive

    2. Libraries used only by the program and its ecosystem but that need to be in a shared or "known location" (such as those used by plugins in an application's ecosystem) are installed as hard-links that point into the archive

    4. When the archive is deleted all hard links pointing into it are also deleted

  4. Bitmap and Vector icons for the application

First Run
Upon first run, the user is asked if the application is to be installed for all users or just for their own use. If for all users credentials are checked and installation run elevated. If installed for a single user only the archive is moved to the appropriate user specific bin directory.

The archive is then decompressed in place. All contents remain within a single file, but the file is uncompressed to ensure optimal performance during application usage.

Program Menu entry for the application is added as appropriate (for all users or for a single user, depending on the chosen installation option)

Hard-Links are created into the archive as needed, and directories created/setup.


The user (properly elevated if application is in /users/bin or /bin/) simply deletes the program file. The system reads from the archive metadata what directories were created during first run, which program menu items were created, and what libraries had hard linked made for them. Directories are deleted, program menu entries removed, all hard links removed.

The archive is then deleted, and not a trace is left behind.

That is installation done right. It is not likely to ever happen (... :( ) but it should happen.

Compare this to the response I have gotten from people here on /. to my complaints about the inability to uninstall any app not installed through a package manager: "Well you should have been sure you wanted it before you installed it!" ...

Re:Now to be fair (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542151)

Even easier -
  1. statically link the program
  2. user uncompresses program in a new directory anywhere they want
  3. when bored with program, delete the directory

Too simple ...

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