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Microsoft Worried OEM 'Craplets' Will Harm Vista

samzenpus posted more than 7 years ago | from the any-reason-to-say-crap dept.

Microsoft 527

elsilver writes "An article at the CBC indicates that Microsoft is worried that the assorted crap most OEM companies load onto a new machine may affect users' opinion of Vista. An unnamed executive is concerned that the user will conclude the instability of the non-MS-certified applications is Vista's fault. Is this a serious concern, or is MS trying to bully OEMs into only including Vista-certified apps? As for the OEMs, one "removed older DVD-writing software they found was incompatible and replaced it with Vista's own software." — do they get points for realizing it was both buggy AND redundant?"

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527 comments

Craplets? (5, Funny)

dsginter (104154) | more than 7 years ago | (#17554936)

I've always like to call that extra bloat by the name of "Circusware". When I power up a shiny new Dell, I always feel like I'm at a circus where there are all of those different games where you can win a small stuffed animal for the equivalent of $20 or $30 in game tickets.

Re:Craplets? (5, Funny)

BirdDoggy (886894) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555154)

I give MS a couple more points to the good for adding a delightful new word to my vocabulary.

Re:Craplets? (5, Funny)

dr_strang (32799) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555182)

"Craplets": Best new word this year so far. I respectfully submit this word for inclusion into Webster's Dictionary.

Re:Craplets? (5, Informative)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555312)

It's been in the Jagon File [catb.org] for ages..

Re:Craplets? (5, Insightful)

KUHurdler (584689) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555274)

I totally agree with MS on this one. Now if Microsoft would just stop all the background craplets themselves... we'd have a finely tuned machine.

Re:Craplets? (4, Informative)

gmack (197796) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555208)

I wish. Their listed example "MDG" has a history of preloading whatever they feel like it and then giving AOL your credit card number so they can bill you in three months whether you even use AOL or not. "We don't go into your account sir so we cannnot know if you used it or not"

I'm not sure whose side I'm on with this one.. on one hand I could see where OEMs would want to preload with useful utilities but on the other hand they often go far beyond that and install outright crap. Even with XP I've gotten a lot of business by showing up at people's houses or offices and uninstalling some strange DVD burning software that was barely tolerable with windows 98 but now it just crashes XP and doesn't work even half way as well as the cd burning wizard that is built into XP.

Use the Decrapifier !!!! (5, Informative)

mauriatm (531406) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555304)

The simplest solution already used by hundreds of users of newly purchased laptops and desktops with Windows XP is the PC Decrapifier [yorkspace.com] . Originally named the Dell De-Crapifier [yorkspace.com] the name was soon changed to support other machines "with crap" (I'm sure Dell didn't like their name dragged through the crap).

Although this is only for XP, I'll bet a version for Vista will come along soon. Or at least one could hope.

It IS Vista's fault (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17554940)

It's the operating system's fault if an installed program causes system instabilities.

Re:It IS Vista's fault (4, Insightful)

Ingolfke (515826) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555060)

MS isn't claiming that the OS will be unstable. They're saying poorly written apps will crash and the users will blame that on Vista, not the poorly written apps.

It's a legit concern... although I'd say that's part of rolling out any new piece of software that other software is dependent on, so they just need to deal with it.

Re:It IS Vista's fault (1, Insightful)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555074)

Theoretically its a legit concern. In reality I think they were brainstorming on ways to try stop OEMs from installing third party software and stumbled across this little treasure.

Re:It IS Vista's fault (3, Funny)

Ingolfke (515826) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555112)

You're probably right. Balmer called up the Division of Blameshifting and Excuse Development.

Re:It IS Vista's fault (5, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555070)

thats rubbish. i can write a program what would crash ANY OS if it was preloaded on there. i agree with the poster, MS does have it tough in these respects, that much of what oem's preload is bullshit that slows down the system.

Re:It IS Vista's fault (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555176)

thats rubbish. i can write a program what would crash ANY OS if it was preloaded on there.

Probably not if you only run it with user privileges on a well-secured Unix box. Which would be the point.

Re:It IS Vista's fault (4, Insightful)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555314)

fork bomb + autorun = bad experience on ANY platform

Re:It IS Vista's fault (2, Interesting)

madcow_bg (969477) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555092)

No, but the stupid users (and the not-so-stupid) will think it is.

We must note that for 10 years straight MS has been targeting their product to the uneducated majority (I mean not computer educated). They have been able to bear the fruits of that stupidity (as in not-wanting-to-switch, afraid-of-thinking, that kind of things) for so many years.

Now when the tables are turned, and the stupidity is against them (negative PR because of 'craplets'), they don't want it. Sorry, but you can't have the cake and eat it at the same time.

Re:It IS Vista's fault (1)

MyNameIsEarl (917015) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555430)

This is also a CYA move by MS I think in that they are bascially saying we have these partners and we have made deals with them to include our OS with their computers, however, those computers might come with preinstalled crapware that makes us look bad because once you run a lot of programs our OS bogs down and can't handle it because these machines also only come with 512MB of RAM and this new OS we created needs at least 1.5GB just to be stable.

Re:It IS Vista's fault (1)

zobi (805190) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555180)

> It's the operating system's fault if an installed program causes system instabilities.

This statement is true. But the article is not about that.

MS is worried that a non-certified buggy software, bundled with VISTA, will affect the credibility of the OS in the eyes of the user.

Re:It isn't Vista's fault (2, Insightful)

Vihai (668734) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555342)

I call bullshit on this:

cat /dev/random > /dev/mem

So, is linux buggy?

Something from userland? Here it is:

int main()
{
        while(1) {
                fork();
        }
}

Re:It isn't Vista's fault (5, Informative)

MartinG (52587) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555436)

$ cat /dev/random > /dev/mem
bash: /dev/mem: Permission denied

As for the forkbomb, have a look at "ulimit -u"

I agree with you that it's not always the OS fault, but a _properly configured_ operating system should not become unstable when it is running crappy code.

How do you do "ulimit -u" on Windows btw?

My guess (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17554942)

My guess: the era of pre-loading software and packing computers with shit as an "added bonus" is over. Most people know the things they like and they have internet access to download them. This was not true 10 years ago -- you wanted burning software with your cd burner, media player software for your camera, etc. But now these apps just mess everything up.

A company like apple, which monopolises the whole process to fit with their brand, is in a better position here. I mean, from a marketing perspective, all it takes is one lousy OEM company to install buggy shit on their computers and you can ruin the Vista brand.

Re:My guess (2, Insightful)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555040)

If you can install a user level application and ruin the entire OS then you need to look at other more fundimental problems.

I concur (3, Interesting)

spineboy (22918) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555076)

A logical extension of Microsofts argument would be that NO outside software can be trusted, unless you pay the special fee to MSoft so that it's "certified", otherwise they'll refuse to take the blame for anything. That just reaffirms my belief in the parent posts argument, that it's the OSs fault.

Re:I concur (2, Interesting)

gordo3000 (785698) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555248)

except its an old problem. there are a lot of different pieces of software that can ruin the speed and functionality of a computer(not nearly as much now, but even still..). the worry is some resource hog will really slow down the experience at random times(a POS piece of software my school required in order to get on the network was just like this, and worse, they didn't have anything I could use to uninstall it or stop it from running ever).

I don't care about the machine, I can write crap software to bug up the running experience if the user lets it run. Unlike a new mac or linux install, this is really a windows only problem(out of the 3). I always do a fresh install with a new windows box to get rid of anything that could be there. And everything runs alot smoother and quicker if I do that.

Re:My guess (5, Insightful)

gutnor (872759) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555178)

To ruin the user experience

Actually it takes only 1 application that you use frequently that sucks and your overall feeling of the OS is down. Just take an example, how often have you heard "linux sucks because I XXX does not work".

Same happen in Windows. Buy a new laptop and see it painfully load 35 icons in the systray, replace the default association of JPG file to another crapware that display a 30 seconds modal popup dialog that says the viewer you are using is shareware and open IE on the HowTo buy page. The feeling of the user will be: Vista sucks, and I paid 2000$ and my machine is slow like a dog because of Vista. Natural feeling.
The same feeling that people in Europe that have been provided with the XP-E edition ( no media player ) think that XP is shit because it cannot read a stupid AVI file.

Re:My guess (1)

segin (883667) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555310)

The same feeling that people in Europe that have been provided with the XP-E edition ( no media player ) think that XP is shit because it cannot read a stupid AVI file.
Microsoft could always bundle RealPlayer or QuickTime instead, amirite? The ruling prevents Microsoft from bundling Windows Media Player. I don't see anywhere, though, that prevents them from shipping a third-party media player (as if they would, though).

Re:My guess (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555204)

If you can install a user level application and ruin the entire OS then you need to look at other more fundimental problems.

So which one OS do you know which will perform just as well as a clean install if you load a ton of crapware on every startup?

I suppose it should be a magical one, where if you load ten apps each taking 10 MB of RAM and 3% of CPU idling, you still end up with all of your free RAM and 0% CPU usage.

The "fundimental" problem is with you.

Re:My guess (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555280)

Running lots of programs on an OS should simply slow it down.
The discussion revolves around:

Vista. An unnamed executive is concerned that the user will conclude the instability of the non-MS-certified applications is Vista's fault.

Bloatware != Unstable programs.

Re:My guess (1)

kfhickel (449052) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555266)

Except that the bundled applications usually aren't just "user level" applications. MS is trying to lock things down more, one feature is on demand privilege elevation, but stuff that the vendor crams in probably didn't go through a "normal" installation process.

Re:My guess (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555050)

My guess: the era of pre-loading software and packing computers with shit as an "added bonus" is over.

I wonder if that will stop MS trying to shove Windows Live in your face when you first start Vista. They certainly did it in the beta release, and it would be hard to see how they could justify that if they seek to ban other AV / Firewall products from being installed by Dell or whoever. It's like what they did when they bundled MSN with Windows 95.

Re:My guess (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555148)

If that era comes to an end, you can expect higher prices for consumer-grade computers. All that crap subsidizes the cost of the machine -- do you really think AOL or McAfee would be on there without a little money from the software makers?

Those Craplets are the keys to Microsoft's success (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17555156)

I worked for one of the leading crippleware-pre-installed-on-Windows companies that pre-installed software on something north of 80% of windows OEM computer out there.

We payed the OEMs handsomely for the privilige of reducing the functionality of our software - both in discounts and in revenue-share kickbacks for upgrades.

I'm pretty certain the money the OEMs makes from this crippleware *MORE* than pays for the cost of Windows (especially the discounted OEM windows) - and is the #1 reason HP, Dell, etc like Windows over Linux.

Get rid of the paid-for-crippleware, and OEMs will jump to Linux very quickly.

It all boils down to the green.. (1)

MobiusRenoire (931476) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555170)

The era of preloaded crap on PCs loaded from the manufacturer is far from over. Companies like Google, the different ISPs, McAfee, Symantec, etc all pay good money to get their software pre-loaded on new machines and you see some of that savings in the end. It's my belief that this is part of the reason it's so hard to buy a machine from these places without a MS OS; they lose out on their profit from this software, from selling you the OS and so on.

The FIRST thing anyone should do before evaluating their new hardware is to uninstall all of the crap that comes with it, from lolMcAfee on down to Google Desktop/Search/Toolbar. Anyone that doesn't know or doesn't know how to do that isn't someone whose opinion I would accept on the subject in the first place.

Re:My guess (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555216)

I think you're being wildly optimistic that OEMs won't try to litter the desktop of new machines with software nobody in their right mind would ever use just because Microsoft says "they suck". Now, MS could leverage something through it's OEM agreements to force them to take them off, but you can bet you would have AOL and the like crying bloody murder (and monopoly).

Besides, why is Vista so special? From what I can tell it should be more resistant to OEM software bugs than 95/98/ME, and no less resistant than 2000 and XP. On the other hand, 95/98/ME do have a reputation for crashing that's not entirely deserved (but also not entirely undeserved either), but I think 2000 and XP have shown that bad software doesn't bring the OS reputation down.

And it didn't for XP? (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 7 years ago | (#17554944)

It's not as if those "trial software" that is installed on consumer-end PC's does enhance the XP experience. Frankly, if my machine boots, the only thing that should show up is the "speaker" icon in the taskbar. All the other stuff needs to be activated by me and me alone. Same thing for non-necessary service. If I need it, I'll activate it.

Of course, OEMs (and Microsoft themselves) find it necessary to activate everything "for my convenience". No thank you...

The average use doesn't know better though :-/

Now that you mention it... (1)

Rachel Lucid (964267) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555038)

I see this as the sign of at least one (maybe both) of the following:

1) MS is finally seeing that trusting third parties to do the important stuff is bogus, and like Mac & Nintendo before it, is attempting to monopolize on the software so that the end-user experience is owed to MS:

2) Vista is such a drastic new paradigm that nothing works on it, ergo they want to hide this problem as long as possible.

Re:Now that you mention it... (3, Informative)

gordo3000 (785698) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555272)

you should have read the article(well, at least in greater detail). One of the first points was that they would like to except now everyone will scream anti-trust against them. They aren't in any way able to enforce that(or, I bet, even openly put any kind of pressure on a computer company to do it). MS used to try to control the end user experience. They weren't looked on too favorably for that.

Craplets you say? (2, Insightful)

arose (644256) | more than 7 years ago | (#17554946)

What about the assorted crap Microsoft puts into a new install of Vista, wouldn't that affect users' opinions as well?

Re:Craplets you say? (1)

DingerX (847589) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555020)

Dude, you're missin' the point. "Craplets" are bits of software not authorized by Microsoft. If we're going to make trusted computing work, we've got to run everything through authorized channels. Only those with deep enough pockets should be able to threaten system stability. It's about access to resources. You wouldn't want the end user to get the notion that s/he could write and distribute software (shudder).

Re:Craplets you say? (2, Insightful)

arose (644256) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555072)

So they are making a 100% crap-free system by redefining everything not authorized by Microsoft as crap?

Re:Craplets you say? (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555206)

Yes, they're saying everything not part of the OS is crap, and I tend to agree...

Crap, cruft, call it whatever you wish... It's stuff installed on the OS when I wish to have a clean copy of my OS from the start.

You can call the OS *itself* crap, sure, but then you shouldn't purchase a laptop with Windows preinstalled.
There exist several alternatives for that option these days.

It won't work - Drivers need the OEM tweaks (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17555230)

It enrages me more when they won't even provide a proper Windows install CD so I can wipe and clean-install.


Sorry, that simply won't work. On many OEM laptops (many Sony, some Dell, some HP) you have components that simply won't work right with the default Windows drivers. The truth is that the OEMs actually do quite a bit of work digging up exact working versions of drivers; and debugging the dependances between them; and going back to the HW and SW vendors to resolve problems. I'd go so far as to say that you'd have a better chance of stock Ubuntu drivers working on your laptop than stock Windows drivers.


(yes, I know some of you will tell me you installed Win2K at work and it just worked - the business laptops without bleeding edge components seem to be more standardized - but try forcing a clean install on some multimedia laptop and I bet you go back to the OEM-reinstall-with-the-crap or you go to Ubuntu)

Mmmmmm (1, Insightful)

matr0x_x (919985) | more than 7 years ago | (#17554956)

So it's OK to add craplets such as Internet Explorer, but when an OEM wants to add something to the package it's not OK?

Re:Mmmmmm (1)

hendrik_v (999388) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555048)

Are you sure you're not one of those small system builders who likes to add "craplets"? I for one think it's a valid concern of Microsoft for quite a few of the system builders.

Re:Mmmmmm (2, Insightful)

GIL_Dude (850471) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555162)

Yes - that sums it up. Actually, the real issue as I see it is that many of the craplets that need to die are either "light" versions that you couldn't even buy if you wanted or 30 day trial versions or assorted other limited things trying to get you to buy something later. There is so much of it on machines these days that the steps many folks take after receiving a new machine are:

1) power on and see if hardware and drivers all work
2) copy drivers off
3) format the partition and install just windows and the apps you actually want

Since Internet Explorer isn't a trial version or a light version (and IE 7 is much better than IE 6 although my primary browser even in Vista is FF2 - almost exclusively because of adblock).

Good! (5, Interesting)

HugePedlar (900427) | more than 7 years ago | (#17554960)

I'm sick of buying laptops, particularly for work, which come with bundles of shit preinstalled. It enrages me more when they won't even provide a proper Windows install CD so I can wipe and clean-install. Anything that spells the end of this policy is welcome.

Re:Good! (1)

udderly (890305) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555042)

Right. I just did a data transfer onto a new Duo Core eMachines for a customer. It was loaded with "craplets." Wild Tangent, (essentially spyware), five different AOL entries, a useless 90-day trial of McAfee, a useless 60-day trial of Office, The Big Fix (totally redundant--manages Windows Updates), a 30-day trial of Napster and other useless and memory-hogging crap.

I'm used to starting with a clean hard drive and installing an OEM Windows, so I was horrified by how many apps were running in the system tray the first time it booted. And, just like you said, it didn't come with a proper install CD.

Re:Good! (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555090)

What kind of second rate vendor isn't giving you a reinstall CD?

People crap all over Dell here, but to their credit I get a (clean) reinstall CD with every business machine I purchase, and many of the consumer models. Even better, their deal with MS allows their OEM CDs to reinstall on any Dell machine (firmware check, iirc). Most /.ers will claim that locks my copies of windows to the Dell machines...but if I were to get a new machine from a different vendor it would probably come with a new OEM windows anyway. For me, that means if I do have to reinstall a Dell machine, I can grab the latest CD from the pile and install the OS with the SPs already rolled in. Then it's just a matter of popping in the driver CD or grabbing the drivers off the server (or net if it's been a while).

Re:Good! (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555142)

Actually, Dell are one of the better vendors. While their reinstall CD isn't 100% clean, it's pretty damn close. Shame that only applies to their "business" laptops - the Latitude series, for instance.

Certain others I won't name are substantially worse.

Re:Good! (2, Insightful)

clifyt (11768) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555420)

"Shame that only applies to their "business" laptops"

Kinda goes into the whole What Are You Willing To Pay For idea...

If people are only willing to spend $500 on a $1200 laptop, the extra money has to come from somewhere. They don't put the spyware and otherwise on the machine because they want to, or are inherently greedy.

I own both Mac and Dell laptops and it always amazes me that people are always riding my Mac as 'expensive'...my Dell stuff costs nearly exactly the same for the same product class. And the Dell is NEARLY as stable when coming from the factory clean (sure, a lot uglier for the price, and comes with an OS that I've never liked but has guaranteed that I can live reasonably well...yes, I am a part of the problem). But the point remains, if you want to cut corners, that doesn't mean that the product is going to cost any less...it just means its going to need offset somewhere else (i.e., home class comes with practically no service, and what it does come with is someone that can mimic your native tongue but can't understand a word of it...business class "we'll get an engineer on this right away!").

Anyhoo...

Re:Good! (2, Interesting)

D-Cypell (446534) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555294)

Actually, when I bought my Dell laptop I got a 'recovery disk' and not a Windows XP installation disk. The default setup included a disk partition with the XP files on it, presumably the 'recovery disk' just bootstraps installation from this 'hidden' partition.

Naturally, I had blatted this partition when I installed fedora. Then, when a few weeks latter I decided I actually wanted to dual boot I seemed to be SOL. However, in Dell's credit and despite consistent negative press regarding their technical support, they have been excellent. I emailed to explain the situation and the following day, a complete set of CD's for all software (including XP) dropped through my door (no charge).

Re:Good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17555408)

My New Fujitsu Laptop was remarkable good in the craplet department. There was hardly anything I would not have installed myself. Hell, Some of the software only included the installer, which was a very nice. I don't think, I uninstalled more then the standard norton crap-ware. The 60 day office trail, I think is mandatory knowing Microsoft, My guess is that OEMs have to pay $50 to not install it. But since I work at an insane office, I just activated it with our CD key. Also, I called tech support, Fast response, Sounded like he was in America. My only trouble has been the finger print reader(cann't get it to most of the time). Oh it's software was not installed but did included the installer on the HD.

good and evil (4, Insightful)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#17554964)

Good: Having seen the software that comes on new prebuilt systems, crapplets is an awfully nice term to call them. I wouldn't mind seeing them go the way of the dinosaur.

Evil: This is about as immune to abuse as a government controlled press.

Does this mean... (1)

Lord_Slepnir (585350) | more than 7 years ago | (#17554966)

Does this mean that I won't get my free CompuServ account with each new computer I buy?

In all seriousness, this is great news. I'm all in favor of Packard-Bell supporting a group home for the criminally insane and mentally handicapped, but don't have them write software. The first thing I do when I get a new computer is to wipe the Hard Disk, reinstall Windows, and one by one copy drivers I need off of the Manufacturers' website.

wipe..Disk, reinstall Windows - bad for 2 reasons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17555344)

Parent wrote The first thing I do when I get a new computer is to wipe the Hard Disk, reinstall Windows, and one by one copy drivers I need off of the Manufacturers' website.

First of all, if you didn't go out and purchase another copy of Windows, you're violating the license agreement if you're not installing the OEM's OEM build of windows on that computer. You don't get to install an expensive retail build over your OEM build just because your company has access to developer licenses.

Secondly, there are sometimes dependancies between software components that are more subtle than the one-driver-at-a-time that the OEMs go through great lenghts to work through. Dependances between DVD hardware / firmware / and the user-level playing/authoring/burning software for example. Unless you match the builds of all of these correctly you'll have problems.

The licensing headaches and the technical messing around you have to do to make this work with windows just isn't worth the hassle.

Understandable (5, Interesting)

Saxmachine (1045648) | more than 7 years ago | (#17554986)

Having gone through several prefab Windows boxes in my time (Gateway, Dell, Sony mostly), it seems to me that the volume of crap applications that come pre-loaded and all of which run at startup time has increased dramatically, to the point that the first thing I have to do with any new brand-name PC is either uninstall all the bloat one-by-one or else wipe the drive and start from scratch with a fresh OS install. For a desktop PC, I can understand everyone telling me "build your own, then it will only have what you want on it." Fair enough. But what about portables? Is there a good laptop manufacturer who will sell me a "blank slate" laptop? Ordinarily, I would expect this sort of performance-hindering bloat to reflect badly on the manufacturer. I think MS is right to be worried that the PC makers might jump at the chance to shift the blame onto the new OS, rightly or wrongly.

Re:Understandable (4, Funny)

adnonsense (826530) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555016)

Is there a good laptop manufacturer who will sell me a "blank slate" laptop?

Yes [apple.com]

Re:Understandable (0)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555118)

Don't they all come preloaded with OS X? Not exactly a blank slate...

Re:Understandable (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555146)

Ahhh, I see the fanboi mods are out in force this morning.

Seriously, though, I would think Apple or just about any flavor of Linux would fit this description. If the GP meant manufacturers who sell Win machines, look at the Dell Latitude and Precision lines (God, I sound like a Dell fanboi myself). They have significantly scaled back the crap for the business machines.

Re:Understandable (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555166)

hah, and what exactly are you going to install on it, if not OSX? fucking fanboys.

Re:Understandable (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555368)

Windows or Linux will also run...

Re:Understandable (5, Insightful)

Speare (84249) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555226)

I like the Apple hardware products and the OSX, but to say that Apple doesn't load their new laptops with crapware and sleazeware would be disingenuous. If I buy a $3K MacBook Pro, should I expect to get a popup asking if I want to upgrade my trial copy of QuickTime? I enjoy the iLife suite of software, but I didn't have much of a choice to buy the laptop without it. I don't think the trial edition of OpenBase or the inclusion of OmniOutliner or ComicChat can really be considered a "blank slate."

The only thing in Apple's favor here (and it's a big point in their favor) is that it's absolutely and amazingly trivial to wipe the slate clean myself: drag unwanted items to trashcan, Empty Trash. I am still annoyed that a preinstalled QuickTime on a flagship hardware image is nagware. Hello, the 70s called and want their nags back. If the alternatives like VLC and Mplayer would really integrate as a replacement for QuickTime, I'd probably use them instead.

Re:Understandable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17555348)

Hmm... Lets see...

Desktops
Notebooks
Digital Life
Servers
Education
Displays
Technology

Nope, No LAPTOPS...

Re:Understandable (1)

cyber1kenobi (666018) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555036)

Sure, Acer will sell you a laptop with a rootkit preinstalled! How nice of them!

Re:Understandable (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555080)

With laptops and desktops there is quite a few drivers bloated that are needed to fully use it but some of things that are preloaded are not that bad I don't want M$ to go any ware near bullying OEMs into only including Vista-certified apps because if they can put that off what is stopping them for making it a pain in the a** to run non certified apps with end less UAP like pop-up's. Things like that would hurt open source software.

Re:Understandable (1)

name*censored* (884880) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555212)

Simple - use your (or borrow a friend's) install CD, and make a "post boot" (call it what you want) disc, which contains all the installers for every application you use and a fistful of driver packages. Once you get your new portable, wipe the hard drive and install everything (if you want windows, they should have included your cd key). It's about the same amount of effort as if you'd built it yourself (but not as fun).

Better yet, since a lot of OEM manufacturers charge on a scale, get a model with the right ram/cpu/graphics/sound/IO/networking but too little hard disk space, replace the hard disk with one bought seperately, and bam, just like a fresh install. You can sell the hard disk it shipped with, and you'll probably end up breaking even.

Make Crap Optional (2, Interesting)

FrostyCoolSlug (766239) | more than 7 years ago | (#17554998)

Simply put, OEM distributors should provide the software on CDs as optional installs. Every time someone I've known has bought a new PC, they have asked me to 'clean it up', because 90% of the shit which gets pre-loaded isn't wanted.

By providing the original installation media without installing it, Microsoft is happy that the software doesn't come pre-loaded, the end user is happy that they don't have to remove stuff once they buy their computer, and the OEM distributor should be happy because they will get more customers from it. Everyone is happy, so why is it so difficult?

Exactly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17555094)

Windows shouldn't be installed either.

Re:Make Crap Optional (1)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555116)

It's not as simple as just making it optional. These computer manufacturers get a good chunk of change for installing that crap and it helps keep down their computer prices. I'm not in favor of the stuff either but if it's optional, they're going to have to charge more for the 'no crap' option. I'd rather it just be understood that I'm going to reinstall Windows as soon as I buy a computer and get a discount for the crapware I'll never use.

Re:Make Crap Optional (1)

Chicken04GTO (957041) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555242)

wrong. OEM's are not happy because they get paid to put that shit on there. You think they do it for fun?

Yes (4, Interesting)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555012)

My computer came with XP and a preinstalled keyboard shortcut program. This program had the nasty side effect of crashing ANY fullscreen app that tried to launch, with the single exception of Jedi Outcast.

At the time, none of these other games I had were designed with XP in mind, so I immediately assumed that XP's compatibility was abysmal and I was NOT happy. Fortunately I was able to correct the REAL problem soon enough.

finally! (3, Insightful)

cyber1kenobi (666018) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555018)

I never thought it would come from Microsoft since they want their OEM customers to be happy, but it's about time somebody raised a stink about the BS that gets installed by the OEMs themselves. Toshiba & Sony I believe are the worst culprits. They install so much shit on the computer - at least 10 startup items and services - it's a complete joke. And then when you encounter something like what Toshiba does to the built-in power management functions of Windows - they won't let you get to it! "Please use the Toshiba power management applet..." BYTE ME! You'd think they would want the overall PC experience to reflect well on their brand too, so slowing down everyone's brand new PC with a load of junk isn't the way to go.

Re:finally! (1)

Deathlizard (115856) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555358)

Toshiba and Sony are bad, but at one time, Compaq was the absolute worst bundler's I've ever seen. Worse then even Packard Bell's bloated builds of the day

Back when Windows 95 first came out, Compaq had a build of 95 that was so overloaded, I referred to it as CompaqOS. Looking at it you would have no idea that MS even made the OS, since just about every branded Windows Item was Replaced with Presario. Even the Login prompts were different, with a graphical user interface similar to the Welcome screen but worse.

Then came the apps. Every app in the thing was it's 16 bit equivalent. Half of the time they would crash. Things like Answering machines, and media player software that was specificially tied to the proprietary hardware CD player buttons in the front were the Norm for this system. the best part? if you uninstalled the programs, the system would crash.

Upgrade it? good Luck. A friend of mine had a One Piece P133 Machine that had Compaq OS. If you did any upgrade to it, it would fail. regardless of what OS it was. Windows 95b, 98, Me, NT, Even Linux would crash on this if you looked at it the wrong way. The only OS that would run even relatively stable on this thing was the overbloated OS that came with it.

Thankfully, Compaq quit doing this stuff afater around 97-98, probably because they realized it was a tech support nightmare.

I for one agree (4, Informative)

jimicus (737525) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555054)

My current employer has been going about 5-6 years. Virtually every PC in the place shipped with an XP license. Yet I find myself having to pay for another XP license for every PC through the volume licensing scheme.

Part of the reason for this is because I don't want to upgrade to Vista within 18 months, which I'll pretty much have to if I don't have an easy way to downgrade. However, even without Vista on the horizon I'd be doing this. The reason is that even buying PC's aimed squarely at businesses through business suppliers, I wind up with OEM builds which have all sorts of odd things on them. For instance:

  • A few years ago, a major system builder included an "easy screen resolution changer" which has an awkward tendency to automatically bump the screen down to 800x600. Bit of a problem for the person with a 21" trinitron screen.
       
  • Another major system builder's laptop build consists of 7 CDs. One for the operating system, goodness alone knows what takes up the space on the other 6. The rebuild process using those CDs takes about 3 hours with innumerable reboots, and after that I still need to get Office on there.
       
  • Every laptop ships with some sort of "configuration" software which is obviously meant to make wireless configuration easier. Yet it makes configuration harder, as all of a sudden I need to either account for every possible piece of wireless config software in my "This is how you set up wireless" document or I need to publicly announce that you must use Windows' already perfectly good wireless config tools.

Because of Microsoft's leaning on these vendors, I can't get a straight, simple Windows install CD with these PCs. Instead, I get an automatic "system restore" CD which includes all this extra rubbish. And the product key on the PC only works with CDs supplied by the vendor.

So what I'm working on now is my own automatic-building CD which installs a plain, boring Windows setup, handles drivers and installs basic stuff like office. I've spent the last 3 days on this solid, and it's soul destroying. You wind up spending half the day watching Windows install, getting to the end and finding that you made some simple mistake and now it's back to fix that, recreate the CD and try again. Ghost isn't really an option, as I've got more different hardware configurations than I know what to do with and I don't have the budget to replace every single desktop and laptop in one go.

Re:I for one agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17555228)

1. Tried getting the vendor to *not* ship an OS on the PC's you buy? (assuming you buy from one vendor)

2. sysprep is your friend. At least then you can preload your apps, even if you need to reinstall drivers afterwards.

Re:I for one agree (2, Interesting)

Rufus211 (221883) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555416)

I can't find it right now, but somewhere in Microsoft's Windows Genuine Crap stuff they have a tool that'll let you use any windows serial with any version of windows. I used it to upgrade my desktop with a Volume License Key install (and a pirate key) to an OEM key from my laptop (laptop is linux only).

No idea if it's kosher with the licensing, but you could just use a pirated key on install and then use the tool to force the original serial back onto the machine.

Acer? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17555086)

Do they mean backdoors like Acer? Or is that supported by MS? :)

Re:Acer? (1)

Constantine XVI (880691) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555220)

Suprisingly, my Acer came with near-zero crapware. All they installed was some media-center software. Of course, that means jack-shit when you install Kubuntu over it.

Note to Acer: Stop partitioning the HD's in half.

"crap"let (1)

master_kaos (1027308) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555128)

So microsoft is trying to stop their own OS from being installed? Or is that not what they meant by craplet? Oh wait...

I'm with MS on this one (1)

gentimjs (930934) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555140)

I'm with microsoft on this one. I'm the IT guy for a medium size company, and when we get a new windows laptop its a tradeoff between the time it takes to reinstall and hunt down all the drivers, and the time it takes to skim the pork out of the crap the OEM preinstalled for you (sometimes only to find out that all the BS cant be cleanly removed all the way and having to break out the windows CDs anyway....). I completely agree with MS' standpoint on this one, however I dont really agree-or-disagree with their reasons for it.

I agree (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555144)

Is this a serious concern

Yes, I think it is... I remember a recent Dell laptop we got... It was so riddled with crap that at the first boot, before we had uninstalled a lot of stuff like antivirus tool *trials* and whatnot, we had confirmations and requests to do stuff basically whatever step we tried to take in Windows. Why can't these just set up their Windows installs with whatever drivers they need (drivers, not applications) and leave the user with a stack of CD's to install. They could even call the apps on those as "value added products" to try make the user feel like they get more for their money, if that would make the exec's happier. :-p

I feel their pain. (0, Troll)

brennanw (5761) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555152)

If only people didn't WRITE PROGRAMS to run on OPERATING SYSTEMS.

+1 Funny (1)

Cheesey (70139) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555218)

If only people didn't WRITE PROGRAMS to run on OPERATING SYSTEMS.

Hey, if Vista refused to run non-Microsoft programs, that would guarantee the Vista experience, right? Microsoft should show us all what "monopoly" really means by refusing to run third-party code.

Re:I feel their pain. (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555224)

and BUNDLED them without USER APPROVAL

Did you lose your train of thought halfway through? ;-)

I don't have a train of thought. (1)

brennanw (5761) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555424)

It's more like a hand-cart with a sticky wheel.

Its a valid concern.... (1)

TechnoBunny (991156) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555158)

In the past I've delivered security/safety critical systems with Win2K components to customers. They weren't core 'must not fail, EVER' parts of the system, but they still needed to be reliable, if only for the sake of customer perceptions. They were completely clean Win2K installations, with the only other software being stuff that we'd written and tested, and the only time they went down was when we rebooted after doing software updates - typically every 6 months. So I can certainly see merit in what Gates is saying....

Rightly so! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17555172)

One reason I like installing my own OS (say, Linux), or I got a Mac some time ago was the relative crap-freeness (the Mac comes with T-Online and AOL (both ISPs) stuff installed, at least in Germany).

Seriously, nobody *wants* any of that crap that comes from OEM, be it on the PC or on the cellphone.

Sell me hardware. Sell me a system (mobile OS, Windows, Linux). Just don't install any adware, trojans (hi Acer), or other crap.

And they are right (1)

SubtleNuance (184325) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555192)

First thing you do when you buy a new PC is remove all the terrible software installed by these OEMs. Same goes for the damn 'extras' CDROM shipped to people from their ISP.

Microsoft is dead correct, this software is virtually always terrible.

I won 2 excellent systems from... (2, Interesting)

bealzabobs_youruncle (971430) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555240)

Dell, but they weren't excellent until I grabbed fresh drivers and the restore CD and did a clean install. I easily got a 10-15% performance boost on one of them, which I found kind of shocking. OEMs make money pre-loading some of this stuff, so I see their need/desire for it, but they really do need to be more selective. And how about just giving me the applications on a CD and letting me chose, would save me a lot of time.

Re:I won 2 excellent systems from... (1)

bealzabobs_youruncle (971430) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555370)

I fat fingered the title, should be I OWN 2 excellent systems from Dell...

Observations (4, Insightful)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555244)

It's funny that Microsoft is worried about distributors ruining their product, whereas Linux relies on distributors to make it into a usable product.

It's also funny that volunteer projects like Debian and Gentoo seem to have no problem making a great distribution out of widely scattered and disorganized software, whereas the commercial vendors who ship customized versions of Windows seem to be universally succeeding only in making Windows crappier to the point that you really don't want to use the customized version.

I guess that Microsoft middle road between providing just the bare bones like Linux and the FSF do on one hand, and providing a complete package, like Apple does, on the other hand, really isn't working well.

Re:Observations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17555374)

It's funny that Microsoft is worried about distributors ruining their product, whereas Linux relies on distributors to make it into a usable product.

Open Source plays a pretty big role in this. Linux distributors have access to all the source code which allows them to integrate the various components. It also makes it possible to modify components so they work better with a particular distribution.

Another factor is that Microsoft will not allow vendors to make significant changes to the OS. Were it not for the anti-trust settlement they wouldn't even allow vendors to put icons on the desktop.

Re:Observations (1)

crimperman (225941) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555390)

commercial vendors who ship customized versions of Windows seem to be universally succeeding only in making Windows crappier


to be fair it's not that hard to do:

install Windows OEM, install Acrobat reader, install Norton, ship :o)

That's great, but... (1)

LoganTeamX (738778) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555256)

In one breath, they're worried about the gigantic evil of uncertified applications (which is no different than any other OS launch) and in the next, Vista is "the most compatible operating system they've ever had." So which is it? Stable or unstable? Lead or nitroglycerine?

Microsofts own fault (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17555340)

This is Microsofts own fault. Back in the good old days, there were ads telling you to call 1-800-piracy (or whatever), if you bought a PC with Windows, and only got a restore CD, instead of a real Windows CD.

At some point they changed this policy,and now reward those manufacturer who sell systems with restore CDs. Of course the manufacturers jumped the chance, and included as many "craplets" as they could. And with most manufacturers shipping ONLY restore CDs and no install CDs, the only way to get a clean machine is to either buy a second copy of Windows, or replace your fully licensed OEM version with a pirated copy of whatever your friends are running (usually replacing XP Home with Pro, because that's what they have).

What goes around, comes aroud (1)

KwKSilver (857599) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555362)

Actually, I agree that most of this crapware should be banned, It always should have been. Plus the crap is on the restore image disks that PCs come with, so that there is no way to really escape it short of buying a separate copy of Windows at full retail price. I got burned on this on the last 2 PCs I got & it was so bad for the laptop, that I just reformatted the HD & installed Ubuntu, sending XP to electronic Hell.

That said, whose fault is all this? MS itself has been pushing the restore images very hard. Seems like activation + WGA should be enough without inflicting a cripple-dick restore system on people. OEMs have razor thin margins, & the crapware helps that out. If MS is serious why don't they offer a deep discount to those who only install certified crapware or none at all. With an 80-85% profit margin, one thinks they could. Or arent they serious?

Besides, I though Vista was uncrashable, just like Win95, Win98, ... WinXP. What gives?

They should ban startup apps from the registry (5, Insightful)

HighOrbit (631451) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555378)

Beside the annoying trial crap that fills up diskspace, the worst stuff is the boot-time startup crap that cripples the machine and adds another 45 seconds to boot time. I'm not talking about system or server services here, but the third-party consumer applications like iTunes or Real-player. Msconfig is good for dianostics, but sometimes you have to hunt down offending start-up programs in the registry to permanantly turn them off at boot-time. MS should remove the "run" option from the registry for those sorts of things and require them to go into the old "start up" folder. That way, they will be easy to find, and a normal user can delete them without hosing the entire machine.

What to tag this? (1)

segin (883667) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555394)

Maybe I should tag this article as "crap"?

No Craplets in Mac OS X (1, Interesting)

bhima (46039) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555398)

Interestingly this was universally the first thing my friends & family noticed when I quit supporting their HP and Packard Bell MS Windows computers and forced them to update to iMacs. I always wondered why Apple doesn't bring that up in their adverts.

Vista Certified (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17555402)

In related news Microsoft (MSFT) announced the "VCCP" (Vista Certified Crap) program.

Personally... (1)

Zanthor (12084) | more than 7 years ago | (#17555418)

The first thing I do to any machine purchased from an OEM is nuke the site from orbit. They install so much crap the brand spanking new machine you bought runs about as well as a 5 year old box thats setup properly.
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