Fri 01 November 2019 by Thran. Last updated 2019-11-1.
I've used ever major Windows version from 98 until 10. Windows 10 was the first version of Windows that felt like I had to fight the computer just to get it to do my bidding.
When I first completed installation, there were screens and screens of 'tracking' consent switches that I had to turn off. I was nagged to 'sign in' with my Microsoft account, despite this machine needing only an offline, local account. None of the alleged benefits of signing in appeal to me. I have to disable telemetry and pound my way through Group Policy just to control when updates are installed. There were recorded instances of Microsoft 'resetting' these telemetry prefrences after updates, switching them back to 'full consent'. That's a tad ironic.
I install my own media player (either MPC or VLC), graphics viewer (IrfanView), web browser (Firefox) and Windows 10 will prompt me 'There was a problem with your default application, it has been switched back to Windows Media Player' or whatever. This was utterly insulting and made me fuming; I just installed these applications and associated the file types with them. I was setting up the Operating System to use my preferred applications. Why can't it simply respect my settings?
I hear that MS have fixed Windows 10, but they had no excuse to get this wrong in the first place. Every version of Windows before 10 had these settings configurable by the user. If I wanted forced updates (what I call 'granny mode') then I would have enabled them, like in Windows 7 or 8.
Why REMOVE functionality that gives your users options? I'm buying Windows to use as a tool that facilitates work, I'm not buying the computer to run telemery and updates on behalf of Microsoft! I need complete control of the computer to update it at a time convenient to me. Perhaps I need the CPU and Hard disk in use for a program right now, why should the computer decide by itself that now's the time to update and take away my CPU and hard disk time? If I'm knowledgable and responsible then surely I can handle the responsibility of updating my computer at a time convenient to me; the motive of security and performance improvements is strong enough to keep me running updates in my own time!
'Delaying' updates is not a solution. What if they're delayed and then decide to install at a time when I need to finish urgent work? Besides, with the aforementioned resetting of telemetry preferences after updates, any trust I had in Microsoft has been broken. When I run something so crucial as an Opertaing System which has full access to my files and full control of my hardware, the need for trust cannot be understated.
Coming over to Linux, despite the worst bugs and setbacks I've encountered, is well worthwhile. Problems such as these are absolutely non-existent. Stallman is right, free software is under the user's control, non-free software controlls the user. You might say this was always the case with Windows, buried within its licence agreement. But Windows 10 is when Microsoft jumped the proverbial shark; these issues have never been made clearer.
On Linux, updates may be installed whenever the user desires. When updates are installed, they seldom require a restart. When they do require a restart, it is often only one. Any software that is undesirable may be removed, no questions asked. There is no telemetry. Whenever I configure the OS to read a file using a certain program, this choice is always respected and never reset for arbitrary reasons.
But best of all, GNU/Linux has the most wonderful collection of screensavers!