canopic jug writes:
Bryan Lunduke at Network World calls out what other mainstream media have been too timid, or bought out, to call out. He starts by pointing out that choosing Microsoft Windows for your organization should get you fired and that if you haven't already replaced Windows, across the board, you absolutely stink at your job.
There. Finally the topic is broached in mainstream media and a proper discussion can now start among decision makers who can arrange complete migrations to GNU/Linux, Chrome/Linux, one of the BSDs, or a combination of them.
As Microsoft security problems continue to escalate since even the pre-networked, MS-DOS days, managers and front-line grunts will find themselves increasingly culpable for selecting unviable software, such as Microsoft Windows. If they wish to pay big bucks for maintenance, there are plenty of companies around to participate in the money. Canonical, Red Hat, M:Tier are just a sampling.
[Ed. Note: I debated whether or not to run this story — in some respects it's just the Windows vs *nix argument all over again. Also, there are proprietary programs which are critical for certain industries which currently only run on Windows. On the other hand, gaining a mention like this in the more mainstream media, does that mean we are approaching an inflection point? Witness the increased displeasure with Windows 10's telemetry and the difficulty in completely blocking it. What programs do you use that are only available on Windows? What keeps you from moving to another OS? --martyb]
One program holding back some people I know is lack of a good citation management program. They're heavy users of EndNote and it's not available for GNU/Linux or the any of the BSDs. There are some web-based services, but those don't count. They lack the relative independence and better capabilities of standalong programs.
So, any suggestions about FOSS reference management software besides learning Qt and starting myself?
It is a browser extension, you don't need to use the sync backend if you don't want to. I've been using it for years and it is great.
It is a browser extension, has a stand-alone version, integrates seemlessly with word, libreoffice and is in general much superior to the commercial alternatives (web-scraping, document manangement, import/export, supported styles, new styles, ...). It can sync across devices using a webdav server which is configurable and limited free storage on amazon comes for free. Beat that endnote, referencemanager, whatever.I am puzzled over and over again that serious scientists do not know about zotero (even if you use latex you should use zotero to manage your bibliography) it has been around for almost 10 years.
by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 30, @09:45AM (#533424)
by shrewdsheep (5215) Neutral on Friday June 30, @10:13AM (#533443)
It... has a stand-alone version...
by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 30, @11:53AM (#533512)
That's a browser extension, not a standalone application...
I don't know how this software--or indeed this whole software niche--works; I make my citations by hand or with a web citation engine and mostly manage them by hand. But a couple observations...
- on the one hand, there seems to be some software called "zotero" that performs this function in the free world for free software users, but
- in true free world free software style, it's confusing enough that today I read that:
- Most people do not know it exists
- But it seems to exist
- It does NOT have a standalone version
- It simultaneously DOES have a standalone version
- Confusion reigns.
We (the free software world) might do very well to acknowledge this sort of confusion and to address, and as much as possible, eliminate it, for the good of all.
Even people who can't code but who want to help could write documentation or at least explanations of what's available and why and how someone would use it. I don't even mean at the project level; more at the free software evangelism level, simply explaining what exists and how it might be used to best effect. Proprietary softwares and software ecosystems have marketing departments that accomplish this with varying degrees of veracity; our own efforts should set the standards of truth and helpfulness.
It doesn't matter. People are too lazy to reevaulate what they're doing to see if there's a better way to do it. Zotero is easily found if you do a search for citation software, but you have to make that search. When was the last time you looked for a way to improve how you handle references? Do you use receipt scanning software or do you track your purchases by hand? Do you automate all your bills through a check send from your bank, do you manually write and mail checks, or do you allow direct withdraws?
Zotero has both plug-in and stand along versions. It also integrates with many document editors and can re-populate the citations when you change their data in Zotero's database. It's an excellent tool to use if you need to do citations and don't want to read a style guide on all the bullshit formatting rules you need to exactly follow to not be accused of plagiarism.
it does have a standalone version. Also you can sync with your own WebDAV server and share reference libraries. Zotero is far superior to endnote.also there's jabref if you want another free alternative.
bibtex, acutex, reftex, emacs, org-mode .. and hey.. search in synaptic, there is a lot of brilliant extensible functionality out there that makes it what you use if you're serious about the craft, competitive in a service industry or simply attempting to publish your research at the best speed you can.
you had to pick a domain where linux is an industry standard.are you nostalgic for pagemaker and word ??
Also, there are proprietary programs which are critical for certain industries which currently only run on Windows
That's not really an argument against the article.
Most of those industry-specific programs are NOT developed by Microsoft, and thus developed by someone who - as the article argues - "should be fired for choosing Windows".
There are also toolkits for cross-platform development which could have had those apps running on gratis and libre OSes as well as the far-less-secure/spyware/forced-upgrades Windoze OS.
I have often wondered how much less it would cost for a discipline/guild/industry to hire their own FOSS developers to fill their needs compared to repeatedly paying for EULAware.
-- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]
ReactOS is more stable these days.
Compatibility is needed too. Especially installing seems to crash with Wine at least.
And ReactOS will only replace the OS. You will still be stuck with using Windows directly. Maybe some DLL extension could be written that export gui-windows to X11?
Sure... an organization can just drop windows and switch to a different OS easy peazy. What an idiot. HE's the one that should be fired.
A wholesale move away from Windows requires buy in from not just IT, but the major stakeholders such as business owners, the board, etc.
It also requires a very carefully thought out transition because there is a LOT of software that is only available in Windows. Even if there WERE equivalents, there's an excellent chance that the software will be inferior, possibly incredibly so. That means you'd have to move a lot of your operations to service-based solutions, assuming there are no legal issues that prevent you from doing so. I despise Outlook for example, but it's like night and day compared to Thunderbird and Evolution. LibreOffice, despite their improvements, still feels like something that fell out of the 1990s truck. Impress in particular, is so shockingly bad for anything but the most trivial of presentations, that they'd probably be better off to just scrap it entirely.
At minimum, you'd *still* need copies of windows floating around to support the software that can't be migrated, whether due to lock-in or cost.
Assuming that you're able to do THAT, you still have to deal with retraining your workforce.
The unfortunate fact is that while Linux/BSD/*nix are fantastic server operating systems, but they are flat out shit for desktop, and always will be. Even the best desktop environments still feel like they were build in the early 2000s.
I myself use a Mac cause I at least have access to decent software and while it's not as customizable, it doesn't give me grief. And THIS is why Apple is charging stupid amounts of money for their products. Because they know that the people who walk into an Apple store are desperate enough to pay whatever they want to charge. There are literally no other options for a half-way decent OS that doesn't spy on you, compromise you, or require you to be a sysadmin just to plug in a printer.
Is he an idiot?
Nope. Ernie Ball, Inc. has already been mentioned in the (meta)thread.They did it last century.
Burlington Coat Factory did it before them.
Munich has been mentioned.When Munich's mayor was talking to Bill Gates while giving him a ride to the airport, the mayor said that the reason they were making the switch was FREEDOM."Freedom from who?""From YOU, Mr. Gates."Gates was very quiet for the rest of the trip.
I never said it was impossible. It's totally doable if you a) care enough, and b) have the resources to do so.
But at no point has anyone ever said that it was even remotely easy. You effectively need to refactor your entire business when you do such a move.
If you look at the work Munich did, for example, they had to do a *LOT* of work to do the transition, including roll their own custom linux distribution, and a whole bunch of other headaches. Any and all custom software made for windows, now needs to be rewritten. Windows-only software (eg: quickbooks) needs to have replacements sourced.
Anyone who says (or even implies) that a switchover is a trivial exercise is misguided at best, and an outright liar at worst. I personally would be delighted to kick Windows to the curb at any and every opportunity. But I am also a realist who understands that such a thing can't be done with a simple snap of the fingers.
What programs do you use that are only available on Windows? What keeps you from moving to another OS?
None, and nothing; I switched away from Windows when Windows 10 came out and hijacked my laptop along with it.
Switching is in the past, not future, of myself and of many other people.
Pure laziness had kept me from completely switching up to that point, but that was the point at which it was more trouble *not* to switch than to just use unix(-alikes) instead of Windows. I am running about 95% Debian GNU/Linux, 3% BSD, and even 1% GNU/Mach-Hurd as a learning experience (one day [not soon] it will probably be the one true OS, and I want to be mentally ready when it happens).
Some uname strings...
Linux localhost 4.12.0-rc5-amd-1 #1 SMP Mon Jun 19 10:12:40 EDT 2017 x86_64 GNU/LinuxFreeBSD localhost 11.0-RELEASE-p1 FreeBSD 11.0-RELEASE-p1 #0 r306420: Thu Sep 29 01:43:23 UTC 2016 email@example.com:/usr/obj/usr/src/sys/GENERIC amd64Linux localhost 4.9.0-3-amd64 #1 SMP Debian 4.9.25-1 (2017-05-02) x86_64 GNU/LinuxGNU localhost 0.9 GNU-Mach 1.8+git20170102-486/Hurd-0.9 i686-AT386 GNU
Linux localhost 4.12.0-rc5-amd-1 #1 SMP Mon Jun 19 10:12:40 EDT 2017 x86_64 GNU/Linux
FreeBSD localhost 11.0-RELEASE-p1 FreeBSD 11.0-RELEASE-p1 #0 r306420: Thu Sep 29 01:43:23 UTC 2016 firstname.lastname@example.org:/usr/obj/usr/src/sys/GENERIC amd64
Linux localhost 4.9.0-3-amd64 #1 SMP Debian 4.9.25-1 (2017-05-02) x86_64 GNU/Linux
GNU localhost 0.9 GNU-Mach 1.8+git20170102-486/Hurd-0.9 i686-AT386 GNU
I strongly tend toward free software as both a principle of right and wrong and also a practical matter; those very few Windows apps whose functions have not yet been replaced run usually in wine, which gets better and better with time. The intractable ones that refuse to work in wine run fine in a virtual machine.
It's interesting having this perspective. I keep thinking, how can anyone not see that Windows is a sinking ship? But of course, I understand that that has been the extremest non-pragmatic view. I suspect that the roles are being reversed, and sooner or later "Let's keep Windows" will become the extremest non-pragmatic view.
and even 1% GNU/Mach-Hurd as a learning experience (one day [not soon] it will probably be the one true OS, and I want to be mentally ready when it happens).
I don't see it ever taking off. You want to sell me on a new OS? Go look at how plan 9 was designed. Brilliant is one word to describe it. That's what people should be looking at for design influence.
one day [GNU/Mach-Hurd] will probably be the one true OS...I don't see it ever taking off...
one day [GNU/Mach-Hurd] will probably be the one true OS...
I don't see it ever taking off...
Well, I guess that was about 50% sarcasm and 50% hope-springs-eternal anyway.
This term is charged with baggage from American politics. Are you sure you want to distract from a worthwhile discussion with thoughts of fake news and alternative facts?
I'd argue that one of the main reasons for the continued prevalence of Windows (aside from things like MS SQL database requirements and Exchange servers) comes out of a HUGE over dependence on Office documents, compounded by the use of stuff that just doesn't translate well to things like Libreoffice.
Over the years I've learned to HATE all office documents with a white hot passion. There are far too many people in every segment of every company that can't fucking tell you the time of day without Word documents, spreadsheets and/or power point presentations, complete with 1000 different fonts, colors, highlighting, screen shots, embedded who-the-fuck know what...drives be batshit...makes my eyes glaze over and my brain all but shut off...and they manage to do the same bullshit in emails which is 1000x worse (remember text emails?). Yet somehow, some of the most complicated communication that EVER takes place, like the interaction of developers of some of the most complex software on the planet (take the Linux kernel devs for example) can somehow do everything in formats limited to plain text.
It's totally a crutch that becomes an addiction frankly, and seems to totally stop most people from ever actually asking themselves "How can I explain what I'm trying to say in plain fucking English". Don't even get me started.
Drawing upon over 40 years of programming and systems administration experience spanning hundreds of different operating systems, I have concluded that it is not about programs so much as it is about protocols and formats.
Permit me to ramble:
As a FreeBSD enthusiast I have been waiting to abandon Windows for over a decade. What held me back was - others have also said this - Visio. But I can live without it, personally. I figure if my employer needs me to have it they will issue me an appropriately configured computer, and a license. Turns out they don't.
So I systematically inventoried my critical applications and realized that I was already relying heavily upon open source products - Thunderbird, Seamonkey, Chromium, Opera and Firefox, mostly.
LibreOffice includes a database front end that is probably more capable than MS Access and it even supports a local database, just like Access.
There's a LibreCAD, which I haven't used much yet - but as someone who has been using Visio since the 1990s, I can say that it's all about the libraries of cute icons, and that if a few thousand people spend a year or so using LibreCAD to draw floorplans, I assure you, there will be thousands of cute little icons.
A few years ago I had a bastardized FreeBSD laptop that allowed me to read PDFs using xpdf(1) - but I couldn't handle .docx files, until the latest release of LibreOffice, and so it was a crippled sort of freedom.
I used Ted(1) to maintain my resume in RTF format - a mostly-forgotten WYSIWYG standard from the 1980s that is still supported by Microsoft Word, so that recruiters could still (mostly) read my resume. There were occasional problems, though.
This was a critical threshold for me, because without the ability to read .docx and .pdf files, my ability to look for work was deprecated - I could now read PDFs, but when recruiters sent me .docx attachments I had to beg them to translate it into PDF or cut-and-paste it into the email ... and not all were willing to do so.
Now that LibreOffice works reliably, I am more or less free of Microsoft.
And so, to summarize:
1) Inventory your critical Windows applications (IE, Outlook, Visio, Word, etc)2) Identify the protocols and formats they support (IE, SMTP, IMAP, POP3, JPG, PNG, PDF, DOCX, etc)3) Search for open source equivalents4) Test open source equivalents5) Migrate data (and habits) from old to new application
Perhaps the only obstruction to doing this is the necessity of teaching users about file formats; but, dammit, they need to learn this shit! It's time to grow up and quit playing with childrens' toys.
Now, all that having been said, I am now studying 3D printing and CNC programming using some software called MasterCAM that is strongly and exclusively tied to Microsoft Windows, and which cannot be virtualized because it relies heavily upon an intimate relationship with a powerful GPU or two.
Oh, sure, there might be some ways to do it - see https://www.reddit.com/r/pcmasterrace/comments/2z0evz/gpu_passthrough_or_how_to_play_any_game_at_near/ [reddit.com] - but right now, I need simplicity and reliability more than I need a bleeding-edge experimental setup, so I opted for a separate Windows computer, with eight cores and an adequate GPU, that's dedicated to high-end graphics.
And so dumping Windows is possible, but for certain legacy applications its just might not be cost-effective.
I find Bryan is glossing over some of the points as being moot and I find he is totally wrong about it.While Linux and others are often found to be more secure, nothing is full proof. If Linux ran 95% of the desktops of the world, many faults would be exploited. The fact that Linux is in the 2% range isn't very enticing to people wanting to get money. Linux to some degree has security through obscurity.Also, if Linux ran on 95% of the worlds PC, who says all comporations would run up to date versions? I could imagine a situation where some IT with little time have a functional Fedora release that is 10 releases behind or CentOS or some other distro that is old and easily compromised. After all, many computers affected are still on Windows XP. Just because there is no cost to update to a newer version of Windows doesn't mean there is no expenses to upgrade. Techs need to be paid to do the work of not just installing but testing to make sure it's compatible and companies often aren't willing to to put in the money.
Switching over to Linux isn't always as easy as it may sound either. I work in a company that has many add-ins for Excel that are made inhouse. Those won't translate over to Libre office without serious work. Why would a company invest to migrate over when Windows and Office do the job already? They also have to make sure it works when sending to clients. Libre Office is fine for the basics but when dealing with complex spreedsheets. Not so sure.Try also to imagine someone trying to troubleshoot a spreedshet sent to a client generated in LibreOffice and opening all wrong in Excel. If you know the features in Libre Office that were used, you may not know it's equivalent in Excel. Why would a company take that risk?
There is a saying that goes 'No one ever got fired for buying a Microsoft product'. Why would they when everyone else does? No Bryan. No one should get fired for purchasing Windows today. People should get fired to still being on old versions such as Windows XP in 2017. It's been unsupported for 3 years. No excuses if that thing is still connected to the network and doing mission critical work.
If Linux ran 95% of the desktops of the world, many faults would be exploited
Would those folks have to wait until the second Tuesday of next month to get the patches?...or wait for 3 months?...or wait for 6 months?...or until Doomsday--with nothing ever appearing?
If you're going to talk about security and support, do note that MICROS~1 always comes in dead last.
...then there are M$'s "critical" updates that are only critical to M$'s thoroughly corrupt business model.
...then there is M$'s latest all-or-nothing updates thing.
...then there's the lost time when Windoze seizes control of your system to apply those updates.
...and this on top of EULAware that wasn't designed with a security model in mind from the start.
You can have that shit.I don't have that kind of patience/tolerance.
Your "11 years" is imaginary. How long was it between the time it was known as a problem and the time a patch was available?
Hint: Because I update my systems regularly, I found out about it first from reading apt-listchanges, not from the news.
You're ascribing a belief to me that (i) I don't have, and (ii), is nowhere in evidence. Who's the jerk here again?
Microsoft's response times are most easily measured in weeks. Linux, hours. This is a separate issue from how long a vulnerability has existed unnoticed (at least, unnoticed officially) in whatever OS interests you - and Windows, like Linux, has had a number of whoppers in that department.
You're ascribing a belief to me that (i) I don't have,
And I and others care about your belief because...???
and (ii), is nowhere in evidence.
Then learn to read. I put the links in and I'll take what they say over some stranger responding in an insulting manner.
Who's the jerk here again?
You are. I didn't start this whole bashing BS. If you had an once of morals you'd apoligize. I'd then accept and we'd continue with a civil discussion if there was anything more to say.That would be quite a concept actually.
That's exactly the point. They all have vulnerabilities and some went unnoticed for years. But that means unoticed by those who program the OS. Someone may have known and exploited without people's knowledge until it got reported. No way to tell.
If you had read the articles you'd note that Linus himself tried to fix one a few ears ago without success. That's not repaired in a matter of hours.
Nobody gets fired for buying Microsoft because everybody buys Microsoft. Everybody buys Microsoft because everybody buys Microsoft. Everybody knows Microsoft is uniquely unsafe but everybody buys Microsoft because everyone else has it, critical ISVs only release on it, etc. It's f*cking circular and somebody needs to break it.
The first step is one large entity that has to care about security needs to lay down the law, no new Windows installs, no Windows 10 under any circumstance since it meets the dictionary definition of malware out of the box. Somebody like the United States Department of Defense or Department of Homeland Security. Both are big enough that by themselves they could break the circle of dependency. Every contractor doing business with them would instantly port their products since the revenue from an agency wide deployment at either one justifies the developer time. Everybody would quickly get together and standardize file exchange formats that aren't just "whatever the current Office does". You can't do a rip and replace, work needs to go on, but you can say "NO MORE" and stop digging the hole and lay out a five year plan to migrate as the hardware replacement cycle churns. Which would no longer have to worry about Linux compatibility since every bit of hardware would instantly have a "Works with Linux" logo and a little penguin on the box. Dell would be happy to sell any product they make preloaded.
The big question then would be what to do when Microsoft ported Office and Exchange to try to keep half the monopoly. It is almost as dangerous as Windows, allow or forbid?
At home, the wife's embroidery software is win xp/7. I have a scanner that is windows only. That all goes on VMs w/o internet.
At work, it's an MS shop w exchange/outlook. My win 7 system is being upgraded to 10. I use it to run chrome and Cygwin/X11 to my development vm on openstack.
I used to be able to VPN from anything, but now it has to be a company system and that's win 10.
now this is some click bait that "has a groovy beat. i can really bug out to it."