Wubi, How Much I Miss You

Dual-booting on a Vista machine turned out to be a really, really bad idea. At least when you are trying NOT to kill Vista in the process. Now cleaning out GRUB, reinstalling Vista’s MBR and re-extending all the partitions is in order. The number of hoops one needs to jump through, especially if you don’t have Vista install media is incredible. I personally tried deleting my GNU/Linux partition, then installing it again. Then I tried running Super Grub Disk to get my Vista MBR back. But that failed. So instead I downloaded and ran EasyBCD and rewrote my MBR that way.  EasyBCD unfortunately is not libre software, but it does a wonderful job of making the Vista experience less painful.

After that could I remove the GNU/Linux partition via my Wubied installed of Kubuntu. All that is left is for me to re-extend the main partition when I get around to it.  I’m NOT going to do that again.

So advice to anyone wanting to run Ubuntu GNU/Linux and NOT kill your Vista install for whatever reason, go the Wubi route. Always go the Wubi installer route, it will save you a lot of hassle. You the additional advantage that you can always uninstall Ubuntu GNU/Linux if you need to.

Windows? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Windows!!!

I just read this article on Phoronix on the Phoenix HyperSpace quick boot Linux. So a quick boot Linux partition installed side-by-side with Windows is nothing new. It happened early last year.

Rather what this article shows is the increased awareness of Linux in the vendor space. It also shows that vendors will ditch their loyalty toward Microsoft and the Windows platform, if it suits the vendor. And Phoenix is not a sole rogue vendor. Nokia does it with Maemo on its internet tablets. Dell on select machines and its Mini 9 netbook. Asus and Acer, again two Linux netbook vendors. And a number of other vendors do the side-by-side install too.

Microsoft should be worried. The Vista debacle caused more than just users to get upset for a slow, bloated OS. Vendors got upset, when Microsoft promised a feature and then didn’t deliver half of what they promised. And vendors trying to stay ahead of the curve got burned when a vital feature didn’t appear. Don’t be surprised that vendors will happily pull a Julius Caesar on Microsoft.

Vendors and user both got tired of Microsoft telling them how they should do their computing. The basic beauty of computing is the flexibility and freedom of workflow that it allows for. Imposing limits of the technology for “historical” and business reason is folly in the long run. Also today’s state of the art technology is past the desktop. The desktop has to interact seamlessly mobile handhelds, web applications and cloud computing offerings. Making everything into a desktop paradigm as Microsoft sees things, doesn’t work. It doesn’t cut it anymore. And vendors know this.

Vendors now look to Linux and free/libre/open source software (FLOSS) as a way to simplify development, cut costs and ultimately as a way to go forward. That is the beauty of FLOSS, you have the freedom to take technology where you want it to go. The only constraints on computing technology should be the laws physical universe and your own imagination.

Menacing Migraines Ahead

Scientist should start classifying migraines in scale based on the pain inflicted upon an individual. Perhaps they should count number of perceived neuron deaths. At least I think they should. I rate mine a 4 out of 5.

But my headaches can not be as severe as the ones in Redmond. Since everyone (and their pet dog) has a prediction of what the potential takeover of Yahoo by Microsoft means, I decided to add my own opinion to the mess. As Matt Assay points out, lots of money will be thrown around for this acquisition. But rather than the high risks, it sounds like Microsoft has a waken up to a painful realization: no one actually cares about operating systems. This acquisition may actually signal Microsoft’s weakness.

Just look at the way Linus Torvalds views Linux. An operating system should be invisible to a user. The user shouldn’t care about what the operating system does, only that it works. Users only start caring when something goes wrong, software or hardware wise. If it works great.

Hardware manufacturers don’t care either. And the open sourceness of Linux lends well with manufacturers too. Here is a stable ready made platform, not controlled by any organizations. No need to pay per device royalties. No need to purchase expensive development kits to write drivers for. If the manufacturer decides to open source their drivers, they get the added benefit of the community donating fixes too.

Now Microsoft have a problem. They can’t compete with Linux on price. They can’t compete on developer freedom. So they get no love from manufacturers. And most user surf the web most of the time anyways. Almost everyone hates Vista anyways. Some users even find installing Linux sounds less painful than using Vista daily.

In fact this past year has been a headache for Microsoft. The lack luster performance of Vista. Nintendo trouncing both Microsoft and Sony with their Wii. Resistance of the ISO to standardize OOXML. And the year ahead does not look much nicer.

So what to do? Buy Yahoo. Try gaining solid dominance of the web in terms of personal web services. And hope that the cash cows called Windows and Office hold out against the steady march of open source and the web. Maybe the evil smiling duo of Google and Tux will go away by themselves.

Suddenly my migraine does not seem as a bad.