Thursday, December 17, 2009

The failure that is windows

In this case, it's windows server 2008. I can't even be bothered to capitalize that horrendous bowl of crap.

Of course, it must be said that the server platform wasn't meant for everyday use, especially when it comes to programming and development. But with that said, it's not like any other "good" operating systems have trouble performing more than one function.

If it isn't clear yet, I am in a bad mood.
I have an assignment due tomorrow requiring an apache/mysql/php server (LAMP in this case) to host a website. Now, I was reluctant to use ms server 2008 because I know that it's going to piss me off, bad. Little did I know I would encounter the following issues:

Issue #1: Update won't install.
Now I know this rather silly considering it doesn't affect my work, but it's a start to pave the way to frustration.
Windows Update does not update. Upon trying to update (because I like my OS secure and up-to-date), I am informed that my 4.1 Mb update failed. Reason? Even microsoft doesn't know.
Their help page starts off with the ever-so-helpful "0 results for WindowsUpdate_blahblahblah". The error code is 80070490 if you want to know.
Yes, I am connected to the internet. The update is already downloaded!
Are you saying I can't even use an up-to-date server? This has been happening for over a week now! It won't update! Useless!

Issue #2: Taskbar hell.
For some odd reason, everytime I click on a taskbar program, it greets me with the flashing grey and blue, but it does not appear on my desktop as it should. When I click it again, it de-selects itself still flashing grey and blue. What?! I click it again and FINALLY it opens up like it should.
So basically I have to work 3 times as hard to do 1x the work. And you know in windows, you have to do a lot of clicking. I guess Redmond can't be bothered to include global shortcuts that seem to be so prevalent in other Operating Systems. Alt-Tab works as expected though.

Issue #3: And here's where the sh-- goes down.
I am a programmer, developer, whatever you wish to call it. When programming in php and using html/css, you use a lot of <, >, and / characters.
AS LUCK WOULD HAVE IT, while in the middle of using Programmer's Notepad to do my work, something happens that I cannot explain (a certain key combination maybe) and I no longer can type those 3 characters! In one fell swoop, my productivity falls to absolute zero. What happened? I check the locale, keyboard setup, sticky keys, and pnotepad for any options that could have affected my typing. But nope, there doesn't seem to be any particular reason for what just happened.
By now, I'm practically screaming at my lcd, wanting to throw my fist through it.

As I'm thinking about it, there are a few possibilities. Since the characters for < > and / were changed to ., `, and some accented capital E character, it was probably an english/french keyboard language exchange of some sort. The kicker is, that I was able to type the < > and / characters in firefox so it was probably an application error; as the reader of this post, you are probably wondering "so what? it's not like you can't restart and continue on."
And you'd be right, I did reboot and everything works again.
But this just goes to show something more sinister at work. Why in hell should an application be able to have the power to change what characters are typed on a keyboard a) without any consent of the user, b) without any warning (the screen flashed once when it changed), and c) with no apparent way to undo or revert the changes?

I was working as the Administrator, so I'm partly to blame. But why would an application even ATTEMPT to change something like that? If I was French, I'd have a French keyboard layout and negate the need for the application to worry about it. And that's the point of an OS, to perform required operations without nagging the user on tasks that are not relevant to the job at hand.
Which is why windows fails on so many levels.
+ nags you to reboot after certain updates, every 15 minutes on XP I believe.
+ nags you with the UAC. If it was actually helpful, I could understand, such as GNU/Linux asking for root or sudo passwords.
+ have to use the mouse for almost everything. Because arthritis is for the cool kids.

I'd also like to mention that as I was working in a VMWare machine, for some reason my screen would flicker every so often. Virtualbox may have it's quirks, but it doesn't piss me off by attempting to inflict a seizure.

So my boiling point has been reached. My opinion of windows and microsoft, however low it was before, has gone south.

I'm contemplating refusing employment if it requires work on a windows machine, for my own safety.
The last thing I need are glass shards in my fist.