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Microsoft promises twice-yearly Windows 10, O365 updates – with just 18 months' support

Anonymous Coward

Office 365 ProPlus...

... as recommended by sysadmins when working late into the night.

https://www.proplus.co.uk/ProPlus

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Office 365 ProPlus...

"you're now looking at the prospect of having to refresh and re-deploy your standard operating environment every eighteen months"

No need to "re-deploy" - it's just an in place update each time. This is great because it means no more complete desktop refresh exercises are needed every few years - which will significantly reduce the long term TCO of Windows on the desktop.

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Pirate

Dear gods...

Apparently they don't know how long it takes for some organizations to vet their software against major OS changes.

If this doesn't drive some people to Linux, I don't know what will.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Dear gods...

My thoughts exactly.

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@Lord

Well... Linux also has its issues depending on your distribution. I still recall upgrading from one Ubuntu LTS version to the other, it was a total nightmare because I was actually skipping 3 major releases at once and it didn't go smoothly.

But I do agree: this move is bound to push more people away from Windows. Once again Microsoft doesn't take note of the past. Because although not directly comparable I see direct comparisons with Firefox back in the days: one of the things which drove plenty of users mad was its almost constant stream of updates where tons of stuff changed.

And then there's the big one: what if you don't want a certain change. For example: I despised Windows 8 so I completely skipped it. With this new update model that would be completely impossible.

Replacing Windows with an open-source environment and using Wine for whatever Window needs you have is getting more tempting every month.

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Re: Dear gods...

For a lot of engineering and creative outfits, Linux is simply not an option, currently. All the major CAD packages had migrated to Windows, what, 20 years ago? And they're not going anywhere for a good long time...

The reasons why CAD packages migrated from *nix to Windows was that 1) Windows was powerful enough, 2) Windows was cheaper, 3) *nix as a graphical workstation was becoming very out of date and unusable, and 4) Windows grew a reputation for supporting software for a long time (amazingly you can still just about run Windows 3 software, on Win10 32 bit).

Then there's the usual MS Office dependency problem. It's still way better than what is available on *nix. There's also MS Project, Active Directory; the list goes on. There's a ton of software out there that 99% of the world's computer users haven't even heard of, never mind use. Yet without that software, 99% of what gets made wouldn't exist.

As far as I can see there's no real prospect for large engineering outfits to migrate away from Windows unless a seriously significant percentage of applications are ported elsewhere first. One wonders, ported to what?

MS themselves have done something interesting, in putting SQL Server onto Linux. The way they've done it is interesting; rather than re-write SQL Server for *nix, they've done a Windows system call shim for Linux. With a lot of effort on MS's part, the same shim could be developed further so that any Windows application or library could run unmodified on top of Linux. It's a lower level thing than Wine, and if MS actually did do it, would come with a bunch of guarantees that it worked. Wine, whilst it is admirable, is always going to struggle to be completely right. Anyway I can't see MS actually making something like that into a universal Windows App runtime for Linux.

But the Linux desktop is something of a stability nightmare too. Which distribution? Which desktop? Which package manager? And if you need kernel level driver support for licence dongles, which kernel version? It doesn't even do sound properly. Linux anarchy is very off-putting.

How about Apple MACs? Well clearly Apple has no interest in pursuing the desktop market, it no longer gives a damn about the creative types.

Ported to Web Apps? I don't think that's an option. Google Docs is a nasty horrible pile of ghastly Javascript, and is something of a toy (a slow one at that) compared to a properly sorted desktop application. The idea of implementing a major CAD package as a Web app is laughably unworkable at present.

I genuinely fear for the future for creative people. It's going to become expensive and difficult to host and support the types of software tools that creative people use, and now even MS is looking like walking away from them and their needs.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dear gods...

>All the major CAD packages had migrated to Windows, what, 20 years ago?

BricsCAD is major - BRL-CAD also has a very large user base ;)

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Re: Dear gods...

You are so right, have used windows ever since it started. But I've had it up to here with sodding updates and all the other crap. Gone over to Linux Mint, working perfectly for me.

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WTF?

Re: Dear gods...

Indeed... and the other software and hardware that needs to interface/integrate.

In the past, updates to Windows or Office have required a lot of testing here primarily because we have a lot of users with screen readers, screen magnifiers, specialist mice & keyboards, etc, some of which has had to be upgraded or even replaced because it now doesn't work with the new version... cue more testing, effort and expense on top of what's required for the base OS & Office.

And that's over and above any effort to test & make changes to our in-house applications.

And now we get to do it every 6 months. Joy.

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Boffin

Re: Dear gods...

It took us about two years to migrate from RHEL5 to 6. The OS upgrade was the easy part, it was the myriad of applications that needed to be recompiled and getting the users to test the stuff that they claimed to care about!

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Re: Dear gods...

BricsCAD is major - BRL-CAD also has a very large user base ;)

By your definition, Microsoft Paint is a "major" graphics application simply because it's installed everywhere... Talking of graphics, everyone seems to think that Adobe's suite is best run on Windows these days, not Mac.

Whilst I'm sure it's fine, you would not use BricsCAD to design an airliner, or a ship, or a car, or a skyscraper. For that you need something like CATIA. They do not do Linux versions of their software. According to Wikipedia they do nominally support Solaris, AIX and HP-UX, but since no one runs these as desktops these days it's Windows all the way.

It's a similar story with other major CAD packages like SolidWorks, the major parts of Autodesk's portfolio. Casting an eye round Mentor Graphic's suite suggests that Linux support is old / out of date, and that they're predominantly Windows these days.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dear gods...

"If this doesn't drive some people to Linux, I don't know what will"

Why are we still talking about been 'driven to Linux',.

Linux is a real and perfectly acceptable (and time saving) alternative for a lot of use cases. Take off those rose tinted glasses and stare a bit harder at the Microsoft deceitful practices been used against you.

18+ Hours of deceitful broken "Checking for Updates" on Windows 7 which "just happened to get a fix" after the 12 months of Windows 10 GWX "take a card, take any card, but fcuking take one" trickster opportunism.

How was this done?

Prioritising bandwidth to Windows 10 updates over Windows 7 updates, in terms of bandwidth allocation from Microsoft Cloud facilties.

Breaking Windows 7 updates on rolled back (from Win10) / restored images / new installs of Windows 7 SP1.

Back peddling telemetry into Windows 7, to take away its Privacy advantages.

Generally, just making life hell and miserable as possible for those determined to stick with Windows 7. This was no "mistake".

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Re: Dear gods...

Most or all of the Integrated Circuit CAD packages run on Linux (only or at least mostly). It's true that package and board level design may run on Windows but IC tools use Linux. This includes Mentor's LVS/DRC and similar tools which are definitely up to date on Linux.

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Re: Dear gods...

It took us about two years to migrate from RHEL5 to 6.

And now you don't need to do it again for 10 years - which is how long RHEL 6 is supported for (or longer if you want to pay a bit). Then you jump to RHEL 8 (or whatever is new then) and get another decade of stability.

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Happy

Re: Dear gods...

Have you started looking at your migrations to RHEL 7 yet? :)

In some cases we had to purchase extended support for 5.x servers as there was no way they could be moved. However we put in a pretty big effort to get (mostly) everything onto 6.8, but I'm not looking forward to have to get it all to 7 in a few years...

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Re: Dear gods...

Isn't this what they did with windows 10 in the first place? Marketing said "IT WILL BE RELEASED <date>!" And thus, so it was. Unfortunately, it was clearly not quite done with testing and the fiddly bits of being completed first.

It'd be nice if they'd change tactics and claim that the next big feature update would be released when it's good and damned well ready, and not a moment before.

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Re: Dear gods...

>Back peddling telemetry into Windows 7, to take away its Privacy advantages.

The difference is that you could bypass those particular updates. Much different from being forced to take a plate with one of everything at the buffet. Most of the complaining is from people with allergies to certain things they're being force-fed, it seems.

Fortunately, the big strength of Windows is being shown here and there, and that's the very large community of people who can develop applications that fix some of these problems. Look at Classic Shell, for example, as a lovely fix for the windows 8 "You wanted a tablet interface, right?". For a more recent variant, see the Rizen/Kaby Lake tweaks for non-10 Windows.

It would be lovely to see more legacy software being ported cleanly to linux (and even BSD!). CAD stuff, photoshop (though I wonder how many people could be fooled with a different interface on GIMP...), various games, and so on.

The users want the same thing they've always wanted: The choice to use software on their computer in a way they decide to, not necessarily in the way the software giants want them to.

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Re: Dear gods...

You wouldn't use windows to try an test those designs... That is on on Linux.

And there are a number of aircraft design tools for Linux. Even from NASA.

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Silver badge

Re: Dear gods...

"it was the myriad of applications that needed to be recompiled" and this is the problem. If you recompile an application like this then you're essentially not using the same application. No wonder it takes so long. Why not just update the OS and leave the application executable files there to use?

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Stop

Re: Dear gods... @alain

"And now you don't need to do it again for 10 years - which is how long RHEL 6 is supported for (or longer if you want to pay a bit). Then you jump to RHEL 8 (or whatever is new then) and get another decade of stability."

It was 10 years when RHEL6 was released - back in 2010. It is supported until November 2020, so there's less than 4 years left!

People here are forgetting (or unaware) that the Windows Servers have a similar 10+ year support cycle, and the enterprise users can use the Windows 10 LTSB versions which also have a ~10 year support policy.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dear gods...

>For that you need something like CATIA. They do not do Linux versions of their software.

RHEL is the most common platform for 3DEx R2016x - it's Windows 2012 otherwise. Forget about Windows 8 or 10.

>t's a similar story with other major CAD packages like SolidWorks, the major parts of Autodesk's portfolio.

More your speed I suspect - and BricsCAD is used across industries in their stead daily.

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FAIL

Re: Dear gods...

Cynic mode always on.... If you are not Windows, you are jack shit,

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Bronze badge

Re: Dear gods...

"The users want the same thing they've always wanted: The choice to use software on their computer in a way they decide to, not necessarily in the way the software giants want them to."

That's a small handful of users, where most users want their machine to work without having to learn a bunch of new stuff, or perform extra steps, or type in something in a highly specific context. They don't want the power to do something in multiple different ways, they want it to work in one way, reliably, every time they do it. Why are there so many Windows XP systems still running out there (~7.5% based on https://www.netmarketshare.com/operating-system-market-share.aspx?qprid=10&qpcustomd=0) - users don't want to change.

Microsoft is aiming for the masses, and is more than happy to let some percentage of the population leak out around the edges.

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Windows

From 13 years (XP) to 18 months

Now companies will need three teams of system administrators: let's say the A team starts testing the 201704 release for nine months, performs a migration in three months and supports its users for six months, while the B team waits for the 201710 upgrade and a year after the A team, the C team starts testing the 201804 version, when the A team takes a short holiday before tackling the 201810 release, etc.

Since they are only minor updates, 12 months for testing and migration should suffice.

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Re: Dear gods...

"*nix"

Why don't you just write "Unix"? It's not difficult and might give the impression that you're not indulging in a rant.

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Re: Dear gods...

"Linux is a real and perfectly acceptable (and time saving) alternative for a lot of use cases."

You know that, I know that but the usage levels of Windows suggests a lot of people don't. They have to get there somehow so "drive" isn't that inappropriate word.

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Re: Dear gods...

"most users want their machine to work without having to learn a bunch of new stuff, or perform extra steps, or type in something in a highly specific context. They don't want the power to do something in multiple different ways, they want it to work in one way, reliably, every time they do it"

I'm one of "most users". You've just described why I don't use Windows.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dear gods...

I bet this will give the already fast growing Chromebook market a huge boost.

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Silver badge

Re: Dear gods...

"

All the major CAD packages had migrated to Windows, what, 20 years ago?

"

Yup - but a great many have since started offering Linux versions. While my company currently uses Windows workstations, I have for some years not considered any new CAD/CAM product for my department unless it will run on both Widows and Linux. Since the last major change to a new schematic capture & PCB layout application that can run on both platforms (as well as Macs), I now have only a few fairly minor applications that are Windows-only, and they could be replaced & migrated without too much pain. With the direction Microsoft is heading it is a relief to know that I am at last in a position to switch to a different OS without leading to an unreasonable loss of productivity. We would still need at least one Windows machine to provide support for legacy products, but fortunately in my case it is very rare that such support is needed. They in any case also need a legacy engineer (me) to provide such support, and so once I am obsolete in a few years' time, so will be those products!

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Re: CAD

Eagle is on Linux and Windows.

Though the Windows version runs on Wine too.

My older windows CAE programs have no replacements and some don't work on Win7 64 bit. They all work on Wine on Linux.

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Gold badge

Re: Chromebook

i doubt it. Chromebooks are just as pushy in a Googly way. At least with Windows you can block undesirable updates by pulling the network cable out. On a Chromebook, you can't even do that.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dear gods...

Linux is just fine for technical users but I doubt very much a lot of non technical users would welcome it's arrival on their desktop/laptop unless it's skinned.

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Silver badge

Re: Dear gods...

To paraphrase Homer Simpson... "Heeey! Just because they don't CARE doesn't mean they don't understand!"

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Facepalm

Re: Dear gods, if we say it, it must be true

The people who downvoted you and, assuredly, will probably downvote me as well, do so without a scrap of knowledge about the actual businesses that involve the use of 3D CAD software; they do so simply out of hair-trigger reaction to anything that says "Linux can't do this".

Go ahead, folks, actually research and learn before you downvote something. Entire industries use 3D CAD systems, some with specialized plugins...that are Windows only.

Go take a look at production - that is, not hobbyist but actual pro-grade - equipment. Go ahead, we can wait here. In 3D printers, milling machines and laser design, you may want to start with:

- www.solid-scape.com/products/3d-software/

- www.3dsystems.com/software#3d-printing-software

- www.rolanddga.com/support/drivers

- www.cncmasters.com/master-software.html

- www.epiloglaser.com/tech-support/epilog-drivers.htm

- www.bosslaser.com/laser-machinery/

and industry-specific CAD plugins and software, try out

- The entire Siemens CAD suite, www.plm.automation.siemens.com/store/en-us/index.html, using specs from www.plm.automation.siemens.com/en_us/products/solid-edge/design/system_requirements.shtml

- www.stuller.com/matrix/

- www.progecad.us/progecad-professional/

and I could go on and on...

RUN ONLY ON WINDOWS. End of story.

So to say "Oh, look, you can run BricsCAD on Linux" is very much saying, "Oh, look, I can make a CAD mesh and file that I can't do anything else with!"

It is NOT what the rest of the CAD industry is using. That makes it, fundamentally...useless. You don't want to hear that but that's hard-core, irrevocable truth. Every 3D printer in my office (three printers from 3 different companies, plus a 3D milling machine), every piece of product specific software that is required to operate and interface to those devices, every driver for those devices and every piece of industry-specific CAD software used to create files for those devices runs on Windows. Period.

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Linux

Re: Dear gods...

"All the major CAD packages had migrated to Windows, what, 20 years ago? And they're not going anywhere for a good long time..."

It probably wouldn't take them long to:

a) dredge out the old code base as a new starting point

b) as needed, migrate back to OpenGL from whatever DirectX schtuff they're using

c) wrap everything GUI in a nice cross-platform toolkit (Qt, GTK, ?)

Seriously, it's not all that hard, just requires some motivation. A tad time-consuming perhaps, but so would Micro-shaft changing their APIs and *FORCING* everyone to use "UWP". And don't think that's NOT in their plans...

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Devil

Re: Dear gods...

"Why don't you just write 'Unix'?"

it's a brand name. but you could also say 'Unix-like' or 'POSIX' - but '*nix' is shorter.

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Linux

Re: Dear gods...

"Linux is just fine for technical users but I doubt very much a lot of non technical users would welcome it's arrival on their desktop/laptop unless it's skinned."

Have you ever seen a Mac? You know that OSX is basically UNIX, with a FreeBSD userland and bash shell, right? 'non-technical users' indeed.

With the right desktop and preloaded software, "gramma" will be up and going in 5 minutes or less...

I vote Mint/Cinnamon for a nice gentle transition for the average Windows user.

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Linux

Re: Dear gods, if we say it, it must be true

"RUN ONLY ON WINDOWS. End of story."

and there are NO competitors for these things?

I've heard of large industrial equipment, that use things like Win 98 for the control software, that's still operational. So yeah, it's not surprising. However, that doesn't justify the argument that there are no Linux (or even OSX or BSD or whatever) alternatives, even more cost effective ones.

Given that I've already written two (yes two) device control prototypes using a $50 Android slab [in one case, controlling via a custom web server; in the other, just the 'droid application via bluetooth], it might not hurt to look a bit further into the future...

(As a reminder, Android is also Linux)

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Re: Dear gods...

"They don't want the power to do something in multiple different ways, they want it to work in one way, reliably, every time they do it""

Memories of a Windows Server 2008 course. According to the lecturer there were "Two ways to do everything" and he was only talking about the GUI.

And don't get me started on the never ending reboots.

I'm one of "most users". You've just described why I don't use Windows.

Resounding ditto, but I'll add that financially it was not unlike being a blackmail victim. There was always some demand or other on my wallet.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dear gods... @alain

>It is supported until November 2020, so there's less than 4 years left!

That's the Production Cycle - RHEL6 ELP actually ends November 2023 - and they'll still support you beyond on an individual basis - which might apply in rare circumstances (I can't think of any sensible examples).

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Re: Dear gods...

Tldr but But the Linux desktop is something of a stability nightmare

My fedora desktop the last 3 years, not a single crash.

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Re: Dear gods...

Cinnamon is more like win 7 than win 10 is.

At least the settings are in one logical place for starters.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dear gods...

"Apparently they don't know how long it takes for some organizations to vet their software against major OS changes."

Presumably that's why the enterprise versions can get 10 years support.

This announcement is about twice a year cross product aligned feature releases - IF you want them. Otherwise you use the LTSB Windows 10 versions with 10 years support.

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Re: Dear gods...

MacOs (I guess it also applies to iOs) are NeXTSTEP based, not FreeBSD based. What Apple used from FreeBSD is the driver base for the main system, nothing else was used far as I'm aware of. NeXTSTEP is Unix based like many other operating systems.

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Re: Dear gods...

>> If this doesn't drive some people to Linux, I don't know what will.

it absolutely will drive some people to Linux. And they will both be dearly missed...

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Re: Dear gods...

I got someone on to Linux, who has less technical knowledge than a teaspoon. After their WinXP system collapsed irreparably (and the manufacturer restore DVD loaded an image that bluescreened on boot) I gave them CentOS 6 with LibreOffice (which they were already using on WinXP).

They have needed far less help with their system, indeed the only time they needed help was wgen the hardware died. One replacement box and hard drive transplant they were up and running. A very painless experience for all involved!

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Re: Dear gods...

But the two of us won't be missing windows, just think of all the time we can save not doing updates, or anti-virus scans, not having to change all our defaults back again etc. Quite boring really, have to go down the pub instead,,Cheers!

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Silver badge

Re: Dear gods...

"it's a brand name. but you could also say 'Unix-like' or 'POSIX' - but '*nix' is shorter."

It's owned by the Open Group and is a registered trade mark in upper case. Here's what they say on their site: "Over twenty years ago, a number of companies came together to acknowledge the value of the UNIX® platform, but more importantly, the need for all UNIX® implementations to be interoperable." So it's a platform with multiple implementations which fits the way in which Bazza was using it: CAD running on Unix workstations.

BTW I'd not rate any systemd equipped Linux as Unix-like.

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Silver badge

Re: Dear gods...

"I doubt very much a lot of non technical users would welcome it's arrival on their desktop/laptop unless it's skinned."

There are quite a few Linux desktops which can be - and are - skinned to look pretty Windows-like depending on which Windows you want them to look like.

What's better, once you've got it looking like you want it to look you don't have to worry about MS coming along in a year or two & making it look like something else although to be fair I understand MS have finally caught up with multiple workspaces.

So on the whole, that's one up to Linux.

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Re: Dear gods...

"... doubt very much a lot of non technical users would welcome it's arrival on their desktop/laptop unless it's skinned."

Speaking as someone who once lived and breathed all things Microsoft, I have real world experience with this and you might be surprised! I've maintained a few Linux desktop networks, both small and large scale.

In most cases that has been either CentOS or Ubuntu (yes, with Unity), mostly stock except for some basic branding and additional shortcuts and things to common stuff like network shares. Sure there are some under-the-hood tweaks for such environments, but they are invisible to users.

Does anyone care? Not a bit. Hundreds of happy users from technically savvy to the most technology illiterate you can imagine. Contrary to what you would expect, folks find their way around documents, network shares, browsing and email just fine with virtually no training.

In fact it's easier to support than Windows because everything keeps itself patched with little intervention, the office suite doesn't dramatically change in look and feel with every version change, and stuff generally doesn't break.

Subtle differences from Windows like the lack of network drive letters doesn't bother anyone non-technical because they don't understand that stuff anyway.

Of course it's not completely perfect, but I've never kidded myself that Windows was either.

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