Software services

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Software services

Postby Nerdy-ish » Wed Sep 21, 2011 10:26 am

In LFX150, there's an article on "Software as a service". The thought of it fills with dread. Consider that Microsoft with each iteration of Windows removes more and more control from the user, this is what software service feels like, no control.

Why would this model be wanted for Linux users?
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Re: Software services

Postby M-Saunders » Wed Sep 21, 2011 10:39 am

Nerdy-ish wrote:Consider that Microsoft with each iteration of Windows removes more and more control from the user


Genuine question, as I haven't really used Windows 7: what tasks can't you do in Windows 7 that you could in Vista? I've seen the "removing control" argument used before, but I've not seen any concrete examples yet. I'd like to know for my own debating ammo!

Nerdy-ish wrote:Why would this model be wanted for Linux users?


I don't think anyone has said Linux users should "want" this. It's up to them. It's just using software running on someone else's machine. If you don't like it, use stuff on your local box.

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Re: Software services

Postby Nerdy-ish » Wed Sep 21, 2011 11:57 am

M-Saunders wrote:Genuine question, as I haven't really used Windows 7: what tasks can't you do in Windows 7 that you could in Vista? I've seen the "removing control" argument used before, but I've not seen any concrete examples yet. I'd like to know for my own debating ammo!


Difficult to say as I was dual booting WinXP before my OS drive got infamous "Click of death" without notice taking out Win and Linux, I saw someone else's Vista and didn't like it one bit - slow as hell, skipped Vista for Win7 (if only to stop pointless multiple reboots just to install Win). I very rarely use Windows these days.

What Microsoft is doing is hiding options for the user to change things around, or stopping things working at all. For example, in WinXP you could record "What you hear" from the soundcard, but from what I've tried and found out, Win7 has removed this feature. In Linux, it's not as easy as it should be, but in PulseAudio it is possible to get what you hear directed to say Audacity.

Another "feature" is the Windows file manager, it's even less helpful than the older versions, it's harder to open multiple versions of it. There's an icon on the "kicker" bar, but you won't get more than one instance. You have to fool other windows to show directories (I usually use control panel then type path to a drive).

The final thing that has irked me for years with Windows, is it's VERY difficult / impossible to keep your user files on a drive that is not the OS drive. In Linux your user files for KDE or Gnome are in the /home partition which can be on any drive you like. That's not the case with Windows, so when as happened to me, the OS drive goes bad, you lose all the setup of desktop settings etc. The single registry idea does not help the situation.

I installed Linux in spare partition a few years ago, didn't like it, but it's got MUCH more user friendly BUT retains it's power with the Console / Vi etc etc. One day I just decided to try using Linux for a week without booting Win. So now 99.9999% I use Linux, and occasional package that is never going to see a Linux port I go to Windows (Flash designing and checking a website in Internet Explorer).

For what it's worth, I don't think there will ever be the often talked of "Year of the Linux desktop."
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Postby M-Saunders » Wed Sep 21, 2011 1:18 pm

Well, those look more like design decisions rather than "control". A quick Googling shows there are various tools for recording the sound card data, and there are replacement file managers as well. For "control" I'm thinking of stuff that Windows 7 simply won't let you do, ever (and that people want to do), whether with third-party software or not.

Not that I'm defending Microsoft or anything -- I'm genuinely curious.

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Postby Bazza » Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:44 pm

The removal of the full screen Command Prompt!
A real PITA...

The windowed only version from Vista onwards is almost impossible
to see by default.
73...

Bazza, G0LCU...

Team AMIGA...
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Postby johnhudson » Wed Sep 21, 2011 6:06 pm

Software as a service has been around for a while - Google docs is a good example. Microsoft has come very late to this party. The main advantage is that you don't have to lug your own equipment around everywhere; you simply log on via a local browser and you have access to your files.

Very helpful if you are a jet-setting exeic.
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Postby guy » Fri Sep 23, 2011 10:46 am

There's a copyleft license designed for this situation. Might be the Affero Public License? It requires the source to be available for any software running as part of the service. Means that if you don't like the service you can clone/adapt a new service to suit yourself.
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Postby Spangwiches » Fri Sep 23, 2011 2:19 pm

Nerdy-Ish, the thing about not being able to record 'what you hear' wasn't a removal of features as such, it's to do with the complete rewrite of the audio stack between XP and Vista ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technical_features_new_to_Windows_Vista#Audio_stack_architecture ) which leaves older (EAX era) sound cards unsupported (they still produce sound, but no hardware acceleration, surround sound and so on). This upset a lot of people at the time. But the reason you can't record what you hear is (I believe) that the drivers aren't presenting that facility. It works fine on fully supported hardware.

(This is also one of the main reasons DX10+ is only available on Vista onwards btw. It's not entirely artificial as people like to think)

(I don't fully understand this stuff so this explanation may be a bit wobbly, but it's roughly right)

(I think you can get a new explorer.exe window by middle clicking the taskbar entry. Something like that. It's definitely not hard.)

Regarding web services: I don't really care. If they're better for some stuff than a desktop app then sure. I use websites (forums for example) for a lot of stuff, I don't see any reason to start getting nervous encroaching on what desktop apps do, and I don't think it's anything really new (yahoo/msn web-fronted chatrooms encroached on IRC for a while, then fell by the wayside, forums like these replaced (largely) newsgroups through a news reader, web mail replaced mail apps) but the things that get 'replaced' always tend to survive if they have any intrinsic value. There's room for all approaches, I think.
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