Resources for a better world: ecology, happiness, life, art, spirit and mind, books, musics, movies...
Books and Novels: The marvelous world of the Eolis -- Nowadays science-fiction: Dumria 3D, Araukan , Typheren -- Tolkien: Elvish Dream -- The Elves of the Dauriath -- A large 3D project -- Manifesto of the virtual worlds -- Living our ideal into 3D virtual worlds! -- Elf Dream, the elven ideal
Take action: Daylight Saving Time (forum1) -- Children Rights violated in France -- Tobacco and alcohol are drugs -- Internet and Freedom -- Bugged softwares -- New epidemics and basic hygiena -- Inverted racisme and sexism -- A good constitution for Europe? -- A duty of memory -- Leaded generation?
Last addition: October 5, 2016
To use a computer, or to design an internet site like this one, with dynamic pages and 3D worlds is already a serious task. But difficulties are increased ten fold by useless hassle from changing and unadapted standards, bugged software, and moronic browser war.
We should expect that software designers would be logical and rational people. Especially, free software designers claim to be seeking only the good of the community. Unfortunately, software people seem to be worse than average, doing bad work and pointless competition, or issuing fundamentalist fatwas about what we should do or not on the net.
All this has a terrible cost, months of work to maintain a site, multiplied by millions of webdesigners and billons of computer users: more suffering and lifetime loss every year than the Hiroshima bomb! In the beginning of Internet, it was easy to design a site, with a free wysiwyg editor which result was readable by every browser. Today designing a site like this one requires a huge work and many technical skills, thus excluding from the Internet every ordinary people, working people, poets, artists, not to speak of whole Third world countries.
I gathered here several text bloks which were visible on the resources page, under the form of an a posteriori journal. Some of these bloks are today obsolete, but the mind defilements at the origin of these problems are still producing other problems today.
Why we don't like Windows... (2000)
(October 5, 2016)
After only some weeks of use, I feel forced to correct my previous paper: Windows 10 does not offer anything more than the previous. Instead it degrades the capacities of Windows. Win7 already was a bit worse than XP, but Win10 is downright worse, even worse than Win95.
The only real innovation of Windows 10 is the massive invasion of our private life or professional secret: Windows 10 tracks our browsing habits, records our business, and sends the whole to Microsoft headquarters. They do not say why, but nothing can be excluded, since Microsoft provides no denial to the worst accusations. This makes that official or private agencies of protection of privacy denounce Windows 10, and there is a safe bet that it will soon be banned from enterprises and governments.
In theory we can disable these functions: start menu, click on the kind of flower «parameters» at the extreme left, then select «Privacy». We can safely disable about everything. Without warranty, since the computer security experts say that the data transfers continue. It is therefore cautious to mute the microphone and close the lid of the camera.
One of the most interesting points enticing to move to Windows 10 was an Artificial Intelligence at our disposal. However the reality is far below the most pessimistic estimates: Cortana is, at best, an calendar assistant with voice, but in any case it does not contain any expert system as one would expect (in my former job EREMS in 1995, a colleague had developed such a system, which capabilities far exceeded Cortana. Yet we even not claimed the name of Artificial Intelligence.)
First, Cortana mostly refuses to start if we disabled the above spy functions. She even refuses to search for a file on our disk! Any question we ask, she... opens the Bing search engine!! The only useful thing I could get was... time! But it... tells jokes! Really stale puns (in French: «zebu z'ai plus soif»)... This clearly shows that the designers of Cortana are about 60 years old, and they never went out of their mother's basement since elementary school. Their knowledge in Artificial Intelligence are just the science fiction clichés of the time, as they already demonstrated with Tay, the first Artificial Idiocy.
And I am kind, I heard some people straightforwardly calling Cortana a «witch». Fact is, to hear our computer calling us all the time is, at least, annoying.
-Windows 10 is as slow as all his predecessors. Only the first few days it is faster, which suggests that Microsoft knows what slows it, but does not want to solve the problem.
-Ugly and unsuitable for visually impaired: the new functions «Windows 8 style» are blue-gray and black, and we can no longer configure the colors of the old «XP style» interface. The imposed colors are cold (white with black lines) and the presentation is sometimes difficult to understand (ill-defined parts of the screen, black text on dark blue)
-Does not correct any bug of the previous versions, but adds new ones:
-After only some weeks, the scroll bar jumps again when we release it
-Sporadic loss of configuration files of our various softwares, sometimes irreversible
-Sporadic appearance, here and there, of «tiles» that we neither requested nor created (Opera and Firefox also do that)
-Very noisy, with bells and dingdongs, even when it... plays music!
-Is now unable to manage the program priorities. For example, the Inworldz browser no more stops the BOINC, so it is lagging to death. Accuse Inworldz of being slow, after.
-Often stuck for several seconds with max CPU load
-Still the mysterious endless sessions of disk scraping, as if someone else was using our computer remotely.
-The New task manager is sometimes better (load of the microprocessor), sometimes less (curves), but it still does not give essential information, such as who is using CSRSS. Or the disk scraping sessions stop when we start the task manager, as for hiding what makes them.
I did not tried, but it seems that it is still possible:
To be honest I am a little wary from having to reinstall Windows 7 completely, if the removing of Windows 10 fails. I shall tell you about it, when I try.
Well, it is safe to bet that if Microsoft continues its descent, more and more users will switch to Linux, starting with businesses and governments. The problem however is that I still do not hear that we can easily install Windows software on Linux, and even less that Linux is as easy to use as Windows. And frankly I do not want to try again. So we are entering again in a pattern of Middle Ages corporations, where professionals have proper software, but complex and inaccessible to the non-specialists, while the general public and small businesses have kinds of easy to use toys, but we cannot do much with them. Example: some days ago I wanted to show one of my youtube videos to someone, on his cell phone. So I typed the URL of youtube... and I found myself in an «Youtube application» playing grimey videos without interruption, with no way to change them! Surprise you that people hate the internet, after.
(August 18, 2016)
Incremental updates: there is no need to reinstall everything, if we move from Windows 7 to Windows 10. This is a considerable improvement, but also a possible cause of problems if the cleaning is not done properly on the disc. On my computer I had no major problem, just some software to reinstall, or some lost configurations. Note that, as long as we do not change the motherboard, if we reinstall Windows, it will automatically switch to Windows 10 (if we had the free version). (This is Internet registration)
Windows 8 was a failure, from the strange idea of the hideous «tiles», which were a significant regression from the «icons». This kind of thing is what happens when you let an ignorant do «after his idea», without feedback from competent people. At least Windows 10 keeps our Windows 7 desktop.
Windows 10 fixes a bug of Windows 95. Hail this considerable progress: a version of Windows which fixes a bug. In this case the scroll bar which was returning to the starting point when we released it.
Cortana is unusable because we cannot start it if we do not accept the Orwellian conditions above. It is a shame, because it seems to be an interesting task organizer, which can be controlled by voice.
And still the mysterious «background tasks» which endlessly scrape the disk without we know why (risk of virus). The new task manager is more colorful, but it does not give more information. For example, we still do not know who uses the dreaded CSRSS, nor what the priority levels are for these tasks.
(August 13, 2012)
Since long ago I did not contributed to this page... It is all the better, meaning that things were improving, especially with Windows XP, the most stable of all the ones I have tried. However Windows7 shows again software which close without reason, computer which freezes, windows which open and close without logic, and always the slooooowneeesss, with however a computer a thousand times faster. And still the old bugs, such as the scroll bar which returns to the top when we release the button. More some new ones: less freedom to adjust the colours of the windows, the screen covering itself with snot, windows which become white or which maximize without being asked to do so, etc. More serious, Windows 7 is unable to run some common software, such as my still new Epson Lide 20 scanner, or Civilization (years of family memories). If it is just for that, it was better to stay on Windows 95.
See the text I wrote some years ago on Windows 95
We recall that World War One only was a vast performance without any purpose, just a manipulation by the franco-german weapon manufacturers to sell their sinister products. That a similar situation arises about the browser war would surprise only the most naive users. As a matter of facts, there are more and more common points between Internet Explorer and Firefox, including in defects. And now the problem is spreading to the new internet standards proposed by the W3C, the Internet standardization body... May we suspect some underhand scheme with purpose to censor the net? I rather think we simply see here the underworld of the geeks, those computer fanatics who live out of reality in their own world of dreadful video games and of refusal of kindness. Choosen samples of ukases:
The censorship of full screen, started with Firefox, soon contaminated Internet Explorer: under pretext of security, new useless «tool bars» forbid the full screen mode, or take more and more place on the screen. Hey, folks, when we display an Internet page, it is the page that we look at, not the browser. The pretext for this censorship is that certain sites make an abusive use of the full screen. Which sites? Porn sites. Would the designers of Firefox know only this of internet? Ah hopeless vision of the lonely male geek into his shag...
Tabbed browsing is of no use, as there already are tabs in the system tray. However, this new religion, again initiated by Firefox, quickly spread to the other browsers, still consuming 5 to10% of the screen with no purpose. More, it arises a serious problem for the sites which use several windows, as the site cannot know if the new window will open in a tab or normally. About me, I all the time disable tabbed browsing.
The CSS nightmare. This new standard claims to better the layout of internet pages. In reality it contains multiple ambiguous or undefined cases, that each browser interprets in its own way while clainming to be the only one to be standards-compliant (except of course Internet Explorer which invented its own CSS attributes). Worse, certain simple functions of HTML were just suppressed, like vertical align of a text in a block! Not to speak of the mess of character fonts, each of a different size, and we cannot predict which of them will be actualy displayed!!! So the statement of the CSS to place texts with a pixel accuracy is pure wishful thinking. Anyway it is impossible to make a CSS code without using browser sniffing, making mandatory the use of PHP (language used to create pages with variable content, which runs on the server).
Will the SVG forever remain a language of the future? This marvelous graphic animation language, free and non-proprietary, is intended to replace Flash. The W3C has fantastic projects mixing in the same page classical texts with mind blowing layouts and graphic animations, such as to end up with the dictatorship of square shapes on Internet pages. Wow, cheers, but still how many years will we have to wait to have something which appears in the same way in all the browsers? The virtuous promoters of free softwares are still unable to provide a SVG plugin for Internet Explorer, and we even not yet have sound or prefetch in the standard! My first try of SVG, a simple text, was incompatible between Inkscape and Firefox, however both free and independent of Microsoft...
Bumps and dints of the 3D. Some years ago, the situation was sound and clear: the 3D was the free standard language VRML, more the Cortona browser (quality, standard compliant, but 10 times slower than similar video games). Today, in the name of capitalism, the visualisation of VRML-X3D is now split between several browsers of various quality level, not compatibles between them, or toll. And there is still no standard method to make multi-users worlds... So online 3D communities (There.com, Second Life) choose proprietary solutions, with a quality level similar to the VRML, while video games (Oblivion, World of Warcraft) display ten times better speed and quality, still with proprietary solutions... What to do?
Security without law. How in good old dictatures, security is always a good pretext to eliminate people's rights. So we are imposed useless tool bars, functions are removed (pop-ups), page downloading is slowed (The anti-phishing filter of Internet explorer, even when disabled!). All this of course while doing nothing to eradicate the problems, such as for instance install in Internet's circuits some black boxes to spot crooks and spammers. It is however such systems that the great companies of Internet accepted to install in China, for purpose of human rights violation... This Far West conception of security, where people have to defend themselves in an hyper-liberal world, cannot do better to prove my statement of the beginning: This is the world of video games geeks, who confuse Internet with one of their horrible disordered universes.
And still Window's ridiculous bugs... In 2007 with Windows XP we still stumble on enormous bugs dating back to Windows 95 (see my criticism): -The windows manager which gets stuck when an application does not respond -The content of a window which jumps back to its former position when we release the scroll bar -When a window opens, the content under is still visible, so that we don't know which window is active, and click on wrong commands -Invisible file names extentions -The menus which hide or scramble randomly their content -And still this incredible low speed at start, with however a 15 times faster computer! -It is to be known that Windows uses a «virtual memory» on the hard drive (the too famous swap file) in place of the memory of the computer. This considerably slows down the applications. Worse, the memory is poorly managed, things accumulate in, and this can slow down the PC to a ridiculous rate (several seconds to display a menu!!!!). At last this poorly managed memory is by far the most common cause of crashes, as anybody can easily check with the task manager. And Microsoft accuses the softwares, which would be «badly written» and even officially «craplets». But is it possible to write a reliable software when it uses the bugged functions of Windows? Bet that all these bugs are still in Vista!
On Linux side, are things getting better? Of course I had no reply to my criticism, other than some insults and a ridiculous «you should be more patient, spend two or three months to learn ad try the various distributions, to see which one better fits your needs». As if I had time to test... more than ten different versions, how those people can pretend to be serious, if they are unable to offer a standard system? It is quite clear that free softwares will really spread only when they will have enough self-discipline, to offer a quality, reliable and standard system, easy to use, with which it will be easy to work and develop applications without having to spend days to try to guess how to do a+b.
An efficient propaganda... It is interesting to keep in mind that the free softwares movement has close relations with the altermondialists or anti-globalization, a leftist movement which looks rather folklorical on the West, but which supports most fascist or terrorist movements in the Third World. So, using Internet Explorer and Windows would be «right wing», while Linux and Firefox would be «left wing», up to Firefox's logo, which strangely looks like the hammer and sickle!!! The browsers war, new battlefield of the class struggle? There would be really enough to roll on the floor with laughter, if those balderdashes were not taking a toll of tens and hundred hours of work to each of the millions of web developpers in the world. As much lifetime loss than the Hiroshima bomb! So the browser war produces real suffering, as in a true war... And to really hit the nail, a propagande worth of stalin: on every technical forum of Internet, you alway find abrupt statements such as «when I see a site which uses full screen, I immediately close it» or «this is bad coding» (speaking of traditionnal HTML) etc. If you ask a technical question, you will mandatorily get a reply such as «This of these is missing to be correct code» but if your problem comes from a defect of the standard or of Firefox, the same guy no longer replies. It is this relentless and pigheaded lobbying which attracted my attention: there are people who visibly don't need to earn a living, and who spend their time to rehearse that Firefox and Linux are perfect.
So it is more and more difficult, not really to consult Internet, but especially to persons without education to express on Internet. In 1997, a simple wysiwyg software was allowing to create good looking sites that everybody could see with the only browser available in this time. Today this requires to master CSS and PHP, without accounting the time lost to code solutions to the many browsers or to seek how to do B.-A. ba in CSS. Unless to use only the «blog» or «community» sites, with their so poor and so standardized layout, fed up with advertizing, and even not referenced by Google! We could no more openly exclude simple people and Third world people!! Personnaly, I come to regret the time of the suprematy of Internet Explorer, bad with plenty of bugs, but at least predictable and identical for all. Everything accounted for, the free software movement brought much more problem than solutions. This is really not what we expected of it...
Some good points however... For instance I have, installed at buy on my new PC: PowerDVD (movies) and NTI CD maker (burning CDs), both perfect for the intended use, and which work without a hitch. This is the evidence that WE CAN do softs which run properly and are easy to use. On browsers, my preference is clearly to Opera, except that we still have to disable some strange options such as resizing large images to the screen. But its efficient zoom (Keys + and - of the numerical pad), which don't change pages, makes it matchless for vision impaired people.
Even after having thoroughly read the instructions for use of Lotus Word Pro, I know how to create «OLE objects», copy them, paste them, but I did not found nowhere WHAT THEY ARE, nor what I could do with them. And it is thus for many vocabulary of computers. Software manufacturers impose us a burden of useless vocabulary to memorize. But this is not the worse: often some words are dramatic dulling of far more profound and useful concepts. Examples:
The French «ordinateur» is, in the Catholic Church, the priest who gives the ordination to a new priest. The specialists of the IBM company who proposed this translation of the English «computer» thought that this word was no longer used nowadays. This is their opinion...
An «Avatar» is, in the Hindu mythology, a divine incarnation, of Krishna, of Vishnu... who intervene in History at a critical moment. The least that we can say is that calling an «avatar» the appearance by which the visitors express in a virtual world is rather a loss of lyricism! Especially if we think that these «avatars» seldom look like mythological heroes, and those who animate them are sometimes very far of being gods!
The icons are before all sacred religious images used into the Orthodox Christian world (Russia, Greece..). To take over such a world for a so banal use is nearby mockery. On the great public french access provider Wanadoo I found «picto»
Some softs guide the user with wizards. If such wizard were to exist only in «fantazy» books, it would not arise much concerns; the problem is that this word is also used for real characters, indian chamans or african «sorcerers». As for Mages, etymologically it was the zoroastrian priests at the epoch of their splendour, after they chased out the Romans until Islam went into Persia: a hardly known nice religion, however very interesting.
In the Linux and Unix OS we find daemons, pieces of software assuming background tasks like monitoring mistakes in certain functions. This is rather confusing with the evil being dedicating all their time and energy into hurting and deceiving us, so I do not know if it was a good idea to hire them into our computers...
Written on December 29, 2004
KLAC KLAC demand refused under pretext of security.
(Ulterior notice: Firefox again attacked this site, in 2006, with making the full screen mode still more difficult to invoke: bug 355865)
So, with heavy regret, I must conclude that Firefox is not the friendly alternative we expected. Not of a technical point of view, not of the point of view of communicating with the developpers (who are not the sympathetic open community they pretend to be) and Internet Explorer remains the best choice (or the least bad). Firefox is only the old Netscape relooked, with some red security messages to give a feeling of security, but even of this point of view it is not better than the recent Internet Explorer. It will be of interest only for anti-Windows activists.
My experience indicates me that software and hardware manufacturers only developed their products according to what they were able to do, but without really considering the use and the users. However a little effort may help them to really understand the user's needs and fairly enhance their products.
Today the computer has become an everyday tool in the office as well as in the house, and even in the bush, for a quantity of tasks without any link with software development, by a quantity of peoples who have absolutely no knowledge in computers and no desire to acquire any. Is it asked to the user of a washing machine to be an engineer in electrotechnics, or to the driver of a car to make thermodynamics studies to configure the engine? Definitively no. So the computer designers must do their work too.
To ban: the disconcerting menus that we must try many times before understanding what they do, all the implicit knowledge on the state of the system and its working, all what complicates the task and its understanding.
To ban: The configurations split between many different menus, where we must search everywhere...
The complexity really necessary for the system must be «hidden» to the user, who must have to cope only with the choices really necessary for his work.
This apparent simplicity does not excludes complete test or configuration functions.
Computers and softwares wust be designed for real users, not for ideal users all with high school level and telepatic knowledge of the state of the machine. Using a computer for a given task must not be more complicated that this task itself!
To ban: The labyrinthic helps where we do not know where to search, or absurd classifications (With Sun Star Office, the help is in four categories, from «simple» to «advanced». So we have to search four times for our problem, and we do not loose time with such an help)
Peoples who write helps such as «the option field KZDS / GD2R allows to choose between the KZDS option or the GD2R option» would do better to stay in bed!
To ban: the helps which do not explain of what they speak, especially which do not define clearly the vocabulary they use.
Helps must really help! The person who searches something does it according to her own logic, to solve her own problem. So the help designer must not impose his own logic; he must start from the different ways the users, confronted to a precise problem, will try to look at the solution of this problem. If we need to learn by heart entire books to use a software, so it is cheaper to buy another software!
A person already informed only needs a short-form help, a memo, or on the contrary very detailed explanations on precise points. A beginner will require a step-to step help, with examples. Often we use the help because we tried to make work a function, without obtaining the expected result. So we need an help in the form of a troubleshooting.
In activities which require technical knowledge, (photo, music...) the help must recall them shortly, for the common user who does not necessarily possess them.
Example: to configure an email account, the main name is called in very different ways according the softs or the access providers, etc... introducing ambiguities, «guessing games», and mistakes.
To define a standard for certain accurate functions. A tyre is called a tyre for every car manufacturers, so why not for all the computers.
Starting is certainly the moment where the user feels the more... used by the machine, unless of being the user who uses this machine. It is this machine which asks us questions when it needs it, without any consideration of our time lost while waiting for questions. This contempt is also found in credit cards machines, in front of which is lost every day the time of several human lifes.
I measured once more than five minutes of starting time for Windows 95 (thanks to scandisc and all the softs which «load themselves» at starting)
We must be able to plug the power and start. If the machine has questions (to log, for instance) it asks them all at the same time, in place of harassing the user.
The hard drive seems one of the main responsible of the starting time. Why would not it be possible to sell softs on memory cards, as on the playstations? So the softs would already be in memory, without need to be «loaded». This while waiting that hard drives would be replaced by a static storage faster and more reliable.
Most computers today are sensitive to power fails, and they require complicated manoeuvres to stop.
Many OS risk, in case of power fail, to write at random on the disk, and harm a zone with vital system data.
In rich countries, the power is reliable. But everywhere else in the world power cuts and short duration cuts are rife. We have to make do with.
To unplug the computer from the power line and from the phone line is still the only way to protect it from thunderbolts power surges, and thus this has to be done in a way or in another. So to avoid to have to do several manoeuvres, it must be possible to stop the computer simply in removing the power plug.
Cautions must be taken against interrupted writings on the disk: -To mark a file as valid only after a completed writing. -To forbid any writing before the power loss affects the position of the head. -But a power reserve must allow to end the writing of the current sector!
Today efficient little battery cells would allow, if not to cope with long power fails, at least to make forget short fails. It would be possible to save our work in case of power fail, or if we unplugged the power while forgetting to save our work.
Again the responsible of these disavantages is the hard drive. With a static RAM memory, the unexpected loss of power does no longer present a risk of loss of data.
Certain OS are sensitive to viruses, or have security breaches or fragile zones on the disk (such as the well known Window's FAT) target for viruses or exposed to mistakes.
A minimum of common sense would allow systems like Windows not to allow gaping security holes.
Cautions must be taken against interrupted writings on the disk: -To mark a file as valid only after a completed writing. -To forbid any writing before the power loss affects the position of the head. -But a power reserve must allow to end the writing of the current sector!
Fragile or exposed zones must be protected and their information kept redundant.
In an ideal system, files would include themselves all the informations such as their position in the directory tree, their dependencies, their mime type, etc... So if the FAT is lost, it can be reconstructed in an exact way; the only lost files would be those which were physically erased. As the successive versions of a given file would be still present on the disk, as long as the corresponding space is not overwritten, it would be possible to get back older versions of a destroyed file (which would appear in the bin).
Changing hard drives for static RAM memories
Suppressing the fans (Do we really need a power of several gigahertz to type a letter? At best the fan would start only when there is a power call into the chip (Temperature rise).
Numerous problems appear under Windows about the DLL (a very good idea, but quickly confronted to its limits): conflicts between versions, uninstallation unfinished or abusive (which remove DLL used elsewhere.)
These DLL must be all in the same directory, with sub-directories by software. Same thing for all the sub-functions, drivers, etc...
These DLL sub-directories should also be accessible from the directory of the software.
The different versions of a DLL not always being compatible, each software keeps its own.
A dependencies table must allow to know which software uses a given DLL, driver; etc... for purposes of checking, updating or uninstalling.
Under MSDOS or UNIX functions of the OS are commands which can be typed, or called from a software. This is very useful for troubleshooting, or when developing a software. A the extreme a standardization of these commands would make softs portable from an OS to another.
These functions which can be called manually or by soft must also allow to make diagnostics or to detect configurations.
All these functions must also be usable from menus, all gathered into a support window.
In the PCs, the necessary technological evolutions, and above all the anarchic (see conflictual) initiatives of the circuit and software manufacturers, led to a complex system, that nobody really master, and where all attempts of rationalization is blocked by the inertia of «traditions» (ancient technical limitations or palliatives)
We often hear that the PC is obsolete; but before only thinking to create something new, we must start on a sane basis, account with the real expectations of the users and work with method. We must also account with the possible evolution of the technique. Otherwise we shall only create... super-PCs!
Normalization is the only warranty that the hardware or software that we buy will really functions and lasts in time. Ergonomy and ease of use are the only warranties that we can really use our machines in a transparent way, while forgetting the technique.
A centralized quality management must have authority over hardware builders and software developers:
-Refuse concept which arise problems;
-Refuse products too complicated for the intended use;
-Enforce developers to debug their products;
-Avoid situations of monopoly, of negative impact on prices and normalization.
Seen the fast evolution of the techniques, a system must not include intrinsic limitations. For instance the arbitrary limitation do 640ko of the memory of the first PC has be after an incredible source of problems and diverging attempts to pass over it. So any system, bus, format, etc... must always enlarge its size, speed, etc, to accept new techniques, while keeping compatible with older formats to cope with a park of more limited ancient machines.
Is it really necessary to have more than 1000 kinds of modems, sound cards, printers? What a source of problems, when new systems must be created (like Linux, BEOS...)! It is necessary to have standardized interfaces. (1000 builders are required only to make capitalism. Only one interface is required if we just want to work rationally)
It is time to find a more reliable alternative and less noisy alternative to the hard drives. For instance a non-volatile static memory card, easily transportable like a notebook, and which would contain all our work and softwares.
It is time also to find a replacement for this cathode-ray tube, cumbersome and energy greedy, which makes our eyes sick and enforces us to live in the shadow. Ideally a screen system should be static (the image can stay without energy consumption, so long as it does not change) and working on the basis of a modification of the colour of a white background (without any light source, which will alway arise problems of contrast and eye ache, especially fluorescent lights always polluted with UV).
If commercial softs may still be on the leading edge for a long time, free softwares may develop and offer all the basic functions that expect the majority of users.
To ban: For a small bug which could easily be settled, we have to pay the full price of the next version of the soft.
To be free is not a good reason to be an ugly hurrying job filled with bugs. Most users will always prefer to pay for a good software than to «support» bad free softwares.
A bug in a software can always happen. But in this case correctives patches must always be available. The successive versions of a soft must have for purpose only to propose new functions, not to make pay for debugging.
Today developing and maintaining a software is a complex affair, a long lasting team work, which entails a sustained effort of communication, concertation, methodology and normalization. «Personal initiatives» and «genial new things» can lead to concretely usable things only at the cost of such an effort.
A large majority of computer games can be summarized in fact as the learning of keys sequences manipulation. What makes the interest of the game itself disappears between the manipulation of the software.
It is really a shame that nearby all the game softs offer only standard scenarios in worlds already made and standardized, without any creativity of the player.
Yes, of course, fighting games or car race games are not for artists, but there would exist some mean to create an universal game engine, with a descriptive language (terrains, situations, actions, characters...) standardized with powerful editors to create for instance complex landscapes with simple commands. This would allow to the players no more a standardized thought and taste, but really to build their own worlds with their own rules. In the long run, this would allow a new kind of games, no more based on conflict, but on emotion and relation. This day the Internet will really be for everybody, and not only for fascists or punks!
Today computers and Internet seem preferably oriented toward violence and pornography. In reality their potential is infinitely much larger: to make visible to everybody all our imaginations. Internet is a fantastic communication tool, which allows us to exchange the best, and, starting from our virtual utopias, build a real world much more nice and happy. This is the purpose of this site, especially its 3D worlds.
This text is historical (written in 2000, or before). Windows was beterred, and this makes this text partly obsolete. But problems are still there and many still see Microsoft as the worse thing...
This criticism of Windows (95) get its full taste when we compare it to the criticism of Linux which I made later...
Of course there is Microsoft's commercial policy, for which Microsoft has so much prosecutions. But if it was only that, the problem would be much smaller...
The real concern is that WINDOWS DOES NOT WORK PROPERLY: bugs, failures, vulnerability, unmanageable, incredible sluggish speed...
Microsoft has the incredible pretension to LEARN US TO THINK: Windows always does things we cannot expect, and when we want it to make something, we have to fiddle into disconcerting configurations...
Many peoples believe that it is Microsoft who invented the copy-paste, the mouse, the menus, etc... and thus are grateful. FALSE: all these features existed years before on the Macintosh and under GEM.
Are the gigantic files of Windows and its applications really useful? To give an idea, on my first PC (Amstrad P1512, bought in 1985) without hard drive, I was able to put on only one 360KO floppy disk, the boot, the MSDOS, GEM (equivalent of Windows) and my text processor (GEM Write)! The functions of modern systems are not 1000 times more numerous to justify 1000 times larger files!
The incredible Window sluggish speed can be explained by programmation mistakes which could be easily settled. For instance, this text, entered with Front Page Express, appeared on the screen only one minute after hitting the keys! (With dreamweaver2, it works without a hitch). Not to speak of these mysterious «background tasks» which completely stop our work while Windows endlessly scrapes the disk...
The repeated failures are absolutely not due to the installed softwares. In a training course on a machine with only Microsoft softwares installed (front page, paint...) I spent half of the time only to restart the machine.
You know, nowadays, virtually nobody switches on his computer to make computer science. We use a PC to look at a movie, check our mail, write, draw, hear music, do an invoice for a customer... all tasks really far from computer science, but that the repeated bugs constantly disturb. Everybody cannot be an engineer, think to peoples without computer knowledge, think to the Third World peoples, already happy when they know to read... Today computers are clearly ELITIST!
And all these criticism are alas also true for many other software manufacturers, which products are far too often hurrying jobs, even not tested in real use.
Nowadays, seen the progress of computers, we are perfectly right to insist on computers and softwares FAST, SIMPLE TO MAKE WORK, RELIABLE and ERGONOMIC. Programmers must think as if they were the users and meet their needs, in place of imposing them a pseudo computer culture useless for nobody and for nothing.
Mister Microsoft, if you want to keep your monopoly, sell products which work and meet our needs: we shall hurry to buy them and to be happy with them. Otherwise others will do it in your place...
This text is historical (written in 2000, or before). Since new versions of Linus were released, that I did not tested. I hope that they accounted with these criticism...
Tired of all the Window's tricks, and much keen with the idea of a common work offered under GNU license, I installed Linux (Mandrake 8.2 powerpack). The problem is that all the criticism I made about Windows 95 quickly showed to also apply to Linux, often in worse! And probably for many other non-Microsoft softwares...
All the defects are still there: Failures, sluggish speed (a little less, only one minute for Sun StarOffice to save «General Epistemology» versus... 13 minutes with Lotus Word Pro!) gigantic files (0,3Mo for GEM Write, 30 Mo for Lotus Word Pro, and... 270 MO for Sun Star Office!) and above all far more complex! In more, many softs are not finished, and it is very difficult to install even the required minimum to work. Two months after I still have no sound (no CD, no midi, no movies, no MP3...) and to get it I must... compil again the kernel of the system!
Example: One day and 10 Euros of phone calls to configure my two Internet connexions...
Example: I was even unable to start the game «FreeCiv», a free clone of the well known Sid Meyer's «Civilisation II». It is necessary to go into a console, to configure a «server», to guess commands and options, in brief make software in place of playing. (Ulterior notice: the Windows version of FreeCiv, in 2005, straight away stalled my machine)
Example: emails. Any alternative to Microsoft's «Outlook Express» is welcome, due to its notorious transparency to all the viruses. But I was unable to configure Eudora, I could create only one account with Netscape Messenger (Linux version) and Sun StarOffice's mail (only one account for send mail) behaves in a very strange way. For instance I was a month long unaware that my send mails were going into the send mail box, but that they never leave my computer. Really nice for my correspondents! Microsoft Outlook Express, at least, works in a way we can expect from an email software. Of course, it would be perfect if one day Microsoft thinks to suppress these mysterious functions which seems to be designed only for viruses...
Counterexamples: Honestly, there are things which work pretty well under Linux. My three button mouse worked perfectly. Also Linux seems really insensitive to viruses in emails. So there are really peoples able to work correctly under Linux.
And it is so much complicated! It seems that software developers under Linux were really unleashed to create disconcerting menus. Only to differentiate themselves from Windows? Useless, if it is not so good.
And to debug under Linux... see the complexity of the thing and the absence of documents on its working, we find ourselves in practice as bad as under Windows without source files. Unless to be an engineer and to spend weeks to try to understand how all this works. Know this: Under Linux you have to «learn» all sort of things «absolutely indispensable» to make work the system.
Why so complex? Linux is build around Unix, a system which comes back from the epoch where computers were voluminous laboratory machines served by large teams of engineers. So you have to «mount» a floppy disk (Yes, each time you insert or remove a floppy, you have to go in a console and type commands!) and «shut down properly» the computer, in place of only remove the power!
The Gimp drawing software works really well, and offers features similar to a 300 Euros software. Only one «small» problem... you cannot save into the GIF format! Hey men, a drawing software which cannot do the GIF, the most popular format on the net, it is like a car which can go everywhere except on tared roads. What help is it, even if it is free! We should have preferred to pay a little (as the GIF files licence is not free) and have something we can really use. (ulterior notice: the Gimp is literally a gimp, incredibly sluggish and bugged, compared for instance to Paint Shop Pro
Is Linux really free, if we consider that to obtain a satisfying running we must spend days and days, and constantly call the customer support, at $15 one question!
I was unable to install any software under Linux (except those available on the installation disks). We get lost in pages of ununderstandable explanations, where we must type commands of who knows what and put files in directories (which directories? All this is supposed known in the FAQs). There is however a packaging installation system which seems to work very well, so why it is impossible to download packages?
At last, the aesthetics of the screen is not so good. With the Gnome desktop, the less horrible was a mustard yellow and black lines window; under KDE even with nice colours there still remain grey shadows and harsh black lines, not to speak of ugly grey and smoke blue icons. Under Windows 2000 in some minutes I recreated the lovely pastel camaïeu harmony I used before. This concern is very relevant when we stay hours a day facing a desktop environment.
So all this is really sad. The idea of a community of developers sharing and offering their work to create a good system usable by all, this idea was very attractive; but we must admit that the result was not what real users needed. Only a few percentage of the total computer users could accept Linux as it is, so Bill Gates can still be confident. How a shopkeeper or a professional who has no time to loose can afford a system which requires so many delicate interventions? How peoples without computer culture (beginners, olds, disabled, Third World peoples) can really use a system which routinely requires to... compil a software to install it? (Compiling a software is normally done during developing, by specialized technicians). How people who live in countries where power fails occur daily could use a system non-tolerent to power fails?
What I think is that the Linus Thorwald's idea was good, but that it was not good to start from UNIX What was needed was something really accounting with the user's requirements and wishes, and not something passionating to debug for the exclusive use of fanatics of software development.
As the problem is there: as it is, Linux is still rather far of really challenging Windows.
So the criticism I made about Windows, I have to relativise them (without suppressing them) as they are true for many others. The only purpose of these criticism was to do BETTER than Windows, and not a pale imitation.
So I all let go and installed Windows 2000. By contrast, what a relief after two months of problems and troubles under Linux... Especially, after some days of experience, Windows 2000 seems to work better than Windows 95, and seems more usable. But we must not lower our guard, as even if Microsoft apparently bettered its products, it did not lost its contempt of the customer. For instance Microsoft is preparing the phasing out of the ISA cards... So bad for the owners of special cards, like me!