I renewed my hatred for all things Windows this
evening when I
actually tried to do something with it. You
see, in my
dark, sordid past, I was a Windows developer. No,
quite accurate. I was a Windows zealot.
Seriously. I used
to rag on the Unix-heads at Interop, saying that NT
was going to
eat their lunch.
Here I am, a decade later, having matured. I now
all software sucks in its own, special way, and that
choose which particular combination of suckage we want
I tried to install StarOffice this evening on the
dual-processor, half-gig of RAM, forty-bazillion
disk monster machine that work sent me. You know, the
reads her email on because I do everything on my
Anyway, this monster runs Windows 2000, which, I must
has been more stable and certainly prettier than any
incarnation I've had the displeasure to bend to my
will. It runs
Windows 2000 because my ultimate task for my present
to write a pretty wicked set of tests and benchmarks
Java stuff, and I have to deploy my test suite on many
So, until I get to a state where I need to use it for
that box is essentially relegated to:
- Surfing raverporn
- Reading email
- Downloading images from the digital camera
Watching DVDs (for novelty value and screenshots;
I have a real DVD player for chillin').
Back to my story... Irene says she needs to work on
and I don't have any "real" office suite loaded on
machine. So, being a reformed Windows luser, and an
Free Software Zealot for quite some years, now, I go
StarOffice. She's used it before, under Linux, and
it's now open
source, so at least I have the peace of mind that
knowing that, if I have the time, I can fix it :)
Have you played with "junctions" under Win2k at all?
Microsoft's answer to symlinks. I'm not sure why they
call them symlinks, but that's another story. Anyway,
liked that whole C:, D: crap, so when I formatted
partition of the mammoth drive for Win2k's use, I went
mounted it under c:\big_disk, instead of giving it its
letter. I figured that would work well for me. Sort of
feel to things.
Tonight I go to install StarOffice, and the damned
complaining that there isn't enough space on drive C.
not! That's why I was putting it into c:\big_disk. But
apparently, the StarOffice installer hasn't yet caught
the notion of "junctions", so it didn't realize that
99MB free, but c:\big_disk had 3.75GB free.
I can forgive StarOffice for that. After all, I have
so if it really chaps me, I can fix it. That's
of freedom I appreciate. What torques me is what
when I tried to clean up.
I figured "well, gee, there's all this crap in Program
maybe I can just move that over to c:\big_disk and
symlink back so everything can find itself". So I
copying. Well, as you might expect, it didn't want to
copying because some of the things in Program Files
by apps that were using them. No matter that the only
apps I had
running were Command Prompt and Explorer. Oh, wait,
did I say
Explorer? Right... Frigging plugins. You know,
OLE/COM/ActiveX/?? objects that extend the Explorer
handle different filetypes, different actions, and
presentations? I mean, it's cool technology, but all I
do is copy my files!
So I figure, "hmm, maybe Win2k has a decent safe mode
all these extensions are shut off, so I can copy the
around without tripping over dependancies". So I
Reboot Windows? Never...
I obligingly hit "F8" during the austere pre-startup
asked which particular kind of non-standard startup I
pick "Safe Mode with Command Prompt", figuring that's
to single-user as I'm going to get. Windows boots, and
I get a
640x480 GUI with a single window that can only be
"frickin' huge". Or, as Irene said, sarcastically,
"can you make
it any bigger?"
"Cool," thinks I, "I have a single-user prompt,
basically." So I
start out with the obvious command: move "Program
big_disk and am rewarded with Access
denied. I won't bore you with the entire saga,
suffice it to say that I went through a few variations
theme before I said "fuck it" and rebooted.
Ultimately, I managed to clear up enough space on
drive C itself
that I could install StarOffice onto big_disk without
ado. But what I want to know is:
- What's so hard about single-user mode?
Wouldn't it be easier to use the built in character
in the video card, you know, text mode?
- Why the fuck does Microsoft still exist?
Seriously. I mean, in fifteen minutes of trying to do
ultimately quite reasonable, and even being willing to
back down to single-user mode to do it, I was unable
to. I'm not
exactly dumb as a turnip, here. My blood pressure rose
alarmingly quickly, and I've spent the rest of the
to bring it back down. Two years ago, I kicked the
and never looked back. Now I remember why. At least
source I can only blame myself, ultimately.