Over atthe404, Root makes some points about m$, Longhorn and the future of web publishing. I agree that what m$ is trying to do, using it’s might, is to rewrite web standards to conform with how it sees things should be done. Of course the new m$ standards would be totally friendly to all their products, and deliberately hostile – or even patented – to all other forms of software, maybe even hardware. But Longhorn is a little while away, will be expensive, will be widely reported on, and in the end, it’s a new OS – and installing one of those is hardly fun is it ?
But XP SP2 is just around the corner. I’ve mentioned it before somewhere here, and from memory, it was just short of a 300MB download. Now given the time that m$ have had this in development, given their longterm strategy (Longhorn) and their attitude to software that isn’t licensed from them, do you think they’ll adopt a quiet approach to this ‘upgrade’ ? Yea..course not.
I reckon we’ll see tech headlines about how SP2 will make your computer safer, how it’ll stop some wierd m$ bug from formatting your hard drive, how it will stop hackers, how it will defeat all virus / worm attacks, how if you don’t use it it will be a bad thing and all manner of other scare stories. Now some of that may be true – certainly SP1 did mend a lot of holes – but if it’s an upgrade, then you’ve seriously got to question who the upgrade is for – my money says it’s not for us end users. It’s for m$ to have a greater say in how we use our machines.
I have a lot of freeware on my machine, and apart from what came with the bundle, I’ve bought no m$ software. I don’t intend to – ever. Freeware authors, especially the sort that delve deep into systems to give us back control over certain things (ever seen m$ make it easy to clear the registry ?) may well have to start over, find new tools to reproduce what they have already. Freeware users may find, after an ‘upgrade’ to SP2, that certain well-used programs do not work – this is not to the benefit of the end-user at all. Just imagine what would happen if SP2 stopped certain widely used freeware packages (such as Open Office) from functioning. This is all for the benefit, the sole benefit, of m$, and no-one else. I’m not saying they will do this, but just that at this point in time, I have more choices than I believe m$ will let me have should I upgrade.
I’d not tell anyone not to upgrade, but what I would say is to not believe any of the ‘big’ sites that report this release – go to the newsgroups (and not the m$ ones either !). Use Google Groups to search for reports on the package. (For those of you who did not click the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Review of Michael Moore Movie Fahrenheit 9/11Ã¢â‚¬Â³, it covered how Google manipulated it’s search results toward bad (pro-Bush) reviews. Really think m$ will allow some big sites to tell any truths ?)
From here, if someone has a firewall they can use, software to detect and remove viruses and malware and sensible software like Firefox, Thunderbird then I really cannot see a single compelling reason to swallow any of the inevitable hype that the release of SP2 will bring. If your machine works now, and you have got it all working well, then why risk installing nearly a gigabyte of ‘upgrade’ ?
Now if only a Linux Live-CD would see my wireless card ……