Someone has posted the entire Best Buy “indoctrination” presentation along with their own comments. I thought I’d pick out a few of the juiciest bits. Warning: some parts may be heavy on sarcasm.

Where to start?

PCs run more of the software programs your customers use most.

…As compared to what, ARM? Nice how they can’t separate hardware from software. Of course, Linux runs and Firefox just fine. I wonder how many customers are using those?

Peace of mind

With Windows 7, your customers can feel confident in their purchases and know exactly what they are buying.

That’s excellent news! I wonder if this means Microsoft is finally over their GPL allergy, or if they went with a more liberal license such as MIT/BSD. Because, of course, the only way I can know “exactly what [I am] buying” is if I am able to inspect the source code of my software. Otherwise how do I know it isn’t filled with hidden back doors, security vulnerabilities and anti-features? Not to mention that “purchase” and “buy” don’t need to apply to Linux, since there are many free (gratis) distributions.

Regular updates

Windows is regularly updated[…]

That’s odd, I have the strangest feeling of déjà vu. Maybe it’s because I already talked about updates? While I can’t fault this statement at face value, the implication is wrong. Not only does Linux (as in the Linux kernel) also get regular updates, most GNU/Linux distributions feature regular updates for the entire system – every piece of software you have installed – not just the core OS.

Free downloads

Windows offers free programs for download to help keep your customers’ PCs safer

Oh, the audacity! Most GNU/Linux distributions would end that sentence at “…for download”; last I checked, Microsoft still charges for their office suite. And, while it’s true that there aren’t as many “programs to help keep PCs safer” for Linux, that’s because they aren’t needed on Linux (and the ones out there are largely also free – and not just gratis, but Free as in libre as well).

There’s no guarantee that when security vulnerabilities are discovered, an update will be created.

Yup. Right on the money. Wait, that was supposed to be talking about Linux? Those two-year-old critical unpatched vulnerabilities I keep hearing about in Windows must have confused me.

What shall we take away, they asked?

Really, Windows has one, and only one thing going for it… critical mass. For better or worse (usually worse), Microsoft has had a near-exclusive monopoly on computing for the last decade or so. But that’s changing. They’re behaving more and more like a wounded, cornered animal, and one has to wonder why…

This too, shall pass.

I haven’t run Windows as my primary OS at work almost since I started my current job. For quite some time, I ran it on a secondary machine, using the excellent x2vnc to drive the box from one keyboard and mouse. When that machine died, I invested in moving it over to a virtual machine.

Some time ago, I got fed up with Windows XP crippling my system’s overall performance. See, IT forces Windows machines on the domain to run McAfee anti-virus. Given how often I use Windows (and how I got in the habit of logging out when I am not checking mail), it would tend to happen that McAfee would insist on doing a complete system scan all the time. This, of course, caused the virtual machine’s CPU usage to hover over 50% and pegged the system’s I/O, making it painful to even switch windows (on the host, even), let alone get any work done. There’s another story there, but suffice to say, I haven’t fired up XP in some time.

Today I fired up old XP again to grab some files off the machine, and maybe to import my Outlook mail archives into Thunderbird, so I could use them on the new Linux VM. After watching the performance go from “bad” to “abysmal” (several seconds just to scroll a file list?), I realized the problem. Okay, so I’ll fire up Task Manager and kill the never-to-be-sufficiently-cursed McAfee.

“The operation could not be completed. Access is denied.”


Okay… if I can’t kill it, at least I can tell it to be nice and quit hogging all my resources… so I change the priority (it’s currently one step below Real Time, no wonder it kills the system!) to the lowest setting.

“The operation could not be completed. Access is denied.”

Excuse me? I am logged in as local administrator. This means I should be able to control my machine, but Windows doesn’t let me. On Linux this would never happen. Now, it’s not unheard of on Linux for a process to get kernel-locked (i.e. the process is stuck in an uninterpretable kernel call – in my experience this tends to happen when an NFS server goes down), but Linux would never tell me I can’t do something because I don’t have permission. On Linux, when I am root, I am root, in total control of my machine.

Oh, yeah, and then there is the “updates have been installed, you need to restart your computer” nag message, that I have to click on periodically or XP will decide to restart without my permission.