Windows: The OS you can’t rely on when you need to get important things done

It’s Christmas day, and we have my wife’s siblings and their children at our house. We’re doing a Google Hangouts call with their parents, who are on an LDS mission in Vanuatu.

Microsoft Windows asks when to schedule an update. I try to select 2 am, but whoever designed the software decided, in their wisdom, that I shouldn’t have that kind of control. Let’s see what else I can do.

It’s 1 pm, so I select 4 pm, and Windows seems to accept that choice. I go back to the Google Hangouts conversation.

And then Windows decides to update immediately, against my wishes. It’d be fine if it only took 5 minutes, but it goes on for hours. I am angry. I feel like purging Windows from our lives.

Microsoft, I hate the poor timing that you force on me. I hate not being in control of updates. This sucks. It stinks. You should do better.

So I grab our older, slower Windows computer, and power it up. Guess what? It’s completing an update as well. Inconvenient!

Fortunately, I have a Ubuntu Linux laptop that I use for work. I load Google Chrome, and thanks to WebRTC standards and Google Hangouts, I am able to get the video chat going again.

Ubuntu Linux and web standards save the day.

Windows: The OS you can’t rely on when you need to get important things done.

Linux: The OS that I can rely on when I need to get important things done.

Disclaimer: Your mileage may vary. I write software, with Linux as my desktop environment. I’m used to it, and it doesn’t do stupid things to me like Microsoft does… it just does different stupid things.

Thanks: I wish to express thanks to those individuals and organizations who gave us open standards including WebRTC, and those who gave us cross platform software, especially browsers like Chrome and Firefox.

Coming changes in Internet Protocols

Here’s what I think is a fascinating read. I’m excited about QUIC, and less excited that well-intentioned (sometimes draconian) protocol enforcement encourages software engineers to move nearly all protocols to run on top of HTTP or HTTPS — as a way to bypass the enforcement.

Internet protocols are changing

When a protocol can’t evolve because deployments ‘freeze’ its extensibility points, we say it has ossified. TCP itself is a severe example of ossification; so many middleboxes do so many things to TCP — whether it’s blocking packets with TCP options that aren’t recognized, or ‘optimizing’ congestion control.

It’s necessary to prevent ossification, to ensure that protocols can evolve to meet the needs of the Internet in the future; otherwise, it would be a ‘tragedy of the commons’ where the actions of some individual networks — although well-intended — would affect the health of the Internet overall.