||Many of us have been forced to use Linux for various reasons - some of us found it pre-installed on the computers we bought, others don't have money to buy anything better. There are even those who have never heard of other operating systems. Believe me, they do exist. But many of those who have heard of them still resist the change. What are the reasons? Inertia? Reluctance to learn new things? Worry that we will never again be able to recompile our kernels? One of our regular contributors has finally seen the light and switched to Windows XP, an operating system developed by a company called Microsoft (we'll miss you Robert). Robert was more than happy to share his experiences with the rest of us, the unwashed masses...
I must start this software review with a confession. For the past three
years, I've been keeping bad company. In a momentary lapse of judgment,
I accepted a CDROM from a stranger, took it home, and installed the software
onto my computer. The CD contained that notorious, viral and anti-American
operating system - Linux! Thus began my long slide down that slippery slope
into the dark world of "free software."
"Free" - don't believe it! Just like heroin, only the first one is
free. I soon found myself spending huge sums of money on Linux books and
broadband fees. I would stay up all night consuming massive amounts of
coffee, cola, and pizza. I lost weight, my skin became pale, I allowed
my hair to grow long, gave up shaving, and never took a bath. I seldom went
home, hanging out all night in a computer warehouse in Palo Alto, California,
with a bunch of left-wing, pinko creeps known as hackers. Furthermore, me and
my new-found "friends" worshiped a cult figure, a Finnish terrorist named
Linus "Marx" Torvalds, who has written an updated version of The Communist
Manifesto that he calls Just For Fun.
Looking back at it now, I just can't believe how I was fooled by those
long-haired, unwashed anarchists known as "Linuxistas." They constantly
bombarded me with lies about how Microsoft
was a monopolistic company determined to achieve world domination with its
"closed-source" software. I was told that Microsoft played dirty tricks,
luring politicians with campaign contributions, filing lawsuits, manipulating
the legal system to get its way.
Yes, I survived, but only by luck. One night during a particularly
heavy session of hacking, the DMCA
Police raided the warehouse, arresting me and the others, and confiscating
the computers. The reason for the raid was because one of the hackers had
notorious Linux software for playing DVDs, which fortunately is illegal in America.
He was caught thanks to the Carnivore
program, which is essential for national security.
After analyzing the hard drives of the confiscated computers, the FBI
concluded that the hackers not only violated the DMCA by watching DVDs without
a license, but had also violated a number of software
patents. They were given long prison terms, which they richly deserved!
However, this being my first offense, I was only sentenced to a mere two
years in a federal penitentiary, plus five years probation. Fortunately,
I was paroled after only eight months, and was sent to a halfway house for
wayward computer users, where I was given counseling, electroshock therapy, and massive doses of Prozac. But most importantly, my therapist introduced me to the joys of Windows 2000.
This has been my salvation. I've been using Windows for six months
now, and my life has changed. I've seen the light. I bought a Microsoft
keyboard and Microsoft mouse - these are my friends. I get all my news
from MSNBC now. I understand that what's good for Bill Gates
is good for the USA. And what's good for the USA is good for the world.
Microsoft has, in fact, been the victim of a vicious, sinister plot, which
has even included government officials such as biased judges.
Sorry, I had to get that off my chest. Everything will be fine now.
This article isn't really about politics. Rather, it is a simple software
review. Today, I'm reviewing Microsoft Windows XP, an operating system that
protects users from the chaos and dangers of so-called "free software."
I purchased my copy of Windows XP for a mere US$200, plus another US$450
for Microsoft Office XP. That might sound a tad expensive, but remember
that your dollars to Microsoft go for a worthy cause. Open-source guerrillas
can be found all over the world, spreading their lies and subverting right-thinking
governments everywhere. Fighting the war against terrorism will not come
cheaply, but it's a war we can't afford to lose.
Now back to business. I needed to upgrade my hardware with a Microsoft
"security mouse " and a web-cam, the reasons for which will become clear
in a moment. I ordered both the hardware and software from Amazon, using
their patented "no-click shopping"
technology (where all you have to do is move your mouse cursor over a product
and it's immediately ordered for you whether you want it or not). When I
received the box from Amazon, I enthusiastically unpacked it. Before tearing
open the seal on the Windows XP CD envelope, I read the dire warning saying
that pirating Microsoft software was a crime worse than murder and child
molestation. It was with sweaty palms and a gleam in my eye that I inserted
the CD into the tray, closed the door, and then up popped an on-screen
warning to inform me that if I committed piracy, the BSA (Business Software
Alliance) would ruthlessly hunt me down, that there was no place to hide,
and that I could face penalties of life imprisonment, plus my penis would
Moments later, the EULA (End-User's
License Agreement) popped up on the screen. Since it was more than 150
pages long, written in a 4-point font using some language that only an
alien from Mars could understand, I simply clicked on "I Agree" and the
installation process began immediately. It was really effortless. First,
the XP installer reformatted my hard drive without asking, erasing all traces
of the evil Linux operating system, along with all my data. It then began
installing necessary files onto the drive, informing me that the installation
would take 10 hours to complete. In the meantime, I was entertained by
a delightful on-screen "slide show," featuring none other than Bill Gates
himself, along with his faithful sidekicks Clippy (the
talking paper-clip), and Microsoft Bob.
XP correctly detected all my hardware. It then asked me for my name,
address, telephone, bank account number, and credit card number, plus I was required
to place my right hand on the Microsoft security mouse so it could read
my fingerprints. I also had to hold my eyes next to the web-cam so it could
conduct a scan of my retinas. Since "product activation" is necessary to
get the system working, XP proceeded to dial my modem and register my personal
data with Microsoft Passport,
while at the same time signing me up for MSN and billing my credit card
without asking. How convenient can you get?
Screenshot 1: The Windows XP Desktop
The Windows XP desktop was a joy to behold! I confess to amusing myself
right off the bat by playing some of the included games such as XLinus. The latest version
of Internet Explorer also had a neat new feature - it would automatically
block pornographic web sites such as Slashdot,
Distrowatch, and Linuxtoday. Another great new feature
of IE was smart tags,
which would modify hyper-links in web pages so that I would be directed
to Microsoft products whenever I wanted to do online shopping. The ever-popular
email program, Microsoft Outbreak, also
boasted a new feature - it would automatically detect my geographical
location and send off a message to my congressman urging him to support
legislation banning open-source software.
Since I do web development, I was also interested in the improved Internet Information
Server (IIS) software. Unlike previous versions, this one can automatically
detect when people try to connect to your server with non-Microsoft browsers
(such as Netscape or Opera), and
responds by redirecting the offending party this special information web site.
Multimedia is all the rage these days, so it should come as no surprise
that Windows XP comes with full support for sound and video. Most
importantly, in order to protect recording artists and the big
corporations that own them, XP has built-in DRM
(Digital Rights Management). I had heard of DRM before and knew that it
was essential for protecting copyrights,
but I was still amazed to see this ingenious technology in action. I
placed a music CD into the cdrom drive, and it was immediately detected
by Windows Media Player. XP then dialed my modem, and for each song that
was played, $2 was automatically deducted from my bank account and
credited to the RIAA
(Recording Industry Association of America). I could even fire up
Internet Explorer and log into my online banking system, and watch (as
the CD played) how my bank account was being emptied in real time!
Needless to say, this amazing technology works when you watch DVD movies
or read ebooks, and DRM will soon be extended to the upcoming digital
TV system. Furthermore, thanks to Microsoft Passport, all the data
about your tastes in music, books, movies, and TV programs will be
shared with online vendors and the Department of Homeland Security. Only
a great company like Microsoft could make this happen!
Of course, no OS is perfect, and I did encounter a few minor glitches.
I noticed that the first time I went online to check my email, the system
seemed sluggish. The hard disk light was on, the disk sounded like it
was thrashing, and my modem lights were lit up like a Christmas tree.
I decided to call the Microsoft
Help Center. It's a 900 number in Redmond, Washington, so I had to
pay a modest charge of US$6 per minute while waiting on hold for three
hours. Finally, I got through to a Microsoft representative who cheerfully
explained to me that the first time you log onto MSN, XP automatically downloads
and installs (without asking) 140 megabytes of security updates, including
Backdoor. He assured me that this was perfectly normal, and was for
my protection. I felt much better after that, because for a minute I thought
that it was those evil Linux hackers breaking into my computer.
Unfortunately, another little glitch made itself known the very next
day when I checked my email using Microsoft Outbreak. There was a message
from email@example.com, offering me a free nude photo if I clicked
on the britney.jpg icon. Although I had no intention of looking at such
filth, I felt that I had to investigate this matter so I could report it
to the Internet Police. However, when I clicked on the icon, there was no
nude photo, but rather some more lies about Microsoft being a monopoly.
Then the screen turned blue and the computer froze.
Well, that wasn't good. So I got on the phone and called Microsoft
customer support. Four hours and US$1440 later, I reached a sympathetic
company representative. "Ah," he said, "the notorious Monopoly
Virus. We've been getting a lot of calls about that lately. I'm afraid
you can kiss your data good-bye - the only solution is to reinstall the
operating system again from scratch."
"It must be those evil Linux hackers," I said. "I can reinstall, but
I'm wondering, is there anything I can do to protect myself in the future?"
"Ah, that's just what I was going to tell you," he said gleefully.
For a mere $750 dollars, Microsoft will send you our new Palladium
trusted-computing chip. It's a drop-in replacement for the Pentium IV.
You just install it in the socket where the cpu goes, and all your security
problems will be over."
"Great," I said. "I'll give you my credit card number."
"That won't be necessary," the representative said, "we already know
it. Just one of the many conveniences brought to you by Microsoft Passport
and Trusted Computing.
Trusted Computing - thank goodness. I feel so much better knowing that
those alert security experts are on the job in Redmond. After all, if
you can't trust Microsoft, who can you trust? I urge everyone to put their
faith in Windows XP - the future is bright indeed!
|Copyright (C) 2003 Robert Storey|
Verbatim copying and distribution of this article is permitted in any medium, provided this copyright notice is preserved.
|1 April 2003|
|About the Author|
|Formerly a certified Linux geek, now a happy WindowsXP convert.|