The story of a 44 year old bug … still alive today

If there’s only one thing you’ll read online today, make it this one.  Yes, it’s a rant.  But it’s brilliant.  It talks about an annoying bug in the Windows 10, which is still here today, in 2018, yet which routes from a decision made back 1974.  Love it!

croc – simple and secure cross-platform file transfer

croc is a very simple but super useful utility, which helps with occasional file transfers between two computers. When you need to send a few files to a friend on another computer or in another country – this might just be the easiest way.  No need to setup HTTP or FTP servers, Samba or NFS shares, or register at one of the million web services that provide such functionality.

croc is written in Go and is compiled for a variety of operating systems, include Linux, Windows, and macOS.  It even has a simple GUI for those who wants it.

Windows Notepad Finally Supports Unix, Mac OS Line Endings

This Slashdot story links to this blog post by Microsoft.  33 years later, one of the most annoying issues with the Notepad text editor is resolved:

Starting with the current Windows 10 Insider build, Notepad will support Unix/Linux line endings (LF), Macintosh line endings (CR), and Windows Line endings (CRLF) as usual. New files created within Notepad will use Windows line ending (CRLF) by default, but it will now be possible to view, edit, and print existing files, correctly maintaining the file’s current line ending format.

They shouldn’t have invented their own line ending in the first place.  But it’s great to see that they finally acknowledge the existence of the rest of the world.

Understanding AD Access Control Entries

Understanding AD Access Control Entries” is a quick and simple article describing some of the madness of the Active Directory access control entities.  This is particularly useful for those of us who had to deal with Active Directory, without having much experience with MS Windows.  I’m sure this will come handy again in the future.

Winamp2-js – implementation of Winamp 2.9 in HTML5 and JavaScript

Atwood’s Law states that any application that can be written in JavaScript, will eventually be written in JavaScript.  Winamp2-js is yet another example supporting this law.  It is a re-implementation of Winamp 2.9, a classic Windows MP3 player from decades ago, done in HTML5 and JavaScript.

The source code is on GitHub and a live demo is available here.

UI Museum: Norton Commander 5.0

Norton Commander

Ilya Birman has a massive blog post “UI Museum: Norton Commander 5.0” with almost 60 screenshots (!!!) and user interface feature descriptions of Norton Commander – an icon tool that was used by a whole generation of PC users in the DOS and early Windows era.

Norton Commander was so popular that is spawned a number of other projects that brought similar functionality to other operating systems (Midnight Commander for Linux), later versions of Windows (Far, Total Commander), and even other file management tools (FileZilla, CutFTP) and more.

Good old times…

nightrain – PHP packager for native applications on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS

PHP Nightrain is a packager written in Python for the PHP Programming Language. Using this tool you can convert your PHP/HTML/CSS/Javascript application to a Native Desktop Application. Currently, PHP Nightrain supports the Windows, Mac (OS X) and the Linux operating systems.  This is basically PhoneGap for desktop.

Chrome Remote Desktop goes mobile

I missed the announcement last month, but these are good enough news to share even later: Google Chrome Remote Desktop now works with your Android device.

chrome remote access

 

This is obviously for Windows and Macs machines, but these are usually the ones needing remote access anyway.  Linux people have always known how to access their machines remotely.

On the price of the operating systems

Wired.com is running a good piece on the price of the operating systems.  It covers a bit of history and shows how things are now and how it all came a full circle – from free operating systems of the past, all through highly profitable years of Microsoft and Apple, and back to free operating systems of today’s mobile world.

In a way, operating systems are returning to their roots as a kind of loss leader. Before the personal computer revolution of the late 1970s, operating systems were just one piece in a vertically integrated stack of technology, a stack that also included hardware and support services. Operating systems like Unix and VMS were used to sell minicomputers and workstations, and companies made their profits on hardware and support contracts. OSes such as BSD UNIX were completely free, and programmers would pass them around at will. Under the same philosophy, Apple gave away new versions of its Macintosh operating system until the crisis years of the late 1990s, when hardware sales slowed dramatically.

In the rapidly developing smartphone and tablet markets, tightly-coupled stacks are once again dominant, so OS makers can subsidize their operating systems with profit from the products integrated into them. Google, for example, subsidizes its mobile OS by selling online ads, and, in theory at least, by selling Motorola-branded hardware. Apple’s iPhone profits come from hardware and service sales, not the OS.

The article also shows how problematic is this new situation for Microsoft.

Microsoft’s OS sales once generated 47 percent of its revenue, but they contributed just 25 percentlast year on decelerating Windows licensing (and even that figure is inflated by ad revenue from Windows Live). In response, Microsoft is restructuring as a “devices and services” business — meaning a company that sells hardware like the Xbox and web services like Azure. In other words, it’s becoming more like Apple. Apple isn’t really a software company. It makes software and services that run on its own hardware devices.

However …

Yes, even Microsoft is moving towards the vertical stack. It recently acquired phone maker Nokia and sells its own tablets. But this game of cross-subsidizing the operating system will be tougher for Microsoft, since the company is no Apple when it comes to hardware — and no Google when it comes to online services. The company rose to prominence in the horizontal PC era, when Microsoft could play one hardware vendor against another, dictate prices, and keep a computer’s hefty OS markup hidden from consumers. Those were the days.

And more specifically:

So to the average consumer, the 21st Century sea change in OS pricing might not be particularly apparent. But to Microsoft shareholders, it will look very real and very scary. The company must make up that 25 percent somewhere else.

It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out.

On Windows 8 user interface

This Slashdot comment made me laugh out loud:

The entire interface is an unmitigated disaster. DOSSHELL looked prettier and was more functional than Windows 8. The OS has multiple personality disorder and the interface looks like it was gang-banged by Crayola. Nobody wants to touch it even with a 10 foot pole.