It seems “big bad” Microsoft is going to be losing me as a customer shortly. Whilst I’ve never been a great fan of theirs (I was sort of “forced” onto Microsoft platforms after the near collapse of RISC OS), I have used their systems as a primary desktop system for a few years now – however I try and run my servers on Linux as I don’t feel that Microsoft’s server platforms are stable enough yet-plus it works out a lot more cost-effective to have servers running something like Debian Linux than a single copy of Windows 2000 Server).
So far, Microsoft’s put me off them on the Instant Messenger and Web browser fronts, and I’m just hoping for a bit of time so I can clear down one of the harddrives in my main work machine and install Linux: ditching MS altogether…
First of all, I was experiencing some problems with MSN Messenger (random disconnects/showing online when it was in fact disconnect), so I upgraded from Messenger 4.6 to 5.0. Bad mistake! I had been using a nifty little program called IM’napper (by Chime Software) to help arrange all my Instant Messaging clients into one easy-to-use dockable window. The upgrade of MSN Messenger was no longer compatible with IM’napper 🙁 Therefore, I ditched MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, ICQ and AOL Messenger and went for an “integrated” package capable of handling all 4 IM protocols in one piece of software. And that’s why Trillian has now become my “Instant Messenger Of Choice” – especially with the Compact skin!
That was around a fortnight ago…
At the end of last week, Microsoft released details of the “Buffer Overrun in MDAC could lead to Code Execution” bug and supplied a patch. I installed the patch and rebooted. Machine came back up, but Internet Explorer 6 wasn’t working correctly (it failed to render around 3/4 of any images on a page, wouldn’t load any CSS files etc etc), so I had to de-install IE6, roll-back as much as I could and then reinstall IE6. That didn’t make me happy to say the least! Plus I removed Microsoft themselves from the “Trusted Publisher” listed as they themselves said that software signed by Microsoft isn’t necessarily “safe” (see coverage from The Register or Slashdot). The following day, I had to then install ANOTHER security patch (this one about a major bug in Internet Explorer).
But those weren’t the reasons I’ve stopped using Internet Explorer. Yesterday was. Basically, I had written a nice long blog entry about reindeer, had it all spellchecked and then went to upload it to my blog and Internet Explorer froze. It devoured my blog entry. And it was a really good blog entry. It’s kinda of a… bummer. (sorry, I couldn’t resist!) 🙂
Alt-Tabbing didn’t help, and neither did the “three-finger-salute” (Control-Alt-Delete). It had managed to crash my whole machine and a hard-reboot was required (i.e. pressing the power button/reset button on the chassis of the computer itself: a soft-reboot is where the OS reboots the machine for you, but Windows just hangs when I try that anyway).
So I get a little bit frustrated. I reboot and wait for everything to come back up again (my PC takes around 5 minutes to reboot: it “stalls” when loading the MS Active Desktop – even though I’ve got nothing ‘active’ on it – or when loading a service). I decide to return an email to my “pet spammer” Jerry and include references to the books/TV series “The Rise and Fall Of Reginald Perrin – but going to this site and clicking on a link caused Internet Explorer to crash – and in a strange way. Everything else I had loaded (such as Mozilla) were still functioning correctly, but trying to close the crashed Internet Explorer windows just would not work. Right clicking on the IE buttons on the task-bar failed to bring up a menu, using “Task Manager” revealed that I had already killed all instances of Internet Explorer (IEXPLORER.EXE in the services list): so how were the pages still being displayed. I couldn’t close them, resize them or move them (therefore I couldn’t get to anything on my desktop) – plus the machine was beginning to start to come to a crawl (even though Task Manager said I was only using less than 15% of the processor). I decided to shut the machine down for the night (hence why the webcam wasn’t updating after midnight).
To me, if a webpage can crash an entire machine in such a manner, there is definitely something wrong with the web browser. Hence why I’m now typing this up in Mozilla and why I’ve just installed the latest beta of Opera. I am planning on migrating my desktop machine to Linux soon….
So, like the now “legendary in internet lore” Ellen Feiss, it looks like I’m going to be “switching” away from Microsoft: but onto Linux instead of Macs (1 button mice? Surely that’s a good enough reason not to buy a Mac on its own!).