I had my first hands-on encounter with Windows Vista today. A friend asked me shoot the trouble between his Vista laptop and his HP F380 Deskjet printer.
Man, am I glad I use Linux.
The printer, an all-in-one, would do everything but print. It scanned and it copied, but it would not print emails or documents, plus it kept asking him to do the alignment routine.
What I did was pretty simple. After testing the printer to verify his complaints, I removed the printer driver and all the related software, disconnected the printer, downloaded and installed the current HP driver, and, when the install program told me to, reconnected the printer. Oh, yeah, I had to endure three reboots.
What happened, I think, was that he jacked the printer into the computer and Windows tried to configure automatically it and got it wrong. Every USB printer I’ve installed to Windows wants you to install the software first, then connected the device.
In the process, though, I got to deal with the Windows Vista nagware that pops up whenever you try to do an administrative task (“Windows needs your permission to continue”), nagware that would not be needed if Windows had a proper security model from the git-go.
I also got to hunt around Control Panel to find stuff that had been renamed and moved around for no good reason. Why, I ask, was “Add/Remove Programs” changed to “Programs” when “Programs” does the same things that “Add/Remove” did? Granted, “Programs” might have made more sense as a name for that routine in Windows 95, but, after persons spent a decade getting used to “Add/Remove Programs,” what’s the point? It’s like the auto makers in the 1950s who moved the chrome around from model year to model year to convince you that you were getting something new.
Nevertheless, I am used to this renaming thingee in Windows. Every time they come out with a new version, they pointlessly move stuff around and rename it so it looks new, when, in fact, it ain’t.
Oh, yeah, I was never able to find the file manager (“Windows Explorer”) on the menu; I’m sure it or its renamed equivalent is there somewhere, but, to find my downloaded driver, I poked into my friend’s “My Documents” and wiggled around from there.
Plus, the box was painfully slow (My IBM PC 300 with Slackware 12.2 almost as fast, and it’s a Pentium 300 MHz), but I didn’t take the time to see whether his computer was underpowered or not. I just fixed it, took my free meal (my friend’s girlfriend operates a restaurant where everything is cooked to order and it all tastes good), and left.
When I deal with this sort of stuff and then hear someone claim that Linux is more complicated than Windows, I remind myself that they have forgotten the years they spent learning Windows; they conclude that Linux is more complicated because they can’t learn in minutes to do what they have spent years learning to do in Windows.
Can’t wait for my first encounter with Windows 7.