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[vox] Rant (a bit long).
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[vox] Rant (a bit long).

Well, I'm not at the axe-wielding stage anymore, but I'd still like to
throw this bit of Microsoft-bashing at a list that will appreciate it.

I recently upgraded to a much nicer apartment complex; the price to pay
for this was gaining a roommate, which seems to be working out well[1].
Only problem is, now that I've got a roommate, I needed to NAT out my
uplink to the internet -- seeing as how we don't have a phone line (both
of us have mobiles), and as how I'd rather split the $50 a month that
Interquest costs me with the roomie.

Since I didn't feel like having a fifty-foot snake of CAT-5 running
between our bedrooms, I opted for the easy solution -- wireless
networking.  Simple and painless, right?

Well, the Linux side was.  Installed a kernel patch, got the wireless
tools loaded in /opt, and other than having to tweak an init script (why
did the linux-wlan *hard-code* binary paths?), everything seemed to work 
quite nicely.

Ah.  Time for the Windows side.  As usual, my roommate had a Windows
machine -- in this case, Windows98.  While moving her on to Linux would
be tempting, I know I won't be there to support it for her, and she
doesn't really have time to grok the nuances of a completely new system
(although I'm sure she'd be capable of it).  Problem number one is a
Windows98 SE installation that has been, well, used by an end-user for
the past four years.

Shutdown problems, bluescreens, driver glitches out the wazoo.  Kristin
(my roommate) has been having problems with this machine for some time,
so I graciously voulenteered to use my Many Years Of Dealing With This
Crap to re-install Windows for her; after all, I've got media, she has a
valid license, and everything should be happy.

Here's a list of problems I ran into on the Windows side:

1. For some odd reason, Windows98 disks are sometimes-bootable.
   Sometimes I can get them to boot, and sometimes they pull down their
   eyelid and stick out their tongue.  For some odd reason, the "startup
   disk" I built on another Win98 box (I love VMware) didn't seem to be
   palatable to her machine, so I ended up having to wait until the next
   day and grab our PC tech's bootdisk from work.

2. Ok, it's booted.  Let's install.  No, I want you to install on the C:
   drive.  C.  Not D.  Yes, I know there's an old Windows installation
   on D (her old hard drive).  No, I don't want to upgrade it.  Yes, I'm 
   a bloody expert, I'm so into it that I've got a windows logo tattooed
   on my bum, now could you just bloody please install on C?

3. Ok, it's installed.  Now all I need to do is install the driver for
   the wireless NIC so that I can link it to my workstation and download
   drivers for the rest of everything else.  Insert the CD for the NIC 
   driver in the CD-ROM, and it spits out an incredibly useful error 
   prior to giving up the proverbial ghost:

       "A required file could not be found."

   What file?  Hell, what application?  Do I need to install a patch?
   The "troubleshooting guide" supplied with the card was a bloody joke,
   as was the Linksys website.  I had a gut feeling that this was
   related to the Windows install being ancient, which could be remedied 
   by a Windows Update, but you can't do that without being on the
   internet, now can you?  Because Microsoft, in their infinite wisdom,
   doesn't let you download service packs unless you're doing it on the 
   machine you want to patch.

4. Find a driver file on the Linksys website for the bloody card; one
   that doesn't have a MACROMEDIA FLASH-BASED INSTALLER, and throw the
   thing onto a CD.  Crap, it's an old CD-ROM drive and doesn't like my 
   CD-RWs...burn a 7MB drink coaster, install the bloody driver,
   and...ah.  It works.  Spits out the same error at the end of the
   install, but I can now get out to the world through my Linux box.

I realize this would have been easier had all the proper media been
present, but the point is thus: If I need a piece of software to use
something on a Linux box, I usually see an error message that gives me
*some* clue as to what is missing, and I can usually get that piece of
software on the machine with a minimum of fuss -- even if I have to
download it on a seperate machine and shoehorn it through a serial cable
or use floppy-sized packets and a sneakernet connection.

Sheesh.  Ok, I'm done now.  We now return to your regularly scheduled

[1] She likes my cooking (we eat more-or-less the same foods), and we
    have conflicting schedules -- I might see her for five minutes out of
    the day.  That, and she cleans up after herself.  Life is good.

Don Werve <donw@examen.com> (Unix System Administrator)

Yorn desh born, der ritt de gitt der gue,
Orn desh, dee born desh, de umn bork! bork! bork!
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