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Windows XP - An Operating System You Can Trust

By Robert Storey

Introduction: distrowatch.com

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 WindowsXP, 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...

Robert's Review

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 downloaded DeCSS, 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 fall off.

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?

Screen capture of a Windows Blue Screen of Death

The 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 to 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 NSA 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 monique@bigboobies.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.

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