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Why is Everything so Stupid on Windows?

Date/Time Permalink: 07/10/07 08:51:22 pm
Category: Humor

Sorry, I just had to ask. I can get away with saying it just once per year. This is it. Hold your fire.

Check out what happens when a tool that has been a standard part of Unix - for what 30 years now? - gets ported to Windows for the first time. Here is "wingrep", the grep for Windows. So, today, class, we will learn all about (writing it on the chalkboard and underlining it twice) grep!:

"In beginner mode, the Search Assistant guides you though the process of setting up and executing a search." Is life just impossible without Clippy?

"Searches plain text and UNIX-style text files" - because, you know, text files on Unix are something completely different from "normal" plain text files. They're like X-Files, with mutants growing out of their stomachs.

"Searches all binary files such as Word Processor documents..." And whose idea was it to make the office documents be in binary, hmmm?

"Replacing as well as searching..." We'd better do that now, because we sure can't port sed over for the Windows people to deal with, too. Their delicate little heads would surely explode.

"Saving and printing of search results..." An alien concept in a world where you can't redirect output to a text file with the > operator.

"A powerful UNIX-like command line interface..." But whatever you do, don't go to Unix to use a powerful UNIX-like command line interface. People will think you're an elitist hacker terrorist or something, and you'd be violating 972.333 Microsoft patents.

"Windows Grep can be minimized while a search is in progress." Because on Windows it would take THAT FREAKING LONG that you would have time to get bored and want to play a round of Freecell while it finishes.

"Files found to contain matches can be easily searched again to see if they contain another, different, string." An alien concept in a world without the pipe | operator to connect two searches together.

God of Creation Almighty, Windows users! How do you STAND this? How can you let somebody talk down to you this way? How can you stay on a platform that doesn't trust you to wipe your own bottom? How can you live in that tiny little box? I look back on my Windows years, and maybe I have creeping senility, but it doesn't seem to me like it was this bad back then. It was *still* insulting enough to make me leave, but now I see that even today, it has not changed. It has only gotten more so.

This goes to the heart of why some of us use Linux. We got tired of being treated like idiots. And the rest of you are NOT idiots, no matter what Microsoft tells you. On real Unix-based systems, the man page would explain everything in one-line descriptions per option, you practice a couple runs on a test file, you're there. Don't worry about memorizing all 40 options. There's about three options that you'd use normally, and the rest are for really weird edge cases. Besides, you don't have to memorize anything - there's always that man page.

"User-friendly" - I'm beginning to get a new idea of what that term means. That means taking something that would be very simple away from the user, then making it a thousand times more complicated than it needs to be, then offering a tiny little piece of it back to the user, but with twelve strings attached and a stewardess to hold your hand and give you a Powerpoint presentation on it. All the while, never telling you that there's this whole world out there beyond your little gray cell where people just... wipe their own bottoms all by themselves. And keep their dignity.

Update: Ooooh boy am I in for it! Thanks to commenter pat for pointing out the MS-DOS findstr command. In fact, I found the Windows "man page" for it, and darned if it doesn't somewhat resemble what I said for grep on Unix. MS-DOS seems to have grown up some since Win-9X days. Luckily, I picked the 'humor' category for this post... weasel weasel weasel.

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