But I wonder if it makes sense to continue adding things here, since all of this personal computer software seems to have reached a stable phase of its evolution. It is rather like the history of bicycles which, after 20 or 30 years of early development, settled on the modern design which has only changed in small details over the last 100 years.
Four years ago, we were looking forward to a higher speed internet, and it soon came. So we now have a steady 11 megabits/second That is not considered particularly fast these days, but it is certainly sufficient for us. It's enough for two simultaneous Netflix streams. (I understand that 25 megabits/second is necessary for "ultra-HD", or whatever it is, but we don't have such a television.) So now I've seen all the episodes of Breaking Bad, House of Cards, Downton Abby, and so forth. And it has gradually become boring. We haven't seen anything in Netflix for months now.
Politicians are saying that every house should have at least 50 megabits/second. But why? The main thing is that our service is reliable. A friend has an optical cable running near to his house, and he subscribes to the Telekom. But he says that on Friday or Saturday nights it often becomes painfully slow. Their servers are too slow for the traffic. We have a constant 11 megabits/second almost always. And when there is a problem we can ring up the local people, and somebody at the other end immediately picks up the telephone. Not an answering service. This is a tremendous advantage.
But returning to the comparison of Linux with Microsoft Windows, I
did have an interesting experience. I wanted to get away from those
TomTom GPS navigators since (although they run internally using Linux)
they only allow downloads of new maps via Windows. I wanted something
with world maps - we took a trip to Australia and were driving about
for some weeks - and also lifetime map updates. But I only found a
TomTom device which fit the bill. So, looking behind the dust in a
cupboard here I found the original hard disk which came with the
computer all those years ago. Taking out the SSD disk which I had been
using and putting in that old hard disk, it seemed to start nicely. It
requested my name, so I typed in a funny false name. And a password.
Then it started downloading endless things. Who knows what? In Ubuntu,
you are asked in a civilized way if you would like to perform an
update, and you can do it at a time that suits you. But apparently
Windows spontaneously updates without asking. After a very long time
the computer seemed to settle down. Then I tried turning it off. But
it said: Do Not Turn Off This Computer until it says so. This message
appeared and remained fixed on the screen for at least a half an hour.
It seemed that the system had died without shutting itself off. So I
stopped it by holding down the start button for 10 seconds, or
Trying to start things again, the computer again seemed to take forever to get going, but eventually it did start, and it even did something sensible such as starting a browser. Again I tried shutting it down with the same result as before. One or more attempts to start things were again almost successful, but each time, the operating system seemed to accumulate more and more errors. In the end I left it for almost 24 hours in the state of saying that it was shutting down and don't turn things off, and at the end of that time it actually did something! But this was not success. A further attempt led to the announcement that it would refuse to do anything more and I must insert the "rescue CD" which I was told I should have burned when originally buying this laptop. But I hadn't. Therefore I threw all the Microsoft junk which came with this computer in the garbage. Good riddance!
Luckily we have another computer with an intact Windows system where we actually did burn a rescue CD. Normally it has an Ubuntu SSD, but the original hard disk can be exchanged for such updating once every 6 months or so. When turning off that computer when it has the hard disk in it, I am careful to let it take all the time it wants to communicate whatever it likes with the Microsoft center, telling Bill Gates and all his people everything it knows about us. That is very little, since otherwise it is not connected to the computer, gathering information about us. Then after it has shut down, I start it again, letting it take its time to start downloading whatever it downloads. Then let it shut down, again downloading something or other for a further few minutes. I do this for 3 or 4 such cycles until it seems to start and stop with little fuss. And then I thankfully take the disk out of the computer and put it away somewhere.