Questions about windows support

H. S. Teoh hsteoh at
Tue Feb 21 11:42:32 PST 2012

On Tue, Feb 21, 2012 at 05:56:49AM +0100, Adam D. Ruppe wrote:
> I actually liked working with DOS though. Good old segment b800 where
> can just write your bytes and see them on screen.
> Fond memories here of video mode 13h too. That was easy programming,
> and good speed too, even on those old computers.

Ahh, good ole days of hacking 2D graphics by coding in assembly
language. I loved it. In fact, I date back to the good ole days of Apple
II (not the IIe, the original Apple II). They used to have this CP/M
card with a ROM that can be swapped in to the built-in Apple ROM's
memory address (IIRC, E800-FFFF or something to that effect). This "ROM"
is actually writable via an address mapping to another range, I used to
fool around by writing my own OS-level code and then swapping it into
the ROM address, just to see what it would do. :)

> When I finally switched to coding for these newfangled multitasking
> OSes, it took a long time to get used to not having my precious memory
> map.

I hated it. I hated it *so* much, I swore myself off windows 95 several
times at least. It was only after discovering Linux that I found the
concept of protected mode palatable, and even useful. That was after I
swore off Windows 95 for the last time. :P

> >I almost never download binaries, only source.
> Me too, which is kinda sad when distributing software.


> I like sharing my apps with Windows users because
> I can say "grab this exe and have fun".


Until you run into DLL Hell. :P  For small apps this tends not to be a
problem, though. You can always just bundle the dll with your exe. Ugly,
but makes things work at the user's end.

> With Linux users, there's always some list of third
> party stuff they need too. dmd, qt, whatever, but
> always something.

Yeah. That's why I greatly prefer to use my distro's packaging system,
'cos of the automatic dependency fetching. In the bad ole days, it used
to go something like this:

- Oooh, my distro has software X! Lemme download the package!
- Hmm, it doesn't install. Says it's missing library Y.
- OK, no problem, let's download library Y's package from the distro.
- Oops, library Y needs library Z and library W. OK, no prob, get those
- Hmm, library W needs library V, and library Z needs library U. I guess
  I need those too.
- Oh, library U needs library T? Let's see, what does library T need?
  Oh, it needs library R and library S, and libraries R and S needs like
  20 other libraries once you chase down all the dependencies?
- Arghhh!! All this huge pile of libraries don't fit on my floppy disk
  anymore! Now I have to make two trips to the university's lab!

And this is if all goes well. When you start running into conflicting
versions, it all goes down the pipes real fast.

> Actually, I complain, but my system is a hacked up
> blackbox with rxvt and xterm on hotkeys, so I can
> summon and dismiss them with ease. (I put them on
> the menu key next to the right ctrl key. One press,
> rxvt comes. I can order it around, then ctrl+d to
> get rid of it. Easy come, easy go.)

I use ratpoison. C-t c, get new terminal. Done with it, C-t k dismisses
it. Won't go away? Stuck infinite loop? C-t K forcefully terminates its
X11 connection. That usually fixes it. If not, there's always kill -9.

> What pains me most about using windows though? It isn't
> the command line.... it is that you can't turn off click
> to raise.
> You can turn on sloppy focus and it is decently usable.

Really? I tried that once. I never dared try it again. Almost 99% of all
windows apps assume the usual focus. Sloppy focus just screws up their
UI assumptions in subtle ways that eventually just makes everything a
total pain to use.

I've found that when using Windows (and other MS products), you just
have to follow along with it and do things its way. Trying to customize
it is an exercise in masochism.

Of course, in Linux things are a bit *too* customizable. Which is heaven
for the power user, hell for the non-distro software distributor ("I
have to support *how* many different versions of libc and libqt in *how*
many different permutations?!"). I still occasionally have Firefox
coughing up blood when I insist on having no Desktop subdirectory under
my home directory. :)

> But, I've never found a way to make it so you can click
> a window without it going to the top.
> In fact, some Windows windows go to the top whenever they
> focus.... which kinda neuters sloppy focus too.
> Gah! I love that model. Stacking windows is just no fun
> if they always insist on going to the top.

Ah yes, I learned this the hard way when I tried to enable sloppy focus
that one time. Eventually I decided that it's just not worth the pain.
Just let Windows have its way. As long as I have putty, I'm happy. :)


Meat: euphemism for dead animal. -- Flora

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