Friday, August 7, 2020

This long, tiresome week, I've opted to conduct an experiment: working out of my Windows partition. Since shoving my Chromebook in a closet ages ago, I've usually booted Stark  from my Debian partition. Well, this week I tried a little insanity.

So what worked? Well the important stuff. Namely WSL2 and Docker for Windows now enable me to do the things my Debian partition offers that actually matter. Yay for that. Being a busy week, I kind of put that part of the system through five hundred laps of abuse without a problem.

A very large part of my time revolves around command line environments one way or another, so a lot of my client machine's job is being a glorified X-Terminal on steroids. Most GUI software I rely on is cross-platform within the desktop family trees, pardoning proprietary bits. Most parts I really care about are terminal friendly; most GUI parts involve interaction with others or specific tasks.

In particular I found it pleasant to have a Evernote's desktop client. The web client's not my cup of tea, beyond some of the editing shortcuts it shares with the Android and iOS clients. While most of what I do on my Linux partition was direct and to the point thanks to WSL, Evernote was a big shift.

What didn't work so hot?

In a very unsurprising shortfall was Bluetooth. Twice I had to totally start from scratch pairing my Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. To be fair, W10 20H1 launched with problems that are supposedly resolved. To be honest I've always had trouble with NT and Bluetooth: going as far back as the XP era. By contrast in a decade of combing Bluetooth and Linux: the only issue I've had is changing batteries 🤣.

Another is the networking side. Seems like W10 is happy enough to use my static/dns setup for Wi-Fi at work, and DHCP for my Wi-Fi setup at home. It'll even deal with the DNS suffix at home. But sometimes it thinks my home network has no Internet connectivity because it's trying to use my work DNS servers with my home connection. I suppose, considering the era NT comes from: I should just be glad that W10 has a concept of different configurations for different wireless connections. But annoying.

Shifting from Davmail / Thunderbird to the various Microsoft things, I mostly have two comments. One: easier setup. Second: different quirks. On the flipside, Davmail has a spectacularly accurate manual. And Thunderbird probably has more bugs and quirks than it's competition, lol. I could actually replicate my Linux setup on W10, but would rather not during the experiment.

Explorer is probably the gold standard of file managers. Compared to Thunar, it sure is. But I found it amusing how it was a sticking point. On occasion Explorer total death hangs until I eject my SD card. In the kill explorer from taskkill /f and then restart the damned thing just to get my panel back kind of hangs. Although, I've probably seen more crashes from X file managers than you can shake a stick at, it's compensated by *nix having a far superior command line environment.

More minor were things like my internal web server. Easy enough to replicate my simple lighttpd setup in IIS, and to lock it to my connection at work. Most of my stuff is either static, Perl CGI, or bash based; so the only thing that's not operational with trivial effort is a few CGI scripts done in bash.

And then there's the part that should really scare me: I didn't hate the experience. By comparison using Windows 7 and its predecessors generally lead to cursing and gnashing of teeth.

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