back to article Windows 11 comes bearing THAAS, Trojan Horse as a service

You can spot a veteran of the Browser Wars a mile off. These fearsome conflicts, fought across the desktops of the world not 20 years ago, left deep scars. Just whisper "Best viewed in IE6" in any crowd of Generation 95'ers, and watch grown men and women weep like babies as their hands grasp for an invisible mouse to click on …

  1. LDS Silver badge

    "and in a few short years we were liberated."

    It doesn't look so, looking at Chrome becoming the One Browser.

    And why MS should not attempt to do with Teams what Facebook achieved with WhatsApp?

    Google services built on open standars? LOOOL!!!!! Standards Google creates and enforces, sure.

    Lack of standards? I fully agree. The IT is being "balkanized" again, if we like early XX century metaphors. But it's not only MS attempting it - everybody did it, and were successful.

    Because people didn't send them to hell but happily entered those new "walled gardens" happily.

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: "and in a few short years we were liberated."

      "what Facebook achieved with WhatsApp"

      Facebook bought Whatsapp when it already had a pretty big market share, and I can't think of anything they've done to increase that growth that couldn't have happened under other owners.

      That's the thing, messaging systems are heavily reliant on the network effect. Microsoft do seem to have captured a big chunk of the business market, but personally I'm not sure that will translate over to the consumer side. Most people seem to use Zoom instead (or Whatsapp on phones), and I'm not sure what MS can do to change that.

      1. GroovyLama

        Re: "and in a few short years we were liberated."

        In my view, the next big market after business is education, and that is where it is possible to go for dominance.

        Most educational organisations (be it school level or university level) will already be using MS for Windows and Office. Having Teams built in will be easier to get teachers to use and support, rather than going for third party tools.

        I already went through this with my young son who had the experience of home schooling for the first time during the January lockdowns (UK). His school decided to use Teams as the teachers all had it on their laptops already due to Office 365 subscriptions.

        That was a problem for me though, since my list of devices available were:

        - A Linux laptop (Teams on Linux is woeful)

        - An old Windows 7 laptop my wife refuses to let me upgrade to Linux. Not used for anything financial anymore, it's really just there for iTunes sake (I hang my head in shame just at the mention of that)

        - Taking time out to let him use my work laptop

        In the end we installed Teams on an iPad, which was at least stable enough to let him have both video working and see the screen his teacher was sharing.

        I can see this being the office effect all over again. Generations will grow up being used to Teams from education, so it will silently become the defacto to continue in the business world.

        Outside of education, I agree that WhatsApp and FaceTime are the real market leaders for personal comms, with Zoom only used when there are more than 4 or 5 people on the group call.

        1. Tom Chiverton 1

          Re: "and in a few short years we were liberated."

          See also Adobe's "free for students" stance with Photoshop

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "and in a few short years we were liberated."

            That's analogy to me is more of a drug dealer thing

        2. captain veg Silver badge

          Re: "and in a few short years we were liberated."

          Have to say that I've been pleasantly surprised by Teams on Linux. I'm using Mint Cinnamon, mostly.

          On Android, that's another matter.

          -A.

          1. NoneSuch Silver badge
            Devil

            Re: "and in a few short years we were liberated."

            I'd be surprised if I ever found MS software on my Linux distros. Wouldn't be "pleasant" either.

            1. gerdesj Silver badge
              Linux

              Re: "and in a few short years we were liberated."

              PowerShell on Linux is far more pleasant than on Windows. The damn thing starts when you hit enter after typing pwsh in your terminal. On Windows you click on start ... eventually the menu lumbers into life ... or not, so you R click the logo to get the short menu. After a while a blue window materialises out of the gloom.

              It's nice not having to RDP a Windows box to fettle VMware stuff via PowerCLI (PowerShell modules.)

            2. captain veg Silver badge

              Re: "and in a few short years we were liberated."

              VS Code seems to be establishing itself as the go to IDE for web development on Linux, for better or worse. You can't escape them*: the company is a major contributor to Linux itself!

              -A.

              *Well, not unless you're in to compiling kernels yourself from source.

          2. gerdesj Silver badge
            Linux

            Re: "and in a few short years we were liberated."

            OK, it works but we are missing quite a few features.

          3. Martin an gof Silver badge

            Re: "and in a few short years we were liberated."

            Have to say that I've been pleasantly surprised by Teams on Linux

            Teams on Linux has been everything I've expected it to be. Great lumbering behemoth which takes up large amounts of resources and sets itself to auto-launch, slowing the whole machine down.

            I wouldn't be using it at all except that video calling doesn't work in Firefox. At least with the web version (horribly slow and clunky though it is - and have you actually counted the number of domains it tries to pull resources from?) it's possible to kill it by closing a tab, though even if you log out, it's pot luck what happens next time you try to open it.

            M.

        3. Old Used Programmer Silver badge

          Re: "and in a few short years we were liberated."

          Curiously enough, the school district where my grandson goes to school settled on Meet. They run it on school-distributed Chromebooks (if you need one). I had it set up and running well on a Pi4B-4, using a PiCamera v2 for the video input.

        4. petef

          Re: "and in a few short years we were liberated."

          I've been using Teams native on Linux (Tumbleweed) for a while now since the web app decided that it would pwn my display. While it is woeful it seems no worse than the Windows version.

        5. Julian 8

          Re: "and in a few short years we were liberated."

          (Teams on Linux is woeful)

          Its woeful on Windows too. Absolute machine killer

        6. Martin an gof Silver badge

          Re: "and in a few short years we were liberated."

          Most educational organisations (be it school level or university level) will already be using MS for Windows and Office. Having Teams built in will be easier to get teachers to use and support, rather than going for third party tools.

          Interesting that. One of the schools attended by my children uses Teams, and uses it reasonably well, but fortunately they were also able to provide Chromebooks for those pupils who didn't have exclusive access to their own computer at home, and the web version of Teams runs acceptably on a Chromebook, though you really don't want to be doing anything else at the same time.

          The other school uses Google Classroom, which runs just fine in any ol' browser. Common to both though is that it was obvious early on that having a keyboard was something many people hadn't considered - trying to collaborate online with an on-screen keyboard on a tablet or - worse - a phone - is a nightmare, so some people who initially said "we're good", suddenly realised they weren't.

          My wife's work uses Teams, as does her professional body. For work, it's via a VPN which has been so painful that she has an "unofficial" iPad for video meetings. Teams's problems with who-is-logged-in means that also has to use the iPad (now with keyboard) if she needs to be working both "for work" and for the professional body as otherwise things which should never leave one domain end up being visible to people in the other :-/

          There are use-cases for online, but most of them seem to be fairly simple. Try to do anything complex and the whole edifice comes crumbling down. It has been joyful being back "in the office" recently, meeting some colleagues in person for the first time in nine months in some cases, longer in others. Not so much because I'm the gregarious type who likes meeting people (absolutely I'm not) but for simple things like "oh, yes, I forgot to mention it in the handover email but...".

          M.

      2. NoneSuch Silver badge
        Go

        Re: "and in a few short years we were liberated."

        The day Facebook bought WhatsApp is the day I deleted it. Best choose another example.

        1. LDS Silver badge

          Re: "and in a few short years we were liberated."

          You - one. Whatsapp is reported to have about 2 billions active users. Why should I choose another example?

      3. LDS Silver badge

        "hat couldn't have happened under other owners"

        Just it needed an owner who could subsidize a business model that can't generate revenues in "some other ways" - and Facebook bought it exactly because of its size and dominance.

        Anyway the fact that Microsoft can fail doesn't mean it won't attempt it - just look at Google's failures, it's not that they didn't attempt...

        Still, for MS even capturing big chunks of the business market would be enough. It would be a bit ironic, since they killed Skype, with the aid of people that hate MS so much they feel is better to give all their lives away for free to Facebook.

        1. Stuart Castle Silver badge

          Re: "hat couldn't have happened under other owners"

          RE: Anyway the fact that Microsoft can fail doesn't mean it won't attempt it - just look at Google's failures, it's not that they didn't attempt...

          Microsoft have a long track record of trying a lot of things, and failing at some. Look at Zune, Windows Phone and Courier.

          Zune was particularly impressive because, despite being experienced in almost everything required to implement a music player, and despite spending (apparently) $1bn on Zune, Microsoft failed.

      4. Martin an gof Silver badge

        Re: "and in a few short years we were liberated."

        Microsoft do seem to have captured a big chunk of the business market, but personally I'm not sure that will translate over to the consumer side

        Absolutely. It's not really a "personal" product and as these days fewer and fewer people have an up-to-date "computer" (as in a desktop or decent laptop) at home and do the bulk of their internetting on their phones, fewer people will be using W10 or W11. If you do happen to have Teams on your phone because of work, the last thing you want to do is use it for personal communications because it's impossible to separate those two things without logging out and logging back in again.

        M.

      5. Seajay#

        Re: "and in a few short years we were liberated."

        The reason people use zoom is that you can send a zoom link to your nan and there's a decent chance that it will actually work.

        If teams is built in to windows. It becomes the lowest common denominator option and that probably counts for a lot.

    2. J27 Silver badge

      Re: "and in a few short years we were liberated."

      I've run into this many times. It seems like a lot of people aren't capable of recognizing market domination if it isn't Microsoft. Android all but forces you log in with a Google application, and iOS an Apple account. When Microsoft does it, everyone complains.

      If you care about this you should be standing up against it BEFORE that point, because generally, by the time Microsoft gets around to it, it's already been done everywhere else.

      Try finding an Android that doesn't have Google Play, Gmail and a variety of other Google apps bundled in, I could say the same about Apple, but we all know there no way to avoid their bundled apps.

      1. FIA Silver badge

        Re: "and in a few short years we were liberated."

        I actually think Apple in some ways are the most honest of the big ones in this context. The term 'Walled garden' was used to describe their app store from the beginning. They don't hide this and have never pretended otherwise. You might not agree with it, but you know what you're getting from day 1.

        Contrast this with Google, who deftly used the lure of open source, and the gently closing fist of the (closed source) google play services to slowly lure everyone in.

        Sure Android is notionally open source, but good luck trying..... (oh, and if you do, good luck with the supply chain, the OHA members are contractually prohibited from dealing with you.)

        Microsoft is just doing what Microsoft does. They're strengthening their monopoly on the desktop, people just seemed to stop caring.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "and in a few short years we were liberated."

          Agreed - you know what you're getting into when you buy Apple. They're far from perfect but, for most people, they get into it because it usually works OK for them. Again, not 100% and there are problems but, because they're occasional, they get headline news. I'm not suggesting that's wrong, as people need to know. MS (or even Linux) issues rarely get the same exposure - MS because they're not so rare and Linux because, outside the IT fraternity, it's rarely newsworthy.

          When I switched my main desktop from Windows to Mac, I continued running Windows as a VM as there were some things only Windows could do (mainly around MS Office apps that either weren't available on the Mac, or behaved slightly differently and I needed to remain 100% compatible with Windows users). I'll shortly need to replace my current iMac and the new one won't run Windows (at least, not without a lot of hacking) - but the issues that needed my Windows VM have largely disappeared (for me): my main use of that VM is to have a second instance of Teams, so I can work on two accounts and not have to keep logging out and in. I've found that a copy of Edge on my Mac actually works well for Teams in all but meetings - and I'm finding most people are more than happy when I suggest meeting on Zoom instead.

          My 2¢ worth!

      2. sammystag

        Re: "and in a few short years we were liberated."

        > Try finding an Android that doesn't have Google Play, Gmail and a variety of other Google apps bundled in

        Kindle Fire

        1. hairydog

          Re: "and in a few short years we were liberated."

          Huawei

      3. Martin an gof Silver badge

        Re: "and in a few short years we were liberated."

        Android all but forces you log in with a Google application...

        Try finding an Android that doesn't have Google Play, Gmail and a variety of other Google apps bundled in

        But at least - in theory - you have a certain degree of choice with Android. My own phone runs Lineage without any Google apps at all, and while there isn't an official Lineage for the boys' Nokias (yet?) neither of them has a Google account or runs the Play store. It's not what Google wants you to do, and it's not what they put effort in to making easy, but it works. Fennec for browsing, K9mail for email, Signal for messaging, and the misfortune of having to sideload Snapchat for friends and (believe it or not) Whatsapp for those temporary summer jobs.

        M.

      4. ridley

        Re: "and in a few short years we were liberated."

        Don't you just buy a Huiwei if you don't want those?

    3. Blackjack Silver badge

      Re: "and in a few short years we were liberated."

      Yeah, Firefox is at risk of disappearing.

      1. NetBlackOps Bronze badge

        Re: "and in a few short years we were liberated."

        It would help if Mozilla actually listened to users before making permanent, non-appealable, changes to the UI.I got off Firefox after something like the sixth such decision.

  2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Responsibility

    So if you want to make a complaint about the abuse of power by Microsoft, where do you do it? CMA? Trading Standards?

    I bet the response would be "Why don't you use an alternative operating system?"

    1. ratcatcher67

      Re: Responsibility

      Well call it by its name, "Data Rape", "Digital Upskirting",

    2. Someone Else Silver badge

      Re: Responsibility

      I doubt the Country Music Awards would care, really.

      1. NetBlackOps Bronze badge

        Re: Responsibility

        I've found musicians, producers, and especially the techs/engineers to be some of the most resistant to change people anywhere.

        1. Martin an gof Silver badge

          Re: Responsibility

          I've found musicians, producers, and especially the techs/engineers to be some of the most resistant to change people anywhere

          If it works for you, why change it?

          Just look at the typical bag of wired microphones sported by stage engineers. Guaranteed that the bulk of it will be SM 58 or one of its close relatives. The SM58 has been around since the mid 1960s with only a few minor tweaks.

          Digital mixers - in theory an absolute boon - took a while to get established, not just because of cost but also because of latency in early models. These aren't such issues for studios, but in live situations, latency can be a real problem.

          On the other hand, digital recording - once it became practical - took off very quickly.

          I need a small mixer for home. I was looking at a small, cheap analogue desk with USB connection, of which there are dozens of really quite acceptable models. Then Behringer went and launched the Flow small digital mixer, very competitively priced, reasonable mix of features and that really mucked up my list of candidates. As far as I'm aware, no-one else offers anything similar at a similar price. The "remote control" functionality may not be much use at home, but it could be very useful at church...

          M.

    3. ridley

      Re: Responsibility

      The EU have been known to find against this sort of thing, best complain to them.

      Oh...

  3. Nick Ryan Silver badge
    Stop

    Standards...

    Standards are the only damn reason why things work.

    We can pick up a phone and speak to pretty much anyone on the planet because of standards. In the early days of telephony and before international standards were set this was not possible.

    We can email anyone else because of standards. Remember the horror shit-show that was AOL and Compuserve with their internal communication messaging systems that they grudgingly shifted towards standard email?

    We cannot do the same with a video call. Instead, we have to use a variety of bespoke and non-interoperable services to communicate with whatever is available at the other end. It's shit, in other words - and this covers Zoom, Teams, HangOuts and all the other services that used to be used before the pandemic hit.

    1. Nunyabiznes

      Re: Standards...

      Why can't I upvote this more?

      1. Psmo
        Trollface

        Re: Standards...

        Standards.

    2. J. Cook Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Standards...

      Technically, there are standards for voice conferencing (H.323 and SIP amongst others), it's just that it's buried underneath layers of proprietary crap to lock people into using a specific client.

      Video conferencing has always been a headache when trying to get equipment from two different vendors to interoperate, and much like the XKCD comic, trying to make a box that mediates things creates an additional standard.

      There's a reason why I have the teams client, Webex client, and Zoom client installed on my work machine...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Standards...

      It's all just webRTC under the hood anyway, surely.

      Otherwise the quality would be better.

    4. Zygous

      Re: Standards...

      There's WebRTC (see https://webrtc.org/), but that's only part of the stack.

      Six years ago or more Firefox ran "Firefox Hello" for a while - a free system to help set-up calls using WebRTC. Sadly it didn't last long, doubtless because was only useful to Mozilla while they were implementing the standard.

      So, it's not quite all about standards; we also need the services built on top to be open. IIRC Teams uses Blink's implementation of WebRTC (which is almost but not quite standards compliant), but that doesn't make the system open.

    5. drankinatty

      Re: Standards...

      "Standards are the only damn reason why things work."

      Yes and therein lies the current problem. In days of old, the RFCs and standards preceded the wars, (or at least were actively being developed) which enabled the alliance and gave them a measuring stick to go by. I'm not aware of any such standard for things like Teams. But standards are not perfect either, 'ActiveXObject("Microsoft.XMLHTTP");' anyone? But standards, and no constraints on where the browser could be pointed were key in fostering competition.

      The current lack of any standard is what MS is exploiting and what poses the problem. While the development and integration of group voice, video, file transfer, etc.. is to be applauded, it is the integration into Win11 and exclusion of 3rd-party endpoints that poses the problem. Even if competition were brisk, having 2-3 apps all providing the same function but not being able to talk to one another isn't helpful either.

      The data collection is also a very big problem, especially for professions with a duties of non-disclosure and the safeguard of client/patient information. Just what is being captured for aggregation by MS and sale to 3rd-parties? That seems an area ripe for abuse.

      The only saving grace is courts have very long memories and precedent on how to deal with anti-competitive practices with app integration into operating systems. While not an optimal solution, the battles of old may well be fought again -- if we learn anything from history.

    6. druck Silver badge

      Re: Standards...

      There are 3rd parties which are able to provide video calling interoperability between Teams, Hangouts, WebRTC clients, Cisco hardware endpoints, etc.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Forgive me for saying this...

    I like teams, it works and does way more than video calls in the enterprise, add to that the addins/apps that add functionality! Is there a problem with a monopoly if the tool in question is actually good? From the looks of it MS has learnt the lesson of IE wars and will keep evolving it so its always that step on from the rest of the pack.

    1. PghMike

      Re: Forgive me for saying this...

      Teams does work for simple meetings.

      What drives me nuts is the maze of twisty passages that makes up your life in Teams. Someone shared a document with you during a chat? Good luck finding it ever again, even if you were smart enough to remember to pin the conversation. Even if you remember who it was who shared it, you have to find the specific conversation. And then you have to remember if they uploaded it to the 'Files' tab or if it was part of the conversation inline.

      And sometimes the conversation is in the Teams tab, and sometimes in the Chat tab.

      And random functionality requires you to click "Open in SharePoint," where you're in a similar 'app' but different. And of course, you have to guess that the functionality you're looking for is in sharepoint in the first place.

      And again, search just plain doesn't find anything.

      It's just a mess. And the way that MS works, shoveling functionality into applications with no thought of the user experience, it's only going to get worse.

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: Forgive me for saying this...

        Don't forget all the 'fun' of trying to communicate with someone in a different organisation.

        Maybe I can start an audio/video call with them, maybe the button is missing today for no good reason. Maybe they'll show up as a 3rd party contact, or maybe you'll have to click over to their organisation to see the chat, or be notified about it. Who knows?

        Still, I suppose it gives a handy excuse for why you didn't respond to someone, "sorry, I didn't see that message until later, must be Teams being weird". Not that I'd do that of course...

      2. J. Cook Silver badge

        Re: Forgive me for saying this...

        And random functionality requires you to click "Open in SharePoint," where you're in a similar 'app' but different. And of course, you have to guess that the functionality you're looking for is in sharepoint in the first place.

        Dirty secret: the back end of Teams.... is Sharepoint. While I'm stuck as the admin for [RedactedCo]'s tenent, I'm certainly glad I don't have to admin that Iron Maiden...

      3. NetBlackOps Bronze badge

        Re: Forgive me for saying this...

        Don't forget the singular inability of Teams coping with someone having more than one digital identity.

      4. ridley

        Re: Forgive me for saying this...

        Couldn't agree more, but TEAMS is Nirvana in comparison to its demon child OneNote esp the education version.

        Microsoft if you tell me that if I put a document into this area it is read only, then please make it read only.

        Oh and how on earth does OneNote even when minimised and not in use creep up and steal all of your ram? 25Gb is slightly over the top on a 32Gb machine.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Forgive me for saying this...NOPE we dont forgive

      Teams is utter shite.

      Nosy as fuck, full of thirdparty shit add-ons trying to get you to use them so they can grab data about you.

      fuck M$ for making work unbearable, with all the wankers thinking they are funny disturbing concentration for fuck all.

      M$ own software complains to me that outlook doesn't trust the teams addin, warning me it could be malware, I think it's correct, it's definately fucking spyware

      1. ratcatcher67

        Re: Forgive me for saying this...NOPE we dont forgive

        Well call it by its name, "Data Rape", "Digital Upskirting",

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          You're repeating yourself, grandpa.

      2. Brad16800

        Re: Forgive me for saying this...NOPE we dont forgive

        What gets me with Teams is once you put a message you're locked in to constant update reminders for that thread.

        Really need to have an option to drop off it as it just makes me think if I want to add to a conversation as I know i'll be getting updates on it for the rest of the day. Just discourages communication instead of encouraging it.

    3. Potemkine! Silver badge

      Re: Forgive me for saying this...

      The impossibility to delete chat messages, only hiding them, says a lot about the real goal of MS with Teams: your data are ours, and forever.

      Can't wait the different EU regulators wanting to have a word with MS because of something named GDPR.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        And yet, we have to wait.

      2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: Forgive me for saying this...

        Crowd dealing with FOI requests may be very happy about that ;-)

      3. Psmo
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Forgive me for saying this...

        Better than pretending that the chat has been deleted from everyone's offline caches, like the 'recall mail' in outlook that never works right, or hoping that whoever you've called in Skype hasn't got a save of your conversation, that the SharePoint search index hasn't grabbed a copy of your data.

        Better just to be gdpr-sensitive and use access control, non?

    4. Andy E
      FAIL

      Re: Forgive me for saying this...

      I'm sorry but I have to use Teams everyday and apart from the video conferencing it is awful. Essentially its window dressing on a Sharepoint backend with appallingly bad and inconsistent integration.

      Why is it called Teams anyway? You can only have one active team open at a time. That's frustrating when I'm in 4 teams with 4 different clients.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Forgive me for saying this...

        Yes. It's a huge resource hog, particularly for video conferencing but even for text chats. Search is abysmal. Even scrolling is abysmal. The text editor is so sluggish that it routinely falls far behind any competent typist. URL abs_paths it generates are, in classic Sharepoint fashion, enormous turds of incomprehensible path components. It suffers from random bugs – I've seen plenty reported by colleagues.

        Even for video conferencing, as others have pointed out, is really only usable if you're conferencing in-organization and have only a single Teams account. And you need quite a bit of bandwidth and quite low latency – Teams is significantly more demanding in this respect than Skype or Lync were, in my experience.

    5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Forgive me for saying this...

      "Is there a problem with a monopoly if the tool in question is actually good?"

      Yes. A monopoly is a problem.

    6. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Forgive me for saying this...

      The Rejects of Redmond nearly got broken up because they integrated Imbecile Explorer into Bloatware. If they try the same stupidity with Turds they will likely get nailed again as the basic precedent has been set.

    7. Dale 3

      Re: Forgive me for saying this...

      Ah Teams... it reduces my workload... mainly because I can never find anything in it, and the time it would take to find the thing is more valuable than the thing I wanted to find, and the other guy who added the thing can't find it either so that job just goes away.

    8. Down not across Silver badge

      Re: Forgive me for saying this...

      Teams is awful. Work laptop takes forever to boot while Teams is wanking itself blind. Once you get to task manager and kill it off things progress bit better. Killing it off also makes running unplugged bit more viable.

      1. Someone Else Silver badge

        Re: Forgive me for saying this...

        Once you get to task manager and kill it off things progress bit better.

        Yes. That.

        Why in the living name of Fuck is there an [X] button in the upper right hand corner if it doesn't actually exit the application? It just sort of mangles into a state of spyware stasis...from which you can neither resurrect it nor nuke it from orbit.

        Well OK, you can nuke it from orbit with the help of the task manager, which I'm sure Micros~1 will disable in in Win11. SysInternals FTW!

      2. Psmo
        Trollface

        Re: Forgive me for saying this...

        Thanks for that image.

    9. Ben1892
      Mushroom

      Re: Forgive me for saying this...

      You would have got an upvote for sheer bravery - but you had to go AC on us :)

  5. Carlie J. Coats, Jr.

    Vendors who lie

    And I can show you a screen-shot of Google Chrome on Linux displaying the text below. In this, you claim that what clearly does NOT work does work.

    I HATE vendors who lie to me!!

    -------------------------------------------

    Hmm. Your browser version isn't supported.

    Here's what works:

    Microsoft Edge

    Google Chrome

    Mozilla Firefox.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Vendors who lie

      You were obviously not running Microsoft Linux...

      1. Someone Else Silver badge

        Re: Vendors who lie

        You were obviously not running Microsoft Linux...

        Oxymoron Alert!!!

        ...with the emphasis on the last syllable

        1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge
          WTF?

          Re: emphasis on the last syllable

          ert...?

          1. Someone Else Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: emphasis on the last syllable

            OK, Jimmy...I figured someone would go there.

  6. ThatOne Silver badge
    Flame

    Browser History

    > Then came the Rebel Alliance of Chrome and Firefox

    Uh, rewriting History already? Chrome first, Firefox second? Sorry, Firefox was the stand-alone browser of the Mozilla Suite which had started last century (1998 IIRC). Chrome was only released in 2008, ten years later.

    What I'm trying to say is the "Rebel Alliance" was Firefox, and Firefox alone. Chrome was the opportunist who arrived after the battle to rob the corpses.

    Why such hate? Because of the eminently underhand method it used to establish itself: It was distributed like a virus, silently installing itself and taking over the computers of people. Obviously most people never noticed (or cared) their browser had changed, and that's how it gained a majority market share in only a couple years, not because it was any better than the competition... For some years I had to uninstall unwanted Chrome installations at least monthly (Adobe Flash updates for instance carried it as a hidden payload - Install the update, discover Chrome had been installed and taken over as your default browser).

    /rant

    1. theOtherJT

      The Americans in WWII...

      ...is kinda how I see chrome in this analogy.

      I think you're being a little harsh there, because it probably struck the killing blow against IE, and was certainly instrumental in the whole process, but yes. Firefox was fighting that battle for years before they got involved.

      1. ThatOne Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: The Americans in WWII...

        > struck the killing blow against IE

        MSIE did not need to die, it just needed to be put back to its place. And competition is good for this, competition is always good, much like diversity is good, especially in a sector where big money is involved. It prevents the end users (us) from getting shafted.

        Microsoft didn't kill Netscape and try to make IE the one and only browser just for bragging rights, they made it to control the nascent Internet trade. And now Google tries to make Chrome the only tool available for browsing the Internet, because this would allow them to control advertisement, guide the users' choices, and collect juicy information allowing you to further manipulate the users. Welcome to the Internet by Google™.

        Now as long as people still can escape to other browsers they can't go too far with this. Other browsers like, um, well, Firefox. Yes, everything else (outside Apple's walled garden) is already a Chrome in a sheepskin! Chromium might be open source and all that, but it depends heavily on Chrome, you can be sure it won't be able to stand in Google's way.

        Microsoft dropping Edge and pushing Chrome was a major disaster for browser diversity. Not that I liked Edge (never used it), but we now only have Chrome and Firefox left (outside Apple). Firefox, which a) depends on Google for money, and b) has a self-destructive dev team more concerned with "fresh" looks than with functionality...

        And no, some obscure open source project won't save us, because you need to carry some weight to influence commercial web design decisions. Else you'll just be running after the moving target which is Chrome, till you get silenced in the name of "security" (somebody think of the children already!).

    2. Zolko Bronze badge

      Re: Browser History

      the "Rebel Alliance" was Firefox, and Firefox alone

      Don't forget Konquerror - the KDE browser - was already there in 1996. It's pretty niche (*) admittedly, but still.

      (*) yes, I know

      1. captain veg Silver badge

        Re: Browser History

        Firefox did sterling work, but Opera was what did it for me (up to version 12). Not only the fastest and most standards compliant, but also the one which did what I wanted it to do, not (necessarily) what the web site owner wanted. First to block unsolicited popups, for example.

        Definite honourable mention to Konqueror, without which we wouldn't have Safari. Without which we wouldn't have Chrome. Without which Edge would still be trying to hide its Trident heritage.

        It's a real shame that Opera and Microsoft gave up on their own rendering engines, though, in favour of just repackaging Chrome/Blink. Competition is good. Edge notwithstanding.

        -A.

    3. Anomalous Cowturd
      Facepalm

      Cough OPERA cough.

      See title.

  7. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "If [Google] showed any sign of understanding conferencing, that'd be nice"

    Google certainly has the means to make things work. If Borkzilla does gain widespread market acceptance with Teams, the incentive for Google to undercut it by removing all the Teams angst and making something that is actually user-friendly as well as efficient will be enormous.

    Plus there's all that additional slurp to be had, which Google is very, very good at obtaining.

    No, I don't think the conference wars are over yet. Not by a long shot.

  8. GioCiampa
    Facepalm

    Best viewed...

    You could have hidden that behind some kind of "click if you're sure you want to see it" warning!

  9. Ace2
    Flame

    Oh El Reg

    Tickling the tonsils of a decomposing turbot?

    Looks like I’ll save a few bucks today, not needing to eat lunch…

  10. TimMaher Silver badge
    Facepalm

    WebEx

    Whatever happened to WebEx and why have I got ten different versions in my Applications folder?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: WebEx

      Don't know but they sent me an email saying they've changed T&Cs and my IMs would be deleted in one month because I'm on the free tier.

      As if I know what they're on about. I used it a few times because I had to talk to an outside organisation. I don't know who or what pays for my WebEx account, but I'm not going to pay anything, if they're going to rattle their tin at someone then they'd better rattle it at my organisation, not at me.

    2. J. Cook Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: WebEx

      ALL OF THIS, but also applied to GoToMeeting.

      Seriously- A CUSTOM INSTALLER FOR EACH MEETING. WHAT THE EVER LOVING FU---

      [user disconnected due to incoherent rage]

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: WebEx

        WebEx versus GoToMeeting? That's a tough one. I think I hate GoToHell more (and as for GoToWebinar....), but on any given day my wrath might be directed at either.

        I've used quite a few videoconferencing systems over the years. I think Bridgit was the least terrible. Skype generally worked pretty well, and even Lync/SfB generally wasn't actively infuriating.

    3. Nunyabiznes

      Re: WebEx

      We were using Cisco Webex Teams - and it was good. Unless you had roaming profiles and had to refresh the local profile cache. It would delete data out of the local app data and make it a pita to get working again.

      MS Teams however is a pile of excrement. Except it keeps the data in the roaming portion of the profile so it is easier to move users between computers if you are using roaming profiles. Which I wouldn't recommend anyway.

    4. herman Silver badge

      Re: WebEx

      The devs of Webex left and founded Zoom.

  11. JWLong Bronze badge

    Turbot

    I had to look up what it is.

    Looks ugly as hell. Seems to be a good eating fish tho!

    M$ software is tasting like shit lately. Round corners and all.

    No /sarcasm, just fact.

  12. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Alert

    Electron apps now built into the Windows Desktop

    The new Active Desktop of our time. What could possibly go wrong?

    Active Desktop never attained any significant degree of popularity, as its drawbacks included high use of system resources and reduction in system stability

    Only this time I'm pretty sure they won't let you turn it off.

    1. ThatOne Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Electron apps now built into the Windows Desktop

      They learn from their mistakes...

  13. pip25
    Unhappy

    We have been moving AWAY from standards since years, unfortunately

    Remember when Google Chat (or whatever it was called back then) was (somewhat) compatible with XMPP? Around that time, I was using an IM client called Pidgin that let me use most chat accounts under a single interface; you could even force Skype to work with some trickery.

    Well, Pidgin still exists, but feels like a shell of its former self. Last time I tried using it, some stuff simply didn't work, other stuff made the program crash. I don't think it's the authors' fault, either: it seems like the big players have gone out of their way to make chat (and voice/video call) interoperability a lost cause. Here's hoping that something will force them to think again, be it the rise of Teams or anything else.

    1. Giles C Silver badge

      Re: We have been moving AWAY from standards since years, unfortunately

      If the internet companies had been the ones around over 100 years ago I dread to think how many telephone systems the planet would have had.

      Think about it, due to standardisation any phone can call any other phone on the planet and it will connect and allow you to carry on a conversation.

      This is due to the ITU making sure all countries agreed on a standard.

      The internet firms don’t care about standards

      1. Old Used Programmer Silver badge

        Re: We have been moving AWAY from standards since years, unfortunately

        The internet firms *love* standards. Lots and lots of standards. Standards are a wonderful thing, because there are so many to choose from.

        Yes, I understand your point.

        What I'd like to see would be a single standard for videochat so they 'd all be interoperable and one could use what one liked and.or run best on ones system. Then the different providers could duke it out on how well they could make it work and what additional features they could provide that users actually want.

  14. 502 bad gateway
    Pirate

    WTH

    What business does a web browser (edge), a business communications platform (teams), and a games store (Xbox game bar) have in an operating system?? They may paint themselves as the cuddly fluffy bunny business that loves open source, but much of their behaviour hasn't changed much since the early days.

    Lest we forget, embrace, extend, extinguish

    1. Sandtitz Silver badge

      Re: WTH

      "What business does a web browser (edge), a business communications platform (teams), and a games store (Xbox game bar) have in an operating system??"

      Let's take a look at this curious question.

      The web browser is there because everyone uses a browser. Every OS comes with one. Why do you see this as a problem?

      Teams is there mostly for Microsoft's benefit. They're trying to win this communications war just like all the other players are trying to foist their products. Teams apparently has a daily active usage of 145 Million users and the number of users is still likely growing since the number has doubled in a year. Microsoft is of course catering to those people as well.

      An app store is found in Android, iOS, MacOS - Linux distros have had repos predating all these stores. I fail to see the problem.

      Xbox Game Bar has nothing to do with the store, sounds like you have no knowledge of Windows or what the Game Bar is. Not that it has ever ruled out strong opinions...

      in any case, Windows is a multipurpose operating system and apart from game consoles, it's the PC Operating System that games are primarily developed for. Because Micros~1 supports gaming, the Game Bar is there. I have used the screen recorder several times to app use how-to videos and such.

      So there. Of course, if you don't like some of those applications, you're free to not use them. Every OS comes with software you nor I never use.

      1. J. Cook Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: WTH

        Xbox Game Bar has nothing to do with the store, sounds like you have no knowledge of Windows or what the Game Bar is. Not that it has ever ruled out strong opinions...

        Yes, but what the frack is it doing ON A SERVER OS. Explain that to me, please. Feel free to use small or large words. :D

        1. douglasac10

          Re: WTH

          Unless Game Bar is installed by default on an upcoming version of Windows Server, I haven't seen it on our many, many Windows Servers running 2016 or 2019, let alone the store. On a fresh install you basically get the admin tools, IE, Paint, the Snipping Tool and Notepad.

          They don't even put Edge on Server 2016 or 2019, you get IE.

        2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: WTH

          What the frack is it doing on a default install of a consumer OS, for that matter? If gamers want it, let gamers install it.

          Of course, you can't even uninstall it. You can turn the "gaming features" off in Settings, if you know how, but you can't remove them. Nothing in the "Windows features" list for it.

          That's an asshole move by Microsoft. They load the OS up with bloatware that many users don't want, wasting resources and increasing the attack surface, and provide no supported way to remove that cruft. It's just another example of their "we own your machine" attitude.

          1. Sandtitz Silver badge
            Stop

            Re: WTH

            "What the frack is it doing on a default install of a consumer OS, for that matter? If gamers want it, let gamers install it."

            You can apply that same argument against every OS since they have components that are not needed by *everyone*.

            "Of course, you can't even uninstall it. You can turn the "gaming features" off in Settings, if you know how, but you can't remove them. Nothing in the "Windows features" list for it."

            Apparently, your Google-Fu needs more work.

        3. Sandtitz Silver badge

          Re: Xbox Game Bar

          "Yes, but what the frack is it doing ON A SERVER OS."

          Huh, which Server OS comes with the game bar?

      2. Someone Else Silver badge
        Facepalm

        @Sandtitz -- Re: WTH

        The problem is that you fail to see the problem....

      3. Electronics'R'Us Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: WTH

        The browser became part of the OS with Exploder via a service pack (and it silently installed itself with AOL).

        The is no reason whatever for the browser to be a part of the OS; it is an application, not a core OS component.

        If M$ wants to have rendering library that is available for any application that chooses to use it, fine. Embedding the browser (an application, remember) into the kernel is nothing short of both stupid and evil.

        Bill Gates famously said that using any browser other than IE should be very painful and that was one of the things that got them into trouble.

        So if I want to use the provided browser, fine. Do not force me to use it (as it does even now from windows search).

        The OS should provide services for any application designed to run on top of it.

        End of story.

        1. Sandtitz Silver badge
          Stop

          Re: WTH

          "The browser became part of the OS with Exploder via a service pack (and it silently installed itself with AOL).

          No experience with AOL, but sounds like AOL wanted to make getting online as easy as possible to gain a big user base. I think it worked pretty well.

          I remember the ISP CD's carried Netscape installers, with Winsock and other software as well.

          Back then (mid-90s) most people knew nothing about Internet except they wanted to get online for web and mail with their v.32bis (or slower) modems. That's 1.5 kb/s. Most people had zero means of downloading a browser without a browser. (I had the same problem way earlier with my first modem and no terminal software)

          "Embedding the browser (an application, remember) into the kernel is nothing short of both stupid and evil."

          Why do you think the browser resides in kernel?

          "Bill Gates famously said that using any browser other than IE should be very painful and that was one of the things that got them into trouble."

          [citation needed]

          I don't remember having any problems using Navigator/Communicator/Opera back in the 1990s under Windows 9x/NT. Except for crashes every now and then. (happened with IE4/5 as well)

          "The OS should provide services for any application designed to run on top of it.

          So, which OS encompasses this purist philosophy of yours, a barebones kernel with simple shell? DOS?

    2. Charlie van Becelaere
      WTF?

      Re: WTH

      "Lest we forget, embrace, extend, extinguish"

      I think you forgot exsanguinate.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Git ahem consumption

    It wont take a giant leap for Microshaft to annex eminent domain of EVERY opensource private repo on github as their property and tell everyone to suck it.

    Gitlab and Artifactory is the friend of every freedom and privacy loving project / org. We mostly do text docs and html tables ... Occasionally fire up that Slide mangling Powerpoint to do the glitzy chintzy shuffle. I prefer the LibreOffice and opendocs format for everything and exports in PDF. The office subscriptions is mostly for the PHBs and when externals panic when given a PDF file.

    Moving to git and markdown and some amount of html has slowly started making sense for us in 2021 !

    Hopefully I will never have to fire up WindBlows for enterprise work EVER.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Today, I learned that Windows Terminal, which I rather like, can't be installed on Windows Server, because it lacks some APIs. I had asked for it on out company's emergency Remote Desktop Server, silly me.

    That is all.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That problem was solved - ironically, it involved Microsoft..

    In 2010, a collaboration between parties such as Google, Apple, Microsoft, Mozilla and Opera resulted in an open video conferencing standard called “web real time communication”, WebRTC for short.

    You'll find it works best in Chrome, but as that is too Googly for me I discovered to my amazement that Firefox's support had now become usable as well (at least as of last month, may have happened before).

    Next, go to https://jitsi.org and download the server. This is the bit you have to run in a safe place, because it's the one spot where communication could be intercepted but otherwise it's (a) safe and (b) very much free. It's based on that evil commie operating system called Linux, but hey, all good things are (try finding things the size of Facebook and Google running on Windows). There are also client apps, although I found it was usable on Firefox on iOS, but more laggy than the app.

    Tweak, run, and presto - multi-user conference system. All your own, and a very annoyed NSA not being able to listen in. Well, probably via Windows instead, but that is also something you can change.

    You're welcome, and have fun.

    :)

  18. KEHinWA

    Google as a rebel?

    Ya no.

    Google has Android and pushes its browser there, Apple same.

    Did you call them a Trojan?

  19. Kev99

    We use Teams at work. It's a bother to start, insists on changing the speaker options every time we start it, and getting someone on it takes a shaman. And if you're not careful it will make you sign into the evil empire's bunch of holes connected by string. At which point I'm sure everything you access thru teams will end up on microsoft's servers for their Winston Smiths.

  20. fireflies

    I was helping someone with teams earlier. The usual story, important meeting coming up and they wanted to make sure it's going to work alright on the night (or day as the case may be).

    They have the email link ready to test - click the link - no welcoming message, no. Your admin hasn't enabled teams!

    But who is the admin? Not to worry, there's some button here that says sign up for free - well, you can't go wrong with free can you? So ignore the webpage title indicating it's for commercial access (who reads titles anyway?) and... what's this? You already have teams with your account! Well, that was easy I guess, take me to my free teams then...

    Oh, we're now back to the "your admin hasn't enabled teams" message.

    Okay, let's do a quick search on the internet for... oh dear, I seem to be getting loads of pages about the admin centre on Microsoft 365... but this is not a large enterprise, it's a personal account wanting to use teams for an important meeting they've been invited to - why isn't this simple?

    Lots of head scratching - as it happens, I wasn't the first to encounter this issue - they had sought help from others already, and worse yet, other people had fixed it - it came up with the correct view when clicking on the link, but the moment they got back home and tried it again just to be sure, back to the message, your admin hasn't enabled teams...

    So what could it be - why did it work for some yet not for the person who needed it the most?

    The answer it turns out, is that teams decided it needed to load on start up.

    So when the computer is booted, teams launches... it prompts to sign in. The user signs in, and for whatever reason, teams now thinks it's in commercial use mode, and you're not allowed to join a meeting because your "admin" hasn't enabled something.

    Yet if you sign out of the account, close teams, and then click the link, it opens up fine. Better yet, disabling its paradoxical startup entry prevents the whole issue occurring in the first place.

    I haven't used teams for meetings myself, but my goodness what a convoluted mess of a system. If someone wants to join a meeting, why should it matter if they signed into teams (with a non-microsoft email account I might add, not a workplace email with outlook or any other nonsense) because teams decided it's a good idea to run at startup without even asking first?

    At least Zoom allows you to set up a free account and host meetings for free without any difficulty, or join meetings effortlessly whether you're signed into the app or not (which also doesn't throw itself into startup to slow down an already overloaded operating system).

    1. Electronics'R'Us Silver badge
      FAIL

      Start at boot

      $COMPANY installed Teams on all work computers some months ago.

      The default setting was for teams to launch at boot, but this is somewhat annoying.

      I work from home most of the time and the start sequence is Bitlocker -> AUP screen -> user name -> password and somewhere in that sequence it will usually pick up the WiFi but critically it is not yet connected to the VPN.

      When it did this the first time, it went full screen and complained about the connectivity and crucially was interfering with the remote client which is actually something I do want to start immediately when it sees a network available.

      I shut it down (of course, the default setting is for it to remain running available in the 'hidden icons' so I killed it from there).

      Only then could I actually use the secure client to log in to the VPN.

      I adjusted the settings as soon as I found where they were: Do not automatically start and do not remain running when I click 'close'.

      You know, what normal operation of any application should be.

  21. NerryTutkins

    progress

    I remember as a kid in the 70s, people would pick up the phone, dial someone and start talking.

    Now, every conversation I have starts with either me or the other person, or normally both, saying "can you hear me, can you hear me".

    I do appreciate video, the fact international and any calls are essentially free, the fact I can do all of this from a mobile device that I can take with me anywhere, and not have to sit fiddling with a coiled phone cable in a cold hallway of a drafty single glazed house.

    But I really wish these services would stop focusing on emojis, animated gifs and so on, and spend a bit of time focusing on getting it back to where we don't even think about whether the connection is going to be ok and we can actually hear the other person clearly.

    1. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Re: progress

      getting it back to where we don't even think about whether the connection is going to be ok

      Right at the fundamental level though, this is where the problems start.

      Phone lines were circuit-switched. You quite literally had a physical connection between your set and the other person's set. Couple of batteries in line somewhere, then some amplifiers in later systems, but the whole thing was physically connected.

      If there was a bad joint somewhere along the line resulting in poor audio, crackling and the like, you cleared-down, waited a few seconds and re-dialled. Chances are, one or two of the switches would make a slightly different choice of Copper this time around and you wouldn't get the bad joint again. Party-lines and spooks aside, you had an exclusive connection.

      When phone lines went digital, this system was recreated digitally as virtual circuits.

      Nowadays you chop up your audio and video into little packets of bits and launch them into the void with an address slapped on the front of each packet, and hope for the best. Every single one of them might take a slightly different route, arrive at a slightly different time, and some of them might end up on the leg of a carrier pigeon called Speckled Jim, boiling away in a stock pot in a WWI dugout.

      Frankly it's amazing it works at all.

      Bring back ATM I say :-)

      M.

  22. HenryCrun

    Windows 11 no thank you

    I have some older AMD six-core PCs that run Windows 10 but will not go to 11. Anyway looking at the news updates I think I don't want 11. So one is already dual-boot with Fedora and I think I'll drop FreeBSD on the other. M$ can go screw themselves.

  23. Mahhn

    Is it to kill PC gaming - to drive people to xbox?

    Feels like MS is at war with PC gamers. Over bloat an OS so bad with what you would expect are add in apps that you might turn off during gaming, but if you can't turn it off - is it really our PC or MS's and we are allowed to use what they want us to, not what we want to?

    I've been waiting 20 for linux to be top for gaming, and it still isn't. Clearly MS has zero interest and wants to push people to xbox. Maybe someone can carve out a stripped version of 11, like the PE installs, I don't need to print, join a domain, my firewall is at the edge, don't even want default AV or any browser.

    I know, I'm asking for a low profit, highly desired unicorn, but a guy can dream.

  24. Zakspade

    Hmm. Quite dramatic. I have already dealt with the matter. I ran up a copy of Windows 11 to see what all the fuss was and was put off by the fact that it was impossible to install without first creating/supplying a Microsoft account. It went on from there - accounts for everything and not playing well when taken offline.

    I am presently testing Linux so as to be able to switch come the time when my computer dies/fails and the only kit out there is Windows 11 contaminated.

    In fact, so strong is my determination to never move to 11, I am even considering using Apple kit...

    Just saying.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why download Chrome?

    Edge Chromium is superior to Chrome. I have had to deploy both in business environments, but we are gradually settling on Edge by default where people need a Chromium browser after a neutral assessment.

    Main selling points are it has a lower resource footprint and IE mode for legacy intranet sites.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why download Chrome?

      Windows sysadmins push Edge generally because they are too lazy to install/configure anything else, and many I've met can't comprehend anything not made by MS.

      Edge then becomes the "corporate standard" because it was set as the default because that's how it ships. Users find their links kept opening in it (despite many switching defaults when they could), and then get sick of fighting the defaults after they self reset a couple of times.

      End result: Edge wins by brute force, just like IE did.

      In reality both browsers are terrible, being loaded with nasty telemetry.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why download Chrome?

        As noted, we have deployed both. Customers ask fot Chrome as they are told they need it by vendors. After evaluating both, the conclusion is that Edge is better than chrome. It uses less ram and has ie mode, so we can bin ie but still access legacy sites.

  26. Steven Evans

    CrapShark

    "as obsolete as warships in the Baltic"? Yes, yes, and thrice yes!

    It seems I'm the only other Prefab Sprout fan here, since no-one else has picked up on that quote. I love you and would have your babies... except that's impossible as we're obviously both blokes. (Are there any female Sprout fans, I wonder?)

  27. Cincinnataroo

    API

    Wouldn't it be great to just have a public API and protocol so that the user gets to choose his interface / client, for all "meetings"?

  28. jimmy-o

    Already a commodity

    Online collaboration is a commodity now, thanks to WebRTC support in the browser, and drop-in libraries for file sharing and chat. It's easy to add or find niche-specific features that large services do not provide. Look at how quickly covid pushed Zoom into everyone's app list.

    I think that the second Teams starts sucking enough to provide impetus to look past the default installed option, companies will look elsewhere. Vendor lock-in and a lack of API integration options are going to make this a sub-standard offering.

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