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Burning Issues With Vista, by Richard Rasker - Updated
Sunday, May 06 2007 @ 12:54 PM EDT

Burning Issues With Vista
~ by Richard Rasker

Having heard that Vista's CD/DVD burn utility by default uses a nonstandard format, possibly as a result of yet another one of Microsoft's lock-in schemes, I decided to check things out for myself. That would also give me a nice chance to see what Vista was all about.

The plan was simple:

1. Locate a Vista box,

2. Bring empty CD's plus some arbitrary files on a USB stick, and

3. Burn CD's in several ways while making screenshots.

As it turned out, the planning was the simplest part by far. The rest is best described as a tale of frustration.

Step 1: Locating a Vista computer

Locating a working Vista box proved harder than I expected. First I went over to a local computer shop, the owner of which I know personally, and asked if I might have a go on any Vista demo box they might have standing around. They said they'd be happy to oblige, but that they had no Vista computers on offer at all, because “Vista doesn't work well enough yet.” It turned out that they'd tested a Vista installation on several machines and concluded that it wasn't yet something they wanted to sell to their customers.

The exact same thing happened at another computer shop. The third vendor, a large retail chain, did actually have some preinstalled Vista machines running but wouldn't let me touch them, because, they said, then: “We can't sell them as new any more.”

After a week of calling around, I finally located someone with a preinstalled Vista box that I could try out -- he wasn't using it, as it turned out that the owner (an experienced Windows XP user) couldn't get the hang of Vista at all and considered buying the machine “a mistake”. Not a good sign.

So I had the machine all to myself: a dual-core 2.8GHz Pentium D with one GB of RAM, and an NVIDIA GeForce 7300 SE featuring 128MB graphics RAM, preloaded with Vista Home Premium. This is a vastly more powerful machine than any of my Linux boxes (which run smoothly and snappily nonetheless), yet it seemed to me to be underpowered to run all the Vista eye-candy, in particular the 3D effects. Ah well.

For starters, I decided to check the boot time. And lo and behold, the Vista desktop shows up in a minute and a half. But alas, not in a functional state. It takes over two more minutes before the hard disk stops rattling and the machine becomes fully responsive. So nearly four minutes in all. This is a pretty sad figure, especially when compared to the 55 seconds Mandriva Linux 2007 takes on my Toshiba laptop. And I can't really see the “Wow” factor either. In fact, I find the transparency effects both ugly and annoying. Especially window title bars are no longer well-defined, and appear to be infected with some sort of mold. But OK, there's no accounting for taste, and no doubt it can be switched off -- and I'm actually thankful for the absence of any 3D “special effects”, which I find even more distracting and annoying. An OS and user interface should behave like the perfect butler: make your life as easy as possible while remaining as unobtrusive as possible. Vista behaves more like a very stupid servant in a flashy outfit. It makes its presence felt throughout, raises the alarm every so often without any real need, gets confused easily, drops the dishes on a regular basis, and while appearing to be easygoing and helpful, drives its employer insane with its unpredictable whims and intrusive behavior. (Note that this is my personal opinion, based on my own, rather limited experience with Vista.)

Then there's the main menu button, formerly the Start button, in the lower left corner. As the contradiction of clicking a button labeled “Start” in order to shut down Windows seemed to confuse users and was often ridiculed, Microsoft replaced it with a neutral button featuring the Vista logo. But guess which Tool Tip appears when hovering the mouse over this button. Yup: “Start”. Quite funny, actually, although I very much doubt that this was the result of a healthy sense of humor on the part of the interface designers.

Next up: how to take screen shots. Now in Mandriva, it's simply a matter of pressing the Prt Scr key, after which KSnapshot, an application for taking, naming and saving screen shots, automatically pops up. It even features automatic image file numbering, to make taking several successive screen shots easier. Not so in Vista. After pressing Prt Scr, or any combination of this key with any other key, nothing seems to happen. How, then, to take a Windows screenshot?

I decided to give the new and much praised Search function a whirl. But no matter what I enter in the text box, nothing relevant is found, even when I select Search All. Apparently, help information isn't included in the search process. And pressing the good old F1 button for Help doesn't do anything either. A few more minutes of searching with Google finally turns up an answer: it is the Prt Scr key after all, but the image is saved in the Clipboard, to be pasted into Paint or another suitable application. Not very handy, in my opinion, but then again, I never liked the Windows Way. So I open Paint, and Ctrl+V the images in there, and save them manually. A bit of a drag, but nothing serious. Later, I found out that I also had to crop the images manually, because Paint didn't resize the saved image automatically to the pasted image size. My mistake.

And oh, right from the start, popups started, well, popping up from the System Tray. Something about Blocked Programs or the like. And this minor annoyance quickly grew into frustration as it turned out that these popups would reappear with ten minute intervals. According to the owner, this had something to do with security settings, and he said he'd spent hours trying to fix it, but the only thing that would work was to disable User Access Control (UAC) completely -- at which point the System Tray would start popping up nag messages that security features were disabled. I was beginning to understand why he didn't like Vista. I decide not to change anything and ignore the messages.

Steps 2 and 3: Transfer USB files to CD, and try to burn a CD

So, back to the burning issue. I plug in my USB stick and have Vista open an Explorer window with its contents. Then I click the “Computer” icon on the desktop and drag a file from USB stick to the burner icon. Right away, a window pops up, prompting me to load a CD or DVD in the burner (note that the images are all in Dutch, my language, but I'll translate for English speakers):

Figure 1: Vista asks for a writable disk (“Put a writable disk in the F: drive”)

That I do, after which a terse burn dialog turns up:

Figure 2: Vista's burn dialog is very concise (“Prepare this blank disk”)

This seems simple enough. Now if I had clicked Next (“Volgende”), the CD would have been burned with Microsoft's Live File System format without informing or warning the user. This is Not Good, in my view, and smells a bit of sneaky lock-in. Instead, then, I click Show Formatting Options (“Opties voor formatteren weergeven”).

Figure 3: Vista's burn tool formatting options

The options are clear: the Mastered format is readable on any computer, the Live File System format only on Windows computers -- and even then, it depends on the chosen version (via “Versie wijzigen”) of Live File System, as the following screen shots show:

Figure 4: Live File System version selection -- or UDF version selection? (“Annuleren” = “Cancel”)

All of a sudden, Live File System is called UDF, which is rather confusing. Is the resulting disk a UDF disk or not? Anyway, I stick with the default option (UDF 2.01), which should be compatible with Vista and XP. After I click OK, Vista says it needs to format the disk:

Figure 5: Vista is formatting the disk, calculating the remaining time -- forever, as it turned out

And this is the moment where mere annoyance turns into frustration, as nothing seems to be happening. After waiting for over five minutes, I decide to try and cancel the whole operation, but that's not so easy. There's no way to close the Formatting window, as the Close button, Alt+F4 and other Close options are greyed out. After a bit of searching I locate the Task Manager and forcibly kill the task. But the associated window won't go away, no matter what I try:

Figure 6: Vista's burn tool crashed and burned -- or rather crashed and failed to burn.

It seems that the only way to get rid of this non-responding “zombie window” is a complete reboot. Yes, indeed, another five minutes down the drain.

Giving up is not an option. So I reboot and try once more. Weird enough, this time when dragging the file from the USB stick to the burner icon and popping in a blank CD at Vista's request, a new dialog comes up:

Figure 7: Yet another burn dialog?

If I thought things were confusing already, with the mysterious Live File System available in no less than four versions called UDF, this really takes the biscuit. And to top it all, this dialog's title bar says “Automatic Playing”, while offering a large amount of burning applications (most of which were installed by the user). Why? The only real difference is that the first time, I used a CD-RW, and now I just put in an ordinary, blank CD-R.

I close this window and continue with the now familiar Vista burn dialog (which has popped up as well). Again, I don't choose anything at all, in effect “choosing” Live File System. Again, the formatting dialog shows up, but this time, it doesn't hang -- it produces an error message: “Can't complete formatting.” Nothing else, no reason, no help, just nothing. No error details whatsoever.

Figure 8: Formatting a blank CD failed - again: “Can't Finish Formatting”

Fed up with this, I decide to ask the owner of the machine for help. He says that I could try to turn off some security options, which should also stop the endless stream of System Tray popup warnings. He can't tell me how to do this, though. I told him I was logged in with admin rights already, but he says that's not enough.

After another fifteen minutes of rummaging around in the Control Center and checking out literally everything under “Security”, I finally find what I'm looking for -- buried deep somewhere under “User Accounts”. I turn off User Access Control (UAC), and now Vista says it must reboot for this to take effect! And I thought Vista needed far less reboots? This is already the second reboot in less than an hour, without any result yet.

OK, so reboot it is ... and this time, the formatting of the CD-R seems to work -- although it takes over two minutes. Burning starts .... and then ends in failure once again ...

Figure 9: Now the burning process failed ...

And again, the error message (well, error wizard, actually) is the stupidest you can get: “A problem has occurred while burning this disk. The disk may no longer be usable.” No further explanation whatsoever, no help. It “just failed”. OK, the user is offered three options: “Try again with another disk”, “Remove temporary files which weren't burned to disk”, and “Save temporary files and try to burn these at a later time”. Try, try, try. As it turns out, no matter what I choose, it keeps failing.

And now I'm getting System Tray popups again -- this time it's warnings that the machine is not properly secured. Wonderful.

I'm about to give up, but I decide to give it one more shot, this time with the Mastered format. For good measure, I reboot the machine once more, put in a new, blank CD-R, and go through the whole procedure again, taking care to choose the Mastered format this time:

Figure 10: Burning with the Mastered format option

A large window appears, to which I can drag and drop files. So in goes the file again, and I click “Burn to disk”. Now the burner actually shows some activity, but after a while, the previous error message pops up again. Checking the disk visually shows that something was burned but only the Vista machine seems to be able to read these files. Even an XP machine shows nothing at all. Also, I can't find any way of specifying this Mastered format as the default format -- which was one of the main reasons to embark on this burning adventure.

I try once more with yet another blank disk; but surprise surprise, when I click the burner icon, Vista says that the file I burned is on the disk already! And when I try to force Vista to burn the disk nonetheless, it keeps insisting that the files are there already ...

Figure 11: Vista says that files have been burned -- with a blank disk in the tray ...

The above dialog says that “Files have been written to the disk”, and “Would you like to copy the same files to another disk?” Well, nothing readable was burned to any disk in the first place, and choosing to burn the same files to another disk doesn't work either.

Figure 12: This is so confusing ...

When I drag-and-drop the file onto the burner again (with a blank CD-R in the tray), I get a warning that “This location already contains a file by this name”. No it doesn't! I just put in a blank disk! And again, regardless whether I choose “Copy and replace”, “Don't copy” or “Copy, but keep both files”, nothing readable ends up on the CD.

As a final test, I close all dialogs, and start the burn utility one more time. And as expected, it hadn't saved any previous settings and offered to burn the CD with Live File System once more. And failed once more. This was the point at which I finally gave up, after more than two hours of frustration and confusion and returned the box to its owner.

And there was nothing wrong with the burner device itself -- Nero had no problems burning files to CD.

Preliminary conclusion

I set out to check whether Vista tries to trick users into burning media in a format that is incompatible with non-Windows machines. Judging from the various dialogs, I'd say that this could indeed be the case, but in all honesty, I simply failed to burn even one disk, readable or not, and I couldn't get Vista to reliably do the same thing twice. Perhaps this was caused by the other installed burning tools, or perhaps I did things wrong (I hardly ever use Windows, so I guess there's a bit of a learning curve), but in the end, I got stuck with no results. And drawing conclusions from no results whatsoever may be in the finest tradition of politics and marketing -- it's a no-no in journalism. Or at least it should be.

Yet this turned out not to be the end of the saga ...

If at first you don't succeed...

The very next day, I received an email message from the owner (er, correction: licensee). He had already resigned himself to upgrading (sic) the box to XP, but he powered it up one more time. To his surprise, a message appeared saying that “There were files in a burn queue”, and would he like to have these burned to CD? So he chose “Yes”, dropped a blank CD in the burner tray, and to his amazement, Vista burned the CD without a hitch. If he was surprised, I was speechless. I went over to his place, and sure enough, the machine now does what it's supposed to do.

So once more, I'll try and find out all about Vista's burn tool. And so here I am again, with the machine purring away.

Taking a systematic approach, I first check to see what happens when I load a blank DVD-RW in the burner tray as a first course of action. And incredible as it may seem, yet another burn selection dialog pops up!

Figure 13: And here's the third burn dialog.

It resembles the one from Figure 7, but with all the options for the user installed burn software magically absent. The only difference here is that I put in a DVD instead of a CD. Ah well, so much for consistency. And where's Vista's familiar, austere burn dialog from Figure 2 or 3? The one that never failed to pop up so far? OK, I remain calm, and select the second option (“Burn files to disk -- with Windows”). Ah, there it is -- and it's the one in Figure 2, with the formatting options hidden; when clicking the latter, the format is set to Live File System. So just clicking Next would have resulted in a Live File System disk, incompatible with anything but Windows Vista and Windows XP. One mark on the lock-in side of the tally.

I change the format to “Mastered”, and the dialog from figure 10 appears. I drag-and-drop some files in there, and right away, a System Tray popup appears, informing me that “there are files in the disk queue”. Yeah, I know. It was me who put 'em there not a second ago. And I can “Click this balloon to display the files”. Talking about useless messages ...

Figure 14: Vista has noticed that I put files in a burning queue, and tells me about it

Undaunted, I proceed to click “Burn to disk” (“Op schijf branden”). A dialog appears, with options to change the name and the burning speed. OK, fine.

Figure 15: The disk is prepared

(Note that the word “Mastered” is the name I gave the disk.) After clicking Next and expecting the actual burning to begin, Vista comes up with a warning dialog (and accompanied by a sound, at that):

Figure 16: Vista apparently tries to dissuade users from using the Mastered format

This is what it says: “If you use the Mastered format, you can only write once on this type of disk. If you wish to add files to this disk more often, you should use the Live File System format. Do you wish to continue to use the Mastered format?” Yes, of course I do! That's why I selected it in the first place. Also note how cunningly the No (“Nee”) option is selected by default, causing a switch to LFS when the user presses the Enter key without thinking. This appears to me to be another attempt to steer users away from a universally readable format. Add one mark for lock-in. After clicking Yes, the disk is finally burned, and yes, it's readable in my Linux machines. After the burning finishes, Vista offers to burn the files to another disk, with the dialog from Figure 11. I decide to see what happens when I accept, and drop in yet another blank DVD-RW. And yes, once again, the warning message of Figure 16 pops up. Vista (or rather: Microsoft) really doesn't want you to use a universally compatible format, I don't think. I confirm the Mastered option once again, and let the burning tool run its course. This time, the burn tool crashes once more:

Figure 17: An all too familiar sight by now: “... doesn't respond”

Nope, the Cancel button (“Annuleren”) doesn't work. When I click the close button, I get a message that “Windows Explorer does not respond” (Huh? Windows Explorer? So that is the burn tool?):

Figure 18: Yeah, I know it doesn't respond. Do something about it!

Ah well, let's simply kill it, then ... that should be the easiest option by far. But alas, choosing the second option “Terminate the program” results in another, yet almost identically phrased error message:

Figure 19: Grrrrrrrr ...

Again, “Windows Explorer doesn't respond” -- But this time, “More information is being gathered about the problem. This may take several minutes”. So I wait. After a dozen more seconds, and without a warning, all of the desktop goes blank! I can't do anything any more. No, not even take a screenshot, so you have to take me at my word this time ...

After waiting for a dozen or so minutes and contemplating a hard reset, I try pressing the DVD burner button. Out comes the DVD -- and lo and behold, the desktop pops up again! With the same System Tray message as in Figure 14, “There are files in the disk queue”. How thoughtful. Bizarre but thoughtful.

So I take a deep breath, and proceed to put a blank DVD-RW in the burner once again. For good measure, I click the DVD burner icon (the F: drive) in “Computer”, to check whether it's blank indeed. To my utter surprise, Vista once again tells me that there is a file on the disk nonetheless:

Figure 20: Vista's F: drive shows what isn't there

But wait a minute ... now I see ... this line at the top, “Files ready to be written to disk”, is the only clue. So this is what happens: Clicking the F: drive icon doesn't necessarily show the contents of the disk -- it may instead show the contents of Vista's burn queue. Congratulations, Microsoft! By overly dumbing down the user interface and trying to predict what the user might want to do (i.e., burn stuff to a disk), no doubt to “make things easier”, you actually created a major point of confusion. Let me tell you: clicking a drive icon should always tell you the contents of this drive, nothing else, and most certainly not what you may wish to write to that drive or not.

Ah well, after putting in the blank DVD, at least I now get the fully expanded burn dialog from way back in Figure 3. No, not the one from Figure 7, not the one from Figure 13, and not the one from Figure 10. And, surprisingly, the Mastered format option is preselected this time round. Who knows, perhaps the tool has a memory after all, and stores its latest settings ...

But alas, as soon as I empty the burn queue and start the whole procedure again, up comes the terse dialog from Figure 2, and a quick check confirms that, yes, the Live File System is selected by default once again.

Final Conclusion

In my view, the final conclusion is quite clear. In several ways, users are pushed towards the Live File System (LFS) format, which is only compatible with Vista and XP. LFS is the format which is selected by default, and there appears to be no way to change this that I could find. In many cases, the user doesn't even get to see this selection, and following the easiest way to burn a CD or DVD will almost certainly result in an LFS format disk. Contrarily, in order to use the universally readable Mastered format, users have to select it consciously every single time, and still confirm this choice every single time. As far as I could see, LFS is some kind of unfinalized type of UDF -- with UDF standing for Universal Disk Format. Even if UDF is a universal format, LFS most certainly is not. I tried reading LFS format media on my Linux systems but failed, even though I installed udftools. Yes, K3b (a great Linux burning tool) could tell me that there was data on the disks, but it was unable to show the actual data itself. All other tools failed with the error message that the disk couldn't be mounted.

As for why Microsoft pushes LFS, I can't think of any good reasons. The only advantage of LFS over the Mastered format is the option to add files to an already burned disk later on. But there is already such a thing as multi-session, so this argument is largely moot, and besides, people actually expect to burn a CD or DVD in one go.

For all the rest, LFS has only drawbacks. First, it's confusing to the user, with no less than four versions, aimed at distinct Windows and Mac versions. Second, and most importantly, it will create compatibility problems in the world of creating CD's and DVD's – a world that at the moment features a near universal support and compatibility of available formats.

The only true reason I can think of for pushing LFS is that Microsoft attempts to lock its users once more into its products. Innocent users who use Vista's tool to save their photos, MP3 collection or back-ups in general may find that all of a sudden, they have no access to their own data any more, especially when abandoning Microsoft products. So far, I haven't been able to find any technical specifications with regard to LFS; and it is to be expected that Microsoft will consider it their Intellectual Property, the use and support of which is licensed under its terms to users. I think this is Not Good at all.

And as for the general quality of Vista and my personal “Vista experience”? I think the story speaks for itself.

* * *

Postscript: After reading some feedback to the article, I fired up the Vista box once more, testing some things posted. What I find is that the two oldest UDF versions (1.50 and 2.00) indeed can be read by Linux -- but only if udftools are installed on the Linux system, which isn't the case by default. This option also suffers from a similar problem as the Mastered format, i.e., it can't be set as the default choice and must thus be selected consciously every single time.

Update: Burning Issues in Vista -- the Aftermath

In the article, I attempted to find out more about the way Vista burns CD's and DVD's, and in particular about the format Vista uses by default, something which Microsoft calls Live File System, or LFS in short. From what I gathered on the Internet and experienced hands-on with a Vista machine, I drew the conclusion that LFS was likely a deliberate attempt by Microsoft to lock users into a new, proprietary format for storing data on CD's and DVD's. Well, as the reactions from lots of Groklaw readers started pouring in, it became clear that LFS wasn't a new, proprietary format after all.

Rather quickly, evidence mounted that Live File System isn't (as I thought) just based on a ISO standard called Universal Disk Format, (UDF), but that LFS is UDF. So how did I get the idea that LFS was a new, incompatible Microsoft format? Well, Microsoft itself is partly to blame. In its own words:

The latest version of Windows offers a new format, called Live File System.

Discs formatted with the Live File System option:

... Are only compatible with Windows XP and later versions of Windows.

Nowhere does Microsoft say that Live File System is actually the same as UDF, which I find rather misleading – if you use a well-defined and open standard, why not call it by its proper name? Add to this the facts that a) Vista clearly steers users away from the universally readable “Mastered format”, both by means of default settings that can't be changed and a warning message, and b) the resulting LFS disks initially couldn't be read on my Linux systems at all, and c) it would by no means be the first time for Microsoft to convert an open standard into their own incompatible one, and a foul play theory is quickly born.

But if LFS is in fact UDF, why couldn't my Linux boxes read the disks? Well, this was due to sloppiness on my part, a lack of proper UDF support in Linux, and my hardware setup.

Initially, I tried all four LFS/UDF versions, but couldn't read anything, although Linux was said to offer UDF support. Some time later, I gave it another try – but this time only with the 2.01 version, with the same negative result. As reactions on my article came in, it became clear that at least the two oldest UDF versions (1.50 and 2.00) could be read on Linux after all – which resulted in a bit of an “ahum” feeling, let me tell you. One of Groklaw's readers pointed me to a Linux kernel patch for improved UDF support, and also provided the following general information on UDF support in Linux:

Linux 2.6.X supports the following UDF versions:

  • Read & Write: 1.02, 1.50, 2.0x (Kernel 2.6.10 up),

  • Read Only: 2.50 (with patch)

Windows Vista supports the following UDF versions:

  • Read & Write: 1.02, 1.50, 2.0x, 2.50

  • Read Only: 2.60

Still, this doesn't explain why I had trouble reading UDF disks formatted with the older (older than 2.50) versions, but that turned out to be a hardware issue. My (older) CD-ROM players seemed to be incompatible with UDF, most probably because they didn't support the 2048 bytes per sector UDF uses. When I put the UDF formatted CD-RW's in my DVD burner, they could be read properly (with the exception of version 2.50).

The problem with the kernel patch, of course, is that it requires quite a bit of hands-on work in the department of kernel-compiling and the like, so the average user may have to wait a little longer for a simple kernel update for his or her distribution of choice.

I found this lagging UDF support in Linux a bit surprising, especially as it seems that UDF 2.50 has been around for four years. Apparently, there wasn't any reason to support it because it was very rarely used. But with the arrival of Vista, and also new DVD formats, this will no doubt change.


  • Microsoft's Live File System is in fact Universal Disk Format(*).
  • Linux does support the older versions of Universal Disk Format, but may require a kernel patch to support Vista's currently used versions.
  • “Out-of-the box” Linux support of the latest UDF version (2.50) is not yet realized.
  • Not all CD-ROM players are capable of handling UDF disks.

* Let's hope that Microsoft doesn't get any weird ideas and decide to “extend” its Live File System beyond the UDF specification after all ...

So in this case, it's actually Linux that's lagging in development; Microsoft isn't really to blame, at least as far as lock-in is concerned – although more accurate information on the nature of “Live File System” could have prevented quite a bit of trouble and confusion. Also, it depends on the CD or DVD device whether a UDF formatted disk can be used or not. Especially older CD-ROM players may not be UDF-compatible.

I hope this information is useful for others as well, and I would like to thank Groklaw's readership for their feedback, which was a valuable help to get a clearer picture.

Richard Rasker runs a translation agency in the Netherlands, specializing in computer books.


Burning Issues With Vista, by Richard Rasker - Updated | 499 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Corrections here please
Authored by: tiger99 on Sunday, May 06 2007 @ 01:03 PM EDT
If needed, to help PJ.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off Topic here please
Authored by: tiger99 on Sunday, May 06 2007 @ 01:05 PM EDT
Interesting things that fit the general purpose of Groklaw, but not the main
topic of the article, please. And clickies would be really appreciated where
possible, thanks.

[ Reply to This | # ]

And for those with long memories...
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, May 06 2007 @ 01:10 PM EDT
he seems to be surprised by this...

this is Microsoft's standard behaviour...

[ Reply to This | # ]

M$ have a lot to learn!
Authored by: tiger99 on Sunday, May 06 2007 @ 01:21 PM EDT
Great article, says a lot about the consistency of M$ products.

Purely by coincidence, a few days ago, I bought a DVD writer for my laptop, the plug-in variety which goes where the second battery, floppy or Zip drive would otherwise be. (The machine is 6 years old, and the fixed drive reads DVDs but only writes CDs, and I could not find a replacement fixed drive on Ebay, although they do exist.)

So, to test it, I stuck in a blank unbranded DVD-R, of the type with the printable top surface, and proceeded to back up my entire user space, in a few minutes, with no problems whatsoever.

The OS? Kubuntu Feisty. And the burning software? K3b. By the way, K3b makes a great job of doing bootable iso's, they are on the main menu screen, so you don't have to think, or dig deep into obscure menus as with Roxio and Nero, and it writes UDF, which I used on the first trial, with no problems at all.

Note that I did precisely nothing except plug in the drive and boot up the machine. No drivers, on-line registration, nag screens, or anything else got in the way. It just worked, as it should.

Match that, Steve and Bill, if you have the ability!

[ Reply to This | # ]

LDF is actually UDF?
Authored by: luca.b on Sunday, May 06 2007 @ 01:34 PM EDT
It may be just Microsoft's rebranding of UDF, or packet-writing format, which is
available only with rewritable media. Basically this permits you to write to CD
as if it were a disk, but you need to format it first.

Linux has had UDF support for a while. A good test for this would be just to
burn disks in different UDF versions and see if it's really UDF, or the usual
embrace, extend, extinguish.

Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent. - Salvor Hardin

[ Reply to This | # ]

Burning Issues With Vista, by Richard Rasker
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, May 06 2007 @ 01:39 PM EDT
Burning CD/DVD isn't supposed to be easy!
I'm sure M$ was paid by the mafiaa to produce this faulty stuff.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Burning Issues With Vista, by Richard Rasker
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, May 06 2007 @ 01:46 PM EDT
I too have had many of the same problems.
I still can't get the stupid user access control is disabled warnings to stop.
Luckily, i only decided to keep Vista on my laptop as a dual boot option to test
sofware that I develop, so living with it is fortunately a daily struggle.
I would strongly recommend that home buyers of Vista reject the license
agreement and get a refund on this part of their purchase. Most recent Linux
distributions work far better, and include all the software you need on a single
disk. Also, you don't need to reboot every time an explorer window gets hung by
blocked I/O that won't terminate.
Linux has its problems with usability, but at least when you run into a problem
with Linux, it can always be fixed.
With Microsoft (or even worse, Apple), there is absolutely nothing you can do.
Treat your users like idiots and criminals (DRM), and those are the kind of
users you will end up having.

[ Reply to This | # ]

There are other issues with Vista
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, May 06 2007 @ 01:52 PM EDT
The real problem is that there are some roadblocks built into Vista for
The user mode vs. admin mode.You can allow a program to start in either. For
user mode it gets a sandbox where the access to to unwritable parts of the
registry and file system gets secretly rerouted to a user specific area. Started
in admin mode the program does not get the mapping and accesses the real
registry parts and files. Now the program gets confused because of course the
registry entries and files created in user mode are of course absent. To add
insult to injury it is impossible to activate the mapping by code so it is
impossible to find those registry entries and files.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, May 06 2007 @ 02:05 PM EDT
I think I liked it better when Groklaw stuck to the law.

None of these are anything new. You can read how horrible Vista is by going to
just about any non-pro-Microsft computer site on the web.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Another Problem -- Control Of Information
Authored by: TheBlueSkyRanger on Sunday, May 06 2007 @ 02:06 PM EDT
Hey, everybody!

There's another problem you need to worry about, should anyone know more about
Vista than you do. As my uncle from Texas used to say, "Let me run you
past a hypothetical."

Suppose The Blue Sky Ranger founds a game studio called The Rockhoppers.
Naturally, we want to cover as much market as possible, so we get Vista machines
to help compile and test our first title, Where In The File Tree Is That
Document I Wrote Three Years Ago? So we start working on it, dev docs and all.
To archive, I try to put it on a disc, but it won't work, so I just use the
network or a thumb drive.

Now, suppose said machine needs maintenence. I encode the company documents to
protect the projects we are working on. But the guys at the store go into this
buffer or whatever where I have files that were never burned and the machine is
holding onto in case I ever decide to do anything with them. Boom. The project
gets out, and unlike Half Life 2, this isn't a case of a dumb password, this is
the actual OS being taken advantage of.

I know, it probably would have jetisoned the files had the guy said to cancel
the project. But 1) that assumes it works the way it should and 2) M$ is doing
a lot of stuff supposedly to make it easier to recover lost data, like document
revision histories. Do you have faith that, if M$ says it's gone, it's truly

Remember, crackers do a lot of stuff because they know the layout better than
casual users bother to.

Dobre utka,
The Blue Sky Ranger

[ Reply to This | # ]

Burning Issues With Vista, by Richard Rasker
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, May 06 2007 @ 02:10 PM EDT
If it is true that "Live File System" == "UDF", then you
might want to check those disks on your Linux system. Linux has had UDF support
for a while. I'm not sure which version it is, but I've read several windows UDF
disks from several versions of Linux.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Author is brave - needs a battle medal of some kind. &-->Q: Dell Media Direct question on Linux?
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, May 06 2007 @ 02:17 PM EDT
The author deserves a medal of honor.

Myself - I will not let any loved ones go neat MS Vista (I care for them that

Thanks to the author, and folks like the author, who have gone to battle with
this Vista, we can understand from the reports back from the front lines that
Microsoft has a weapon that no one should go near.

And it's lock-in format design from Vista, to Office 2007, to this burning
format, are all sitting there like road side bombs waiting to take advantage of
innocent folks that just pass by.

I need a new machine and I can't wait for Dell to do a Laptop with Ubuntu
(Hopefully with Media Direct, to play legal DVDs with).

Hmmm - ???--> Question - If someone pays for Media Direct on a Dell Laptop,
then is the DVD playing patent technology that is licensed to run on the laptop,
then something that then makes it legal for a Linux install of DVD playing
software as well (the one that Automatix warns that US users can not use legally
in the US)? So - Is the use of the DVD play ability IP use transfered to any
use of DVD players on that one computer? When we get a Dell with Media Direct,
I assume that via Dell, we have paid for the DVD player rights to use that IP?

If we can legally use the Dell provided Media Direct DVD player rights, but
allowed because we paid the IP holder already for it's use via Dell having paid
them for us, to install and run a Linux DVD player, that runs on the same
machine, then we could all buy a Dell that has this Media Direct DVD player
already loaded on it, load automatix and download, and run, the DVD software
that US users are warned to say away from (and all this would be legal).

Is this possible (and legal minds out there want a shot at this scenerio)?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Explorer as the burning tool
Authored by: Rob M on Sunday, May 06 2007 @ 02:17 PM EDT
Seems like that's not an uncommon idea. Finder on Mac is the primary burning
tool as well. Pop in a disk, drag the files, click "burn".

[ Reply to This | # ]

Burning Issues With Vista, by Richard Rasker
Authored by: AceBtibucket on Sunday, May 06 2007 @ 02:34 PM EDT
Thanks for the great article. I teach at a regional university and we are
already having problems with Vista and Office 2007 because of file
incompatibility. Adding cd burning problems just adds to the frustration.
Unfortunately, we are 'committed' to Office 2007 this summer and to Vista within
the next two years. Suggestions for alternative OS's are not well received.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Burning Issues With Vista, by Richard Rasker
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, May 06 2007 @ 03:00 PM EDT
"Mastered" is obviously single-session ISO9660. It works, but unless
they also slipped in UDF extensions, it can't be used for a video DVD.
(DVD-Video requires a UDF filesystem, however, it appears that UDF and ISO9660
can coexist on a disc.)

"Live File System" looks like it *should* be packet-writing UDF. Then
again, since the discs were unreadable on Linux, it's probably either typical M$
bugware, or an EmbraceExtendExtinguish attempt.

Either way, there will be support for reading such discs in Linux sooner or

[ Reply to This | # ]

Burning Issues With Vista, by Richard Rasker
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, May 06 2007 @ 03:32 PM EDT
I would have some very negative comments about this except
the other night I tried to install the latest Mandriva.

First I do not have a DVD burner so the only format that
the 4 disk OS comes as is in DVD. Not like previously where
there were 4 CD.

Next you may choose either Gnome or KDE like Ubuntu but not
both like formerly.

So not having a DVD burner and desiring to have both Gnome
and KDE on my machine I have decided to stick with OpenSuSE
and Fedora.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Reminds me of Windows ME
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, May 06 2007 @ 03:50 PM EDT
I'm a software guy and I run Linux on all of my personal boxes. I'm also
married with kids and the wife and kids all use Windows (XP). In all there are
7 (legally licensed) XP boxes at home. One of them is a laptop (Compaq
Presario) purchased just before XP was released. I bought it because I had to
and it came with the promise of an XP upgrade ($30). In setting it up for my
wife, I had to struggle through lots of exactly the same type of inconsistant
behavior as did the author above. Menus would change, settings would not take
effect, there were multiple ways to do things but only one would actually work
(sometimes). I never considered capturing the screens and documenting the
problems as I went because I was focused on the goal of actually using the
computer rather than documenting its shortcomings. I'm glad that somebody has
done this for Vista.

I work for a big company and I have an MSDN subscription. With it, I can
(legally) download and install Vista for free (at my company's annual expense).
I'm never going to do it. Vista has nothing to offer but new problems.

Here's some food for thought: Within the past month, two of my friends have
needed to re-install XP. They're both quite competent with Windows (more so
than I since I don't personally use it). They have all the patches installed,
and adequate spyware/virus detection/removal tools. It's likely that the
crashes they had were due to "updates" from M$. Microsoft has an
interest in making XP less stable now so they can convince users to
"upgrade" to the "latest and greatest" OS. I'm sure that
lots of people will bite. This is the business model that has been so
successful for them in the past. I hope there is another lawsuit and I hope
that this time there are some real punitave results.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Where do you want to go today?
Authored by: SpaceLifeForm on Sunday, May 06 2007 @ 04:06 PM EDT
If you use Vista, you are planning
on going to the insane asylum.

I agree with the author, these tricks
are there to lock you in to Microsoft
proprietary formats and software.

There is no other explanation for
Microsoft to make things *more* complicated
than previous releases of Windows.


You are being MICROattacked, from various angles, in a SOFT manner.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Burning Issues With Vista, by Richard Rasker
Authored by: gbl on Sunday, May 06 2007 @ 04:21 PM EDT
The primary job of a computer is to move data without corruption from one location to another. The primary job of DRM is to prevent the movement of some data from some locations to some other locations.

And people wonder why Vista has the occasional brainstorm?

Vista reminds me a bit of HAL in 2001. HAL is given conflicting commands at the start and while attempting to resolve the conflict kills all but one of the crew.

If you love some code, set it free.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Richard - using Vista's not too Gezzelig then? n/t
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, May 06 2007 @ 04:22 PM EDT

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Vista Maneuver
Authored by: kozmcrae on Sunday, May 06 2007 @ 04:25 PM EDT
Apparently you've never heard of the "Vista Maneuver". It's
guaranteed to unstick Vista and make it right. It goes like this: You rub your
tummy with your left hand while patting the top of you head with your right hand
while flicking your tongue out to the tip of your nose while staring at the
bridge of your nose intently all while hopping around in a clockwise rotation on
your right foot. Once Vista is satisfied with your performance, usually about
12 rotations, it will respond to your wishes. :-)

Your troubles are very much appreciated and will no doubt spare more than a few
souls from the "heartbreak" of Vista.

Darl, have you been lying to us? Yup.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Linux kernel version
Authored by: nb on Sunday, May 06 2007 @ 04:57 PM EDT
What Linux kernel version did you use when trying to read the UDF 2.01 disk?

UDF 2.01 is supposed to be readable with reasonably recent (2.6.x) kernel

If Vista-burned disks are not readable with a 2.6.x kernel, we should
investigate why exactly that is the case: Is it a bug on the Linux
implementation of UDF that can simply be fixed, or perhaps is already fixed in
newer kernels? Or did Microsoft actually break the UDF spec? Crying
"foul" is appropriate only in the latter case. Until the relevant
facts are known, please let's refrain from accusing anyone of foul play.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Vista: The "Wow" ends now!
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, May 06 2007 @ 05:25 PM EDT
It didn't last long, did it? :-)

[ Reply to This | # ]

The question that comes to mind.
Authored by: Jude on Sunday, May 06 2007 @ 05:35 PM EDT
It seems obvious Microsoft didn't spend all those years of Vista development
overtime making the thing work right, so what *were* they doing that made it so

[ Reply to This | # ]

Vista is working just fine
Authored by: devil's advocate on Sunday, May 06 2007 @ 05:39 PM EDT
There is nothing wrong with Vista. It is supposed to work this way. The
mistake you made was trying to burn LINUX files on it. Also Vista is a very
intelligent operating system. It deduced from your selections that you were a
Linux user and it did everything it could to make life difficult for you. The
proof of this is that when your friend turned on the machine and inserted a
blank disk it burned just fine.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Frustrated With Vista
Authored by: Prototrm on Sunday, May 06 2007 @ 05:55 PM EDT
It was bad enough when the nVidia driver blue screened my Vista test box now and
then, and when the manufacturer of my perfectly good video capture card said
they would not be creating any drivers for Vista (though I managed to get the
old XP driver working with *some* software (VLC works fine, while proprietary
MyDVD won't.), no, the biggest gripe I have with Vista is that Microsoft *moved*

After working with Vista off and on for several weeks, I finally formatted the
hard drive and went on to something else. I can't find half the
commands/programs/functions I want (and know are there somewhere), half of the
remaining ones either don't work or don't work as expected.

And like the article's author, I find the new GUI ugly and annoying (hey, look,
I USE that "up directory" button, ok? Not the "back"

Of course, unlike the author, I wouldn't *think* of using the built-in CD/DVD
burning utilities that come with Windows. I gave up on that in XP. When you have
Nero, why bother with the Redmond solution?

Anyway, good article, if only to illustrate that it's as difficult for a Linux
user to use Windows as it is for someone to go the other way.

"Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the
exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them."

[ Reply to This | # ]

Is it really this hard to find a Vista demo?
Authored by: PolR on Sunday, May 06 2007 @ 06:23 PM EDT
The part that strikes me most is the difficulty of finding a Vista test machine.
Two computer stores are not offering Vista to their customers because "it
does not work well enough yet" and one large retail chain that doesn't let
the customers play with demos for some silly reason.

I guess the rest of the story partly explains why this is so. I think we know
why Dell wants to sell computer pre-loaded with Ubuntu. They must be receiving
all these angry customer calls and are looking for ways to sell computers with a
working OS.

Anyone have similar difficulty to find computer shops selling Vista where they

[ Reply to This | # ]

Burning Issues With Vista, by Richard Rasker
Authored by: Alan(UK) on Sunday, May 06 2007 @ 06:37 PM EDT
I use GnomeBaker on Ubuntu Dapper. It is version 0.5.1 which dates from 2005. It
gives a wonderful set of error messages including one saying that it does not
like kernel v2.6 and to try Solaris. The help files have reached v0.2 and tell
you that the menu items do what they say.

I am very much of two minds about GnomeBaker - it seems like an amateur job
which has been abandoned before it was finished, I wonder how Mark Shuttleworth
allowed it into his highly professional distribution - and the LTS version at
that. On the other hand - it works perfectly.

Come to think of it, all the CD burning programs that I have used have been
confusing - how is Joe User expected to know if he wants Joliet 'enhancements'?
At least GnomeBaker has a nice big button for burning .iso files - other could
take note.

Microsoft is nailing up its own coffin from the inside.

[ Reply to This | # ]

prt scr has always gone to the clipboard in windows for screenshots
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, May 06 2007 @ 06:56 PM EDT
i know that it used to be like this all the way back to at least windows 98.
it's a bit sad that they haven't updated that functionality at all in the last
decade. however, this kinda shows a bit of an unfair comparison in that the
person trying to make the comparison doesn't know fundamnetal windows commands.
i'm not sure what app MS could reliably pop up when a screenshot is captured.
the only thing they could probably depend on being there is paint, but i
wouldn't want that popping up either if i was ms. ;)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, May 06 2007 @ 07:17 PM EDT
It's funny how site's focuses seem to change... I have been an avid follower of
Groklaw since the very start of the IBM/SCO debacle (and have learnt a
tremendous amount about various IP laws since then), however I have noticed
that, of late, that there have been numerous examples of plain old Microsoft

Now, I am not saying the articles aren't accurate and deserved... I guess I am
just used to coming to Groklaw and reading interesting articles about
intellectual property, copyright and law. When I feel like reading trollish
Microsoft-hating posts, I normally head to Slashdot, not Groklaw :-)

While it was an interesting article in itself, I am not sure how one user's
technical difficulties with burning a CD in Vista is enhancing Groklaw's
reputation as the provider of insightful legal commentary. The article's
original premise is interesting (that Vista uses its own CD format), but 90% of
the actual article is concerned with describing how hard it was to find a PC
with Vista, how slow it was, how unusable it was, how search didn't work, and so
on. Let's face it... I could easily quote you dozens of similar (or worse)
stories of user's having technical troubles with Linux.

And to preempt the obligatory flames I will no-doubt receive:

- No, I am not a Microsoft apologist.
- Yes, I know I don't have to read the article.
- I know it is PJ's site and she can do what she wants
- And yes, if I don't like it, I know I can start my own site.

My points above notwithstanding, I do love Groklaw... I read it everyday, and am
very grateful for the insight and the hard work that PJ and the volunteers do. I
just thought I would give some feedback from a long-term reader's perspective.

[ Reply to This | # ]

A disappointing article - Groklaw can do better.
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, May 06 2007 @ 08:53 PM EDT
Some disclosure and background up front: I work for a whitebox company whose primary business is selling wintel (literally) boxes and network support to regional businesses and schools. Many of my days are spent troubleshooting the messes that Windows leaves behind the couches and in the server closets. I've had some encounters with Linux over the last few years, but I haven't worked with it on a daily basis until just recently.

For the last few weeks I've been working on making one of my old computers over as a Linux desktop box. One of my friends suggested Ubuntu. I quickly found out that I hate GNOME, but Kubuntu is working very well for me. I'll probably testbed some other distros over the next couple of months. My goal is to make the leap on my primary system within the year.

Why switch from Windows when I'm a part of the Microsoft dealer system? There are a lot of reasons, many of which will be familiar to Groklaw readers. I have no objection to paying for an OS, but I do strongly object to paying for a system which reduces my rights as a user, which builds in the tools with which it can (not does - there's no evidence of that happening yet) spy on me, and which (through inefficient use of system resources) wastes the dollars I spend on hardware.

As someone who actualy cares about MS lock-in issues, as well as someone who may well have to tell a customer why the CD he burned in Vista can't be read on his Windows 98 computer at home (don't laugh, it's all too common), I clicked on this article in the hope of actually learning something about this issue. Instead, I got a page full of relatively incompetent whining about how Vista doesn't work right and Windows generally sucks.

I'm not saying that the author is wrong, in fact I believe every word he's written. I haven't played with the burning tools integrated into Vista yet, but it appears that most of the issues that XP had (and never fixed) are still there, along with one or two new ones as they've added a couple layers of new complexity onto that broken system.

What I am saying is that no matter how crummy Windows is, it's not a legitimate legal issue. (Not until the class-action alleging defective product, anyway, and if there wasn't one of those for Windows ME... but I digress.) And operating systems not working in ways obvious to novices is a problem not unique to Windows at all, as I've found out the hard way over the last week. Even beyond going out of his way to demonstrate just how functionally lousy Vista is, Mr. Rasker makes several specious or meaningless slams at how awful Windows is.

a dual-core 2.8GHz Pentium D with one GB of RAM, and an NVIDIA GeForce 7300 SE featuring 128MB graphics RAM, preloaded with Vista Home Premium. This is a vastly more powerful machine than any of my Linux boxes (which run smoothly and snappily nonetheless), yet it seemed to me to be underpowered to run all the Vista eye-candy

Well, yes. It is. As galling as it is, that's just plain not enough memory, both video and system, to run Vista well. An honest and competent computer manufacturer will tell his customer that - we simply refuse to sell Vista on less than 2GB. When I first started Ubuntu from the boot CD, I was warned that it needed 128 MB to run the install. I had double that, and it was still so slow as to appear non-functional at times. Minimum means minimum means slower than my 85-year-old grandmother carrying a 6U server.

And even then, "nearly four minutes in all" to a "fully responsive" state? Even with only a gig of memory, that's pretty bogus, and indicative of a computer in severe need of help. (Maybe the (not-just-)Dell Decrappifier?) The comments about seeing other burning apps in the CD-inserted popup make me wonder if there are some conflicts with the Windows burning capabilities.

Then there's the main menu button, formerly the Start button, in the lower left corner. As the contradiction of clicking a button labeled “Start” in order to shut down Windows seemed to confuse users and was often ridiculed, Microsoft replaced it with a neutral button featuring the Vista logo. But guess which Tool Tip appears when hovering the mouse over this button. Yup: “Start”. Quite funny, actually, although I very much doubt that this was the result of a healthy sense of humor on the part of the interface designers.

Uuuuh huuuuuh. So we shouldn't put the means to shut down the computer in large print directly under the interface button which leads to everything else you can do with the computer. That's really confusing. Right. Maybe there's a few seconds worth of psychic dissonance there, maybe a chuckle for someone who hasn't heard that one before.

I could just as easily snark about how the default Ubuntu desktop puts a shutdown button on the top menu bar, in the corner of the screen where people are most likely to jam their cursors. But either way, it's just trivia about interfaces. Inevitably some folks will prefer one, and a lot will like another, and a few malcontents will wish they could shut down the computer instantly by clicking any blank spot on the desktop. It just doesn't matter. And the phrasing here reaches clumsily towards ad hominem complaint, which really isn't dignified in what ought to be a technical discussion.

How, then, to take a Windows screenshot? I decided to give the new and much praised Search function a whirl. But no matter what I enter in the text box, nothing relevant is found, even when I select Search All. Apparently, help information isn't included in the search process. And pressing the good old F1 button for Help doesn't do anything either. A few more minutes of searching with Google finally turns up an answer: it is the Prt Scr key after all, but the image is saved in the Clipboard, to be pasted into Paint or another suitable application. Not very handy, in my opinion, but then again, I never liked the Windows Way. So I open Paint, and Ctrl+V the images in there, and save them manually. A bit of a drag, but nothing serious. Later, I found out that I also had to crop the images manually, because Paint didn't resize the saved image automatically to the pasted image size. My mistake.

Windows users know how to handle screenshots. Print Screen has worked in the same way for more than fifteen years. Sure, Google is better than Windows Help. Google is better than *everything*. When I couldn't figure out how to get nVidia drivers to load on Linux, the system help was mostly useless until I did a web search which helped me put some of the pieces together. And a Linux user complaining because an OS tool didn't micro-manage picture editing tasks? Good grief.

In the same vein, we get screenshot after screenshot of Windows doing stupid Windows tricks that any serious user has been seeing since XP debuted. Apparently the reader is supposed to be amazed and horrified. Perhaps I'm just jaded by dealing with XP crap, but... so what? In something that purports to be a technical article about format lock-in, it's just a Wookie.

And oh, right from the start, popups started, well, popping up from the System Tray. Something about Blocked Programs or the like. And this minor annoyance quickly grew into frustration as it turned out that these popups would reappear with ten minute intervals. According to the owner, this had something to do with security settings, and he said he'd spent hours trying to fix it, but the only thing that would work was to disable User Access Control (UAC) completely -- at which point the System Tray would start popping up nag messages that security features were disabled. I was beginning to understand why he didn't like Vista. I decide not to change anything and ignore the messages.

...oh, okay. UAC sucks badly. I end up typing my password a lot more under Linux, too, unless I log in as root. But that's another Wookie.

In my view, the final conclusion is quite clear.

Well, no, not really. The story doesn't do anything to prove or disprove the basic thesis, of whether or not Microsoft is trying to lock the user into a proprietary format. It points out, in between the episodes of thrashing, that the defaults are pretty thoroughly pointed to LFS. Fair enough. I would be badly annoyed by this, and go looking for a registry hack to "fix" it.

In the concluding paragraphs, Mr. Rasker notes that he is unable to read an LFS disk on his Linux computer. I don't doubt him, though he doesn't document that in any detail. He contends "that Microsoft will consider [the LFS technical specification] their Intellectual Property", but there is no accounting of any such action, nor of any reason why the standard could not be reverse engineered (probably quite easily) and added to future Linux releases.

Do I believe that Microsoft probably is promoting LFS for the reasons the article posits? Sure. But there's no real evidence of that here, nor is there any evidence that it will actually present more than a transient problem.

The whole article just stinks of useless complaining and ridicule of Windows and its users. What happened to "You don't have to use GNU/Linux, by the way. Our volunteers include those using Windows, Mac OS X, and Unix, so there's no need to feel uncomfortable because of your operating system." (here< /a>)

I believe in Groklaw, and I believe that its mission is ever-more-important in the current political and regulatory environment. I do not believe that Groklaw is well-served by this article.

I think the story speaks for itself.


[ Reply to This | # ]

my 2 cents - from my Vista Machine
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, May 06 2007 @ 09:05 PM EDT
1 insert blank CD - get asked what I want to do - pick "burn cd"

2 get formatting message then window opens to put in files

3 drag and drop avi file to disk, meantime get popup window that wanted to play
the audio cd.

4 figure out that I chose the parchive x.avi.par instead of x.avi result of
microcrap's hiding extensions. Haven't figured out how to fix that yet.

5 wait a couple of minutes while it says it's saving

6 hit the eject button - it tells me it's finalising the disk.

7 try disk in another PC running XP - won't open.

8 put back in drive - wont't open

9 try to do a properties on the disk - eventually comes back with free space 0
available space 0

10 try again with Nero - burns at 48x without giving me a chance to choose
slower. Experience is that I never burn at max speed on cheap cd's.

Incidently, already ripped out Sonic/Roxio as being unfriendly and probably
spywar loaded. They pay Dell to put it in. I have seen too many other problems
with it.

over 5 minutes to burn - longer than in my other burners (IDE instead of SATA,
other versions of Windows)

Also hate the way I can't jump to top level window so I can pick local or
network drives and go where I want too.

Burn + verify = 8.5 minutes

Plays OK in irfanview and media player

[ Reply to This | # ]

Issues that burn in my mind
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, May 06 2007 @ 09:48 PM EDT
1. MS admit most of what is claimed in this article

2. there are still some burners refuse to play fair with certain
brands/quality of media, nothing to do with OS;

3. why bother with UDF on rewritable media? As others
point out USB HD is faster & more useful.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Burning Issues With Vista, by Richard Rasker
Authored by: div_2n on Sunday, May 06 2007 @ 10:11 PM EDT
Speaking of Vista and how good it isn't ...

A friend of mine who likes tinkering with computers called me on Friday to ask
how to configure wireless for Vista. I had to confess I know almost nothing
about such things in Vista since I haven't used it. He was having serious
problems and I felt bad I couldn't help.

After a few more questions, I figured out it was a computer for his neighbor.
They had just bought a new one after their old one died (really). It dawned on
me that this his neighbor was someone who wasn't a techno genius and learning
Vista would be just as challenging (if not more) as learning Ubuntu. So . . . I
popped the question.

Sadly, it appeared the neighbor wasn't hot on Ubuntu. They were going out of
town to visit their son for the weekend and they just got back today. Turns out
their son is what they consider a computer guru and they ran their situation by
him. He suggested Ubuntu might be the better way to go. So now they want Ubuntu.
Chalk another Vista loss up to Ubuntu.

The tide is turning at last.

[ Reply to This | # ]

What price freedom
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, May 06 2007 @ 10:12 PM EDT

Microsoft's current business platform presupposes that you would sell your freedom for convenience.
The way they have embraced the content ownership paradigm as an extension of their vendor lock-in model is telling proof of this.

However, there are people out there, who work tirelessly to protect your freedom, even if you don't care (the Free Software Foundation is but one example).
Groklaw is part of this safeguard, and has in its relative short lifespan grown to touch on subjects related to the SCO-IBM case, such as IP ownership, patent-litigation, and a copyright regime denying you your legal rights.
This naturally put the site on a collision course with those monied interests, who see in you a potential revenue stream and nothing else.

The current article, although seemingly peripheral to these weighty issues, does raise a very valid point:
[...] it will create compatibility problems in the world of creating CD's and DVD's – a world that at the moment features a near universal support and compatibility of available formats.
In other words, it seems as if Microsoft is, once again, trying to cull your freedom for the sake of their profits.
And that makes it relevant to Groklaw's readers.

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A Few Nits/Comments
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, May 06 2007 @ 10:33 PM EDT
Boot Times: Comparing Linux/Vista boot times, while interesting, is Apples vs. Oranges. If he had compared XP/Vista, it might have shown whether there is an improvement compared to XP, but even then, only if he did it on the same machine. But since boot times weren't the point, it's really a minor nit.

Screen Shots: Screen capture has been the "Prt Scr" key for several Windows versions now, and has always copied to the clipboard. Nothing new here. I do find it strange that he says he didn't know about "Prt Scr", but says about the saving to clipboard, that he "never liked the Windows Way" as if he had known that part. I don't quite see how he could know about and not like the pic getting saved to the clipboard, but not know how it got there.

And manual cropping of the images has always been there, but I'm a little confused as to whether he may have meant resizing, since he goes on to talk about resizing. I wouldn't want automatic "cropping", but automatic "resizing" would be a nice touch.

Search: Help, AFAIK, has always had a separate search, and IMHO it should. At least I'd rather it did. But I don't know why F1 didn't work. I'll have to try it next time I'm around a Vista box.

UAC Pop-ups: Yeah, that's gonna leave a mark. Instead of fixing the underlying problems, they annoy the users.

Live File System: This link explains the differences between it and "Mastered". LFS sounds a lot like UDF, while "Mastered" sounds like normal CDFS. It's another case of "dumbing down" for non-techies. While I don't think they are necessarily trying to "lock-in" anyone, I'm sure they wouldn't object if LFS did. And it's "Live", like everything else. They're with "Live" now like they used to be with "Active".

(Huh? Windows Explorer? So that is the burn tool?):
Yep. It was in XP, too. In theory it should work, it's just sending bytes to a file system driver. It would be the same as sending to any other removable drive.

If it worked right.
Again, “Windows Explorer doesn't respond”...After a dozen more seconds, and without a warning, all of the desktop goes blank!
The Desktop is part of Explorer. The blank screen is what you have when explorer crashes and re-starts.(See Note Below)

All-in-all, it's not really that different from previous versions of Windows in the area of CD burning. It's never worked right, not even with add-on software at times (Roxio Drag-to-Disc, Sonic DLA come to mind). I have given up trying to teach people how to save files to a CD-RW because there is no way I can prepare them for the inevitable crashes.

(Note) You can "End Task" on explorer.exe in Task Manager and get the same thing. If you open a Command Prompt first, you can remove some viruses and other unwanted files that hook into explorer and can't be deleted otherwise. Also, theoretically, you could design a different "Shell" for Windows, and specify it in the appropriate .ini file. I recall setting up Windows 95 to use "Program Manager" (like Windows 3) as the shell instead of Explorer. As long as you didn't try to use long filenames.

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Taking snapshots has always worked this way.
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, May 07 2007 @ 02:13 AM EDT
And, contrary to the author of this arcticle, to me it makes sense.

If you are writing a document and want to enrich it by some screenshots, it is a
very simple way to just hit PrtSrc, switch to your application, and insert with
CTRL-V. I'd even go as far as calling it elegant.

If you want to do some manipulation to your screenshot, like cropping, or
inserting text, consider using The Gimp for Windows. It is able to read and
save images to the clipboard.

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More issues with Vista
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, May 07 2007 @ 02:46 AM EDT
Read it and despair.

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Burning Issues With Vista, by Richard Rasker
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, May 07 2007 @ 06:48 AM EDT
You were obviously just *trying* to find things to complain about. It was so
terribly difficult to figure out how to take a screen shot? It didn't occur to
you to perhaps click on the *Help* option under the start menu?

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Why publish this on Groklaw ?
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, May 07 2007 @ 07:20 AM EDT
I read the article a little bewildered. It's probably right on target for Digg,
lacks the geeky touch of slashdot (even its anti-microsoft tone isn't exactly
/.tish), but on Groklaw ?

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Burning Issues With Vista, by Richard Rasker
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, May 07 2007 @ 09:11 AM EDT
While I feel bad for the author having to go through this experience, I look at
this as yet more proof that Microsoft has indeed shot itself in the foot with
Vista. Look at the wonderful features of the OS:

Only Microsoft's proprietary formats work well (or even work)
One cannot do anything without being barraged by security dialogs which only
encourages a user to turn them off. Microsoft I'm sure will say that it's not
their fault your computer was infected with something, you were warned or you
turned off the security features (ie. don't call our OS insecure)
One loses most of the freedoms currently enjoyed in copying legally purchased
You cannot even watch hi-def DVDs without special hardware (somthing any XP
system can do right out of the box)
You need twice the hardware to get 1/2 the perforamnce of XP.
The list goes on...

So why oh why are consumers going to put up with this OS? I'm starting to see
why Dell put XP back on the list for factory installed OS's, Vista is a horrible
operating system, period. It's too frustrating to use, it has too many
restrictions, and you need a $2000 PC to make it run like your $500 XP system.
Not a step in the right direction IMHO.

Or, since it will push everyone towards Linux, perhaps it is.

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Burning Issues With Vista, by Richard Rasker
Authored by: jsusanka on Monday, May 07 2007 @ 10:44 AM EDT
"They said they'd be happy to oblige, but that they had no
Vista computers on offer at all, because &#8220;Vista doesn't
work well enough yet.&#8221;"

that has to be my favorite line - thanks for the laugh.

what a joke -

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Quit slamming Vista!
Authored by: GrueMaster on Monday, May 07 2007 @ 12:45 PM EDT
I'm starting to get tired of the Linux community slamming Vista for one major
reason; It is the best OS Microsoft has released that actively promotes
switching to Linux.

The reason I say this is, as an ALSA developer, I have seen more new system
support requests for people who own brand new Vista ready systems in the last
couple of months than I did all of last year. I spent one weekend on #alsa on, and in that time, I added 15 new systems to the ALSA Intel HD
Audio driver. I have also responded to more users in a short amount of time on, plus, users are starting to email me directly through word
of mouth. Alsa 1.0.14 probably adds more hardware support than any previous
release, and a lot of it is due to users migrating from Windows.

So I say again, "Vista is the best OS Microsoft has released to promote
Linux adoption".


You've entered a dark place. You are likely to be eaten by a Grue!

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The Wagg-Ed Party Line
Authored by: phsolide on Monday, May 07 2007 @ 12:47 PM EDT
Dear "Anonymous" shills and astroturfers:

You're not fooling anyone. The Wagg-Ed "talking points" on this
article must have gone like this:

1. Mention linux credentials. Being a "full time linux user" is a lot
better than being a straight-ahead Windows Advocate.

2. Address the need for balance: Linux users are technical, so they respect the
idea of a "balanced" report. Use the lack of "balance" in
this article as a way to marginalize its content.

3. Raise the spectre of "pilot error". Linux users are an independent
lot. In their minds, its up to the accuser to prove beyond the shadow of a
doubt. "Pilot error" is a remarkably easy thing to blame.

4. Quibble about proper nomenclature. Linux users demand accuracy. Hints of
inaccuracy, even in the smallest of abbreviations can serve to case doubt on the
article's main thrust.

5. Include hardware compatibility questions. Linux users have to contend with
nonexistent or inadequate "free" software drivers, so they will tend
to believe issues in hardware compatibility.

Remember, it's up to Wagg-Ed shills and astroturfers to neutralize any on-line
dialog, at least until DRM allows us to shut it down automatically. Do your
part, fulfill your quota of anonymous postings this month!

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pity those who will not leave the MS cage
Authored by: grouch on Monday, May 07 2007 @ 01:52 PM EDT
I will never understand why anyone puts up with Microsoft software. Five years ago, when a typical GNU/Linux distribution required a bit of studying to accomplish some common tasks, I could understand how some folks didn't have time or motivation to escape the MS traps. Now, it's both heart-rending and frustrating to see someone fight against Microsoft's schemes and bunglings.

It's like watching someone rent a kerosene lantern. They then discover they have to buy a wick, funnel, bucket and kerosene in order to do something useful with the rented lantern. It's really frustrating to watch them slosh kerosene all over the place and have to spend so much time cleaning up the smelly mess, over and over, because, of course, the rented lantern has non-standard fittings which change with each lease renewal. The wick is also non-standard and likewise is a different size with each new rental. The unfortunate renter must fumble through the smelly, messy process of coaxing a bit of light from the ill-designed device while trying not to burn down the house or produce too much smoke.

Meanwhile, a crowd of people stand by a light switch, flipping it on and off, yelling, "See? It's so easy! You don't have to put up with that danger and mess any more!" But of course, the renter ignores them because there is another crowd, paid by the rental agency, keeping up a constant barrage of ominous warnings about how dangerous and damaging it would be if the renter fell prey to the enticements of the "just flip the switch" crowd, and besides, it's obvious that only people who have studied the innermost secrets of switches are capable of flipping them. You surely wouldn't want your grandmother to give up her fine, shiny, rented kerosene lantern (latest model: 'Verified Insane Stealth Transmission Affliction') for one of those unproven switches which doesn't even have a wick, now, would you?

-- grouch

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Burning Issues With Vista, by Richard Rasker
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, May 07 2007 @ 02:16 PM EDT
1) I would never rely on the built in burning abilities of windows. Nero is the
best for this.
2) cancelling a burning process is a bad idea. This might damage the disk.
3) always check drivers, before trying to burn anything.
Also check compatibility of support: burning speed etc ...

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Give it rest
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, May 07 2007 @ 02:42 PM EDT
How pro linux can this article be? Now as fast as his linux laptop, desktop not
as good as his linux desktop... you can guess the rest.

Oh and I didn't know you could do Prt Scrn in linux and it would load Ksnapshot,
but I do know that I can do Alt+ Prt Scrn to copy the active window to the
clipboard then just open paint or whatever app you prefer. So winging he could
do when he's not a Windows user is pointless, most windows users would struggle
to use Linux at first.

Sorry but I like groklaw and have dabbled with Linux but this article is pure
anti-MS dribble. Does Linux have a native ability to burn a cd? No it uses
whatever the author of the distro decided to package, just like most OEM will
package a CD burning package with their PCs. We get Nero on them at work and it
works and is easy to use.

Articles like this are what make groklaw look like Linux zealot site, rather
than a site looking to show how the law works and to help in the fight against
patents. Maybe the site should be called GrokLinux.

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  • Give it rest - Authored by: AndyC on Monday, May 07 2007 @ 04:39 PM EDT
  • Give it rest - Authored by: fxbushman on Tuesday, May 08 2007 @ 01:23 PM EDT
  • Agreed - Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, May 08 2007 @ 02:11 PM EDT
Burning Issues With Vista, by Richard Rasker
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, May 07 2007 @ 02:59 PM EDT
interesting to see that microsoft still insist on running (windows) explorer as
a single process. my win2k install (hell if i want to tangle with activation.
and by the looks of it, its linux when i finally dump win2k) have a option under
folder settings (go fig) that allow each window its own process.

in theory this should protect them from crashing the whole desktop. but it adds
its own problems. like say if you use registry entries to alter some of the
system icons, then only the first process reads them.

remember, under windows the entire desktop is explorer.exe plus some dlls it
loads (or something like that). ie.exe was for a long time (and maybe still be)
a wrapper around explorer.exe that made it load a special dll (the web render
engine). so when IE died, your whole desktop died.

its as if microsoft do not trust their own message passing systems (dcom i think
its named), and instead roll everything and the kitchen sink into explorer.exe
that does not have to do with the kernel or background processes.

plug ca change or whatever the quote goes...

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Good Bye Live CDs, You own no data!!!!
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, May 07 2007 @ 04:39 PM EDT
     I believe that a fair amount of Richard Rasker's problem is his un-unfamiliarity with the Window's operating system in general. Much of what he was seeing, such as the default to the preferred formatting is due to the intention of providing as much functionality as possible for the tool being used.
     For example if I open an excel spreadsheet in OpenOffice, make a change, then simply hit save, I will get a dialog box saying that some stuff might not be saved. Since the person I am sending the spreadsheet to has not yet seen the light, I force it to save as an .xls rather than as a .ods file. I don't pick the default. So I don't count it as lock in that it trys to default to the mode with the most "functionality".
     However I do count the new Live file system as lock-in. However even this, I can't completely list as a traditional lock-in attempt. Rather I believe that MS is trying to satisfy the DRM moguls.
     I have a suspicion that the Live file system makes it easier for MS to control things like how many times an item can be viewed, or for how long. (Note, the live file system can be updated. Is this because they have reserved some fields to count number of views and things like that?)
     Would I ever write a CD with Windows Live file system. Only if I am forced to. Since XP and Vista need to be able to support reading the older CD formats for a bit, I see no reason to use it.
     However, consider the possibility of vendors coming out with CD or DVD drives that can only handle Windows Live disks. (Part of the DRM scheme, complete control of the data stream, undoubtedly). This is why I have been trying to yell long and hard that the DRM issue is going to be a very big thing for FOSS. Can you imagine a machine that won't accept the .iso formatted CD?

     Good bye live CDs.

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Burning Issues With Vista, by Richard Rasker
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, May 07 2007 @ 06:21 PM EDT
Press F1 as many people pointed out. This gives you the Windows Help and Support
window. Type "screen capture" in the search field. The third hit from the top
reads "Use Snipping Tool to capture screen shots". Snipping tool (a Vista
standard feature) gives you the option to capture a single window, the desktop
or an area marked by the user (rectangular or free-form). The tool can then save
it as .jpg .png .gif or .mht (single file html). No other tools (like paint)

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Burning Issues With Vista, by Richard Rasker
Authored by: Alan(UK) on Monday, May 07 2007 @ 07:12 PM EDT
I have struggled to make sense of the article - the Dutch does not help.

The writer's first problem is not understanding the different UDF versions and
their application to different media types and compatibility with different
operating systems.

If the object of the excercise was to produce a straightforward CD to ISO 9660
with Joliet and Rock Ridge extensions - a disk anyone can read - then the
experiment was a failure. I get the impression that MS does not really want you
to burn such a disk - especially with RW media.

If the object was to establish if MS is trying to lock users in, then the
experiment was a failure - all the other problems prevented any conclusion being

Aborting the format process with Task Manager is definitely not a good idea.

We can conclude that Vista is not for the feint-hearted, we are not sure if it
is trying to lock you in, we are not sure if it actually works. I get the
general impression that the MS software is rather 'tacky' and their attempts to
be helpful - aren't.

The real problem is the attempt to support multiple standards and multiple media
types - it would be very interesting to have a proper assessment of all the
combinations by someone who knows what they are doing.

Clearly Vista is not yet ready for the desktop.

Microsoft is nailing up its own coffin from the inside.

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One mistake you made
Authored by: Yossarian on Monday, May 07 2007 @ 08:09 PM EDT
is to use reboot instead of shutdown, wait a little, boot.

The issue is that in reboot the devices don't lose power, and
so the correct initialization is up to the OS/device drivers.
A bad device driver may cause some uncertainty
of the device state after reboot.

BTW this advice is based on my experience with Windows XP.
I have never had a problem with my Red Hat Linux after reboot.
My guess is that open-source drivers are easier to fix.
(Or may be I just don't reboot Linux often enough...)

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Windows is caught between a rock and a hard place
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, May 08 2007 @ 07:29 AM EDT
Sorry but I have to side with Microsoft on this, but only just. The fact is that
burning CDs or DVDs is hard. Normally you have to create a session, copy the
files you want to a temporary folder, and then "commit" them to disk,
either choosing to create a new "session" or to "finalize"
the disk when done. All of this is confusing as hell and totally different from
how other types of media (e.g. USB keychains work).
Hence UDF. UDF is the filesystem first used by movie DVDs but CD / DVD rewriters
have used the format for years too for writing files. Unlike traditional session
based writing, you can physically drag and drop files to a UDF formatted disk
and they just copy. Under the surface it's a bit like a tape spool where the
writer appends to the end and the computer is responsible for reconstituting the
spool into a directory structure. It's transparently simple to use and works
like other media. Or at least it should be simple to use. Unfortunately UDF is
an incredibly flakey standard and there have been various and variously broken
implementations of it over the years. I remember the frustration of running UDF
on NT 4.0 via a Traxdata driver and the number of permenantly destroyed disks it
caused. The situation has gotten better but there are still problems. It is no
wonder that Microsoft finally chose to implement their own driver against the
latest version.
Microsoft were stuck here. Mastering a disk is the best way to copy files but
their users wouldn't understand how to do it. So MS gives them the choice but
defaults to the latest UDF version. Is this really a crime, or should they
default to an older standard which might have its own issues to contend with? It
isn't as if Linux is prevented from supporting new versions of UDF. If anything
this should be the spur they need to actually implement the new version

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Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, May 08 2007 @ 01:36 PM EDT
Sorry, I love Groklaw, Linux, and hate Vista and Microsoft just as much as the
next Groklaw reader. However, this article is very misleading. The boot time -
true. The slowness - true. The burn failures - true. However, that
"proprietary, lock-in UDF format" is actually a completely open
standard, and discs burned with it can be read on Windows, Mac, and Linux
(Ubuntu can read them out of the box, in fact). Its purpose is to provide a way
to use a CD-RW as if it were a hard drive, allowing you to add and remove files
at will rather than in "sessions".

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Print Screen file sizes
Authored by: Valerion on Tuesday, May 08 2007 @ 03:19 PM EDT
I opened a text document on my desktop (Windows XP) in Notepad, and used both
Control-Print Screen and Print screen, then directly pasted the resulting images
into MS Word 2003.

The first is 83kB and the second is 656kB

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Burning Issues With K3B and Ubuntu
Authored by: Totosplatz on Wednesday, May 09 2007 @ 01:36 PM EDT

In the midst of all this I was trying to burn the Ubuntu v7.04 ISO images using a Mandriva 2006 machine with K3B as my burning program.

I first burned the ISO image using K3B menu item "Burn CD image", onto a CD-R disk, and this resulted in a CD-R disk that contains NO DATA according to my Linux boxen, cannot be mounted, etc; and which will not boot on two of my several machines.

Because I read this article, and began to comprehend that maybe there are ways to "burn" CDs and DVDs that are different in strange ways, which is a BAD IDEA. I decided to put this CD-R into a Win-XP laptop and "Lo, and behold" the gosh-darned (sic) thing came to life! The Ubuntu popup popped up asking me if I wanted to install, and offering to install various things like Firefox, I assume this was to install Firefox et al under Win-XP; and also asking me if I wanted to install Ubuntu itself.

So next I went back to my Linux box and used K3B to do something different: "Burn DVD ISO Image" was my menu choice this time, and I also used an actual 4.3 Gb DVD-R disc this time; and this time I got a disc that actually boots on one of my laptops here as a "Live CD" version of Ubuntu.

In the end I have to say I don't understand what is going on here, but it looks to me like K3B does something very different with the two menu items "Burn CD Image" and "Burn DVD ISO Image" and that the thing done with the first of these - "Burn CD Image" - creates a CD that can be read and used in Win-XP and nowhere else.

I could NOT use it to boot. I could NOT use it to mount on my various PC boxen, and I THOUGHT I should have been able to do that. I was able to load it into a running machine with Win-XP and it ran fine, offering me several options about programs I could install and so on, and Windows Explorer could see the files and so on.

What the gosh-darned (sic) heck (sic) is going on here?

I am NOT a lawyer!

All the best to one and all.

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Burning Issues With Vista, by Richard Rasker
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, May 14 2007 @ 05:23 PM EDT
I expect to see articles like this on digg. I expect more from Groklaw.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Burning Issues With Vista, by Richard Rasker
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, May 14 2007 @ 09:46 PM EDT
In other news, Microsoft will be designing software for the new line of Sirius
Cybernetics Corporation elevators

[ Reply to This | # ]

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