Under Microsoft’s Grip Again


Since I’ve decided to go back to school for computer programming, I’ve had to switch back to Microsoft Windows most of the time. I’ve opted to take my classes online this semester and much to my surprise, a couple of classes actually require me to use Windows for specific software.

I’m taking a basic math class for starters. It’d be fine except I must use Course Compass which relies on an interesting combination of Internet Explorer, ActiveX controls (which I had to specifically ease up my security on), Adobe Acrobat Reader, and Adobe Flash player. Then to make it worse I had to install a program specifically from Course Compass to use it. Finally, I had to use Apple’s Quicktime Media Player (which makes no sense to me).  While I can understand the security aspect of this class to prevent cheating, let us type out of our answers or even the whole problem/solution set in a word processor. For that matter, I should be able to use Firefox instead of IE. Argh.

My other issue is C++ programming. While I am given the option to use any compiler I see fit, the book suggests that there are special settings involved and that everything is designed around Microsoft Visual C++ Studio Express. Of course it only works under Windows.

So while I still dual boot and keep my Ubuntu install going, I’ve become an incidental Windows boy again. And I don’t mind. I’ve added as much open source as I can. I use Clamwin Antivirus. I use Firefox for all my regular browsing. I turn in all my assignments using OpenOffice Writer saved as Word Documents. Still I can’t help but feel that I’m betraying my open source views by resorting to a mostly dysfunctional operating system.

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4 responses to “Under Microsoft’s Grip Again

  • linuxcrayon

    Just curious, but have you tried any of the following?

    Using Linux, Firefox, and the UserAgent extension to make the Compass website believe you’re using Internet Explorer?

    WINE to run the other program for Compass?

    Adobe’s technologies shouldn’t be a problem.

    Using WINE for VSC++?

    If any of the above fail, I would say run WinXP in a virtual machine instead of dual booting.

  • muddygeek

    I just added my Quicktime requirement and I don’t know how well that actually works under Wine. For the Acrobat, I try using a different PDF reader and it was still a no go.

    I’m probably going to slightly tweak it this semester until I find something else that works. I’m playing with the User strings under Firefox in Windows first and that I’ll work it into Linux.

    Thanks for the suggestions!

  • mulenmar

    Well, for the VSC++…I know there’s a program called Mono that replaces Visual Basic, maybe you can strip out the visual design code, rewire it for C++, and release the result. 8~S

    Good idea for graduate work later, anyway.

    Sorry, I’m too much of a noob to help beyond that. 8~<

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