Quick tip: Replacing cmd.exe

December 14, 2009

It has been a long while now since I ran Windows on hardware. However, I need to use it for a lot of things at work, so I have several Windows VMs running on ESX hosts and I just RDP to them.

Most of the time, this works really well. I have always been pretty impressed with the RDP protocol (not so much after trying NX, but it’s still decent). However, one huge annoyance is the Command Prompt, cmd.exe. Whenever large amounts of text scroll by (verbose logging, for example), my RDP session simply hangs. There’s nothing I can do to break the output. Ctrl-C can take ages to get though and I usually end up killing the RDP client.

So I recently decided to find an alternative, and that turned out to be pretty easy: Console.

It is by no means perfect, in fact it is pretty rough around the edges. But scrolling works much better than with cmd.exe, and there are a few other improvements as well. For example, it is possible to resize the window without entering numbers in a dialog box 🙂

Copying and pasting works a bit differently, so that took a few days of getting used to. But the good thing is that I no longer pause a running process accidentally by selecting a character of text (grr…).

As anyone who follows the virtualization business know by now, this has been a tough week for us at VMware.

CEO Diane Greene stepped back, effective immediately, and was replaced by ex-Microsoft employee Paul Maritz.

This event led to a brief discussion with one of my collegues, who is also a former MS employee, about whether or not Microsoft is an evil company.

(Photo: batmoo)

As he pointed out, MS has invested huge sums in research, and has hired some of the brightest people out there. These people come up with excellent ideas and they receive the funding to put those ideas into practice.

So what is the problem? One word: Windows.

(Photo: aralbalkan)

I am not at all a religious man, and I certaintly don’t want to be religious about this either. But the fact of the matter is, I find Windows completely ridiculous as a platform for anything but gaming. This is my honest opinion.

I was frustrated to read an article about Silverlight 2 in the August issue of DDJ. This is actually pretty cool stuff, but it is not for me. I know it runs on my Mac, but you need Windows to do any serious development.

John Lam – what a waste of talent (Photo: timheuer)

I don’t have the patience for running Windows, because it sucks terribly. This is hardly a controversial opinion. I tolerate it at work, because the job is otherwise great, but I wouldn’t dream of running it on my home computers. Over the last few years, I have come to realize that OSX is the only OS that doesn’t suck one way or the other. For a few years, I was running Ubuntu on my laptop, but I was never very happy with it. I was wasting far too much time fixing small problems and trying to get basic stuff like suspend/resume working.

On my MacBook Pro, everything works. I have been using it daily for a few years now, and the number of times is has crashed is still below ten. You would never get that kind of milage from a Windows box, probably not even if you left it idle.

So while I really like .NET, C#, LINQ and all that, I can’t use it, because I can’t stomach the OS that comes with it. I really don’t care very much about whether Microsoft is good or evil, but I’m sad to see so much talent go to waste. This is why I don’t like Microsoft.