By Scott Hamilton

Last week Google made an announcement that seemed to begin a global computer operating system war. They have partnered with Parallels tech company, to provide the ability to run Microsoft Office and other Windows-based software on Google’s Chromebook. Many have experienced issues with Google’s Chrome browser in the past few weeks on both Windows and MacOS systems, causing many to either want to ditch Chrome or their operating system. This announcement gave millions reason to switch to the much less expensive Chromebook.

This announcement sparked a flurry of activity across three of the four main operating systems. Almost immediately following the announcement, Apple introduced blocks for Google Analytics on their Safari web browser, making it possible for users to stop Google from collecting web browsing activity from users of the browser. This is a major issue for Google, who relies heavily on this data collection as its main revenue stream.

Microsoft released their latest round of Windows 10 security patches a few days later, and whether it is related or not has yet to be determined, but users have reported multiple issues with gmail following the update. The symptoms of the issues are the loss of all sent mail. The patched Mail App on Windows 10 incorrectly identifies outgoing mail as incoming mail and detects it as spam, as it is coming from your own address.

Imagine losing track of every email you send by losing it into your spam folder. But it gets worse; the Mail App sets the spam folder to automatically delete spam. Forbes magazine reported the issue on June 28, and Microsoft acknowledged that there was an issue and offered a work-around. The work-around is to create a complex custom filter for email coming from your address to never be reported as spam and copy it to the sent items folder. This work-around has two bad side effects. The first is, you wind up with two copies of the sent item, and the second is that it will no longer block spam that is pretending to come from you, but rather create a second copy of the malicious email.

Google was able to confirm that it is a problem related to the Microsoft mail application and not a problem on the Google servers. They made two separate recommendations; the first was to set up the recommended rules to avoid mail loss and the second was to remove your gmail account from the Microsoft Mail App and rely on the gmail website for accessing your mail. The problem also does not exist if you utilize the imap server options to configure the mail client. The imap setup is complex and requires setting to be changed both on your gmail account and your client system.

Personally I believe this is just the beginning of a war between operating system vendors, fighting for your support. So far, there is only one operating system that has stayed mainly clear of the war – Linux. As the leader in free and open operating system development, the Linux foundation focuses on end-user needs and less on competing for customer base. Now may be the time to start looking at Linux as an alternative.

Until next week, stay safe and learn something new.

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