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Microsoft's OneDrive Web App Crippled With Performance Issues On Linux and Chrome OS (theregister.co.uk) 114

Iain Thomson, reporting for The Register: Plenty of Linux users are up in arms about the performance of the OneDrive web app. They say that when accessing Microsoft's cloudy storage system in a browser on a non-Windows system -- such as on Linux or ChromeOS -- the service grinds to a barely usable crawl. But when they use a Windows machine on the same internet connection, speedy access resumes. Crucially, when they change their browser's user-agent string -- a snippet of text the browser sends to websites describing itself -- to Internet Explorer or Edge, magically their OneDrive access speeds up to normal on their non-Windows PCs. In other words, Microsoft's OneDrive web app slows down seemingly deliberately when it appears you're using Linux or some other Windows rival. This has been going on for months, and complaints flared up again this week after netizens decided enough is enough. When gripes about this suspicious slowdown have cropped up previously, Microsoft has coldly reminded people that OneDrive for Business is not supported on Linux, thus the crap performance is to be expected. But when you change the user-agent string of your browser on Linux to match IE or Edge, suddenly OneDrive's web code runs fine. The original headline of the story is, "Microsoft loves Linux so much, its OneDrive web app runs like a dog on Windows OS rivals".
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Microsoft's OneDrive Web App Crippled With Performance Issues On Linux and Chrome OS

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Everyone on Windows change your user agent to say Linux.

  • I would presume that Microsoft knows about this problem and really I would think that the OneDrive Program Manager should be hopping up and down demanding the problem is fixed.

    In my company, we have Linux (Ubuntu with some Mint recently), Windows (primarily 7, avoiding 10 like the plague as much as possible), Mac OS, & ChromeOS - using Dropbox for sharing data right now but will need a better solution over the next few months.

    Thanx for the article,

    OneDrive for Buisness != Not my Business

    • by cheater512 ( 783349 ) <nick@nickstallman.net> on Thursday March 23, 2017 @05:16PM (#54098423) Homepage

      More likely the Program Manager is saying "Good work guys! It works perfectly."

      There isn't any legitimate reason for the useragent to be screwing it up like this.

    • Why in the world would you be using a 3rd party service? Putting together a Synology box is trivial, and it can back up to most cloud services with client-side encryption. You get storage space that's limited only by your hard drive space and the freedom and security of your own cloud service.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Actually OneDrive is a PoS in general. We have it at work, and when it comes to the sync client, I have to go around to each computer for every user and do this to get it working the first time (Relevant post here [microsoft.com]):

      1. Kill all instances of any Office application.

      2. Clear out any office related credentials saved in the Credential Manager.

      3. Go to %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office\ and delete the "Spw" and "16.0\OfficeFileCache" subdirectories.

      4. Launch some other office program (Word / Excel / etc

  • Now "fixed" (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 23, 2017 @04:55PM (#54098279)

    Interestingly, after the "oversight" was made public the issue is "fixed" by Microsoft.

    See the first comment: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13932226

  • by johanw ( 1001493 ) on Thursday March 23, 2017 @04:58PM (#54098297)

    The next step qill be that it becomes deadlow if you're still using XP or windows 7, and show a popup that for a decent performance you ned to downgrade to winspam 10.

  • Logic? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I don't know much about this cloud stuff, but there must be a shitload of these online storage services, and for some reason Linux users had to choose Microsoft.

    • They likely have a job at a real company that is not located in their mother's basement. I used Google docs for a bit. I didn't want to, but that's how they do things at that company.
  • Same old Microsoft, same old thugs, nobody should forget that.

  • "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity". Not to say MS aren't often malicious ( or "competitive"), but having used a pile of their software today I can certainly say there's much that's badly written.

    • Re:homily (Score:5, Funny)

      by johanw ( 1001493 ) on Thursday March 23, 2017 @05:16PM (#54098427)

      History taught us that if one deals with MS, it should be "Never attribute to stupidity that which is adequately explained by malice".

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity"

      I love how people will use this stupid fucking quote to explain away any nasty shit, no matter how blatantly obvious it was deliberate.
      Please explain to me how this could possibly be an accident. You're the second poster to pretend this was somehow a mistake.
      Oops...my fingers slipped and I accidentally typed "if (userAgent != MS) socket.throttleLikeAMoFo();" in exactly the "wrong" place.

    • Re:homily (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rickb928 ( 945187 ) on Thursday March 23, 2017 @05:47PM (#54098659) Homepage Journal

      Actually, I deal with an internal web app that does something similar, poor performance with diffing agent strings being presented, between IE9/11, Chrome, Safari, and Firefox browsers hitting it and getting very very different experiences.

      The cause is attempts at code optimizations, some not done well at all. Despite their best efforts, none of our tech teams can blame some grand conspiracy with Microsoft, since no motive exists for this.

      But our users find evidence when IE works so much better than, for instance, Chrome. Until a month ago, that is, when the JVMs got to be working properly, and woot, now IE is the slog despite working just as before, and Chrome is blazingly fast. Now it's a grand conspiracy to kill IE use at the enterprise level.

      Ya can't win, ya know. whatever you do, if the browsers get different performance results, you're doing it deliberately, because there is some reason...

      More reason to avoid web programming. Servicing is still a sweet spot around here.

    • That works on a case by case basis, but when taken as an aggregate ... NO COMPANY is as incompetent as Microsoft would have to be to be deemed malice free. See also the Halloween Documents on ESRs site.
  • I think the same ting happens when using Google Drive on Windows.

  • Meet the new MS... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bazmail ( 764941 ) on Thursday March 23, 2017 @05:14PM (#54098409)
    .... same as the old MS.

    Drop OneDrive and use something that doesn't disrespect your choices.
  • by scumdamn ( 82357 ) on Thursday March 23, 2017 @05:35PM (#54098583)
    This issue was discussed on /r/linux two days ago and it was fixed yesterday.
  • by ytene ( 4376651 ) on Thursday March 23, 2017 @06:23PM (#54098915)
    Microsoft have plenty of experience at being subject to judicial oversight and investigation, so the chances of any smoking gun being found in this specific case seems completely unlikely.

    However, if anyone actually captured reliable evidence that a change in the User Agent string could generate such remarkably different outcomes, then there is a question to answer here. Adjusting the performance of one product [their Cloud offering] to favour another Product [the combination of Windows and Edge] would appear to fall pretty close to the definition of "tying", something that Microsoft have direct experience of - they were fined, for example, for tying Windows Media Player to Windows - so it would be interesting to see what could have happened had the outage been more widespread or prolonged.

    I think this sort of activity is becoming more widespread with time, not less. Despite the protections apparently afforded us by the law, we see far more bending of the laws than ever before. It's as though we've entered the "Scooby Doo Era" - "Yes, and I would've gotten away with it, too, if it wasn't for you pesky kids!!!"

    To which I'd add, "Nice work, kids..."
  • What else were you expecting from an ill-bred company?
  • by jimtheowl ( 4200185 ) on Thursday March 23, 2017 @07:40PM (#54099351)
    and to Microsoft what is Microsoft's.

    This should not be a surprise and is nothing new.
    Don't expect Microsoft to look at anyone's interests but their own.
  • This isn't the first instance of this. Look at any OWA instance or ASP(.net) site. Limited functionality when being honest about the browser, enhanced (working) functionality when you claim to be a Microsoft browser. So they reused old code...

  • People have no long term memory, or believe the marketing drones?

    Everything Microsoft puts out is made to give an advantage to Windows, even if it seems alternative OS friendly.

    Do you think the Linux subsystem is available out of friendliness? On the contrary, it's there so people can migrate their Linux stuff to Windows. I bet there are minor subtle incompatibilities that are easily fixed but then make your stuff windows specific too.

  • Microsoft greatly improved the smb protocol between Server 2008r2 and Server 2012. Increased performance of smb and encryption are also selling points Microsoft hammers to encourage upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 10.

    BUT now that I've shown my "Microsoft certified professional" bias, I actually read the article: this was within a web browser, and most damning = "But when you change the user-agent string of your browser on Linux to match IE or Edge, suddenly OneDrive's web code runs fine. "

    So this re

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