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Fuck MS Teams

Welcome to the first post in the long awaited series “Fuck this software”, in which we discuss why certain software sucks ass.

I am your host, Sergiu, a registered wage slave1 working in the IT sector and university student learning remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic — so I suffered from being forced to use crappy proprietary software for quite a while now, which qualifies me for this position.

In this article we’ll shit on the world-famous conferencing and collaboration software Microsoft Teams. Minor spoilers: it’s fucking horrible.

Browser support? Good joke.

Imagine that you’re writing some code for a hobby project or whatever. It works on your machine and you decide to publish it, because you think that whatever it does is cool. But before you put it on the web, you think to yourself:

There are so many computer configurations out there… I can’t be sure that it works in all of them. I should make it check for extremely specific things like whether or not the user has an ASCII representation of a cat in /ussr/share/meow-zedong/, because that’s what I have on my computer and it will identify those people whose configurations are sure to be compatible with the project!

And after you implement this feature for improving user experience, you think that it would be even better to publish only the binary, not the code, because you’re a plight upon society.

Some time after publishing your project, you start hearing about reports from users that were held at gunpoint to use it saying that they suffer every second they try to start it and are getting closer and closer to asking for their execution. They keep saying stupid stuff like “I’m pretty sure I have all the dependencies installed, why is it telling me ‘oopsie woopsie, i made a wittle fuckie wuckie’?” or “The competitor project which is also free software and has the exact same requirements works perfectly fine, did your mother drop you when you were little?”.

Based on all the insider information2 I have from Microsoft, this is the exact same thought process they had while designing Teams. I’m pretty sure there’s a PowerPoint file on someone’s computer in Redmond that matches 95% with the paragraphs above. This, or someone just said at a meeting “What if, and please hear me out, we only fully support Edge, cause it’s our browser and we want people to get locked into MS tech?” and then everyone clapped.

Here, read this: “Microsoft Teams meetings on unsupported browsers”. So Firefox and Safari (for Microsoft, “Safari” means “all WebKit based browsers”) don’t support “some of the Teams calling and meeting features”. But why? Why doesn’t calling work in those browsers… especially when these browsers can have video calling and screen sharing in other sites (such as Jitsi, and I’m pretty sure NextCloud Talk also works, but I didn’t have the chance to test it). My bet is on “we just prefer Edge”.

Here’s my love story with Teams. I use GNU Guix as my main operating system. Very brave, I know — y’all Arch virgins have nothing to boast about anymore, and if the Gentoo guys start laughing, Guix is a “source-based” distro also so maybe try it out if you like compiling shit so much. Anyway, using Guix means that by default I have no (easy) access to proprietary software, as the distro’s repos are comprised only of free software. Which means that the browsers closest to the “mainstream” ones that I can use out of the box are IceCat and Chromium (of course, the Ungoogled flavor). Guess what? Teams calls don’t work at all on IceCat (even if I set my user agent to Edge on Windows, which is fucking wierd). Chromium lets me join a call with audio but I tried sharing the screen twice and once it kicked me out of the meeting, and the second time it crashed the entire fucking page.

<2021-02-27 Sb>: Nix’s ungoogled-chromium has working screen sharing in Discord, but Guix’s doesn’t, so I guess there are some packaging issues somewhere too.

Webshit

The web version of Teams is built with a ton of JavaShit JavaScript. As we all know JavaScript is a performant language that is used to build some of the most stable software on the planet.3

Teams is just… a very good example of webshit. What’s webshit? A webapp, but shit4. Sometimes, I can refresh the page three times and it would show me three different teams/chats. Sometimes, the left-side panel where a team’s photo, name and channels should be is empty. Sometimes even the chat won’t load at all. About 1/5 of the times I opened Teams in a web browser, the left-side panel would just show {{::buttonText}} in it.

teams-sucks-ass.png

I think that’s about it, or at least that’s what I have energy to complain about today. I’m pretty sure there’s more stuff I don’t like but I can’t remember it now.

So keep your kids away from Microsoft Teams. Using Microsoft tech is proven to increase stress and depression. In certain cases it can even lead to dementia.

You need to just talk? Use Mumble. You need video, screen sharing, audio etc.? Use Jitsi or NextCloud. Ask your school/workplace if they can look into self-hosting a NextCloud instance to have control on all their data on their servers.

Footnotes:

1

Figure of speech for comedic effect; please don’t fire me.

2

Which, maybe, doesn’t exist.

3

If you really believe that sentece please stop from continuously writing npm install in your console and go for a walk and start using your brain.

4

Let’s not be mean, that’s not a pleonasm. It’s almost a pleonasm.