windows fades from my view


I have tried for some time to be “fair and balanced” towards all operating systems, especially Windows. In particular Windows 10. I even started out liking Windows 10 back in late September 2015 when the main upgrade arrived. I’ve used Windows since the late 1980s starting with Windows 1, through Windows 2/286, then Windows 3, and then the golden release, Windows 3.1 at the start of the 1990s. From there I diverged to Windows NT 3.1, then 3.5, and finally 4. All along I looked askance at UNIX on the PC as well as Linux. I even stood by, silently, supporting Microsoft during its monopoly hearings during the late 1990s.

But something interesting happened along the way. While UNIX on the PC faded from view, Linux continued to grow until a then-new company, Redhat, came on the scene with a cleaned up and supported version of Linux. Others distributions came along as well, particularly SuSE (later OpenSUSE) and Ubuntu. By the time I’d finally gotten into the aughts and past the collapse of the Internet bubble of 1999, I’d switched from using Linux as a hobby system to using it as a practical day-to-day driver along side Windows XP.

I came to dislike Windows XP because of its security holes, along with I.E. 5 and 6, most intensely. I came to use Windows only because I had to, specifically because of the Office suite, preferring to use either Solaris at the time or Redhat 7. When Redhat 10 beta 1 bifurcated into Redhat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 3 and Fedora, I was ready. I began to use RHEL for my serious business needs everywhere I could, eventually switching to Ubuntu for my primary home and personal business needs. I’ve now reached the point that no matter what other OS I may have on a laptop, I still install VMs of Linux on both my Windows 10 notebook as well as my MBP. And in spite of what I might say, I still secretly pull out the “ancient” Samsung notebook with Ubuntu 16.04 running just fine on it.

All this long-winded lead-in is my way of saying I’m essentially done with Windows as an OS. Why? I have grown increasingly unhappy with how Windows 10 has had updates kicked down to my machine without release notes and very little way to control when, and if, an update will get installed. And because Microsoft has split out the one reason to have a Windows machine. Microsoft now sells a license to run the latest Office on my MBP. With that one real reason to have Windows kicked out of the way, my current Windows 10 notebook is sitting more and more in its bag, being pulled out to use my Lightroom license along with all my photos stretching back to 2009. And I’ve gone back on the hunt for a decent Linux machine, looking at System 76 as well as some of the Dell offerings. It’s notable that both come pre-installed with Ubuntu; that’s fine by me.

As for the need for Office, that may also go the way of all flesh. I can use Apple’s tools, or I can use Google’s tools, or even install and use the latest LibreOffice. Granted there are tremendous features in Office, and granted they don’t all transfer out of Office and into these alternatives, but a lot of core capabilities do. And I can always save to PDF and send those out to my customers.

In spite of my best hopes Microsoft really hasn’t changed since Steve Ballmer retired. It’s changed the paint job, but based on how I’ve been treated and talked to with regards to the updates for Windows 10 after the initial update from Windows 8.1, I’ve come away with a bad taste in my metaphorical mouth with regards to Microsoft. Microsoft had the perfect opportunity to show it had changed for the better with Nadella; it hasn’t. And with that I’m making my plans to move on. I have a rich computing environment to work with, far richer than even a decade ago when Microsoft still reigned supreme over all. It’s time to move on and drop Microsoft and Windows by the dusty side of the road and not look back.


4 comments

  1. Similar tale to my own. I’ve been using a System76 as my primary laptop for a year now. Great hardware! My ASUS before that was a regular Ubuntu machine. Having recently found the rds utility for remote desktop, I don’t even need a Windows VM to connect to the office. Viva FOSS!

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    • Glad to hear about how you like System76. I’ve been by their website many times, but just never followed through with that impulse to get something.

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  2. … and an almost identical story here from my side. I ditched Windows as an “unsupportable black box” somewhere along the line, and went on with RPM hell, then looked at some of the BSDs, until I finally arrived at Debian. Yes I do fire up the occasional virtual Win7 or even run-on-bare-metal Win10, but only because I think that the Olympus Viewer 3 is by far the best raw converter if you want Olympus’ colours and all else the cameras can give. My wife still does the yearly tax declarations on it, but beside of these tasks everything is Linux here by now. Plus I write some mails to Olympus from time to time, asking them to consider better systems as well (same goes for the tax offices, which are publicly owned and *should* all run on free software).

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    • It’s sad that the key photo tools we both use are not available on Linux. However, they are both available on Mac OS X, so it does take some of the sting out of that. It’s interesting how for personal use I’ve selected Debian/Ubuntu for heavy personal use. I tried the RPM side years ago, first via OpenSUSE and later via Fedora, but every time I kept coming back to the DEB side of things.

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