The Windows Experience

Joe Gregorio

Matt Asay:

Why? Because I don’t believe the Linux desktop will ever go mainstream in the “developed” nations of North America and Western Europe. We just have too much experience with Windows. The benefits of moving off Windows (or, in my case, the Mac) are outweighed by the costs. Not dollars-and-cents costs, but productivity costs. It’s not worth $400 to me to switch to an experience that doesn’t work nearly as well (especially since I can get my applications as open source, like OpenOffice, Handbrake, Adium, etc.).

Funny you should mention that. I recently tried to switch my old Dell laptop back from Linux to Windows. My primary laptop is Linux but I found I needed a Windows desktop for testing the binary versions of the APP Test Client. Anyway, tried is the operative word, as I had misplaced the original Dell disks and tried to use a full off the shelf version of Windows XP Pro, which completely and utterly failed to find ethernet and wi-fi drivers. Of course, failing to find those drivers means that I would have to find, download and burn those drivers onto a CD on another computer to load them onto the Dell. This is the same machine that I installed Ubuntu onto over a year ago, and back then Ubuntu effortlessly found drivers for the both ethernet and wi-fi during the initial install. Compare that to the Vista experience and we may be reaching a tipping point, at least as far as drivers are concerned.

Oh yeah, as for Windows, I eventually gave up and installed TightVNC on my kids Windows desktop and used that remotely from Linux.

Back in 2004, when I joined IBM, I started using Windows at work, again after 4 years of Linux. It was a terrible experience. It still is. I've been following the Lotus Notes evolution, since it is the only thing that keeps me in this dreaded OS. I guess I should check Hannover at TAP to see if its usable.

Posted by Luiz Rocha on 2007-02-15

The problem is, most people just live with the Windows install that came with their computers, even as it inevitably wears itself out, making do with it as best as they can as it slowly gets ever less bearable, until finally it crosses a threshold so bad that they buy new hardware to start the cycle over. But they never install Windows themselves. For this contingent of users, and it’s a pretty large one, the rough install experience of Windows is irrelevant, whereas even the smooth install experience of modern Linux distros is a hurdle.

Posted by Aristotle Pagaltzis on 2007-02-15


That highlights a disparity when comparing Windows to Linux, in that Windows installs these days are customized by the hardware manufacturer, while Linux distributions have to prepare for any kind of hardware.

Posted by joe on 2007-02-15

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