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Windows Operating Systems Software

What Keeps You Off of Windows? 2071

J. J. Ramsey asks: "schnell has already asked the question What's Keeping You On Windows? It seems only fair to ask the opposite question. For those of you who have elected to not use Windows, what keeps you away from it? Concerns about stability? Security? Dislike of Microsoft's business practices? Or are you simply a fan of your chosen platform and just don't care about Windows one way or the other?" Might recent events sway your decision to keep Microsoft's premier software offering off of your computer?
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What Keeps You Off of Windows?

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  • by Quebec ( 35169 ) * on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @04:35PM (#9369802) Homepage
    What keeps me off Windows is mainly because I don't want to be
    locked-up in some savage immoral decommoditizing scheme.

    The practice of scrambling and obfuscating the standards to insure
    the failure of the competition is so much a threat to my eyes that
    losing some compatibility and some discutable features for not dealing
    with this is more then acceptable.

    Death to close source, death to DRMs, long live the Open Source.

    • Atari (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Nikademus ( 631739 ) <renaud&allard,it> on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @05:21PM (#9370640) Homepage
      Yes, I used atari from it's beginning.. I always disliked windows, which is user unfriendly and very buggy and unstable. At one time, I was kind of forced to use windows, cos linux was so primitive, and atari was a little bit underpowered for the time. So at about P1 133, I began using windows, without liking it much at all. When I saw there was an alternative that was customisable and useable graphically, I began to love linux.. Now I adhere to opensource philosophy. I must admit I used windows for 4 years or so, this was about the period I was nearly away from computing because I had not much interest in it. Now I use Linux and OpenBSD, and I have regained interest in computing as I am now working in IT...
      • Why not windows? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Rei ( 128717 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @07:09PM (#9371767) Homepage
        Well, lets see. Just this weekend, a friend decided that, since I'm their only computer literate friend, that I would be doing the tech stuff for their nonprofit artists co-op. ;) Well, in Windows, I could have paid tons of money for an NT license and paid for all of the different services I needed, and if I encountered a problem (if??), I'd have to call MS tech support.

        Instead, I tweaked my sendmail config, setup pop3, created them user accounts, made a simple cgi script to enable them to create more at will, installed and setup majordomo, created them a new directory for apache to serve, and didn't spend a dime. All they had to schill out was 10 bucks for the DNS. And the same weekend I setup a streaming radio station so I can listen to my home music at work, using icecast and mserv (ah, mserv... if only they'd iron out the bugs and make it easier to use...)

        That is what keeps me off Windows. I'm bloody cheap. ;) Every so often I have to use Windows, and almost always I run into the "I-Need-Some-Capability-But-I-Would-Have-To-Pay-Ex tra-For-It" scenario, and not only does it frustrate me, but it blows my mind.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @05:22PM (#9370659)
      • Being able to do a network boot (fully diskless workstation) served from a RAIDed fileserver over a gigabit LAN
      • Being able to tweak the system beyond belief
      • Having everything 'just work' once it's set up
      • My work environment is in Linux as well

      Notice that I haven't said anything about cost. In fact, I probably spend more per year on distro stuff than I would if using Windows.

      For many of us, Windows can't do what's required.

    • Wrong question? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by john82 ( 68332 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @05:55PM (#9371087)
      Rather than ask amongst Slashdot users "What keeps you off of Windows?", perhaps we should ask the rest of the computing public a much more interesting question.

      What keeps you off of Linux?

      The first question merely allows us to puff out our collective chests and bleat for the rest of the assmbled throng. Then we nod appreciatively at our confirmation of the "obvious". Tell it brother!

      But why don't more people use Linux or BSD (and their collective assortment of redheaded step-children)? What aren't we doing right that there isn't greater acknowlegement of the beneifts outlined in countless posts here. The question is not that far removed from the ease with which some snake oil salesman from the land of de Tocqueville is able to con the masses about Linux and Open Source.

      Open Source and Linux need a really good PR guru that can get our voice heard. A few shouts in the wilderness ain't doing the job.

      Then again, maybe we need to spend more time on improving this mouse trap so the world will beat a path to our door.
      • Re:Wrong question? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by SplendidIsolatn ( 468434 ) <> on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @10:23PM (#9373369)
        What keeps me off Linux, I'll tell you, and no, I'm not trying to put this off as flamebait.

        I have been a computer geek type since I was old enough to sit and type. I have been working with computers for over 20 years in one fashion or another, so while I might not be a guru on them, I know what I'm doing. So when I built my own computer in the fall of 2002, I decided to install Mandrake Linux (what was available at the store) to give it a whirl. Biggest mistake I ever made.

        First off, the 'easy' installation took me hours to do, then it decided to keep freezing once I got it running. Then one thing stopped working after another, and I was spending more time trying to figure out what was wrong than spending time using my computer. I deleted the installation, put Windows XP home on the PC, firewall, anti-spyware, hell, I'll even download firefox or something. My windows PC WORKS FOR ME AND DOES WHAT I NEED IT TO DO. Nothing anyone could say about Linux after my experience with Mandrake will change that. I have a working PC that maybe crashes once a month. I can live with that and buying WinXP rather than spending hours cruising through message boards to figure out why my modem drivers weren't working correctly (and yes, I had to do that)

        In short, Linux might be right for some people. For me and what I wanted, it was wrong, and I don't plan on going back. To the Linux zealots (not Linux users), add up the amount of time that you've spent having to 'tweak' something that you wouldn't have to do in Windows (and downloading patches doesn't count -- I do that while reading Slashdot). Multiply those hours by whatever dollar emount you choose and see what value you've had to spend on Linux. It's probably a lot less than an XP install.

        Sorry if this offends any Linux people, but my experience is my experience and I can't change it.

        • Re:Wrong question? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by debest ( 471937 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @11:33PM (#9373807)
          You're not wrong. Linux, as much as it is developing quickly (and it is, if you're feeling the urge just download a newer distro sometime and try it again), it still doesn't stand up to your criteria. You still have to hack with your system to a degree that Windows does not require.

          Your comment on the time required to tweak something is also spot on, in so far as these activities are generally rare in the Windows world. The tweaking, however, is *exactly* what most Linux users get a charge out of. Using an OS which is infinitely customizable, with dozens of options for most any type of application you can imagine, is appealing to many people (present company included).
  • I'm cheap... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ajiva ( 156759 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @04:35PM (#9369806)
    Personally I use Linux because its free, the software is free and it runs resonable on my Dual Celeron 500 vs Win2k which runs slower. That's why I do it
    • I'm easy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by veg ( 76076 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @04:48PM (#9370050) Homepage Journal
      I like an easy life. Free from Application errors, licence numbers, bugfix delays, unexplained crashes and unpredictability. Linux, BSD, Darwin and Inferno behave as they should, as one would expect, and according to the manual. If they don't, then it's a bug and it gets fixed.
      I like knowing my systems are going to stay up, and if they should ever fail, which in general they don't, I'd like to know they'll be fixed asap without me having to take the blame and pay.

      Open source makes the world a better place.
      • Re:I'm easy (Score:5, Insightful)

        by killjoe ( 766577 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @05:46PM (#9370986)
        I don't think you can understate the freedom of not having to keep license numbers handy.

        I work in a large corporation and we have to get requisitions for every purchase. If the requisition is for over $500 it has to go to further up the chain. If it's over a $1000.00 it has to go to the CIO!. It's a royal pain in the ass to get anything, it takes weeks sometimes and you have to fill out a ton of paperwork.

        If I need something I always look for an open source alternative first. No requisitions, no begging, no justifying why you want to spend $500 for some software, no hassles. Just go get it, if it does what you need then you are done. If it does not do what you need then you fill out the paperwork and try to get some piece of software approved and pray it works.
    • Hate Pirating (Score:5, Insightful)

      by magictongue ( 603212 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @05:01PM (#9370304)
      I would say that I'm cheap (or perhaps I just hate wasting money) and I don't believe in pirating software. Most people that I know who are loyally committed to Windows pirate a great deal of their software. It bothers me that someone would dismiss Linux and praise Windows but will not pay for Windows or Windows apps. Also, if a "free" application is just as good as a "non free" application its logical to pick the free version. Even when the "free' version is not as good it still makes sense to pick it if it meets your needs. Let face it, I eat more ground beef than filet mignon even though the filet mignon is better. It is simple economic logic. I bet if someone could end all pirating of software it would not be long before the majority of people where using Linux.
    • Re:I'm cheap... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by metlin ( 258108 ) * on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @05:09PM (#9370435) Journal

      And as a student, I can get almost all of the software that I want for free, without having to worry about shitty licenses or any other issues.

      More importantly, it gives me the ability to customize.

      If my task is CPU/memory intensive (graphics), I choose a very simple window manager. Am I working on boring stuff like writing documents? I choose a window manager with bells and whistles to entertain me while am at it.

      Do I have to repeat a task? All it takes for me is a simple two liner script to do it, while on Windows I almost always end up having to install Cygwin to do my tasks (do not give me the batch file crap, batch does not do regex or any of that stuff, nor can I pipe my outputs and inputs).

      And more than anything, I get to mess around with the system the way *I* please -- if I do not like the messages during bootup, I can change that. And if I do not like the look and feel of my system, I just change it - at the bare metal level.

      And another thing that pisses me off to no end in Windows is permissions. I have to be logged in as administrator to install the simplest of applications. WTF!? Whereas in Linux, I just get what I want and run (or sometimes compile and then run) the binary.

      And more than anything, I philosophically disagree with the way Microsoft works -- yeah yeah, it's business and all is fair yada yada yada. But still, their practices are not honourable, nor respectful. And for that reason, I try to stay off all Microsoft products :)
    • Re:I'm cheap... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cshark ( 673578 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @05:13PM (#9370505)
      I prefer Linux because I can do more with it.

      I like KDE better than Windows XP. It's a better desktop with more features that are easier to tweak and fix if something goes wrong.

      I'm starting to play with XFCE. I like that too.

      The command line actually has real unadulterated power under Linux!

      I like the fact that there isn't a central monolithic registry that can take the entire system down.

      I prefer Mozilla to IE. Always have.

      My kids like the games that come with KDE and GNOME. They're colorful and fun, and they whine when I tell them they have to use the XP box in the other room for homework.

      I like the fact that my nine year old can't break it... no matter how hard she tries...

      I like the fact that my wife can't install software on my desktop when she's not logged in as me.

      I like Linux because I never have to worry about the status of my license, or installing it on multiple machines.

      I like the fact that I can set up a grid or a series of thin clients throughout my house without much real work.

      I like the fact that my internet connection is faster under Linux than it was under Windows XP. It's a real kick. If you have both running side by side, try comparing them sometime.

      It's nice that Linux will run (granted with a little work) on my prehistoric 486dx2.

      It's nice that Linux doesn't have 19 system processes that report to the Microsoft mother-ship for no good reason at all, that can't be turned off.

      It's nice that there's so much useful documentation on Linux out there. No matter what problem I'm having, the Linux community has documented just about everything incredibly well. And they never ask how helpful they were when they were no help at all. That's nice too.

      Linus is slightly less evil than Gates.

      And the fact that it's free, or at least mostly free doesn't hurt either.
  • Consistency (Score:5, Funny)

    by swordboy ( 472941 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @04:35PM (#9369808) Journal
    I always stop my "Linux conversion" when I get to the point where I have to choose Gnome or KDE (or both).
  • by YankeeInExile ( 577704 ) * on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @04:35PM (#9369812) Homepage Journal

    Curiously, in the last year I have actually started using Windows for the first time.

    It has been the most difficult platform I have ever had to administer. Setting up even trivial network configurations is near impossible, with seemingly endless screens to move through, and very poor documentation.

    Tasks that are trivial under Unix, have thus far eluded me. I still don't know how to set up DNS under Win2K.

    Doesn't that sound like precisely the Why $FREE_UNIX_SYSTEM Can Never Succeed on the Desktop Argument? I am sure that Windows is no harder to administer than Unix. But I have fifteen years of Unix adminning experience, and zero Windows experience. To people who grew up on PC-DOS and Wintel, it is as intuitive for them as dd is to me.

    So, for everything that matters to me (writing, email, network infrastructure) I use the Sun. For everything that is trivial and fun (websurfing, chat) I use the Winblows box.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @04:44PM (#9369975)

      I still don't know how to set up DNS under Win2K.

      Did you try asking the dancing paperclip? He claims he has all the answers...

    • Tasks that are trivial under Unix, have thus far eluded me. I still don't know how to set up DNS under Win2K.

      "I know how to do it" does not equal "This is trivial."

      Setting up DNS on UNIX is quite complex. Whole books have been written on the subject.

      Setting up DNS on Windows Server is no more complex than it is on UNIX. Whether it's simpler is a matter for argument. Personally, I think it's much simpler. But at the very least, it's no more complex. Just different.

      But let's not talk about things like setting up DNS, a task that one person in a hundred thousand will have to do once every five years. Let's talk about things like sending and receiving instant messages.
    • by autopr0n ( 534291 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @04:49PM (#9370067) Homepage Journal
      Tasks that are trivial under Unix, have thus far eluded me. I still don't know how to set up DNS under Win2K.

      Are you using Win2k server or desktop? The desktop version has a DNS server. In fact I'm not sure if even the 'normal' server version has a built in DNS server.

      Setting up a DNS server in win2k3 enterprise server (which I got for free as a CS student, I'd never pay for a server OS) was very simple for me, much less of a pain then manually editing bind config files.

      The only real difficulty is that most of the standard barer OSS servers need to be downloaded and installed separately, while they come preinstalled on Linux. It can be annoying to find, download, and install Apache, MySQL, Postfix, etc.

      Honestly I find windows easier to administer, just because I'm more used to it. I prefer intuitive GUIs to text files for which you need to read gobs of documentation to figure out. The DNS server in windows is actually a good example of that. I was able to figure out how to configure everything I needed to do using just a few GUI screens. In contrast, I spent a few hours reading how to configure BIND when I used that.
    • Weird... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by rjstanford ( 69735 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @04:52PM (#9370140) Homepage Journal
      I'm a UNIX guy myself, but a few months ago we started co-locing a Windows server. The "Manage Your Server" program (under Start->Programs->Administrative) has to be one of the easiest things to use when you're not entirely sure what you want to do.

      I'm not talking raw power, or admining 50 boxen, something that you'd want someone who knows the ins and outs of the system for. I'm talking easy basic server administration looking for a "good enough" result.

      Even the individual server admin screens are pretty easy to follow. I needed to add a new virtual domain to IIS - something I can do to Apache in my sleep. Followed the linky to the admin page, right-clicked on the "Web Sites" folder, chose "New...". Entered a description, the folder, IP, port, etc. Chose the default "Read" permission.

      Did that take me longer to do that it would have done in Apache? Absolutely. Was it faster than it would have taken an IIS wizard to accomplish the same task? Almost certainly.

      It gets more interesting though - right click on the new website and choose "Properties." Hmm - performance. There's a checkbox/field to limit network bandwidth to this site. Cool. Not something that I need, but the exploratory nature revealed it and - I have to admit - I don't know how to accomplish the same task using Apache. I've never needed to, and I'm sure that I could figure it out with a lot of STFWing...

      But, for lone box / untrained admin situations, I have to say that Windows Server is surprisingly, even remarkably, easy to use.

      For this UNIX admin, anyway.

      Oh, and as for DNS - on that same program (which starts by default on your administrator account unless you've disabled it), you can choose "Add role" and then "DNS server" and be walked through the entire process. Just a thought.
    • by awkScooby ( 741257 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @05:07PM (#9370409)
      Tasks that are trivial under Unix, have thus far eluded me. I still don't know how to set up DNS under Win2K.

      What makes Windows even worse to administer is the non-standard way Microsoft implements standards. Try getting Windows to integrate into a mixed environment. Many times you'll have to choose between doing things the Microsoft way (in which case nobody else can play) or a standards compliant way.

      A quick example -- Microsoft doesn't implement IETF standard TSIG in their DNS implementation. So, your DDNS options are:

      1. Use MS DNS and workstations register using proprietary TSIG -- non-MS systems can't use DDNS
      2. Use MS DNS and have MS DHCP server make DDNS entries on workstations behalf
      3. Use non-MS DNS and TSIG from workstations -- MS systems can't use DDNS
      4. Use non-MS DNS and non-MS DHCP and have DHCP make DDNS entries on workstations behalf
      We're not talking about oddball protocols here. DNS is a pretty fundamental protocol for a functional Internet.

      I don't use Microsoft for DNS or DHCP because they don't work correctly. The protocols which they seem to get right I don't use either because in my experience it's just a matter of time until they make them incompatible.

    • by ortholattice ( 175065 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @05:17PM (#9370572)
      One specific example is installing a private certificate server. On Linux it essentially involves 3 CLI commands. On Windows 2000 it is a tortuous exercise in point-and-click. Here are the exact details:

      (sorry for this - I couldn't get it posted otherwise - even if I put this at the end) defeating1 lameness1 filter1 defeating2 lameness2 filter2 defeating3 lameness3 filter3 defeating4 lameness4 filter4 defeating5 lameness5 filter5 defeating6 lameness6 filter6 defeating7 lameness7 filter7 defeating8 lameness8 filter8 defeating9 lameness9 filter9 defeating10 lameness10 filter10 defeating11 lameness11 filter11 defeating12 lameness12 filter12 defeating13 lameness13 filter13 defeating14 lameness14 filter14 defeating15 lameness15 filter15 defeating16 lameness16 filter16 defeating17 lameness17 filter17 defeating18 lameness18 filter18 defeating19 lameness19 filter19 defeating20 lameness20 filter20 defeating21 lameness21 filter21 defeating22 lameness22 filter22 defeating23 lameness23 filter23 defeating24 lameness24 filter24 defeating25 lameness25 filter25 defeating26 lameness26 filter26 defeating27 lameness27 filter27 defeating28 lameness28 filter28 defeating29 lameness29 filter29 defeating30 lameness30 filter30 defeating31 lameness31 filter31 defeating32 lameness32 filter32 defeating33 lameness33 filter33 defeating34 lameness34 filter34 defeating35 lameness35 filter35 defeating36 lameness36 filter36 defeating37 lameness37 filter37 defeating38 lameness38 filter38 defeating39 lameness39 filter39 defeating40 lameness40 filter40 defeating41 lameness41 filter41 defeating42 lameness42 filter42 defeating43 lameness43 filter43 defeating44 lameness44 filter44 defeating45 lameness45 filter45 defeating46 lameness46 filter46 defeating47 lameness47 filter47 defeating48 lameness48 filter48 defeating49 lameness49 filter49 defeating50 lameness50 filter50 defeating51 lameness51 filter51 defeating52 lameness52 filter52 defeating53 lameness53 filter53 defeating54 lameness54 filter54 defeating55 lameness55 filter55 defeating56 lameness56 filter56 defeating57 lameness57 filter57 defeating58 lameness58 filter58 defeating59 lameness59 filter59 defeating60 lameness60 filter60 defeating61 lameness61 filter61 defeating62 lameness62 filter62 defeating63 lameness63 filter63 defeating64 lameness64 filter64 defeating65 lameness65 filter65 defeating66 lameness66 filter66 defeating67 lameness67 filter67 defeating68 lameness68 filter68 defeating69 lameness69 filter69 defeating70 lameness70 filter70 defeating71 lameness71 filter71 defeating72 lameness72 filter72 defeating73 lameness73 filter73 defeating74 lameness74 filter74 defeating75 lameness75 filter75 defeating76 lameness76 filter76 defeating77 lameness77 filter77 defeating78 lameness78 filter78 defeating79 lameness79 filter79 defeating80 lameness80 filter80 defeating81 lameness81 filter81 defeating82 lameness82 filter82 defeating83 lameness83 filter83 defeating84 lameness84 filter84 defeating85 lameness85 filter85 defeating86 lameness86 filter86 defeating87 lameness87 filter87 defeating88 lameness88 filter88 defeating89 lameness89 filter89 defeating90 lameness90 filter90 defeating91 lameness91 filter91 defeating92 lameness92 filter92 defeating93 lameness93 filter93 defeating94 lameness94 filter94 defeating95 lameness95 filter95 defeating96 lameness96 filter96 defeating97 lameness97 filter97 defeating98 lameness98 filter98 defeating99 lameness99 filter99 defeating100 lameness100 filter100

      Installing a private certificate server, Linux version:

      Edit /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf and change "<VirtualHost _default_:443>"
      to "<VirtualHost>"

      [root@dts conf]# cd /etc/httpd/conf/ssl.key
      [root@dts ssl.key]# openssl genrsa -out server.key 1024
      [root@dts ssl.key]# cd ../ssl.crt
      [root@dts ssl.crt]# openssl req -new -key ../ssl.key/server.key -x509 -out server.crt
      Country Name (2 letter code) [AU]:US
      State or Province Name (full name) [Some-State]:New York

  • The Cost (Score:4, Insightful)

    by blackhelicopter ( 193266 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @04:35PM (#9369817)
    It costs too much in buying it, maintaining it, getting new anti-virus software, fighting with it... I just don't have the money and more importantly time...
  • Sasser (Score:5, Funny)

    by awhelan ( 781773 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @04:35PM (#9369818) Homepage
    Sasser keeps me off windows... then I go back on and it restarts my computer within 10 minutes!
  • Quick (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @04:36PM (#9369825)
    Someone mod this article flamebait!
  • by Wellmont ( 737226 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @04:36PM (#9369830) Homepage
    The price, almost absolutely the is just to expensive to keep up with windows releases for a college student. Microsoft is really doing a disservice by selling software for hundreds of dollars and sometimes even thousands.
    • by fornaxsw ( 786473 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @04:51PM (#9370104)
      Since when do college students pay for software?
    • by KrispyKringle ( 672903 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @04:58PM (#9370254)
      This doesn't make a lot of sense to me. While my current desktop was custom-built, previously--and probably much of the time in the future--I bought and will buy machines from an OEM. It's simply faster, easier, and generally as cheap, if not cheaper (of course, with your own custom build, you get what you want, you know the components are good, and so forth). But I don't really enjoy hardware enough to get a thrill from building a machine.

      Anyway, when I get an OEM, I get Windows. Additionally, at my university, I can get Windows licenses for free (site license) with minimal hassle. So price is hardly a sticking point (of course, I have become used to free software enough that having to mess about with license authentication and so forth is still a big hassle).

      On top of that, I know literally nobody, I think, who does not pirate (other than myself). So if the vast majority of students are willing and able to get Windows for free, legally or not, why do some choose not to? Perhaps you are unwilling to pirate Windows, and I commend you, but likely it came with your computer (and if not, the educational version of XP is under $100).

      I personally use Linux, FreeBSD,and MacOS X because I prefer the environment. I've been working on Windows machines in the lab I work in, and it's painful. For development, I've heard VisualStudio is supposed to be great. But I'd say give me grep and Emacs any day. I've tried Cygwin. It's installed here. But it still just isn't really the same.

      I think security is my number one concern, but it's a concern with Linux, too. Despite the zealotry, Linux security is hard to do well. Sure, you don't have to worry about worms as much, but in all honesty if someone were deliberately aiming for my machine, can I be sure it would hold up? Probably not. That's not to say one can't do Linux security; by dint of being open source, I have a plethora of options like PaX, GRSec, and SELinux to choose from. But I don't personally think many Linux users are as ``secure by default'' as they might think.

      Stability might be a close second, but I've had some complaints with OS X (which I've only been using for a few months) and my experiences with WinXP show it to be a big improvement in that regard over previous versions.

      Familiarity, then, is what takes the cake. On a UNIX-ish system, I am at home. On Windows? ``Where can I find the button to do this?''

  • Last October I made the switch from Windows to Linux (SuSE 9.0) and
    haven't looked back. I was a long time Windows user and programmer
    (going all the way back to 3.0---just remember how great it was when
    3.11 came out!), but I'd grown tired of the bulk and cost of Windows.
    When Microsoft finally stabilized Windows with XP it was too little,
    too late.

    What keeps me going back to Windows is simply that I don't need to.
    Here I sit with

    0. A Unix command-shell that let's me do real work
    1. A perfectly nice GUI (I'm using GNOME)
    2. A stable web browser and email program (Firefox and Thunderbird)
    3. A good personal finance application (gnucash)
    4. Instant messaging (GAIM)
    5. Outlook compatibility (Evolution)
    6. A stable operating system that doesn't hide things from me
    7. Speed, such speed, compared to XP.
    8. No viruses, worms, and other crap targetting Windows
    9. Graphics editing (The GIMP)
    10. Multimedia (mplayer, XINE, etc.)
    11. Complete office suite (
    12. Built in firewall (iptables)
    13. A really cool spam filter/email sorter [] :-)

    Why would I go back?

    0. Windows costs $$$ to buy and they've got this evil registration scheme
    1. It seems like every week some worm or other would be able to take out my machine
    2. No freakin' idea what all these services and things are doing
    3. A web browser and other components integrated into the system like some sort of cancer.

    and bottom line

    5. Microsoft's software just isn't cool. It's like some pale imitation of cool software with just the minimum set of features to make the average Joe go "cool" while drooling into his beer.

    • by Gorath99 ( 746654 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @05:14PM (#9370521)
      Pretty much my story too. I've used MS since DOS3. Never really got into *nix, as for a long time I had no way to try it out (no internet) and once I did get a chance to try it out on a Solaris machine, I found it sorely disappointing (CDE annoyed the heck out of me and I didn't know any of the CLI commands).

      Then about 18 months ago I had to work on a Redhat desktop for a couple of months. I took some time to learn to use the CLI commands and eventually got hooked.

      When I installed Mandrake at home, I set the machine up to boot into Windows by default. After only two weeks or so I noticed that I pretty much always chose to boot linux instead, so that became the default. Stayed that way ever since.

      Why do I keep away from Windows? Two things mainly.

      1) Pretty much everything I do except playing games and making PowerPoint presentations ( is great, but Impress presentations don't always look perfect in PowerPoint, which I have to use for the actual presentation) can be done just as easily or more easily under linux.

      2) I'm in charge of linux. Linux doesn't try to dictate how I should use my computer. If I don't like the windows manager, I can choose another one. If I would like to have feature X in program Y, I can file a wishlist or make the modifications myself if I can. If I want to get rid of some program I dislike, linux won't try to stop me. Etc. etc.

      And of course the price is really nice too, but that's not as big a selling point to me as those other 2 points, since I can get cheap/free copies of Windows programs for most things that I need to do (student license for MS-Office, eclipse, JDK, MiKTeX, etc.)
  • by Space cowboy ( 13680 ) * on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @04:36PM (#9369840) Journal

    What makes me stick with Linux is the fact that when something does go wrong, there's a finite and small number of things that can generally cause the problem. I can quickly and easily narrow down what the problem is without having to understand the significance of lots of unrelated things. The 'everything is a file' mantra has some far-ranging consequences, at least IMHO, and it's the exceptions that cause most of the problems!

    It helps that it's very stable, it helps that most of the config files are in ASCII, and almost always commented. It helps that there's a tremendous resource (man) available about just about every command, and of course it helps that it can be learnt piecemeal to a large extent. The K&R book starts off saying that they don't think 'C' is easily taught using a big book, that the smaller concept-driven approach works better. I think the same thing applies to unix. I don't think the same thing applies to the Win32 API. Perhaps with .NET, I don't know...

    To a certain extent this preference comes from learning unix (linux) before Windows - I know more about Unix than Windows, and I like what I learnt. Unix is a programmers OS, written for them, by them. I'm at heart a programmer ergo I like Unix :-)

    The old adage, "Don't fix what isn't broken" comes to mind as well - Unix has served me well in various incarnations, most recently Linux. It's not broken yet...

    • by SuperQ ( 431 ) * on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @04:58PM (#9370246) Homepage
      I personaly started using computers with DOS 3. xt's and 286's were around at my dad's work, and I would just poke around with them, trying any command I could come up with. When we finaly got a computer at home, it came with windows 3.0, (and then 3.1 free upgrade) It took so long for my 386-33 to load up stuff in windows, i just gave up and went back to doing things from dos...

      Several years later, I started taking classes at the U of MN, and was given a free shell account on a sun system.. I didn't know anything about it, they provided a menu system that would get me to pine, tin, and gopher. There was a unix shell menu option, and I started playing with that, at first, I had no idea what was going on, becuase I was used to DOS. I finaly got a book that was "Unix for DOS users", and had a nice one-to-one table of commands, and some unix basics. I had no one around to really teach me any unix stuff, as everyone was using windows 3.1 and then 95. I eventualy got slackware of a local BBS.. and later on a friend ordered a slackware disk from walunt creek.

      after getting to college.. i just stoped using windows because if I left my PC in windows, I had to be in my dorm room to use it.. if I was using linux, I could telnet to it from computer labs all over campus and play with stuff while being social with all the geeks who didn't have their own computers.

      These days, I just don't have a use for windows.. all my work stuff is Linux, and I think the only windows software I have to use is for uploading music to my NetMD.
  • As a developer... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Pivot ( 4465 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @04:37PM (#9369842)
    I find myself much more productive in a Linux / Unix environment. Linux is just much more user friendly for me.
  • by Dimensio ( 311070 ) <darkstar.iglou@com> on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @04:37PM (#9369846)
    The only thing that I get with Windows XP that is of any use to me is greater compatability with games.

    I find Linux to be much more useful in that I have a lot of free tools at my disposal just from the stuff included in the default install (Debian testing user here). KDE has a built-in free newsreader, there are a lot more useful command-line utilities (Windows has no builtin WHOIS lookup utility) and overall I prefer the aesthetics of the interface (both the GUI, which is far more customizable than in Windows, and the command line).

    Most of it is a matter of personal preference, but the free and fast availability of easier-to-use utilities (apt-get install vs looking for a website that has a Windows utility that matches what I want) gives Linux a greater edge.
  • Legal Software (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kinzillah ( 662884 ) <> on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @04:40PM (#9369884)
    I was tired of pirating software I couldn't afford. Open source software is largely gratis.
  • by drgonzo59 ( 747139 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @04:41PM (#9369903)
    Among the obvious reasons such as security and stability I also like the usability aspect of linux. I know, I know, Bash me all you want. For me, Linux is more user friendly than Windows. I like the command line, the config files in plain text that I can edit, and the choice of window managers (I use BlackBox, I like its simplicity). As someone said, "the only intuitive interface is the nipple, everything else is learned" most people consider Windows user friendly because they were trained to use only windows.
  • No reason to move (Score:5, Interesting)

    by microcars ( 708223 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @04:41PM (#9369907) Homepage
    There is no practical reason for me to move TO Windows.

    I am not losing income because I am not using Windows

    There is no software that I need (yet) that is Windows-only

    I'll leave the posts about viruses, worms and trojans for others to comment on.

  • Control (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Khazunga ( 176423 ) * on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @04:41PM (#9369911)
    Thinking about it, the word Control sums it up. I keep on Linux, because I know what the system is doing, why it is doing it, and I can fix it if my setup doesn't behave. Every one of my windows boxes degrades over time, and I have no idea why. Before I switched, I'd love the feel of a freshly installed windows box: snappy, clean, everything in place. Now, my linux install keeps on and on feeling like the day I installed it: fast, predictable, secure.

    So, I keep on Linux, because I like retaining control over my computer.

  • by DrRobert ( 179090 ) * <> on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @04:42PM (#9369923) Homepage
    It never even occurred to me to get windows. I have never needed anything that only windows offers. My linux box did everything I needed and now the mac does. There is simply no reason to use windows especially considering the cost, licensing issues, and all the invasive and obnoxious phoning home that MS products do.

    I had to use windows when trying to continue the work of another student in graduate school and that little escapade probably added a year to my Ph.D. I could run the same code on the mac, ibm workstations, the linux boxes, but I would have to stop and rewrite everything for windows... stupid.
  • by artlu ( 265391 ) <artlu AT artlu DOT net> on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @04:42PM (#9369936) Homepage Journal
    I am a hardcore Mac user back from the old days, but I gave up on Apple for a few years. OS Lineage for me: Mac->Win3.1->Win98->Debian->Debian->XP->OSX. However, my mac is not perfect and some mundane CPU intensive tasks such as Stock Streamers, just run better on XP. Recently, I got the sasser virus on my XP laptop before I knew what it was, and then, I did a clean install. Because of work (Oracle Programming and Stock Stuff), I am still forced to use windows, but at home, my windows laptop is never even touched.

    On the other hand, if you look at Microsoft Software as a whole, there are some great applications. I absolutely love the new office for OSX, and microsoft Project for windows has virtually no competition - even from Oracle. Truly, XP has come a long way from the 98SE crash fest, but the fact that Microsoft leaves the systems wide open is never good.

    Im not an M$ fan, but you have to admit, that if they get their act together, we could be in for some trouble. Even from my OSX world.

    On a side note, I want to plug a new site that I just made live. If you are interested in Day trading or the stock market check it out: Group [].

  • by ( 637314 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @04:42PM (#9369937) Homepage Journal
    Ok, the reason I use Linux primarily [at home] is just the options it provides (for free).

    - Evolution for getting all of my personal mail and OO-ximian for all of my office needs (very simple at home).
    - Gentoo to compile and make my old hardware still useful
    - Less chance for viri/worms and it's easier to see what's going on, or what was installed. Same goes for adware and spyware.
    - Theme options are much better, much more choices and all for free. All windows themes require clunky third party packages that are slow, and some of them cost money (i.e. the ones you would really want to use).

    For a development environment, I don't see a big difference other then that Linux is our production system and developing on Windows just means more testing. There are some nice development tools, but work won't even pay for them so that's not a reason to use linux over windows (or vise versa).

    At work, I do use Windows -- because everyone else does, and every time I try to switch (OO, ximian connector, etc).... there are always little wrinkles that I don't have time to deal with. At home, I have more flexibility.

    Oh yes, I also now use Xbox for all my gaming so I don't care if linux game support isn't that great.
  • by h4rm0ny ( 722443 ) * on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @04:43PM (#9369944) Journal

    I stay off Windows where possible, because it is better for society to have a strong competitor to Microsoft. Without the choice of other OS's Windows would be a poorer and more expensive product.

    Furthermore, OSS ensures greater trust is possible. We can verify the source code. With Microsoft, we cannot do this and without a strong competitor they would have less incentive to keep things clean.

    I use Linux, in short, because it prevents too much power accumulating with one small group.

    Also, it's free and more versatile.
  • Several reasons (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @04:44PM (#9369962) Homepage
    1) Price 2) Viruses that target it 3) Bugs that they delay fixing 4) Anger at their arrogance and refusal to support a company that mistreats their customers 5) Less Hangs on Apple/Linux
  • OS X (Score:5, Interesting)

    by minus_273 ( 174041 ) <> on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @04:44PM (#9369963) Journal
    OS X is cheaper, more stable, more secure, runs all the really importants apps (office, photoshop, quicken etc), has tons or fantastic apple apps, has wonderful hardware support and best of all it can run almost any linux app as long as it is not hardware dependent. Oh and PPC emulates Intel very nicely. :-p
  • It's simple (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Tarantolato ( 760537 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @04:45PM (#9370000) Journal
    I don't feel like I should have to pay a bunch of cash to some a-hole in Oregon or wherever just so I can use my own goddamn computer that I paid my own goddamn good money for.

    I have no particular ill-will towards Microsoft. I'm just not gonna give them a goddamn penny. (Nor are most people; most people I know just pirate XP).

    That's one reason. The other is that I feel boxed in on modern Windows systems. You can't do shit. I used to get the same feelings from Macs, which is why I used DOS back in the day.

    Having worked in tech support I can see the value of desktop lockdown; but it should be a possibility, not the only way.
  • No usable shell. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mo ( 2873 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @04:47PM (#9370033)
    I'm doing a lot of network debugging and the lack of a proper command line is just infuriating. For example, I've got a laptop with two ethernet ports that I plug into various machines to sniff traffic and test network configs with commands like:
    ifconfig eth0
    route add default gw
    ifconfig eth1 up promisc
    tethereal -i eth1
    dhclient eth0
    httpd -X &
    echo -ne "GET / HTTP/1.0\r\n\r\n" | nc localhost 80
    Now, granted this stuff can all be done on windows (and a lot of the commands are ported to windows) but a lot of it requires clicking into random dialog boxes. It's so much faster to hit control-r 'dhcli' and get a previous command, or even roll a few common sequences into a shell script (or a one-liner that I just hold in the history buffer). Perhaps this is just my ignorance of windows command-line abilities (it seems everything I want to do on windows is done by the 'net' command for some reason), but there's just so much more depth with a real unix shell.
  • by Foofoobar ( 318279 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @04:50PM (#9370085)
    - lack of cross platform compatibility
    - OS lockin through products or development languages (SQL Server, C#, etc)
    - poor security
    - poor stability
    - code bloat/ excessive functionality
    - lack of choice; choices are forced down your throat on install
    - no built in firewall or other security features
    - closed environment that cannot be modified
    - want to do everything for you

    I like choice and Microsoft doesn't. That's pretty much it.
  • by digitalgimpus ( 468277 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @04:54PM (#9370178) Homepage
    My reasons:

    - Slow bloated feel
    - Awkward UI
    - Buggy
    - Insecure, always virus concerns
    - Expensive
    - Everything takes 10 clicks.

    Mac OS X showed me how great an OS can feel
    - Smooth slim feel
    - UI feels right (can't explain it much better than that)
    - never crashed
    - software update is nice and elequent, pretty secure.
    - inexpensive ($129 isn't to bad)
    - minimal clicks.

    Overall: Higher quality, gets my vote every time. Windows is just an inferior product.
  • by dgallina ( 665193 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @04:56PM (#9370204)

    * Windows isn't as elegant and pleasant to use as other alternatives.

    * Windows isn't as well integrated (hardware / software / OS) as alternatives.

    * Windows (and some other OS') make me work on the OS before I can get to doing what I'm *actually* trying to accomplish.

    * Windows makes me spend significantly more time on patching & security compared with alternatives.

    I *do* use Windows2000 / XP / 2003 daily at work, and can say with certainty that it's more effort to manage by comparison.

  • speed in linux? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Siniset ( 615925 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @04:57PM (#9370226) Homepage Journal
    This is a question to all those who use linux because it's faster than Windows. I personally like Linux better myself, but I have to ask people, why do they think that linux is faster than windows. If you're doing command line stuff, yeah, that runs a lot quicker, but I've found for most gui stuff, linux runs noticably slower.

    I usually run KDE or GNOME (neither one seems to really have a speed advantage on the other) and sometimes XFCE (which does seem a little bit faster) on Fedora Core 1 and Mandrake 10.0 but running the same program (Open or Mozilla) it definitely runs slower in Linux. This is noticible both on my Athlon XP 2400 and my 450 Mhz laptop. Just basic things about the GUI seem to run slower (moving windows, etc).

    Am I missing something here? Should I be messing more with the configurations? Are people who talk about the speed of linux using blackbox without any eye candy whatsoever? I know this is slightly off-topic, but I'll tell ya, the speed issue makes me more likely to start up Windows instead of Linux, and I'm wondering why people say linux is faster.

  • SansMS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ralph Spoilsport ( 673134 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @05:04PM (#9370345) Journal
    I use Apple computers and I have a presently non-functioning SUSE Linux box that I am nursing back into health (drive crash, then a video card failure - it used to be a RadioShack Compaq running WinME, so it'll be a while before it's working up to snuff...)

    Why do I avoid MS?

    Because I never had to submit to the Borg in the first place. My background is in graphic design and type design, and all the cool stuff in that little world was on the Mac OS, so I never had to get a Windows Machine. I *did* have to aquaint myself to the Borg Mind that is Windows, and when I was doing technical support in the late 1990s, I had to get *really* good at it (win3.1, 95, 98, NT). Everytime I found myself in the depths of the living pit of despair and mediocrity that is Windows, my love for that which is not MS only grew.

    I still think the MacOS, specifically OSX, is superior to Linux, but I am also fairly well convinced that Linux OSs will be of comparable quality and ease of use in less than 5 years. Once the apps on Linux get GUIs worth using and looking at (which I also believe will be in the next 5 years), then Apple will have an interesting dilemma, but not half as interesting as what MS will face in the next few years in trying to get the travesty that is Longhorn out the door.

    At first, I detested Windows because of its instability. Look at it sideways and the BSOD would come visit. Woof. MacOS v7 - 9 wasn't any prize for stability, but it did improve over time, and would often fail in a less spectacular way. Linux has always (to me) been more stable than either, except for OSX.

    Another thing I dislike about Windows is its gamma. Looking into a windows machine is a dim and dingy thing compared to Apple. (I wish Linux were brighter as well...) And the OS has always been cumbersome, ugly and just plain nasty. Remember IRQs? What a load that was - just to hook up a freaking scanner or install a CD drive was often a nightmare in Windows.

    So, let's see- it was ugly (still is, IMHO), unstable, unfriendly, and owned by a rapacious monopolistic enterprise run by an autistic geek [] and Monkey Boy. [] It's an insecure system in continuous need of updating [], it's the source of continuous viruses and worms because of the Swiss Cheese nature of the OS and VB.

    What exactly is there to BRING me to Windows? So I can trade .doc files with every other office drone?

    So: that's why I don't use Windows. It's Just Not Worth The Hassle.


  • by Anonvmous Coward ( 589068 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @05:36PM (#9370845)
    Okay, I'm a Windows user who somehow got a magic computer that runs it just fine. I'm more or less happy. I'm productive. Maintaining it hasn't been a problem. Stability hasn't been a problem. All my software works. I can do my job. Etc. I kind of thought some of you would find hearing from somebody with this experience kind of interesting. I can't answer the question "What's keeping me from Windows", but I can answer "Why would I want to leave?" Simply put, as my work load goes up, my time to tinker with computers goes down. I have reached a point where endlessly tweaking everything I've got is no longer fun. I've got my basic needs, now I want a appliance-esque machine that's ready to go and never need configuring.

    So where do I want to go? Not Linux. Sorry folks, too much tinkering and looking up how to do basic things. I've tried, lots and lots of times. Instead, I'd rather go Apple. I can go buy an Apple laptop right now, have everything ready to go, and get just about all the software I want to run for it. No more Windows rot. Installation of new toys such as iPods or wireless routers etc is painless. The stand by mode doesn't rot over time. I could keep going.

    Windows is working just fine for me. But I am sick of being paranoid about making backups. I am sick of knowing I have to reinstall Windows every 6 months or so. On top of all that, I'm tired of explaining to people that I don't have the problems they've had. Most of all, I'm tired of going into over-analytical mode when the minutist thing happens.

    Windows isn't the worst thing in the world to me by any stretch of the imagination. Moving to Apple would be a nice luxurious move for me. I can't really say that I'm being forced in that direction, though. Maybe one day the Linux community will figure out that usability really is an interseting aspect to pursue and I'll be able to be more 'luxurious' for free.
  • branding (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jcupitt65 ( 68879 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @05:38PM (#9370871)

    One of the things that annoys me about windows is that your machine becomes part of a very open and highly competitive marketplace. Every application you install wants to take over as much of your space as it can, and does its best to elbow out any competing applications.

    For example, my Mum has an XP machine. She has a flatbed Epson scanner, but her Lexmark printer can scan too. Plus I got her a Canon digital camera. If you install the bundled software that comes with all these products (and you have to install at least part of all of them) your machine is a total pickle. Sometimes images pop up in one application, sometimes in another. They fight over who is going to control the printer. They all have a simple image editor, these editors are all completely different, and worst of all, they all have elaborate skins to emphasise their branding. The Canon one was the worst: my Mum is 70 and has trouble reading buttons where the button text is a fixed size rather small bitmap in an unreadable "futuristic" font and is (wait for it) dark grey on mid grey. In fact even working out which bits of the screen are buttons and which are decoration can be pretty challenging.

    By contrast Macs are a delight to use because (almost) the only software available is made by Apple and actually (gasp) cooperates. And Linux, erm, well it's not a delight to use, but if you enjoy tinkering it can be OK, and at least most projects try to rub along discreetly.

  • UNIX Command line (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hyperbolix ( 214002 ) <hyperbolix AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @05:39PM (#9370887) Homepage Journal
    Having worked for an ISP for some time now, I have grown accustomed to using vim, sed, awk, grep, and a variety of other tools. I utilize command shells for practically everything (force of habit,) and I am actually more error prone in a drag/drop environment than using a command line. I'm extremely unhappy with the quality of the Windows 'cmd' command line interface. At this point, the only use I have for Windows is to play the everpopular first person shooters, for which I dual boot. I dislike the lack of remote control in windows. I'd really like to be able to SSH in and do everything from a command prompt that I could do with the normal interface, but the Windows XP Telnet interface is crippling. There is something quite inflexible about Windows, and I find it disturbing. When I leave home, I must check to make sure my dual booting system is running in Linux (the default,) or I won't be able to access it from elsewhere. Diverse filesystem access is also lacking, as I can access my NTFS partition read-only from Linux, but I cannot access my EXT3 partition at all from Windows. I think that just about sums it up.
  • by bryanthompson ( 627923 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [orbsnagol]> on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @05:39PM (#9370889) Homepage Journal
    I've been off of windows for 3 years. I have 3 Redhat machines and just bought a PowerBook last week. The main reason for me to not swtich from Windows was that I couldn't give up all of the games. These days I have one windows machine that I use for Battlefield.

    The main thing keeping me from going back to windows is that I realize that I don't need windows to do what I want. I'm happy coding java in vim and NOT having lockups. The alternative software is getting better, and for most everyone OpenOffice or AbiWord will do whatever they want. Evolution is one of the best email apps I've used, except for now. But, it's just that I know I don't have to use windows that's keeping me away from it.

    I bet there's a lot of people here who would seriously switch completely to Mac or Linux if they could give up their games, or get different games. Frozen Bubble is only really entertaining for the first few weeks. As far as doing real work like websites and java, anything BUT windows is the way to go.
  • I'm trying... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by coene ( 554338 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @06:21PM (#9371320)
    I would love to stop using Windows. Problem is, I can't - on my desktop at least (15/17 servers run Open/FreeBSD).

    There are some simple reasons why the desktop switch won't work for me:

    1) Application Support!

    The work I do fits into 2 categories, artistic/creative and technical - mainly for the web, homebrew intranet apps, and the oddball video production.

    I need Photoshop (Gimp, while mature, is not a good replacement). I need Premiere. I need IE (for testing purposes, I swear!).

    I need to be able to encode to Windows Media A/V formats (the best in streaming for 90% of any web author's target audience - Quicktime doesn't have the install base, and Real is... well Real is Real!)

    2) Game Support

    While I don't play games much for Leisure, I do need them for work (

    If they would all run under Wine easily, legally, and the first time without and screwing around, I'd be game in this dept - but they dont, and therefore I'm not. There's been a lot of progress here, but there are those of us who can't spend hours to get a game running.

    3) Desktop Support

    No matter how much I try, I still can't get used to KDE/GNOME. It's not that I'm adverse to using something without a start button (haha.. well, nevermind that in this case) - I love OS X, but the feel that KDE and Gnome exhibit is, well, a bit rough around the edges. Not to mention the problem of having to choose one and live with all of the repercussions of not being in the other.

    In my opinion (as the average user), here's what Linux/BSD needs to be king of the desktop:

    1) A standardized UI/API that the developers can get behind. Sorry, but someone has to champion this thing. Microsoft is GREAT at getting developers behind their UI design choices, KDE/GNOME haven't done so well. Apps need to feel right to all users regardless of settings, etc.

    2) Commercial software developers have to have reasons to port their software. I don't have the answers here, but 9/10 software companies won't devote the engineering resources to port software unless they see the money in it. I think that one real shot here may be to work through distributors/VAR's to put the pressure on here, and show the sales potential (hopefully it exists).

    3) DirectX. Native. OpenGL (and other fringe, unrelated libraries) are no longer useful. DirectX is the platform, and rightly so - it's the best out there. Linux needs it in the worst way, and having it would make porting games incredibly easy. Not to mention that many multimedia related desktop apps are using DX components too!

    4) Developer Environment and tools support. Linux/BSD are doing well here. Eclipse is where it's at, everyone should rally around it with the proper plugins to make a fully universal IDE. It works on Windows, perfectly. It will allow more Windows developers to work at porting their software to other systems, because they can jump right in without re-learning the tools and techniques.

    That's about all I have, but there's a long way to go. We're making good progress though.

    One important note, Linux doesn't have to have a 70% desktop share to win, not even close. What does need to happen, is for MS share to drop significantly. If MS were to drop to around 50% of the market (with Apple, Linux, BSD, WHATEVER!! eating up the rest), it will force developers to port software, OR it will force developers to standardize their users on a single platform. While the 2nd will be messy, it will make them consider what platform to standardize on. Linux does have a lower TCO in most situations, hopefully by that point the masses will be more educated about it's requirements, and the do's and dont's.

    Anywho, I can't leave Windows yet. Soon maybe?
  • by javaxman ( 705658 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @07:56PM (#9372203) Journal
    1) Stability.
    I have a windows machine. It just stopped booting one day. I couldn't get it going again without re-installing the OS. It's done this before. So I stopped using the windows machine, even after taking the time to re-install the system. I still have a mess of drivers I need to install to get the thing working right again, but why bother ?
    2) Windows XP broke a chunk of win32 app compatability. I don't feel like buying new versions of those apps, or paying for XP, for that matter. Microsofts' inclination towards per-machine licenses and subscription-based licenses are spooky, too. I'd like to keep my costs down once making a hardware/software purchase.
    3) Windows has improved in ease-of-use, but it's still a patchwork of utilities in many ( most ) ways, and there is a bare minimum of inter-application conformity and support.
    4) Unlike many people, I want a computer system I can program without spending a lot of cash for a set of libraries and compiler.
    5) It's not my first consideration, but the business practices of Microsoft make my stomach churn. I'd like to see at least a _few_ viable software companies out there, rather than one monopoly.

    That said, (1) stability is my main reason. If my PC had never hosed itself to the point of requiring a system restore, I'd still be using it at least occasionally.

    As it is, I've gone on to OS X with the purchase of a flat-panel iMac, and I haven't looked back... programming Objective-C with a powerful, freely provided IDE beats the hell out of Visual Studio .NET... a *free* ADC account beats the hell out of MS developer program prices. Most apps I need ( and some I just want ) come for free with the machine, which is bundled with a complete OS. The machine is so easy to use, my two-year-old navigates the desktop, web browser, and filesystem. It's easy enough to admin that I've been able to provide him with an account that he can't screw up.
  • by Allnighterking ( 74212 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @10:25PM (#9373380) Homepage
    Ok I hit the wrong button (dumb dumb dumb)
    Myr reasons for avoiding windows.
    1. Poor quality of UI.
    2. Inconsistant UI
    3. Age of the technology
    4. Number of security holes
    5. Lack of applications (Ok the big names are here but the range of applications and things I can do are really small.)
    6. Spend more time getting things to work, vs time working to get things done.
    7. Two words, Memory Hog
    8. Slow as molasses.
    9. Poor interoperability with other OS's
    10. Poor interoperablility with Windows OS's
    11. Poor networking ability.
    12. Too many things done autmagically that I can't control or turn off.
    13. Too many decisions made by Bill as to what I want.
    14. Controls and commands that do what they want despite what is claimed or I want.
    15. Preponderance of ancient technology. (IE and Outlook for example)
    16. Lack of knowledgeable support (it costs more to get to your problem, than it does to solve your problem. (Yes my monitor is turned on, how does this make Outlook crash?))
    17. High cost of hardware. (I have to replace to keep running, not replace when EOL is reached.)
    18. I don't like renting software. (or cars, or clothing, or or or.)
    19. Lack of configurability.
    20. I don't like communism and I don't like M$ for the same reasons.
    21. Poor inter application communication.
    22. Did I mention that it is butt ugly?
    23. I'm sick and tired of Blue and Grey.
    24. Poor language support. (If it ain't MFC or C# they don't want it to work.)
    25. Forced upgrades.
    26. Gates and Balmer support the shrub
    27. Lack of control of what my computer is doing.
    28. Poor Quality control
    29. One size does not fit all (are you listening RH?)
    30. Because applications install and run like leaches hanging on a hikers leg memory control is lacking.
    31. No true multi-user environment.
    32. Poor multi-tasking support.
    33. Poor or no documentation of commands available.
    34. Poor Double Byte and Unicode support
    35. Poor Memory management.
    36. And on and on and on and on and on.
  • by belmolis ( 702863 ) <billposer AT alum DOT mit DOT edu> on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @11:34PM (#9373813) Homepage

    I started using Unix in 1982 and have found it preferable to everything else I've encountered. I have always had Unix available at work, and since I first installed GNU/Linux in 1995, I've had it on my personal machines as well. So basically I've only used MS Windows (and before it, MS/DOS) on personal machines before I knew about Linux, and occasionally when I have used somebody else's machine or had to write something in MS Word or something like that.

    Unix gave me a powerful, flexible system. The command-line is much more powerful than a GUI, with history, aliasing, shell scripts, file globbing, completion, shell variables, loops, and i/o redirection. The Unix philosophy of combining lots of little programs each of which does one job well is extremely powerful. The programming environment is superior, as are many of the individual tools, such as emacs and awk. X Windows from the outset was vastly superior to MS Windows, both because it ran over the network and in its configurability and lack of idiotic restrictions. As I recall, until fairly recently in MS Windows child windows were constrained to be positioned within the parent. Awful! All in all, I have always found Unix to be more powerful and flexible and generally easier to use.

    The superiority of Unix documentation is also important. The five volume BSD manual set may not have been as easy going as "Windows for Dummies", but it provided the information I needed to do my work. The various books on Unix internals and programming, starting with the Lyons book, provided real insight that was impossible to get for MS Windows. Most of the time I also had the source, first with BSD, then with GNU/Linux, which both provided the ultimate documentation and allowed me to make modifications.

    Being used to a stable and practically bug-free system, I was simply appalled when I discovered how unstable and buggy MS Windows was.

    An added attraction of GNU/Linux is the associated community and the ideals of the FLOSS movement. Naturally, there is no such attraction to Microsoft. (I should note that merely being commercial and proprietary doesn't necessarily turn me or other people off. I'm sure that Im not alone in having fond memories of DEC, a company which we felt was on the side of technical people and willing to work with us. For example, when the Microvax came out, our DEC rep gave me a copy of the architecture manual. When a senior researcher from Xerox PARC saw it on my desk, he commented that he, a senior Xerox employee, could only get access to the comparable Xerox manuals on a need-to-know basis.)

    Microsoft's disgusting monopolistic behaviour has certainly added to my unwillingness to use Microsoft products, but that is a relatively recent development and just adds to my long-standing technical dislike for MS Windows.

I am more bored than you could ever possibly be. Go back to work.