Returning to Windows after 15+ Years

Recently, Jason Hiner of Tech Republic posted an article on his blog saying that he was moving away from Windows and is now using Ubuntu Linux as his desktop PC’s primary OS (Operating System), with Windows 7 running in a VM (Virtual Machine).  This is basically the way I’d had my desktop machine running for the past 5 years or so; before that I was running a dual-boot system with Linux as the default and Windows available when I needed it.  Before that (sometime in the early- to mid-90’s), I was using IBM’s OS/2 – but that’s a story for another blog post when I get some free time (don’t hold your breath, though; I don’t anticipate having any free time in the near future).

Well, I’ve finally given up on Linux on the Desktop and returned to using Windows as my primary desktop OS (Operating System).  My wife recently switched from Ubuntu Linux to Windows 7 – see my blog post titled “The Failed Linux Desktop Migration Effort” – and my reason for switching is the same as hers: frustration.   I was basically tired of swimming upstream trying to get various distributions (mostly Ubuntu, Debian, and OpenSUSE) to fully utilize my graphics card, recognize my on-board audio hardware, consistently print correctly to my HP Officejet 7410 All-in-One, play Flash video, etc.  And don’t get me started on trying to run Linux on the several laptops I’ve owned.  Yes, Linux has come a long way, and most of what I need to do (probably over 90%) is easily done on any of the modern Linux desktop distros; however, that last 10% or so just finally got to be too much hassle.  I was spending way too much time chasing drivers or using Windows in a VirtualBox VM and too little time doing useful work.

I considered switching to Mac OSX, but to do that legally I’d have to buy Mac hardware, which seems very nice but is, in my opinion, overpriced.  If I could buy a copy of OSX and legally install it on commodity PCs or my own hand-build PCs, I’d do that in a heartbeat.  Alas, that is not an option.

So I’m left with Windows.  While it still has flaws, and I’m still nervous about malware (malicious software) infections, with the release of Windows 7 Microsoft has made enough progress toward a usable, stable, and defensible OS that I’m pretty comfortable using it on a daily basis as my primary desktop system.

PS: I’m still using Linux on my servers, where it continues to shine…

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Andy Anderson

Andy Anderson

The Information Technology "Renaissance Man." With a formal education in Computer Science and over 33 years of professional experience, Andy lived through the personal computing revolution and into the Internet Era. While still providing and managing mainstream commercial products, he now specializes in applying Open Source solutions and virtualization technology to small business IT issues.

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