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Ok, seriously, why Windows?

I'm trying to anti-troll here.  I stopped using windows as my primary OS circa 1997, and have moved to hybrid uses of Mac OS X and Linux (one for desktop, one for server work).  I've been exposed to the dirty, vile, most horrible opinions of windows, and I'm sure they're not really fair.

OTOH, I swear that most of them are true when I try to use a windows machine for any real work.

So, please, someone tell me some good reasons to use Windows.  I'm trying to even out my biases.

The ones I already know are those based around its popularity: "it's the standard," "everything works on it," etc.  I understand that one pretty well.  IMHO, it doesn't imply any merit to the operating system, just the business sense of MS (which I do respect).

H. Lally Singh
Friday, November 14, 2003

It just works. With the minimum of fuss.

John Topley (www.johntopley.com)
Friday, November 14, 2003

Windows has the most good software.

The people we sell our software to all use windows.

Mr Jack
Friday, November 14, 2003

Two words: good games. At least that's why my home machine is running Windows. That, and a stupid USB keyboard that I can't get to work with any Linux distro (not even Knoppix) or *BSD.

Any other application has good counterparts in the OSS world.

ice
Friday, November 14, 2003

Extremely easy to find and install apps when I need them.

Nola
Friday, November 14, 2003

I'm a developer. The extent to which Microsoft supports developers is unmatched - there's no equivalent of MSDN anywhere. The tools are top-notch - unless you subscribe to alt.religion.emacs, there's no IDE like Visual Studio.NET (and don't even mention Eclipse - desktop Java applications are a joke, a bad one).

I'm a user. I like it because it Just Works. Try plugging a cutting-edge digital camera into Knoppix/Red Carpet/Lindows and getting your files after 5 sec of "new hardware detected... installing drivers." the first time and 0 sec the next times.

After 10 years of Windows, the UI has grown on me. I feel in alien land on a Mac or on a desktop Linux - the mouse moves not like I expect it to, the dialog buttons are in different places, the shell is weird (on a Mac, at least - Linux desktops are more or less "sincere flatteries" of Windows Explorer).

Windows XP is rock-solid (which it once wasn't). My work machine, which gets really heavy usage - normal development work, installing new applications, building daily builds (thats several gigabytes of data), even playing games - has an uptime measured in weeks, limited by hardware changes and power outages, not software failures.

I'm cheap and I use more than three applications - so Macs are out of the question for me.

I'm a gamer, and practically all PC (vs. console) games run on Windows, often much better than on other platforms.

Phoenix
Friday, November 14, 2003

Visual Studio, WTL.

Nick
Friday, November 14, 2003

Phoenix - all I can say is that you should try Eclipse again. And recent Linuxes (I heard many wonderful stories about SuSE ability to detect even the most arcane hardware, that XP gives up on. Personally, Knoppix and the oldest RedHats I've tried both detect all my hardware - Win2K doesn't).

You'd be surprised.

Why windows? Well, inertia, mostly -- everyone's already using it, so alternatives have to win on many fronts at the same time (not just price; not just usability; not just compatibility, ....) to get people to switch.

And of course, there's Microsoft's sales and marketing tactics, which make wonderful business sense (and you should be aware, were found to be an antitrust violation by the US court).

Ori Berger
Friday, November 14, 2003

you're using linux, well, let all us using lethal windows.

you can also driving a Ford T model, because this works today (you know: 4 wheels and so on), but, sure, you're using another "better and modern" car...

simply, if Mac/Linux are the best why is not anywhere in the desktops?
if really Linux is so great and so inexpensive, all these big companies with thousands of PC are fools, they can change to linux and save a lot of money and problems, maybe then they don't need to send work to india in order to same the money..

maybe Linux is nice for some experienced peoples, some evangelist anti-microsoft peoples, but the normal people using day-to-day operations are different.

i've a better choice for runnint the core business applications: the best server is IBM iSeries 400, but with plenty of windows desktops running mail, web, access to core applications, mixing with other windows applications, and, maybe an Linux Server (running into the AS/400 box) with firewall or some other not-so-important application.

each plattform have some niche, only the windows niche is greather, and here in where our customers live.

Guillermo
Friday, November 14, 2003

sorry, I need to improve my "english", and JOS needs an spell auto correct.

some same are "save"...

Guillermo
Friday, November 14, 2003

I can tell you the exact reason I stopped using windows.  Product Activation.  They don't need my personal information.  Instead of preventing piracy, they drove me away from their software.

saberworks
Friday, November 14, 2003

>I can tell you the exact reason I stopped using windows.  Product Activation.  They don't need my personal information.  Instead of preventing piracy, they drove me away from their software.

Please buy a clue buddy - they don't require you to give up any personal info during activation if you don't want to except what country you're in...


Friday, November 14, 2003

> I heard many wonderful stories about SuSE ability to detect even the most arcane hardware

That's a good example of the different approaches in action.

Linux will support any hardware that someone writes a driver for, no matter how offbeat, arcane or ancient. Windows will only support it if it makes business sense to do so.

On the other hand, Windows benefits from a huge capital investment in the GUI, usability testing, etc. IBM should make this investment if they are really serious about putting Linux on the desktop.

I find all the "*can't* be usable" comments a bit wrong-headed. It's *just software*, of course it can be changed if there's the understanding and ability to do so. As others have pointed out, Windows is tremendously complicated too -- perhaps even more so, since it is not separated as cleanly.

Portabella
Friday, November 14, 2003

Because it's the biggest market for desktop apps.


Friday, November 14, 2003

> Because it's the biggest market for desktop apps.

True enough, but desktop apps are not the center of the universe any more. Even with Windows, many of the apps I really rely on (browser, instant messenging, etc) are given away.

Portabella
Friday, November 14, 2003

"Linux will support any hardware that someone writes a driver for, no matter how offbeat, arcane or ancient. Windows will only support it if it makes business sense to do so."

Uh, Microsoft doesn't write device drivers, the hardware vendors do, and the SDK's are out there. In other words, if you want to write a device driver for your Pro Audio Studio card to run in Win2k, nothing is stopping you.

My last experience with Linux and hardware was the end of my 3-year linux experiment. First I was trying to get a PCI wireless card to work in Redhat 7. Note that these particular cards were actually PCMCIA cards with PCI slots. So I had to get PCMCIA working, then the WLAN card. Suffice to say this simply never happened. This was about a year ago, and I get 1-2 emails a month from people who see my posts on usenet asking me if I ever got it working.

Attempts to get help from The Linux Community twice ended in flameouts when I made the mistake of joking about how easy it would be in Windows. The attitude was that if I wanted an easy OS, I could just scurry back to Redmond. Guess what? Yes, I want an easy OS - I don't plan to spend my days sysadmin'ing my home machine.

The final straw was trying to install a USB keyboard on the router (new KVM). I had to recompile the kernel, which ended up in a library mismatch somewhere, and after wasting six hours on it I gave up and bought a $50 linksys router.

My point is - my operating system is like my car. I have aspirations of buying an antique cadillac someday and maintaining it as a hobby. But when it comes to driving to work or the store, I want to get in, turn the key, and go. And if I want to put in a new stereo, I don't want to rebuild the engine to make it work.

I sit here looking at my webcam, 5.1 speakers, Sony Clie, cellphone, scanner, photo printer I also use for CD labels, DVD drive, Yamaha CDR that writes images to the back of the CD, etc, etc. How many hours would each of those required to get them working in Linux, assuming they could be made to work at all? In Windows it's simply not an issue.

Linux may be a Formula I car, but that includes the implied maintenance and limited road use (You can go anywhere you want, but sometimes you have to build the road first). Windows is a stock Honda Accord. It just plain works.

Philo

Philo
Friday, November 14, 2003

I actually agree with Philo.

I've been using Windows 2000 Pro and Mac OSX for the past two years. I've never had a system crash on either machine, which is remarkable as Windows 95, 98 and Mac OS9 routinely crashed several times a day when I used them. So in my view they're both good operating systems.

But pretty much only Apple computers can run OSX, and Apple has been rushing out products without adequate QA/QC. I've had significant hardware problems with the last three Macs I've owned.

With Windows, you at least have a choice for hardware manufacturer. My IBM Thinkpad is one of the ugliest, most boring computers I've ever seen, but its performance is rock-solid. I have zero complaints. Windows 2000 is uttely ho-hum, utilitarian, and kludgy, but you know what? It works. I love it for that reason. It's like the 1990 Honda Civic wagon that I drove for 250,000 miles.

Mac OSX is fun, powerful, efficient, and well-designed, but it feels like a thoroughbred compared with the draft-horse quality of Windows 2000. A thoroughbred is sexy and exciting, but not always so reliable. You can count on a draft horse to get the work done.

Brad
Friday, November 14, 2003

>  It just plain works.

Plenty of hardware "just plain works" on Linux too. In particular, I have a webcam, 5.1 speakers, printer, CDRW, various USB thingies, etc, all working.

There are steady improvements as well -- the first time I wanted to get the CD-RW working, it was far too much rocket science and FAQ scanning (it was rock-solid once it was working though).

A few months later when I installed a new distro, the CD-RW was auto-detected, and all the necessary changes to the system were made. It just plain worked.

To my mind, if you only see the first part, when it's difficult and complicated, and not the second, where it's been smoothed over, you're not understanding what's going on.

Portabella
Friday, November 14, 2003

> But when it comes to driving to work or the store, I want to get in, turn the key, and go.

I'm not sure the analogy holds up.

I remember the incredibly strict HCL (Hardware Compatibility List) for NT 3.51 and 4.0. "If it's not an on the hardware list, don't buy it!" Was this "turn the key and go"?

Even now, you'd be living dangerously to buy server hardware that isn't officially supported, on *any* OS.

For Linux desktop, "check the HCL". Mandrake for example has quite a large list, and there are ratings and I believe user comments as well.

Portabella
Friday, November 14, 2003

> A thoroughbred is sexy and exciting, but not always so reliable. You can count on a draft horse to get the work done.

For me, it's more that people will pay me to use the draft horse.

Hence Windows.

In my off time I'd rather ride the thoroughbred.

Portabella
Friday, November 14, 2003

I remember the incredibly strict HCL (Hardware Compatibility List) for NT 3.51 and 4.0. "If it's not an on the hardware list, don't buy it!" Was this "turn the key and go"?
***********
ROFLMAO!!! Dude, you do NOT want to let me go back in time on hardware compatibility issues. I'll start talking about the 2.0 kernel (the latest kernel that would run on the hardware I first installed linux on) and you will lose every time.


"Even now, you'd be living dangerously to buy server hardware that isn't officially supported, on *any* OS."

Officially, yes. Unofficially, I can only think of two pieces of hardware I've bought in the last four years that didn't run perfectly when I first installed them (Radeon AIW and SB Live 5.1 - neither of which worked properly on SMP boards; not exactly MS's fault)

Philo

Philo
Friday, November 14, 2003

"In my off time I'd rather ride the thoroughbred"

Me too. I use Windows to get my work done, but I use the Mac for everything else. Well, I also use my Mac for managing my finances, because I don't want to keep my financial records on a machine that's quite so vulnerable to security holes and viruses. Quicken for Mac is a poor cousin to Quicken for Windows, but it has everything I need.

Brad
Friday, November 14, 2003

> you will lose every time.

Not if we measure amount of progress, speed of improvement, etc.

The point -- which you seem to be ignoring -- is that NT guys, probably including you, piously preached the HCL then, but *now* find checking the Linux HCL intolerable.

Portabella
Friday, November 14, 2003

"NT guys, probably including you, piously preached the HCL then,"

Nope. NT didn't support USB and DVD - I whined about it then until Win2k came out, then I wasted no time dumping NT for Win2k.

Just as I dumped Linux for not supporting the hardware I needed. :)

Philo

Philo
Friday, November 14, 2003

In general, I think the larger point is that with Linux the world is constantly evolving. Some will say this is a drawback, and it is, but it's also a great strength.

So I don't disagree with the "it's $50 today, no effort" philosophy, but I *do* want to point out that last year's horrible kernel-patch-hell story may well be totally out of date. Your co-worker might reply, "Dude, I just installed it, and it's working A-OK right out of the box".

Portabella
Friday, November 14, 2003

http://www.se7en-x.com/argue/argue.jpg says it best


Friday, November 14, 2003

> http://www.se7en-x.com/argue/argue.jpg says it best

My donation to Special Olympics is in the mail.  :)

Portabella
Friday, November 14, 2003

..because my clients run Windows and I have to supply applications they can actually use.

But then I'm likely going to move the web server and mail server to Linux and so far I've entirely failed to install XP and have it run without it coming up within a day or so with the dreaded permissions failure at login.

So, Windows is still my main development platform and workstation but I'm stuck at Win2K and I can't see any good reason for changing that.

Simon Lucy
Friday, November 14, 2003

I am a developer. I tried to find work on both Windows and Linux, and guess what - I found a lot more work on the Windows platform.

So - I simply use what the market for my services demands - and it demands Windows.

I am also a user. I like the simplicity of getting things done in Windows XP - it's an OS I don't have to admin for hours every week in order to get things done.

MX
Friday, November 14, 2003

ClearType font rendering on an SXGA laptop screen.

I've never seen a computer screen with such sharp, readable text.  Linux anti-aliasing has come far in the last few years, but the sheer "lookability" of the screen isn't where it is on Windows XP.  I've seen OS X, and I think it's not as good in this respect (though it's still pretty good).  For all its flaws, MS knocked it out of the park on this one.

That, and I'm a gamer.  I love Linux--I feel much more comfortable tooling around with the command line and emacs.  But my work and home machines are both XP now for this reason.

Justin Johnson
Friday, November 14, 2003

Why Windows?

In some situations, Linux is "better", has a bigger feature set etc etc (firewalls). 

In others (servers), they seem roughly compatible, but the pain and suffering required to administer the Linux box causes our sys admin to yo-yo back and forth between Windows and Linux.  (Switching to Linux as the business tactics of Windows turn us off, and in the vain hope that *this* time the progress made since our last venture will have solved the problems)  I gather this is primarily because applying critical patches is much more difficult.  There is a familiarity issue here too, I'm sure, along with a great deal less attention paid to the details.

When it comes to your primary development machine - I just don't think Linux is there yet.  We'll try again in six months, but I'm not holding my breath.  Last time we flirted with Linux, I had it as my home machine for about six months.  What I found most painful was how incredibly *slow* the darn thing was.  And when I say we tried "Linux" - I mean we tried a number of different packages, as well as both KDE and X.  They were *all* significantly slower than the installation of Windows 2000 that went on the identical box.  It was also a great deal more unstable, or something.  I'd click on a program and nothing would happen.  So I'd click on it again.  Still nothing.  So then I'd open a completely different program, and sometimes the original program would open (a single copy).  And sometimes the computer would just freeze.  And sometimes it would simply open the new program.  I never knew what to expect.

I found both the quirky behaviour and the slowness incredibly surprising, because up until that point I had bought into the "Linux is better because it will run faster on ancient hardware" and "Linux is more stable" arguments. 

Now, I'm sure (hope?) the particular installations could have been tweaked to the point where the performance was comparable to Windows.  But I'm equally sure that I had no clue about where to start.  And after spending several hours to figure out how to change the keyboard layout (required a reboot!), speeding up the OS was an impossible sounding task.  It was much easier to simply reinstall Windows.

Don't get me wrong.  I think the progress that has been made by Linux is phenomenal, and that it shows a great deal of potential.  Long term, we would like to rely less on Microsoft, because we don't like where they appear to be going.  BUT Linux is not there yet.

Phibian
Friday, November 14, 2003

It is inexpensive, works great, is easy to maintain, gott better with every release, I like the roadmap and most of all it runs all the apps I like.
I have sofar not seen anything on other platforms that would compell me to switch. If one day I really need a "linux only" app, I'll happily look for an easy Linux distro and install it on a VM.

Just me (Sir to you)
Friday, November 14, 2003

Linux sucks on the desktop. I was a Linux zealot from about 1994 to 2001, then I used Windows for a while, now I'm an OSX guy at home and a Windows guy at work.

I think the reason I was able to use Linux on the desktop for so long was because I didn't have to do any real work until 2001. Oh, look, I have a job now and have customers that all use Windows and want Windows software.

Of course, having a job has made me absolutely despise computers. The last thing I want to do now is go home and try and get my WLAN card to run under Linux. It's just easier to use something that works with no fuss, like OSX or even Windows. Of course, I'm still a Unix person inside, so I prefer OSX. There are a few Unix apps I like to use anyway, which OSX also lets me do with no fuss.

In conclusion, computers suck.

Fred2000
Friday, November 14, 2003

"The people we sell our software to all use windows. "

The people I sell penis enlargement kits to all have penises.

Actually for web servers I prefer *nix becaue remote admin is easier. Desktop I'll take Win2k or XP because I X-Windows sucks so bad.  My server have no GUI.  Database wise I like SQL Server on Win2k unless you need a lot of I/O  then go Unix on decent (not ia32) hardware.

Mike
Friday, November 14, 2003

A simple example.

While running Linux, my USB cable to the printer got disconnected. I was working in emacs and tried to print the document.  I got the little "spooling ..." mesage, but nothing printing. I tried several more times with emacs and other editors - still nothing.

I was in a hurry and didn't feel like messing with my print configurator, so I copied the file to a shared directory and re-booted in XP (it's a dual-boot PC).

I go to print in lowly notepad, and voila! An error message. Windows tells me my printer is not connected.

Why couldn't Linux tell me that?

To make matters worse, I re-boot into Linux (with my cable now re-connected) and it no longer recognises that there was a device connected. So I, being a Linux newbie, need to spend hours trying to figure out how to get my printer working again (the KDE and Gnome print configuration tools were no help). Finally I gave up.  I still have to boot into Windows to get a print job done.

Linux isn't quite there yet
Friday, November 14, 2003

> Why couldn't Linux tell me that?

That does suck, and I hope it gets fixed.

I think it's helpful to distinguish between bashing and real problems (and this is complicated by the fact that real problems are often used as justification for bashing).

The real test, I think, is whether you'd pick the tool if it met all your business requirements. What I generally see is religios bias: plenty of the Linux guys want nothing to do with a Microsoft OS, and plenty of Microsoft guys are just looking for some reason not to use Linux, or to diss it. ("It'll never succeed because....")

I admit a personal bias for Linux, simply because I identify more with the hackers than the business guys. But I'd like to think that I can be fair about it, and see that clients get real value from Windows, that there' s (some, not all) solid engineering work there, and that you can get Real Work done on the platform.

If you *can't* complete the sentence, "I'd use [OS] under these conditions....." then I think you're not being objective.

Portabella
Friday, November 14, 2003

+1 to Philo's comments.

I really wanted to dump Windows, and tried different versions of Linux for 9 months.  In the end, I was just more productive in Windows because I didn't have to fight it as much.

On servers, I always use Linux.

Scot
Friday, November 14, 2003

"Because it's the biggest market for desktop apps"

There's a market for desktop apps?

fool for python
Friday, November 14, 2003

Desktop apps?!

Fool, noone uses those! What the world needs is more GUI libraries, application frameworks, customizable shells and programmable window managers.

Insert half smiley here.
Friday, November 14, 2003

Linux is good, Windows is good life's good yeahhhh.

o'my
Friday, November 14, 2003

The original poster said he uses Mac OS X on the desktop, not Linux.  So why are some people arguing exclusively that Windows is better on the desktop than Linux?  They should be comparing it to Mac OS X.

Chris Hanson
Friday, November 14, 2003

> So why are some people arguing exclusively that Windows is better on the desktop than Linux?

Because that's what they always do on this board.

Portabella
Friday, November 14, 2003

"Fool, noone uses those! What the world needs is more GUI libraries, application frameworks, customizable shells and programmable window managers."

Not to mention the 6.022 x 10^23 text editors included with every distro.

Mike
Friday, November 14, 2003

I like WinXP because in my expereince it has a much more stable UI layer than the linux I have tried. I do however have a cheap system sitting under my desk with FreeBSD running samba. I feel I have the best of both worlds. I like WindowsUI and I can telnet into my other box if ever I want to go into the basement (korn shell).

I have used my wife's Mac and would use the OSX full time if there were competition for HW (my WinXP desktop and FreeBSD system are both cheaper than one mac). There is no doubt in my mind that Apple has a champion with OSX on a slick UI and the wonders of Unix. Oh, and I am in love with SQL Server and .NET, so that doesn't work so well with the Mac (you know, work stuff).

m
Friday, November 14, 2003

" They should be comparing it to Mac OS X."


<g> the problem with that is that even the most rabid windows zealot would have a hard time believing that xp is better than osx...much simpler to argue the linux vs xp case.

I was fascinated that one person actually did make the attempt...arguing 'it just works' for windows over osx....I guess it takes all kinds..

FullNameRequired
Friday, November 14, 2003

I can't even imagine wanting to use Windows for any kind of server application (aside from any hypothetical already-existing legacy systems or customer-demands-Windows scenarios, of course).

I *can* imagine using Linux, OS/X, or one of the *BSD's as a desktop, though.  A co-worker right next to me uses NetBSD as his primary OS, and the only thing that seems to mess with his desktop is the occasional Netscape crash.  (And that happens on Windows, too!)

I just hope that Linux is *really* "ready for my desktop" before Win2K is end-of-lifed, though.  Heck, I'm still using 98SE as my primary desktop OS, so I'm not what you'd call "eager to switch operating systems".  :)

(By really ready, I would mean that WINE runs everything I might need to get by in a still mostly-Windows software world.)

Phillip J. Eby
Friday, November 14, 2003

Must be a slow day on /.

Mark Hoffman
Friday, November 14, 2003

"Not to mention the 6.022 x 10^23 text editors included with every distro."

Thank god Microsoft included the best text editor ever with Windows: Notepad.

Almost Anonymous
Friday, November 14, 2003

Phillip: "I can't even imagine wanting to use Windows for any kind of server application" ... "I'm still using 98SE as my primary desktop OS"

Yikes, if I were still using Win98, I guess I would feel the same way. Of course, you did mention Win2K, so you may have some exposure to the newer windows products. Try WinXP - use a modern OS for pete's sake!

m
Friday, November 14, 2003

"Thank god Microsoft included the best text editor ever with Windows: Notepad. "

Actually that should probably be "Thank God microsoft included the best text editor ever with windows: notepad. "

Anyway, I hear you.  It would be nice if the Linux people could donate just one decent one to the Windows people.  Maybe Elvis.

Mike
Saturday, November 15, 2003

If you are a non-profit co., licensing can be dirt cheap.  Even open source vendors are beginning to stick it to their customers in prices.

Open source is beginning to look like a pay model, to have the equivalent goodies and ease of use of Windows.  The OS vendors have their own market niche now that they can target, they probably figured it wasn't worth going out of their Window to pry Windows shops away from MS.

Small OS co.'s will still try and pry at the Windows people, but I don't expect the big investment to go there.  Plus, MS grabs some of the Mac market, too.

Brian R.
Saturday, November 15, 2003

why instead of macOS:

- many more programs available, specially small ones
- games
- huge market if you develop software

why instead of linux:

- easy to install
- supports hardware
- MS Office

and that's about it. I installed XP on a laptop two days ago. It took half an hour. It asked me about date / location, and thirty minutes later, "TA-DAAA". With the correct video driver, audio, network, pcmcia, modem, you name it.

Dimitri.
Saturday, November 15, 2003

Dimitri:

Put Knoppix into the CD rom. Wait 45 seconds (on my machine anyway).

Tada. All hardware detected, OpenOffice working. A bit slow, but definitely workable.

Did the 30 minutes include setting up Office and all the other stuff you need? My latest Win2K install took several hours, and much manual labour (I have lots of things to install - development tools etc). My latest RedHat install took ~50 minutes, and included almost everything I'm likely to use in the next two years. And I'm going to save tens of hours on license management issues.

This really is a religious war. I agree with those who think Linux is not ready for the desktop. I don't agree with those who think Windows is ready for the desktop. The only O/S I used which is "ready for the desktop" is MacOS.

It's just that most people got used to how MS breaks, and not enough got used to how Linux breaks.

Ori Berger
Sunday, November 16, 2003

Philo:
Ironically, that $50 linksys router was more than likely running linux itself.

rd
Monday, November 17, 2003

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