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where the real world meets idealism

I want to use Linux. I like the concept of open source software; I’ve hacked with Linux a bit myself; it’s a good idea. But I use windows.

The funny thing is that I was always sort of assuming that it was simple laziness keeping me on my platform. However, the more I look into it, the more it seems that Windows, as much as people complain about it, isn’t the pure evil that everyone gripes about.

Start reading posts from this thread on Slashdot. If you don’t know already, Slashdot is a place where people who like computers tend to get their news. It’s a place where Linux, MacOS, and various other operating systems are enthusiastically supported. But there are a whole lot of people who post here and say that it’s more than the games keeping them using windows.

The biggest thing, of course, is the games. I’m going to generalize a little here, though, and say that games are just the most obvious example of the real category people are thinking of here: high-end applications. Whether you’re looking to run Dreamweaver MX or Unreal Tournament 2003, these products are developed, designed, and tested for Microsoft Windows. Linux and Mac releases, when they exist at all, come out months or years after the windows release; they are buggier and less well supported… basically, in most cases they’re a port, not an actual development effort. If I were to move to another operating system, I would have to find replacements, or just do without. And I get the distinct impression that without significant effort, it would end up being the latter.

But it’s not just the big, flashy software that I would need to go without. The everyday normal stuff would also need to change. Things that are running in the background right now, because they’re useful: trillian, winamp, eudora… I don’t believe that any of these have linux versions at all. Are there replacements? Of course. Would it be a pain to find and obtain replacements for all of these? A major one.

And then there’s the matter of the system shell itself. Don’t get me wrong, I loved dos and was amazed when Windows 95 came out and you no longer booted to a command prompt. I don’t mind tinkering around with a textual interface, writing scripts and mucking about with regular expressions. But we don’t live in a text-only world anymore; you have to use GUIS. It shouldn’t be a problem, as a well designed one is snappy and easy to use. But the only linux GUIs that I’ve seen, frankly, can’t hold a candle to Windows. Even the slashdot folk agree; they’re simply not as clean or as intuitive. Macs have a better case going for them, but though they’ve got talented designers and programmers, I personally disagree with many of the design decisions that they made. I’ll get into that in another post… It resolves to the fact that in terms of interface, I simply prefer Windows 2000. It’s certainly not the best design I can think of, but it’s the best one I’ve seen actually implemented.

I would love if linux (or any available OS for that matter) was stable, well-designed, and widely supported. I’ve just yet to see any that meet those qualifications. As far as I can tell, Windows 2000 is actually the best approximation out there. Which is kind of surprising,..

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