Efforts to understand, improve, or do less harm to the world around me.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Linux transition

Windows used to have:
  • All the applications I need
  • Tons of great freeware
  • Lots of cool customization tools for the user-interface
  • Runs games
  • No fuss -- just works
That's losing ground

Software permanence

Great applications for Windows come and go.  Microsoft's Photo Editor was replaced by a complete crap Photo Manager.  Microsoft Office ribbons.  Meanwhile, if I buy another computer, it comes with a Windows version that doesn't run all the applications I want.  I have to upgrade to Professional, Ultimate, and Enterprise version to get Windows XP compatibility and that comes at the price of multiple downloads, disk space, and extra RAM.

Mac has a similar problem: great software for the platform frequently doesn't follow into the next version.  Several programs I've wanted to try have required 10.6, which I don't want to upgrade to for fear of losing even more programs that only work on 10.5!

If something comes out for Linux and just about anyone uses it, the program remains available pretty much forever.  Once the code is out there and available, it seems to create a permanence.  Once you've got it, there is no re-learning how to use a program in Linux.

Gradual improvement

Microsoft could not described as gradually improving; many didn't consider Vista an upgrade over XP nor Office 2007 an upgrade over 2003.  Vista was bloated, slow, and problematic and almost nobody thinks the DOCX format was an improvement of any kind for office users. 

Meanwhile, Linux is gradually getting better and every version adds more and more, each of the upgrades for free.  Its not up to speed with Windows or Mac OS, but there has never been a downgrade.

The future

Microsoft hasn't created anything new for the marketplace in years and is just resting on its old business model: OS, Office, and forced upgrades of both.  This is not a company for the next 10 years and putting time and effort behind them is just putting off the inevitable.

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