Oh by the way, I've given up on making Windows XP 'usable.'

I guess this is a case of "once you go ___, you never go back."

Windows is superior to Linux for certain specialized software needs and some games. Though this is clearly the case, Wine is making leaps and bounds in the realm of Windows program usability in Windows. For instance, when I play Day of Defeat: Source, I get superior framerates in Linux. The graphics are almost as good (I'm missing some shader effects), and I have no sound, but overall, it is a more fun gaming experience for me.

Back to the "specialized software needs" mentioned above -- many of these can be satisfied in Linux with free software.

Linux has a better desktop (more beautiful and versatile than Apple's OSX in my opinion), more useful programs, a working command line, more robust file management options, and even more. I can't think of anything else though because the operating system has literally become a part of my life and I'm so used to it that I can't really remember how much things sucked in Windows.

The only thing separating you from this is a learning curve that isn't steep, and it's actually getting less steep as time goes on (Linux is nearly "user-friendly" by some accounts, and if you have the time to learn, you will understand it). Distributions like Ubuntu Linux are leading the way in this revolution in usability and user-friendliness. I think that most of the problems inherent in learning a new operating system like Linux have to do with the built-in jargon that most people are familiar with because of being shackled to Microsoft products for so long. For instance, people don't want a word-processor or an office suite, they want "Microsoft Office" or "Office." They don't want a web browser, they want "Internet Explorer." Related to this is the user-base that Microsoft developed over other web browsers such as Netscape, just by "bundling" Internet Explorer with newer copies of Windows. Some argue that people don't want a choice in these programs, they just want software that works, and they're used to Microsoft's Office suite or their Internet Explorer web browser. Well, I agree that everyone wants software that works, but this situation has developed in such a way that Microsoft seems like they want to deny all knowledge of competing software, software that may "work" better for some users than their MS-branded products.

Terms such as "Microsoft Office" have become a part of the collective lexicon and literally replace the more generic "office software suite," and it's a bit of a shame -- truly telling of how strong a hold Microsoft still has on the software world in this day and age, decades after its founding.

3 comments:

Pat (McClory) said...

What Linux distribution do you use? I've been thinking of dual-booting my old desktop or just going full on Linux - unfortunately I feel I'm too lazy to actually get around to it.

Noah said...

Ubuntu Linux is always a really safe bet. (It's what I use.)

Pat said...

Yea that seems like the most popular. Just wondering if you used another one. I have the installation disc laying around somewhere or other. Like I said perhaps I'll actually get around to it eventually.

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