Chris has discovered that sometimes, the next version of the OS we prefer (Windows in his case), may not always be better than the version we are using now. Not because it offers less than its predecessor. Rather the younger of the two simply needs to work the wrinkles out before going to market. More often than not its nothing personal, it’s merely a fact of being able to remain productive with your chosen operating system. In Chris’ case, Vista still needs a little more time in “the oven” with regard to how it handles certain tasks. No harm done.
Now consider for a moment that Chris is not alone in this. Take my own family for instance. At their respective homes and businesses, my parents, brother & family, even other family members, still use Windows XP.
At my mom’s bookstore for example, we use a combination of Linux and Windows. Embedded Linux for wireless, Linspire 5.0 and Windows XP Pro. Each has strengths that the other does not. And more often than not, Windows’ biggest advantage is frankly, limited to specific applications that are not available on other platforms. That, and the sheer number of software licenses purchased for that Windows box (MS Office, NewsGator, etc.) can make switching feel a little bit wasteful.
But then you have a public use PC like the one we have running Linspire. Had we tried this with Windows, I would be in there every week dealing with the latest bonehead issue caused by patrons trying to do more than “just surfing the Internet.” Linspire is offering patrons the common applications they need when they come into the store to visit or shop. Best of all for me personally, I have never been called into “fix” something that has gone wrong with the Linspire setup. Yup, I cannot remember the last time that machine needed to be rebooted for any reason. So for that, I am very thankful.
Then we have my mom at her residence using XP Home. Because 99% of her brochure type data is in MS Publisher format, switching her onto something else outside of Windows is not possible at this moment. I mean, if I was able to export the damned files into something else, I would have her running Linux Mint or Ubuntu with Scribus in Publisher’s place. But then again, XP is serving her needs and being as she is not wildly downloading anything scary and utilizes decent software products like Firefox and Thunderbird, I feel good about where she is currently at in the computing world. Seriously, why switch her out to Linux when that is my preference and not one that may be best for her at this point? Sometimes we need to temper things with a little common sense.
Then after all of that, we come down to this misguided belief still making its way in the Linux world. Look, I love Ubuntu, flaws and all. Heck, it is my main operating system across the board. But to believe that Vista’s hang-ups are going to have people rushing out and buying desktop Linux products is frankly, little more than a fantasy.
Each OS out there offers something for everyone. OS X offers simplicity, power, and uniqueness. Windows (XP) offers functionality, applications, and familiarity. Linux (Ubuntu/SuSE) offers control, participation, community, and never needing to buy another application again. So at the end of the day, there is really no “wrong answer” to the OS equation.