Benefits, Please?

Is there a lack of a compelling reason for some people to let go of their otherwise understood XP installation? It seems that way as even the threat of XP patches coming a stop is not detouring people from sticking with it. The culprit more than any other single issue appears to be the fact that XP is supporting their existing hardware. This is interesting to me as I have found this as being one thing that keeps me from switching people to Linux. Either some odd ball all-in-one device is not detected right or their Broadcom wifi chipset is not working. It’s interesting to see this working in reverse in the XP world preventing Microsoft from taking more people onto the next OS.

On the flip side of things, some people have indeed had really great Vista experiences. Yeah, it’s true. And generally these are people who experienced no hardware incompatibilities and found Vista to meet with their expectations. As Windows 7 approaches, I believe that these individuals will be even happier with their experience once they upgrade to Microsoft’s latest.

But what about users of OS X and Linux? What is preventing us from going back? Power, functionality, control, all of the above?

Being I am not an OS X user, I am forced to use my my wife as an example. She is a Mac user because it works as advertised, provides a stable experience that she can count on and gives her access to software she wants in a compelling way. It is free of random errors based on her own usage and allows her to rock her Epson Stylus Pro 3800 with Photoshop until her heart’s content.

She also finds any changes made to her OS to be an annoyance. So clearly “tweaking” is not an option. Then again, working what she felt like was a consistent work flow was a bonus for her. But in the end, she fully confesses to being an artist, hence why she claims to be such a happy Mac user. Her words, not mine.

For me, I use Debian based Linux distributions. I love to tweak things until it hurts, then make a CD image of the installation excluding the /home directory. This means when I pull a bone headed tweak, repair is very easy. And as for all of my settings, my /home directory is on another partition which translates into me backing up daily. This means next to no downtime. Big thanks to remastersys for this!

Why Debian based distros? Simple – applications, applications and more applications. Using Ubuntu most often, I am finding that I am able to do anything I was doing in Windows and often times saving a bundle in shareware fees along the way. I do a lot with media, so I am enjoying applications for video editing, screen capturing, yes – Ustreaming with Camtwist-like abilities. Shout out to Kino, Cinerella CV, WebCamStudio, amongst others. I am also able to sync my iPod with Songbird, watch DVDs, and scan/print with great ease.

But beyond this, I think it is the ability to cut through all of the crap and really customize the OS the way I like it. Definitely not the best product for someone better suited for a more encapsulated, consistent experience, but for a computer power user willing to invest real time into learning about what Debian based distros are capable of, it is a LOT of fun. I use Ubuntu full time and do not use Windows at all except if when reviewing a specific Windows applications.

Other members of my family swear by Windows XP. For them, there is simply no reason to change things up. The single biggest reason for this is a combination of applications and familiarity. Two areas that are strong when it comes to using an OS for small business or even just for casual home use. My mom for instance, is big on Microsoft Publisher. Sure, there are other applications out there that may be arguably better. But define better? Would they be better for her small business needs? Of course not. She has a paid for application that she is familiar with and does the job quite nicely.

What say you? What about your OS makes it the perfect fit for you? Cutting edge abilities, software, familiarity, logical work flow? Hit the comments, share your perspective.

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  • Steven LEach

    The only reason I even use a Windows operating system, is because my companies forces me too. Otherwise I would still be using Macs, or Ubuntu. Then I would not have to deal with daily reboots, and other networking nonsense that are imposed upon us developers, by an unfriendly IT staff that is only interested in making their life easy. This usually although not always translates into make my life that much more difficult.

    When XP support stops this entire company, and all of it’s 25 developers, and IT staff have all decided to finally change over to Ubuntu. We changed all Windows API specific code, to wxWidgets, or some other cross platform framework, since we were going to have to go through this process for Vista or Windows 7 anyway it was not an additional cost for switching to Linux. The major benefit, will be no new hardware will be required, and remote backups only cost the hard disk space, no 3rd party software to keep up todate. Everyone is currently moving from MS Office to Open Office, so everything will be in place for the switch over in 2010, when XP is no longer supported by Microsoft !!