Why Are People Switching Away from Windows?

At LockerGnome.net, nwright94 writes:

I recently “upgraded” my laptop from Windows 7 to Windows 8 and I really do not like it, but I also don’t want to pay any more money to go back to Windows 7. So I recently installed Ubuntu 12.04 LTS alongside Windows 8 just to try it out and ended up finding that it runs better on my slower computer than Windows did. I really enjoy it and have a lot of fun with command lines. I hardly boot into Windows 8 anymore except for iTunes for my iPhone, but with all my content being stored on iCloud now, would it be safe to completely ditch Windows 8 for Ubuntu? Could I get by without a desktop version of iTunes and rely solely on iCloud for my phone and iPad?

Linux WindowsTo answer your question regarding the iPhone and iCloud, yes. You can get by without ever having to sync your iOS device to iTunes thanks to iCloud services. While I’d like to have seen this feature added to Apple’s offerings earlier on, it’s nice to know that you can enjoy an iOS device without ever having to launch iTunes. iTunes is a kludge, and until Apple really changes how it functions, I don’t see myself using it in day-to-day activities any time soon.

Your question regarding switching from Windows to Ubuntu is a popular one, and we’ve answered the question of whether or not Ubuntu is a valid alternative to Windows for most users in previous posts.

The question that interests me more right now is why exactly people are switching away from Windows in such a public and sudden move. The answer to this is a bit more complex than “Windows sucks” or “Ubuntu rocks.” The answer, in my mind, mostly comes down to pain points. If you aren’t experiencing a pain point with your current software solution, then you are far less likely to switch operating systems. For many people, Windows works just fine the way it is, but upgrading to Windows 8 presents a series of potential pain points that might set a user off and make them explore alternatives actively.

Windows Vista was bad. I took major heat for saying so by the Windows community that, at the time, assumed that I was somehow associated with Microsoft or its software on an evangelical level. I’ve always been and will continue to be an advocate for the user and experience is everything to me. When Windows Vista presented pain points to me during daily use, I began thinking about OS X a lot more actively. It wasn’t until I had become fed up with blue screens and ongoing usability issues that I purchased a Mac and started using OS X as a secondary operating system.

After some time of using the two systems side by side, I made the decision to purchase a Mac Pro and use it as my primary office computer, leaving Windows as a secondary operating system. I’m still a user of Windows (and Ubuntu, actually), but OS X became a very real alternative to me because it solved many of the pain points I was experiencing with Windows Vista.

To Microsoft’s credit: Many of those issues were solved in Windows 7. Windows 7 is an excellent operating environment by most accounts and is undoubtedly the OS of choice for most dedicated Windows users. Windows 8 presents possible pain points with its jarring double user interface, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it drove some of its users to explore alternatives.

Would I recommend jumping feet first into a new operating environment? No. I would, however, recommend that anyone considering a switch run both environments simultaneously until they’ve been able to smoothly transition from one to the other. When you’ve been able to exist a week (or more) entirely within the new OS, then you’ve probably found something that you can use by itself.

Image: Wikimedia

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Chris has consistently expressed his convictions and visions outright, supplying practical information to targeted audiences: media agencies, business owners, technology consumers, software and hardware professionals, et al. He remains a passionate personality in the tech community-at-large. He's a geek.