A few weeks ago I
posted that I was getting rid of Windows, and I thought you might all
like an update on where I am with that.
The biggest change for
me is that I've started to run Linux under the hood on my principle
work laptop. I'm using Suse 11, for those who are interested in
Originally, years ago,
I had a Macintosh. It was the original 128k version, with a single
floppy disk, and I loved it. I continued with Macintosh for the next
decade or so, way before it had its resurgence to popularity in recent
I gave it up and
switched to Windows in order to be more aligned with what most
corporates were using at the time. Over time I became pretty
convinced that Windows was the future, and even wound up working at
I've now realised that
Windows isn't cutting it very well any more for me. The realisation
came when I couldn't get the thing to go to sleep when I wanted it
to. Neither could I get it undock without a restart. Couldn't connect
to any of the printers at work. Couldn't even reliably sustain a
connection to my printers at home. Had to beg it to make a connection
to a wireless network. And the integrated Internet Explorer was
crashing at the drop of a hat.
I realised I was
spending a lot of time fighting with it before I even got any of my
applications to open.
Yes, I know these are
all signs that it's time to reinstall. But stop for a moment. When
did we all get into the habit of reinstalling
operating systems because they started to degrade?
was the high water mark of inconvenience that made me jump ship.
Of course, I still run
Windows for those key applications which I can't do without. For
example, I can't live without ClearContext, which helps me manage
email. And I still need Windows to access the corporate resources at
So I run it in a
Virtual Machine on top of Linux.
Here's the surprising
thing. Windows runs better
inside a Virtual Machine than without it. Even from a performance
perspective (although my laptop is a relatively new one and has that
new Intel virtualisation gadget in its processor, so maybe that is
my Microsoft Office applications seem to crash less frequently. I
still use them, having tried and failed to convert my brain the
OpenOffice things that came with my new operating system.
now have a copy of Windows which I run every single day, and I
haven't had to restart it in over two weeks. Unheard of. Neither is
it degrading with time. Bliss.
you undock the laptop, it undocks.
When you ask to sleep, it does so in seconds. And comes back to life
let me not paint a picture that all this was simple to achieve in the
first place. I had quite a lot of bother getting everything the way I
like it and went through two Linux distributions before finding Suse
and I have to say this, I'd evaluate the bother as about the same as
making Windows work perfectly, all the time. Especially when you
factor in the several times a year reinstall.
me, the switch to Linux is paying off. I am actually more productive
(at least now it is all working) than I ever was when I had to fight
with Windows every day.
up the minutes wasted by operating systems is an illustrative
exercise for everyone. Keep a wasted minutes diary for a week. You'll
be shocked at what you find out.