Another confession

Last night, I had a meeting with our Microsoft account director. After we talked about the state of the industry, and the state of the bank, and the state of everything else (a rather gloomy set of musings, if I may say so), we moved swiftly to a discussion of my present position with respect to Linux. Readers are probably aware that some months ago, I'd finally lost patience with Windows, and eliminated it from everything.

Linux replaced Windows Media Centre for all the televisions at home, all our ordinary computers were converted over, and my work laptop ran Linux just perfectly.

For a while, I was in heaven. There is nothing more delightful than having a laptop go to sleep when you tell it to do so. And come back up in a few seconds, also without bother.

But, everything is not as blissful as you might imagine, even if you can make the computer work as it was designed.

You see, the fact of the matter is that no matter how hard you try, with Linux you can't do everything you can with Windows. This, mainly, comes down to the fact that some software only works on Windows and there is no available substitute.

I travel a fair amount, and one thing I rely on is iPass, which enables me to access most wifi access points around the world on the corporate account. It doesn't work on Linux.

I also need to use our Cisco VPN solution, which is barely operative on Linux.

For my television network at home, the drivers for the TV cards are less stable in Linux. Under Windows, they receive television better.

And on our home laptops, there were constant complaints because things worked differently.

With Linux, I got a lot of stability and perfect uptime. I also got a lot of inconvenience.

So now, having been reminded by my Microsoft colleague I was vocal here when I switched Microsoft out, I thought it best to 'fess up that I'm back on Microsoft.

I am still of the view that you want Linux on the server, especially for mission critical workloads, and most especially when you have to scale things out. The economics of Linux definitely beat Microsoft for those kinds of workloads. But, right now, stability and uptime are less important than convenience for me on the desktop.

Microsoft have not converted me back completely, though. I will not return to my Windows Mobile phone, giving up my iPhone. Not only is the user experience better on iPhone, but I can't find a Windows Mobile phone which takes every call perfectly 100% of the time.

Still life seems better now we are a Microsoft home again. Because at least the technology in the household isn't causing fights any more.

4 Responses to“Another confession”

  1. Benjamin Davies
    March 4, 2009 at 9:28 am #

    So they’ve won you back, nearly whole heartedly. I’m guessing you felt like a child who didn’t get his own way, packed his bags and walked to the end of the street, only to get cold and hungry, returning to the solace of home, humbled. I imagine it does take a lot of resolve to switch completely, and I mean removing all traces, including that virtual machine with a windows OS.
    I enjoyed some analogies formed here;
    But sometimes I guess you have little control when there are program’s that you have no other choice but to use.

  2. March 4, 2009 at 10:35 am #

    This made me chuckle. I went through the same process about twelve months ago and decided to take the plunge and switch to Apple. Yes, it involved having to buy new software but I have never looked back and what price do you put on sanity?
    (Though I will confess that there are a couple of tools I have to use that won’t run on Apple, so I use VMWare Fusion with Windows running in Bootcamp – it’s a compromise but at least I remain in the OSX world).

  3. Mark Higgins
    March 4, 2009 at 11:31 am #

    James, have to agree with you in respect of comments around Windows Mobile, which IMHO is noticeably poorer in terms of connectivity and call quality that alternatives. Have lost count of the number of times I have lost connection on the London-Bristol train when colleagues on Nokia devices maintain connectivity with no problem.

  4. CP
    March 5, 2009 at 8:28 pm #

    Apple and OSX running VMWare Fusion is a near perfect solution for the mobile corporate user.
    You get OSX stability, Apple style and for the company’s apps that you need, simply boot up your XP appliance on Fusion.
    It’s stable. My XP Appliance has never crashed, unlike my old ‘designed for Windows XP’ laptop.
    You can run other OS appliances (Linux – many flavours, Windows Vista, Windows 7 Beta). You could go back to your favourite distro if you so desired.
    The OSX integration for the XP appliance is nearly 100% perfect too. Some of the gestures via the Mac’s touchpad are translated to the XP appliance (you will get to like them) and ‘Unity mode’ is useable now too, meaning you can ‘swipe’ XP apps away and store them in the OSX dock.

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