OK, so the overwhelming reaction to Microsoft’s latest operating system has been, well lets say less than stellar. As of June 30th, Windows XP is no longer a viable purchase option for consumers (although there are other ways to get it). The vast majority of computers bought online from Dell or on retail shelves all come with Vista, which for the most part should function just fine for you, as long as your peripherals and older software still work with it. The new user interface may take some getting used to, and its security features are much better than in XP, as long as they don’t get in the way. I could go on with all the problems people have experienced with Vista, even after Service Pack 1 came out.
But, most people can’t stand it, case in point my father in law. I get a lot of questions on how revert back to Windows XP. Unless you already have an install disc, and provided that the computer has driver support you could remove Vista and install XP. But as time goes on, and the fact XP is no longer available on retail shelves this will be harder to do. PC manufacturers will eventually stop developing hardware that is XP compatible. Can you find a driver for your newer printer thats for Windows 98 anywhere? Yeah, though so.
So what is one to do? Either you wait until the next version of Windows (possibly out in 2010) which is no guarantee thats any better than Vista or you could even try ditching Microsoft all together. My earlier post about cloud computing is making whatever your platform of choice irrelevant. You could make the jump over to Apple, which makes a strong product. But for me thats just too pricey, and then you get stuck in the Steve Jobs school of obsoletion every time a new product comes out eventually you are forced to upgrade. I’m not an Apple hater by any means but the hardware lock in really limits the choices for options.
I would propose that now is a great time to make the move over to Linux. Its free, the installation process is now very user friendly and it works an all sorts of hardware. There are so many choices to choose from, but I would recommend checking out Ubuntu, Open Suse and Fedora. Sure, there is a bit of a learning curve to using it but once installed its very robust and easy to use. I have been running the latest Ubuntu in dual boot mode on my laptop since May. I have to say, I find myself going into Ubuntu now more than the Windows side. It incredible how fast this laptop comes online compared to XP. Within two minutes I’m surfing the web via wireless. I have to wait forever for XP to do the same, and if Vista were installed? Forget it!
I have all the apps I need, a browser, email, an office program. Heck I don’t really need much else as most of it is web based now anyway. I enjoy the same Firefox browser program as I do in Windows with all the same plugins. And if eye candy is your thing, Gnome and KDE both come with loads of it. Even more so than in Windows Aero glass. Linux could definitely become a major 3rd party choice if more people knew about it and could just break away from the Microsoft habit.
Windows XP, you’ve had a good run but its time to move on. Sorry Vista we’re just not meant for each other and I’m open to exploring other relationships. No, its not you, its me! Please don’t call me anymore.