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What's Keeping You On Windows? 1880

tearmeapart writes "It may be time again for another discussion/flamewar on the reasons why a lot of us are (still) using Microsoft. The last big discussion on Slashdot was close to 10 years ago, and a lot has changed since then: Windows XP and 7 have proven to be stable (and memories of Windows ME are mostly gone.) There are many more distributions for Linux, especially commercial options. Distributions like Ubuntu and CentOS have made GNU/Linux more friendly. Options for word processing, spreadsheets, etc. have grown. Apple and their products have changed considerably, though their philosophy hasn't. Microsoft Silverlight came and is on the way out. Wine and solutions like Transgaming have matured. So... why are a lot of us still using Windows? What would it take for us to switch?"
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What's Keeping You On Windows?

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  • Work and fun (Score:5, Informative)

    by Etylowy ( 1283284 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @09:12AM (#38022002)

    Adobe software and games - that's about it.
    Sadly Gimp is no replacement for Photoshop at this point.

  • What keeps me (Score:5, Informative)

    by moongate ( 917431 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @09:12AM (#38022004)
    at home: nothing - at work: my boss
  • by syngularyx ( 1070768 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @09:13AM (#38022030)
    OriginLab. Nothing else.
  • Skyrim (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 11, 2011 @09:14AM (#38022042)

    Skyrim. As good as Wine and Transgaming are doing, until I can play a new release on the day it comes out, I will continue to need a Windows machine for the most important thing computers do (gaming).

    OTOH, my employers keep the terminals on Windows for proprietary network monitoring software that doesn't run correctly in a virtual environment (even though we have one program that has to be run in the virtual XP mode since it is so old!)

  • by Pollux ( 102520 ) <speter&tedata,net,eg> on Friday November 11, 2011 @09:14AM (#38022050) Journal

    As a user:

    1) It works. Pretty well.
    2) It's supported by 99% of software makers
    3) It works. Pretty well.

    As an administrator:

    1) Active Directory
    2) It works. Pretty well.
    3) Active Directory

  • by Antity-H ( 535635 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @09:18AM (#38022128) Homepage

    Why you would want to pull a windows=intellij vs linux=eclipse stunt, when it is trivial to see that both are available for both platforms is beyond me.
    Shame as the rest of you argument is valid. I myself migrated back to windows mostly for lightroom and for lack of expendable money to spend on a mac

  • Software (Score:4, Informative)

    by stoolpigeon ( 454276 ) * <bittercode@gmail> on Friday November 11, 2011 @09:20AM (#38022172) Homepage Journal

    Programs, or apps as the kids say. There are people I work with that require software that is unavailable on Linux. Or what is available on Linux isn't sufficient.

    I use a custom made program for work that only runs on Windows.
    I use a service that requires what I send them to be in MS Publisher format. (And even if they didn't the closest to Publisher on Linux is Scribus but it lacks mail merge which I require.)
    And for work I use Skype a lot. The Linux version is old and doesn't support a number of features I use regularly. I'm on my linux machine most of the day so I have Skype running on it for chat and single person voice but when I need to do group stuff, I have to switch over to my Windows machine and run skype there. I don't foresee Microsoft pouring a lot of effort into the Linux Skype client any time in the near future.

    I think those 3 things are all that's left. I don't mind it though. I spend 90% of my time on my Linux machines and hop over to Windows as required. It's not a big deal. My normal work day I use 3 machines, two running Fedora and one running Windows 7. I have synergy to share a keyboard/mouse between them and I don't have a hard time doing what I want. When I travel I often only have the Windows machine as it's the smallest and has the best battery life. But I don't do a lot of heavy work on the road either. Mostly presentations, email, etc. If I knew ahead of time I would want to really do a lot of work somewhere else, I'd bring the Linux laptop instead.

  • Re:Honestly? (Score:4, Informative)

    by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @09:24AM (#38022236)
    Wireshark isn't just linux-compatable, it's *made* for linux. The windows version is a port.
  • Re:Honestly? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Gimble ( 21199 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @09:24AM (#38022238)

    Eh, Wireshark has been cross platform from day 1.

  • Re:Honestly? (Score:5, Informative)

    by icebraining ( 1313345 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @09:29AM (#38022356) Homepage

    I do really miss SecureCRT

    Why? [vandyke.com].

  • by FictionPimp ( 712802 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @09:33AM (#38022456) Homepage

    Very true on the admin side. I have found nothing nearly as easy to setup and use as AD. We were a novell and linux shop that just moved to AD. We never had a windows server before about 6 months ago. I was very impressed by how easy it was to get setup and migrated. I'm kinda starting to become a little bit of a MS fan.

  • Re:Money... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ayourk ( 1125735 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @09:33AM (#38022462)
    Actually this should be a non issue. I can buy Mac OS X for about $30 and run it on my existing PC hardware. Take a look at the following web site: http://tonymacx86.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]
  • Re:Games (Score:4, Informative)

    by Lord Pillage ( 815466 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @09:35AM (#38022512)
    Have you tried Dia [gnome.org]?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 11, 2011 @09:35AM (#38022518)

    Since you like Total Annihilation I suggest you check out Spring, it's an open source engine for TA with many upgraded capabilities that works under Linux, so that should be one less reason for you to stick to windows.

  • by 1s44c ( 552956 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @09:55AM (#38022852)

    I use Ubuntu at home.
    I use Gentoo on a laptop but might change it to Ubuntu.
    I use CentOS, RHEL or Solaris on all but 2 servers at work. We need to test our software on windows so we need a couple of machines for that.
    Almost everyone at my work uses CentOS on their desktops.
    A few finance staff use windows because they need software that only runs on windows. Maybe it would run under wine, we never tried.
    Three stubbon office staff insist on windows not linux because they refuse to use anything new. Given the choice I'd fire them. If they won't learn anything new they are a liability to the company.

    Windows has already lost as far as I'm concerned. The world is better off without it. Now if only I could buy laptops without paying for a windows license..

  • Re:MS Office (Score:5, Informative)

    by Zebedeu ( 739988 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @09:57AM (#38022874)

    I found out that if you really need to use MS Office, you can just run in on a virtual machine.
    If you use seamless mode it works perfectly, and you get the advantages of running a Linux desktop (virtual desktops, for one). Copying text works between systems, and you can configure it so that Windows has read-write access to whatever folders you need on your host computer.

    The only issue I have is that I use Alt-F# to move between my virtual desktops, and the virtual machine steals those.
    For that reason, I always keep Windows on the 4th desktop, so that I don't press Alt-F4 and close the currently running program.

  • Re:Work and fun (Score:3, Informative)

    by Clived ( 106409 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @10:02AM (#38023006)

    Because I live in the corporate world, I still need to have to have Windows around ( I will admit that Windows 7 is not bad). I am however mostly on my Linuxmint 11 box or my Fedora 15 laptop. Even my wife and daughter are accustomed to the Linux environment.

    My two bits

  • Re:Games (Score:5, Informative)

    by Nemyst ( 1383049 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @10:10AM (#38023134) Homepage

    Call of Duty, Mas Effect or Skyrim aren't the big PC pushers. Most of those AAA games have been targeted at consoles first and foremost for a while now, with the PC getting mediocre to acceptable ports (with a few notable exceptions) of them.

    There are very few developers who consider the PC their primary platform, and the real reason PC gaming is still popular isn't what it was 10 years ago.

    On one hand, you have the "big gaming" with the last entrenched PC devs/publishers: Valve, Blizzard, Paradox, CD Projekt, etc. More and more of these games are distributed through the likes of Steam, GOG.com, Gamersgate, Impulse, Greenmangaming, etc. THIS is where a lot of the strength of PC is found; DD on PC is much better, much more varied, and often insanely cheaper. Pricing on PC games is lower at launch and goes down faster than on consoles, to the extent that unless the PC port is absolutely terrible or the game is unsuitable to the PC, it's often better to wait a few months and get it on PC for 50% off while it's still full price on console for the next three years.

    On the other hand, you have "social" gaming. This means both MMOs and Facebook. These two things make up an extremely large amount of gamers who plain and simply cannot play on consoles. The Xbox 360's online architecture prevents most MMOs from operating and Sony's lackluster infrastructure means they tend to avoid the PS3. This leaves the PC for all MMOs, of which there are now hundreds. The elephant in the room, WoW, is still grossing millions every month, despite a decrease in subscribers. Then you have Facebook, whose gaming platform has created tens of millions of "casual gamers". They likely never will move from Farmville, but they're still gaming on PC and often spending money on the platform.

    Facebook is currently the sole thing easily transfered to another OS since it does not rely on DirectX. Anything else will be hard work. I also dearly hope that cloud gaming like OnLive and Gaikai fail miserably. If people complain about Ubisoft's DRM now, I don't know what they'll do about how restrictive cloud gaming is...

  • Re:Money... (Score:2, Informative)

    by JDG1980 ( 2438906 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @10:14AM (#38023202)

    Not enough money to switch to Mac...

    That entirely depends on what price tag you put on an hour of downtime.

    The cost of a virus? The joke that is System Restore from trying to recover from malware?

    First of all, there are malware exploits for OSX as well as for Windows. Sure, there aren't as many, but that is because of Apple's much lower market share, not due to some inherent advantage of the system. There was certainly a time when Windows was much less secure than competing OSes, but that time ended some years ago.

    The vast majority of malware exploits on newer versions of Windows can be avoided if the user follows a handful of simple, common-sense rules:

    • Run as a limited user and elevate only when needed
    • Run Microsoft Security Essentials
    • Let Windows Updates install and leave the firewall on (this happens automatically on the default configuration)
    • Always use a router to connect to the Internet (so you get NAT and hardware firewalling) rather than plugging directly into the cable/DSL modem
    • Don't install Java unless you really need it. Especially, don't let it install the browser plugin unless absolutely necessary.
    • Use ad-blocking software on your browser
    • Don't download and run random crap from the Internet

    How many malware exploits for Windows do you know of that didn't involve at least one (and usually more) violation of the above rules?

  • Re:Money... (Score:5, Informative)

    by macshome ( 818789 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @10:39AM (#38023636) Homepage
    That violates the licensing of the OS though.
  • Re:Money... (Score:1, Informative)

    by JDG1980 ( 2438906 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @11:02AM (#38024042)

    Sorry, OSX is inherently more secure than Windows. There was a guy who provided a free anti-virus program for Mac until Microsoft introduced Macro Viruses for Office which immediately caused the number of Mac viruses to jump to over 1,000. Now that's not saying that Windows isn't trying to catch up on security. The reality today is that many viruses are targeting installed software like Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash and the various browsers.

    But the exploits you mention above have nothing to do with the OS at all. Office security bugs are not the same as Windows security bugs (except that they are the responsibility of the same company to fix). Indeed, as you pointed out, these same security problems affected Office on OSX as well as Windows. Likewise, if Adobe produces crappy software that allows arbitrary code execution due to vulnerabilities, how is this the fault of Windows? And unless you force users into a walled garden like iOS (which many users could not tolerate), you can't stop third party programs from doing bad stuff if the user *specifically authorized* said programs to run.

    I think many security flaws we see today stem from the Unix security model all modern OSes inherited. The idea that the program is the user and should get all the user's permissions may have made some sense in the 1970s, but is absurd now. Still, Windows is no worse than OSX or Linux on this front. Ideally, I'd like to see a situation where apps can be sandboxed to only allow them to access the resources the user specifically permits. I know there are ways to do this now with fancy hacks, but none of them are ready for average users at this time. App developers should have to tell the OS through a manifest what resources their program needs, and the user should be able to review this and sanity-check it, or even specifically disable particular things. (For instance, they should be able to enforce through the OS that a specific application can't connect to the Internet, or can only read files from certain directories.)

    I agree with your recommendations until you get to "Always use a router." I always use a commercial-grade firewall (SonicWALL TZ 100, for example) instead. The rest of your suggestions I don't follow except the last, "Don't download and run random crap."

    Those rules are meant for the average Windows user. Of course if you have a professional hardware firewall that is going to be a superior alternative, but for the average user, a router you can buy for $30-$100 at Best Buy offers improved security and easy usability. For advanced users the rules could be summed up as "use common sense" – we already have a pretty good idea of what stuff is necessary to avoid malware and why.

  • Re:Games (Score:3, Informative)

    by oreiasecaman ( 2466136 ) <demonsword@gmailCHEETAH.com minus cat> on Friday November 11, 2011 @11:13AM (#38024218)

    Sleeping with people is even better!

  • Re:Dont run windows (Score:4, Informative)

    by L4t3r4lu5 ( 1216702 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @11:20AM (#38024322)

    Like you, I suffer from Stockholm Syndrome.

    Nuh uh. Stockholm Syndrome is when an abducted person feels sympathy for their captor. You're describing simple masochism. Weirdo.

  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @01:05PM (#38025880) Journal

    Just yesterday my boss called IT here because his domain name was resolving to someone else's IP address, so he couldn't log in with remote desktop. IT says they'd have to reimage the machine to fix it. I have no idea if that's true, but the Windows professionals here seem to think so. In either case, that's not working "pretty well".

    But that's not all. He declined the reimage, and asked for a static IP so he could just use that to log in with remote desktop. No problem, they allocated the new IP address. Now he can't log in to his computer. They ended up reimaging his machine anyway.

    What sort of system breaks logging in just because you changed your IP address? How does that fall under "It works. Pretty well."?

    Now it's entirely possible that our IT is just incompetent. But if you're working under the assumption of competent admins, Linux works just as well as Windows does. The only reason to go with Windows is because it can be admined with less effort by people with less training. That doesn't actually seem to be the case to me.

  • Re:Money... (Score:4, Informative)

    by GlobalEcho ( 26240 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @02:14PM (#38026698)

    To me, a UI is about more than just the graphical design. In 2011, on my Linux box with bog-standard hardware at work, I have found myself
    (1) Hand-editing Xorg.conf (where's that xkcd link when I need it?) to try to get proper dual-monitor behavior
    (2) Running out of disk space due to coredumps
    (3) Spending hours trying to get sound working properly (headphone outputs versus back panel, different setting for different apps)
    (4) Hand-adding recalcitrant applications to the Gnome menu. Because navigating to /usr/bin give me a list of 3,181 executables (thanks, wc!) that mixes GUI apps with command-line utilities, rather than a directory of about 50 executables in /Applications/ on a mac.

    I like Linux, and have been using using it since 1996, but I have no illusions about the user experience being anywhere near the quality of OSX or Windows.

  • by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @05:02PM (#38029058) Homepage

    Windows 7 is solid? Can someone explain to me why my GDI apps are like eight times slower than under Windows XP on the exact same hardware?

    Because GDI was deprecated in XP, it's not hardware accelerated as of Vista, and you're supposed to be using Direct2D?

  • Re:What keeps me (Score:5, Informative)

    by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @05:06PM (#38029116) Homepage

    But I've still seen it bluescreen. Or redscreen. Sure it may be bad drivers, but the fact they can *still* cause problems is not a good thing.

    Not me. Never. And if you have, I suspect you're talking about the x86 version with someone's ancient drivers. It's only true that they *still* cause problems if you *still* keep trying to jam those drivers in where they don't belong. You can't do it on the x64 version, which requires code-signed drivers, and is the version that ships with pretty much all new hardware these days.

  • by Sipper ( 462582 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @08:37PM (#38031244)

    Actually, I think I've got at least one pretty compelling reason to switch, which has to do with reinstallation. Occasionally Windows needs to be reinstalled due to either infection, registry corruption, or other software/hardware issues. This gets into some really interesting problems, because in order to reinstall Windows, you need:

          A) A Windows CD that matches the license key given to the machine. This isn't as simple as it sounds, because license keys are tied to build version, not just the Windows version. So it's not enough to have a copy of "Windows XP Home" if that's what's on the box. :-/ And most people get Windows with their computer, already installed, and are not given reinstall disks to bring the machine back to its original state. So it's common to have to purchase a NEW copy of Windows software in order to "reinstall" it.
          B) Device drivers for Windows for the machine, either via downloads from the manufacturer or from a motherboard CD. End-users typically either forget where this CD is, don't know they ever had it, or were never given it in the first place. "What would I need that for?"
          C) Backups? "Oh, yeah, that. No, I don't have a rolling backup of the machine. Can't you just back up the files before reinstalling Windows?" Except on Windows machines, the user's files can be all over the place. If the computer technician is lucky maybe the user only used their home directory, but in practice this is often not the case.
          D) It's common on Windows machines to have commercial software installed that the end user doesn't have license keys or reinstallation disks for. So the user doesn't want their machine reinstalled unless it's absolutely necessary.

    The end result is that it's often a painful, long process to reinstall a Windows box. You need to prepare by downloading the necessary drivers and have them on hand, get a license for the correct version of Windows -- and that's assuming the version of Windows is supported on the hardware -- and then spend hours doing the install and going through multiple reboots to add drivers, and then lots more reboots that come along with doing Windows updates.

    Let's contrast this with installing a Linux distribution -- for argument's sake let's say it's Debian Stable, and go down the same list:
          A) Assuming a fast internet connection is available, download and burn the latest netinstall.iso. No license key issue.
          B) Generally speaking (although there are exceptions), no special drivers are necessary to do the installation. [Brand new hardware may not be fully supported, so there can occasionally be issues with missing disk drive interface drivers or network drivers. These occasional issues can be tricky to work around.]
          C) User files go in /home so there's just one directory to look into for what to back up, which speeds up the copy process.
          D) Most people only need software within the Debian tree, so even there there's no software disks to find, and no license keys to look for. [The exceptions are for commercial software, but usually the list of this software if there is any at all is small by comparison to most Windows machines.]

    The end result is that reinstalling Debian can be finished much faster than for Windows, and without lots of reboots.
    However, this seems to be forgotten most of the time, because *nix free software distributions generally don't need reinstallation in the first place.

    So looking at it that way, there's a major benefit of getting off of Windows, if possible.

"Hey Ivan, check your six." -- Sidewinder missile jacket patch, showing a Sidewinder driving up the tail of a Russian Su-27