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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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  • Working drivers... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Splab ( 574204 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @09:14AM (#38022036)

    For quite some time Radeon was actually quite stable and useful under linux, but after some kernel changes and a decision not to update old drivers from ATI, I can no longer use "latest and greatest" linux.

    Windows on the other hand, works just fine.

    Also, a lot of windows tools are vastly superior to the Linux alternatives, for instance IntelliJ vs. Eclipse. (Yes intelliJ costs money, but compared to the hassle of Eclipse you are saving money in the long run).

    Gaming under WINE still lacks as far as I can tell, I know some of my friends manage to play EVE under WINE, but they often complain about problems; in windows, it just works [tm].

  • Well... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DaVince21 ( 1342819 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @09:14AM (#38022040) Homepage

    Games. And sometimes, random apps that don't want to work well in Wine.

    Also, I honestly don't mind using Windows. I'll just work with whatever OS I happen to be in. I dual boot, so I will occasionally reboot my system as the urge to do something that works better in the other OS grows (Windows for playing games, Linux for developing stuff).

  • Nothing (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tramp ( 68773 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @09:15AM (#38022072)
    After the xxx number crash and problems with activation of (my legal) XP I installed Ubuntu and never went back for my main computer. I still have a virtual XP and W7 for workrelated issues but use them barely.
  • Re:Games (Score:5, Interesting)

    by moongate ( 917431 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @09:17AM (#38022106)
    Gaming is the reasing I actually stick with Linux. Everytime I was gaming, I realized that I wasted my time instead of doing something productive. With non Win/Mac-OSes I'm very limted with this and won't be tempted.
  • Re:What keeps me (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ellep ( 1746938 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @09:17AM (#38022112)
    I second that, although IT just told me I may run linux on my 'old' (1yr old) laptop when my 'new' laptop arrives. The new one will probably only be used to gather dust and an occasional e-mail.
  • by Hadlock ( 143607 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @09:19AM (#38022164) Homepage Journal

    I was on Mac (2001-2008, then Linux (2008-2010), but then my linux buddy switched back to Windows 7. I was skeptical at first, but his glowing reviews that "everything just worked on the desktop - graphics card, drivers, audio, sleep/restore, etc every time. No more configuring random crap to try and get it to work until a real patch was released. He and I still deploy Linux for work servers, but on day to day desktop, I've seen the light, and it's Windows 7. I installed Win7 in ~Sept 2010 and haven't had any configuration problems since then. It's super speedy and all my games work with it.
    Coding is a bit of an issue on Windows, but Python, Ruby and Java are easy enough to develop on the Windows platform these days. Between CoreFTP, WinSCP, Putty and the other various tools, Windows is extremely functional for day to day power users. Linux had started getting an edge over XP, but Win7 is just so easy to use, it's really difficult to switch back to tinkering with things 2-3 times a week with Linux. OEM copies of Win7 are often $100 on NewEgg - when I think about it, $100 is well worth me not spending 10-20 hours a year configuring and tweaking my OS to keep it running in top shape.
    I dearly want to love Ubuntu on the desktop, but after 9.10 they switched to Unity and it makes me sick to my stomach to use that crap interface. Gnome 2 was rock solid and a very functional interface. I might look at Ubuntu again once they solve all the problems with Unity, or Gnome3 is fully usable. Wine is top notch these days and handles 95% of my windows needs.... but for $100, Windows7 is just less of a hassle to deal with right now.

  • I pretty much use Mac (client) and Linux (server) for everything.

    But I still use Windows because there are some specific, very useful apps, that are Windows native, so I run them on a PC or on Parallels. Yes, there are web-based alternatives, but, to be honest, they suck to use - the web app UIs are clunky and slow compared to a native app. In the long run, I hope that web based alternatives surpass the native Windows apps, but right now it's more important that I be able to work efficiently than be cross-platform. Parallels is cheap and works fine, so I can run Windows apps on my Mac and they nearly feel like native apps.

  • Dont run windows (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anon-Admin ( 443764 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @09:23AM (#38022220) Journal

    Back with Windows 3.1 went to Windows 95, I went from Windows 3.1 to Linux.

    Most say they are on windows for the games well, I have a PS2, PS3, Wii, and Xbox360 for games. Less hassles and plays on the big screen.

    Ill admit that I was a VERY early adopter of Linux and I have never regretted it. It has been a struggle at times, but well worth it.

  • Re:Money... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 11, 2011 @09:26AM (#38022270)

    Exactly, make OSX installable on AMD and Intel hardware and I'll buy it. My Phenom x6 w/16GB ram should be more than enough to run anything you throw at it. Even the Mac Pro doesn't compare to the raw graphics power of a single GTX 590. $3500 [] is obscene to get a system with only 6GB ram, a single GPU, and 8 cores at 2.4Ghz. Instead, I'll keep my 6 cores at 2.8Ghz and 16GB ram with 1024 CUDA cores at 1.2Ghz.

    Mac Pro needs to drop $1000 per box to have a decent price/performance ratio.
    iMac needs to drop $500 per box.

    Apple is overrated.

  • Works for me (Score:3, Interesting)

    by csrster ( 861411 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @09:26AM (#38022284)
    If people stopped developing stuff like cygwin, virtualbox, and assorted FOSS products that actually make Windows usable then I suppose I'd stop using it.
  • by wonkavader ( 605434 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @09:27AM (#38022298)

    I used to only use my Windows box to play games. Now the humble bundles have removed that need. I don't play any games on windows anymore.

    And yet, I still have to run a windows VM. I own a iPod Nano 6g, can't get RockBox on it, and am stuck using friggin' iTunes. What cripple-ware we put up with -- would it have killed them to let me drop files onto it as a storage device? (I guess it would have, they SO want me to be stuck using iTunes, thinking I'll buy their music. Not a chance, guys -- already got more than I need.) If only someone else would make a small player with a good, solid clip!

    Then I could completely ditch Windows.

  • by Gaygirlie ( 1657131 ) <gaygirlie&hotmail,com> on Friday November 11, 2011 @09:31AM (#38022400) Homepage

    I was on Mac (2001-2008, then Linux (2008-2010), but then my linux buddy switched back to Windows 7. I was skeptical at first, but his glowing reviews that "everything just worked on the desktop - graphics card, drivers, audio, sleep/restore, etc every time. No more configuring random crap to try and get it to work until a real patch was released. He and I still deploy Linux for work servers, but on day to day desktop, I've seen the light, and it's Windows 7. I installed Win7 in ~Sept 2010 and haven't had any configuration problems since then. It's super speedy and all my games work with it.

    Similar is my story: I was a Linux user for almost 10 years, but then sometime after Win7 was released I finally got tired with the constant need to fix or tweak this or that to keep things working and tried Win7. Haven't looked back since, 7 just works and it works well. Not to mention that I can actually use all the features my hardware supports whereas I'd be missing some very important features if I went back to Linux. I only use it on my server where it works fine.

    Sure, I am an F/OSS supporter and I really do wish F/OSS philosophy was even more widespread than it already is, but.. well, I don't want to constantly have to fix things getting broken and I want to be able to fully utilize whatever hardware I have and Linux just doesn't fit the bill.

  • by misfit815 ( 875442 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @09:35AM (#38022488)

    Seriously, most of the responses are going to be along the same lines: games, work, not on windows. I'd be interested in the numbers.

    As for me, personally, I run Win7 at work because I have to, Win7 on the "family" computer because that's where the games are, WinXP on the HTPC because that's what I got to work (after trying Ubuntu, Mythbuntu, Win2k, and Win7), and Debian/Xfce on my personal laptop because the other systems address all of my issues with doing so.

  • by TargetBoy ( 322020 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @09:36AM (#38022520)

    Pretty much matches my experience. The Windows 7 experience is so good, I have no real desire to spend a lot of time making something else work. Additionally my experience with desktop Linux, even Ubuntu has been no where as good as Windows 7.

  • Re:Work and fun (Score:4, Interesting)

    by poetmatt ( 793785 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @09:44AM (#38022648) Journal

    Yep. Seconded. Thanks to Microsoft's proprietary DirectX, almost no new game runs worth a damn in wine vs windows. If it wasn't for that, I'd have no reason to use windows.

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

    by El Lobo ( 994537 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @09:46AM (#38022712)
    It's cool and hip here on slashdot to suppose that everyone is looking for solutions to leave Windows and that it can't be possible to like it. Well, I like Windows (Windows 7 is almost godly perfect for me), I hate OSX with a passion but unfortunately I need to use it at work. I have 3 Linux servers that I use because of price reasons. On the desktop, I don't look for anything else at the moment. I like the "Windows 7 experience": it's stable, fast, reliable, most software runs on it. So, sue me.
  • Re:Money... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kr1ll1n ( 579971 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @09:51AM (#38022778)

    This is actually more a profound statement than most would think......

    With OSX, you have *nix level CLI tools such as bash (yes, its a shell, I know), grep, cat, vim, awk, pwd, who, ls, etc..etc.. WITH Microsoft branded applications like Office.

    OpenOffice is great, but in a Windows environment, Outlook is KING, and there is no open-source equivalent.
    I am speaking as someone who now runs OSX on the desktop (company provided) supporting Sun and Linux Servers, and running Win7 at home.
    I do believe it would be beneficial for Apple to adopt a traditional key-mapping, though.

  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @10:11AM (#38023148)

    I like PC gaming far more than console gaming for many reasons, and Windows is the platform for that.

    Another big thing that rules Linux out for me is media. I mess around with media creation a whole lot and the tools I've been shown on Linux are extremely poor at best and usually abysmal. They are free to be sure, but I'll drop a couple hundred dollars to have stuff that works well, sounds good, and so on. I've seen nothing that even comes close to the software and samples available for Windows (and Mac too).

    Finally it is just the ability to get shit to work. Perhaps it is just because I've done more support on Windows but I find it is much easier for me to solve problems on. I have trouble getting Linux to do many of the things I want and I also seem to have a talent for finding near unsolvable problems in Linux quickly (like I ask experts to help me and they end up saying "I dunno"). Computer support is my profession so at home I want them to "just work". For me, I find Windows does that. It has few problems and when it does have one, I find it easy to fix.

    Plus the only real reason to switch would be lower cost, which isn't very much for me. I'm willing to pay to have things I want. I'm a pragmatist, not an idealist, I won't use Linux for idealistic reasons, only practical ones. Thus I'd have to see a way that it is at least as good as what I have now, and probably better since there is just the inertia of why change what works.

  • by TerranFury ( 726743 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @10:37AM (#38023604)

    Windows is the only platform for which one can reliably download binaries directly from software authors.

    On Linux, if you want software, you use apt-get, yum, etc. If the package you want exists in the repository, great. If not, things get tricky. Enter building from source, tracking down dependencies, and praying you get through ./configure and make.

    Some Mac software is available in binary form in nice DMG images, and when it is, installation is a snap. But these images are still much less ubiquitous than Windows installers, and when they are not available, you're left typing "./configure; make" just like on Linux -- only now with less support.

    An advantage to the Windows culture of software distribution is that you can have a relatively unchanging operating system running underneath everything without lagging behind in terms of individual programs. Contrast this with the unpleasant choice you face if you want to run Linux: Choose e.g. Debian Stable, and get new software years after it comes out; or choose e.g. Ubuntu and jump through a distro upgrade (which breaks everything) every year. Ironically, the issue is that, culturally, it's Linux distros that are centralized and Windows that's distributed.

    Much of Windows' usability also comes, again perhaps with a bit of irony, from Open Source programs. Right now, I'm running Firefox, Thunderbird, and SMPlayer. For instant messaging, I use Pidgin. For LaTeX, I use MiKTeX (which is the most complete LaTeX distribution I've seen on any platform) and TeXStudio (which is just as good as Kile). I even get bash and ssh from Cygwin. Why do I need Linux when all the best open source programs have easy-to-install Windows binaries?

  • Re:Smart (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dc29A ( 636871 ) * on Friday November 11, 2011 @10:41AM (#38023688)

    I built a desktop/server running Ubuntu, assembling it took me maybe one hour tops, pieces were all random:
    - Gigabyte Motherboard
    - AMD 1090T
    - A bunch of hard drives I had lying around.
    - A 20 GB Intel SLC SSD for OS/boot.
    - An old SATA card for extra ports.
    - An old WiFi card.
    - A low power NVidia card.

    Ubuntu 11.04 detected everything, it then suggested me to install the restricted driver for the NVidia card. Only thing installer missed is the fstab settings for the SSD (noatime and discard). Didn't install in zero time, obviously, but had no hardware detection issues at all.

  • Re:Smart (Score:5, Interesting)

    by similar_name ( 1164087 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @11:03AM (#38024068)
    Time is more than money. As someone who has been putting together my own computers for the last ~30 years, I enjoy it. It's fun for me.

    It was great back then because of the sense of awe

    That probably has more to do with youth and discovery than any particular era. Now I wouldn't argue that people who don't build their own computers are stupid, but I also wouldn't argue that building your own computer is a waste of time/money.

  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @11:17AM (#38024262) Homepage

    Long background, short summary: Been fiddling with Linux since 1999-2000, switched to Linux as primary desktop in 2007 and returned to Windows in April last year.

    Primary reasons:
    1. Applications. Games. The Linux knock-offs - and yes, that's what they mostly are - aren't nearly as good and WINE, Virtualbox is more tedious than just running them under Windows. Too many people with a reality distortion field stronger than Steve Jobs, but of the one man variety.
    2. A lot of the open source applications that are actually worth having also exist for Windows, so I didn't actually lose anything much going back. It's more going back to a best of breed-solution than abandoning all open source, as long as I got rid of the sore points.
    3. Less hardware/driver/version/plugin/upgrade issues. I sort of hoped the snowball would start rolling but it never really did. When I switched to Linux it was to get away from Vista, but in the years I was on Linux they went from Vista SP0 to Win7 SP1 while my Linux desktop still had glitches.
    4. A change of attitude, a bigger interest in just paying my way out of problems. I still think it's fun to tinker with computers but not that kind of tinkering. Now I'm writing more code, not fixing broken systems or tweaking WINE settings.
    5. Less ideology. I'm tired of being told I should just accept that it sucks because of $reason. That's an explanation, but it doesn't really change the situation. There's only so long you bother fighting the windmills, particularly when you realize they're not coming down.

    If Microsoft pulls another Vista then I wouldn't mind trying again when Win7 is approaching EOL, I'm not in the "never again" category. But I'm on a platform now that works really well, simple as that. I've got no plans to upgrade to Metro or to a Mac or back to Linux any time soon. Testing, switching and getting used to everything has its costs and they're just not worth doing too often.

I THINK MAN INVENTED THE CAR by instinct. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.