After Ubuntu, Windows Looks Increasingly Bad, Increasingly
Archaic, Increasingly Unfriendly

The Changing Trajectory of Software
By: Paul Nowak
Nov. 4, 2007 07:00 AM

My recent switch to a single-boot Ubuntu setup on my Thinkpad T60
simply floors me on a regular basis. Most recently it's had to do
with the experience of maintaining the software. Fresh from a
very long Windows 2000 experience and a four-month Windows XP
experience along with a long-time Linux sys admin role puts me in
a great position to assess Ubuntu. Three prior attempts over the
years at using Linux as my daily desktop OS had me primed for
failure. Well, Ubuntu takes Linux where I've long hoped it would
go - easy to use, reliable, dependable, great applications too
but more on that later. It has some elegance to it - bet you
never heard that about a Linux desktop before.

There are many night-and-day differences between Windows and
Ubuntu and, for a guy that does 80% standard office tasks and the
rest of the time I'm doing Linux admin tasks, it was nearly all
in favor of Ubuntu after the first few weeks of the transition.
Overall, my productivity and the scope of things I can do with
Ubuntu far exceed what I could do with Windows and just as
importantly Ubuntu (like any Linux would) lets me easily create
my own productivity shortcuts of a variety of sorts.
That's $204 just to get me back to where I thought I was two
months back - i.e., a machine with XP and Office on it. Symantec
alone is going to want to pick my pocket again at some point.

Ubuntu releases me from these costs and from these long-term

1) Viruses - I no longer worry and I no longer need to check my
PC - that's a relief. You can pick nits here about security but
the bottom line is Ubuntu is orders of magnitude better.

2) Vulnerabilities - Windows is like Swiss cheese with so many
vulnerabilities that it's sick - you can't connect XP to a public
Internet connection (i.e., behind a router is OK but direct to
the net isn't). Ubuntu? It's Linux - no worries.

3) Thanks to #1 and #2, I'm free from products like Symantec and
Norton and the dollar expense, the complexity of administering
them (those pop-ups are annoying and a productivity hit), and
wondering when they expire next.

4) Software updates for the entire collection of software on the
machine are simple in Ubuntu.

5) Backups are automatic.
In sum, what's changing about software? The installation,
maintenance, and use of software in Windows have become a burden.
A huge burden. And I don't think the average Windows user
realizes how much out of their way they are going to keep their
Windows PCs working. Windows challenges users and makes for a
very expensive user experience in time and dollars if users
follow the book and use the latest virus protection, keep that
protection updated, and avoid the pitfalls that are squarely on
the path that normal users use. In the best case, you end up with
a machine that has a lot of crapware installed on it and is slow
and clunky to use. In the more typical case, you end up with a
machine that spirals to a grinding halt over six to 12 months -
like the T43 I'm working on right now. A machine that has trouble
opening an Excel file in three minutes because it has so much
software competing for disk access and CPU cycles.