Monday, November 20, 2006
Should that next computer be a Windows system?
Having gotten into trouble on both sides of the street and subsequently gotten myself out, I can tell you that neither is a "non-techie" OS, when you come right down to it.
Computers aren't toasters. Marketing isn't going to change that.
It's just that when non-technical people get into hot water with Windows boxes, they have a wider range of Windows shops to hand the problem off to. A MUCH wider range; Linux users have traditionally expected, or have been expected, to go it alone, so the market for post-installation repair, maintenance, and security never blossomed the way it did in the Windows world.
One thing I will say to MS' credit, though this isn't going to make the life of nontechies any simpler - MS Press has got to have absolutely first-rate editors. The things they print may be voluminous, but they are also of uniformly high quality. Finding authoritative aftermarket Linux documentation is possible, but chancy and the road has far too many potholes. Thanks to MS Press, that is not true for Windows.
As for my next system - alas, it may not be Windows at all. The reviews of Vista point to bloat in memory requirements compared to XP, without a corresponding improvement in performance. Right now, memory starts at $100/gigabyte and goes up from there, as it has for the last two or three years. I DO NOT appreciate having to buy an extra 1 gig stick just to make my Windows workhorse climb up out of the basement.
Nor do I appreciate all the lovely DRM crap Redmond seems bound and determined to inflict upon us all. When I buy a CD or a DVD, as far as I am concerned, it's mine. I do not intend to permit the OS vendor or anybody else sticking their mitts into my carefully secured system and trusted network to be sure I don't pirate it. We have already seen where that leads.
You can bet your sweet bippy that had Sony-BMG been an individual instead of a Holy Corporation, they would be in gaol for the next 30 years for the multiple tens of thousands of counts of felony computer trespass they perpetrated with that rootkit of theirs.
I have issues with Apple Computer too, and they're not trivial ones. Primary among these are their smug complacency about client-side security and their history of insanely proprietary hardware designs. You are expected to ship your iPods back to Apple to get the bloody batteries changed out???. That's daylight madness.
But if my only practical choices boiled down to Vista, as it is today, or a Mac, I'd go with the Mac in a hot instant, premium be damned.
My systems consultant agrees with you on documentation/troubleshooting, and says that he often has to get into the OS when an Excel page doesn't open or do its sums or whatever. He likes Red Hat's Fedora. He says that he is working with a pre-release of Vista and thinks it will do.
The Mac Core Duo machines are pretty good, but interoperability is still very messy. My consultant says that they fail Boot Camp.
So, I am still wondering. Will MSFT drive away customers by being too anal about ownership issues or will it come to its senses and tone down WGA to simply refuse updates, and perhaps report on machines running noncompliant software for followup?
More blogs about politics.