Tag Archives: windows

Please stop pretending any operating system “just works”

Ubun­tu­cat » Blog Archive » Please stop pre­tend­ing Win­dows “just works”

As a mat­ter of fact, com­put­er prob­lems exist­ing has lit­tle to do with what OS you use. I’ve seen Mac own­ers com­plain about var­i­ous Mac prob­lems and Lin­ux users com­plain about var­i­ous Lin­ux prob­lems. There is no such thing as “just works.” Win­dows does not just work. Mac OS X does not just work. Lin­ux does not just work.

The only way around this I can see is a rede­f­i­n­i­tion of the phrase just works. Here’s my new work­ing def­i­n­i­tion:

Fill-in-the-blank oper­at­ing sys­tem has caused me per­son­al­ly (and no one else nec­es­sar­i­ly) few­er prob­lems than oth­er oper­at­ing sys­tems I have used, and when I do encounter prob­lems, they are ones I can tol­er­ate and not big enough for me to aban­don this plat­form for anoth­er one.

As some­one who works in tech sup­port, I can say that this is def­i­nite­ly true. It’s pret­ty much a lev­el play­ing field with regards to the prob­lems you will encounter.

For me, GNU/Linux is free, has a more con­sis­tent user expe­ri­ence, and has a great com­mu­ni­ty in which to play a part (e.g. seek­ing the inevitable sup­port, learn­ing more, con­tribut­ing your­self). That’s what gives it the advan­tage over Windows/OS X in my book.

Gosh, Windows…!

So Win­dows Vista will come out (when it does) with 7 dif­fer­ent ver­sions. My first thought: “[Groan] Oh, that’ll be just great for sup­port, try­ing to fig­ure out which peo­ple are using and why ‘fea­ture X works on my oth­er com­put­er but not on this one…’.” How can Microsoft tout usabil­i­ty and sim­plic­i­ty? Because most peo­ple don’t know any­thing else. For exam­ple, since switch­ing to Lin­ux, I use a filesys­tem that does not need defrag­men­ta­tion. It’s out there, but all Win­dows filesys­tems (don’t know about the upcom­ing Win­FS, which appar­ent­ly won’t be ready in time for Vis­ta’s release any­way) need defrag­men­ta­tion. So, users have to remem­ber, man­u­al­ly, to defrag­ment their hard disk peri­od­i­cal­ly or suf­fer a per­for­mance loss. (Win­dows does not auto­mat­i­cal­ly add defrag­men­ta­tion to their Sched­uled Tasks.)

Sec­ond thought, from one of the com­ments at the Slash­dot link: arti­fi­cial lim­i­ta­tions. Win­dows is mak­ing all of this stuff, but they’ll only give it to you if you pay more. This does­n’t even sound like a good busi­ness mod­el, let alone the fact that GNU soft­ware is sim­ply free: Word and Out­look, wide­ly used appli­ca­tions, have lim­it­ed imi­ta­tions in Win­dows by default (Word­Pad and Out­look Express), because they can’t give away the major draw – MS Office – with the OS. Gosh.