Windows sucks

This is going to be a pseudo rant. So read on or not…

Brave as I am, I occasionally try Windows. Probably not voluntary but still. There are some issues that really stink:

  • The biggest usability problem is the virtual desktops. There simply are none. I am forced to do the windows thing and can’t like I do with linux, which is have all programs fullscreen and do CTRL+SHFT+left/right to switch between apps.
  • The terminal is awful. Copy+paste? Forget it! Scrolling when a program actively outputs something? Forget it! This program is simply a piece of crap. Not to speak of the actual ‘shell’.
  • Then there is the driver problem. On a freshly installed Windows machine I have to do the driver CD dance with at least 7 different drivers until the machine is usable. Not so in the Linux world, which usually has all drivers installed right away.
  • This damn MS Office thing just won’t open my OOo files. I gotta save them in that special format just to get some crappy formatting. Bah!
  • Then, how am I supposed to debug a program when it crashes? Where do I get the stack dump? Where is my debugger?

Well probably by now you realized that this post wasn’t exactly serious. In fact it is grossly over-exaggerated and subjective. But OTOH, that is like the ‘Linux sucks’ dudes look at Linux too. It is a real pain for me to work on a Windows box, but that is simply a matter of what I’m doing in my day work and to what I’m used to. What I really wanted to demonstrate is not that Windows sucks, it most likely doesn’t suck for most people out there. They are entirely different tools for different jobs. People should stop whining at each other how bad the other’s favorite tool is. How useless is ‘my hammer is much better than your screwdriver’?

The best thing that we can when we want to advocate Linux (or Free Software) is to acknowledge that others are already familiar with other stuff. And, in my experience, we also have to ackknowledge that they most likely don’t value freedom as high as we do. They are most likely used to all the wrinkels and ugly edges of their software and are used to accept that they can’t look at or change the programs they use (I suppose the binary form is exactly as readable to them like the source form). Would you think that slapping them in the face with ‘X and Y sucks’ (well, not in these words but you get the idea) will make them open-minded? Well, _if_ they have a problem with something specific, then it might make sense how they could solve their problem with Free Software. Unfortunately, more often than not, Free Software doesn’t really help them either, so we better sit down and do something that actually does help instead of whining and/or forseeing the year of Free Software again.

Why am I writing this anyway? Probably because today I was arguing around with a Windows machine and found that it is almost as usable for me as a Linux machine would be to a MS fanboy. Probably because I am so annoyed and pissed off by those wanna-be-zealots at certain forums. Dunno. Besides that I’m really having a good time these days 🙂


4 Responses to Windows sucks

  1. Dmitri Trembovetski says:

    As someone who is forced to work on Windows (after living for a while on Solaris), it’s not that bad. At least, after you customize it a bit to look like Unix =)

    You can get most of the virtual desktop functionality using Virtual Desktop from Microsoft’s PowerToys package. Works most of the time.

    The terminal is not great, true. I use Console+Cygwin, at least you can get tabbed terminals, and copy/paste works much better, including proper selection.

    As for the debugger, you can get MS’s free Visual Studio express edition (with some limitations) + MSSDK + their free debugging tools (which are pretty good, btw).


  2. roman says:

    Yeah I agree. I could probably tweak Windows to behave like I need it. Today I didn’t have the time and motivation to do the necessary research and work to do this, only to finish my ~15 minutes job with Windows.

    Which indeed is the real point of my flow of thoughts. It’s exactly that way with people that are used to Windows, who probably also have tweaked their Windows experience so that it fits enough to not care about alternatives too much. Similarily I am so used to Linux (or any free Unix for that matter) that I don’t really care about Windows. At least not enough that I would go and start researching how I could accomplish my task better.

    Each to his own. For me, Windows is one usability hell. But that is not because it is bad. It probably isn’t. It’s probably better usability-wise than Linux is many respects. But not for me.

  3. I’m not a fan of Windows either, but if you have to suffer it, I highly recommend you install Cygwin. Some notes on installing it:

    If you want a decent terminal, I (shameless plug) highly recommend Terminator:

    It’s quite creepy; running Terminator even just with cmd.exe sometimes fools me into thinking I’m using a real OS. Terminator with Cygwin’s Bash port inside it… that’s very convincing. Only being Windows, it’s really slow compared to how well Linux would run on the same hardware.

  4. Gabriele says:

    I agree on the “windows sucks”, but Office is not a part of Windows, if you have problems with Openoffice documents, why not use OOo under Win?

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