Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
This is Leo Notenboom for askleo.net.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote an article that discussed my problems activating a copy of Windows XP Home.
A common response has been to ask me why I even bothered? Why didn't I just run Linux?
I want to be very clear about something: I love Linux, I really do. For example the servers that host Ask Leo! have run Linux for several years now. I'm extremely comfortable using Linux.
And I do keep looking for an excuse to run it as my primary machine.
But I can't. I've tried several times, and each time I give up, returning to Windows.
The problem I keep running into is simply this: I don't use my computer in isolation. I keep needing to interact, either directly or indirectly, with other machines running Windows and with other people running Windows. I need to run applications that are available only on Windows. And even when alternatives are available, they're frequently not compatible alternatives - meaning that seamless or even near-seamless interchange of data between Windows and Linux is difficult at best, and in many cases simply not available. And those that claim compatibility often have small flaws and differences that render them either frustrating or effectively useless for my purposes.
But I'll try again sometime in the near future, probably when I get a new machine. No, the new machine will run Windows - like I said, I have too many critical dependencies on Windows - and I believe that's true for many people. but it's a great opportunity to try it again on the old machine as I migrate off.
Perhaps I'll be able to restrict what I do on that machine to a Linux compatible subset.
In a podcast a couple of weeks ago I also asked the somewhat rhetorical question: What do normal people do?
As bad as it might be for Windows users, the situation is still worse for Linux. For most "normal people", Linux is still too much of a conceptual leap with little to no support to fall back on. And while I absolutely recognize that there are many support forums and resources out on the internet, my claim is that's actually not enough. Until there's a family member or a local computer store, or even a major manufacturer that's willing to truly support Linux, it's not something I can yet recommend for the average user.
For anyone who likes to experiment, absolutely, it's worth a try and if it fits your needs, then by all means go for it.
It's getting better, but recognize that it still has the feeling of a "do it yourself" operating system.
And no, that doesn't minimize any of the issues that folks have with Windows - it just makes Linux less of an alternative than we might want it to be.
At least for now.
I'd love to hear what you think. Visit askleo.net and enter 12311 in the go to article number box to access the show notes, the transcript and to leave me a comment. While you're there, browse the hundreds of technical questions and answers on the site.
Till next time, I'm Leo Notenboom, for askleo.net.
Comments on this entry are closed.
If you have a question, start by using the search box up at the top of the page - there's a very good chance that your question has already been answered on Ask Leo!.
If you don't find your answer, head out to http://askleo.com/ask to ask your question.