I got my first personal computer when I was 14, it was a ZX-81, with 1Kb of RAM. Yes, this is not a typo, 1Kb. There was no DOS at the time, certainly no PCs or Windows. When 3.1 came out, I was a bit disappointed, after seeing the Mac interface first, but adopted it nevertheless. More than two decades later, I was using XP for my desktop, and like everyone else, was pretty happy about it.
Then, last April, I decided to buy a new laptop. To my dismay, none were available with XP, so I got a Getaway with the new Vista on it. Problems started right away when I plugged-in my USB flash drive; instant crash! “Oh Well” I thought, that will probably be fixed in an update soon. Then, many programs I used simply did not run… The constant nagging of the OS got to me sometimes. I had all the pretty memory-consuming bells and whistles off, but the system would still freeze and be awfully slow, with 1Gb of RAM installed, and a dual-core Turion64 CPU; makes no sense at all…
The last straw was a regular disk cleanup. It was a cleanup all-right, my whole hard drive was wiped out! Vista erased itself, in a last moment of clarity, which turned out later as being the best thing it ever did. I packed my Vista CD and shipped it back to Microsoft to get a refund (wait until you find out how big a check they sent me!). In the meantime, I was trying to get an evaluation copy of X64 to run on my machine. Why not install a 64bit OS on a 64bit computer, right? Don’t do it! Not yet. Getting drivers was a nightmare, my SD card reader didn’t work, half of my USB ports didn’t work, and most of my software still didn’t work.
Just got a package from Microsoft! I thought it was maybe a Windows XP CD or a refund for Vista. I open the envelope, YES! There is a check in there: $1.39 (I double checked to make sure it wasn’t $139). They rob me, and now they insult me! I grabbed the phone, and after being on hold for a while and redirected a few times, I finally was able to explain my troubles, and got… Nothing. My software is “OEM” whatever the f**k that means, why should I care? The system says “Microsoft Vista,” not “Gateway Vista” or “Best Buy Vista.”
So, I find myself installing Ubuntu. The installation works fine, I answer a few questions, and what seems a fairly short time later, I am asked to reboot (note that you almost never have to reboot Linux after installing software). Startup sound! Sound works, I’m surprised I didn’t have to tinker with it. Holly Sh*t, I’m online! Ubuntu has found my wireless card all by itself. I don’t want to push my luck too far, but I’m about to try something I can’t dream will work (After trying on FreeBSD a few times and giving up), I plug in my USB printer… A few anxious seconds pass… Found it! ML1740, the test page spits out, incredible. I’m on a roll. I grab my digital camera, pop the SD card out and push it in the laptop card reader. Seconds later I am looking at my latest jam video, I don’t sound that great on the guitar, but it works. My key-chain follows, which is a USB flash drive, pop! On the screen. My head is spinning. This Ubuntu stuff works better than anything I’ve tried before. I am frantically trying to find something to plug-in, just to see if it works. Ah! My Ipod was trying to hide, pop! An Ipod icon appears on the screen. I need to go to the bathroom, but my Visor Edge PDA is laying on my night table. I install the cradle, push the Sync button, it synchronizes with my Evolution email client, all my Palm stuff is backed-up! All of this happened without having to install a single driver, tinker with any settings at all. I’m not saying you’ll never have to, but the Ubuntu forums are great for help, there is always someone with a ready answer.
I can say to Microsoft now, you have lost a customer. You are losing many because you didn’t care. Vista is in my opinion the worst operating system I have seen in 26 years of computing. This week I had to buy a new mouse for my desktop (It runs Ubuntu as well now), I went out of my way to buy a non-Microsoft mouse. I will never buy another Microsoft product. Linux is finally ready for the desktop, for home use and businesses.
Crappy Windows OS: $200. Ubuntu Linux: Priceless, literally!