Technology Tales

Adventures & experiences in contemporary technology

Some things that I’d miss on moving from Linux to Windows

17th January 2009

The latest buzz surrounding Windows 7 has caused one observer to suggest that it’s about to blast Linux from the desktop. My experiences might be positive but there are still things that I like about Linux that make me reluctant to consider switching back. Here are a few in no particular order:

Virtual Desktops (or Workspaces)

I find these very handy for keeping things organised when I have a few applications open at the same time. While I think that someone has come with a way of adding the same functionality to Windows but I’d need to go looking for that. Having everything cluttering up a single taskbar would feel a bit limiting.

Symbolic Links

If you have come across these before, they are a little hard to explain but it’s great to have to have the ability to make the contents of a folder appear in more than one place at a time without filling up your hard drive. It’s true to say that Windows 7 gets Libraries but I have a soft spot for the way that Linux does it so simply.

Lack of (intrusive) fidgeting

One of Windows’ biggest problems is that it’s such a massive target for attacks by the less desirable elements of the web community. The result is a multitude of security software vendors wanting to get their wares onto your PC and it’s when they get there that all of the fidgeting starts. The cause is the constant need for system monitoring and it eats up resources that could be used for other things. I know some packages are less intrusive than others but I do like the idea of feeling as if I am in full control of my PC rather someone else taking decisions for me (unavoidable in the world of work, I know). An example of this is Norton’s not allowing me to shut it down when it goes rogue, even when acting as Administrator. I can see the reason for this in that it’s trying to hamper the attentions of nefarious malware but it ends up making me feel less than empowered and I also like to feel trusted too. Another thing that I like is the idea of something awaiting my input rather going away and trying to guess what I need and getting it wrong, an experience that seems typical of Microsoft software.

Command Line

This is less of a miss than it used to be but there is now a learning curve with PowerShell’s inclusion with Windows 7 and it’s not something that I want to foist on myself without my having the time learning its ins and outs. It’s not a bad skill to have listed on the proverbial CV but I now know my way around bash and its ilk while knowing where to look when I want to take things further.

After these, there are other personal reasons for my sticking with Linux like memories of bad experiences with Windows XP and the way that Linux just seems to get on with the job. Its being free of charge is another bonus and the freedom to have things as you want makes you feel that you have a safer haven in this ever changing digital world. I am not sure if I’d go acquiring the final version of Windows 7 but I am certain that it will not be replacing Linux as my main home computing platform, something that come as no surprise given what I have said above.


  • FastGame says:

    “One of Windows biggest problems is that it’s such a massive target for attacks by the less desirable elements of the web community.”

    True, but……

    “One of Windows” users biggest problem is they don’t spend the time to do anything about it, Windows can be made every bit as secure as Linux, hmmm in about 10 minutes and for free. When you consider “that it’s such a massive target for attacks by the less desirable elements of the web community”, “10 minutes and for free” can bring about a sense of accomplishment, some Linux users spend more time than that trying to get their WiFi going ;)

    “Virtual Desktops”

    Yeah I wouldn’t want to lose that. I run Linux and Virtual Box with Windows in seamless mode, there’s nothing (aside from 3D gaming on Windows in VB) that limits my PC experience.

  • John says:

    Unfortunately, those ten minutes might not be time that the average user might want to spend and we get appliance-like software systems with all the scurrying going on behind and not-so-behind the scenes…

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