Bye bye Windows Bye bye Linux

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Over the last several months, I’ve been moving more and more of my work from my Windows/Linux dual-boot laptop to my Mac. Now with the open source development environment working so effortlessly in my PowerBook, there’s little reason to stay with my other machine.

I still get Excel spreadsheets and Word documents, but today I upgraded my OpenOffice environment to 1.1.2, and the performance and ease of use with this application has now reached a point that I can do without Office. My printer doesn’t work with my Mac, but to be honest the print drivers don’t work with many of my Windows applications. Besides my roommate’s printer just died, and he could use a new one.

Next week I’ll take my Powerbook down to the Apple Store, to the so-called Genius Bar (how pretentious can one get?) and have them fix the battery, and tell me how much it would cost to upgrade my hard driver to a larger size. After that, I’ll spend the next week cleaning out my Windows laptop and re-installing the software from scratch; giving the box and the printer to my roommate and buying a new photo-capable printer, desktop keyboard and possibly a stylus and pad for my Mac. (Suggestions on all of these would be welcome.)

At that point, for the first time since I was a tester of the earliest beta release of Windows, back in the 80’s, I won’t be using a Windows box as my primary work machine.

A few years ago, I never would have thought this could occur. I had written a best-selling book on COM/COM+ and ASP for O’Reilly, I was a member of the Microsoft Development Network, had passed several Windows certification tests, attended Windows conferences almost exclusively, and programmed primarily in VB and VC++ and just a little Java. In addition, I scoffed at the Macs with their cute graphics, and decided if I were to go with a second environment, away from my beloved Windows, it would be Linux.

This weekend, though, I was able to install several open source applications far more easily than I ever could on Linux, primarily because Mac users won’t tolerate piecemeal packages, cryptic installation instructions, and a hackers attitude of “well, if you have to ask how something works, you shouldn’t use it”. Best of all, they work out of the box on the Mac — no mucking around with Windows ‘tweaks’.

I am now become one of the Mac people I used to look askance at years ago; you know, the starry eyed ones that wax on and on enthusiastically about their machines. However, I draw the line at standing in line for an Apple Store opening, or spending time in the Mac forums comparing the size of my local Genius Bar with those of other members.

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