May 5, 2002

Good bye Windows

Why have I bought my last Windows-based computer? My problems revolve around the years of headaches of horrible business and technical practices that Microsoft breeds. Their concern is not the customer and their well being, but their pockets. In the 10 years that I have had my own Microsoft OS-based computers (four of them) I have had four complete meltdowns resulting from MS patches or incompatible MS software (not third-party software or hardware problems). I have had software overwrite a shared resource (because MS took a sort cut in their OS and created DLLs). I have bought OS' and software that had to be repeatedly patched for security problems, not just bugs (one of these security patches overwrote an element that controlled my hard drive partition, which resulted in a cleared hard drive). I have provided numerous hours of help to friends and relatives that have had similar problems (many of them have had worse and more frequent problems because they are not computer professionals). I have paid for incremental upgrades or for an actual CD I could boot my computer from, when all MS would offer is an OEM disk that contained an image of the software installed on the system. I had paid for the operating system when I bought my computers, but if I wanted to own the OS, I had to buy the damn thing again (this seems to be Microsoft's understanding of two for one bargains, like many things they do they got it horribly wrong).

I had figured this what I had to deal with to run a monopolist's operating system that everybody else used (the courts proved MS is a monopolist and that has stood the appeal attempts and they remain criminals that are now trying to settle a punishment). My most recent encounter with Microsoft is their practices with their XP OS software. The marketing and technical materials, at the time of their release stated that the home version was all one needed to perform networking at home. The Professional was for advanced enterprise networks. Well it is not the case and MS marketing materials now reflect this statement. They state the Professional version of XP is for "advanced" home networks, which I have found to mean trying network not only another company's operating system (Mac), but its own variants (Win 98), while trying to keep a connection to a DSL router. The configuration requires a static IP. The Home version wants to reorganize your configuration, which knocks out my DSL connection and never let me share files with my Windows 98 machine, nor use its printer. The XP Home will play nicely with other XP Home machines, but that seems to be about all.

Now comes my last straw. You notice on the XP OS software page that the price difference is $100. I am willing to pay that difference to upgrade to Pro from Home. I am not willing to pay for Microsoft's bait-and-switch tactics, which are illegal in every state in the U.S., and pay the $199 upgrade price. MS will not budge. This means I will budge. I have never received an e-mail response from MS regarding how to or where to find information on upgrading from Home to Pro. Like most of MS site internal links, they are broken. I may have missed something in the many months I have spent trying to correct the error in my ways, which was believing MS marketing materials.

What makes it easy make my next purchase something other than a Windows machine. Mac OS X has made this option available to me. My laptop running OS X has been a dream. I don't know that I would call this an operating system as it has been headache free, it has not conflicted with other software, it allows quick software loads (which are also pain free), and things just work. This is unlike any operating system I have ever used. It is not perfect, but it is damn near perfect. I thought I may have problems doing my regular work on the machine, but I can do every thing I ever did on a Windows machine and without the damn headaches. I can markup HTML, write Word documents, code software, connect to and build SQL compliant databases, use and develop Web Services, use the full (with the exception of Access) Microsoft Office suite and easily share and collaborate with others using Office on any OS platform, I could even run Windows OS (with the help of Virtual PC) so to have access to any other needed software (or even run IIS to test ASP, which is not an option on XP Home), run and build Java natively, not have to continually worry about security holes and viruses, network the computer with non-XP Home computers relatively easily, not have to worry about having to rent my operating system, and not having the OS invade my privacy by strongly urging my use of an unsecure Passport.

My future is mine and not Microsoft's. I will take me where I want to go and my OS of choice will help me get there and not stand in my way. I will let the U.S. Federal Trade Commission know of the fraud. I will also continue to providing for support MS applications and environments at work, because that is my job and I get paid for those headaches.



Posted Comments

No matter how you or I feel about Windows XP or Microsoft's marketing practices, It must be said that you have arrived at a number of incorrect conclusions. - Windows XP Home is most definitely able to use static IP addresses. - Windows XP is most definitely able to connect to machines running older Microsoft OSes. - Windows XP will "play nice" with OSes other than XP Home. I have mine accessing a Linux box and another PC running Windows Me (ironically, it is my computer running Mac OS X that I have difficulty in successfully accessing from these other machines -- its lack of discovery services is a real pain!) - Your statements about running a Virtual PC in order to have access to IIS are, of course, also true under Windows XP. You can run Virtual PC (for Windows) from Connectix and run Windows 2000 Pro, XP Pro or just about whatever you want.

Welcome aboard. I think you'll find that what you've noticed thus far about OS X will continue to be true. OS X is still far from perfect, but with Apple continuing to listen to user feedback in a way that MS seems completely incapable of (as a small example, Apple just announced today that spring-loaded folders would return to the MacOS in the next release of X) and come up with mind-blowing software that is free or almost free, I can't imagine a better time to commit to being a Mac user full-time. You probably already are aware, but check out http://www.macfiixit.com, http://www.versiontracker.com, http://dealmac.com/forums, or even Apple's own discussion database if you ever run into a problem you need help with.

Bob, I have XP Home using static IP, but I can not share files, nor share printers with Win 98, nor OS X . I could set up XP Home to have file and printer sharing with 98, but that kills my DSL to the XP Home box. I have spent too much money buying two licenses for my MS boxes, one that came with the computer as an OEM and the other for an actual usable version. (OEM image disks don't help when you crash, nor when needed to upgrade, nor when you have drastically upgraded your hardware). I am not going to buy Virtual PC to run Windows on my Windows box, which seems like buying and keeping two houses because the doors and windows will not open on the first house. I am finding fewer and fewer reasons to even need Virtual PC on OS X, so I may not upgrade it at all. After all the virus problems and security problems I have assisted with cleaning up in the last couple of weeks, I keep finding so few benefits to Windows OS for all the headaches. Should I be able to get XP Pro for the price difference or have the ability to net work XP Home properly, which I really hope will happen, I would still have purchased my last Windows OS machine. OS X does not get in the way and does not come with headaches built in. In a year when, I am ready to purchase a new desktop computer to replace the current system (now coming up on two years old) the purchase will be Apple to go along with the wonderful ease I found in the TiBook using OS X.

Bernard, I already have found the great Mac resources you have mentioned. I would encourage others to use the same boards. The community around Mac is similar to the very helpful Linux and Open Source community. This is a great thing.

I thought I had headaches, but this person has encountered far worse problems than I have encountered. They are staying with MS because of sunk cost.

I would love to switch over to OSX, but one thing bothers me. The Mac only has a 5% share of market. Walk into any software store and you see countless shelves of PC software, maybe a dozen or so Mac titles, IF that. Will this ever change? What will it take for Apple to increase their market share? More legal clones?

Which software are you worried about? Office? There, if Appleworks (included) doesn't work for you. Graphics? Plenty. Web/email software? There. Firewall? Built in. Antivirus? There, not needed anywhere near as much. Thing is, even buying for a PC - how much software do you actually buy? Unless you're reviewing office suites, for instance, it doesn't matter that there are 15 different ones for sale. Look at what you use, what you need, then go "shopping."

There are ONLY 10,000 software titles for OS X; just how many do you need?! Check out Apple.com

Having bought a refurbished G3, PowerMacintosh, All-In-One, w/MacOS 9.2.2, I noticed that despite the 5 year old age of the machine, it doesn't crash 2 to 3x a day, like the 2 Compaqs' did, & the 233Mhz, runs faster than the 475Mhz processor on the Compaq Presario Laptop. Also, due to the OS, AOL is smoother, & I don't get spammed like I did on Win98 & 95.

Was working on my G3 PowerMacintosh, & sent an e-mail to an associate, who opened the mail & got hit by the Blaster Worm & the SoBig Virus, as the associate has XP on his machine, & tried to claim that it was my fault for not having antivirus software, which I found fascinating, if only because Windows has 70K+Viruses & more varients & worms. Why would he blame me for his buggy patch system getting a virus?

Was working on my G3 PowerMacintosh, & sent an e-mail to an associate, who opened the mail & got hit by the Blaster Worm & the SoBig Virus, as the associate has XP on his machine, & tried to claim that it was my fault for not having antivirus software, which I found fascinating, if only because Windows has 70K+Viruses & more varients & worms. Why would he blame me for his buggy patch system getting a virus?

Even on Macintosh OS 9.2.2, MS IE 5.1.7 & OE 5.0.6, fail the ease of use test, especially when configuring my e-mail program to work. I tried Netscape Communicator, & the ease of use is superb w/Earthlink. Now I can see why Gates tried to wipe Netscape off the earth, so we would be under his thumb, w/his buggy system, controlling everything.

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