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Microsoft / Windows, Thinking Aloud


I’m trying to justify to myself the reason why I run Windows (dual boot with Ubuntu, by the way). Read: I am bashing neither Windows nor UNIX here.

First and foremost, here are the applications I use.

Web Browser: Opera(cool voice feature), Firefox(the RC that looks very interestingly like Opera)
Movie Player: Quicktime, DivX Player
Music Player: iTunes
Messenger: GAIM, GTalk (although I’ve also tried Trillian and Miranda)
Productivity Suite: OpenOffice, Microsoft Office (No use getting a licensed copy if I’m not going to use it, right?)
Photo Editor: Adobe Photoshop
Movie Editor: Macromedia Director
Security: McAfee Security Center
E-mail: Thunderbird
Other Programs I run: Adobe Programs (Acrobat Pro, Indesign,
Pagemaker), and other stuffs for programming.

Looking at that list, it may seem to you that running Windows seem useless. But here are the reason I came up with why me and other people I know run Windows even with its security issue:

1. People don’t choose Windows because it’s better (or worse) than UNIX but because Microsoft/Intel was careful to guarantee them a consistent software experience across a broad selection of hardware. (Notebooks, PDAs, gaming consoles) (Edit: Sorry for the term”choose”. I don’t think we really “choose” Windows but rather stuck with it. Specially for PDAs and Xbox.)

2. Commercial grade windows just works and keeps working. The security issue aside, Windows actually works. (Edit: I’m not saying free-nixes don’t. I’m actually running one too and it works for me. ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

3. Major apps like Macromedia’s Director, Adobe’s Photoshop, etc, are still not available on UNIX. (Max OS X doesn’t count because Photoshop was coded to the Machintosh interface, not X-windows, and functions on OSX as a side-effect of the excellent backwards-compatibility that Apple built into their kernel-swap.) Has it manage to escape the attention of the open-source movement that Adobe, Macromedia, Corel and so forth have continued to be remain virtually Windows-only? The rush of support for Linux has not translated to a rush of quality applications. (A lot of people, especially those in the market, still see the need to use Adobe for desktop publishing.)

4. There are simply too many free-nixes out there but you could be sure that if you used Flavor X some adherent of Flavor Y was going to bust your chops about it, and that someone was sure to show up with flavor Zand have trouble making things work. This is particularly true in code-writing.

5. Let’s face it, Macs are indeed a lot more secured, much more consistent and more expensive. (I’m edititng this because thinking about it, Windows is more expensive. Assuming, of course, that you are running a licensed copy. I just remembered that I paid separately for the license of both XP Pro and MS Office 2003 Pro.)

6. GAMES! Most games remain virtualy windows-only. (Took ages before warcraft and the like was available to OS X. ๐Ÿ˜€ ) So, if your a hard core gamer, chances are you’re running Windows. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Honestly, all platforms have their own pros and cons. Apple software engineers are busy making eye-candies while Microsoft software engineers are trying to fix bugs but in the end they both just works (OS X better, needless to say). The advantage of commercial grade products like Windows and Mac OS X is that, Marcus Ranum said it better than I could ever do, “the platforms are consistent and won’t fragment into competing versions because because they are proprietary and the folks producing them are in business to make money.”

Update: Do MS really see the need to copy everything? Live.com that looks interestingly like Google. Zune that is similar to iPod. The MicroBlinkx Deal after the Google-YouTube deal. And now this thing that is interestingly like iSight.


About princess of antiquity

Abbi Cabanding is a member of the Security Bloggers Network and had been blogging on information security since 2006. She is also a member of the Association for Computing Machinery. She studied Computer Science and Fine Arts at the University of the Philippines - Diliman.


8 thoughts on “Justifying

  1. 1. It is not always good to have a “consistent” software experience. Microsoft has been trying to shove their Windows OS to virtually everything that has a digital heartbeat. The thing is, it does not work all the time. Look at Smartphones – Symbian and Linux have far better performance and higher marketshare than Microsoft’s.

    Talk about portable music players – do you see OS X on the iPod? Hell, no! Check out Zune – if I am not mistaken, it very well looks like Windows as well.

    2. You mean to tell me commercial grade Linux does not work? How about ‘commercial-grade’ Red Hat Linux?

    3. You have to see the whole picture here before you issue statements like this one. [1] Linux is young compared to Microsoft Windows and [2] Linux does not have the bullying tactic of Microsoft and not to forget the billions of $$$ to shove their software down the throats of users… oh, I think they were found guilty of a crime here.

    4. Again, this can be viewed as both good and bad. Bad because of fragmentation – good because of choices. Look at it this way, are you happy that Microsoft uses Internet Explorer instead of Opera or Firefox? Can you have your own Windows installer with Opera or Firefox instead of IE? No.

    With Open Source, to each his own. You can customize it the way you want and nobody is preventing you from doing that. I mean, if you are such a hard-core user, you can opt NOT to use distributions and instead install your own set of applications that suit your needs. Who says that it is a bad thing?

    5. More expensive? Again, common misconception. I admit that it was true a couple of years back but not anymore. You have to consider the entire package (hardware and software) along with the overall user experience (anti-virus? third-party firewall?).

    Apple develops the entire system – from hardware, software to the user interface. They control all so it is easy for them to polish it.

    Linux, otoh, concentrates on the software. It is only recently that the user interface has matured to Windows 3.11 levels. Wait til it reaches Windows XP levels.

    Microsoft concentrates on the software (and copies the user interface of Apple) but it tries to please everyone – from their old Windows 2000 users to those who are always upgrading. Legacy code tends to drag you down, imho.

    Choose a platform that works for you and not the other way around. For me, I am sick and tired of Microsoft’s bullying and making you believe that you have the greatest software on earth! I am sick of how the quality of their software – their design really sucks!

    Give me Linux or Mac OS X – it will work. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Posted by rommel | October 15, 8:30 pm, 8:30 pm
  2. I agree on most points you raised.

    MS sees the need to “shove their Windows OS” to everything becuase it hadn’t earned any significant profit in the past decade and beacuse hardware companies don’t know what to do with their technology so they come to MS and finds themselves bound in the End User License Agreement. There is very little choice involved; even most Linux users are forced to pay for a Microsoft license in order to obtain a brand name PC.

    Linux is still very young and, like you said, the UI is just in the 3.11 level. I am actually excited about the Linux revolution. And I find it cool that with Linux you have total control of your software environment. But as long as major apps remain virtually windows-only people will still be running Windows.

    And personally, I think Windows sucks too. It was not just designed with poor security but rather without security in mind at all. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Posted by abbi | October 16, 4:59 am, 4:59 am
  3. Maybe the last Windows XP release was still in its beta version – because there’s no security features yet. (Or yes, the security features will be available as an add-on via separate downloads of service packs) ๐Ÿ˜›

    Posted by nightfox | October 16, 8:34 pm, 8:34 pm
  4. Actually the very reason why a lot of Windows users are paranoid is not because the security is weak but because it has no security at all. When you’re running Windows, you have to secure yourself. So much for usabilty. ๐Ÿ˜€ That’s why anti-virus providing software companies have a market of their own. And the reason why companies like Symantec are pissed off at Vista. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Posted by abbi | October 16, 10:19 pm, 10:19 pm
  5. don’t forget the games. a lot of the them are still compatible only with windows.. and one of the reasons people buy computers are for entertainment.

    Posted by royalflare | October 17, 11:27 am, 11:27 am
  6. Added it na. Thanks for reminding me. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Posted by abbi | October 17, 2:15 pm, 2:15 pm
  7. “Do MS really see the need to copy everything?”

    Let’s see microsoft’s previous products

    MS DOS — nope not their own. written by Tim Paterson for computer manufacturer Seattle Computer Products (SCP)
    GUI and Mouse — not sure from whom, Xerox or Apple
    Excel — Lotus 123
    Word — not sure
    Internet Explorer – Netscape

    So pretty much a majority of their products comes from someplace else. I have yet to see a truly groundbreaking microsoft innovation. ok fine, XBOX live counts. And MAYBE windows 95

    Posted by ozzie | November 15, 11:09 am, 11:09 am
  8. It was the Xerox Lab in CA who developed the GUI and the mouse but they gave it away to Apple. So, Apple was the first one to release it.

    Basically, if you look at the gaming consoles developed by of Sony, you’ll realize where XBOX came from. (And PS3 is really a must-have!)

    And speaking of Windows 95, it is the most stable OS Microsoft had ever released.

    Posted by abbi | November 15, 4:24 pm, 4:24 pm

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