You can finally dump Windows!
Several people people have written in asking questions along the lines of, "why are you dumping Windows and using Linux instead?"
The answer is simply that we now have overwhelming technical, financial and perhaps most importantly, moral reasons for no longer wishing to use Microsoft software - if it can be avoided. Here are just a few...
I believe that in its attempts to protect its corporate interests, Microsoft is trampling over its users basic human rights.
- As a British National and an EU citizen, I morally object to being forced to pay to use the proprietary products of a large, monopolistic, foreign corporation in order to access and manipulate my data. I am not the only EU citizen with this view .
- I especially object to Microsoft's deployment of Digital Rights Management techniques, effectively criminalising its users before any crime has been committed.
- I resent the constant upgrades that force the purchase of new hardware,
- I further resent paying for new versions of software that still don't deliver what was promised with the previous version.
- I dislike having to waste valuable computing resources running layer-upon-layer of virus checker, spyware detector etc, just to patch gaping holes in Microsoft security.
- I bitterly resent having to "reauthenticate" software just because I have changed a hard drive or upgraded my hardware - thus effectively informing a foreign company, in a foreign jurisdiction of my computing activity.
I finally have a real choice
The Microsoft faithful tell us that the release of Vista is the most significant IT event of the year. However I would venture to suggest that IT historians of the future may consider of at least equal importance is the final arrival of desktop Linuxes, genuinely suitable for the average user. For the first time since Microsoft attained its desktop dominance in the mid 1990's, there is some serious, usable and affordable competition for Microsoft Windows on the desktop.
We tried Windows Vista and we were deeply disappointed with its dismal performance and shocked by its exorbitant cost. So, following a short feasibility study, we made the business decision in 2007 May to abandon Vista. Instead we are concentrating our intellectual efforts on deploying Ubuntu Linux and phasing out all flavours of Microsoft Windows on all our operational desktop computers. This has already proven a very good decision for us. We have no viruses, no worms and no spyware on any of our Linux-powered desktop or laptop computers. Almost all the software we need is free and the hardware needed to run it is currently around a third of the cost of that needed to run Vista.
In a nutshell, all our moral and business values seem to converge upon the same conclusion, “bye bye Microsoft!”
The main disadvantage of deploying Linux initially was the difficulty finding equivalents of our favourite Windows applications.
Windows apps on Linux?
After a little experimentation, we discovered that we could run several of our legacy Windows applications on Linux using an open source product called WINE. Then we learned that we could run many more Windows applications using a very affordable commercial implementation of WINE created by Codeweavers, called Crossover.
Even better, Crossover is not some “virtual machine” arrangement. Crossover lets us run Windows applications as if they were “real” Linux applications. Surprisingly, some Windows applications actually run better under WINE/Linux that they do in Windows! At time of writing 2007-08-04, it seems that the only remaining business application that we need to make work under Linux is PHPRunner. I am very glad to say that Sergey Kornilov and his team at xLineSoft have been very supportive of this and I believe we are not far from achieving our goal.
If you are prepared to continue swelling Microsoft's coffers despite its highly questionable business practices – not to mention the poor quality and the lamentably flawed security of its products – then that is a matter for your conscience. I would not dare to tell anyone how you should run your business. However, I would ask you to understand that like an increasing number of people, I strenuously avoid trading with corporations whose business practices I find morally unacceptable.