For the first time in maybe more than ten years, I don’t have a machine running Windows in my possession. Last week, my Vista-running Acer laptop stopped working. Windows just wouldn’t load. It gave me a load of options to restore things to a previous state of affairs, only, because it couldn’t find the driver for my C: drive, there was no previous state of affairs. And there wasn’t any option to restore the machine back to factory settings, no restore CD, no Vista install CD, nothing.
So I did the only logical thing I could do to make this machine useful again. I put Linux on it. Kubuntu to be precise, and it works very nicely. A sticky start, because I couldn’t find FireFox (it wasn’t installed straight away), and things like Flash player had to be installed too. Also, certain file formats (like MP3!) aren’t supported immediately either. But after an hour or so’s fiddling, I have things working very nicely. It certainly isn’t as eeeasy to get into as a certain Asus machine, but it isn’t half bad. It’s quicker and more stable than Vista ever was.
My Macbook is still my main machine, and I can’t see that changing. The quality of the open source software available on the Linux platform is astonishing, given that it’s mostly free of charge, but for certain applications – like those dealing with media (photos, video etc) – the Mac clearly has the edge. For doing stuff on the web, though, Firefox can be running in anything that doesn’t crash every five minutes or which operates at a reasonable speed. And Linux beats Vista hands down on that score.