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Poll: Desktop operating systems - Songs of innocence and of experience [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Douglas Spencer

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Poll: Desktop operating systems [Mar. 22nd, 2007|11:45 pm]
Douglas Spencer
Imagine for the purposes of this poll that I'm about to go and get a new laptop, to become the machine that I use pretty much all the time. Imagine that I'll use the machine as a standalone unit (not as part of a corporate network), and that I'll use it mostly for web browsing, reading and writing emails, general writing of stuff, storing and organising photos, and all that sort of thing. Imagine further that I'm currently platform-agnostic, and that I'm swift to learn my way around a system with which I'm previously unfamiliar. Finally, imagine that I'm going to make this purchase sometime in the next two or three months.

This is not an exercise designed to help me choose my next desktop OS. It's an exercise designed to bring to light any opinions on the matter that I haven't already heard, but don't be shy in voicing an opinion that I may already be familiar with.

Poll #951977 Choice of desktop OS on a new machine

So ... why should I ask for Windows Vista?

So ... why should I ask for Windows XP?

So ... why should I ask for Mac OS X?

So ... why should I ask for Linux?

So ... why should I seek to avoid Windows Vista?

So ... why should I seek to avoid Windows XP?

So ... why should I seek to avoid Mac OS X?

So ... why should I seek to avoid Linux?

This bit is sort of traditional.

I have a paper pad and a small bag of coloured pens.
We used to write our code on 80-column punched card
I forgot the question -- is there any chance of a cup of tea?

[User Picture]From: mgspiller
2007-03-23 12:34 am (UTC)
My parents met on a job where one/both programmed with punched tape, later moving to 80-column punched card. There was never any hope for me :-)
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From: _jamez_
2007-03-23 05:26 am (UTC)
Given what you're using this all for, I'd consider how much you like the User Interface of each respective OS as one of the most important factors.

Also, why not mention Windows 2000?
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[User Picture]From: dougs
2007-03-23 07:57 am (UTC)
Because it's not currently legitimately available for sale/download.
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[User Picture]From: drplokta
2007-03-23 08:14 am (UTC)

Perfectly legitimate, and a lot cheaper than buying XP or Vista new.
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[User Picture]From: spodlife
2007-03-23 05:21 pm (UTC)
The cost of OEM XP is usually built into the cost of a new PC, so it is difficult to get cheaper.

Plus, Windows 2000 support from Microsoft (and other vendors) is fading faster than for XP. At least Windows 2000 isn't too fussy about its licence key while XP and Vista take a far more serious interest in the key's provenance.

It all depends on the applications, of course, like any computer system, so I use Linux at home.
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[User Picture]From: haloumi
2007-03-23 09:42 am (UTC)
I continue to be astounded by some of the anti-platform vitriol which fails to provide any actual information.

I cannot speak to the other platforms because I haven't used them enough recently but I would strongly recommend OS X on Apple hardware. I've written a lot of prose, thesis and code in C, Java, Python and Perl on it, as well as web surfing, Microsoft Office-ing and mail reading. (And if you _want_ the command-line option which allows you to work inside FreeBSD, then open up Terminal. If you don't want to touch the command line - don't bother.) OK - not all games will be ported to it in the short term and, occasionally, some games won't be ported at all. If that bother you buy a PC or a console.
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[User Picture]From: davidcook
2007-03-23 04:41 pm (UTC)

Games and OS X

... I'd say that the majority of PC games will never see an OS X port, actually - only the most popular / profitable games will be done.
A "serious" gamer would almost certainly want to dual boot with XP (assuming that they had strong reasons/desires to use OS X, that is).
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[User Picture]From: haloumi
2007-03-24 01:01 am (UTC)

Re: Games and OS X

David has a good point here. I really only look at fairly mainstream games and only notice the ones which have been ported to OS X or are awaiting porting. The big studios tend to put out both but there is no guarantee.

However, given that the new Intel Macs run XPSP2 in dual-boot or a large number of other OSs in Parallels (with very different performance characteristics) you can, as David pointed out, circumvent such platform restrictions.

As in all things, it is how well the operating system and hardware match your user requirements that will determine your satisfaction with the platform. If you haven't been an extensive user of any of your possible solutions, trying one for a day or two with your usual usage pattern is the only way to determine what's going to work for you. As you have already discovered, any LJ survey tends to return results along the following lines:

1. A vitriolic attack upon a given option, with implied attack upon your sanity for suggesting it. (Only n00bs, gays and grandmas use option X!)
2. A user comment which talks about their personal experience without any concrete information to allow you to localise it. (PCs/Macs are great!)
3. Fanboy rantings (I'm probably here.)
4. Thoughtful and useful comments which can assist you - often far too few of these.
5. And the compulsory random reference to other things, previous posts or meta-issues. (Gosh, that's me again.)
6. Random obscenity.

You've had quite a good run with your postings so far. I'd still suggest going out and trying anything for a couple of days at least to make sure that you could use it happily.
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From: tamaranth
2007-03-23 10:09 am (UTC)
what's this new-fangled nonsense about punched cards? My first computer program was coded by colouring in squares on a card with a 2B pencil. It didn't compile.

Have been trying to switch to Linux for over a year. Unsuccessful. Probably someone with a bit more nous could get things working better, but I've ended up back in Gatesville. (Microsoft apps are character-forming.)
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[User Picture]From: kevinrtaylor
2007-03-23 10:42 am (UTC)
You left out the most important option:
A machine with no OS, so that you can install your favourite Linux.

If it was me I'd go for Mandriva 2007, but others would say OpenSuSe 10 is better, yet others would recommend Ubuntu, ...
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[User Picture]From: haloumi
2007-03-24 01:04 am (UTC)
While I think of it, you haven't asked us to imagine how much maintenance and customisation you're willing to carry out in your pursuit of happiness.

Is a corporate-wrapped upgrade delivery system with low maintenance a crucial thing for you or are you happy to tinker?
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