Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Windows minus Windows

I've always been a Windows guy. I've been raised on it and never had the money (or desire) to switch to Mac, and I still have not found a Linux that has enough features that I want and will not break on me. I've used Windows, mostly XP, for my entire tech lifetime and a while ago, I had a small epiphany: I don't think I really like Windows.

It came to me when I was using n-Lite to try to create an installer for my netbook. As I went through each step stripping more and more of the crap that Microsoft tries to include, I began to wonder, with all of this stuff gone, is it really Windows I like? I don't use Internet Explorer, I loathe Search 4, I don't use Windows Explorer as a shell and I'm currently looking for a replacement for the file manager. Literally the only programs that I ever use are the Task Manager (which is actually a decent program), Notepad (which I can't really find a decent replacement that matches what I want, besides SciTe), the Calculator (which has alternatives I should look into), and occasionally the Character map. But quite honestly, I hate pretty much everything about a fresh install of Windows, even XP.

I'm not quite sure, but I think I like the other aspects. I like the look and feel, even with TrueType turned on using an alternative shell with a theme, it feels still 100% different than Linux and Mac (the minutes I've used it). But I'm sure if I looked around long enough I could find a theme that comes close in Linux.

I thought for the longest time that it was maybe the programs, but honestly, I love checking out new programs, but that's not what I do most of the time. I don't even use the programs in my Rocketdock all that often; I use Firefox, SciTe, OpenOffice, Chrome, GIMP, Steam, and *coughiTunescough*. But the point is even though I have probably ~400 different programs installed, I really only use a few on an everyday basis. (Plus, 5 of the 6 listed above are supported on Mac, and 4 are on Linux.)

I'm still kinda confused as to why I like Windows, or rather, why I don't like Linux or don't feel the desire to change. Maybe it's because Windows' problems are fixable 99% of the time. (I think I've only run into 1 problem I could not fix over the years, and a reinstall would probably have done it.) Or maybe it's the familiarness, that all the KDE and GNOME apps scare me, and mounting drives as folders instead of letters makes me scream and run away. Or maybe it's a bit of everything.

I suspect that it's a combination of me liking how everything looks, feels, and acts on Windows, including problems, and also things like installing software, configuring X.Org, and other things on Linux are freaking scary, and I project that onto all other OSes. It's alot of Tech Inertia, since I've used Windows for so long and will most likely always be a Win boy deep down, but I still can't help but wonder....what is it that I love? If I remove or tweak everything that Microsoft defines as Windows, what makes it something that I'm still drawn to as opposed to Linux or Mac?

It's more of a self-searching question than anything else, and it kinda runs hand in hand with the running question "What makes a distro?", except this time it's "What makes an OS (Windows) my favorite?" It's intriguing to me because I've slowly been switching from all of the stock programs, most notably from the shell and the file manager, but I'm hoping to find a good search, calculator, task manager, and text editor that suite my fancy sometime soon. But this has implications since my next laptop is going to be a Mac (since it's about time I owned a Mac, since I want to call myself a nerd), and it makes me curious, how will I feel about it?

Still searching,
-Bry

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