Well it’s a while since I posted on my blog, running my own business means time to have a rant about Microsoft or anyone else for that matter has been limited.
I felt I should add something new rather than let my blog fester so here are some thoughts on things in 2019.
Since I last posted in 2017 about the then new Windows 10 my love affair with Windows has ended and I am now only using Windows 10 in a Virtual Machine on my Linux Mint 19.1 operating system. Why I hear you ask?
Well, I finally got sick of the constant disruptive updates, the suspicion that everything you do on Windows (like with Google when using their search engine) is being recorded and analysed and stored in databases somewhere so that they can monetise everything you do.
I accept that with Google to a degree as you don’t pay for most of the things they provide (Google Maps, Earth, StreetView, Gmail etc etc), but with Microsoft I have paid for my Windows version (I am an MSDN subscriber and it costs me about £400 per year to have Visual Studio and access to some server stuff like SQL Server and some Operating Systems like Windows 7, 8.1 and 10 should I want them to test my applications on/against).
So why was I seeing adverts in File Manager, loads of stupid games and apps getting installed without my permission (well they probably embedded it somewhere in a very long legal document that I acknowledged when installing the O/S but who lives long enough to read these things [and they know and rely on that fact] which is totally “weasel” as far as I am concerned, it’s very much like the Vogons in Hitchikers Guide To The Galaxy “well the notice about Earth being destroyed to make way for the intergalactic freeway was posted for 6 months on Alpha Centauri for you to lodge a complaint, if you can’t be bothered to read it well that’s your problem!” or words to that effect). Also apps I previously installed disappearing from the start menu when they got updated?? And this is the Professional version of Windows not the Home one!!
So the above and the fact that the last three major updates had caused so much grief; one interfered with my antivirus causing a blue screen on boot up. Another locked me out because it disabled my USB ports so I couldn’t use my mouse and keyboard and had to jump through a crash boot game that eventually got me to safe mode so that I could disable the offending update. The third didn’t actually get me but if I hadn’t switched to Linux Mint I wuld have fallen foul of the bug that deleted user data (how Microsoft got so slipshod that, that one got through I do not know, but clearly they need to get some serious testing capability back in house).
All these cumulative pains with Windows and the constant feeling that all Microsoft cared about was Cloud services and to hell with their Windows customers, particularly non-business ones, made me finally throw in the towel and wipe Windows off my machine and switch to Linux Mint.
It was very strange at first as Linux is a lot the same and a lot different to Windows and it takes a while to get your head around the differences. It has a start menu and a task bar (I use the Cinnamon version), it has desktop icons and generally behaves like you would expect.
You have Linux equivalents of most software, I now use LibreOffice to replace Word Excel Access and PowerPoint and Evolution mail to replace Outlook. Linux has all the utilities for opening PDFs (Document Viewer), editing images (Pinta, Shotwell, GIMP) and videos (Shotcut, Kodi), burning CDs and DVDs (Brasero) and so on. All is free and open source so you can look at the code and make changes if you want as long as you send your changes back to the original developers in case they like what you did and want to add it into the mainstream version.
I really feel that Linux Mint, Ubuntu (which Mint is derived from) and Fedora are all mature stable easy to use GUI based Linux versions that anyone coming from a Windows background could switch to and only have minor issues that any Linux expert could help them with (and do in the nowadays much friendlier Linux forums).
The days of having to do a lot of command line stuff is long gone, for normal users I doubt they ever need to use a command line. Techs like me do like to use command lines, but I would think that a normal user nowadays would need a command line as much as a Windows user would.
I have installed Linux Mint on a number of my client’s PCs and I have no more support calls from them than I did with Windows, probably less in fact, as Linux just works and doesn’t keep wanting to restart all the time which will be a great relief for most Windows users.
If you want to give Linux Mint a try, you can download an ISO file and burn that to a DVD and it makes you a bootable disk that you can run on your existing Windows PC without needing to install it so that you can try it out before switching over.
You can download the ISO image from the Linux Mint website: