Why I don’t use Windoze

I have two Dell computers (one laptop, one desktop) and they both have Windows Vista and Linux (currently, the latest version of Ubuntu) installed on them. I use Ubuntu the vast majority of the time. There are a number of reasons for this.

One of them is the annoyance of the way software updates work. You boot up for the first time in a few weeks and it hasn’t finished updating. Then the anti-virus wants to update. Meanwhile, more updates get downloaded and installed in the background, and after it finishes, a little pop-up appears saying it needs to reboot. It gives you a choice of postponing it for fifteen minutes, an hour or four, but “just let me get on with my work” isn’t an option. On top of that, the anti-virus wants to reboot your machine for itself after having finished a database update.

And two different third-party update programs are nagging you to install new software. I’ve got Safari, which I never use, but the Apple updater also wanted me to install iTunes (even though I’ve never used it on this machine).

This morning, I was helping my aunt do an online job application. We had two hours to do it before closing time at 12 noon today. So, while all this was going on, I told her she might as well make that coffee she said she wanted.

Reboot done, we got down to entering all the details (and the online form is different from the London Borough of Sutton’s own printed application forms, but that’s another story). We got three pages into her five- or six-page supporting statement when a little pop-up appeared and then disappeared. I didn’t see what it was as I had my eyes on the page I was copying. Then a second later, Firefox just disappeared and the machine rebooted. Of course, when Firefox restarted after the reboot, the entire contents of the box containing the supporting statement were missing.

We finally got the statement submitted, less than two minutes before the deadline. But incidents like this are why I simply don’t use Windows for most of what I use my computer for. Ubuntu has one system that does updates (called APT), it never pressures you to reboot in the middle of your work, it doesn’t take ages to let you use anything when the desktop has appeared (because it’s actually still loading stuff), and I’ve never had the thing spontaneously reboot while I’m working.

Some might say that Windows 7 remedies some of these problems, but I’ve never used it and can’t afford to upgrade either of mine. If it does, it should have been a free upgrade given that Vista has never been more reliable than an alpha test release.

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