Wednesday, September 27, 2006

How To Switch To Windows

Over the last four or five years, there has been a virtual flood of journalists, familiar with Windows and little else, who have tried to migrate to Linux. Generally they fumble ham-fistedly with the system for a few hours or days, then self-importantly declare that Linux isn't ready for the desktop.

Long-time Linux user Matthias Endler decided to go the other way. As a Linux user, how easy is it to migrate to Windows?

I’ve heard of a new Operating System called Microsoft Windows the other day and wanted to give it a try because it is said to be easy to use and intuitive. Unfortunately the author offers no live-cd to test everything before I have to install. Instead of downloading it from the Internet as I always do I had to go to the computer store and buy it for a price of €150. There is also a so called "Professional Edition" but it would cost even more. [...]

[...] The Internet Explorer doesn’t have a popup filter and seems to attract ads and after fifteen minutes my taskbar looked like a battlefield full of spam. I had to close every window manually. My former Browser Firefox had tab-functionality included but IE seems to have own browsing rules and standards. But that was just the beginning: When I wanted to chat with my friends I found out that Windows Messenger doesn’t support ICQ, AIM, TOM and Jabber. I was forced to create a so called MSN-Account to continue but I refused.

(Sometimes the author's language is a little clumsy, but I believe English is not his native tongue, so a little understanding is in order.)

Beyond the satire, there are a couple of serious points: complaints that some system or another is not easy to use often merely means it is different from what the complainer is used to. Ease of use often also focuses on making simple things easy to do, at the expense of making complicated things impossible (or at least very difficult): a hammer is easy to use, but if you are used to having access to a complete tool box, having to use nothing but a hammer makes things harder to do, not easier.

No comments: