I provide technical support for a dozen or so people on an ad hoc basis. I have recommended software to people countless times. I have supported the Microsoft view of the world and Windows software for 20 years. I have never installed Linux (sorry Aunt Susie).

This article shows the basic gameplan for Microsoft to curb piracy. I think it is a mistake. Here is why:

People like myself are the reason Windows works for many consumers. We fix the problems. We upgrade the Ram. We remove the spyware. We do the backups. We show you where Windows Update is. Dell may sell you the box, but we (your techie friend or relative) keeps you running smooth. DSL and Cable modem providers allow completely un-firewalled access to your computer. Windows security is terrible “out of the box”. Computers need maintenance. And your techie friends/relatives provide that maintenance all across the country.

If those people can not afford to purchase software, they can not get “good” at that software. More and more, I see people like myself turning to open source. Linux is getting much, much closer to prime-time. I am questioning whether or not to start educating myself in the open-source world.

I would need to get good at a lot of new stuff, but it might be worth it. I suppose I could run Windows in VNC if Linux didn’t have a Quicken or MS Money type program.

Anyway, as a Microsoft supporter, I am admitting, I am considering jumping ship.

2 replies on “Windows”

Supposedly it’s a ‘chicken and egg’ problem. People pirate Windows & Office because they are so expensive. Yet Microsoft says that piracy is one of the reasons why they have to keep prices high.

Personally I think Microsoft is full of crap; Office, for example, is a mature piece of software with much of its development costs long since paid for, and should not cost as much as it does.

I just bought a new Dell laptop for school. It varies on your configuration, but Dell charges about $250 for Windows XP and $300 for MS Office. If I had bought both, my total cost for the laptop would have been $1300 — $550 of which would have been for software. That’s 40% of the cost of the system. Is that appropriate? Obviously Microsoft thinks it is.

Problem is, I had a hard limit of $1000 to spend. So I opted to not buy MS Office. I would certainly prefer to have a legal copy of Office on my laptop but instead Scott’s office supplied my install.

Pretty much everyone I know who uses Linux on the desktop runs a Windows emulator so they can continue to use some of the mainstream Windows software out there. There’s just too much good stuff in the Windows world (Quicken, Photoshop, iTunes, PalmOS stuff, and any number of games) even if the OS itself is a problem.

I also like windows, but in the long-term, if Microsoft continues to dominate software like it does, it will be really bad. The longer Microsoft dominates the market the more likely they will produce poor applications. They need competition to motivate them to produce high-quality products quickly. Eventually, Microsoft will slack so much than new company will come out with something an entire generation ahead. It will be a flexible operating system that can run Windows, MAC, Linux or any other kind of program. It will incorporate their own office suite that is compatible with Microsoft office software. I don’t think it will be open source, and I am predicting it will be releases for free two years after Longhorn. My extra guess is that either IBM, Google, or a scientific organization (like CERN or NASA) will be behind the new operating sty tem. I would be surprised if China created their own operating system.

Back on topic, Microsoft feeds of people who don’t know what they are doing. They don’t want our friends to be able to help, they want us all dependant on them. I don’t think computers that work well for a long time is in the best interest of Microsoft. They want to make it seem that the next new thing is critical and everyone needs to buy it. Of course, I’m still a fan of Bill Gates, whose charitable giving is overwhelming.

Whatya think?