iToto's Blog

A Montreal based full-stack web developer who loves learning and trying out new things. This blog is my attempt to document my work as well as a place to discuss ideas or topics that I find interesting. Feel free to follow me on linked social networks.

Windows, why can't we get along?

Disclaimer: There will be some ranting against Microsoft.

Background

In the past, I was always a Windows user and fanboy.From when I first learned how to use the computer till I got my first degree in Computer Science, it was all I used. Back then to me, Linux was "cool but too much of a hassle to get up and running" and Macs were just expensive. Looking back at those days I can't help but to think "boy was I ignorant".

The Present Day

I've been on the Mac now for about 8 years and I have never looked back. I use my MBP at home - mostly for my own personal projects and, you know, everyday computer stuff. I have a Windows box, but it's main task is running 2 things: Steam and XBMC.

For the past couple of months, I've been using Windows at the work place. At my previous employer, I was running Linux (by choice over Windows) and before that I was on a Mac. I've been trying to make Windows work for me, but sadly, after about 5 months, I can conclude that it's a hopeless effort.

For those of you already saying "Oh c'mon, Windows isn't that bad" I will say this: Whatever you can do on a Mac, you can also do on Windows. However, the path taken on both OSs differ - sometimes drastically. And more often then not, the Mac comes out on top.

The Shell

As a power user, I live in the shell. Mac and Linux both share the unix shell. A shell that I've happily called home for some time now. It's no secret that the Windows shell is... takes a breath vastly inferior. To accomplish what I can in a unix shell, I had to install about 3 different shell emulators which each had to be customized to get it to work just right. This point is kind of a gimme so I won't further on it. The only thing I'll say is that I really don't understand how Microsoft can get by with releasing an OS with a shell that is so useless, people have to install third party shell emulators. FOR SHAME!

Windows Explorer

On my first day using Windows at the office, I came across a unique situation - I had to delete a file. So, I clicked the bad file and pressed "Delete" and much to my surprise, the file was still there! Thinking maybe they key-press didn't register, I proceed to hit the Delete key again. This time I'm greeted with a "sorry the file does not exist". Does not exist? But I can see it right here! Hmmm, maybe I need to refresh? I hit F5 and sure enough, the file disappears. REALLY? I had to refresh the file explorer? I've never had to refresh Finder or Nautilus to reflect a file being deleted. WTF Windows!

Then a couple of months later, I found myself in another unique situation. It was similar to the last situation - I wanted to delete a file - except this time, this file had mysteriously lost its owner [not even sure how this is even possible in an OS]. But because this file had no owner, it was indestructible! Not only could I not take ownership of it, but I couldn't even delete it as the administrator. I tried to do a sudo rm -f but was only greeted with a command: sudo not found :(

Virtual Desktops

Multi tasking - every programmer does it. More often then not, we have about 10 applications open, each doing its own thing. Having everything open usually convolutes one's desktop. Both the Mac and Linux recognized this a while ago, and have given us Virtual Desktops. Where is Windows? That's right, just like the shell, you get to do some Googling and find some third party application to install to get the same functionality... yay

How many times did you reboot?

Everyone knows how often windows needs to reboot. I never really noticed how often this actually was until I came back from using a Mac/Linux machine. I've had my MBP on for about 3 weeks constantly (by always putting it to sleep) and have never had to reboot it. My Linux box had gone for a month straight, and I only had to reboot it because Chrome was eating up my memory. I don't think I've gone 3 consecutive days on my Windows machine without either having to reboot myself or coming back to a machine that was automatically rebooted from auto-updates (which still boggles my mind why Microsoft will leave this enabled by default).

Viruses

This one is kind of a no-brainer. I've actually gotten to a point where I just assume most windows machines that I use to be infected with some sort of trojan, spy ware or virus. I would never even do any online shopping or banking on a windows machine.

Conclusion

As I said before, all three Operating Systems can achieve the same things. It's their execution that sets them apart. For me, the Mac and Linux are the preferred choice. Windows is good for one thing... playing video games :)