“Windows shop” mentality

It continues to amaze me that people aren’t willing to try new things. Whether it’s food, books, movies, or software, people stick with the tried and true. My wife’s friend refuses to try any ethnic food besides Mexican and Chinese; we’ve offered to take her to Greek, Thai, Indian, Japanese, etc. but she’s afraid she won’t like it so she doesn’t want to go.

However, the biggest gripe I have is when it comes to computers. I understand that people are “brought up” using Windows (home, work, school, et al.) so they are comfortable with it. It just kills me when people bitch about Macs, saying that they suck yet they’ve never used one; if they have, it’s been for five minutes at an Apple store.

What’s worse are so-called “IT professionals” or even “security professionals”. They should know that a homogeneous network is just asking for trouble. Think about how many people are affected by a virus or worm. Now think about how many people would be affected if not everyone had the same OS.

There was a comment on Slashdot a while back (unfortunately I can’t find the article anymore) where a person described how his work let people build their own computers, using the OS of their choice, as a requirement for the techies to see if they actually knew their stuff. For the non-techies, the company bought Macs. In addition to lowering the tech support costs, this improved security and reduced down time because a Windows virus or worm wouldn’t take down the entire business. They could continue to work while the few who were affected cleaned up their systems.

Yet “computer professionals” continue to think that having a Windows shop is good. A class in my current school deals w/ IT security. Several of the online discussions involve how best to protect computers, especially in a business environment. Every time I mention using alternative OSes, I get slammed because “Linux is too hard” or “Macs don’t have the software”.

Well, that’s crap. Linux is getting easier to use everyday and with the latest GUIs, such as KDE or GNOME, it’s as easy to use as Windows. Heck, even some Linux distros (Xandros and Linspire to name two) are almost carbon copies of the Windows interface.

Macs are actually easier to use than Windows, IMO. But with Parallels or other virtualization software, you can still run a Windows environment under a Mac. Or, if you insist, you can dual boot Windows on a Mac (which is good for games). Using OpenOffice is just as good for most people and since it’s free you save money on licenses. (I’ll admit that the spreadsheet program just doesn’t compare to Excel, so if you need serious spreadsheet tools, consider using MS Office under virtualization or dual boot).

So, there’s really no reason why places need to standardize on Windows. The cost savings in IT support and security alone can justify the move. If you absolutely need to have some Windows apps, then consider using Macs with Parallels or dual booted. Of course, you could also have dual boot Linux boxes too. But for most peoples uses (web surfing, email, MS Office, etc.) having a non-Windows system is cheaper and safer.

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4 Responses to “Windows shop” mentality

  1. J de Silva says:

    I think it’s NOT unnatural for the majority of people to be like this, it’s called the comfort zone.

    What do you think of all these people who plan to get online for the first time in their lives, who insist on getting the most powerful computers?

    They would come to me, seeking my recommendation to buy a computer, and after finding out they just plan to surf the web, email and do some word processing, I would suggest they get a low end computer, maybe a Celeron, and they think I am nuts!

    And tell them to get a AMD processor (generally cheaper) and they just walk away in disgust.

  2. You’re right. I should have rephrased my idea. Perhaps it’s better to say that I’m disappointed that people aren’t willing to try new or different things.

    I’m well aware of people and their comfort zones. Humans are creatures of habit so once they find something they like, they’re unlikely to change. I am a different beast in that I like change and often seek it out. That’s how I got into Linux and Python programming.

  3. LocalTech says:

    Hmmm… Well I guess Mac’s are OK – Mind you, Windows Vista is a Mac but much more screwed up hehe. Anyway I’ve been using Windows since god knows what age and I’m soo used to the way things are there. When I jumped onto a Mac computer I found it too easy to do everything – Which made me feel stupid when I didn’t know how to uninstall a program just to find out all you had to do was drag it to the rubbish bin. So I guess the reason why Im not a big fan of Mac is because it’s too easy – I like to make my self think hard so that I get that “Damn I’m good” feeling if I fix an issue on Windows 😛

  4. I used to be that way but then I realized that I was sick of fixing the same problems all the time. With Linux and Mac, most of the time when a problem occurs it’s a new one so the “glory of success” is a lot higher than with Windows. It’s a lot like programming.

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