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Goodbye Windows

Posted on 2015-11-29

I’ve been using Windows almost all of my life. I remember the first computer my family got had Windows 3.1, which booted up to either DOS or a GUI version of Windows depending on what you chose on startup. I can’t remember ever having a real issue with Windows, it just worked and it did everything I wanted it to.

Honestly, I like Windows. It’s a modern marvel in my mind. I’ve read that even back in the XP days it was more than 50 million lines of code, which is mind boggling to me. I don’t know how large it is today, but I think it’s safe to say that its grown a bit. I think that the more I program, the more I appreciate complex systems which work reliably.

With all that being said, I’m going to be switching to Linux (specifically, Linux Mint) and using it exclusively for the foreseeable future. I could say that it’s because Microsoft has been doing some questionable things with regards to user privacy in Windows 10. I could say that their update process is also in need of an overhaul, as it takes hours to patch a Windows 7 install to be up to date.

I actually couldn’t even update my Windows 7 install to Windows 10. I got the notification icon saying that I’m eligible to upgrade, but I was greeted with an error when I went to install it. I consider myself pretty technical, but none of the fixes that I tried solved the error, and short of reformatting I saw no way of fixing the issue.

That all played a role in this decision, sure, but it wasn’t the catalyst. I like Windows 7, and I’d have stuck with it if I could have. Unfortunately, I got a notification out of the blue saying that my product key is invalid. I’m not entirely sure why – I bought Windows 7 in 2010 and I’ve been using it ever since. It had been a good 7 or so months since I last reformatted my computer, so it was really just out of the blue.

I was going to reformat and see if that fixed it, and failing that I was going to call Microsoft up to try and see why my key was now invalid. I then had a realization that I’m essentially asking a monolithic faceless corporation for permission to use my own computer, and have been since Windows XP. I can kind of understand that kind of security for a regular program, but for the entire operating system? It didn’t sit right with me, and it doesn’t have to be that way. There exists another operating system, another modern marvel if you will, and it won’t ever tell me I don’t have permission to use my own computer.

I’ve been using Linux on my laptop for a good year now, and it’s been a mostly pleasant experience once I got used to it. Program compatability is the only real hurdle to cross, but thanks to the internet it’s not such a big deal nowadays as lot of programs are moving online. I was worried about Visual Studio, and I was worried about games. I found a Visual Studio replacement in the form of CLion, which I’ve found to be a suitable replacement to Visual Studio. As for games, I’m going to be missing out on a lot, but I don’t play as many games as I used to, and my steam account has more Linux games that I can reasonably play anyway. With any luck less destractions will mean that I’ll get more work done on It Always Ends In Nuclear War.

We’ll see how this goes. I’ve been using Linux exclusively for more than a week now and, well, it does everything that I want it to.

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