A few weeks ago it became apparent to me that I may end up having to run Windows on my work PC. We’re getting new machines soon with Vista images preloaded. There’s a Linux image option (of unknown base, but possibly Ubuntu), but I’ve kinda been assuming that I could continue in my current approach - I run Debian, and accept that IT won’t give me any support in doing so other than caring about the hardware. Seems like a reasonable deal to me. Except it requires an infrastructure that’s platform agnostic, and that’s the problem. There’s a danger our new bug tracking system is much, much happier in IE than anything else. That’s kinda a problem if I can’t access it. The event last week was around a web streamed meeting, which is annoying but not as critical.
I was unhappy at this realization. Very unhappy. And yet I had trouble finding the words to explain why. I don’t do Linux advocacy these days (I’m not sure I ever really did). I probably gave up at the point my parents’ bought a replacement machine for my mother while I was living in England and went for a Windows box (she’d been running Debian) because “they had knowledge of that in the house given I wasn’t around”. And then promptly rang me after it arrived to ask how to configure networking.
Anyway. If I can’t come up with some decent reasons about why I run Linux over Windows then I can’t justifiably complain if I end up with a Windows desktop. So I think I need to collect together some thoughts about it. I’ll try to break them up into a bunch of separate posts rather than one huge dump that no one will read.
Let’s start with the obvious:
This was the first question a coworker asked; is it because you’re used to Linux? And it would be untruthful to say that doesn’t play a part. I’ve been running Linux on the desktop for the past 12 years or so (well, I had few years running FreeBSD on my primary desktop too, but close enough). The only time I’ve ended up with a Windows desktop was when I worked for Aviva. I don’t currently have a working Windows install anywhere. I have little experience of working with Windows these days. I mean, I can do it, but I don’t find it comfortable (to the extent that I managed about 3 hours when I ended up with a Windows desktop back in August before installing Debian on it).
That’s the argument often used to stay with Windows (as per my parents, above). And it’s not accurate. Why did I try Linux in the first place, and stick with it long enough to get to this point?