Five reasons I'd rather run Windows 8 than Linux

Summary:I'm not telling you not to run Linux. I'm not even telling you that I won't run Linux. I'm just telling you that I'd rather run Windows. It's that simple.

Many of us use Linux every day. Thankfully, most of the people using Linux don't know they're using Linux.

My octogenarian parents, for example, have been using their TiVo DVRs for years, but have no idea that there's a variant of Linux running deep inside. The guy who installed my kitchen cabinets, who loves his Android phone but insists Facebook is hard to use has no idea he's using a variant of Linux.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Chromebooks make up 20 percent of all school mobile computer purchases. I'm betting the vast majority of those K-12 students using Chromebooks have no idea (and couldn't possibly be made to care) that they're using a variant of Linux.

There is no denying that Linux, when well-hidden, has great value. I very quite enjoy all my Android devices as well as my Chromebook . I've been a very happy (well, except when they break down every two years) TiVo user for more than a decade.

But there's a difference between using Linux like a random Ford purchaser uses a carburetor (like an embedded part) and using Linux as Linux.

First off, Linux fans are crazy. Want an example? Okay, let's try this one. My wife recently installed Mint on an old Alienware laptop that was gathering dust. Which brings me to Reason #1.

Reason #1: As soon as you mention one distro, all the fanboys go insane claiming you've made the wrong choice.

You did it, didn't you? Just as soon as I mentioned Mint, a whole bunch of you started to foam at the mouth. Mint's not the distro-du-jour anymore. There's Bodhi. There's Xubuntu. There's the truly unfortunately named DouDou.

Of course, there's Red Hat, Ubuntu, and even PCLinuxOS for those who really can't decide. That's not the point.

I don't even mind that there are more than six hundred individual and different Linux distributions out there. No, it's the fanbois.

As soon as you mention one distribution, everyone just jumps all over you insisting that his or her particular pet distribution is the best.

That doesn't happen much in Windows. Sure, mention Windows 8 and someone will grumble about still running XP or Windows 7, but there's never a raised voice, there's never any real stridency, and there are certainly no threatening missives written by some forty-year-old still living in his mommy's basement.

Reason #2: For all of us who have lives, there's Windows.

I don't need to write this one in detail. I wrote it before. Back in 2011, I wrote Why I've finally had it with my Linux server and I'm moving back to Windows after one of my Linux servers crashed (and I was very, very cranky).

To be fair, since then I have spun up some Linux servers (you really can't escape them), but they're still often cranky and uncooperative. Some common software won't run with certain distros.

Back in 2012, I wrote Dropbox is everywhere, but not, apparently, on most servers after my very helpful and knowledgeable ISP and I spent days trying to get Dropbox to work on CentOS, even though it works fine on other distros.

Don't get hung up on the Dropbox example. The point is, Linux can just be plain annoying. And so can its users...

Reason #3: The aggressively nutball Linux community

Don't get me wrong here. Windows fanboys aren't exactly well-behaved. But compared to the Linux crybaby whiners, the Windows kids are little angels.

After I wrote about the server crash back in 2011, there were a whole lot -- a whole, whole lot -- of comments and emails. Many weren't exactly nice, and many were wildly internally inconsistent. I wrote about it in Mea culpa: coming clean about my n00b Linux mistakes, but the best summary of the nutball Linux community reaction was a little video I put together that helps showcase the true Linux-lover lunacy.

But let's get away from personalities, people who don't bathe, and the whole basement <airquote>Fortress of Solitude</airquote> thing.

Let's talk about practicality.

Reason #4: Linux doesn't run many serious production applications

Linux doesn't run the Adobe Creative Cloud applications. There's no Photoshop, Illustrator, Lightroom, After Effects, Premiere, and so forth. Sure, you can run The GIMP on Linux. Yippee. But I'm talking real applications.

Let's go one further. Microsoft Office doesn't run natively on Linux. Okay, settle down. I know what you're all going to say. But Microsoft Office is the standard for Office suites and whether or not Open Office or Libre Office or Che Guevara Office runs on Linux, it's not real Microsoft Office.

Evernote doesn't even run on Linux (and Evernote runs on everything, including WebOS and BlackBerry —and even Windows touch). But it doesn't run on Linux.

The point is, if you need to get real work done using real desktop applications, Linux is simply not a wise choice.

Reason #5: Windows is just nicer

I know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I know some of you like command lines and shell scripts and can't imagine using a graphical user interface. I know others of you simply hate Redmond.

Meanwhile, other Linux users have gone so far as to use a highly-customized GUI on Linux to make it seem Windows-like, in some sort of deeply sad Windows-wannabe attempt to feel like you're loved as much as the better-adjusted Windows children.

So sad.

Windows is by far the more pleasant environment. The desktop interface is battle tested and familiar to everyone (and with the addition of Start8 or the new Windows 8.1 Start button, it feels just like old-time Windows 7).

Even the touch interface for Windows 8 and 8.1 is pretty sweet . Sure, there aren't many compelling Windows 8 touch applications, but there are a whole lot more than there are for the typical Linux distribution.

If you want to run an application, you just run it. You don't have to go through days of script hacks, package fights, version hassles, distro disturbances, and all the rest. With Windows, you just get your work done.

Without a doubt, Windows is simply a more pleasant, peaceful operating system than Linux.

That's really what it's all about. Windows is far more compatible, far more accepted, far more understood, and it works. By contrast, Linux is populated by a subculture of immaturity and pseudo-rebellion that's neither welcoming to newcomers or pleasant to professionals interested more in productivity than proletarian pronouncements.

I'm not telling you not to run Linux. I'm not even telling you that I won't run Linux. I'm just telling you that I'd rather run Windows. It's that simple.

Go ahead. Comment. Rant. Prove me right.

Topics: Linux, Windows

About

In addition to hosting the ZDNet Government and ZDNet DIY-IT blogs, CBS Interactive's Distinguished Lecturer David Gewirtz is an author, U.S. policy advisor and computer scientist. He is featured in The History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets, is one of America's foremost cyber-security experts, and is a top expert on savi... Full Bio

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