I have been running Windows (and hating it) for a quarter-century. One of my prize possessions is a copy of Windows 1.0, hand-signed by Bill Gates, who promises "the software will do the job."
It didn't. It doesn't.
My present hardware is obsolete. I'm in the market for something new. I have even used Linux desktops in the past, as readers here know.
But there's a problem. A quarter century of stuff, a quarter-century of habits. How much of the stuff will I lose access to, and how many of the habits must I change?
One reason I'm a good candidate is I have mainly switched to Windows open source programs. I use The Gimp. I like Chrome. I love Open Office. All come in Linux versions, I know.
But I also run iTunes and have a POP3 e-mailer (Thunderbird). The last should not be an obstacle, but I also must put a program in front of that e-mailer, called Mailwasher, because my ISP's filtering misses all the Viagra spam. (I know I'm over 50 -- I don't need the constant reminders.)
Fact is that these days any desktop change is a major hassle, which is why I'm using hardware from 2005. (Kelly Clarkson was on my hard drive, and the kids were still lined up to watch Revenge of the Sith in 2-D.)
My last switchover, from Windows to Windows, took nearly a week. Applications were transferred between hard drives, but since the drives were mirrored many of my desktop problems probably date from the 20th century.
I suspect my situation is not unusual. I'm a fairly typical subject of Windows tyranny. But I do stuff. I use CDs and DVDs for content, I like my WiFi, and I need all of that to transfer seamlessly. My previous experience in these areas were fiascos.
That is why the best sign of hope may be Google eating its own dog food. There are probably a lot of people in my situation at the Googleplex, and other Googlers are going to be wasting their valuable time in the next few months getting them crossed over, and they're going to lose productivity themselves.
My hope is that experience will teach Google some lessons they can apply to the rest of us. Knowing that their own people are very smart, while the rest of us have managed to protect our stupidity. It's those lessons that will make the difference between success and failure for the Chrome desktop.
I think we should all wait until they finish.