Dogfooding is a term that goes back a while, but here in the tech world, it basically means using what you make.
With all the talk about Windows 8 over the past few months, I was curious about how it was to really use in a real-world work environment. I wanted to find out how people who spent day-in and day-out accomplishing their daily work felt about Windows 8.
Fortunately, I had a ready-made stable of lab rats, in the collected columnists here at ZDNet. Many of our IT writers have been using Windows 8 as their daily driver for quite some time, and I wanted to know what they thought of the new, somewhat-maligned OS.
To that end, six of our gang decided to donate a small portion of their Thanksgiving weekend to answer my questions. They are:
- Jason Perlow of TechBroiler
- Michael Krigsman of IT Project Failures
- Michael Lee
- Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols of Networking and Linux and Open Source
- Andrian Kingsley-Hughes of Hardware 2.0
- Andrew Brust of Big on Data
Over the next four pages, you'll see eight questions and the answers from each of our bloggers. But I wanted to see if there were any patterns, so I collated the answers and turned the result into the following chart. If you look at it carefully, there are a few fascinating conclusions:
|Jason Perlow||Michael Krigsman||Michael Lee||Vaughan-Nichols||Kingsley-Hughes||Andrew Brust|
|How much have you used Windows 8||1 year||8 months||2 1/2 weeks||12 months||19 months||1 week|
|Use Metro vs. desktop||both||desktop||both||desktop||desktop||both|
|Using Modern UI apps||IE, Skype, Messenger||none||none||none||games||Netflix, NY Times|
|Miss or replaced the classic Start menu||no||Start8||miss it||Start8||miss it||Start8|
|Tweaked Windows 8||no||same as Win7||turned auto-update off||Start8||no||Start8 and some Start screen icons|
|Using touch hardware||yes||no||no||no||yes||yes|
|Which OS to install on a new machine||Win8||Win8||Win7||Win7||dual-boot||Win8|
|Prefer Win7 or Win8||Win8||Win8||Win7||Win7||Win7||Win8|
As you no doubt noticed, about half of our dogfooders seem to like Windows 8 quite a bit, the other half aren't quite as convinced. For a Windows version this radical, this soon after release, that's actually quite promising.
The most interesting (and potentially troublesome for Microsoft and its partners), though, was the question about using Modern UI apps (the apps that are based on those little tiles on the start screen). The fact is, all of our correspondents treated them as nothing more than curiosities. Real Windows 8 users are not using the Metro apps.
For more fascinating insights into how Windows 8 is being used by real users, click into the following pages...