Gary September 23rd, 2008
This could very well be the answer you have been looking for.
My first experience with Windows 2.0.3 was not a positive one, but I have used every version since Windows 3.0 was introduced in 1990. I even used Windows ME for 15 minutes and Windows Vista for a few days. I had been a professional PC repair technician for several years, troubleshooting Windows-based computers, so I was intimately familiar with PCs and Windows. I had setup and administered Windows NT Server, Windows 2000 Server and Windows-based server software such as mail, web and FTP servers. In essence I have been a long-time user of Windows operating systems.
I started using an Apple Mac Pro in 2007, less than a year after I bought a new Dell PC with Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005. Why? I realized that I could no longer depend on PCs with Windows. Yes, I mean both the hardware and the software.
The PC hardware had in its latest iteration become more closely tied to Windows-based drivers resulting in non-functional components or non-optimal operation when running other PC operating systems like Linux or PC-BSD which anyway lack the polished graphical interface of the commercial products.
Windows had become more fragile with the Media Center Edition 2005 update tacked on to a Media Center Edition 2002 disc customized by Dell and poor hardware drivers from Intel. Windows architecture wherein all settings are stored in a central registry rather than in individual human-readable preference files, make it inconvenient and time-consuming to reinstall and reconfigure the operating system and applications.
I was already very close to abandoning Windows due to my annoyance with its activation requirements and the nonsensical licensing restrictions. I find it suffocating to depend on Microsoft to get my otherwise working hardware up and running. Then there is the limit on the number of devices that can simultaneously connect to the computer and the requirement for such devices to have a Microsoft license, whereby syncing one’s iPod with iTunes on a Windows PC constitutes a violation of the terms of the license, in my interpretation. I called Microsoft Canada to confirm my understanding and was informed that the onus to interpret and comply with the terms of the license is on me and if my solicitors or I misinterpret it then doing so would be at my own risk. I asked if I could be referred to the legal department to clarify the matter. I was informed that only the specific person in Microsoft’s Redmond, WA, U.S.A. headquarters who drafted the license agreement would be able to interpret it, and such person might not even be working for Microsoft any longer, so I’m on my own.
What was nonetheless holding me back at the time I bought my last PC from Dell, was that Apple is no less high-handed than Microsoft. Apple does not normally sell parts for its Intel-based Mac desktops. I would be dependent on Apple to release parts to me at their discretion and have to needlessly suffer downtime since I could not neither stock nor readily buy parts, and would have to return and pay return shipping for defective parts!
I picked my poison. I decided that I would rather be hardware-constrained by Apple than software-constrained by Microsoft. After all I can go out and buy a new Mac if my Mac fails and I can’t await repairs, transfer the hard disk and be up and running. I would be paying for new hardware only if I suffer a hardware failure. Buying another copy of Windows to be up and running, on the other hand, is not as appealing. First because software is more “personal” than hardware; it is the software that makes the computer personal, second because the software isn’t really broken and third because I would have to reinstall and reconfigure the operating system and applications from scratch.