tux graphic

Windows Linux

My first computer was a Commodore Amiga 500. After Commodore went bankrupt, it was out of the question for me that the next computer would be a Windows PC, so I could play the latest and greatest games. And so it was an 486 with Windows 95. Over time, both the hardware and software were updated. And so I went through mostly of the Windows iterations from 95/98/ME over XP/7 to 8/10/11.

Besides playing games, I also took my first steps into the internet and expressed my creativity with Windows. Whether it was with my first drawings in Paint, designing my first HTML page with FrontPage, document design with Publisher, graphics with Photoshop and Cinema4D, or animation with Flash. Later, programming was added to the mix.

I felt quite comfortable with the past Windows versions. Of course, the removal of the Start menu in Windows 8 was annoying and Microsoft had to revise that decision. But otherwise, I really enjoyed working with Windows. It was smooth and snappy, old programs could be installed without problems, security kept getting better, and Windows rarely got in my way.

Even Microsoft as a company seemed to be improving. It promoted Open Source, integrated Linux into Windows, and released VSCode, an open source editor, that I enjoy to work with in forensics and programming. Unfortunately, this phase didn’t last long, and Microsoft abandoned its statement that Windows 10 would be the last version. It started annoying me with constant requests for my data, including requests in the browser. Pop-ups suddenly appeared, demanding that I log in with my online account or upgrade to Windows 11. And OneDrive synchronized my desktop with the cloud after a reinstallation. It was a noticeable downhill slide.

After upgrading to Windows 11, it seemed quite nice at first glance. Nice font rendering, friendlier design. But after the first updates, the Explorer and the Start menu became slower, placeholders were sometimes displayed instead of icons, and the search was a joke. Windows was noticeably getting in my way for the first time and didn’t deserve the “Pro” in its name. I reinstalled Windows 10 on my systems to be able to work again. Shortly after, Microsoft announced that Windows 10 would only be supported for another year. The only thing that was still keeping me with Windows was only my convenience.

With the announcement of planed advertising in Windows 11 and the presentation of Recall, a background process that takes screenshots of the desktop every few seconds, the path to a complete ad- and spyware has been paved, which is simply frightening and one that I definitely will not take. Microsoft has lost all respect for its users and I have lost all trust in Microsoft.

After almost three decades, I stood before the obvious choice of having to decide between Linux and MacOS. I have nothing against Apple as a user. They are an excellent innovator, have great designers, and produce some of the best hardware. Except for the discontinued butterfly keyboard and the reflective displays. In fact, I own an iPad Pro for reading and listening to podcasts and I really enjoy using it. I could even imagine getting a current 15” MacBook Air for writing and surfing if money were no object.

As a developer though, the decision is already predetermined in favor of an open system. There, I won’t be forced to make regular payments in order to beeing able to publish software. I also won’t have to buy signing certificates, just to make my software appear more trustworthy. And no one will decide for me which software I can publish and which not.

My first Linux experience was with Ubuntu in a VM on Windows. Maybe it was Ubuntu 14, maybe an earlier version. I don’t remember anymore. Initially out of curiosity, later as a forensic analyst and programmer. After getting used to it, I managed quite well with it, but out of convenience, I never really dealt with Linux in a sustained way until now. Even though I occasionally installed Linux as a dual-boot alongside Windows.

For almost two months now, I’ve completely removed Windows and installed Linux. Initially, it was Ubuntu, but now it’s Fedora. And it’s been running excellently from day one. Fast, smooth, customizable, expandable, and doesn’t get in my way. And since I’ve been working with open source software on Windows for a while, I don’t miss anything after the switch.

To bond a bit more with Linux, I rewatched the documentary “Revolution OS” and read the great books “Just for Fun: The Story of an Accidental Revolutionary” and “Rebel Code: Linux and the Open Source Revolution.” And I have to say, I feel absolutely great about my — in hindsight much too late — decision. Goodbye, Windows.

  • The used title graphic of Tux was created by Frank Souza under the Creative Commons Attribution license.