Spoiled by Linux

  2007-06-11


Besides dual-booting for the occasional game, I use Linux exclusively at home and work. Every once in a while I’m forced to try and get some real work done in Windows XP. I don’t see how anyone can stand it. Here are a few of the things I can’t stand when working in Windows:

  1. No virtual desktops/workspaces. This is a deal breaker for me. I like keeping my application windows tidy and well organized. This is impossible on Windows where they’re all forced onto a single desktop and eventually my taskbar becomes an unusable mess of 3 word titles.
  2. No built-in SSH support. I love PuTTY and WinSCP, but I hate having to download those 2 programs just to get part of the functionality built into Linux. In Gnome I can mount remote filesystems via SSH and work directly off of the remote computer with most Gnome applications.
  3. No Synaptic. Packages have spoiled me. Installing software in Windows is a chore compared to the simple 3 step process of using Synaptic: 1. Open Synaptic, 2. Select package to install, 3. Click Apply. Using apt-get is even faster, and Ubuntu’s Add/Remove Programs makes things even easier.

    Speaking of Add/Remove Programs, has anyone ever added programs using the Windows control panel applet? I guess it can add Windows applications, but the name is still misleading.

  4. Ctrl-alt-del to login. You really need to watch the whole video.

  5. No virtual consoles. Not a huge issue really, but it sure would make living without workspaces easier.

  6. Nerfed command line. While PowerShell does sounds exciting, DOS is weak and frustrating to try and work in.

  7. Notepad. After 15 years Microsoft’s default text editor still can’t do the simplest things like handle Unix/Mac line endings.

  8. Manually installing drivers. Besides having to manually install proprietary video drivers, I haven’t had to touch a driver in Linux in years. Granted installing drivers in Linux can be much more difficult than Windows due to hardware vendors focusing their support on the dominant OS. However doing a fresh Windows XP install always requires me digging out driver CDs or poking around support web sites trying to find the right drivers. What a pain.

  9. Windows Update. It should be illegal to update an operating system via a web browser. This is so counter-intuitive I don’t feel like I need to point out my issues with it. In fact, I hear in Vista they’ve done away with using Internet Explorer to run Windows Update.

  10. Drive letters and backslashes.  I wonder what possessed the original DOS developers to use a backslash as a path separator…  The forward slash is right there by my pinky, begging to be used.

Note: I have very little experience with Vista, so maybe some of these points have been addressed. I’m sure all of these points can be addressed through 3rd party applications, but I really don’t want to waste time sorting through volumes of malware just to find the few good apps needed to make Windows work well.