"The registry is a hack that is the Achilles heel of all versions of Windows. But, it's not that hard to break. Simply ignore it and leave it alone for long enough, and it will eventually break under its own weight."
Well, we've had time to know that about XP, and maybe even Vista, but not Windows 7. Yes, it *probably* has the same weaknesses, but nobody's had time, yet, to find that out.
"I've been running Windows for both personal use and as a business necessity ever since Windows 3.0."
I was either lucky enough or smart enough to avoid Windows 3.x completely, using Desqview running on DR_DOS, instead. It was a far better experience, based on the problems clients brought to me to fix.
"I still have a Windows (XP MCE) machine, along with multiple Linux machines. In addition to my own machine, I maintain Windows machines (XP, Vista, & Win7) for both friends and family. However, since the rise of Linux GUIs, I've never run across the "much more" you speak of Windows doing that Linux won't. Please enlighten us."
That's not my job, so I'll leave it to others, should they want to take the time and make the effort to enumerate all the little extras that come bundled with Windows or come merely from the fact that the overwhelming majority of hardware manufacturers write their drivers and other software for Windows, and not for linux. To set up my multifunction Epson Workforce 500, for example, I simply had to run the installation disk. Can you tell me where to get drivers for all the functions of the Epson Workforce 500, written for linux? If so, which distro of linux? You can regard that question as rhetorical, if you prefer.
"The only arena where Linux falls short is in games. Folks looking for a specific game may not find a direct Linux equivalent. Otherwise, almost anything you need is available."
Okay, where do I download the linux equivalent of the Cisco/Linksys "Network Magic" software? Again, you can treat that question as rhetorical, if you wish.
"Finally, I've been running selected Linux GUI distros for several years now. My favorites (Mint, Ubuntu, PCLinuxOS, Mepis, Puppy, Mandriva) never require me to drop to the command line (although some times I do as a matter of choice since I'm used to running Debian Linux on my server)."
I'm willing to stipulate that, in Mint, Ubuntu, and Kubuntu, at least, nothing *requires* you to drop to the command line. Of course, you may *want* to drop to the command line, when it's a "matter of choice" between doing something you want to do or going without.
"Nonsense! I haven't needed to resort to the command line on any of my Linux desktop machines in years. The programmers and maintainers of Gnome, KDE, and the other desktop environments always have obsolescence of the command line as a goal and they've pretty well achieved it. PCLinuxOS and Mint, in particular, have been obviously written with Windows refugees in mind."
That last is certainly true. But if you will visit the forums of any of your favorite distros, and look at how many problem-fixes involve dropping to the command line, you'll see what I meant.
"However, the true measure isn't what I need, but what the average Windows refugee can live with."
Aha! There is precisely my point. Anyone "can live with" many if not all the "desktop linux" distros. If you need equivalents to Windows programs, there are a vast number of them out there, and with minimal risk of "dependency hell", you can get them, load them, and use them on your favorite linux distro. But can you find a linux replacement for the "Endnote" program, that will run on "OpenOffice Write" the way "Endnote" runs on "MS Word"? Again, you can treat that question as rhetorical, if you wish.
"I've helped numerous such folks with Linux (and, no, I didn't need the command line to set up their machines) and they quickly acclimated to Linux. The only feedback I get is usually, "Wow, this is great!"
I don't doubt that for an instant, since the vast majority of people just want to read and write emails, surf the net, maybe write snail-mail letters, balance their checkbooks, and maybe play some games. Linux lets them do all of that--even the games, if they're not looking to play a specific favorite game they played on Windows. Again, in case you missed it, I previously stated that all of the linux distros I've used can let you do all those things and more, because they do what an OS is supposed to do. In addition, if you're using linux, you'll never have to clean up your registry, because there isn't one--a major plus.
"I plan on keeping my sole Windows machine for the immediate future just for the sake of running some legacy apps (all software development and EDA tools which would never be an issue to average users). Otherwise, I can run almost everything I ever need on my Linux machines. Even some Windows apps I keep on hand can be run on Linux by using either Wine (free) or CrossOver Linux (commercial)."
Yes, and *some* of them even have 100% of the functionality they have when run in Windows. Of course, many others don't....
"What does "[being] in sync" mean?"
The context is in the message to which I was replying, so if you have some burning need to know, you can find it there.
"It can't mean interoperability since I can easily achieve that with Linux."
"Easily"? Oh, come now--let's get real, here.
"It can't mean multimedia, since Linux can do that, too. With Linux, I can sync with an iPod or with a Windows Mobile device, so that can't be it.
"Does it simply mean the perceived security of being one of the herd?"
Well, that's essentially how it took it, but the fact is that, if you are running Windows, and run into a problem, there's a good chance that one or more of the people you work with have had the same problem and can tell you how they fixed it. If you're running linux, the chances of that are somewhat reduced.
"A sense of belonging perhaps? If so, is that feeling worth the extra money? Is it worth having to reboot for most trivial updates?"
My experience has been that the trivial updates don't require a reboot, just the major ones. That's certainly been the rule in my experiences with XP, Vista, and Windows 7. Are they still issuing updates for Windows 98?
"Is it worth the additional time and money required to maintain it with defragging, malware security, and registry maintenance? Is it worth it that you have to pay for something every time you turn around?"
Whereas with linux, you can run "Wine", which is free but probably won't work; or you can run "Crossover", which will probably work (at least to some extent) but which isn't free by any stretch of the imagination.
"True anecdote... One friend I recently helped migrate to Linux has been out of work for a while. His PC was a mess since he couldn't afford to renew his security software, plus he'd always been lax about defragging and other necessary Windows maintenance tasks. He is now running Mint 8 and feels like a chump for waiting so long. He now runs this computer without ever having to reboot, without malware, without ever having to defrag. He has loaded all of the same sorts of applications software he was running under Windows and is able to use all of his old Windows data files. He has even found enough similar games to keep his family happy. So, what is he missing out on?"
Nothing, obviously. But that's just one example. For me, it's a different story. For example, my backup strategy is based on the
"True Image" program, by Acronis. Acronis doesn't write a version of that program for linux, or for OS X, for that matter; and supposedly similar programs, whether for Windows or for linux, are nowhere near as fast and as reliable. I have a friend for whom the "Endnote" program is essential to what he does. That program is written for Windows, not linux. SSee where I'm going with this?