7 Dec 2009

Beating the Windows Tax

Jay Pipes blog'd about the difficulties of buying a new computer without windows pre-installed on it. I myself blog'd about how I can't find non-windows machines, but this time, I think I spotted a loop hole.

There seems to be a number of vendors trying to unload their pre-installed vista computers at a large discount. I myself have found a new Lenovo U350 at a 30% discount.

Now to be fair, I did try to use Vista but had some allergic reaction to it. On my old Dell, I have Windows XP and to be honest, I am quite used to it. A lot of the reason why I stuck with it for so long was a) because I already paid for it with my computer, b) I mainly use it to view the web and c) a lot of applications I am familiar with work on it. Moving to anything else just seems to me to be too much hard work. So if I am moving, I will move to something that I believe would be worth my investment of time and energy.

I am quite confident that that answer is Ubuntu Linux. In my previous job, I had Ubuntu installed at work. It would have been quite difficult to get anything done if I hadn't had it installed for that specific job. At the time, I had help getting used to Ubuntu from the other people in the office. This time I don't have that help, but I hope to manage on my own. Driver problems are one of my main concerns, but it appears that Ubuntu fixed a lot of those issues. Partly by simply encouraging manufacturers to add their drivers or having generic drivers for large sets of hardware parts and also by adding PAE to the 32-bit kernel which allows for more then 3Gb memory and allows you to keep using the 32-bit drivers when 64-bit are harder to find. It seems like Ubuntu has matured and keeps maturing very rapidly, so it would be a good time to jump on and invest in it.

Other issues I have with moving is certain applications that I am used to on Windows XP. I plan on moving my old Windows XP as a virtual machine to the Ubuntu computer until I have that completely sorted out.
I am already looking for Itunes alternatives and there are plenty in Linux, I just have to get used to them. There are also multi platform applications like VLC and MiroTV which are really great applications and make the transfer smoother. Speaking of smooth transfers, if you are really used to Windows XP, there is an XP theme for Linux (the hardcore Linux users wouldn't like it very much).


Anyway.... after all my life of using Microsoft environments from Dos to Windows XP, I think its time to invest my time in something else. Wish me luck.