Assorted Geekery

Learning to live with Windows 7 – A Linux users perspective.

Microsoft has never forgotten its roots. Once the unstoppable juggernaut of the software world, Microsoft now has to contend with Google, Apple and the like, taking a bite (pun unintentional) from the consumer electronics market. Still, Microsoft has always known its two strongest divisions are operating systems and office software, of these, the desktop operating systems market is their unassailable bastion; it is their Stalingrad, the desktop is, and shall ever be powered by Windows. That last bit has probably rubbed a few people up the wrong way. I am a long time Linux user on the Desktop, my personal PC went over to Ubuntu Linux with Hardy Heron in 2008 and has loyally remained so, enjoying a steady stream of updates and version upgrades which would turn any windows or mac user green with envy. My dev/file server and Living-room media PC are also powered by Ubuntu derivatives, (10.04 Lucid and Mythbuntu respectively). I have not had to worry about third party firewalls, AV, product activation, and hunting down of program dependencies (DotNet Framework, Windows Installer, MSXML et al) or any of that nonsense for years now. Still it’s not all strawberries and cream, I am obliged to keep a WindowsXP virtual Machine maintained in order to connect to my employers network from home (Ironically enough, required by our security policy). The Virtual machine is fine for running a Citrix session and the odd document and spreadsheet, but the VM starts to crack when gaming. In Linux, the ‘WINE’ suite is pretty good at getting most things to work. “World of Warcraft” ran fine right off the mark, more recently “Left-4-Dead” and Sid Meier’s “Civilization V” ran perfectly, but required a little encouragement first. More intensive games required me to first install under native windows, run depwalker over the game to work out how to configure wine. For this reason alone, a 2nd hard drive with Windows XP on is required, which I plug in every few months when I need to run one of those programs which cant be run under Linux. (Yes I know how to duel-boot, but I choose not to). TBC