By now I think I can safely say I severely doubt I will ever open up my wallet to pay for a Microsoft made operating system again.
The more I use Microsoft operating systems the more disenchanted I am with them. Sure, Windows XP is not that bad; but it still is bad when you consider its very low reliability half life (as in, the time period from when you install it to when things start crashing around), its insecurity, the regular need for monthly 50mb Windows Updates, and the ongoing forced downloading of new programs just to verify that my copy of Windows is a legal one.
The problem up until now has been the alternative. Windows Vista is an alternative, but not a particularly good one. Not in the least: It requires an unnecessary hardware revamp just to have what I’ve had before, it is very picky about what you install on it, and the lack of drivers supporting my existing peripherals (say, a four year old printer that still does a very good job or a seven year old webcam that still does what I want it to do well) would mean I’d have to fork out even more just to keep up. And that’s for the privilege of having a new Microsoft torment. No! I’ve had enough of Microsoft when they terminated support for my Xbox the day they announced the Xbox 360 (just compare that with Sony and its handling of the Playstation 2, which is still flourishing).
Another alternative is Apple Mac operating system. Granted, it is the best thing out there for the home user by far. But the cost! Oh, the cost! It’s double the cost of your run of the mill PC. And frankly, is it worthwhile changing the Microsoft devil you know for a new devil?
No. I don’t think so, because I think that we now have a proper alternative that is not only good enough, but is even better than the Microsoft alternatives. The new Ubuntu operating system has been receiving critical acclaim on a regular basis. It’s ideologically friendly, being distributed absolutely free of charge (you can either download it or order for a CD to be shipped to you). It’s much faster than Windows, rendering your old PC faster than the new one you just got to run Vista on. And by now most of the software you would want to have is available for it, again – for free, and drivers availability is significantly better than for Vista given that flocks of devoted programmers are sitting out there to write drivers for all the equipment that’s out there.
I admit it: I’m not done with Microsoft yet. I will probably sit out and wait for XP to fully die on me before moving elsewhere; after all, I am a lazy person by nature. But when it does expire, Linux would be the first place I would look at.