Operating systems

Poll Results: Does loving your operating system really make sense?

See how your TechRepublic peers answered this question: Does loving your operating system really make sense?

On September 24, 2010, I asked the readers of the TechRepublic Microsoft Windows Blog this poll question:

Does loving your operating system really make sense?

I asked this poll question after dealing with a multitude of passionate, yet totally inaccurate or irrelevant, arguments against the Microsoft Windows operating system or in favor of an alternative. The depth of conviction, in my opinion, clouds honest judgment and assessment of the operating systems in question. I tried to summarize my thoughts with this paragraph:

The childish nature of these arguments (my dad can beat up your dad, comes to mind) intrigues me. Doesn't being so passionate about an operating system that you find yourself ignoring the facts, ignoring the real pros and cons, ultimately mean that you will be inaccurate in your assessments of merit? Doesn't such passion diminish your professional stature? Doesn't the continued proclamation that this operating system is better because it does "this," when the "this" is either not true or totally irrelevant, mean that eventually you will lose all credibility as an information technology professional?

To me, all of this back and forth is a terrible waste of time. Use the operating system that works best for you and I'll do the same -- loving your operating system so much that you feel compelled to "correct" someone else's decision is just counterproductive. The results show that the majority of IT professionals agree.

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About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

23 comments
sboverie
sboverie

I am more interested in the OS of the future. If people were to go back to that first computer they fell in love with and had to use it now; I would suspect that the experience would be more frustrating and annoying. All the different flavors of OS have continually improved. I would absolutely hate to go back to the old DOS days where I had to carry 5 1/4 and 3 1/2 diskettes with different versions of DOS for the many clients I worked with. Windows 3.0 was so bad that I named the executable to LOSE.bat instead of WIN.bat. I had to reinstall Win3.1 on my home computer so many times that I copied the install diskettes to the hard drive to make the reinstall faster. Win 95 was an improvement over Win 3.1, Win 98 was also an improvement over Win 95. I never used Win Millenium and went onto Win XP. I am still on XP but I am planning to upgrade to Win 7 soon. I am not attached in that weird sentimental way some people are to their OS. An OS is a tool to help people use the computer. I am impressed that in less than a generation that the OSes have improved as well as the hardware (or is it the hardware improvements that drive OS improvements?) The state of the art is actually pathetic if compared to living things. People have flame wars over different OSes that have yet to achieve the intelligence of an earthworm. I am looking forwards to an OS that has the intelligence of a dog.

ps.techrep
ps.techrep

Does writing a blog when you have a poor command of your native language make sense? The way that the word "love" has come to be used today is abhorrent to me. "Love" does not mean to like intensely, it doesn't exclude your being able to love several things of the same nature, and it definitely doesn't require that others love what you love. If "love" here is used in the sense of an intense positive emotional reaction, then it is love of an object that has shows no awareness of the love who is loving, and which demonstrates no similar reaction. This is akin to loving a god. At best this is unrequited love, but once you add the requirements that others "love" the same thing, it becomes fanaticism. It also has aspects of xenophobia a form of intolerance and hatred as you define the "other" as anyone who does not "love" what you "love". As far as I've been able to tell, there isn't a machine or piece of software that gives a d*mn whether humans being exist. As I use the word love, it mean that you accept and cherish an object, are willing to do so though you recognize it has flaws, and that you don't abandon it for a similar object that also has most of the same flaws. I've never met a software use who wasn't willing to happily abandon a software for one which offered more reliability and better interaction - PROVIDED THAT THE USER DIDN'T HAVE TO MAKE DISPROPORTIONATE CHANGES IN THEIR OWN BEHAVIOR. I have met many users who bitterly resisted a forced change to newer OSes and applications that provided no added advantages to those users, but required that they adopt a new paradigm and learn a new way of doing the same actions. This forced requirement that the user/organization invest time and money with no guaranty of better productivity, no guaranty of added competitive advantage, and NO WARRANTY OF PERFORMANCE, RELIABILTY OR SECURITY underlies most of the resistance to adopting new versions of OSs and applications. Having been an active participant in the adoption and support of IT for nearly 4 decades, I see no significant improvements in OSs or software other than reliability and initial ease of use. The last major advancement was probably Windows NT and the Win98 user interface. Since 2001 Microsoft, Apple, and the Linux community have actually backslid toward the OS2 user interface, and have done so in a manner where the majority of existing users have lost productivity and confidence that they understood how to do their jobs. Where user readily embrace new "OSs" and applications is in areas where they are embedded in appliances that perform specific functions with minimal user input, do them well, and which have such low cost that they can be seamlessly discarded and replaced with no subsequent buyers remorse. Few appliances and NO PC type products today meet this standard, which is why the smartphone/PC/laptop/tablet market is so fragmented and chaotic. Compare any deice offered in this market with any other class of appliances and the differences are clear. A vacuum cleaner, a mixer a microwave oven, TV receiver, radio or automobile, and until recently, a camera from any manufacture in the last 50 years could be given to a typical user of another product of the same general type and immediately used to perform its function successfully after a few minutes instruction. NO IT-based product can make the same claim.

Timespike
Timespike

Loving an operating system and hating all other operating systems are not the same. I love Windows 7, but I like XP and Ubuntu, and I don't despise MacOS, I just don't want to have to pay for an overpriced white PC to run it on. Furthermore, though I never really use them, I have nothing against UNIX, the various BSDs and other Linux distros out there, or even older (non-ME) versions of Windows or DOS. I just happen to be a Windows 7 guy.

tbmay
tbmay

This includes servers, high-end workstations, desktops, and portable devices. Personally, on desktops, I really couldn't care less. I'm typing the post on a Windows PC. My travelling laptop is a Linux distro as it's less inclined to pick up malware from client networks. All my network devices and servers are BSD and Linux but that has more to do with them solving the specific issues I solve with my business than "loving" them. If people want to "love" software, that's their business. It just doesn't make much sense to me.

dallasdeckard
dallasdeckard

It's totally okay to love your OS, if your OS is worth loving. It's not okay if your OS makes your life a living hell 90% of the time. The reason why 28% said "Yes" is because that's probably the same amount of Mac users that answered the poll. Sadly, folks like Mark won't ever understand *why* Mac users "love" their OS. It isn't about some blind admiration, or baseless infatuation, it is about it working and working well on a day-by-day, hour-by-hour basis, but that's only part of the picture. I was once a committed PCer. I tried to talk my fiance (now my wife of 20 years) out of buying a Mac SE. She didn't know any better, but asked me to try the one at her work before she switched. So, I did. Wow, did I eat my words. I wrote a ten-page philosophy paper with endnotes and a bibliography in one night using an OS I'd never even SEEN. From that moment on I became a Mac fan, and I've never looked back. I own a PC because I need it for work (Access still isn't ported to the Mac, hmmmm... wonder why?) Every moment on it is drudgery, while every moment on my Mac is pure heaven. It's important to note that my love for the Mac OS, isn't just a love for the Mac OS, it's a love for everything Apple. Apple innovates, they've changed everything. They've changed the way music is listened to, the way it's sold, the way phones are made, the way video is watched on computers, changed personal computer OSes and so much more. If it wasn't for Apple would there be a Windows? Doubtful. Apple makes technology fun, reliable and intuitive. THAT is something to love, and if you don't believe that or you don't understand it, you're just kidding yourself. Did we expect any more from a guy that hosts the Microsoft Windows blog? One day when you own a Mac and use it on a daily basis, instead of just tinkering with it for a few hours so you can pretend you've used one, you may understand that it makes a LOT of sense to love your OS, particularly when that OS works and works well.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

28% of the poll respondents said it that we should love our operating systems. Would you care to explain what benefits are derived from such passion for piece of software?

Papa_Bill
Papa_Bill

The computer and your app make the rest. But as far as a "tool" goes, I have 50 year-old tools that just seem to "fit my hand" better than others, still work as well as a brand new one, and have a nice patina. I like them, I would miss them if I lost them. But they can be replaced, and I don't *love* them.

kathybacon
kathybacon

At the end of the day these are indeed tools...tools of our trade. Each has their strong point as well as their weak. Being in I.T. the past 12+ years I can honestly say there is not one OS I have "loved". I've used them all and each has impressed me in their own way. I save my "love" for people, pets and yeah...yeah...yeah...my sports cars. ;=)

bknabe
bknabe

I was a production artist, so I guess I'm a little more emotional than most. :) But seriously, you're right. The computer is a tool like any other. I can use any OS on any computer, and I've raised my kids to be comfortable with whatever is set in front of them. I don't think they even think about which OS they're using, per se, they just see the cues that tell them it's Windows or Ubuntu or OS X and act accordingly. I do prefer MacOS, and I have a strong attachment to it for whatever reason. But it's a preference, not a religion.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Why do you think Windows is living hell? Windows works perfectly fine. Windows does what I need it to do. But I don't have feelings about it - it is just a tool. I have used the Mac OS - it is just an operating system - a tool. Why is your Mac "heaven?"

dallasdeckard
dallasdeckard

I think the more appropriate poll would be the one that asked Windows users how many HATE their OS. Is it better to love your OS or to hate it? The reason Windows users can't make "sense" of Mac users loving their OS, is because there is little to love about the Windows OS. If I have to choose between loving my Mac OS or hating Windows, which do you think makes more sense, Mark?

Papa_Bill
Papa_Bill

My children, my grandkids, even my in-laws. But loving an OS,that's like, kinda crazy, isn't it? I curse my computers equally regardless of their OS tendencies. I'm very fair about that.

DNSB
DNSB

I've used many different OS over the decades and can't say that I loved any of them. Some were enjoyable to use, other's were user hostile at best. To me, loving an OS is like opening your toolbox and proclaiming that you love your hammer. The screwdrivers, wrenches, etc. are to be despised simply because they are not hammers. The mindset to which every problem must be a nail so they can use their beloved hammer.

bknabe
bknabe

but not in the blind, ignore the warts kind of way. I've used MacOS for over 20 years. I've used Microsoft OS'es for about as long. MacOS works better for me. It does what I need the way I want to do it. With Windows and Linux I either have to do it differently, or find a way to tweak the OS to fit the way I work. But when somebody asks me what kind of computer to get, I ask them what they intend to do with it, do they already own a computer and what kind, what their family and friends have, etc. I would rather tell someone to get a Windows based PC that works for them than convince them to buy a Mac when everyone they know - especially whoever will be playing support tech - uses Windows. That will probably result in them returning or selling the Mac and hating all things Apple. So I direct them to what will work best, explain why I'm directing them to that computer, and next time they're in the market they'll be willing to consider a Mac if it looks like a good fit. I love my OS, but to truly advocate for it, I have to make sure the people I convince to give Mac a chance won't be disappointed because I steered them to Apple. Sometimes that means admitting that a Mac isn't always the right choice.

bknabe
bknabe

But it is a better fit for me. I can use any OS just fine. But it is a nice place. :^) There have been many discussions over the years to try to figure out why Mac users can be so passionate about their OS. Linux users can be almost as passionate, but most aren't, in my experience. For me it is the whole package. The attractive hardware and GUI, the stability of the OS (Windows is just as stable, maybe more, now), and the community. I love that Apple is not afraid to start over if it's better to do so. I have a love/hate relationship with Steve Jobs. His perfectionism leads to great products, but at the same time he is very hard on the people who work for him, and the refusal to admit that MacOS has flaws like any other OS leads to problems being ignored because "it can't happen to Apple". It's hard to be more specific because my love of Apple is the result of decades working with MacOS and Windows and a smattering of Solaris, Linux, Beos and AmigoOS. Mac suites me. My personality, my work habits, my leisure habits. I'm not saying Windows is bad, I'm just saying Mac is right for me.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

As I have said - I don't hate Windows - I am pretty much neutral on the whole OS thing. What do you love about your Mac? Why does it create such passion?

Papa_Bill
Papa_Bill

but her name wasn't "Mac", I'm pretty sure.

bknabe
bknabe

But if it doesn't function well, form is useless. I function very well with Mac's. I can function well with Windows, but I have far more experience with MacOS, so I function better with it.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

[i]For me it is the whole package. The attractive hardware and GUI, the stability of the OS (Windows is just as stable, maybe more, now), and the community.[/i] Not function? I'm like Mark, the OS is a tool; you choose the best tool for the job. I have my favorite tools, but it has never occurred to me to "love" them.

Papa_Bill
Papa_Bill

And they lock up, requiring a hard reset, at least once a week. Win7 stole my computer from me. Ubuntu, my ravin' fave, has driver issues I haven't been able to fix yet. MacOS? a perfect stranger. Don't know squat about it. I'm still checking the OS dating sites for some erstwhile "love". No luck so far. My lost love? DOS 6.0

ps.techrep
ps.techrep

Do you know what OS your car, your microwave, or your TV set is running? Do you care? I would prefer to continue using one of my decade old i386-based machines using Win 2000 or XP for the things I need it to do, to _any_new PC or Mac. That doesn't mean that I don't admire or wouldn't use Apple products. I think that as a manufacturer of appliances Apple has done a better job of creating them than any marketer/integrator of Microsoft or Linux equipment. But as someone who knows how to integrate and support this class of technology, I find that Windows-based PCs is more cost effective for basic desktop operations. Ive never seen a Swiss Army knife type appliance that did as good a job, was as reliable, or didn't have much higher maintenance costs, than a set of purpose-built tools. SAK devices are compromises that require the user to perform basic functions in a awkward manner. SAK IT devices are worse because of their fragility and cost. A smartphone is a cr*ppy PC replacement. A a tablet is a cr*ppy smartphone replacement. None of these are good replacements for a personal MP3 player or camera. When I have a requirement for a new function, unless it is a natural extension of what I do with a computer, I will buy an inexpensive appliance that is optimized for that function. It doesn't require replacing and doesn't impair my using the functions of my core devices. If, as has been the case many, many times in the past, the new function proves to be something I don't continue to use, I can abandon that appliance or give it to someone who can use it. Should the day come when I need to replace a core device, if I can find one that does as good a job as each of several of my existing ones, I will consider it. But ONLY if the added functions don't compromise its basic use.

Slayer_
Slayer_

They just do what Jobs tells em to do, believe what Jobs tells em to believe.

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