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By TechExec2 ·
As I posted here (1), last week I decided that I would NEVER upgrade to Vista as my primary operating system. I find it completely unacceptable to be subject to capricious deactivation with 3 days warning whenever Vista decides it does not like software or hardware I might install (yes, even SOFTWARE can trigger this nonsense...see (2)(3)(4)(5) ).

My personal workstations matter to me. But, what about the coming Vista Server? Will it have self-deactivation code that is never supposed to deactivate too? What about MALWARE causing deactivation? What about Airline reservation systems? Police **1 information systems? Hospital information systems? You get the idea. Self-deactivation code inside the operating system is completely unacceptable.

Microsoft has lost its way and has gone too far now. The uncertainty is unacceptable and I've decided that NOW is the right time to make a move. I have 100% confidence that there will be more moves by Microsoft that displease me. I will not be investing any further in the Microsoft Windows platform. I will invest in Linux and Macintosh now.

I've got a "Leaving Windows" project going, and I thought someone else might find this information helpful. If you are doing something similar, or think as I do (or not), or if you find this post helpful to you, I would love to read your posts here.

Refusing Vista means leaving Windows!! :0

Windows and I have been friends for a long time. Windows has been my primary operating system since 1992. Quite sadly, Windows has gone from being very helpful and pleasing (Windows 3.1, big help to PC users) to deceptively attractive, "demonically" possessed, and vengeful (Vista), just like the company that sells it (Microsoft) X-( .

It is not MY computer anymore when Microsoft's software can and will take it over capriciously. I am going to reassert dominion over MY personal computer.

Refusing Vista means I have up to only about 2 more years to stay on Windows XP in order to avoid 3rd party hardware & software compatibility issues, and losing those wonderful security updates. So, I am beginning my "Leaving Windows" project immediately.

The "Leaving Windows" Project

In my "Leaving Windows" project, I will be converting my personal workstations from Windows XP to Linux (desktop) and Macintosh (notebook). The project has three phases and will progress steadily but without any painful big moves.


Desktop 1...... : x86 PC running Windows XP (primary computer)
Desktop 2...... : x86 PC running Linux
Desktop 3...... : eMac running MacOS X (just for the transition)
Notebook....... : ThinkPad running Windows XP
Network........ : All systems on 100 Mbps Ethernet LAN


Desktop 1...... : x86 PC running Windows XP
Desktop 2...... : x86 PC running Linux (primary computer)
Desktop 3...... : (retired!!)
Notebook....... : x86 MacBook running MacOS X (plus Windows XP in a VM)
Network........ : All systems on 100 Mbps Ethernet LAN


Take inventory of all applications used. Then, switch to portable applications that run on Windows, Mac, and Linux. This enables a more gradual transition by controlling the rate of change. Today's portable applications are excellent and many are open source and free! I will not lose anything important by doing this. Some examples:

- Browser............ : Firefox (instead of Internet Explorer).
- POP E-mail......... : Thunderbird (instead of Outlook/Express).
- Webmail............ : Yahoo Mail (HotMail is Outlook Express-only).
- Word Processing.... : OpenOffice (instead of MS Office).
- Spreadsheet........ : OpenOffice (instead of MS Office).
- Presentation....... : OpenOffice (instead of MS Office).
- Music.............. : iTunes (instead of Media Player; Win, Mac).
- Video.............. : QuickTime (instead of Media Player; Win, Mac).
- Photo/Graphics 1... : Adobe Photoshop Elements (Win, Mac).
- Photo/Graphics 2... : The GIMP (instead of PhotoShop).
- PDA................ : Palm Desktop (Win, Mac).
- Accounting......... : Quicken (Win, Mac).
- VM................. : VMWare (instead of MS Virtual PC).

During Phase 1, I will run and work with the portable applications on all three systems (Win, Mac, Lin) as I go and will make the transition gradually and smoothly, and without any grief. When the time is right, the cut over will occur (Phase 2).

I've been heading in the direction of portable apps for some months now, but never intended to leave Windows as I do now. I switched to OpenOffice full-time last week. It is reading all of my MS Word and MS Excel files just fine so far! :-) Nice program!

Note 1: NOW is the time to buy any Windows XP licenses that you need for a project like this. Windows XP will be very hard to find 2 years from now (7). Any expense here will be MORE than offset by savings from not upgrading to Vista and Vista-compatible applications, and using free open source apps.

Note 2: I chose to use multiple x86 desktop computers for efficiency and getting the best experience on Linux. This could also be done using one PC via rebooting or in VMs.


In addition to the portable and native applications on the new platforms, I will run Windows XP in a VM on the MacBook. There will be a very few applications I will want to run on Windows XP for a while, or indefinitely. This is about reasserting control, not hating Microsoft or Windows.

Even though Linux runs on notebooks, especially ThinkPads, I have chosen a MacBook instead. Choosing Macintosh means I know the notebook will "just work". Further, it provides me with a commercial platform to run commercial applications on as that need arises. There is wide third party commercial hardware and software support for Macintosh (e.g. digital cameras, etc.). Furthermore, I use iTunes for music and QuickTime for video. So, there MUST be a Macintosh or Windows computer in the mix. Since Windows is out, and I want an x86 PC as the desktop, the Macintosh must be the notebook. Of course, this is no sacrifice at all! :-)


When the time comes, stop regularly running Windows XP in a VM. Keep it around for contingencies.

The Bottom Line

I am now completely convinced that not only is leaving Windows possible for me, but that it really is not a problem at all. Paul Simon was right: There must be fifty ways to leave your lover. Just step out the back, Jack. And, set yourself free.

I may be leaving Windows, but not everybody is. The "safety valve" that is going to make this work really well is being able to run Windows XP (or even Vista ]:) ) in a VM if that ever becomes necessary for one program or function. No matter what happens, I will be able to switch full-time to Linux and Macintosh, and STILL be able to deal very well with a world where many other people run Windows.

Should Vista ever capriciously self-deactivate on someone else, I promise, I will try really hard to smile only on the inside. And, I will let them borrow my computer to check their e-mail (assuming, of course, that their mail server has not also capriciously self-deactivated!!) :^0 :^0 :^0

All the best to all of you...

P.S. I found this article very inspirational: (6).


(1) Now it's final. I will NEVER upgrade to Vista.

(2) Vista WGA problems confirmed

(3) Sequence to Vista pulling the pin on the grenade

(4) What does Windows Vista reduced functionality mode look like?

(5) Vista reduced functionality mode - Gallery

(6) Rockin' on without Microsoft

(7) Is It OUTRAGEOUS or is it just ME?

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Fine for Home Use, Fine...

by NOW LEFT TR In reply to The [i]LEAVING WINDOWS[/i ...

but can you really see the Large Corps training all their users and every new user despite their so called 'computer experience' on a non MS-OS to boot?

Whwn most people think of 'computer experience' they think about using their home PC...AKA Windows. A Sad (for the end game) but true fact.

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In a word: YES

by TechExec2 In reply to Fine for Home Use, Fine.. ...

Of course, I don't think all companies are going to switch from Windows to Linux. My post is not about convincing anyone of anything. It is just about providing some information. That is all.

With the Vista upgrade in front of all of us, it is an excellent time to make such move.

Training? I don't see this as an issue anymore. Running Linux with the KDE desktop is very easy for Windows users to switch to.

Switch in two steps:

(1) Switch to portable applications: Firefox browser, OpenOffice, etc. on Windows.

(2) Whenever you're ready, switch from Windows to Linux with the KDE desktop.

On the other hand, if you prefer to upgrade to Vista and stick with Microsoft applications, by all means do it.

I have decided to leave Windows and permanently take advantage of Linux and portable applications now, just like this company did (1). It is going to pay dividends every single year.

Take care.

P.S. And you thought I wasn't serious about this... :^0


(1) Rockin' on without Microsoft

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source for similar articles

by Neon Samurai In reply to In a word: YES

I get a daily dose of information from (agregating, it managers journal and a few others). You may find it worth checking in on with your daily news.

There are a number of "switching to Linux" articles including one on the gitar string company. I particularily like the part where they had a huge jump in productivity because workstations with no need to browse the internet didn't have an internet browser installed.

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Thanks for this

by TechExec2 In reply to source for similar articl ...

Thanks for this. I'll check it out.

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Another company finding a better solution outside of software taxes

by Neon Samurai In reply to Thanks for this
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Fine for business too.

by ajb2 In reply to Fine for Home Use, Fine.. ...

We are a world leading space research organisation.

We use desktop linux extensively along with windows desktops. While there have been a few users (less than 1%) who don't like Linux and insist on running Windows, there is a steady migration of research groups from Windows to Linux - because Linux "Just Works" if done properly.

"No Viruses"
"Less downtime"
"greater mobility"
"higher speeds"

There is still some software which is windows-only - we have one win2k server for this and linux users use rdesktop to get access to it. It gets used about 2-3 times/month.

Supporting windows users (10% of the desktops) accounts for 90% of our time...

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That sounds familiar.

by apotheon In reply to Fine for business too.

That's almost exactly the situation at a company where I once worked -- a company full of rocket scientists doing orbital tracking systems development. 15% of the network was Windows, and I spent 65% of my time supporting Windows. The other 85% of the network was Linux with a couple of Sun boxes. With another 25% of my time spent on nonsense like meetings, dealing with vendors, and so on, that left about 10% of my time supporting non-Windows systems.

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nice idea

by apotheon In reply to The [i]LEAVING WINDOWS[/i ...

We should make a stand-alone website out of this. Wanna work together on it?

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Let me know what its address is (nt)

by roaming In reply to nice idea


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by Tig2 In reply to nice idea

Let me know when and where, I'll be there!

While I work in Data Security now, I still write a bit and even not in code. I really believe that a web site like this would be the right thing to do- and will happily contribute whatever I can to it.

My fiance wrote a triple pass encryption tool some time back that I am trying to re-work for Open Source- with his blessing. We both COBOL but I also Fortran and Basic while he went VB and C. I Assembly and he is currently Java. We are both trying to stay away from OS specific tools as many of his programmes broke in Vista test. I am in security now so am trying to re-write with a result that I would pass for a corporate system.

Bottom line? Want to add personal encryption to the "list" that TechExec has already developed. We have it now for Windows- but must be WinXP Home or less.

How can I help?

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