Time to dump Windows?

Can it be done? Is it the right time? Find out what it'll take to finally switch to desktop Mac OS X or Linux

The Linux option

The more technically inclined may be attracted to Linux, the most popular form of desktop Unix. Linux desktops typically are challenged by limited hardware compatibility (due to lack of drivers), limited application options, and user interfaces that require active participation to get work done, which tends to keep Linux away from the general user population. But those who work with a Linux server all day may find that using it on the desktop as well actually makes their lives easier.

Just as Mac users need occasional access to Windows, so do Linux users. Because Linux distributions run on Windows-compatible hardware, it's straightforward to use desktop virtualization software, such as Parallels Workstation, Sun's (formerly Innotek's) VirtualBox, and EMC VMware's Workstation software, to provide access to both environments.

Although some enterprises have committed to wide Linux deployment -- such as automaker Peugeot Citroen's plans to install 20,000 Novell Suse Linux desktops -- most have left Linux to the engineering and development staff.

InfoWorld Enterprise Desktop blogger Randall Kennedy argues that desktop Linux is doomed to remain a tiny niche OS, given the Linux community's lack of interest in providing a UI that regular people could use. Kennedy tried to spend a week working on nothing but the Ubuntu distribution of Linux but gave up on the fifth day.

But Kennedy's take isn't the last word on desktop Linux. Frequent InfoWorld contributor Neil McAllister put together a special report on how to move from Windows to Linux, concluding that the effort was not as hard as you might think.

Who's right? As with any platform choice, they both may be. A one-size-fits-all approach may be unrealistic. And that likely explains why many businesses will have a mix, dominated by Windows XP today (and perhaps Vista in a few years) but not exclusively tied to Microsoft's OS.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Galen Gruman

InfoWorld
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?