Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Windows 8 - my first impression

I was so excited about the first beta release of Vista that I built a computer specially to host it, and I liked enough to run it as my main OS for six months, although not quite enough to buy it. I installed Windows 7 on a spare HD sector of my main computer, but rarely used it. But I was so put off by the Microsoft propaganda with the release of Windows 8 "Customer preview" that I have installed it on a $200 used laptop from eBay.

And my first impression is that it will remain there. In fact, as I looked the array of icons on the opening screen, I felt I had been time warped back to the early 1990's, and was looking at Windows 3 not Windows 8. I knew clothing fashions went round in circles, but I didn't realize the designers of computer operating systems were that fickle.

Of course people will buy it, because it is built into the purchase of computers from shops. Will the corporate sector be bullied into adopting it? I guess if XP is no longer supported, they will have little choice.

In my first post on Windows 7, I said I had never quite got a Linux distro to work properly. Since then I have Linux Mint working so well on another second hand laptop that my children are allowed to use nothing else. They can browse the web, play games, and watch recorded TV and movies. So if XP becomes unusable in the future, for want of drivers or whatever, my plan will be to use Linux as a main OS, and to retain a box with XP for Excel spreadsheets and Access databases. I couldn't manage without Excel, and for all its faults as a production database, I still like using Access as a scratch pad and phone book.

As for Windows 8, I shall have to dedicate a few painful hours to navigating around it, because I know that in 12 months time, my customers will come pouring through the door wanting me to fix its gremlins. But I'm not looking forward to it. Maybe I shall have found something else to do before then. I shall pray for that.