I should mention here that for me this was originally about not having to pay a Microsoft tax anymore and not find my data locked into proprietary formats anymore. Considering the recent resurging popularity of certain other proprietary platforms (Apple, anyone?), I should extend this: It is not only about avoiding Microsoft, but about avoiding any vendor with a demonstrated track record of locking their users in.
For me it all started some time in 2002 or 2003, I can't even remember the year exactly anymore. My employer at that time gave me a laptop, and of course it had Windows XP on it, as well as Office, Outlook, IE and all the other usual suspects. I didn't even think twice about it. It was just nice that it all felt well integrated and worked. It was my first laptop as well, and all around me all the other laptops I saw all ran under Windows. Everyone else at conferences and meetings seemed to be using MS Office and Outlook as well, so I fit right in.
However, many of our developers at that time had Linux on their workstations. And of course, they didn't use IE, they used Firefox - or 'Phoenix' as it was called back then. I was stunned by the 'tabbed browsing' that was possible with that browser, which instantly matched my browsing style in a very natural way. So, 'by by' IE, and 'hello' to Phoenix, which fortunately was available in a Windows version.
This small moment there was just the start of a journey for me, which eventually made me completely Windows-free, step by step.
In future postings, I will provide more details about it. But I can already tell you: It was not a cold-turkey switch from a purely MS environment to all Linux. Instead, I replaced one application at a time, until one day I realized that I actually didn't run any Windows applications anymore. And once I was at that point, there was of course no need to hold on to the Windows OS either. Every step of that way came with a strangely satisfying and liberating feeling, which gave me quite a kick.
I would love to hear from others who have become Windows-free as well, or are on their way. Just like Phoenix/Firefox's tabbed browsing 'nirvana' was the first step for me, what was the first step for you? When did you realize that you could go all the way?
Other related posts:
PC World: Move your business to Linux, not Vista
And you thought your computer would do what YOU wanted...
The great 'Windows collapse' of 2011?
Comment by BlueToothKiwi, on 17-Sep-2007 15:04
I think having an obsessive alliance (or anti-) towards a product / vendor or technology makes no sense at all.
In your case an almost religious rebellion against Microsoft.
I run Windows Vista as my operating system on my laptop and home PC's, Windows 2003 on my servers. I run SQL Server on the server database and for data warehousing in my banking services company.
As for productivity stuff, I use Microsoft Office 2007 and Outlook 2007.
My hand held has the latest Windows Mobile - and it never lets me down. For development I been using Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Beta lately.
Ofcourse I use a lot of non Microsoft prodcts - I use Firefox for Web Browsing (I switched to it when a version of IE was unstable and memory hungry, and never seen a reason to switch back). For my music stuff I use ITunes from Apple. For all creative work I use Adobe products.
The point is, I never felt locked down by Microsoft technology. It worked well for me and made me more productive for majority of the stuff. I believe I have the best of breed for each of my application rather than making an obsessive choice that has no bearing on the suitability of the product for a purpose.
Just my view - and I am sure you will disagree with me, Foobar.
Comment by chakkaradeep, on 17-Sep-2007 15:35
I use Windows and Linux and never felt any wrong in using both. Have a free mind(free not as in OSS,lol). Windows and Linux are TWO DIFFERENT TECHNOLOGIES.Embrace them
Many OSS friends of mine dont like me becoz am using Windows but my Windows friends dont neglect me saying that I use Linux. Thats the difference I have seen been in the OSS field for quite a long time.
And my policy is this - Use the proper software when need comes. Dont try to convert/prove people that this is better, that is better, let them ask for alternatives. Period.
Comment by timestyles, on 17-Sep-2007 17:30
I guess saying proudly "I'm xxxx free" (xxxx being anything, drugs, Microsoft, Linux, home electricity supply, American products, children etc etc) will get people replying, if people think that there is nothing with xxxx. Human nature, really. I'm childfree and if I had a blog stating it, I'm sure that parents would leave messages saying there is nothing wrong with them.
That said, it's probably better to have those sort of blog comments than none, although you might disagree.
Comment by paradoxsm, on 17-Sep-2007 17:48
I have for many years used my Windows Hack and am very faithful to it.... Windows98 and WinXP are good operating systems in the core and then bloated over.
First my Windblows985 37MB which I hacked up back in 1998 utilizing the best of Windows98 and Windows95, and more recently XP using Windows 2000 Core components for the shell and XP for the underlying Kernel.
A comination of file swapping and hex editing was used and a couple of comonents were stolen from the various betas also.
I'm completely MSHTML aka Trident aka IE free!
(I do have a Portable version of IE6 I hacked up for Webpage design testing)
Asides my current machine which has some bugs, "XtraPunch" ran utterly perfectly on my Pentium4 and runs games on that machine at a speed unimaginable! The "Windblows985" run inside the "Synthbox" which is an AMD k6-II 500 with a pile of circa 1995 nostalgia MIDI sound standards (KORG, Yamaha, Roland) inside.
However, Vista sucks, I'll say it.... Horrible OS so my next step will be a Unix base (Linux) runing WINE as the development is accelerating at quite a good pace.
Comment by chakkaradeep, on 17-Sep-2007 20:23
foobar, a blog is read by everyone. Each one can take it in different sense . You had written - "I don't run Windows on any of my computers anymore and try to avoid Windows (if at all possible) at work as well." - This can be interpreted in many different ways
My take - Use proper software at the proper place.
Just one question - If whatever Linux you are using costs you $100 and then the update server service $100 for an year, will you use it?