Windows 7, A Redeeming Quality or Two on Another Failed OS

So a couple of weeks ago I posted some of the reasons I found Windows 7 so bad. However as Ubuntu 9.10 hasn’t been released yet I’ve continued to plug along with it. Next week however will be the end of it. I’m tired of the random application crashes. I’m tired of 60+ second boot times. I’m tired of loosing 2 hours a week cleaning and defraging the system to maintain sub-par performance, and most of all, I’m just tired of Windows.

Yeah, originally I wasn’t even going to try 7, but I believe in forgiveness and decided I would install it at work when it was released to corporate customers in August. In the two months since I have spent far more time installing updates and optimizing the system than I have in actually using it to be productive.

Before I dropped it however I’ve made it my mission to find one think I liked about it. After all, it can’t be all bad, right? Well, there are actually a couple of things I found that I could live with in my little experiment. First is Notepad++. This excellent little text editor is one of the best I have found for any system, however as good as it is it isn’t enough reason to stay with Windows (after all every system has some good text editors).

Second, Windows 7 will save my department a lot of money and time over the next few years. This is due to the fact that it has finally demonstrated both to me and the people I work with that Microsoft software is no longer worth the investment. Instead we have started the process of migrating our remaining servers to Linux and will soon start migrating our desktop and server software to either Linux, or in a few cases, Mac OS (we have about 3 or 4 users for whom Mac would still be a better choice). Already we’ve had a couple of users switch from Win 7 to Ubuntu and their feedback has been nothing but positive. They report it to be faster, far more stable, and in all the cases so far they find Ubuntu to be much more user friendly. Of course at some point there will be a few roadblocks in our way, however the end result will be a faster, more efficient system capable of maintaining, and in some cases even increasing productivity for less money than we are spending on our current setup.

Windows 7 – It Still Sucks

Well, I know I said I wouldn’t even bother trying it, however the allure of “new” was just too much to pass up and as a result I’ve been running 7 in my office since it came out to Enterprise customers in August. As of this point (about 7 weeks in) all I can say is I’m just waiting for Ubuntu 9.10 to be released in a couple of weeks so that I may switch back.

Here are the highlights of my experience so far:

Boot time is about the same as Vista, when attached to the company domain we are still often seeing boot times of 5 minutes or longer (from power on to being able to launch an application).

Disk IO is still horrible. In fact, many simple file operations (copy,delete,move,etc) often take longer than they did under Vista. This is a problem I’ve have a number of users report regardless of hard drive, etc. In addition, the reliance on a formal defragment procedure on a modern file system is archaic compared to other systems such as EXT3/4, HFS, etc.

Software maintenance is still a nightmare as upgrades of many 3rd party apps continue to expose the weaknesses in the Windows registry.

While hardware support seems to have finally caught up to the newer kernel (the 7 kernel is virtually unchanged from Vista) it still cannot produce consistent performance on even multiple uses of the same device.

Applications, especially Java, are still painful compared to any other system I’ve used in the last couple of years. The launch time of application such as Netbeans and Eclipse can be measured in minutes rather than seconds.

The list can go on, but in a nutshell 7 is still a sub-par OS who’s only redeeming quality is the widespread adoption which allows for the most comprehensive library of available software. Even that quality is fading however as both open-source applications and the growth of Linux and Mac are making development for systems other than Windows much more compelling (I haven’t even installed a Windows VM on my Mac since Snow Leopard as I just do not need it anymore).