Open Ballot: Abandon ship?


If you're reading this then the chances are you use Linux. It's most likely that you use it quite a bit.

The Open Ballot this fortnight is: Do you ever see yourself switching back to Windows or Mac OS X (or BSD, Solaris, MikeOS or any other OS) and leaving Linux behind?

Are there some problems that just don't get solved? Are the problems getting worse? Or is everything just peachy as you bask in the warm glow of software freedom?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below and we'll read out the best on Thursday's podcast.

(hat tip to zmoylan on irc -- freenode channel #linuxformat -- for the question)

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Your comments

only to another f|oss OS

being a support technician I am forced to interact with windows on an almost daily basis and it is so frustrating that I can not ever see myself moving back to it.

Not abandoning, but it's smart to sample other systems

I have a love for GNU/Linux as a consequence of its merits and hackability.
The 2 commercial contenders do not thus warm my heart.

*BSDs seem more like utilities, great for serving, but not quite as adventurous.

That said, before I got SSDs in my laptops, I played with Haiku OS as a quick-booting "check my mail" OS.

There will always be a Linux I can rely on that fits my needs, if not, I will create one.


I'm using Ubuntu (and Linux Mint) for a few years now and am quite happy, but it's certainly possible that I'd move to a different OS (FLOSS, of course).

Part of what makes Linux rock is its underdog appearance. If it gets too popular I might switch to BSD or the like.

Currently I haven't had a change to really use BSD. I was first introduced to Linux a few years ago at the university. Who knows? Maybe one day I'll seriously try BSD... It might even be more fun then Linux (although reviews I found on the Internet suggest otherwise).

Babies and Bath Water

Having used Linux for quite a few years now and survived at least two baby flushing incidents I think I will be staying with Linux. About every three years or so the Developers make changes to the system that breaks the overall operating system for a while. For me this first occurred on the introduction of Pulse Audio and I initially found I had lost control of the systems sound. A jump to a different distribution got me over this problem until Pulse Audio matured. Just over a year ago Gnome through their DE out and went to their third iteration. Again I was able to jump ship to a Distribution that maintained the old DE until the bitter end. Today, I find the new DEs which have come into existence, thanks to Gnome 3, have now matured and I can now carry on with a selection of Distributions and DEs. (Until the next time; Weyland?)

This is something which is impossible on any other OS, when the Developers/Marketing cock things up (Like Microsoft have with Windows 8) there is nowhere else to go! Only Open Source gives you freedom.

Windows 7 More Reliable

OK, obviously people have different experiences, but for me, Linux has never been pain-free. I was an Ubuntu user, starting with Warty Warthog, and post Unity, I've switched to Linux Mint - and I love the Linux ethos, the freedom etc. BUT, every box / laptop I've put Ubuntu / Mint on has been crashy, freezy, and hangy. Not on every boot, but enough to mean I use REISUB most weeks.

The weirdest thing is that apparently no-one else in the universe has this problem, all the other linux geeks I know swear this never happens on linux, but I've tried it on all sorts of different hardware, so I don't think it's just a Mobo issue.

I've now got a second son, and I've got less and less time to go poking around in dmesg and log files to see what's gone wrong. So my Windows 7 is currently getting a lot more use, and Mint a lot less. I'll probably do a wipe and reinstall when Mint 15 comes out, but if it hasn't got any better, there's a strong chance I'll be jumping ship back to Windows.

Not Even If I Wanted To

I'm the go to computer guy in my extended family. Not a guru, just enough knowledge, aptitude and willingness to muck around to get myself into (and most times, out of) trouble. I started using Linux a couple of years ago just for fun. It was free, super cool, and wow - the diversity is amazing. Got my 13 year old son dual booting with "Supergamer" (RIP) and now he prefers Linux for most apps other than his PC-DVD games. He was blown away when we loaded up Minecraft on Linux and prefers it for school work also. My wife, not techie at all,not so easy to convert.
Bought the wife a new laptop a couple of months ago. Considered getting a decent used model with Windows 7, but really wanted the warranty. I made sure she would let me wipe Windows 8 and put a dual boot of 7 and Linux on it when we got it home. Made sure Windows Gestapo Boot could be disabled in the bios of the model we wanted. Never happened. She actually LIKES Windows 8 and won't let me touch her os. So, okay, she keeps 8 and I'll just tune it up and maintain it like I do our other Windows computers. Wrong. I can't use the damn thing. I CANT use it. My brain will not interface with Windows 8. Took me forever just to figure out how to use IE in order to download Firefox and get an anti-virus installed. Couldn't close running apps once I was done. Couldn't find the control panel to tweak things. I needed my wife to show me how to turn the freakin' thing off and I still don't remember how she did it. I think that's why she likes it, it makes me look stupid.
So it's Linux more than ever for me. Mac is not an option - I can't express the depth of my loathing for Apple and it's fan-boys and girls. Learned to hate it as a designer and paranoid conspiracy theorist.
But on the bright side - I LIKE Linux, so I don't feel too shorted.

Not to incite a flame war but...

Choice is good, but standards are better
Without Ubuntu, Linux would be even worse than it is

Assembly based operating systems

Superfast operating systems like KolibriOS or Syllable Desktop have caught my eye in the past.

Maybe if Linux runs out of new things I personally need, and these two can catch up in terms of features / applications then I might consider them for daily desktop computer use in the future.

It's worth noting that they are both GPL which is important to me.

P.S. I'm currently learning Ruby on Rails partly to escape the day job induced Windows usage (ASP.NET etc.).

Keep up the good work team, love the podcast and my magazine subscription.

computer geek

i've been using windows this week, because I've been playing my old favorite windows games: unreal tournament 3, and sins of a solar empire. I'll never switch back, even if linux keeps crashing with bad drivers. Linux makes me feel smart, becauase i'm always in control, and I never have to wait for microsoft to add a feature.


No need to change to anything.

Windows ? Why anybody would ?

I am using Mageia/KDE at home. At work I have to use Windows.
If I compare the quality of KDE desktop with Windows, there is no comparison. Linux as desktop is with a generation ahead Windows 7 or XP. Windows is just too primitive and obsolete for day to day use.

Had to....

Happily using Kubuntu on my Dell XPS 1340 for a couple of years, loving KDE 4.10, with VirtualBox for any Windows stuff.

Updated to 12.10 then back down to 12.04 as wireless and nvidia drivers stopped working, not recognising wifi or video cards at all now no matter what version of Ubuntu I try.

Back on Win7, everything works.

Really fed up, thought these problems had long gone.

Back to Win 7

Two reasons that I'm reluctantly going back to Windows
1) Photographs look far better in Win 7 and the combination of picasa and ms live photo gallery allows me to do everything I want quickly and easily. Under Linux, photos only render properly using a KDE desktop but for other things like documents the fonts look crap on screen. If I use unity or gnome desktop, photos aren't rendered true, but fonts in documents look great. Maybe that's an nvidia problem I dunno.

Also picasa for Linux looks crap, whilst digikam is too complicated,gimp unusable, and shotwell too limited.

2) I only like LTS versions for stability and security,but the downside is apps become outdated (eg libre office) and I don't like using ppa's because they might not be secure. With win7 I can keep my apps bang up to date eg libre office,,eraser, peazip,vlc etc.

Won't change back

Been using Linux (mix of Opensuse, Mint and WattOS on different machines) exclusively at home for about 10 years now. Wife is converted as are both sets of parents (one set happy, the other complains but couldn't use Windows anyway!).

Happy with the ethos of freedom, the ability to change if chosen distro changes in a way I don't like. Occasional frustration when trying to use use the only remaining piece of kit that requires Windows (TomTom). Still looking for my ideal distro - ideally a rolling release to avoid reinstalls on a working system. Use Windows at work at constantly frustrated by the inability to do things that in Linux are available as free, scriptable tools.

Still feel like a newbie but LXF articles help!

It's not so much the OS I won't abandon

It's not so much the OS I won't abandon, it's the ease of package managed software from repositories I won't abandon. I hate doing OS updates on other OSes followed by individually downloading newer versions of installed applications as I remember them, or relying on an increasing number of disparate "loaded at startup" updater applications that for most of the time just use up a little more of the systems resources with no discernable benefit.
So I would just like to say thank you to all the distro and independent repository maintainers that make my software use so easy; I won't be abandoning your services anytime in the foreseeable future.

So Many to Choose From!

If one Linux distro disappoints me, there are hundreds more to choose from. And thus far, Linux has provided everything I use a computer for, at no cost. I may switch distros at times, but I'll never go back to Windows.

Not Likely...

I can't see myself changing anytime soon due to the attitudes of MS and Apple etc. If anything I may try BSD or other types of Gnu/Linux from my current O/S.


Slackware for life

My wife wanted to try the "easy" way of running games and Photoshop so we splurged on an AMD Asus off the shelf tower with Win8. Not even six months later it's bricked and she's on Puppy until I can sort it out, tried an install of 7 but neglected the UEFI which was also the issue preventing 8's restart. With Linux I've been able to back up all the data but am still staring @ $750 worth of hard and software that's effectively useless just after the warranty period (like most chinese products). Actually, this thread has revitalized my urge to train her to cope with emulation instead of submitting to invasive multinational evil ever again.


I use windows a fair bit for games, though that's becoming less necessary lately as more and more of the games I play games work in Linux, which is something I just wouldn't have believed even a couple of years ago.

I really wish the graphics card manufacturers would get their act together though (particularly ATI, Nvidia's drivers seem fairly good these days) and sort their drivers out as like-for-like 3D performance is still significantly worse in Linux.

I do intend to move to Linux full-time though. And that path is looking better and better. I love Gnome Shell, Windows 7 (and other Linux DEs too) feels utterly archaic in comparison. I love all the cool command line stuff I can do. And I love that it usually just works these days.

I dislike being in Windows and if it weren't for the games I wouldn't be. The direction MS is heading in - towards an Apple-style walled garden with them as the gatekeepers - is one that scares me. Windows feels like a sinking ship and, to stretch the metaphor beyond reason, my lifeboat is beautiful and luxurious but... not quite finished, yet.


I tend to use a combo of Linux and Windows at work, depending on what needs to get done that day. I tried going to just Linux (first Ubuntu then Fedora) but I still cant find anything that knows how to use Exchange properly.

Using your jump ship analogy, I am more likely to mutiny and change distro than to ever leave Linux entirely.

Good Ship Linux

I can set sail for where I want to go in a ship that is more secure and better maintained. It is easier to board and I have more choice when on deck.

That and I have just taken advantage of the bank holiday subscription offer. Can't really use Apple or Microsoft when subscribing to Linux Format. The access to back issue PDFs is worth the price of subscription alone.

Already did

Rather by accident, I started using my work MacBook Pro more and more as my personal computer, and have now pretty much forsaken my personal Debian laptop. I don't miss much from Linux, except the comparative memory efficiency (seriously, my Linux laptop with 6GB RAM could keep up with this 16GB MBP).

Mac OS isn't all sunshine and rainbows, but it tends to hiccup less often than Linux ever did for me, and it does most things I've asked of it, so I'm not really compelled to switch back.

Not from an evil company

MS has demonstrated unethical business practices for many years. Thinks like subverting the standards process to get their document formats approved. Stifling competitors by threatening legal procedure even though there is no case to answer eg Barnes & Nobel. There are probably many more that we don't know about.

So I will not purchase product from such a company, and will do all in my power to ensure that no money from my purchases go to this company.

Never going back again

As Fleetwood Mac had it:

Been down one time (Windows)
Been down two times (Mac)
I'm never going back again

Keep up the good work,

I'd rather sink with her

I'd rather sink with her than abandon her!

Every time I am forced to use any windows I suffer a major psychological trauma—it is even more irritating than being stuck in a traffic jam. If Linux is by some whim of Heavens not any more I would rather give up on computers altogether and go plant pumpkins in some village with no internet.

I,m in a process to reformat

I,m in a process to reformat my laptop with an intention to increase the linux partition.going back is not an option as i don't have to pay allegiance to microsoft. i will continue to use linux till death do us part.

Can't see changing, unless Linux goes away, but it be to BSD.

I've been using Linux for a long time now. Currently have Pinguy 12.04 on my main box. Can't see switching to anything else for at least 4 more years.

Nosey Parkers at Ubuntu

I filed a bug report to Ubuntu and they responded back with some old emails I had sent complaining of legitimate cracking... some of it somewhat embarrassing but still I had been legitimately cracked into and wanted to find out if they would help. They nefariously posted my emails complaining online and attached them to the bug report because I started tweeting RS's real complaints about the OS. Too bad for them they don't know the long arm of the law. Deliberately embarrassing someone is definitely a tort and possibly a crime in my state. No agreement can stop the individual from personal liability for this tort.

But there are plenty of OS's to go around. Too bad Ubuntu sold out, and on top of that, has some bad players still working in the group.

No real driver to change and

No real driver to change and I like the security. Still have to use windows at work and that provides zero incentive to change. Nearly all services that I need such as Government ones are available through the browser so need to "wine" anything has dropped away.

Keeping my hair

I won't go back, I'm sticking with Linux. Or maybe like some here are saying, if another newer,better OS appeared I'd go with that. But Windows... I do dual boot for games and when I do I want to pull my hair out in frustration. Slow to boot, slow to shut down, and I find harder to use. I'll keep my hair and sanity by using Linux


Aside from the lovely Comice OS (Pear), making a hackintosh out of X86 hardware is now child's play for simpler users on one's network; F-M$!


All the problems I have on computers are on "other"
operating systems.
Just yesterday i plugged in my HP PSC950 printer.
I was not able to read the messages flashing by, saying "detecting","installing","your printer is ready".
Try this on w** or macX.....

other way around

I use windows because of package management. I have Dial-up at home and I need to download programs from another computer which is a massive pain. I would love to use Linux and I do believe in software freedom but almost no one gives downloads to tarball and instead say apt get X. Do you ever see myself switching to Linux? maybe but no yet.

I currently maintain a

I currently maintain a single Windows 7 laptop...

...and 9 others running Linux.

Windows 7 is the best version so far. Shame that M$ 'Ubuntued' (read: kippered) us with Windows 8. There is plenty of great free / FOSS software available for Windows, and I make use of whatever I can.

I will NEVER, EVER buy an Apple product (including media sold by Apple), nor will I pay for 'cloud' (!) services provided by any vendor.

Similarly, I will always embrace the best of the free and FOSS software offerings, especially when Linux based.


I ran OS-X on X86 hardware (but when I say 'ran', really, I mean 'installed').

After winding up my father in law who had just spent way too much money on an Apple laptop, I treated the machine to DBAN and installed a superior Linux distro.

Never gonna happen!!

As a user of Linux for nearly three years, I am very happy with it. So much in fact, that I use it nearly 90% of the time. All this despite having both Windows and Mac PCs. Yes, certain things I had to play around with to suit me better over time, but that's fine. I just don't have that flexibility when it comes to Windows and most certainly not Mac.

Switch, Hah! Not an option.

No way,

I started using Linux roughly '05. I got a disc from Linux Format, with Mint6. Never looked back!

It just keeps getting better every year, so I can't see way I would ever go to something else.

P.S. Been listening to the podcast since episode 1, appreciate the all the work you guys put in, thanks!

I use windows only when I've no Hardware support on Linux

The only reason I have a windows xp still running is to be able to watch TV using an old (2005) Digital Video Broadcasting DVB-T card in a PCI slot. Maybe there could be a linux way to do that, but I don't have time and I'm not sure to be able to have the remote control working. Hardware support may be a problem on Linux, are you really sure 100% of hardware you buy will work better on LInux than on M$?


Have been using Linux since 2001, thru the tough years when drivers were hard to come by. Went back to Windows for about 3 months until I came to my senses. Have been using Linux Mint (13 LTS) since it came out and love it. They seem to care about what people think. For an old man (86) this has been the best move I have ever made in computing. No more changes until the next LTS comes out.

no thanks....

I use both Linux and Windows for work, I have more trouble with windows by far.
As for home use I have been using many different version of linux - laptop battery doesn't last as long as windows though :-(

Will keep a vm instance of windows for certain applications especially photo and video editing but that's it, linux here to stay!

swings and roundabouts

I have been using GNU/Linux for many years now and think its safe to say that I am in it for the long haul.

Sometimes GNU/Linux does my head in, but overall it is the best operating system for me.

I can admire the elegant design of some of the Apple stuff but find it too restrictive. For instance, I got an iPod many years ago. I could not open up the iPod in the filemanager and drag and drop music files onto it like on any other harddrive - I had to do everything through iTunes. Also, once an update to iTunes meant the iPod was not recognised and so I could add no new music to the iPod for weeks until a fix was released by apple. Also, the iPod would not play vorbis, flac or musepack files, eventhough supporting these codecs would not cost Apple a penny.

I think the raspberry pi really shows the way ahead. Computers have now reached the stage where even the ultra low end raspberry pi is sufficient for most computing tasks. I can listen to music on the pi, watch video, send emails, do irc, word processing. The only snag is that surfing the net is too slow to be usable, but when the next raspberry pi comes out in 2015, it will be more powerful and probably be adequate for web browsing.

The main frustration for me is the fragmentation on Linux. Gnome and KDE both have some excellent features and apps, but both lack a bit of polish because of lack of manpower... imagine if they pooled their resources and worked together on one desktop environment. If you could combine the best of KDE with the best of Gnome it would be amazing.

KDE has some really great stuff like Digikam but the KDE PIM suite has been notoriously unreliable (even Aaron Seigo admitted that he could not defend it)...

Yorba wanted donations to work on a new email client (Geary)... if they are so short on resources, instead of starting from scratch on a new email client why don't they help with a long established but struggling email client ...namely KMail?

Also, the development of the Evolution PIM is also struggling from a lack of manpower... instead of all these halfbaked solutions (Evolution, KMail, Geary), I would like to see developers pool their resources and work on one really fantastic GUI email client. Otherwise, now that Thunderbird has effectively been mothballed by Mozilla, one of the fundamental needs of end users - to have a really good email client - will not be met.

Similarly with browsers - Web (formerly known as Epiphany), Rekonq, Konqueror, Arora, Midori... all of these are nice in some ways, but are lacking in features or stability and are not really up to the job.

Browsing the web and checking email are the 2 most important computer related tasks for the everyday person and these needs are not currently adequately met if we are honest. We have some great developers out there but they are struggling in virtual isolation on different projects rather than working together to provide a great solution.

Hell WIll Freeze Over FIrst

I switched to GNU/Linux because that other OS would not keep a PC running. Since then I have never had a serious problem with GNU/Linux and see no reason to quit and many reasons to stay. I use Debian GNU/Linux and love APT and openSSH and XFCE4. Why on Earth would I want to return to being a slave to Wintel? Hardware issues? What issues? Hard to use? My granddaughter who is just 4 has no problems using it and she can't even read yet.


There is no perfect software. Besides that, Gnu/Linux is wonderful: works very good, is lighter, faster, so much safer, the community is great (both big and very helpful), is has dozens of options for most of the things I need, and it's free. How much better can it be!!?? ;-)
I don't use other systems any more (at home, college and work).

Abondon Ship? Unlike the Titanic, It don't sink!

Going back to Windows isn't an option. Switching to Mac or BSD would be senseless. If Linux distros like Debian, Unbuntu and Fedora were to ever start charging for their distros (not counting the minimal fee for ordering a distro DVD), I'd be a loyal paying customer.

Happily though, there's nothing of that sort in the foreseeable future. The community support is outstanding and rarely is there an issue that I can't find a solution for among the various websites and forums out there dedicated to the Linux cause.

May Tux live forever!

Your Kidding!

C'Mon man. What sort of a question is this? :)

Once you've been touched by the Freedom Penguin you can never go back!

That's like asking of a Prisoner misses their captor?

In some insane cases I'm sure? But in my case? Sorry I'll go down shooting or run out of ammo. You not putting me back in that proprietary cage!

from windows

i switched from windows to the softlanding systems distro. in an some unimaginable situation i could switch to bsd or something like it. i would not switch back to windows.

almost all Ubuntu, but not quite because of Windows applications

Ubuntu on the desktop (3 laptops), on a backup server and an Ubuntu remix on a netbook--to get almost everything done for work and home projects. (running scripts, doing image work, writing code in Bash, PHP, Python, JavaScript, HTML, Arduino's C, processing business documents, using e-mail, etc.) I've saved lots of dollars this way too.

Except for M$ Windows Vista--(annoying to keep fixed and "happy") which is for running "Family Tree Maker" that has all the features my wife needs and she thinks "Gramps" for Linux isn't good enough yet. I use it only to look at settings and system files so I can fix other Vista computers. Skype video works better on the Vista computer also. This computer is on only a few times per week and sometimes not at all.

Gotta get the work done.

The only reason I ever flip back to Windows is to comply with my employer's policies. Outside of that, there isn't a chance in the world I would use my money to work with a different OS.

only for something better

I've been using Linux since 1995 and I can't see myself leaving in the near future. I'm stuck using Win 7 at work; it does the job (with Cygwin installed), but I don't see any reason to leave Linux for it. I have a Mac at work too (haven't used it much); to the extent of my familiarity with it, I'd rather use Windows.

I despise Office, and I'm not not much of a gamer, so Linux does what I need best and most of what I want. Freedom means a lot to me. I'm not a kernel hacker, but I find it invaluable to have the library source when developing, and I'm reassured that the source is available. Web applications have eliminated the need for most Windows desktops apps.

It does seem that desktop Linux has stagnated a little and we are stuck with too many legacy technologies such as X.

I like Linux

I personally really enjoy Linux. My time with it has not been incredibly long, but with it I have learned more about how a system works than I ever think I would have if I had continued to use one of the two proprietary leaders. Both of those work on the premise that the system functions should be obfiscated from the user as much as possible in order to bring a consistent experience, which for many people is okay. But that is what drove me to start using Linux in the first place.

I never thought I would fully abandon osx, but I found myself using it less and less, and the more i learned about the command line the more I realized the differences between the osx cli tools and that of Linux. Granted, the osx tools are the bsd versions, but that wasn't what I didn't like. i didn't like the fact that they were outdated bsd tools.

Free software has become a real part of my life. So I can't see ever abandoning free software, but I could see myself getting to know the *BSD's a bit better of even going true Unix with Solaris. But even then, I think I would continue to use Linux.

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