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Poll: What is your primary operating system?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / October 28, 2014 12:51 PM PDT
What is your primary operating system?

-- Windows
-- OS X
-- Linux
-- Chrome OS
-- iOS
-- Android
-- Other (What is it? Tell us below.)

Click here to place your poll votes here

Some people have completely shifted off of desktop OSes like WIndows and OS X because many have come to realize that their computing needs are minimal and don't require a robust OS and computer to perform all their computing needs. They have moved on to devices like tablets, ChromeBooks, and smartphones and have been able to move along in the world just fine. Are you one of them? If you are tell us about your transition off of traditional computers and laptops.
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Preferred OS...?
by pebarefoot / October 28, 2014 2:17 PM PDT

While I have used Windows since first learning to use a computer. I've had to learn to use it with a screen reader,NVDA, due to losing my sight. Most tools are not accessible and I can't afford to take it to a tech every time it has a problem. An old friend sent me his 2008 Macbook Pro. Which I now have running Mavericks and I'm learning to use it with the Voice Over utility. I also got a Kindle Fire HDX from my sister for my birthday in July. The Kindle is great because it does almost everything I need and it fits in my purse. With my Skype subscription, a Skype-in number and a NetZero WiFi Hotspot, it replaces my phone. Android is quite accessible, also. I expect to switch to the Macbook as my go to home computer by next week. When Win7 is no longer supported I'll probably put Linux Mint on my two PCs, IF I find it is accessible. If not I'll retire them.

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OS X All The Way
by JohnDallas / October 28, 2014 2:49 PM PDT

I don't do floors or Windows! Once you do Mac, you can't go back.

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Windows still has the edge with me
by daddywalter / October 28, 2014 3:14 PM PDT

I still use Windows more often than any other OS, mainly because nearly every piece of software and hardware I want to use "just works" under Windows. I really like Linux, and have been playing around with it for close to two decades now, but it's still occasionally a hassle to work with. When I bought my Brother laser printer a few months ago, I really didn't expect that I'd have to search the Brother Website for the proper driver, then dig out my Linux reference manual in order to install it properly. Then my Canon inkjet printer (which had worked well under several different distros over at least six years) died and I replaced it with an Epson, only to go through similar headaches with the Linux installation. Both printers installed easily under Windows, of course. I blame both the two manufacturers and the developers of my current favorite Linux distros (OpenSuse 13.1 and Kubuntu 14.04), because there is no excuse for not including Linux drivers and utilities with either the printers themselves or the distros. If HP can get along so well with the Linux community, why can't the competition?

I'll also say that Windows' appearance is a bit more appealing to my eye, but that may be just because I've grown accustomed to it after using it so much over such a long period. While some of the Linux distros and their windowing environments look quite nice, Web pages look "flatter" or more two-dimensional when using the same browsers (Chrome and Firefox) that I use under Windows. I suppose this is due to the particular widgets in the Windows graphics toolbox versus those available in Gnome, KDE, etc.

Honestly, I'd rather use Linux for everything, and I would if I could do so easily; but until both software installation and hardware support are on a par with the current version of Windows (right now it's more like Windows 98SE, at best), Linux won't truly be "ready for prime time" on the average user's desktop. And that's a shame, because it has so much to offer ... but you still occasionally have to work with the command line, something most of us old-timers moved away from nearly thirty years ago and newer users never experienced in the first place.

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Checking Alternatives
by Zouch / October 28, 2014 4:02 PM PDT

I'm a long time Windows user, most of my current machines are Win7, one Ultimate, two Pro, one Home Premium and I still have one old XP machine. But with Windows 8 and the migration to mobile Microsoft seem hell bent on, I think this is the end of the Windows line for me.

I'm with "Cheapskate" Rick, Macs are too expensive, elegant as they may be. Tablets and fingerprint covered relatively tiny screens aren't for me, so I'm revisiting Linux. First encounters, more years ago than I care to count, were encouraging but fighting dependencies and trying to find drivers was little short of a nightmare. But time passes, so I decided to check on the current status.

I decided to use a separate machine for my check out, so I bought a pristine, ex-lease Lenovo T500 Thinkpad for $39 Australian at an auction house here! 15.4" screen, dual core 2.53 GHz processor - are you with me yet "Cheapskate"?

I installed OpenSuSE 13.1 with the KDE desktop. Wow, the Linux train has reached the station! Answer 3 or 4 questions, go make a coffee and 15 minutes later, a fully working Linux system, all internal components identified, drivers installed automatically and a firewall and anti-virus setup and configured. LibreOffice included and installed as part of the setup. For 90% of what I want, that's it, works straight out of the box!

Wired and WiFi networks setup and configured automatically, USB Webcam recognised and configured automatically, Laser printer recognised and a choice of drivers offered. The distribution DVD I downloaded was from December 2013, so there were quite a few updates to install. These were all presented, with any dependencies, for review and the installation took about 15 minutes to bring my system bang up to date. Restart? No, not necessary, Linux doesn't need that.

I still have a few more esoteric peripherals to check out and there are about half a dozen software programs I've still to do but this shouldn't be a problem from what I've seen so far.

Performance-wise, it knocks spots off an equivalently configured Win7 box and they are pretty good. 15 second startup to login screen, less than 10 seconds more to a fully ready desktop; shutdown, less than 3 seconds.

What's not to like? And all for change from 50 bucks! (OK, I was lucky with the auction!) I'm just about at the point that I'm going to switch to my Linux box for a month and check just what there is, if anything, that I can't do in my usual usage.

Points to note. It isn't Windows. The interface is similar but different, so there is a learning curve but likely less than the transition from Win7 to Win8. The learning curve (not yet complete, in my case) for applications will be longer - for example, the transition from Photoshop Elements to the GIMP will take a while! But there are equivalent but different alternatives for most Windows programs.

As Rick said, if you are happy with Windows, great, good for you. But if you are looking for an alternative and you need the power of a full PC, give Linux a try. I'd recommend OpenSuSE but that's just my personal preference, there are lots more to choose from, many just as easily "plug and play".

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I enjoy Windows. But It's not for everybody.
by tzzrd / October 28, 2014 4:38 PM PDT

I love Windows. I'm 29, so when I was in elementary school, we still only had crappy non-OS computers that took floppy disks (the flimsies).

Then I saw WIndows 95 and my life changed. Beautiful system. Loved the interface. Quickly got to understanding left/right clicking. Enjoyed the games!

Later on in high school, I would be using Windows all the time. Had a lot of crashing and blue screen errors, but cause I had Dell support for the computer (not mine), I learned about restoring and the importance of backups.

With that said, I think Macs are great. They kind of sucked when I had my G5 in 2006, but that was because MS office sucked and there weren't enough 3rd party developers making apps for the Mac (heck, I couldn't even watch a .wmv on my Mac properly back then). Now they are so sleek, many developers have gone over to Macs, and iOS is a beautiful 2nd system. But I still prefer Windows. I develop websites for a living and enjoy my Windows environment. I admit it can be so cumbersome... so I would not recommend Windows to a person who is new to computers.

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by shumicps / October 28, 2014 7:34 PM PDT

My primary operating system is Windows.

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not sick of windows-just enjoy linux
by presence1960 / October 28, 2014 8:18 PM PDT

I have been using linux since 2007. Started out with ubuntu. Have run a bunch of distros including Mint, Sabayon, Crunchbang, Debian, and Arch to name a few. Currently have been settled into Arch and Debian.

I am not the type of linux user who bashes windows. I only use it because it allows me to do the things I want to do on my machine and it is very customizable. In other words I can get it to work the way I want it to work.

Each user must use what works for them. I do not believe in the flame wars that take place because someone thinks the OS they use is the best and needs to force that down everyone's throats.

I still have Windows 7 64 bit on a tri-boot setup with Arch and Debian. I rarely boot into Windows. Bottom line is you have to use what works for you. There is no shame in running any OS. Running a particular OS does not make you a guru either.

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by exsencon / October 28, 2014 8:46 PM PDT

I've been using Linux since 2008, first Ubuntu and then a lot of others (Mint,Debian,Sabayon,Suse,Centos etc) and I've had very few problems with them. Of course you have to go through a learning process and a lot of people are afraid of that but you really don't have to be a computer freak to use linux. Back in 2008 I knew next to nothing about PC's or OS's and now I am running a multiboot system with a lot of linuxes on my desktop as well on my laptop. It is a lot easier than you think.
And yes,I almost forgot, I still have my original WinXP in there somewhere since I bought those PC's and once in a while I transfer data to one of my linuxes but since I am a lazy person it takes a lot of time!

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Windows is the workhorse of consumers and most geeks like me
by Aseriesguy / October 29, 2014 12:21 AM PDT

After 40 years in IT support and 7 years in retirement supporting friends' and my own IT, I have used almost every OS environment there is. Windows and DOS remain the real workhorses of consumer computing. The last thing I did before retirement was install a line of heavy duty 32 CPU servers that were to run a Linux derivative VM environment but just as the engine for a huge number of virtualized WINDOWS servers. At home I have Android tablets and phones along with three i7/Geforce Windows gaming laptops that can run anything. I also have an XBOX 360 used as an extender for Windows Media Center that runs on all the laptops with a Silicon Dust Homerun for my own DVR system. Windows is pretty much the default for gaming if STEAM is your platform of choice. Steam is accessible to some extent with MAC and Linux but, so what. I also run Windows XP, Linux, Android, Chrome OS and MAC out of Virtual Box on a couple of the laptops just for fun. I must say the most fun small games are on Android these days. I ditched desktops a few years ago to give up the noise, heat and space side effects. I like to be able to move things around the house if necessary. My main system can do anything I need with a few external adapters and a large extra monitor mainly for Media Center TV viewing.

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OS usage
by pgc3 / October 29, 2014 12:55 AM PDT

On my desktops I run Windows 7 as primary. On one laptop I run Win 7 with Linux Mint as dual boot, another L/T is exclusively Linux Mint. More and more I am leaning toward Linux Mint, newer variants, 17 etc., as primary, in future, for all of my systems.

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Linux Mint 17 with MATE desktop
by James Denison / October 29, 2014 1:53 AM PDT

My secondary backup system is a dual boot with Kubuntu.
I have windows 10 Evaluation in Virtual Box to test.

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I haven't completely shifted off my Windows PC yet...
by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / October 29, 2014 5:47 AM PDT

And with a Tablet, ChromeBook, and my Smartphone, I definitely use my main Windows PC a lot less ( 70% less.)

If it wasn't for gaming and organizing my photos, I'd probably be OK without a full fledged PC. And since at work we've all gone to the cloud for the most part, I don't need a powerful PC anymore. Times have definitely changed my computing habits and needs.

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I would like to say
by itsdigger / October 29, 2014 6:11 AM PDT

that Linux is my main OS but I can't.

I can say that I use Linux SolydXK most of the time when I'm surfing the net and banking and such but when I want to play a game or watch Amazon Prime movies, I'm on Win 7 or 8.1.

The reality is that Linux ( no matter how much I love it ) just isn't ready for prime time and I can do anything I want with Windows


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I have come to love my iMac with OSX
by Iatros / October 29, 2014 10:40 AM PDT

I have a nice home-built PC running Win 7 x 64. I don't plan to upgrade until Win X x 64 is ready (not in public beta).

Two years ago, at my wife's urging (while I was ranting about my PC being plagued with another new problem), I bought an iMac 27. I max'ed out the mem at 32 gb, and began to learn to use OSX (now at Yosemite build).

There is a night and day difference between the PC on Win 7 and iMac27 on OSX. It's like a cheap Chevy compared to a Cadillac. My Mac works, simply, dependably, day in and day out. The PC works most of the time, but I never know when it won't, especially after Microsoft upgrades.

My iMac cost 2x what I put into my max'ed out PC, but it is more than 2x reliable. In addition, there are many great apps for a host of tasks, including some great open source solutions for email, office suite, backup, and many others. They only ask for donations if you like and use the apps (hear that Microsoft?). I don't try to run Win software on the iMac but it is quite easy if one accepts the need for something like VMFusion to virtualize Win 7.

I have not tried Ubuntu or other linux distros because I simply have no need.

I did not mention how much better the Adobe photo products work with the iMac's OSX. Have to see it to believe it!

For me, I will stick with my expensive iMac unless the PC world cleans up its act (which I don't think is likely).

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In windows defense
by James Denison / October 30, 2014 6:17 AM PDT

You need to realize that Mac has a very limited set of hardware it works on, which makes it imminently easier to create drivers for the equipment, whereas Windows has to create drivers for a very wide range of hardware situations. In fact the same situation was in Linux where everyone knew "buy what Linux will run on" rather than expecting it to run on whatever you already had for hardware. Linux has vastly improved that situation with almost all motherboards and their onboard video and sound chips covered, but still problems with some wireless chips and offbeat video cards. Buying hardware and operating system that are exclusively matched to each other is always a bonus in stability and ease of use.

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