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Why Windows 10 is my Desktop OS of Choice

In the comments section of a recent article about some Windows 10 updates, there was a lively discussion taking place regarding the merits of using Linux instead of Windows 10.

Many sung the woes of how awful Windows 10 is, how bad the updates are, and how switching to Linux saved them in some way or another. And if you’ve spent any time in discussion groups where Linux users congregate, you’re bound to have heard such things. And in fact, many of them have valid points! Linux is a great OS for a lot of things and when it’s right. But when it’s not…

Haters Gonna Hate

Despite that I ran Linux on the desktop for most of the 2000’s, my own experiences with Linux on the desktop since then have been mixed. I said as much in a comment on Hackaday and received some very interesting responses- and not all of them were telling me how wrong I was! Here’s the original comment:

…I’m going to say something that’s sure to raise a few eyebrows and maybe generate some hate mail:

Windows 10 is awesome. It’s got its quirks, but so does every Linux distro out there. I use Linux every single day of my life, but on my desktop, W10 reigns king. It Just Works. Yes, updates can be arduous. Yes, it has weird things about it that are frustrating vs how they were in XP. But is Linux immune to such things? One word: systemd. I’m not saying systemd is horrible or anything, just that the same argument that people who hate W10 over XP or 7 is used for people who hate systemd over sysinit. “change for the sake of change is bad!” while ignoring the growth that’s occurred.

I tried running my ham shack computer on various Linux distros, and while they worked, I didn’t feel like they worked *well*. And because my distro wasn’t supported well by a software maker (JS8Call) I had to wait a long time for updates, or compile it myself. No thanks. Back to W10. Linux won’t make it to the desktop until somebody can just point click install, and have it work without having to drop to a command line, and that experience is pretty hard to get in Linux.

I posted that, then braced for impact. What I got in response was not exactly what I expected!

Unexpected Support

“Thank you for championing the unpopular opinion… No version of Windows is perfect, but none have driven me away from the OS.”

“Agree totally. I have serious issues with Windows 10, namely the forced, unprompted updates which have killed overnight 3D renders more times than I care to admit, but 1, that seems to have been largely addressed in the past year, and 2, even with those setbacks, I’m still far, far ahead in terms of lost time than my attempts to use Linux.”

“Hackaday could add a private upvote feature just for comments like this. I also use linux frequently, though not every day as I’m not currently paid to use it. But there are some very real reasons to switch to w10…” 

Whoa. It looks like this minority opinion isn’t such a minority after all. One commenter said something out loud that I’ve been thinking for a long time:

“I don’t foresee being able to use Linux as a primary OS anytime soon. The Linux community just doesn’t seem interested in acknowledging, much less addressing, it’s usability shortcomings. They instead roll out one distro after another differentiated by nothing more than UI skin and default set of pre-installed apps…”


Don’t worry, Linux is awesome too!

Now here’s the thing: I’m not against Linux. This Site is hosted on a Linux server that I configured. I run Linux at home, at work, on this server, on my Raspberry Pi, all over the place. I even have Linux on a couple of laptops for a rainy day. And when I am opening a known sketchy website (such as a hacked WordPress site) you can be sure I’m going to do it in a Linux VM.

Do I think that Linux is horrible and that everyone should switch to Windows 10? Not by a long shot. But I do feel that Windows 10 is the best tool for the job for me. My daily driver is Windows 10 because my workflow tools are there it fits my needs. For others, Linux or Mac is the best tool for the job, and for them, I applaud their use of the right tools for them. Because in the end, that’s what it’s about: Using the right tool for the job!

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!

Wait- that’s it?

By now some of you are saying to yourselves “There is nothing here but opinion and some loose evidence-free assertions that W10 is the right OS for the author.” That’s exactly correct. My point is that it’s the right desktop OS for me. Windows 10 is a good desktop OS, Linux is a good desktop OS, and yes, even MacOS is a good desktop OS (despite that I despise it). Each has the features, workflows, and software that make it the right choice for those who prefer it. And that’s the main point. The “Best OS” debate is moot- it’s completely subjective.


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    • jeff on December 9, 2019 at 10:14 PM
    • Reply

    Windows 10 is a great desktop environment and pretty much the only real choice if you want to game.
    The one real problem that keeps me from using it full time is privacy, at this point it’s essentially a giant data collection system with a desktop over the top.

    • Ed B. on December 10, 2019 at 6:32 AM
    • Reply

    Steam Proton make gaming in Linux the new kid on the block, don’t write it off. I am using it full time to play games. See ProtonDB to see if your fav game works, I would be surprised if it did not.

    • Jason on December 10, 2019 at 3:01 PM
    • Reply

    Here’s the thing – without some clear proof that Windows 10’s telemetry/privacy decisions have caused someone actual, tangible harm, it’s all just hypothetical. I’ve yet to hear of how Windows 10 has ruined someone’s life due to its privacy issues. Maybe indirectly? Who knows. But without something tangible that one can point to Windows 10 and to connect it to harm, it seems to be far less of a serious issue than people make it out to be. Lots of theories, not much practical evidence.

    Eh, maybe I’m just being naieve but the doomsday postulating just hasn’t happened, and in the meantime I get to enjoy full vendor (software and hardware) support as opposed to the third-class (or worse) experience I get with Linux.

    • Mike on January 9, 2020 at 9:35 PM
    • Reply

    Hardcore anti-M$ guy here: maybe you don’t KNOW about what the telemetry & privacy aspects have caused, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any. Likewise, what about all the zero-days and other problems that have repeatedly occurred over the decades until right now? Patches are slow in coming–if at all. Do you really want to roll the dice?

    As for vendors, they’re convinced they have to do it that way. Some things have strange proprietary interfaces (Chinese DMR radios are nuts).

    As for gaming, there’s WINE which is great (unless you need that last bit of frame rate) because 99% of development for it is oriented at games, with the rest towards M$ Office and friends. The DRM is the big problem. In the vein of radios, RT Systems still doesn’t work right as of last year (haven’t tried it with the latest WINE / Cross-over release) even though they use it to allow their software to work on the Mac!

    Finally, the Linux kernel with a small user space works well on embedded applications, something that M$ has never been able to get right, the Windows Phone being the latest abomination. It’s far from the only one, and definitely not the best one depending on the ultimate use (Linux, as a large, monolithic kernel, doesn’t do hard real-time well), but is good enough for devices with sufficient resources, and excellent in higher end ones like Android (Linux with custom user space).

    • David DolerJr on June 16, 2020 at 6:01 AM
    • Reply

    On a practical note, life is too short to fight with Linux. Of course I like the fight…sometimes. With Ham Radio apps, like JS8CALL or WSJT-X, I never could fix the Hamlib error. So I gave up, reinstalled the OEM Win10 and moved on.

    Windows 10. When you finally accept defeat. : )

    • Stan McIntosh on March 4, 2022 at 1:31 PM
    • Reply

    My nonagenarian great aunt was a single datapoint, and she was very excited about moving from Windows 7 to Windows 10. Her excitement didn’t last long. She found the UI to be a royal pain, and her settings would no longer stay set. After a month, she asked me how I was managing with it, and I told her that I had stopped using Windows some years before. Soon after, she asked what it would take to set up a computer for her to try out “what you use.” I started to get the parts together, and then she called in a panic. Her computer was not booting after an update. I went over, and the laptop was completely unresponsive. I don’t do Windows anymore, so I took the laptop to a shop, and they said I’d have to wipe the drive and reinstall. When I told my great aunt, she instructed me to install what I use (“Kubuntu”). Once more, she was in her 90s, so I expected to need to give her some guidance, but all she needed was a couple of demonstrations with the package manager. She became Linux-loyal in a matter of a couple of weeks.

    XP pushed me to Linux. Hardware support had degraded then from earlier versions, and it’s gone downhill since. Over the past few years, I’ve started refusing to do Windows installs because I’m sick of spending hours to chase hardware drivers. Also, there were other reliability issues that I had with XP, and I jumped after about a year. That was back when Linux still had erratic performance with wireless cards. About a dozen years ago, though, the tables turned, and the *only* wireless card driver issues I’ve had have been with Windows. With my wife’s laptop a few years ago, the laptop would crash every 30 minutes or so from a wireless card driver issue, even after putting in the most recent drivers. We put a Linux partition on the laptop, and then it only crashed if she booted into Windows.

    I did put a Windows 10 partition on a laptop that I got last year, which meant spending about 4 hours hunting drivers. Windows does still do better with Fallout, Destiny 2, and some impedance modeling software that I like. Kubuntu needed no help, though, and that partition was up and going in about the time I needed for a cup of coffee.

    If MS wants loyalty back from people like me, they need to fix a couple of major flaws. 1) Hardware support has to become a priority again. They’ve become slack, to say the least, about being ready for current hardware. 2) Stop jerking us around with massive unnecessary UI changes between versions. 3) If you’re going to have something like Visual Basic for MS-Office, do not break compatibility between versions. (And, damn but I miss when you could use C code in Excel cells!) I want a computer that I know will work, rather than to have one that I have to keep fighting with.

    1. I hear you on the drivers back in the XP/Vista and early 7 days. But since then I’ve seen it improve quite a bit. Perhaps you’ve got some specialized hardware you didn’t mention, but commodity stuff just works most of the time. In fact, I helped a friend set up W11 recently, and when I went to add the printer, it detected it, confirmed it was the right one, and then , get this, downloaded and installed the drivers automagically.

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