Why did you switch?

In 2004, I asked my readers “why they switched from IE”:http://virtuelvis.com/archives/2004/12/msie-switcher-stories
This question is worth repeating, but in a new context: Between 20 and 30% of my non-robot visitors are using an operating system other than Windows when visiting this site, and over the last 12 months, the Windows family of operating systems has seen a decline of over 2% of the visitor share to this site. I assume that many of these users once were Windows users, so I’d like to repeat the short set of questions:
# When did you switch?
# Which version of Windows did you switch from?
# Which OS did you switch to?
# Why did you switch to your current OS?
If you haven’t switched yet, but you’ve given it some thought, feel free to respond as well.

Leave a comment


  1. October 2007
    XP Pro and Vista Home
    Ubuntu 7.10
    I was tired of viruses and trojans

  2. 1.: I switched 2 years ago the 2. of may
    2.: XP
    3.: Ubuntu 5.10
    4.: Always been courius about Linux, and I like not having to steal or use anti-virus.

  3. hseldon

     /  2008-06-20

    April 2008
    I was tired of reinstalling XP every 9 months and totally sick of Symantec Antivirus. Plus, I saw the compiz 3d desktop. Wow! Way cooler than anything I’ve seen on Windows or Mac. Ubuntu 8.04 – must have. So far, so good.

  4. 1. When did you switch?
    Full switch in 2001 after playing with Linux since 1998.
    2. Which version of Windows did you switch from?
    3. Which OS did you switch to?
    Linux (Gentoo, Ubuntu, Debian).
    4. Why did you switch to your current OS?
    MS went from DOS, to Windows to Wintendo. There seemed to be no escape; no way to do things the way I wanted to do them. Things seemed to be heading in a silly, stupid and downright “disgusting” direction (both technical and socially; by the way MS acted) that didn’t appeal to me at all.
    A focus on C++ as the be-all-and-end-all programming language for everything Windows was also extremely off-putting. C++ is probably the biggest factor for me ditching Windows; it’s an extremely unintelligent, un-elegant and ugly programming language and it was practically everywhere in the Windows world. http://yosefk.com/c++fqa/index.html
    GNU/Linux proved to be an alternate route and an escape from all of this. It provides modularity and flexibility. There is a myriad of programming languages, compilers and tools available here; I’m in control again.
    ..and as years have passed support for “normal users” has also been implemented. Distros have very good installers, and media (codecs etc.) work out-of-the-box in many cases. Maybe there is hope after all.

  5. 1. When did you switch?
    About 6 months ago
    2. Which version of Windows did you switch from?
    Vista and XP
    3. Which OS did you switch to?
    MacOS X
    4. Why did you switch to your current OS?
    Because windows sucks next to MacOS X (Vista = slow clunky crashy crappy use experience)… though I still think Windows XP is kinda ok.

  6. # I haven’t switched fully yet, but I use OS X and Ubuntu on a daily basis. My hope and plan is to use nothing but OS X and Ubuntu, but game developers need to pull their heads out of their asses before that can happen, which I think is going to take a while still.
    # Windows XP. I unfortunately still have to use Windows Vista at work.
    # OS X and Ubuntu Linux 7.10.
    # Windows sucks. Had hardware manufacturers and game developers lived in the same millennium as everyone else, Linux would be a better choice of OS than Windows for absolutely everything. Unfortunately, for most games and some types of hardware, Windows is still the preferred operating system. Wine is nice, but not really a good solution.

  7. 1. Slowly, starting with one machine in 2000. It was fun to play with, but too slow to actually do anything useful. It was an old machine. Then, around a year or two later, I started using Solaris at the university and discovered how much more natural it felt to me. Things were just more the way I wanted them to be, even if I hadn’t known what I wanted until then. In 2002 I used Debian at work in my summer job. I made the final switch on desktop around 2003.
    2. Windows 2000.
    3. My first install was Red Hat 6.1. After trying out Debian at work, I was quite certain that wasn’t what I wanted, so I went for Mandrake. I switched to Fedora not too long after that, and that’s what I’ve stuck with up until just a few months ago. For various reasons detailed in my blog, I’m now using Kubuntu with KDE4.
    4. See 1). Linux/Unix just aligns more with my way of thinking. I want an OS that a) does what it can to do things for me when I don’t need to do them myself (hence no old-school Debian or Gentoo) but b) doesn’t get in my way when trying to do something slightly outside the paved road (hence no Windows or OSX). Coming from a DOS past, I’m keyboard-centric rather than mouse-centric, so I never felt at home in the Mac world. I hate the fact that Windows has no package manager, no pre-installed drivers and most of the time leaves you clueless when something goes wrong. (That mostly applies to OSX too)
    The above also answers my choice of web browser, actually. I don’t want to have to go out of my way to find and install lots of extensions manually to get a useful browser. I’m lazy, I want it all right out of the box. Opera it is then.

    1. Switched in December 2007. Still dual-booting, but using Ubuntu 95% of the time.
    2. XP
    3. Ubuntu 7.10, now 8.04
    4. I saw and experienced what Compiz Fusion could mean for my own productivity and user experience, and because of that I decided to make the switch as a personal project to see if it was possible for me to mainly use Linux both at home and at work. It was, and it was easier than imagined. Another reason was to learn something new. While XP worked flawlessy for me, I was really bored with it at the same time.
  8. mr. ray

     /  2008-06-20

    Dual booting since 2006
    No more XP and Vista Feb 2008 when I got my printer working in ubuntu. Linux rocks! No more virus scanning, spyware scanning and defragmenting! Never slowdown since I install- windows are fast first time but after a month of use it become very sloooow.

  9. hdh

     /  2008-06-20
    1. I can’t remember, the mark was when Gaim/Pidgin devs stop compiling the windows build with debug info
    2. Windows XP (irrelevant to this situation)
    3. Ubuntu, now Sidux
    4. So that I can compile Pidgin with debug info

    I just realised I didn’t give MinGW a try, but metacity & kwin are superior to explorer as a window manager anyway.

    I am posting this on Windows, playing games and not needing the debug info any more.

  10. WOFall

     /  2008-06-20

    I can’t switch! 🙁
    I live at home, and there is 0% chance of my dad switching. He “needs windows for work” and all… Dual booting would be “pointless” when “we allready have a paid for OS”.
    If i had a choice, i would use Ubuntu 🙂

  11. 1. January 2007
    2. XP
    3. Mac OS X
    4. Performance, security, compatibility, etc. Wanted something new

  12. kalaallit nunaat

     /  2008-06-20

    1. When did you switch?
    — On Tuesday in mid-2005 😉
    2. Which version of Windows did you switch from?
    3. Which OS did you switch to?
    — FreeBSD, after a 14-day interim rendez-vous with GNU
    4. Why did you switch to your current OS?
    — A million reasons, do you have all day? I have had the chance to compare various nixish and gnuish systems, and my choice is the global optimum given the objective function 😉

  13. r5d

     /  2008-06-20

    Switched in July 2005
    from Windows XP
    to Debian GNU/Linux
    Was curious what this “Linux” was, and wanted to extend my knowledge of computers and operating systems. After that, I just kind of grew so much accustomed to all the choices and configurability Linux has to offer and I dumped Windows completely not long after.
    Today I use Gentoo GNU/Linux for desktop purposes and FreeBSD for small server-like machines.

  14. Ted Dobyns

     /  2008-06-21

    1) I haven’t fully switched as I play a lot of games and most of them are not supported by WINE, but I started playing around with Linux over a year ago and setup a more permanent workstation a few months ago.
    2) Windows XP (choice was go vista or get into something else)
    3) ArchLinux, after experimenting with more user-friendly environments, I decided a minimalist desktop was the way for me. Arch allows me to be very much in control of everything and I’ve setup a desktop with the awesome window manager (tiling window managers FTW!). I really like Arch as well because it uses an rc.conf file similar to BSD systems.
    4) Linux is so much more friendly to developers (despite Steve Ballmer yelling it at the top of his lungs over and over), everything is open source so you’re able to learn from other peoples code, documentation is abundant, and the CLI allows you to do so much more than the Windows CMD Prompt. Setting up webservers is easy and OpenSSL is fantastic (unless you’re using Debian XD). I learned so much just by setting up a dedicated server in my closet. Basically what this all comes down to is just how much I’ve learned from using Linux and tinkering with the insides. I don’t know of any other environment where I could get the same hands on experience.

  15. June 2007
    Windows XP
    Ubuntu 7.04
    the new 2000 $ T60 Lenovo Thinkpad I had bought had terrible font rendering problems with XP. I couldn’t get it fixed, and ended up selling the stupid machine and buying a T40 on ebay for 300 $ instead. As I was also sick of Windows and tired of having problems with viruses every 6 months, I jumped ship. I would say it was by far my best tech decision ever. Ubuntu non only is safe and reliable – it rocks and it is easier to use than XP!

  16. 1. When did you switch?
    First half of 2003.
    2. Which version of Windows did you switch from?
    Windows ME.
    3. Which OS did you switch to?
    Slackware Linux. Later, I’ve switched to Gentoo Linux.
    4. Why did you switch to your current OS?
    Too many crashes, loooooong startup time (more than 2 or 3 minutes).
    Of course, there are things that now prevent me from switching back: Gnu/Linux software is much better, the shell is incredibly powerful, there are tons of great software to be combined in shell scripts (that’s somewhat heritage from Unix), so much more powerful and faster, and so on. With Gnu/Linux, I have the power, I have control over the system. And Gnu/Linux does not annoy me like Windows does (Windows Vista is even more annoying).
    I’ve blogged about this on December 2005.
    Nowadays, I’m going to let my notebook dual-boot just to play games.

  17. Nb-r-dr

     /  2008-06-22

    1: 2001
    2: WinXP
    3: PLD Linux
    4: Grew tired of constant battle with crappy Windows, which was in itself pointless, because I still had to reinstall every year or so. Then I got freedom, increase in productivity, satisfied my thirst in tweaking my OS and felt good about choosing right over wrong, rebel fleet over Imperium.

  18. 1: May of last year.
    2: XP Pro
    3: Mac OS X (Tiger, now upgraded to Leopard)
    4: My Dell laptop died on me and I wanted to make the move to what I both then and now regard as a more powerful platform. Not only is my MacBook Pro better looking than any Windows-based laptop I’ve seen, but the OS looks good, works well, and I get a terminal window when I need one.

  19. Finance Guy

     /  2008-06-23

    When did you switch?
    A few months after Vista 64 shipped
    Which version of Windows did you switch from?
    XP Pro
    Which OS did you switch to?
    Ubuntu 64
    Why did you switch to your current OS?
    Vista 64 didn’t run my software, Wine did.
    Now I’ve dumped the commercial crap for better open source software anyway.

  20. dude

     /  2008-06-23

    1. When did you switch?
    January 08/April 08
    2. Which version of Windows did you switch from?
    Windows XP
    3. Which OS did you switch to?
    OSX (jan) and Ubuntu (apr)
    4. Why did you switch to your current OS?
    This is going to be long as this did not happen overnight…
    In early 2000, my boss invited me (I’m a graphic designer but I’ve always been pretty tech savvy, and also having no preference between Mac OS and Windows) to a meeting with a guy pitching his company’s networking services to us. He was telling us that he would run our network on free software called Linux and that because of this we would save money because we’d just be paying him for setup and maintenance. We of course, we shorted sighted and figured free software couldn’t be as secure as paid software and wrote him off. But he planted the seed in my head… Later that year, I needed a router for my small home network and Googled up solutions. One solution suggested using an old PC running a small floppy distro – it worked great and it was rock solid. I don’t think I’ve ever had to reboot it. A couple of years later I tried Red Hat but found it confusing (installing programs from commandline? yuck) and my wife hated Openoffice (which was pretty young at the time) because it wasn’t very compatible with MSOffice at her work. I ended up reinstalling Windows.
    Fast forward to 2008: I needed a new laptop (was running a old Dell 1GHz w/ 256MB) and bought a Macbook. OSX is somewhat similar to Linux so I started to dual boot my desktop between XP (for gaming – WINE is much too slow) and Ubuntu (I bought into the hype) because I was sick of maintaining my machine from getting worms and spyware, also it seemed that XP gets slower as time goes on. I had been playing with earlier versions of Ubuntu but Hardy Heron seemed to be so polished I actually kept using it for more than a week. Gutsy didn’t like my Nvidia card without a lot of tweaking (which turned me off). Hardy worked right off the bat. The add/remove program was also a huge selling point for me. It’s so easy to explore the wealth of software that’s out there. Yes, so it took me 8 years to convert me. Hopefully in the next 8 I won’t even need to dual boot for gaming!

  21. tq

     /  2008-06-23

    1: 02/2006
    2: Win2k
    3: Mac OS X
    4: secure, doesn’t freeze, doesn’t crash, battery life is amazing, and it just WORKS, unix tops windows any day

  22. 1. When did you switch?
    In 2006
    2. Which version of Windows did you switch from?
    Windows XP
    3. Which OS did you switch to?
    Ubuntu Feisty Fawn
    4. Why did you switch to your current OS?
    I resisted out of lethargy for years… then a friend in IT showed me his PC running Feisty. It was clean and simple, he used it for all his work, and I was impressed. He told me about repositories and shared libraries, and I was intrigued.
    Meanwhile, my XP installation was getting increasingly crowded and was starting to slow down. I ran several ‘cleaners’, but I was forced to reinstall – then, collecting drivers was a pain, as was getting all the software I had before. I looked into dual-booting and downloaded a live CD.
    After installation of Ubuntu, I was reasonably pleased, though I thought it looked a little clumsy.
    I installed Kubuntu and found that it ran a lot better on my laptop, looking good and complete with great apps.
    At work, I had to do something on a new Vista-laptop. Even though the Aero looked good, I was offended at how invasive the system was, slowing me down with constant popups. My lips tightened into a grim line and I knew I wasn’t interested in updating to Vista.
    Now, I’m enthusiastic about Linux. I don’t know a damn thing, but when I have a problem, I look forward to checking out the forums and finding a community solution. It’s a terrific feeling, being in control of my computer again.

  23. philluminati

     /  2008-06-24

    1. 2004
    2. Windows 2000 Professional
    3. Fedora Linux
    4. Appeals to my technical nature. Related to my dev job. Interesting and important skill base. Looks like the platform for development for the next 30 years. Stable, Secure, Fast, Customisable, Free. I enjoy the Free Software Ethos. I prefer the way the operating system works and how well exposed it’s internals. It is clear, open and simple.

  24. Comments reopened again, as I’m back from vacation.

  25. I haven’t switched – I use Windows XP and love it! I have not had any trouble with it at all. I do not like Windows Vista, however (which is on my laptop.)

  26. Hey, comments are open again, and I’m going on hols tomorrow ! For synchronicity like that, I guess you’ll have to get the whole post from there
    Short version here:
    I switched away 20 years ago, and (despite best efforts by those who need help) have never gone back. My latest switch was to a Mac, and that’s nearly as bad, it’s just Steve’s box instead of Bill’s.
    On a Linux box: it’s not Linus’s box, it mine.

  27. Garvin

     /  2008-08-15

    When did you switch?
    Didn’t need too, always used unix(Free- u. OpenBSD). I support that “Swiss-Cheese” everyday in the week.
    Which version of Windows did you switch from?
    I went from Com. to Unix.
    Which OS did you switch to?
    Why did you switch to your current OS?
    Novel(at the time) interested me(Forest). Freedom, as in “Free” from “Dom”-ination was also a big reason. At the moment I am testing Ubuntu on this Notebook, and I will be changing back to FreeBSD soon.