Why I’m Done With Windows [Opinion]

featured goodbye windows   Why Im Done With Windows [Opinion]Microsoft made an announcement this week that has really just tipped me over the edge. It’s the last in a string of moves actually; but that’s it. I’m done. I’ll switching all my Windows machines to Linux or a Hackintosh; I’ll be replacing my Home Server with a Time Machine or Linux-based NAS, and Windows will relegated to a virtual machine. Here’s why.

Windows Home Server Is Officially Dead

I’m a huge fan of Windows Home Server. It solved a lot of problems with backups and it’s a great, solid networked file store. I’m also not alone; there are huge numbers of dedicated fans out there that think Home Server was the best thing to come out of Microsoft in a long time. Finally, a decent alternative to messing around with inadequate Linux distros – Home Server just worked.

It was a reliable NFS that could stream media to any DLNA-compatible device in the house, it handled backups of Windows PCs beautifully and even had a hack to emulate Time Machine. It connected nicely with my Media Center PVR to archive recorded TV shows while still making them available to view.

I even stuck by Microsoft when they removed the hard disk aggregating technology called Drive Extender that was present in the original version. It enabled you to take 2 or more smaller disks, and view them as one large storage space, with drive redundancy in a kind of quasi-RAID system. But Microsoft claimed drives were getting larger anyway, and small businesses had no need for the drive technologies. Which almost made sense, until you consider that it was a Home Server – designed for the home; not a Small Business Server.

Now we learn that a similar technology will be coming to Windows 8 in the form of storage spaces; presumably the first version was just a beta test.

drive extender   Why Im Done With Windows [Opinion]

Fair enough – we lost that feature – but the 2011 edition of Home Server was still rock solid, so I bought some new larger drives and made a new system powerful enough to run it. Hardware manufacturers updated their line of dedicated Home Server machines. Honestly, I could forgive Microsoft for all the misgivings of mainstream Windows when they’re clearly capable of producing such a reliable product as Home Server.

Yet last week, they quietly announced Home Server was no more. The news was buried discreetly at the bottom of a downloadable FAQ about new server versions. Way to be upfront about that, Microsoft:

Windows Home Server has seen its greatest success in small office/home office (SOHO) environments and among the technology enthusiast community. For this reason, Microsoft is combining the features that were previously only found in Windows Home Server, such as support for DLNA-compliant devices and media streaming, into Windows Server 2012 Essentials and focusing our efforts into making Windows Server 2012 Essentials the ideal first server operating system for both small business and home use—offering an intuitive administration experience, elastic and resilient storage features with Storage Spaces, and robust data protection for the server and client computers.

Windows Server 2012 Essentials will cost around $425. I purchased my OEM copy of Windows Home Server 2011 for $40. That’s quite a difference, and I think it shows what the real issue Microsoft was having with Home Server – by their own admission, the OS had a huge take-up in small offices. For $40, small businesses had all they needed – without having to purchase the full, bloated server editions that cost hundreds more, as well as aftermarket support to keep the things running smoothly.

Home Server was too good – it satisfied a large part of the market sufficiently, and Microsoft didn’t like that. They could be milking businesses for more – so who cares if home users lose out? Perhaps they think cloud storage has made home servers extinct, but I’m not convinced.

142810 hpmediasmartmac01 original   Why Im Done With Windows [Opinion]

Media Center

Another fantastic product from Microsoft: Media Center is a great DVR, far better than any of the third party options available, and represented a comfortable 1o-foot interface to view media. It was a part of the core system and available to everyone, even if by Microsoft’s statistics only a tiny percentage of users ever made full use of it. When Windows 8 was first announced, any mention of Media Center was suspiciously absent. Eventually, we were informed that Media Center and DVD playback features would not be available by default, and would in fact be an optional upgrade in order to minimise costs.

We now know that an online upgrade of Windows 8 will be a minimal $40, so this is valid – but it does mean that if I were to upgrade my living room PC to Windows 8, I would lose Media Center TV and DVD playback, despite all the codecs already being licensed on my computer.

media center   Why Im Done With Windows [Opinion]

Furthermore, we still haven’t seen any updated information on what Media Center will look like in Windows 8; which would suggest it won’t change at all. It’s there if you want it the optional upgrade, but it won’t be available by default as yet another interface to clash with the already disjointed Metro and Desktop modes. They could have developed it further – made it a core part of Metro – the simplistic interface is perfect for a Media Center. But no.

So what’s the real reason Microsoft won’t be including DVR functionality in Windows 8? Leaked documents – which a rapid removal by lawyers all but confirmed as true – revealed that the next generation of Xbox console codenamed Xbox 720, will include full DVR functionality and a much enhanced media experience. Microsoft wants the Xbox 720 to be the only bit of kit in your living room.

Microsoft knows that the Xbox has now become less a games console and more of a home media environment; a DVR would complete that. If that functionality were available in Windows 8 tablets and notebooks, a large proportion of potential Xbox 720 buyers (non-core gamers) would overlook the console.

xbox720   Why Im Done With Windows [Opinion]

Make the Xbox the center of the living room; put a touchscreen Windows 8 PC and tablet into every consumers’ pocket; and continue milking the enterprise for all they can. This appears to be their gameplan, and in terms of maximising revenue, it’s probably a good one. Personally though, I feel let down. If I haven’t found a suitable DVR and Media Center replacement by the time the Xbox 720 comes out, I’m sure I’ll be getting one; but my Windows PC will never be sullied by the multicoloured tiles of Windows 8, and my Home Server is officially being re-allocated to a new Hackintosh. I might even go crazy and install Linux on something; who knows!? For now though, goodbye Microsoft.

How about you? I think we’ve talked about Windows 8 enough elsewhere, but were you a fan of Home Server or Media Center? Are you happy with the choice to kill off Home Server and move DVR functionality to the Xbox? Let us know in the comments below.

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116 Comments -

0 votes

K Chris C.

Money, money, money, must be funny in the Micro$oft world…

0 votes

Rahtid

(sigh)…First world problems…

0 votes

JR

(Sigh)…self righteous comments…

I suppose no one should complain about anything! As long as we have some poor neglected country or society to compare our situations to, we’ll always feel superior and …..ahhh……grateful.

But, thank you for the reality check and please accept this check from me- “Get over yourself”. No one is discrediting or diminishing the problems of the third world by expressing his/her own first world lamentations. Jerk.

0 votes

Enlapanlima

But seriously, these features like home server and media center is rarely used in third world country.
For example, my country Indonesia, or other neighboring countries.

0 votes

RedRockSA

JR – I live in a 3rd world country – it’s home to me. So strangely, even though I fully understand the origin of Rahtid’s comment (I also suspect it was a touch truth & touch ‘tongue in cheek’)- you had me on your side …right till the very end! Your derogatory ending with no possibility of innuendo was enough to give credence back to Rahtid’s comment & prove him correct – a pity really.

0 votes

Harry

Here is the world’s smallest violin playing to your third world issues. Can you hear it?

0 votes

UglyAmericansSuck

Hey Harry, how do you know Rahtid lives in a third world country? Or is it that are you just a complete racist jerk?

0 votes

World Citizen

Hey Uglythirdworlder: For all you know Harry is French not American,and he said nothing racist. but interesting your very chosen screen name shows you are xenophic against and bigoted against Americans.
And “Rahtid” is childish and didn’t bother to read the article anyway, WHS had worldwide sales. I used one in a small office in India. Since you also didnt read the article either, you also missed the author pointing out that WHS v1 was $50 for OEMS and WHS v2 was $40. the new product costs much much more.

0 votes

K Chris C.

But seriously, Windows 8 is going to be a smash–Micro$oft finally smashing against the wall that they have been dodging for years.

And I would love to be at the M$ offices the day China announces their own OS for the China and Asia markets. I could make a fortune on TP alone.

0 votes

Bahraam

Do you think it’s so easy?? From tomorrow on, every body should use our Linux distro.
First, only about 10% of operating windows in china are genuine. The rest are cracked.
Second, the whole industry is based on microsoft operating systems.
At least in my field (chemicals and process automation), I cannot even imagine that someday an os will substitute windows.
You call Microsoft M$. Just checkout Apple’s net profit margin, and you wonder why the people are so …
All this said, I am not a windows fan boy. I am more inclined to Linux.

0 votes

Cid Sinclair

If all that stuff is working just the way you like it why would you care about upgrading to newer versions? Why go through all the gyrations of using linux and Hackintosh and losing Windows Media Center? If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. I’m just fine with Windows 7 and I could care less about Windows 8 and the metro crap. I tried it and didn’t care for it. It’s great on a phone. It’s an abomination on a non-touch screen pc.

0 votes

Nick Bruce

The problem with that solution is that it is merely temporary. How long can you receive security updates? How long will your software be supported on it?

I know that Windows XP is STILL being supported, but applications have begun to drop support and Microsoft will not be inclined to do this again. Its expensive for them and really, it is in Microsoft’s best interest to push everyone to the new platforms. That’s why Windows 8 Pro is going to be so cheap to upgrade too.

A lot of people have your feelings towards Windows 7, that they will just stay on it. And I wish we could, because it is the best operating system Microsoft has released in a very long time, but in the long term it is not feasible.

0 votes

Cid Sinclair

If the software on your home server is doing what you want in the manner you want it to, what’s the problem. There’s no need for security updates or software updates….ever. It’s a home server that isn’t exposed to the outside world. Unless your networking skills really suck, it should never be a problem regardless of what MS may or may not do. As they always do. Microsoft will revert back to baking Media Center in the next iteration of windows after receiving the backlash from consumers, or they will make it once again a free add on. Microsoft seems to have a hit on every other release of their OS. All the horrible crap foisted upon us will be mostly gone or irrelevant by the time Windows 9 rolls around. Of course it will all be different crap that Windows 9 forces upon us…..but, as we always do, we will adapt without getting hysterical about it.

0 votes

James Bruce

That’s ridiculous. Security flaws are found all the time;; new products will always enter the home. Without fixing those falws and supporting new devices or interfaces, you’re left with something non-functional ; even if it does work at this precise moment in time.

Microsoft wont revert back to media center, because as I explained the Xbox 720 is going to handle all of that, and will be out next year. I dont think there’ll be a backlash either though- media center was never a mainstream product, just a niche one with lots of dedicated fans.

Anyhew, thanks for the input.

0 votes

Cid Sinclair

No, ridiculous would be exposing your home server to outside threats in the first place. Unless you’re surfing from your server, running a web server or downloading things without a virus scanner you shouldn’t ever be exposed to any security flaws on your home server. Perhaps you should invest in learning some networking skills instead of running out and buying the next best thing.

You also presume, as Microsoft does, that people are going to flock to the new Xbox because of it’s integration of media center and media server capabilities. I don’t think they will, at least not any time soon. Have you checked the economy lately?

I think the most telling part about your whole “I’m disgusted with Microsoft” rant is revealed in your reply to Svein’s comment where you state, “It just makes more sense when the majority of other devices will be Apple.” Why not just buy an Apple home server or game console? Oh, yeah…..they don’t make either. I think you should give up some of those geek points for being a fanboy instead of an objective and fair tech writer……

0 votes

James Bruce

Not sure what world you live in Cid, but in this era we do connect media servers to the internet and the outside world – for remote file access and media streaming apart from anything. If you don’t, then that’s fine. I do though, and insulting my knowledge of networking doesn’t really help your case.

As for the economy… that’s not really my thing. I think people will buy a new Xbox, though, for what its worth.

Anyway, I’m really not sure what your problem is here. You’re insulting me for owning Apple products?

0 votes

JRyan

Cid,
You are wrong on pretty much all counts. You are confusing a nas with a small office/home server.
I guess anyone at a tech forum would laugh at you for suggestion the security updates are unimportant. Uhhm, why did MS push security updates to WHS over the past few years?

0 votes

illegal3alien

Security is always a concern. Your old, out-dated router, the same one that was secure 5 years ago, it now vulnerable and leaves your server–that you thought wasn’t accessible to the outside–wide open. It’s not hard for someone who wants in to plant a piece of software on any computer in the network and use that to access any other resource they want. As long as one computer in the network uses the internet, they are all vulnerable. Your unsecure Windows machine that has had support and updates cut off can easily be used to take over your entire network by an individual in a remote location.

1 votes

WarOfTheNerd

It is feasible to skip Windows 8, go read the documentation.. :)

Windows 7 has support for updates till 2020. Same as Server 2008 and Server 2008 R2.

Windows 8 has support until 2023, same as Server 2012.

Give Windows 8 a miss if:

* You play any older games and/or need full DirectMusic support.
(Like Quake 3 Arena, Unreal Tournament GOTY, Deus Ex or SiN)

* You need 24-bit, 16-bit or 8-bit colour modes specifically

* You play fullscreen DOS games
(with Vista/7 you could install the XP drivers and get fullscreen DOS)

* You use Windows XP Mode (not in Windows 8)

* You are opposed to requiring restrictive licenses to develop and run apps on Windows
(Metro requires a developer license to run any apps not in the store!)

* You use applications which require complex DRM schemes to work
(Windows 8 breaks a lot of older DRM like old StarForce versions)

* You need support for old-generation sound cards
(No more WDM-based Win98 drivers powering your new Win8)

0 votes

Tina Sieber

Thanks for the decision help!

0 votes

James Bruce

Well first off, I’m a tech writer. I enjoy keeping on top of recent developments, so the old “if it aint broke, dont fix it” doesn’t apply to me. I’m not going to stick with something I know is dead in the long run.

More over though, I’m just sad. I’m upset with the way they’re handling both these key products, and on top of that putting all their efforts in a child-like OS. I’m certainly no longer going to advocate the use of those products when development has ceased and the rest of world will move on to bigger and better things.

0 votes

Truefire_

He has a point though. It’s always going to be a pain to update, and a home server should be fine, with minor upgrades in hardware, for 5+yrs.

Networking knowledge is important too – unless someone with hacking skills has a vendetta against you, your network is fine unless you keep it wide open, and access it from silly places without covering your tracks.

In that case, slow updates from Microsoft won’t make any difference. 0-day attacks happen all the time.

Just making a point. Overall, good article! I look forward to seeing further posts from you.

0 votes

David

Yes, 100% correct. That’s why many companies/organizations and individuals get by perfectly with XP. BUT, Microsoft (reasonably in my opinion), do not have an obligation to support XP OR Win 7 or anything else for that matter, beyond a certain period.
Progress means that some things become outdated and WHS is going to eventually become unnecessary.
Similarly, Win Phone. Why would I switch to a Win Phone when I have a perfectly great Android? Why would an iPhone user switch to something else when they have a perfectly great phone? Just because it’s Microsoft is not a compelling argument to switch. Hell, people bitch and moan about switching to Linux – Linux is more like Windows (and Macs) as we know them, than Win 8.
If you can overcome your fears, going ‘cloud’, renders the ‘type or release number’ of an OS irrelevant. Whether I’m using Linux (most of the time), Windows occasionally, Macs seldom, or a Smartphone (Android and iOS are both linux at their core), I don’t care what the OS is.

Finally, off topic, You’re American aren’t you? I can tell because you incorrectly say “I could care less”. I think you mean “I couldn’t care less” which is what the expression used to be until somebody in the US became confused (might have been Dubya). Unless of course, you actually do mean you could care less, which is probably closer to the reality of all this.

0 votes

Matt Smith

I understand your points, but I doubt many people care about either, particularly Windows Home Server.

0 votes

Svein

There are so many alternatives…

Mediaplayer: I just wrote a post on Google+ about the XBMC port to Android: https://plus.google.com/107257551033066634962/posts/AJhtJQfzw2a

I also included a couple of links there to really low-cost devices that could run it. I think this will be one of the most interesting combinations regarding mediaplayers in the near future!

Another alternative is using a Playstation 3 and add PS3 Media Server (http://www.ps3mediaserver.org/) to a computer in the house (Win, Mac or Linux). Works VERY well.

A third option is to use Media Portal (http://www.team-mediaportal.com/) – it is extremely capable and you can build a really huge system with it that will deliver TV to your whole house.

On the server side, you could check out FreeNAS as an alternative. It is not too difficult to set up and gives you a lot more options than the Home Server ever had, including several real RAID options. As an operating system for your desktop, you have a lot of options. But an interesting start could be to put Ubuntu or Kubuntu on a USB pendrive and run it on your computer. That will give you a feel for if it is a good operating system for you.

You are definitely not out of options!

0 votes

James Bruce

Thanks for the suggestions Svein. The playstation interface is just horrendous regardless of how good the server app is, though. Mediaportal is looking a lot snazzier than the last time I checked it out a few years back. I came to the conclusion that home server and media center were the best. I guess its time to re-evaluate.

On the server side, I think I’ll let a hackintosh handle that. It just makes more sense when the majority of other devices will be Apple.

On the linux side, I’ll be running backtrack 5 ;)

0 votes

Cid Sinclair

So you write an article bashing Microsoft for pulling the plug on you, while at the same time praising their software as the best available and then you concede that you haven’t checked out any of the competition in “a few years” until this recent (non) “problem” came up. Way to stay on top of your game as a tech writer! WTF?

0 votes

James Bruce

At the time, mediacenter was the best, hence why I was using it. I appreciate the input of alternatives that I may have not known about, or have been since updated.

Aside from which, I never stated this was a “problem”. This is an *opinion* article. It quite clearly says so up there, and represent my opinion as to why I will be switching away from these great products.

0 votes

Junk

Hey Bruce,
Just ban Cid already. His comments offer nothing. He is a rude and boring little whiner.

…that is all

0 votes

Jeff Rockower

WHS is the best windows backup out there. Other services only back up files. WHS does full OS backups

0 votes

Jake

Okay the ONLY way to get a real OS backup is to do a ghost (clone) I’m pretty sure an OS can’t clone itself good enough to restore it completely to a blank partition…just a thought

0 votes

James Bruce

Actually, it can. It clones itself to the server, and is fully recoverable using a boot disk provided. The bootdisk bootstraps a restore system, and then pulls a fully working snapshot from the server. This is one of the most awesome things about Home Server.

And yes, it works. I’ve had a hard disk die on me once, swapped it out for a blank new one, fully restored the way it was the night before. Another time I was stupid enough to install malware. Couldn’t bothered dealing with it; just restored to a week old backup. Easy.

0 votes

Laga Mahesa

For a long time, my biggest grief with Windows was the arbitrary limitation of only 10 connections to a network share in non-server versions. A limit that was not present in anything predating XP.

That alone marginalized Windows as a server platform for me.

0 votes

Spencer

It always sucks when something you like or rely on is messed with/discontinued/re-imagined. And for it to be for such a crappy reason, presuming that this is the reason — you’ve made a pretty convincing case –, makes it sting even more.

Leaving the Windows environment is the ethical choice. Me, I think this is precisely the moral outrage that launched illegal filesharing. We find things that work for us and we want them to continue working for us. But companies seem determined, at times, to ruthlessly capitalize on that desire, that love. And that’s wrong. It’s opportunistic and it’s greedy. And though it will swell Microsoft’s coffers in the shortterm, that lost loyalty will be felt longterm, again, assuming that this is why they did this.

It’ll be interesting to see if the degree to which Home Server is pirated increases based on this result. Anyway, condolences. I hate it when people change their websites once I’m used to them. I can only imagine how crappy it’d be to have a program you like dumped for profit.

PS: If this is true, how insane is it that the product was too good for its dollar value? In an ideal world, Microsoft should consider that an achievement, not a lost opportunity to gouge.

0 votes

James Bruce

Thanks for your input Spencer.

“Too good for it’s dollar value” is a great way to put it. It’s just sad, especially when they announce that elements of HomeServer (like the dashboard) will be migrated over to the main server versions. Perhaps HomeServer was only ever just a beta test?

0 votes

Koshy George

Microsoft took all good stuff away and replaced them with horrible stuff.

0 votes

kevin gnanaraj

The Xbox 720 might actually be Xbox8. On IGN there was an article about Microsoft buying Xbox8 domain names. http://www.ign.com/articles/2012/07/03/microsoft-secures-xbox-8-domains

0 votes

James Bruce

Interesting! I like the 8 ~ infinity symbol. Sounds plausible, certainly. I really hope they go forward with the VR goggles; it’s about time we get some truly immersive gameplay.

0 votes

postafolk

If I released a product and then got swamped with a wider, more sophisticated audience then you best believe I’m raising the price of said product. How else do I continue to develop and support my offering with a bigger and more demanding customer AND still make a profit? I’m not a f’ing Care Bear. Neither are the folks at Microsoft.

0 votes

James Bruce

They didnt raise the price, they just killed it off. The next best alternative is just a low end professional server that they’ve always had. I’m sure they couldve solved the problem of business users with some legal clause that said support only for home users, without having to f-over everyone.

You’re right though, MS is not a care bear. Bill Gates is though ;)

0 votes

Vipul Jain

i think you are overreacting. i for one never liked Media Centre, but maybe some did. anyways no doubt charging for preloaded software seems bad but it doesnt neglect the great XP & 7 OS’es they created for us.
Also Win 8 might be good (i have low hopes though)

0 votes

Yash Kataria

There is a shop in my neighbourhood. They sells Pirated Windows discs for $2. Yesterday, I even saw a Windows 8 beta disc for $2.

0 votes

Alan Wade

So if many of the comments are related to the title ‘Why Am I Done With Windows’ then I guess a lot of people will be moving over to Linux then………………..

0 votes

Spencer Vincent

I am also slowly giving up on Windows. They are trying to reach too far int the future rather than tweaking what they have right now and keeping customers happy.

0 votes

Surfbits

Been out of Windows for so many years, I forgot about home server. We still use XP server at the office and plan on updating as soon as the priority software we use for the office become compatible. (Hopefully Win8) Overall, an interesting read James.

0 votes

Aditya Roy

Give up on windows??
Not gonna happen!

0 votes

Mihovil Pletikos

there is one big mistake in the text…. microsoft changed their primary plan and now the media center for w8 will be available for free but as separate update…..

and with windows 7 and 8 home networking and windows 8 drive extender everything you had with whs you get with windows 8 ….

0 votes
0 votes

Mihovil Pletikos

and if i’m not mistaken it won’t be possible to upgrade to any other version of w8

0 votes

James Bruce

And yes, drive extender will be a part of Windows 8, but Windows 8 isn’t a server OS.

0 votes

Ben

Time to look into the multiple choice, anything and everything goes, no limits world of Linux!

0 votes

John Shelton

“Windows Home Server Is Officially Dead”

Please do not tell that to my still working installation of Windows Home Server v1. Why do technical writers want to make such broad and incorrect statements? Windows Home Server is no more dead than my Windows 2000 installation. While it is true that Microsoft no longer sends automatic updates that make my computer do crazy things like fail to restart, etc. The system is still alive and just as stable as it was 10 years ago. My Windows Home Server, likewise, continues to do exactly what is has been doing for 4 years (is that how long version 1 has been on the market?) Windows Home Server is NOT dead and is not going to die for several more years to come. It may be left alone by Microsoft, which really is a good thing, because so much of their meddling is negative; but, James, it ain’t dead by a long shot..

0 votes

James Bruce

I think most people understand the semantics involved here, John. As a product, it is dead. It has been killed off, and will no longer be sold.

Obviously they didn’t hit a killswitch to deactivate YOUR copy.

0 votes

tom hartnett

Windows Home Server is still available on Amazon (~$50)and a few other sites. So is there any reason I should not buy and use it with Win7. Thanks

0 votes

john3347

I still think that you are not accurately portraying the status of Windows Home Server. As is posted here in response to our exchange, it is still available at at least some retail outlets. In addition to retail outlets, I just checked my TechNet account and Windows Home Server with Power Pack 1 (WHS v1) Install CD, Connector CD, and Restore CD are still available from Microsoft TechNet. Windows Home Server 2011 Server Install Disc and Client Restore disc are also still available. Windows Home Server may be on the back burner at Microsoft and no further developed, but as I said in my earlier reply, “Windows Home Server ain’t dead by a long shot.” That’s my story and I’ve produced the evidence to prove it.

0 votes

muotechguy

Of course you can still download it; and there are still copies left in stock at Amazon. There’ll be security patches for a few years at least – I think they even said the OEM version will be available to companies wishing to embed it until 2021. However, development has ceased and some key OEM partners have abandoned the platform.

It’s not a case of being on the back burner – it is no longer being developed. What you have said is otherwise not incorrect; if people wanted to try WHS, they could probably get it now from a variety of sources. However, this is an opinion piece, and I am expressing my opinion as to why I no longer want to use a product that has been abandoned; as well the reasons as to why it was abandoned (as I see them).

0 votes

BobBob

I so enjoy comments from the world of the unreal. Microsoft’s Windows is a business ……. it does very well. Linux is not a business, it is a collective of individuals who philisophically believe in co-operatively sharing their knowledge. Yes there are many businesses spawned from Linux software installations, when support is required you will need to contact the the very few who did or understand how the original install was done. When you need support for Windows you can call the vast resources of MS or the hundreds of qualified VAR’s. All the geeks must remember, if you are running a business you have to spend time on the business, not why the computers are having issues. If you follow how major business in the world succeed, you will, for the most part find the work being accomplished in a Windows environment. Apple’s expertise is not so much as a computer products company but much more as a incredibly talented marketing company. How else but through guiding peoples emotions can you convince consumers to eagerly pay the Mac tax or willingly go to Apple Jail. Realistically, Microsoft gives you an array of choices in how you choose to compute. Money, it should be very obvious for all of you who earn a living working for someone who charges for their product or services.

0 votes

gattolino

windows home server have so much optimization… if you (like me) have a brother that always download your same software and upload to nas…. windows home server automatically recognize duplication on sharing and create a “link” not a copy of file on the share…

0 votes

Duc Pham

What?

0 votes

Truefire_

Freenas + XBMC equals media server coolness.

All the same, good luck getting rid of Microsoft. I like Linux and hackintoshes fine, but there will always be SOMETHING that doesn’t work correctly. Windows is the most compatible with everything under the sun.

Also, you write as though EVERYTHING can be hackintoshed.Not so. Good luck hackintoshing even ONE of your computers.

0 votes

muotechguy

I don’t like XBMC – much prefer Plex, and FreeNAS is a waste as it needs an entire machine to run it, which is then useless other than for a NAS. The way I’ll be setting it up is as a Hackintosh server that can both handle media server as test machine through parralels. I know everything wont work correctly, but it wont be my main platform so thats not a huge issue.

As for being able to hackintosh it – I actually considered that before building both my machines – and bought components that were verified working with osx. Unibeast + multibeast has made the install process effortless nowadays – you should check it out again. Gone are the days of customized DVD installs from various hacking groups!

Anyhew, thanks for the input!

0 votes

Colin

I haven’t used windows since I went fulltime to linux (ubuntu) in 2008. I run a server as well as several computers, all running ubuntu. BTW, who or what is a microsoft? ;)

0 votes

Hunter Watts

Yeah it’s about money. And What? Any successful company is.

0 votes

Frank

Micosorft has taken out too much of its core functionality after they shot themselves in the foot with Vista and had to release Win7 premature! Now with Win8 they do it all over again; listening to managers instead of their customers??!
I too am done with them and I’ve made the switch to Linux Mint (Mate) and am a proud Wondiws deserter now.

0 votes

Tim Brookes

One thing: “Microsoft knows that the Xbox has now become less a games console and more of a home media environment”

No, not really. Microsoft has simply pushed this on 360 owners with their recent Metro update which means I have to make 10 button presses to get to the Game Marketplace or Demos rather than two to get to stupid useless social features that I don’t want or need. Ditto for films and TV – I don’t use my Xbox for renting Microsoft’s horribly priced films, the most I use it for is YouTube which is in forever in QuickPlay once I’ve used it.

Microsoft have completely lost their touch with the Xbox and its owners with their overbearing attempts to push video and “apps” on console owners. I didn’t buy my Xbox for media purposes and its primary advertised use is for games – so why are downloadables like demos, indie titles and XBLA buried at the end of a menu?

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muotechguy

I feel your pain, by they have usage stats. And those stats show that the majority of time spent on Xbox is now watching media – mostly Netflix. In fact, 20% of the ENTIRE internet usage in north America is spent watching Netflix on the Xbox 360. (http://www.worldtvpc.com/blog/netflix-announce-internet-dominance/).

I don’t think anyone uses Zune though, and I completely agree that shifting the device towards media with gaming as a secondary function is incredibly frustrating. But thats how it is. Notice how they aren’t attending gamescon or tokyo game show this year, because frankly they don’t have a lot in the way of gaming to show off. The biggest announcement at e3 were for sporting channels.

If I’m completely honest, 95% of my Xbox usage is now watching Netflix, I am ashamed to say.

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Justin Pot

I’d like to cut through the crap and get to the real issue here: you’re using that meme wrong, James.

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muotechguy

It was the only picture of a crying little girl I could think of without being flagged for dodgy web searches!

Please o mighty Justin of the Canadias, suggest a better caption for it ~

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Justin Pot

Using this image correctly depends on self-deprecation, which you’re incapable of because you think you’re awesome. Assuming you weren’t, though, these could work:

“An OS I Use Is Changing Slightly”
“Massive Corporations Don’t View Me As A Prioirty”
“Microsoft Doesn’t Make Decisions Based On Me”

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Leon Stafford

I’ve been running a version of Lubuntu on a new SSD-driven, but otherwise budget desktop machine and am almost feeling as productive as when I was on a Mac (clean UI software still a bit lacking, but nothing I haven’t found alternatives for).

I’m turned on by the thought of running some completely in-RAM Linux distros and suggest you look at various turnkey Linux solutions out there for your server replacement. Pre-configured application servers which can be run in VMs or launched in the cloud with a couple of clicks are also something very sexy (just turned on and using in production instances of Redmine and Gitorious which saved me oodles of time and more cost-efficient than going Github for private repos).

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Ben Fesenmeyer

Your post is similar my feelings about Microsoft’s pricing practices.

The home and small business user created Microsoft’s power in the PC market place by the shear number of computers and software purchases. Thousands of users created special programs others could use with out knowing the special functions inside the programs. PC users were able to stand up to abuses of big banks, insurance companies, and the IRS who intimidated them before the PC. Big business was non existent in this market, until micro processors proved that workers could be more productive with PCs. Distributed computing proved to be much more powerful and cost effective than centralized computing.

Microsoft controlled the operating systems market by putting hardware manufactures that bought from others OS creators on a ‘slow if ever’ delivery cycle. Bill Gates bought out many of the most productive software creators that were better and more cost effective than Microsoft programs. With this monopoly Microsoft is driving loyal home PC customers into poverty if they continue to buy Microsoft, or out of the PC market if they can not afford the exorbitant increases in cost. Big businesses can write off these high prices, but the home users and many small businesses can not. .

It a shame that success blinds Bill Gates to the early years when he was a hero of the PC users for helping to bring price of computing to affordability, and fighting the arrogance of IBM in the information and scientific markets.

I wonder why Bill Gates has joined big business in outsourcing high tech to countries that pay little more than slave wages to the workers. Could big business be trying to force America workers back to wages and life style of the 1800′s?

If US is ever faced with a war the scope of WWII, can we win with the outsourcing of manufacturing and high tech to countries that are potential enemies.

Ben Fesenmeyer

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Deepak Kapoor

OH MY..

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Vern Hoffman

It’s all about the bucks.

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Shawn Ashree Baba

Despite this, Windows 8 looks promising.

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Gian Singh

windows 8 looks like *** and windows 7 is better than vista but no where near perfect.

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Dr. Z B

Your Meme is bad, and you should feel bad.

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Cebow

I agree it is sad to see the end of media center and the home server they both have a very good place and are good products. I have a Windows Media Center PC that is acting as cable box with a Ceton Infinitv 4 card. It works great and the media center is the heart of the system, and to think it is the last Windows computer is my house! Hopefully there will be other options available and i will transition to one of them in the future.

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Drew

It just seems like another sad story about a software company going down the tubes, trying to squeeze another penny out of everyone they can…

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Tom Sobieski

No offense, but methinks thou doth protest a bit much.
You make valid points, but, even though ALMOST ever ‘puter in my house is running some Linux distro, that is “ALMOST” I have 2 that have Win7, and I’m looking forward to Win8, especially on the full version of a Surface tab.
It has always been “fashionable” to bash MS and everything they do.
Grow up. If it wasn’t for MS, I wouldn’t have 6 machines in my house running Lubuntu, Ubunto, Chrome OS, Android 2.3 and 4.0, and yes Windows.

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Mani Ahmed

a very very impressive and thought up article …. i am not much fan of a media center or have many computers attached, we basically use 3,4 independent machines running with XP and mac panther .. connected though a wifi router and thats about it. The television are still cable tv rather then smart tv’s and telephones are either mobile (without 3G/4G) or landlines … however i see that in a few years when we have all the gizmos here in Pakistan then we might not even know what we have missed !

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automan1

Left Micro years ago. Been using Linux as main desktop for that time though I do dual-boot with Win 7. Might use Win7 once a week.

Linux has several media flavors and server bases galore. Give it a try.

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Russ Dahl II

What happened to “The Consumer is always right.”

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Alan Craig

If what you have is working great and you really like it, why would you not just stick with what you have right now? And then in like Ten years when it actually is not practical to keep it anymore, see what is available at that point…everything may have changed considerably by then…I understand Microsoft’s current offerings do not fit your needs, likewise here, but later they may, or possibly the Linux community will have utterly surpassed them. Obviously it is an opinion piece but, it seems like you’re making a definite decision based soley on their next offering which may not be relevant by the time the decision actually needs to be made, I’m not necessarily saying it’s wrong, but perhaps a bit premature.

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Ralph Dickerson

I’ve read through most of the comments and have concluded, that although I’m a nerd, I’m not a whiney nerd. Microsoft is a business, period. They are philanthropic and most of its users are happy with their products. Unlike Apple, Microsoft provides most of us with affordable, and highly functional products. While they are profitable, they haven’t proven to be greedy, at least when compared to Apple. Have they made mistakes? Of course they have, just ask my Zune. However, I’ll continue to enjoy my Zune pass as long as it exists. All of this whining about greed has no merit. We’re discussing greed while Bill Gates is traveling the world trying to deal with issues like education and poverty. Should he? Of course!!! Does he have to? I don’t think so. He can easily sit back and enjoy the fruit of his labor, but chooses not to. Meanwhile, listening to a presidential candidate praise Steve Jobs for building Apple by himself is enough to make me sick. Saying Steve Jobs built Apple is like saying Pharoh built the Pyramids alone. Stupid comments made by a stupid person. Associate Steve Jobs with greed, not Bill Gates. Microsoft’s offerings to people who cannot afford to pay full market prices for their products do exist. The Ultimate Steal and the Home Use programs allowed me to purchase MS Office 2010 for $10.00. The same deal is available to veterans as well. Should they offer everything they sell so cheaply? (See Above) They are a business!!! Will everyone be happy when they announce a change? No, because some people just whine so they can share information that is useless to the masses to feel smart. Microsoft Rules!!

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MerVzter Balacuit

its sad to say, BUSINESS AS USUAL

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ivan1232

Too bad I’m stuck at windows :(

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himagain

THIS beautifully summarises why all humans should stop supporting fakers like Microsoft and Apple.
Get over to the latest Ubuntu Linux – it is dead easy for Windoze and bad-Apple corers to pick up and make the world safer for me!

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Jamie

I personally stopped using Microsoft for more than testing websites about 12 years ago. Mac all the way for me. As for a media centre, I am typing on one right now. It is a Mac Mini, not the current model, but still works exceptionally well, it handles all my TV viewing (via an eye TV DTT USB stick) and I have a very large harddrive connected with all my movies, tv shows, music and pictures on the drive to which I connect to quite happily with PLEX media centre, which by the way is free. If I wanted to setup a central server environment, given the ease of use of Apple’s tools – I can. I don’t pay very much for a complete operating system upgrade and I still run Snow Leopard on this, because there is no need to run anything more advanced. 10.8 (aka Mountain Lion) will be released very shortly – already Apple are way ahead of Microsoft in the tech game. I really hate the interface on Windows 7 – it just gets in the way of actually doing anything useful with a computer. Not to mention, I surf the web, play games, etc on the media centre hooked up to a 55″ LCD TV. The whole sound is handled by my 5.1 Surround Dolby Pro Logic Receiver and it sounds amazing. I can watch my DVD’s and anything on the Media Centre, plus if I want to upgrade, I could buy a Blu-Ray drive and watch Blu-Ray movies I hire from the video shop. The media capabilities are endless really, it handles everything I want to do with it, all without running any virus protection. That alone slows any PC down to a screaming pile of cheap metal. My two cents.

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James Bruce

Funnily enough, I bought that exact same USB TV dongle thing precisely for it;’s dual compatibility with OSX and Windows. And Plex I completely agree is the most awesome media app ever – I was running that on Windows anyway.

Right now, I’ve got a 5 year old Macbook Pro hooked up in the living room, running plex, pulling media from a hackintosh server in my study. I havent set up PVR yet though, but I’ll check out the software that came with eye TV again I guess. It’s funny how well the MBP is performing actually, and coupled with a remote control (something I never had with diy media center pc), it’s really slick. I love the way the remote just works with every app – VLC, Plex, even to shut down the Mac when finished.

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Black Mage

You’re actually boasting about running no virus protection in this day and age? What material is the bubble you live in made of? Oh yeah, your IP is? You seriously need to wake up and realize that EVERY system has vulnerabilities and can be compromised.

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John Jullies Palma

I only use Windows now because I need to practice Visual Studio for school.

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Harry

OK, so this is about upgrading to a newer version if available. Simple fix – DON’T UPGRADE! If your current version Home Server works and does all you want – leave it alone! If your current living room PC does all you want – leave it alone!!! I’m still happily running Win XP. It does what I want. no need for more expenses just to get something that doesn’t do what I want when I have something that does do what I want!

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James Bruce

Nope. Must. Upgrade.

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Fred Alves

Microsoft does strange things sometimes..

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Donald Biddix

I think online accounts such as facebook should stop ! period

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Andrei Bogdan

You can’t accuse microsoft of being money-eaters , they’re the least money-hungry in the industry imo , even if apple is more useful in this field of work and not only , microsoft is still no.1 in operating systems .

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rolex

I’m not a gamer, and I really don’t want to invest in an Xbox. I watch Netflix through my granddaughters XBox, but she’s moving next month and will probably take it with her. I use Media Center and I love the ease of it. I might be force to buy an XBox, but I won’t be happy about it. I just might do Linux too.

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muotechguy

If all you need is Netflix, Xbox is perhaps overkill. Have you considered $99 AppleTV or Roku / Boxee type device?

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Charlie Player

problems and problems and heaps of problems…

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Ashwin Divakaran

I guess linux will be shipped with brand new PCs in the near future

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Jonthan Wint

Well I am not upgrading or would that be downgrading?? So many fair trade laws Ignored so whats a few dozen more?

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Edgar Meixueiro

I have two computers at home, one with ubuntu and the other with windows. I love to use ubuntu, but many times I have to go back to windows. We will never get rid of it. Windows may not be good, but it is everywhere.

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Orion

I have to disagree with you on the media center point. I was also disappointed about the seeming lack of support for windows media center in Windows 8. Then I read a blog that talked about creating “metro short cuts” to the different Media Center tiles like live TV, recorded TV, movies, ect. The functionality is there, and all that is needed is the creation of these “apps.” Then you can use the groups in metro and label one “Movies” and include the netflix app, movies, movie guide, Xbox Movies, Vudu. Then a group labeled TV include the hulu app (that will surely surface) any other TV apps that you like from the windows store and all your media center TV “apps.” Metro will provide an experience like what we now have on the Xbox, but it will actually be customizable and not full of advertisements. Finally through metro we will have a media center that will be supported by MS, but also will have access to the kinds of quality apps that Windows Media Center has always been missing. I don’t know if this was the intention of MS in regards to Media Center or if it’s just an accidental success, but I’m very excited for Windows 8!

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James Bruce

You’re painting a nice picture, but I’m not buying it. Do you have a link to that blog you mentioned perhaps?

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chili

ANOTHER REASON TO LEAVE M$ AND RUN UBUNTU they are bailing on the hardcore gamer market too! Users of Steam and hi-end network gaming will have no reason to upgrade to Windows 8. M$ has no plan to continue support of the desktop so these users have no choice but to look for a different solution. Combine that with how much Windows 8 sucks and the fact that Valve is about to release a Steam client for Linux and you’ve got a pretty interesting situation. The high end PC user looking for games and/or a media server in 2012 should be looking at Ubuntu. You can run Steam via PlayOnLinux/Wine or dual boot until they release a native client and there are a number of really great native game titles already available. The Xbox is officially the only MS tech in my house now outside of a VM dual boot of Windows 7 I keep around just for running Steam.

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Conrad E

Well, I can say that I’m finally in Media Center heaven with my WMC7, XBOX 360 extenders, and Server 2012 back end for file shares (with storage spaces and block level de-dupe!). I have WHS 2011 running on a HyperV VM for backup of my laptop/desktop/HTPC. Now that I have Server 2012 up and running and have fully replaced the functionality (and added to it!) I had with my WHS 2003/WHS 2011 setup, I’m happy.

Of course I’ll evaluate WMC8, when it’s available, but unless it offers at least the same functionality (mainly the extenders), I won’t be upgrading this setup to it.

I am still surprised with the decision to not offer an entry level (WHS level) version of Server 2012. I can only guess that they decided a trim level offering that many features, with that robust of an OS, would make it harder to justify the cost of the fully featured trim levels.

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noone

So let me get this strait, you have a perfectly good WHS2011 working reliably and all. But because they are discontinuing the homeserver line, it will no longer be good enough for you and must be replaced?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a bit pissed off about how they are going about the whole thing myself since I invested a lot of time and money into my home media setup. But if your happy with media center and home server as you claimed you were, then why would you replace them just to spite Microsoft? If you have a HTPC hooked up to the TV then its not like you will be seeing much of the underlying OS anyways. MC will still be MC. WHS will still reliably serve your media….

As a side note, have you considered using windows 8 as your server OS since it has storage spaces? Then you could run a Hyper-V VM of WHS2011 just for backups. You get all the functionality you have now plus storage spaces and who knows what else for only $40… just like your WHS2011 purchase.

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James Bruce

Because I resent using dead technology. And no, I wont be touching Windows 8; that is beyond a joke.

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Jacob

I guess we will really have to wait and see. I was really getting excited about the Ceton ECHO and the possibilities of using that to stream all of the content on my PC including cable through that one device..

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David Strouse

I too have been very happy with the functionality of WHS v1. It not only automatically backs up my Windows PCs it is a blog server and an email server with just a little tweeking. I am concerned the homeserver.com domain will go away when the support for WHS ends. There is no provision that I can see that would let me use a different domain. That feature is available in WHS 2011 but I would have to completely rebuild my server and purchase an add-on to get the same functionality as I have with WHS v1 drive extender.

Has anyone heard if the domain is going away?

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Muo TechGuy

They’ve promised to support devices at a fundamental level for quite some time yet, so I’d imagine you’re safe.

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Rob

Well, it’s nice to read an article with a real thought out opinion. I completely agree with you.
I have been using Playon alot more than Media Center due to the fact that I am always trying to add more Codecs in effort to get movies to play. (Flash) Media Center runs embarrasingly slow and doesn’t seem to take to well to Microsoft’s own firewall properties without some tweaking. I’m thinking this is weird because this is all MS products. I have the Xbox 360 and it’s hell to load up WMC. Sometimes it doesn’t seem to work at all. Frustrating! Not to mention that they want to charge for everything
Now, WMC should be Microsofts focus with a built in Cloud Storage rather than adding more SVR features to the Xbox 720.

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Herp Derpson

Just don’t upgrade and keep your current set-up. Nobody is forcing you to upgrade. If what you have works why change it?

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Dee

Why is the removal of support for Home Server and probably a PC based Media Server a problem? Because the two together provided a complete solution with some of the best Windows integration available in the market today.

Granted their are probably better DVR, media players, backup, streaming and remote access solutions in the market but I have a finite amount of time available to support my home network and peripherals, using one suppliers solutions makes it easier and less time consuming.

Windows 8 and an Xbox 720 may provide similar functionality to WhS and Media Centre eventually but at what cost? Mine is a home network, not a business and Microsoft are in danger of pricing themselves out of a market by removing these low cost solutions.

Maybe time to checkout the alternatives as it looks like MS do not have a consolidated solution today or in the near future at a reasonable ‘home level’ cost.

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Charles Angerstein

The problem with switching from Microsoft is everyone else is just as bad, just in different ways mostly. I’ve just gone through exactly what you’re describing but in the end, at least for now, have opted to stay with Windows. You see, I was with Apple as they dumped OS9 in favor of OSX. It had no features and felt like I had taken a step back to 7.5. Apple was aggressively negative toward their customers, just like Microsoft and their products are all poorly made, over priced ponzi schemes designed to force you to funnel more and more money each year into the dirt bag company. That combined with their flagrant disregard for human rights makes Apple products not an option for me.
Then there’s Linux. I just spent weeks testing Linux distro after Linux distro. It’s unfortunate to have to say but they’re in the same place as the last time I checked. They’re an unpolished product and when held up to the competition they pale in comparison. Again, think Windows XP with less polish or the original OSX. It’s not usable unless your a kid who doesn’t ever put anything important on his computer and doesn’t mind that it constantly gets screwed up and requires large investments of time to fix.
So here I am, still using Microsoft’s products but for how much longer I don’t know because all I’m waiting for is something better than what we’ve got to choose from right now.