Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Is Windows ready for the desktop?

I know that this title has been used as a joke before, but I'm serious: is Windows ready to use as a stable, secure platform for me?

Answer: as ready as Linux is for you.

System: Windows XP SP2 on XP2100+ with 512MB RAM.

Stability: Windows XP is a stable platform on which to run applications.

Security: OK, OK, SP2 makes an effort, but isn't as secure as anyone would really like, but a great way to improve security is not to run MicroSoft applications. Use Windows as a platform to run better applications on.

Great applications that run on Windows and improve security and your life in general:
  • Firefox - a superior, standards-compliant web browser. Never use Internet Explorer - it only brings you trouble.
  • Thunderbird - a great e-mail client with built-in Spam-filtering, and guess what, better security. Never use Outlook Express or Outlook - they are worse than Internet Explorer.
Firefox and Thunderbird are the top-tier applications that will make your life better. You must also buy an Anti-Virus program. I can't make any recommendations here.

If you have a copy of Microsoft Office, it is the best office suite for Windows, but you probably don't need it. Get OpenOffice instead and save yourself hundreds of pounds.
  • OpenOffice - more secure, almost 100% compatible with MS Office (honestly - you should try the 1.1.x versions if you've only tried previous versions).
If that's what you use your Windows box for (web, e-mail, docs, spreadsheets, presentations) then using the above applications will save you money and in the end time (as you won't be so readily infected with viruses).

Now ask yourself, why pay for Windows anyway? Take the time to install Linux and get these applications, (or in some cases, better applications!) better security and even better stability out of the box.


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