What is your quest? My quest is to find the OS, the one OS to rule them all. Over the past twenty years I have been an avid Mac and PC user running both much of the time. About eight years ago I started using the PC most of the time, but the Mac was still nearby, on the next table, running Windows XP as my desktop. When Vista came out, I tried it and while I loved the new “eye-candy”, it had some idiosyncrasies. Mostly it seemed keen on making me wait. ; “Not Responding” seemed to be its mantra. So I began my quest for something better.

This was about the time when Windows Server 2008 was releasing so I did some research and with great expectation installed it as my workstation. Everything I read said it was everything Vista should have been but it was “stable”. It installed well and things seemed promising. After a few weeks I began to get pauses again. So much so, that I thought it must be a hardware problem. I created a diagnostic CD and ran a “level-1” diagnostic for a day – no problems were found! This was ridiculous. Now I have to tell you that this is my work computer. At home I had installed Windows XP x64 at about the same time I abandoned Vista and that has been going along just fine. Everything seems to be working well at home. So what should I do?, I thought. Being of the opinion that the “grass is always greener” and the utopian view that some other technology will be just great, I decided to take the plunge and install Linux on my work computer, Ubuntu 8 to be precise. So how did that work out for me? It’s been two weeks and it seems ok, it seems stable. Only a couple of times did it lose its mind, but at least it came back. I’m still waiting for the dust to settle, but I think this might just be a workable OS on my work computer. But — since we use Exchange as our corporate email server and I have been using Outlook Web Access with Firefox 3. While it is usable it is nowhere near as good as Outlook itself. I have a love hate relationship with Outlook; I love the functionality but I hate its sluggishness, talk about “Not Responding”. But its utility trumps its bad attitude. I did try Evolution and it is surprisingly good but not good enough. OWA is not great in Firefox, but it is more reliable than Evolution. I tried to use OpenOffice but it doesn’t work as well as Office 2003 or Office 2007. So I got WINE working and installed Office 2003 under Ubuntu.

I find that now I am doing less with my computer (in some ways because I am less familiar with how to do things in Ubuntu) and doing less seems to directly contribute to greater reliability. But since I am very used to Microsoft applications and can be very productive with them, I’m considering going back to Windows. Heck, Windows works pretty well, well except for Vista — so maybe I will switch to Windows XP x64 here at work. What do you think? Give me your advice, comments are welcome.

Also published on Medium.