Netbooks: Windows 7 versus Linux

I’ve been playing with Linux since 1994, but it always disappoints me in use, even though I love the concept of Linux.  Recently, I thought Linux for the desktop was going to make it on netbooks.  My Toshiba netbook came with XP, and it was okay.  Because I didn’t depend on my netbook I felt like experimenting, and tried several netbook specific versions of Linux, including Ubuntu Netbook Remix, Jolicloud and Moblin.

They were cool, especially Jolicloud which tries to control it’s environment like the iPhone/iPad with HTML5 apps, but ultimately I discovered that Windows 7 was by far the best netbook OS for me.  I’m sure the Linux people will have technical reasons to argue that I’m wrong, but for me the aesthetics of how Windows 7 looked on the small screen, it’s speed of booting up, running and shutting down, and it’s battery life just seemed overwhelmingly obvious.  It’s a shame that XP still comes on some netbooks.

However, I’d gladly trade my Toshiba netbook for an iPad.  The small size of the netbook makes it useful for on-the-go computing, but ultimately, various needs will determine whether or not a user wants a netbook or tablet.  If I was a student taking a computer to class, I’d probably want a netbook, but I’m not a student.  Nor a traveling salesman.  I now wished I hadn’t bought a netbook because I think a iPad would better suit my portable at home needs.  And I might even be wrong about that too. I might be better served by a smartphone, like an iPhone or Android.

I’ve read that Windows 7 is too big and power hungry to run on tablet computers and compete with the iPad, and that’s a shame.  I’m very happy with Windows 7.  If I could afford to own a Mac OS machine it might compete, but I’m so happy with Windows 7 that I’m not sure I’d switch if the prices came down on Macs.  Having Windows 7 on my desktop, HTPC and netbook works so well it makes me not want more.  I’m OS satisfied with Windows 7.

After having Jolicloud and Windows 7 on the same machine for awhile, I realized that Windows 7 has won the OS war for me.  I removed Jolicloud, and I gave my second desktop I kept for Ubuntu away.  I now just have three machines: desktop, HTPC, netbook.  All run Windows 7 and they all talk to each other easily.

JWH – 5/14/10

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