I’ve been toying around with both the Windows 7 RC and Mandiva 2009 Spring and I’ve come to one unavoidable conclusion: as long as the OS and applications are stable, my user experience doesn’t change much between different operating systems. Firefox runs on any OS I’m inclined to install on my computer, and that’s the application I spend the vast majority of my time in.
I miss comix on Windows (comical just isn’t as good), and I really miss the program repositories and updates I get in any decent Linux distro, but otherwise Windows 7 is pretty good. I like the Windows 7 dock a lot better than even the OSX dock, and I’m already wishing Linux had an equivalent. Windows 7 is also notably snappier than Vista, and as with all modern Windows versions, the video drivers put the Linux video drivers to shame. The OS is also rock solid; I never needed to restart as a result of a bug. All things considered, this is probably the best operating system Microsoft has put out since Windows 2000.
I also liked Mandriva 2009 Spring a lot. I installed it because I wanted to try out a more recent build of KDE 4 on an OS that was designed for it. I think KDE 4 is finally ready for prime time. They still need to fix the clock so you can change the default settings from military time to am/pm time with a right click menu (it shocks me that they haven’t done this yet), but it’s a lot more stable than it used to be, and I get fewer graphical bugs than I did before (though I’ve also started using a different video card, so that might be part of it too). Madriva itself seems to be a nice OS. Overall the experience didn’t seem as stable to me as Ubuntu, but that could just be that I’m no longer accustom to the quirks of the Red Hat derived branch of Linux distros the way I used to be. I recall rebooting more than I would with Ubuntu (and certainly more than I did with Windows 7), but I honestly can’t recall any one reason that occurred more than once.
Frankly, if it weren’t for the fact that Windows has a giant “infect me” sign painted on it’s butt, I think Windows 7 would be a phenomenal OS (generally better than Mandriva, at least). I could get over the lack of program repositories and an inferior comic book reader without much trouble. The problem is that without trusted repositories, it’s hard to trust the programs you’re forced to surf the web to get knowing that you do have that “infect me” sign painted all over your OS. It’s ironic that the OS that most needs a trusted program repository built into the OS is one of the few that doesn’t have one.