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You probably want to run

Found at: ymodem.org:70/phlog/2018/operatingsystems.txt

You probably want to run Windows on your computer.

I just mean, statistically, of all the people I've ever met, and of all the
computers I've ever had to work on, odds are pretty good that you want to run
Windows on whatever device you compute on. Unless you compute on a Mac, but then
you probably still want to run Windows on your computer, especially after a long
day of doing whatever it is that people do on a Mac. 

For people who already have a Windows or a Mac computer set up how they want it,
running the applications they want, they have no reason to switch to something
else. Part of the reason, as far as I can tell, is that comparitively few people
know that you can even put a different operating system on a computer. But a
bigger reason seems to be that a lot of people view a computer as an appliance.
You go to the store, you buy a computer, and it's got some version of Windows on
it, and that's it. It's a complete unit. It's a Windows 10 (at the time of this
writing) computer. Full stop. 

For that kind of person, installing an operating system never enters their mind.
If something breaks, they'll pay someone to 're-do' the computer, which will
sometimes come with a fresh re-installation of the version of Windows that came
with it, because that's what they wanted.

But what about those people that build their own computers? Surely they know
that you can put different operating systems on a computer, right?

Absolutely. Statistically, though, they want to put Windows on their computers
(and a lot of them use a pirated version because if they're willing to throw
down a thousand dollars for new hardware, another hundred bucks on getting a
legally licensed copy of Windows is a bridge too far, but that's another
discussion). They want Windows because a lot of the people who put together
their own computers want to use it to play games, and if you want to play games,
odds are that you want to play Windows games (96% of computers that run Steam
are running Windows according to the Steam Hardware Survey
(https://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey)). So, if that describes you, you
probably want to run Windows.

But those people who put together their own computers to play games are a weird
bunch (trust me) in that they usually have enough spare parts laying around from
the various upgrades they've done that they can probably put together another
computer (or two (or three(!))) if they haven't sold off the parts to help pay
off the credit card bill from the last upgrade. So, they might be tempted to put
a computer together from the spare parts. 

Sometimes they actually do it. And they've heard from That One Friend or read
on That One Site that there's this thing called 'Linux' or something (at least
it's usually Linux because Linux evangelists won't shut up about it). So they
go to YouTube and watch one or two of the thousand 'installing Linux' or 'which
Linux should I put on my computer' videos or find some top 10 Linux
distributions or ask That One Friend which Linux they should install (note: this
is a mistake). 

And they end up installing Ubuntu or Mint and getting lost when they finally get
to a desktop and try to play some Windows game or another and it doesn't work.
If they keep at it, they may eventually discover WINE or one of its derivatives
and fail to get it working. On the off chance that WINE does work, it won't work
well, or it won't work with everything and just isn't suitable for that person's
needs. Also it turns out that since Linux isn't Windows, the person doesn't
really know how to do much, and isn't really interested in learning. Because it
turns out that while the person *thought* they wanted to use Linux, what they
really wanted was to not actually change anything or learn anything new (because
learning is hard work). They wanted to use Linux as long as it was sufficiently
similar to using Windows. And, since it isn't, they end up back on Windows
anyway (bonus: since performance was lousy (because they are using old
components that they rejected because they were too slow to play whatever games
they wanted in the first place), they'll have another reason to write off Linux:
poor performance). 

Note, if we're talking about home users (hint: we are) then, in the example
above, you can substitute one or more of the following for 'games': Outlook,
Office, Photoshop, or Premier. Business users are a whole other tangled mess
that we won't go into here.

But, maybe that's not you, either. Maybe you want to run Windows but don't
because you don't want to pay for it *and* don't want to pirate it.
Congratulations! You're a unicorn (i.e. you don't exist (more accurately (but
less funny) you're a statistical rounding error), sorry).

Let's say, though, for the sake of argument, that you're savvy enough to put
together your own computer or you're willing to pay extra for one that doesn't
come with Windows preinstalled. It doesn't matter the reason, but you prefer
running something on your computer other than Windows (or Mac OS, I guess),
which is another way of saying that you *don't* want to run Windows.
Congratulations! You actually do exist (which I'm sure is a great relief)! And,
even though some of you still want to run Windows (most likely to play some
games). 

But let's assume that you're one of the very few people who won't run Windows
for one reason or another, and you don't have the means or the desire to keep
another computer around with Windows on it so you can get your gaming fix. Then
you're the kind of person that I don't need to tell which Linux distribution you
want to install. You can do your own research and figure it out. In rare
circumstances (i.e. I know you personally), I'll even help you get things set
up how you want them. 

However, if you ask me what Linux you should install because you want help
setting it up so you can play all of the Windows games in your Steam library,
then I'm going to tell you to install Windows. Because you want to run Windows. 

Statistically speaking, that is.

28 Dec 2018


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