Today @warnerchad asked me:

I’m still thinking about moving to Linux. How often do you need to jump into Windows for something, and why?

The answer is WAY more than 140 characters, and I thought it might interest someone else, so here we are.

I have 2 use cases for Windows. One is very simple, so I’ll get it out of the way. I have one dedicated partition for Windows and I do one thing on it, and one thing only: games. It’s that simple, there is no other purpose for it.

The second use case is a VirtualBox VM with Win7 in it. I have Photoshop on it, and use it about once every 2 months. I also have IE9 and Safari on it. I use it primarily for browser testing, and fire it up a couple times a week.

I also use it for printing stuff. My printer has Linux drivers, but they are ONLY 32 bit, so I can’t print in Linux. Windows can see my Linux home dir though, so I can print anything in there.

I also use it to manage music on my iOS devices. It annoys me to no end that Apple hasn’t figured out how to do this without requiring desktop software, but there we are.

All in all I boot to windows about once a week. Sometimes I skip a week. There just isn’t much there that I really need.

3 thoughts on “A Linux user’s Windows use

  1. Thanks for the custom-written response, Topher. A few years ago, I was able to do most of what I needed in Linux (my favorite distros were Ubuntu and openSUSE), but there were a few things that didn’t work as easily as Windows, or didn’t work at all. I went back to Windows because I wanted to use my computer to do other things, not to tinker with the OS.

    It looks like others have successfully used my printer in Linux, but it takes some work. It looks like my Sansa Clip Zip audio player will work with Linux, as will my Logitech C270 webcam. I’ll have to test other peripherals.

    I don’t play PC game anymore, so that’s a non-issue for me. However, my biggest concern is other proprietary software. For example, the OverDrive media software I use to download audiobooks from the library isn’t Linux-compatible. Unfortunately, I’ll probably stumble across more small annoyances like this.

    It looks like Linux Mint is currently the most popular, and would be the simplest way for me to re-enter the Linux world. I think I’ll just have to try it to see what difficulties I face.

  2. jtr: it’s a Canon Pixma MP500. My old lexmark didn’t work with 32bit drivers either though.

    Chad: I’ve gotten books from OverDrive in Linux without any problem, I just click to download.

    Check out Manjaro Linux. It’s Arch with a great installer and the XCFE desktop. Then you’ll have a rolling release, which is magnificent.

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