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A Linux User's Perspective Of Microsoft Windows 8

Phoronix

Published on 28 October 2012 07:36 PM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Phoronix
109 Comments

For those Microsoft Windows users that also use Linux and are thinking about upgrading to Windows 8, here's the perspective of one Linux user who tried out Microsoft Windows 8.

We've known already for months that Valve's Gabe Newell hates Windows 8 but here's the perspective of Microsoft's Windows 8 from a Phoronix reader that wrote in a message about his experience of the new operating system:
I tried Windows 8 Pro on both my desktop and laptop. I used the "upgrade" method. On my desktop, not only did it fail to upgrade, but the installer was unable to roll back the upgrade, leaving me with an unbootable system with an OS version that I'm going to call "Windows 7.5" -- some broken mix of Win7 and Win8.

After attempting several methods of manual repair (bcdboot, etc), I gave up. I booted a Live CD, saved some precious data I couldn't afford to lose, then installed clean. It worked. So I think I'm going to relegate my desktop to playing games; the UI of Windows 8 just doesn't sit well with me as far as productivity. I might even be able to remove Windows 8 from it entirely if Valve's push for Linux gaming is fruitful.

Also, I was *livid* when Microsoft's highly-touted software failed and didn't provide any meaningful error messages and left my system unbootable. I mean, this is the kind of shit that Lennart Poettering pulls off in Fedora Rawhide when he breaks systemd or dracut. This isn't something I expect out of a multi-billion-dollar conglomerate pushing out production software on millions of people.

Next, on my ThinkPad T530, I tried upgrading Windows 7 to Windows 8 Pro. The upgrade failed the first time, but the rollback to Windows 7 was perfect -- I had upgraded from Windows 7 to... Windows 7. This Microsoft software is just unbelievably magical. You can't make this up.

I tried the upgrade again for kicks, and it worked the second time. But when I went to boot up my computer anew this morning, it froze at the login screen with an endless looping "circle of beads" thing for about 2 hours. After that, I decided I'd had enough, and bulldozed the second Windows partition in as many days. I proceeded to install Ubuntu 12.10, and, to my surprise, a much-improved Bumblebee, giving me 99.9% of what I want in terms of Optimus support (Ivy Bridge graphics for desktop applications, and wrapping 3d-intensive apps in `optirun` for running them on the Nvidia GPU, with automatic shutting off of the Nvidia GPU when no apps are running).

I couldn't be happier. All the apps I need to be both productive and entertained are available on Ubuntu; more apps are available right now on Ubuntu than I ever remember there being in the past. By far.

It only took me about 2 hours configuring things, including installing and setting up Bumblebee. Everything just works, and for once, I'm fairly happy with Unity's out of the box experience. So either I'm turning into a mainstream user, or Ubuntu *just works*, and I'm punch drunk on that fact after facing the catastrophe that was Windows 8.

Haven't been a true believer in Ubuntu's viability until today. I've always been a Fedora snob. But I've had a bit of an awakening that, yes, I *can* run Ubuntu as my main desktop and get everything I want on a single OS with no virtualization. The Steam beta will only make it that much sweeter.
For those who have tried out Microsoft Windows 8, be sure to share your experiences within the Phoronix Forums. Benchmarks of Windows 8 against various Linux distributions are forthcoming.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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