[UPDATE: I just want to make something clear from the start. I did not work at Microsoft! This is just a goodbye to Microsoft for my personal computing and private programming. I still use Microsoft products at work when I have to! Just wanted to get that out of the way because the headline could suggest something else.]
The first time I touched Windows was back in the day with Windows 95. I was pretty much a greenhorn regarding PC and Operating Systems. It certainly was not the first time I touched a computer. In fact the first computer I experienced was my fathers Amiga 500. After his passing money was very tight so I was stuck with the Amiga until I was 12 or 14 years old. After Windows 95 I then quickly moved to 98, ME, 2000, XP, 7 and now 8\8.1. And I loved the journey. You see back in the day when I started out I was mainly interested in gaming and Windows at that time had this huge gaming library. From Unreal Tournament to Half-Life to Quake 3 Arena. I loved gaming on PC and I loved that all these games where so accessible. The modding scene was fantastic and I had a lot of fun experimenting. I learned programming on a Windows machine and a whole new world opened up for me. My understanding grew and all this time I loved what Microsoft did for the PC market. Coming from Europe I never really got into Apple PCs. The only other operating systems I knew back then where some Linux variants but I was never really interested in them because all I cared for was running on my beloved Windows Machine. Even my family could use the PC without any problems. Writing letters, looking at family pictures or sending out the occasional email. Microsoft dominated my World. Up until this day. Because today is the day I will say goodbye Microsoft and goodbye Windows! You will forever have a special place in my heart!
Now before I tell you how my future computing is going to look like let me explain how I came to the conclusion that it is time to say goodbye. And don’t worry this is not going to be rant against Windows 8 and how bad the new Metro look really is because quite frankly I liked the idea of a new way of computing. It is more or less because I don’t like the direction Microsoft is going as a whole company. Like I said before I have been a long time follower but the path Microsoft is taking is not one I want to follow. And considering all the other options that are out there now is the best time to stop following them. To me it seems Microsoft does not know what direction they want to go. And frankly if they don’t why should I invest my time and energy in their products knowing that they could let them fail or drop support any day now. Because that seems to happen a lot lately. Silverlight’s future does not look so good. WPF simply gets replaced by WinRT. WinRT goes from fixed sized fullscreen layout to a multi-size desktop layout. .NET is the de-facto runtime for modern Windows applications but now gets a weird WinRT layer on top. Which is not quite COM and not quite .NET. C++ is considered a first class citizen yet a lot of compiler features are still missing and every update is tied to a new version of Visual Studio. Which seems to get clunkier with every release. DirectX is now tied in with the Windows SDK which in itself does not know what platform it wants to support a hundred percent. And if you want to utilize all the new features you basically have to ask the user to upgrade their Windows version because the SDK updates are tied to the OS version. Mayor Windows updates are set to come out quicker but of course with a price tag involved. Windows Phone still seems like a complete disconnected experience as does the XBOX One which changed its direction more then once in just 6 months and frankly I have no idea what exactly the XBOX is trying to be any more. This are just few of the things that spring to my mind right now but already this list is pretty big and concerning. Microsoft is playing a game I don’t understand and they seem to run around like chickens, changing their minds on products, services and their direction on a daily basis. While I admire that they are able to push drastic changes at a very fast pace it became an unstable and uncertain environment to work with. Especially considering a lot of the things they do are quite expensive for the customer. Now I don’t have first hand experience with Apple products but from the outside they seem like a stable Company with a clear direction in mind. So does Google. At least now. Google had a rocky start with all their beta services that got shut down after less than a year and for a long time they seemed like they did not know where they want to be in the next couple of years. Like Microsoft now! But they got their act together and their direction with Android is phenomenal! A clear direction and a clear vision for the future. Full with facts and Plans not just empty phrases that they love their customers. Which brings me to my next point. How my computing will look in the future.
Right now I own an Google Nexus 4 Phone which I intend to upgrade to whatever comes next at the end of this year. I have one of the first Android Wear Smartwatches and I love how it works together with my phone. Most of my daily computing is done on Android on my phone. But of course that is not enough. I need a platform for programming and gaming and as much as I love the fact that most games are now also on MAC I sadly have not the money right now to buy an Apple PC. So I have to go with Linux. Specifically Ubuntu. I choose Ubuntu because in my eyes it seems the most user friendly and most of the things just work out of the box without installing special packages through the Terminal. This was important for me because it is the first time I am using a Linux distribution. I wanted the transition to be as smooth as possible. And so far I really like Ubuntu. There are some things I miss from the Microsoft side and I am not going to deny that. For example easy out of the Box Netflix streaming but the exciting thing is Linux is open and one can find anything for everything! And sure I spent a lot of time on getting some weird things to work and I find myself more in the Terminal then I personally like but working these past days with Ubuntu lit up a flame inside me. A fire I thought was long forgotten. And that is the feeling that computing is open and fun again. I have a sense of nostalgia like in the modding days of video games. But even without this feeling I can see that Ubuntu or Linux in general has a bright future in front of them. Especially in gaming with Valve on board. I will write a bit more about my Ubuntu experience and what tools I use for programming and so forth but this is not the right article to do that. I just wanted to give you a general overview how my computing looks like today. And now let me give you an overview how I want it to look like in a few years.
To me right now it is pretty clear that most of my computing time will be on the Phone and the Smartwatch. While at home I want to have a dedicated Linux machine for all my basic needs like programming, gaming and surfing. At the living room I want to have more or less a streaming set-up with chromecast and a small steambox. And of course 2 dedicated gaming consoles (WiiU and PS4). The dedicated and very powerful main PC will be basically running the whole time and all the other devices I have in the house (lets say Tablet, TV or even a second chrome OS PC for simple surfing) will also act as streaming receivers for the said dedicated machine. Basically like a Streaming Server. This is my ultimate setup I want to have in one year from now on. And the way its currently going Microsoft and Windows won’t take part in it. Lets say in a few years Microsoft gets their act together and show a clear direction for their future. A clear vision with certain goals in mind. Then I could see myself including Microsoft products in my daily computing again but for now I have to say: Goodbye Microsoft! We had a hell of a time. And maybe we will see each other again my friend!
20 July 2014