My Turn

Slipping Away From Microsoft

Kevin Webb - 2001.07.12

My Turn is Low End Mac's column for reader-submitted articles. It's your turn to share your thoughts on all things Mac (or iPhone, iPod, etc.) and write for the Mac web. Email your submission to Dan Knight .

Although I cannot claim any great machinations on my part, I discovered last night that I am no longer running any machine with a Microsoft product installed. This seems strange when you consider that I have an MCSE (I am in sales and no longer practice), and that computers are a hobby of mine. I am staring at a wall with six machines in an empty upstairs bedroom. All of the screens are staring at me, and none have Redmond's mark.

While many consciously work for this, I have little feeling of disdain for Microsoft. I have used various Windows machines over the years and almost always used Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer. The move away from Microsoft began about two years ago when I fell in love with the new G4 tower. I grabbed one for my birthday and was suddenly running Mac OS again after a few years away.

I absolutely loved (and still love) the machine. It had the best combination of form and function I had seen in years. I began using the machine as my primary system and relegated my PC to games I could not shift to the Mac. The PC began to gather dust and fall into disrepair. I suddenly realized that clean installs of Windows 98 each month were a bit PowerBook G3ridiculous when compared to the rock solid Mac machine. I did continue to use Office 2001 and Internet Explorer 5 on the Macintosh, and I feel both are very good products.

The next phase was the arrival of a PowerBook Pismo (500) into my stable. This machine replaced various Windows laptops from the office and pushed my PC to a deep third on the depth chart. Like a professional quarterback passed his prime, the PC sat on the bench while two Macs handled all of my work and home computing chores. I moved further from Windows while still keeping my foot in the Microsoft door with Office and Explorer.

The final blow to the Microsoft front began with the installation of OS X on both of my Macs. I have fallen in love with the Unix-based OS and find myself working to keep from running Classic mode or OS 9. I began to use the integrated email application to replace Entourage - and Omniweb for Web browsing. Both do a good job and keep me free from running classic apps. The last tie to Microsoft products was the Office suite. I recently moved to AppleWorks and find it to be an excellent package. With the recent update allowing me to coexist with Word and Excel, I have found that I need never open Office.

The final nail in my Microsoft coffin was installation of Suse Linux on my PC. I had no qualms with eliminating Windows from the machine during the Suse installation, and I have had no regrets since then. I configured the machine to allow me to play with Linux without risking my much more important Macs. The interesting thing was that the installation went much more smoothly than my last Windows reinstall.

As I mentioned, I have no animosity toward Microsoft. In fact, I really enjoy the Macintosh applications they produce and may use Office when it's ported to OS X. I have found that for the first time since I began playing with computers, I no longer require any of Microsoft's products to handle my daily operations.

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