You may recall my recent blog post about Windows 7 being surprisingly usable.
Well, I have to recant here.
I used Windows 7 for about a week and half. While it *worked*, it was a pleasure to use. But after three BSODs in just that week and half, I have abandoned it. I'm now running Ubuntu. (Why not OpenSolaris? Because I need the ability to host VMware and Skype, and I can't do that natively on OpenSolaris -- yet.)
Sure, I could have called up support -- but Microsoft support is provided by my computer manufacturer, and I didn't feel like spending 3 hours on the phone dealing with tech support while they tried to triage my problem. In the end, it was simply faster and easier for me to reinstall with Linux, even allowing for the time it took to download the media.
Sure, the problem might have been my virtualization software, or maybe it was a shoddy audio driver, or maybe it was brokenness in my graphics driver, or maybe it was the 3rd party antivirus software (which begs the question-- why doesn't Microsoft ship with builtin malware protection -- you'd think given all the heat that they've taken over this that they would have figured out that they *need* a solution here that doesn't involve 3rd parties...)
The "automatic solution finder" that Windows 7 ships was completely unhelpful, it didn't find any links. Google was not much help either... with everything to buggy hardware, drivers, and even overtemp problems being cited as root causes.
I'm sure that tech support would have had me running around in circles trying to solve the IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL blue screen. (I'm guessing, from my kernel expertise, that this is probably an assertion fault somewhere that an IRQ level is set unexpectedly high or low -- exactly the kind of problem I know how to fix in Solaris.) Probably plugging and unplugging hardware, unloading and reinstalling drivers and maybe other software, and generally burning an unmentionable amount of my precious time. Especially given that the hardware tech support I'd have been routed to was unlikely to have any real software clue (which is where I think this problem was most likely located.)
Again, faster and simpler to just dump the busted OS, and load something else.
And, with Linux (or any other FOSS), I have at least a fighting chance of trying to debug the problem myself. Sure, my kernel-fu is substantially higher than average joe home user, so my leanings are more towards something I can troubleshoot myself. But, I will say this, so far I've not had a panic ("oops" in Linux parlance) yet in the past four days that I've been running Ubuntu LTS 10.04 (even though I'm running the "not recommended for general desktop use" 64-bit edition.)
Microsoft, if you see this post, I hope you'll learn something from this.