I intended to blog about the $800 TDV Vision Tablet PC reported by The Register and wonder outloud how it might be as a cheap Linux slate device. But, then it occured to me. Unless two fell from the sky free of charge, I would keep Windows XP on the box because most of my favorite office/home tools (vs. developer tools) run on the Windows XP side of my world. I just happen to have a preference for JASC PaintShop Pro, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Visio, and the still-in-beta Microsoft OneNote. I have OpenOffice 1.1RC, GIMP, and Dia installed too. But, I just find the commercial products suit me better for those office tasks.
Now, on the other hand, most of my development work takes place on GNU/Linux based boxes. I’ve installed the usual suspects like Apache, PHP, and Zope on box Windows 2000/2003 Servers as well as Linux and just find those kinds of dev tools are easier to install and manage under Linux. But, my desktop and notebook PCs all run some flavor of Microsoft Windows.
At first I thought I shouldn’ admit this :-). But, one of the things that struck me at OSCON 2002 (wasn’t able to attend this year…boo!) was the number of developers sitting in the hallways, speaker room, and meeting rooms running Mac OS X or Windows 2000 or XP with the serious developers seeming to lean toward Mac OS X.
This past May my software development partner (Jon Lim) participated in the Victoria Plone Sprint. He found the heterogenous mix of OSes at this Python/Zope/Plone event interesting too.
Perhaps, then, the most important factor is not which desktop/notebook OS you choose to use. Instead, the most important factor is: How rich is your networked server applications environment? I use OneNote heavily when I’m thinking through a writing project or jotting down development or configuration ideas and tests. However, I also use Zope with ZWiki to throw notes on my server that can be retrieved from anywhere. In my daily dev work, I just Putty or VNC over to my Linux box to get at my tools I need there. But, since I also spend a lot of time trying to communicate what I’m doing, I also spend a lot of the day using PowerPoint, Visio, Word, and OneNote. With enough bandwidth and wired/wireless connectivity, it is easier for me to live in a dual-OS environment than to select just one. I am, after all, just a VNC connection away from GNOME or KDE on a Windows XP desktop.
Are you afraid to admit to your Open Source friends that you prefer Windows on your notebook or desktop PC? :-)