Until two years ago I had only been using Windows if absolutely forced to. In fact I hadn’t really owned a DOS/Windows based desktop computer before.
My first own computer was a Commodore Amiga 2000, which I bought early 1987 for almost $ 6,000 (corrected for inflation). Admitted, that was with an optional second floppy drive, and a color monitor; my successful bargaining had even made the salesman throw in Lattice C Compiler. Nevertheless, it was a fortune to me.
Some years later, after having finished my Computer and Systems Science studies, I bought a Bridgeboard expansion card, with a 286 CPU running MS/DOS. I was using it for telecommuting (an extremely exotic thing at that time, kids!) to a mainframe using a 3270 emulator and an analog 9600 bps modem. And I learned some DOS.
As time passed, the Amiga was marginalized, so I sold my A 2000 and built my own PC. But I refused to buy Windows. Instead I placed my bet on IBM OS/2. A wonderful thing, especially with the GUI extension Object Desktop. OS/2 could run (most) Windows programs, so I got by without a Windows computer yet some more years…
My first laptop was a Siemens Nixdorf Scenic Mobile 800, an exquisite piece of German engineering. The first thing I did was to throw out Windows NT and replace it with Red Hat Linux. And I installed VMware (pretty new and sexy stuff then!) and run Windows there.
( almost ten years went… )
Late an evening, or early a morning, I sat by my n:th linux desktop and visited (not “played”!) Second Life, which places extreme demands on the graphics adapter. Too extreme, it turned out. Because suddenly the screen turned black, and the computer crashed. The buggy X drivers in SUSE Linux had caused my expensive Radeon adapter to fry. This was the tipping point to me, together with a number of signs hinting at a slow death for linux as a desktop operative.
A more conformist developer had taken the OS X path. But then again, I am what I am… So I built yet-another-pc and bought a Technet Windows 7 Ultimate license, well before it was available to the public. This was well over two years ago, which is probably how long time it actually takes to really get accustomed to a new part of your brain.
Finally the recommendation I promised:
One thing I immediately missed in Windows was virtual desktops. After having tried many free products, all more or less crappy, I finally decided to pay 25 € for Dexpot. It has everything I need, and much more. Dexpot has been extremely stable, and updates come regularly. You’ll find some demo videos here.