Which OS do you like?

This post has almost nothing to do with Chinese, Japanese, or Korean but hey, it’s called “Tae Kim’s Blog” remember? I can write whatever I want, Ha Ha!


I requested and recently finally got a Macbook Pro for my work laptop and so far I’m really liking it! I especially like the fact that I can automatically rotate all my Suzumiya Haruhi wallpapers every hour.

I just wish uTorrent and Notepad++ were available for OS X. I suppose I can just use vim for general text editing. I haven’t used XCode extensively yet but at first glance, it looks like it has a ways to go before it can compete as an IDE.


I tried Ubuntu briefly and it was nice and all but I refuse to use an OS that has such poor multilingual support and ugly Asian fonts. I guess there are not many Linux users who need to use English and another CJK language at the same time. Vote for my “Better Multilingual support and CJK fonts” idea on Ubuntu brainstorm if you’re in the same boat as me.

In any case, until I can just add the languages in a menu, have an input editor that doesn’t drive me insane, and fonts that don’t make my eyes bleed, I’m not switching.


Windows 2000 was my favorite version and I reluctantly switched to XP when my newer computers didn’t have compatible drivers. XP is not glamorous but it certainly does everything I need especially with Google Pinyin. My favorite Windows-only apps include: uTorrent, Notepad++, WinSCP, K-Lite Codec Pack, WinRAR, ImgBurn, and DVD Shrink. I recently bought a Dell desktop with XP while they were still offering the option and so it will be my main OS for many more years.

I haven’t tried Vista yet and have no plans to unless my work requires it. I refuse to use an OS that requires at least 1gb of ram and 40gb of hard disk space on my current systems. I mean you can’t even use more than 2gb of ram with 32-bit Windows!! (And I hear 64-bit is a whole another can of worms.)

Which OS are you currently using and any thought of switching? According to Google Analytics, 86% of you use Windows, 8% Mac, and 5% Linux. Among Windows users, 78% use XP while 19% use Vista.

33 thoughts on “Which OS do you like?

  1. I’ve got Vista (Home premium) on my new laptop and I don’t like it.

    As you said, half of the 2gb of memory are used up by Vista doing basically nothing. Some things are a bit simpler, but a lot are, it seems to me, unnecessarily more complicated, and the whole thing is, at least in my case, visibly slower than Windows XP, even after turning off all the fancy transparent effects and other memory-taxing eye candy. The overall speed is still really good, but I’m pretty certain that it would be even faster with XP (my old desktop had 1gb of mem and a slower processor, and yet I remember the XP on it running a bit faster than this Vista on 2gb).

    I haven’t had the laptop freeze yet, which is one cool thing, but there’s some other iritating stuff which didn’t happen with XP, like Firefox occasionally crashing. And don’t get me started on the “are you sure you want to install…” pop-ups, I’ve turned those things off after 30 minutes of using Vista.

    I really don’t get it, making a new OS that is visibly worse than the previous one. I guess they’ll fix it with the new service pack, but damn, is that any way to make software?

  2. A few tips to enjoy OS X a little more:

    Transmission for all your torrent needs.
    TextMate as your programming editor.
    IntelliJ IDEA for your Java fix, or Eclipse for anything other than Cocoa (for Cocoa you’re stuck with XCode, unfortunately).
    Path Finder for serious file management.

    Some of these applications cost money, but for me, they’re worth every cent. I’m using OS X for a little over 2 years now, and I’m really enjoying it. It’s underlying UNIX nature combined with a nice UI is the perfect combination for a programmer like me.

  3. Linux > OS X > Window$

    ’nuff said.

    Now for the corrections/additional info.
    – utorrent/notepad++ work just fine under osx with darwine and linux with wine (ver 1.0 came out 2 days ago after 15 years of development)
    – Good alternatives to utorrent: deluge(win/lin/osx)/transmission(lin/osx), rtorrent(cli)
    – I don’t usually input asian characters, but when I do I usually use kanjipad and cellwriter (both writing recognition progs). Friends of mine that extensively use asian characters prefer gcin (cross platform), but I have no experience with it.
    – 4gb is the limitation of 32 bit OSs, not 2, although windows has been known to only recognize 3.5gb when running x86.
    – x64 is not that different from x32. I use it all the time and don’t run into any problems. When I find a program that’s x32 only, I can force it to install and it’ll work like a charm (skype for example)

    I’ve wanted to try out osx86 on my laptop for a while now but it keeps crapping out during installation no matter what release I try.

    Thank you for reading my pointless rant.

  4. Should have posted these on the comment above, but oh well… Here are my suggestions for OS X replacements for your favorite Windows apps.

    – uTorrent: Transmission;
    – Notepad++: TextMate;
    – WinSCP: Transmit or Cyberduck;
    – K-Lite Codec Pack: Perian;
    – WinRAR: This one is a bummer. I can’t find a decent archiver on OS X;
    – ImgBurn: I’m using Burn. Some people seems to like Toast;
    – DVD Shrink: HandBrake takes care of video ripping, but I haven’t foud anything like DVD Shrink so far.

  5. “I just wish uTorrent and Notepad++ were available for OS X. I suppose I can just use vim for general text editing. I haven’t used XCode extensively yet but at first glance, it looks like it has a ways to go before it can compete as an IDE.”

    One word: TextMate. Kicks every editor on every OS out of the ring. Best. Text Editor. Ever. Too bad it’s OSX-only (for windows there is a clone called, “E texteditor”, not quite TextMate, but a good start nevertheless).

  6. Oh, and for torrenting, I recommend Transmission, which is quite good. Not uTorrent, but will do the trick.

  7. I use Ubuntu. Yes, the multilingual support is a bit poor, but if you have some patience and dedication you can make things work just fine (with beautiful fonts!). I agree it should be more “out of the box”, though.
    I used Windows for a long, long time, first 95, then 98, then XP, until I finally begin college where I was presented the world of Linux. Since then I have tried many distros (Debian and likes, Slackware and likes etc), and I must say Ubuntu is certainly one of the best.
    I’m thinking of switching to Gentoo, because of performance reasons, or maybe Arch.
    Never got the chance to try OS X, but I intend to, sometime.
    But one thing is for sure: I shall never again use a completely proprietary OS. Free software has set my soul free, I can never go back to my cage and see the world only through windows.


  8. Thanks, that was very informative since I’m still new to the mac and not familiar with the most popular apps. I wish the uTorrent team makes a port since their performance and memory usage is simply amazing. Maybe I’ll take a look at Wine. For text editing, I think I’ll stick with Eclipse and vim instead of paying $62 for a text editor.

    I read that only 2gb physical (not virtual) is directly addressable by applications. At my work, I’ve seen IIS web apps fail with out of memory exception before it even hits the 2gb mark due to the memory used by IIS. 4gb isn’t even close to what applications can practically use at least in Windows Server 2003.

    For someone who wants to easily set up new languages and easily switch between various input methods, Linux comes at the very bottom of the list in usability and features.

  9. About the 2Gb/3Gb issue: by default, Windows will allocate 2Gb of the address space to applications, with the other 2Gb reserved to the kernel. You can change this, and allocate 3Gb to applications and 1Gb to the kernel following the procedure detailed here.

  10. I prefer linux no end. This laptop came with Windows Vista, and the only thing it managed to do reliably was its fourty-five minutely crash, so I installed Ubuntu- the only Linux distro I really knew about at the time.

    That said, I also thought that language support was incredibly poor out of the box. It didn’t take me long to set up fontconfig to use some lovely fonts for Japanese characters, and I found it relatively easy to use UIM/anthy, in the end, for Japanese input, but frankly the amount of effort it took is deplorable for something so basic as inputing in a given language. I’m pretty sure a computer user that is not so comfortable with editing XML files and fiddling this and that would be immediately scared away, and some that simply want things to work right away might turn an impatient eye on Microsoft’s excellent IME software, and consequently their OS at large.

    Now that it is all configured, I couldn’t be happier. I love everything- from my fancy compiz desktop effects to the free software repositories that I can freely plunder at my whim… but I can’t help but feel it takes a bit of dedication to get to this stage.

  11. @Carl

    Exactly, I tried the following HOWTO and never succeeded in fixing my fonts and so just went back to Windows.

    Now compare that to going to the International/Regional settings and adding your language with a few clicks in Windows and OS X. The only fault with OS X is that it adds too many input options to start. For instance 390 Sebulshik or ITABC means nothing to me. Better names+some kind of brief explanation and sensible defaults would be nice.

  12. It was superior Japanese font rendering and overall Japanese text support that drew me to the Mac from Windows, and I haven’t looked back.

    Here’s a tip for inputting macrons when typing romaji examples: add the “US Extended” keyboard, and use option-A to put a macron on any letter. (On the normal English keyboard, option-a gives you å.)

  13. I’m one of those weirdos who used Windows Vista and actually enjoy doing so. It took a little getting used to, but I think I’ve managed to tame this beast. The one thing I don’t like about Vista, though, is the sometimes blatant mistrust in regards to my actions that it throws in my face. UAC is a huge, huge, HUEG pain in the ass; Tweak UAC makes it tolerable, but if I weren’t sharing this machine with people who can’t go three seconds without downloading or installing something stupid, I’d disable it completely. But even with TweakUAC, all of my installed programs have to be “Run as Administrator” in order to have their maximum functionality enabled. Photoshop CS3, for example, will throw nasty Access Denied errors at me when saving files if I forget to run as an admin. It’s the same deal with Office 2007. You’d think being logged into the Administrator’s account would take care of this mess, but nooooo…

    I’ve had so many senseless access restriction errors I could write a freakin’ novel on them.

  14. @taekk
    After googling a bit, I see your point. I guess I can blame my self for not knowing as I never used windows with more than 1.5 gb of ram. But my point remains the same: x64 is not as scary as it seems. Its a natural transition, like from x16 to x32 – everyone will use it eventually.

  15. @Ken
    Ugh, that sounds pretty ugly. I thought the whole point of UAC was so that you didn’t need to login as Admin.

    Thanks, I didn’t know that 32 bit programs could run side by side on 64 bit Windows. Currently, 1 gig is plenty for my needs at least on XP but with the resource hungry Vista, I suppose it’s a matter of time before most people make the switch. Servers already need all the memory they can get of course.

  16. I tried Japanese on Ubuntu a long time ago and succeeded in installing the IME. I agree that it was a lot tougher than in XP.

    About the fonts, I didn’t have any bad impression because I probably still couldn’t read practically anything at that time he he 🙂

    I’m currently using XP btw but plan to be a full Ubuntu user in the future.

  17. Us OSX, but just recently; I was using Windows XP before, thought it was great. Used Ubuntu for a while, but I apparently fell into the niche crowd that used windows apps that weren’t supported in Wine, so I gave it up 😛

    I’m really pleased with OSX, but maybe because it’s still all new and fresh for me. Love their multilingual support for Japanese. If your on a windows box, you might want to check out PSPad for coding. I’m really sad they don’t have a Mac port, but I’m getting by on Smultron.

  18. @taekk

    I’ve never tried OSX at all, let alone for its language support. Apple machines are a little bit too expensive for me to get my hands on one. They look pretty polished, though, in all respects. Pretty good of you, by the way, to leave Ubuntu with a suggestion for improvement, rather than just turning your back on it without a word.


    Really, you aught not to be logged in as admin permanently, as this is asking for viral trouble- particularly on the most popular brand of OS in the market by far, which is what UAC is designed for. The whole UAC business is an attempt, as taekk begins to suggest, to move toward a more UNIX-like security model, where you use your machine as just a user, and the power of the admin, or “root” on most UNIX systems, is only invoked when its magic is needed- on Ubuntu, for example, the gksudo prompt asks for the user’s password and temporarily the actions for the program that prompted are undertaken by root.

    Quite how Vista manages to pull this off so irritatingly is beyond me. Perhaps it will take time for this sort of thing to mature on Windows- as it is Windows suffers from a habit of its users to insist on running as admin constantly, though, even just for browsing the web, when such admin powers are totally useless and in fact simply dangerous (perhaps because there is no other way to have full access to the OS’s features when you do need them?), so some attempt to move toward a different behaviour is welcome, in my eyes.

  19. I do want to use Linux someday and so I really wish they did something about the poor CJK integration. But not enough to contribute any actual code since I do enough coding for my job. Maybe if I changed careers but until then wishing somebody else fixes it is the best I can do. And I simply don’t have the patience to “live” with the issues by hacking around it. I’m one of those that want things to just work so that I can get stuff done. I’ve had my fill when hacking autoexec.bat and config.sys to fit all my drivers and games in 640kb, tinkering with HIMEM (*snicker) and such.

    I’ve never used Vista so I can’t say anything much about it other than the ridiculous hardware requirements but it sure does seem like they really messed up on UAC especially considering that it’s not even an original concept and already implemented by everybody else. Does it at least remember that it bugged you once already for a given window/app like OS X and Linux?

  20. CJK integration under Linux these days isn’t that bad. Installing a Japanese IME on a working Debian or Ubuntu box is as simple as installing a few packages and running im-switch. It would be nice to have some metapackage doing it all in one step, but it’s not really complicated as it is. The available input methods (Anthy and Canna, mostly) do the job well enough, but they’re admittedly not nearly as good as OS X’s Kotoeri, and improving on *that* would be a hell of a lot of work.

  21. Hahaha. I, too, suffered through the days of HIMEM and EMM386. I used Windows off/on, but have been a Linux user for a long time. I would’ve dumped Windows quite a few years ago, but I need photoshop & corel painter. I got a Macbook Pro the other day and really love it. OSX continually impresses me. It’s extremely intuitive and well thought out. IMO, its vastly superior to Windows, especially if you depend on it professionally (haven’t used Vista, though). And I love how it’s BSD based, so I can easily do tasks from the command line. But Linux edges out OSX as my favourite. I think in Linux too often. Plus Apple does some really dodgy s#!t.


    Yeah, Ubuntu out-of-the-box font support sucks compared to OSX. It looks daunting but that HOWTO is essentially cut-n-paste. Setting up your .gvimrc is probably more complicated. 😉

  22. I have all the three OSes at home.
    I’ve used Windows for many years (from 95 to XP), but some time ago I tried Linux and now I surely prefer it over Windows.
    I tried a couple of distributions, now I use Gentoo. It requires a little more attention, but it’s worth it.
    About asian fonts: I still haven’t managed to write in Japanese, but I can display Japanese fonts really well. Since I also have a MacBook with OS X, I can say Japanese fonts on Linux are as good as on OS X.
    The main issue with Linux is that it requires much more work to setup a suitable workstation, but after that you have a fully functional environment.
    I use OS X mainly for work, Windows just for gaming, for DVD compression (but applications for this exist for Linux too) and for testing my web sites with IE. Linux for everything else.

    Some application suggestions: for text writing, OS X has TextWrangler, a free (as in beer) editor that I use everyday for programming. For CD burning, try “Burn” (free) or Toast (not free).
    Now under Linux: there are a lot of wornderful text editors. If you use KDE, you can find Kate (one of the better text editors ever), KWrite, or Quanta for web developing. Every one supports perfectly asian fonts.
    For torrent, you have rTorrent if you like the command line (it’s, I think, the most light and stable torrent application around), or you can try KTorrent if you like a nice GUI. And for cd buring, K3B.

  23. NetBSD! (Though if you look at the logs, I’m counted under Linux, since I use the Linux version of Opera.)

    In terms of user-friendliness, well, there is *none* of it. NetBSD installs as a “bare” Unix system, and anything you want, you have install it for yourself. (think Gentoo) There is a pretty good package system / collection to handle that, though. CJK support depends entirely on how much research you are willing to do, and what you end up installing.

    But it is extremely stable, and for me it just feels right somehow, whereas Linux is like the pair of shoes that you never really manage to break in.

    OS X is looking really neat, and seems to do everything right, but I’m not willing to spend the money for a Mac. If I can afford it later on, a Macbook would be nice to have though.

  24. Yeah, I wouldn’t be using it myself if I had to buy one with my own money. If I were to buy one, I’d wait for a refresh of the Mac Mini since I already own a couple monitors. It seems like forever since they last updated it. I also don’t like the idea of having to throw away my monitor once the computer gets obsolete (iMac). And my Panasonic Let’s Note Light is all I need in terms of a laptop for many more years. (It’s awesome)

  25. I’m using Windows Vista Ultimate for the language features. I’m not sure how many of the other OS’s mentioned here have such options, as I’ve never used anything but Windows in any serious way, but the ability to be able to switch between 15 (or so) different languages is awesome. I keep everything in Japanese, learn a whole slew of vocab which I probably would never have come across otherwise, or at least not learned nearly as quickly…and if I really need to do something gravely important that I can’t screw up I can just switch back to the English OS in the control panel. Absolutely no problems with font rendering or input either.

    Although, what sux is that I paid I think twice the amount for the regular version just to be able to switch the language of the OS…but it’s turned out to be worth it. :p

  26. I’m using both Windows XP and Ubuntu Linux right now. I haven’t found much problem with Linux’s multilingual support, actually. I found it easier to use than in Windows, though the characters are occasionally (and very randomly) somewhat blurry when you have them on a small font point (like 8 or 10). Windows XP is good to, but I have no experience with typing Japanese on it other than using the word processor, NJStar, which is a pain, because you have to Alt-Tab all of the time and copy and paste. In any case, the language support is not the thing that’s necessarily going to make or break an OS for me.

    Personally, from trying out a few Macs, I really don’t like them. Of course, I didn’t get time to thoroughly test them out, but the interface makes nearly no sense. Obviously, it is different then what I’m used to, but even still. The one thing I do like is how the scroll bar buttons are both on the bottom, and that’s about it. The thing about a Mac is that you can get a very similar thing going with Linux without paying thousands of dollars.

    Anyway, that’s my two cents. Couldn’t resist.

  27. I don’t remember having trouble installing good looking CJK fonts on Ubuntu, and I’m not an expert or something. There must be an easier how-to.
    Actually those rare times I boot Windows XP I always notice how ugly the fonts look compared to the ones on Linux.

    In any case, improvement is certainly possible!

  28. You can also run Parallels for the Mac, if you need to run the occasional Windows-only app. I love using Coherence mode.

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