I'm now using Ubuntu for all the day to day stuff. I have to maintain a Windows 7 partition, but I honestly only use it for gaming, well Warcraft in fact. General gameplay is adequate (without the lovely DX11 effects) the game chugs along in Wine quite well, but hardcore raiding brings Wine Warcraft stuttering to a virtual halt.I boot to Windows two or three times a week to raid and also use voice chat services. I could easily use voice services in Linux, but like a 'tard I opted to buy a USB gaming headset to make life pretty much impossible when configuring Wine to run TeamSpeak or Ventrilo. If Blizzard would only deign to develop a Linux client and more guilds would use the technically superior Murmur/Mumble voice service I could ditch Windows for ever and for good.
People often ask me what's wrong with Windows and to be honest, my answer is not a great deal. However, Microsoft has failed to significantly innovate and ignite the desktop market for almost ten years now. Vista is best described as a debacle and Windows 7, despite some nice touches, just looks like a UI polish for XP. Frankly, who can blame us for hoping for more from Redmond when desktop Linux is making such enormous strides (really check them out).
I do have one gripe with the software giant however. Since it became necessary to ship an operating system with a PC Microsoft could be accused of gerrymandering the operating system market.
Most novice computer user’s only exposure to PCs is using one running Windows. Reasonably they usually ask for Microsoft Windows when buying a new PC, this brand awareness that Microsoft have is a big enough hurtle for open source developers to overcome. It's alleged that Microsoft also exerts a subtle pressure on hardware manufacturers to only ship their machines with the Windows OS.
The other thing I don't like is the lack of transparency: hardware manufactures must ship PCs with an operating system like they now have to include, at least, a DVD ROM drive and a sound card by convention. To ship a PC without a sound card now is to ship a PC not fit for purpose, once upon a time a sound card and CD drive constituted a high cost 'Multimedia PC'. Given the brand awareness and the alleged financial pressure of Microsoft most PCs inevitably ship with Windows. So why Windows XP, Vista or 7? Well, it came with my PC. So you get your new PC and usually it has Windows pre-installed on it and some geek tells you you should install Linux. It's quite reasonable to ask "Why would I want to do that?" Your computer works, you may already be familiar with this Windows stuff and your mate around the corner works in IT and knows all about Windows. Should you try to learn Linux? Er...what the hell for? "Well, Linux is free and open source." "I got Windows bundled free with my PC..."
Actually, no you didn't, the price of your PC included the price of Windows, in exactly the same way as the price of your motherboard was factored in. How many hardware manufacturers offer Linux as an option, so you can see how much you could save? How many software manufacturers install and configure Linux to work with all the PC's hardware and bundle a Linux reinstall disk so you can roll back to the factory default setup of Linux if things go wrong? I don't know, I honestly don't. There are probably some, but they are definitely in a very niche minority. So you thought your OS was free, but you payed a hefty premium for an operating system that is no better than the one I use everyday. Unless you play graphically intensive games without a Linux client.
One of the most compelling features of open source software is it's cost. It's free not just as in beer, but as in freedom. So, not only is it free to download, install and use but you can inspect and reuse the source code, under certain license conditions, to produce your own open source apps. Open source is about community and the development of communal endeavour. Free software in this context is about making computers more valuable as tools through sharing and collaboration. The pinnacle of the open source project is the open source operating system, it takes your PC from an expensive paperweight to a productive tool.
The operating system I choose to use is Ubuntu Linux and it's free. I legally downloaded, installed and use it on my home PC. For the brand new PC owner Ubuntu must be attractive: it's slick and well presented. Ubuntu works very well and the community that contributes to Ubuntu's development is very active on the Ubuntu Forums. I would claim that the level of support from the Ubuntu community is at least as good as I have ever received from Microsoft, even as the technical support representative of a global corporate. If I hit a wall in Ubuntu at home I swing by the forums and usually by the next day someone has come back with either an answer or some great resources to help me find my own solution.
I enjoy using Linux Ubuntu as my main operating system and I would like to use it exclusively all the time. The main obstacle to doing so is not the usability or stability of Ubuntu, it isn't that I cannot get some hardware to work with it (OK, I have issues with USB devices and Wine, but that more to do with my own ignorance). It isn't that I lack applications to do what I want and need to do with a PC. I cannot completely abandon Windows and exclusively use Linux because some software manufacturers refuse to develop clients that run on the open source platform. I'm looking at you Blizzard. For most applications this is not a major issue, Wine presents the Windows API (Application Programming Interface) to these apps and they work (usually) perfectly, often seamlessly. In fact, my only issues with World of Warcraft could be resolved with more processing and graphical power. Maybe in the future.
Later I'll hit you with my favourite things about Ubuntu and what keeps me there, rather than backsliding to the expensive, closed source OS. I'll also run through some of my experiences with other distros, particularly lightweight gems like Puppy, Crunchbang! and Madbox that have been driving my netbook lately.