Windows 8 review
I have been using MS Windows 8 on my work laptop for about 2 months now. Prior to testing I had read many reviews and had a somewhat biased opinion against it. For the sake of open-ness, I am a fan for GNU/Linux, in fact I am writing this in Opera on a fresh ArchBang install. I like a well thought out interface that allows me to interact with it without noticing that I am interacting with the interface. That is one reason I have migrated to OpenBox and ArchBang in general. I can move and resize the windows without moving my hands from the keyboard. The one thing I have yet to implement is an excellent search. I think the Ubuntu's Unity does really well for that. You might be thinkging that the point of this is my opinion of MS Windows 8, not GNU/Linux. You would be right. I digress because I think that if you have some understanding of my prior experience and point of view you will more likely understand why I state my opinion later. I am not just pulling my opinion out of a hat.
First, as I stated before, I had read many reviews claiming that MS Windows 8 is the worst interface ever. After a few minutes with Win8, I really disagreed with that sentiment. Sure there is no start "button" any more, but if you hover your mouse if the far lower-left corner you can get to it just the same. I like having the screen/toolbar-realestate that was previously taken up by the start button
Second, the search is great. All I have to do is hit the windows button on my keyboard and start typing. I can search all of my storage, which I could do with Win7, but I can now also search the web, search most any app that I have installed. I can search and view the results without removing my hands from the keyboard. I have to use the tab button but my arms do not move from my kayboard.
Third, wifi, printers and other such devices are a snap. Two weeks prior to getting Win7, I had a hard drive failure. I got everything re-installed and running, just in time to install Win8. My point is that I had a good test point comparing a fresh install of Win7 to a fresh install of Win8. In Win7 setting up my network printers (home and work), while not very difficult, was not trivial. It was a couple clicks in Win8. It felt easy.
Fourth, speed. Win8 boots much faster than Win7 and faster than most Linux distros, not ArchBang but it does almost compete with the minimal desktop environment. The whole system is faster. I am comparing the same hardware and remember that I had a fresh install of Win7 couple weeks prior to the switch to 8. Win8 is much faster than 7 in general.
Now for my dislikes, I do not like the charms. I don't find them useful, yet. Perhaps on a touch device they would be. I do not like that I can not set the background image, beyond a few images that come with Win8, on the start page. I do not like that when I close an app, I am presented with the start page instead of whatever was last open. I miss the "aero" look of Win7, but this retro-ish look of Win8 is rubbing off on me.
My dislikes are mostly just the way I interact with the OS and my opinion.
Now for my summation. Overall, I like Win8. I have not been this excited about an OS and an interface for a long time and that has always been something in Linux. I like that I will have one interface on my desktop as on my touch device as on whatever future device comes. I have read some people are "poo-pooing" this idea and blasting MS for this but Google and Ubuntu are both moving to unify interface experience across multiple platforms, form factors and devices. In fact, I feel that I use the mouse less in Win8 (I am not using a touch device) than in most other OS's. That means I am faster, more productive and my amr does not get tired of moving from keyboard to mouse and back again.
I think this is a smart move by MS. In fact, I like it enough to pay (imagine me paying for an OS!) to have it on my wife's laptop.