I had to go to this meeting yesterday in which University representatives came to deliver a workshop and show an application that was supposedly fundamental for the good functioning of the administrative layer of the different University units. However, when I asked the speakers how I could get the application, something funny happened. The younger speaker, a man who gave me a patronizing look, said that the application was real friendly. Then he tried to impress me with "computer jargon": he said that all I had to do was "install it to the root in C: and...."
And that's where I interrupted him to say that my computer doesn't run Windows, so I asked if the valuable application could run in Linux. He was dumbfounded and proceeded with the stupidest answer you can give a potential user: "Well, we can install an OS where the application can run for you and..."
I had to cut him short saying: "Wait, listen: I don't want to discard my OS and all my perfectly functional applications only because this program was not developed to work on different platforms. The program must be changed, not my OS".
That's one lesson several University authorities are yet to learn: academic and administrative units invest time, effort and budget to develop applications that, later on, are lost when Microsoft arbitrarily determines that certain features are not going to be supported by their newest OS version. I wonder if this "fundamental program" will run next year, when Windows 8 will be released. Maybe the program will trigger the redesigned Blue Screen of Death which I, jokingly, had anticipated here.
At least the University Libraries did not plummet into the same abyss. They improved all their systems to be OS-friendly, so I can do scholarly work using my Linux netbook and MAC users are also covered. Some units are also offering documents for download both as .odt and .doc (not .docx!)
But the administrative layer is the one that, for its most part, has no idea of what "compatibility mode for documents" is (let alone what a file extension is!). Those are the individuals who think of themselves as computer experts because they survived the adaptation to the Ribbon interface of Office 2007. However, in a notorious oxymoron, they claim that Linux/Open Office/Libre Office is too difficult because the UI is different. Yet, they simply bore and grinned when Windows 7 introduced new UI features. When a program that worked in XP ceases to work in 7, they meekly accept that as natural, cry over the dead program, and go on as cyber-zombies controlled by a Puppet Master. In short, they are the Spider Monkeys to whom Bill Gates referred and that made him grossly rich.
I must confess that I second what sinaisix mentioned as the first consequence of using Linux here. I like to have control of my computer. I want to be able to work with whatever system I have available, not one that will leave me hanging because the company that sells it decided to drop support. That happened already in the section where I work: the program that controls all the student registration processes is not supported in Windows 7. It was not my mistake, but I did not conform; my first action as the boss was to have it replaced by one that can be run in multiple OSs. It runs in Linux now. Hence, if Windows 8 decides not to run it, we will have a compelling reason not to spend money on a useless OS, right?
I wonder how the Spider Monkeys will react once they are hit by the new UI of Windows 8. Will they be able to pretend that they never said anything about a "pronounced learning curve"? Most probably, people are going to congratulate Microsoft for the brilliant innovation and say, paradoxically, that "Linux is falling behind" despite the fact that such cell phone-like UI was introduced in Linux before. Oh, and that troll who, after seeing Unity in Ubuntu and the ROSA panel in Mandriva, said that he was going back to Windows because "Microsoft knew their desktop" must be eating his shorts right now.
In any case, I hope this troop of Spider Monkeys starts backing up their info, just in case ;-)