Is shifting away from Microsoft products prudent?

Let’s say that for every Microsoft product that you currently use, whether it’s a word processor, an operating system, a browser, or a spreadsheet, there was a suitable alternative that would be simple for you to obtain and install.

I know that there are plenty of free alternatives of MS products, such as Eudora instead of Outlook or Mozilla instead of Internet Explorer.

Is it a wise move to use as many non-MS programs as possible, simply because you’d prefer not to have a lot of programs coming from the same company? (I’m assuming here that the comparable programs are at least as good as the MS versions.)

Or would it be smarter to leave the current MS programs that came with your PC the way they are? That is, perhaps it’s more trouble than it’s worth to use alternatives. Perhaps you’re okay in your own little world and don’t mind that so much comes from one place.

I’ve been trying to move away from MS products, under the assumption that there must be something better out there. I think that when people get new computers and use Windows for the first time, they suffer so much with their initiation to it that they’re loath to try something new, thinking that since they did have to struggle so much (at times) to get Windows to work, they owe it to themselves to keep on using it. Besides, they reason, getting something new would just complicate things.

So I now use Eudora for my email and Opera as my browser. I felt that the stability of these programs would undoubtedly be better than their MS counterparts, that they would have more useful and better features, and that they’d even be more secure against virus attacks.

What do you all think? If you could do so easily, would you get as many non-MS programs as you could to replace your current MS programs? Or are you content to deal with what you have?

I think it’s a prudent idea to use as few MS programs as possible.

First of all, MS generally produce the lowest quality software out there, ridden with bugs and all.

Secondly, even if that were not the case, it simply is not possible for one company to produce the best program for every application that one might use. And why would anybody want to get stuck with mediocrity?

I agree. I think people put up with the mediocrity because they don’t want to bother with something that they feel may mess up other parts of their system, since so many of MS’s programs are embedded in the PC. It’s a perception thing more than anything else. I think people know there are options out there, but they’re suspicious of what they don’t know. They know Microsoft products, having had them jammed down their throats, so they use them.

One good reason to move away from MS products is that most viruses and malicious code are designed to attack Microsoft products.

      • I could do it, except for games. Too many cool games still require DirectX/Direct3D/DirectSound…

I’m a huge Linux/open source software fan, but I don’t automatically take the “all-things-Microsoft-are-bad” position. My position is simply to stick with what works best, and some things Microsoft does very well. Windows XP is, in my opinion, a stable, user-friendly operating system and the best choice for my primary desktop machine. However, I avoid Outlook/Outlook Express like the freakin’ plague, and the lack of certain features in Internet Explorer has pushed me to choose Mozilla as my browser and my e-mail client.

The Mozilla browser has two features I can’t live without. The first is tabbed browsing (which opens new browser windows as tabs with a simple middle-click/scroll wheel click, as opposed to opening them in separate windows which accumulate in the taskbar). The second is the smartest pop-up blocking I’ve ever used. Because it’s integrated into the browser it can tell with 99.98% certainty whether a pop-up is something you actually requested (i.e. by clicking on a link/button/etc.) or not (pop-up/pop-under ads). I just never see pop-ups and I’m eternally grateful for it.

As far as e-mail goes, I want my e-mail client to “just work” and not get in my way, and Mozilla Mail does exactly that. It supports some of the more advanced features I like and it does its job without getting in my way. That’s all I ask. I avoid Outlook/Outlook Express because their security problems are responsible for 90% of internet viruses/worms these days. I used to use Eudora but I found Mozilla Mail to be somewhat better suited to my needs, and it’s 100% free, unlike Eudora, so Mozilla Mail it is.

Philosophically, I like the concept of supporting open-source software, shunning Microsoft due to its predatory business practices and generally “evil” nature, but when it really comes down to it, I choose the products I do because they work for me. Also, I hate paying the grossly inflated prices software publishers are demanding these days, so I’ll always research open source/free software options before actually spending money on software (and even when I do, I try to buy on eBay or spend my money on companies who release quality products for reasonable prices, like less than $40). In the end, it works for me.

Eudora does have a free version, pestie. Just thought I’d point that out. I suspect their pay version has some of the features you’ve come to know and love with Mozilla Mail.

If you want to / need to use IE, and have tabbed browsing, and pop-up control, and skins, try MyIE2. I’ve been using it for several months without any problems.

I chose non-Microsoft software for nearly every niche because the other products appealed more to my sense of elegance and effectiveness or let me work the way I wanted to work. If that had not been the case, and I had found the Microsoft products to be as good in every way as the competition, I would avoiding using a Microsoft-only suite of tools because I don’t want all my eggs in one basket and I don’t want to support a single software source to the exclusion of others.

I’d say the same thing for Adobe, which puts out a rather imposing collection of graphics-centered software and could too easily dominate the whole area, and for Apple, which on the Mac platform at least has gone a long way towards achieving ubiquity with all those i-Whatchamacallit apps.

My Microsoft apps: Excel

My Adobe apps: Photoshop, Acrobat

My Apple apps: QuickTime Movie Player, FileMaker (FM Inc. is a spinoff)

My browsers, my email program, my FTP apps, newsreader, word processors, CD burners, music digitizers, backup program, other graphic programs, etc., are all from other companies, most often companies that are spectacularly good in one little niche.

I hope the market never becomes a situation where you have to use integrated sw from a single source whether you like it or not.

I’m completely Microsoft-free and don’t miss it at all.

(At home, anyway. At work, I use whatever the boss tells me to. But I sure ain’t spending my money propping up the monopoly)

E-mail- Mail or
Browser- Safari or Opera
Office- AppleWorks
Messenger- iChat (I avoid AOL products, too, just for good measure)
Quicktime Player is awesome.

*Originally posted by dantheman *
So I now use…Opera as my browser./QUOTE]Does Opera read spoiler boxes (here on the SDMB) properly?

I only asked because I noticed in the ATMB FAQ a mention of that, and was wondering if they fixed it yet.

I have been to a few sites in the last year (way fewer than in olden times) that had various features that only worked with IE, or had issues with certain browsers.

I enjoy the fact that I’ve never had to give a second thought to compatibility when using MS products.

Although, a tabbed browser sounds mighty appealing…

Sorry, board is WAY too slow to bother with the inevitable timeout on preview.

Normally I correct my coding errors. :frowning:

3 posts so far today I just gave up on. Life is too short.

Does anyone using a tabbed browser know how to set it so that the new tab that opens when you open a link as a new tab opens in the background, leaving you in the window you started out in?

I browse using iCab, which, although notoriously klunky with cascading style sheets and therefore not particularly compatible with web sites in general, works fine with SDMB and other vB sites, and which features the wonderful, delightful contextual menu item “Open Link in Background Window”.

Tabbed browsing is a poor second cousin as long as each tabbed-window you open receives the focus and then you have to click a tab to get back to where you were.

Spoiler boxes, eh? Well, let’s see…


Unbeknownst to most, the cross was made of formica.[/spoiler]

I can read that fine in preview. Looks like a spoiler box in IE, all black. Highlight the text and it’s readable.

AHunter, when you right-click a link in Opera, you have such choices as “Open in background window” and “Open in background page.”

Ahunter, when you use Mozilla and right click to open a link in a new tab it keeps you on the original page. If you ctrl+t to open a new tab it changes you to the new tab. It is really the best feature I have seen for a web browser. Also, the popup stopper that was coded into the system is wonderful. If it does manage to misread something you can easily get it to open up afterwards as well.

In my Mozilla, if I go to the main SDMB page and click-hold “General Questions” and then select “Open Link in New Tab”, I end up on the General Questions page, with the main SDMB page occupying a tab that I have to click to get back to.

Mozilla 1.2.1 Macintosh (MacOS 9)

Opera does have the iCab functionality that dantheman describes though.

One reason a company may choose to go with one vendor for most of their needs is interoperability and compatibility. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to deal with problems because either applications or hardware were not designed to work well with others. Go with MS and you can get products that do in fact integrate nicely with each other. It is often easier to get stuff to work right out of the box when you are using software that is popular the world over.

I’m quite happy to stick to MS products. Prudence be damned, I’m on XP with a dial-up connection, so any other OS is a bit of a non-starter for me. I use Opera as a browser, but keep IE since I need it to access Outlook Web Access for my work email (it doesn’t work in Opera), and I need Excel and Word for various reasons. If I can’t get an alternative over dial-up, then I will be quite happy to stick with MS products backed up by up-to-date A/V, firewall and updates. Maybe not ideal, but the most practical solution for me.

I use Win XP and occasionally Knoppix on my laptop (I had Slackware and XP on desktop that I wasn’t able to bring to college.)

I use Mozilla for browsing the web because of tabs and awesome pop-up blocking. In Mozilla, in the Edit->Preferences menu, under Tabbed Browsing, there is the Load Links In The Background choice. I use that and middle-click to open new tabs.

I use Outlook Express for mail because its what I’ve been using for years and see no reason to change (migrating thousands of messages, message rules, settings, folders, and learning a new program doesn’t sound like much fun to me.) Outlook Express can easily be configured to be secure. I’ve never got a virus through E-Mail as long as I’ve been using OE.

I use OpenOffice.Org for office applications mainly because it runs faster than MS Office on my computer (load times were bad at first, but they got a lot better in RC5, which became the final 1.1.0.) It also has a better feel than MS Office IMO.

I use Winamp for media. I used to use Power DVD for video files, but Winamp 2 finally got good video support in the last year.

I’ve used MSVC++ 6 a lot, but I hardly use it exclusively.

I use Nero to burn CD’s.

I like UltraEdit 32 for text in XP. I use Emacs in X, and pico or vi if I’m in a terminal environment.