This started a whole new adventure for me. I had to find a whole suite of new applications to replace my Linux open source ones.
The following were available in Windows:
- Adobe Air
- Adobe Flash
- Google Chrome
- OpenOffice.org – although I must say I am tempted to use Office 2007 (or 2010) as I am in love with Windows Live Writer. The thing is I hardly do any word processing at home any longer, so the price of Office does not seem justifiable.
- Skype – the Windows version is leagues better. I use Skype a lot (mostly to chat to my lovely girlfriend) and it was always a struggle to get it to work properly in Ubuntu and now it is seamless in Windows 7. If I am listening to music and a call comes in, my media player (Media Monkey) automatically pauses!
- VLC Media PLayer
- Pidgin – this was available for Windows, but I found that all the notification options (such as Guifications and Snarl) were not suited to the Windows 7 Aero theme. Therefore, I decided to go with Digsby which is closed source, but a great product.
- Compiz – of course Windows comes with Aero, but I really liked Compiz’ expose style feature. So, I got the useful Switcher program which emulates this function with a number of options.
- Transmission – uTorrent, this was hardly a choice as uTorrent is simply the best torrenting application available.
- Amarok – Media players are the hardest to choose in my opinion. iTunes was of course the “obvious” choice as I own an iPod. However, two things put me off using it immediately after I had loaded my 10,000 songs into its library. The start up is incredibly slow (note my powerful i7 processor) and it did not grab all my album artwork which is located in the folders of each of my albums. This is an annoyance as I had spent many hours meticulously putting these together. Therefore, I decided to go for Media Monkey, which is a surprisingly good media player. I hardly miss Amarok!
- Package Manager – without an auto-updater, such as the package manager built-into Linux, it is difficult to keep up with frequent software updates. Therefore, I downloaded FileHippo.com’s Update Checker. Simple app that just gets the job done!
- rSync backup – This was a CLI application that did incremental backup. I spent hours learning the commands so I could come up with a script that did the “ideal” backup for me. Unfortunately, I was unable to find any similar app for Windows and went with Genie TImeline which is a nice, simple Time Machine like backup tool.
- Gnome-Do – Simple launcher app which has its equivalent one in Windows: Launchy.
- Symbolic Links – this is built into Linux and it allows you to create a type of short-cut that links back to the original folder. This is mainly useful to ensure that you can copy folders into your Dropbox folder without having to duplicate all the contents of the folder itself. Link Shell Extension does the job well in Windows 7.
- CCleaner – obligatory “cleaner” tool
- Comodo Internet Security – easy to use (and free) firewall and anti-virus program
- CutePDF Writer – allows you to “print” any file as a PDF.
- Google Talk Plugin – this did not work in Linux. This allows you to use the video/voice chat from within Gmail.
- Windows 7 desktop gadgets – Very “mac-like” but a welcome addition nevertheless!
Generally, speaking I miss Ubuntu. I spent months tweaking it and setting it up and changing to Windows has been drastic. There are a number of new headaches (such as viruses) to worry about and the interface is completely alien. My current headache is that even after my desktop comes out of sleep my Razer Copperhead mouse refuses to awake for at least 15-30 seconds, making my desktop unusable.
Having said that Windows 7 is a huge leap forward and the fact that I can play games (which is immensely difficult in Ubuntu) has made my experience all the more sweeter.