So up until now, my preferred OS has been Windows (ignoring Vista, obviously). It has serviced my needs well from both a casual need and a business need (mostly programming) in the past. I think a lot of developers, and programming businesses, feel the same way. But the new(ish) Windows 8 has started me thinking: will programmers buy into it?
Windows 8 is designed for those laptop/tablet hermaphrodites being created by everyone as of late. From a programmer's point of view, the idea of a touch-screen computer is a major turn-off when I imagine coding. Combine that with the fact that ever-improving hardware specs for laptops have basically come to a halt due to manufactures attempting to conform to the less demanding tablet idea, and you have an overpriced machine which does not appeal to me at all, as I wonder if it will be able to deal with my development needs.
Since Microsoft seems hellbent on ignoring my audience at the moment (ie: those who use laptops the way most people use desktops), it only leaves me with Apple and Linux. The way I see it: Macs are best for those who intend on doing a lot of graphical and creative stuff (like Photoshop and movie editing), while Linux is best for those who are techny enough and care enough to actually learn about their OS. The biggest downsides to them, ironically: Macs don't give you enough freedom, while Linux gives you too much freedom. Without the standard of flavor on Linux, which Apple and Microsoft force on you with their OS's, I can see some serious compatibility issues, where certain games or programs simply will not run properly (the same way how the extremely diverse Android market results in poor app performance and compatibility issues, compared to iPhone and iPad apps). I don't need or want extra overhead to do basic things, which is why I'm reluctant to switch to Linux (although, if I had to choose between Apple and Linux, I would go with Linux).
I don't fall into either of those categories; I'm sort of in the middle. I want an OS which will allow me to code and play games. Windows 7 has done that perfectly for me over the past few years, but that option is quickly being phased out, and Microsoft intends to stop supporting it soon.
Now, I am not looking for a new computer now. My 5 year old Toshiba Satellite still runs like it's brand new. But I don't expect that to last much longer than a few more years, and I wonder what will be available for me when I have to shop around.
What does everyone else think about this sudden change in the PC landscape? Has anyone experienced coding on Windows 8? The rapid shift from laptops to tablets over the past 2 years have been frightening to me, to say the least.