If you follow this blog at all you know that I am not a fan of Windows. I came all the way up from Windows 2 (at work) to MS-DOS and Windows 3.11 on my first home computer, a 486SX that cost a couple thousand dollars. There were some epic failures along the way. Windows 98SE and Windows ME, and Windows Vista were three giant turds of epic proportions. To make things worse they just kept making us PAY for new versions of craptastic Operating Systems.
At some point I became sick of paying for crap and started using Linux and then kind of turned into a Mac guy somewhere along the line.
But sadly for me many manufacturers of some cool toys simply don’t support Mac or Linux or if they do it is clear that the Windows programs are superior in terms of polish or workflow.
Case in point. For CNC machines the best software in the world, Vectric VCarve or Vectric Aspire, is Windows only. Yep you can do CNC work in Linux and on Mac but Vectric is just head and shoulders above every other experience, in my opinion.
I’m also a Software Defined Radio geek and have a few SDR’s from SDRPlay. Their software, SDRuno is currently Windows only. They are working on a cross platform version but it’s been years coming.
So now that I have this new Acer Aspire 5 (A514-54-501Z) that I upgraded it is time to explore some of the items that run best in a Windows Environment. Let’s make a short list:
- Vectric VCarve Desktop – This is the entire reason I bought my Windows laptop. I had an old i3 laptop with Windows 10 on it but it wasn’t cutting the mustard.
- NextWave CNC Software – Buy a $3000 or $4000 CNC machine and the only way to upgrade the firmware or use control software is to have Windows.
- SDRuno – Also mentioned above. If you own an SDRPlay device you will ONLY get the best experience with the Windows software.
- SDR# – Consequently if you own an Airspy SDR or a generic RTL-SDR the best software in the world is Windows only.
- Vinyl Sign Software – You’d think anything with graphics art would be best on a Mac, but you’d be wrong. Probably the best Vinyl Sign software in the world is Windows only. Flexi or CoCut Pro are Windows only offerings. They are also both fairly expensive hunks of software. I own a Roland GX-24 and it comes with very basic, but very capable software for simple tasks called CutStudio which is also Windows only. There are some Mac and Linux offerings but they just aren’t as good. They aren’t.
- Lightburn – Laser design and control software. Lightburn DOES HAVE Mac and Linux versions but the Mac version frequently has USB issues, and the Linux version doesn’t display correctly on my screen. The bottom toolbar gets lopped off and it is a pain to get resized. So I’m going to declare Lightburn to have the best user experience on Windows.
This is not a massive list, and it isn’t all inclusive but control software for Vinyl Sign machines, lasers, and CNC machines are HUGE for me. As a retired dude, this is what I do these days.
Also my hobby devices for listening and decoding radio signals (I’m a licensed Ham Radio Operator) are best on Windows. Much of the Ham Radio software for decoding is also Windows only or once again falls in the category of “Best Experience on Windows”.
And yes, I could probably make a “Works Best on Linux or Mac” blog but I’m dabbling with Windows 11 now again since I have this new CNC machine. And so far Windows 11 doesn’t seem to be an abject failure like Windows 98SE, ME, or Vista was.
I’d sure love to hear your “Best On Windows” software recommendations as well.