Productivity peaked around Windows 2000 Professional, perhaps XP
Oh how much I agree with that statement. Dare I say here on this esteemed forum, that I still use XP on a 15 year old PC (2ghz single core, 2 gigs ram, 240 gig SSD) as my main daily machne. And I have worked from home for 11 years. I have Win10 on a laptop (i7, 8 gigs ram, 240gig SSD) and on a similarly specced 2nd desktop and for most tasks the old XP machine is best, fastest and most productive.
Why? Because of the user interface. We all know how the UI on W10 sucks, but how many moved from XP to Win10. Perhaps because XP started life in the days of 800x600 CRT's, when running on a 2048x1200 27in screen it works and looks just great. When set to the same resolution on the same monitor, everything on Win10 takes up about 50-100% more screen space, meaning you get far less onscreen and have to do more scrolling and switching between windows. Want a dozen "dos boxes" (consoles) on screen? See how many more you can get on XP than Win10. Even the desktop icons in W10 take up 50% more space (11 vertically compared to 16 in XP). And as for utilities like windows calculator and file manager? Calculator sits neatly in a corner of the screen on XP, on 10 it takes up quarter of the screen. Same with file explorer - not that Win10 file explorer is anyway near as fast, efficient or functional as Xp's. Moving lots of files between folders probably takes 50% longer on W10 because of the abject lack of functionality. Access to NAS drives? Instant on Xp. About 5 seconds to respond on 10. And thats not to mention the number of times a day (tyically 2 -3 ) that Win10 needs to be rebooted becasue part of its network functionality has mysteriously stopped "the network resource is not available". Really, well it's accessible on every other machine in front of me, and no matter how many times I start and stop or disconnect/reconnect the network, the only thing that fixes it is a reboot. All those borderless windows full of great white nothing ness, where you end up clicking on the background window by mistake, or constantly having to scroll up and down to get to the bits you need, because so much of the window space is wasted? How much productivity time does that waste? The scroll bars that appear and disappear, meaning you need 3 or 4 attempts to scroll up and down - not exactly conducive to productivity.
There are things that are no longer functional in Xp ( a lot of websites, etc) for which I have to use 10, but for emails, spreadsheets, documents, etc., it is just so much more functional and productive than 10. I fully accept the security concerns, and a decent UI on a modern kernel would be much better.
And for the record, I also have Mint installed as dual boot on the Win10 desktop (and as a VM on the laptop) but the UI on that, while different (not necessarily better) than 10, still does not come close to Xp for usability. However, that is almost certainly where I will be heading in the future. But WINE does need a bit more effort and development from its team to fully replace windows. There are lots of software packages in the engineering world that are only available for windows.
.....let the flames commence....