Linux vs Windows 7

Linux

It's something of a tradition that we pit the latest version of Windows against our trusty old operating system. This isn't because we want to raise the profile of Windows, or ignite further flamewars on which is better or worse. It's about understanding the market and understanding the competition. Microsoft Windows is by far the most dominant operating system on the planet, and as Linux users, we need to keep on top of new developments, new technologies and new ideas. This gives Linux the best possible chance to grow and remain relevant.

So, if you read our benchmarks comparing Windows 7, Vista and Ubuntu and are looking to find out more on what separates Windows 7 and Linux on the features front, read on...

Linux vs Windows 7

Both operating systems now occupy a distinctly different part of the market. Microsoft has taken Windows down a purely proprietary route, forging relationships with content providers and hardware vendors that keep full control from the user. Linux is completely open. Out of the box, Linux even boasts better media format support than Windows, and it can be the only way to run older hardware at its fullest potential, especially if there isn't a new driver for Windows 7.

Forewarned is forarmed

Over the life span of Windows 7, public concern for privacy, digital rights management and locked-in upgrades should help Linux to grow as an alternative when users want to keep complete control over their own hardware and software. Microsoft is now operating in a considerably different, and more technologically aware, environment than nine years ago when Windows XP was released.

The European Commission has spent a lot of time, effort and money hounding Microsoft for its alleged anti-competitive behaviour and this is going to have an impact on Windows 7 in Europe, as well as the user's awareness of the issues surrounding choice and bundling. Many average Windows users, for instance, were unaware that Internet Explorer was only one option for browsing the world wide web. Thanks to the European Commission, When Windows 7 is released in Europe it won't feature any browser at all, and for the first time, Windows users will have to make a choice about what they want to install. And making choices can get addictive.

Round 1: Performance

Much has been said about the various performance improvements in Microsoft's next operating system. After the apparent gluttony of Vista hardware requirements, Microsoft has tried to make sure that as many people as possible could attend the upgrade party. Many benchmarks have put Windows 7 performance ahead of both XP and Vista, and we saw some improvements over Vista when we initially benchmarked the open beta earlier in the year.

But when we compared the 64-bit version of Windows 7 against its equivalent Ubuntu release, Linux was faster on most of the tests we ran, including boot time, shutdown time and most of the filesystem tests. The only test where Windows 7 was significantly faster than everything else was the Richards benchmark of overall system performance.

Amount of time taken to execute the Python Richards benchmark. Measured in milliseconds; less is better.

Four months later we performed some of the same tests again, this time pitting the most recent 64-bit Linux distribution (Fedora 11) against the Windows 7 release candidate (build 7100). The most dramatic results for Linux were seen on boot speed, which for the final release of Ubuntu Jaunty measured around 35 seconds, with Fedora 11 close on its heels taking 39 seconds from power-on to desktop. Windows 7, by comparison, took almost twice as long, leaving us waiting 69 seconds from power to desktop.

We also found that a default installation of Fedora 11 running the Gnome desktop uses significantly less memory than Windows 7, at only 233MB. Windows uses 458MB, which is nearly twice as much memory.

Compatibility

But benchmarks and system monitoring is only a small part of the story. Every fresh Windows install feels fast and responsive, and it's only after several months' constant use that any weaknesses will begin to show. In the several weeks we've been using Windows 7 alongside our Linux boxes, we found it to be much more stable than XP, and snappier than Vista. We did have one problem with a corrupted filesystem while crash testing the machine with a reset, but as this is pre-release software it wouldn't be fair to criticise Windows 7 until the final version is available.

There's little doubt that Windows 7 is a solid improvement over its predecessor, and we would guess that most Windows users who were previously reluctant to upgrade XP will be happy with Windows 7 running on a new machine. Windows' greatest asset is the variety of software available, and Microsoft is going to offer an XP compatibility mode as an add-on to Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate.

This solution bundles Microsoft's Virtual PC virtualisation software along with a copy and a licence to run XP. It's not native, so it's unlikely to run your favourite games, but it will enable you to run essential XP-only software in a window on your desktop. This stands in stark contrast to the cavalier attitude to backward compatibility that Microsoft took with Vista, and it's a step that's likely to make Windows 7 an essential upgrade for many XP users.

The same isn't quite so true of hardware, which still suffers from Vista's over-zealous attitude towards hardware signing and backwards compatibility. Even if your hardware is capable of running Windows 7 it's unlikely you'll be able to exploit its capabilities unless the officially signed drivers are available for your device. With no DirectX 10 drivers for your graphics card, for example, you won't be able to enable the Aero Glass effects on the desktop, which is one of Windows 7's best features.

Worst of all, you're locked into the resolution data provided by your screen. Our test system uses two 191D cheap screens from Hanns-G. They're perfectly capable devices that work well with Linux, but we wasted days trying every trick we could think of to get them working with Windows 7, and in the end we gave up. If you found Vista's hardware installation frustrating, you're likely to have the same problems with Windows 7.

Performance

Windows 7

  • Better at synthetic benchmarks.
  • Faster transfer of large files.
  • Final version likely to improve.
  • Suspend/resume works!

Linux

  • Faster booting.
  • Less memory usage.
  • Smaller install size.
  • Broader hardware compatibility.

Round 2: Desktop warfare

Despite the hyperbole surrounding performance tuning and increased efficiency, the battleground for success is going to be the desktop. This is where we spend the most time, and it's where small changes can make a massive difference in productivity.

Windows 7 promises big improvements, but at first glance you could be forgiven for thinking that very little has changed since the release of Windows XP, which never seems too far beneath the surface. The old device manager, for instance, is identical to the now discontinued version and there are many aspects of the desktop that feel the same. But to give the new desktop a fair crack of the whip, we'll take Microsoft's own list of what's good, and compare that with what Linux has to offer.

New features, according to Microsoft

Top of the list of usability improvements is the new task bar and full-screen previews. It's now easier to add your own applications to the task bar, using a process called 'pinning', and while this has always been possible through the use of the Quick Launch tool, Microsoft is making a big deal out its new easiness, as well as another major addition - larger icons. No, really. Another much-touted usability improvement is the window thumbnail that appears when you hover your mouse cursor over a minimised application.

Each one of these features has been part of the modern Linux desktop for some time. And while features such as the thumbnail preview of an application were initially a cutting-edge part of Compiz, we now take their inclusion on a modern desktop for granted. In KDE 4.2, for example, you get exactly the same task bar functionality, and if you use a cutting-edge distribution such as Fedora 11, you'll get all the latest enhancements.

With the panel in edit mode, right-click on any menu option and you can choose to either add an icon to the desktop or to the desktop panel, and once there you can drag it into a location that most suits you. Adding full-screen preview to your Linux box is also is easy. Either use Compiz on Gnome or enable the desktop effects in KDE to get exactly the same feature, and either panel is far more configurable than the Windows equivalent. The KDE one in particular can be resized, repositioned, re-aligned, set vertical or horizontal and augmented with any number of plasmoid additions.

Both KDE and Gnome users have been able to 'pin' applications and media to the task bar for years.

Both KDE and Gnome users have been able to 'pin' applications and media to the task bar for years.

Jump Lists

Let's see if Windows 7 can catch up in its next new feature - Jump Lists. These are a way to expose certain parts of an application to a menu revealed when you right-click on its launch icon. The most common example is right-clicking on an application to bring up a list of recent files, any of which can be loaded by simply selecting them. There's even an extension for Firefox.

This trick requires some communication between the applications themselves and the window manager, and the non-standard nature of the Linux desktop makes it a difficult feature to emulate. We can't honestly say Jump Lists are a paradigm shift in desktop use, but they're a nice addition, and it can't be long until either the Gnome or KDE developers come up with something similar.

Sticking with desktop usability, Microsoft is keen to show off the new window comparison feature, something it calls 'Snaps'. This is a semi-intelligent window snapping routine that can divide the screen into two and maximises two application windows into each half. Drag a window into one of these snap points, either the top border to maximise the window, or the left and right borders for a 50% view, and the window resizes.

While the average Linux desktop doesn't have this exact feature, both Gnome and KDE offer more comprehensive snapping options. From KDE's Window Behaviour panel, for instance, you can set separate snap borders for the edge of the screen, the edge of a window or even the centre of the display. And there are many more options for fine-tuning your window management and geometry, even down to selecting the types of window the options apply to.

Window snapping? We think KDE got there first.

Window snapping? We think KDE got there first.

Search tools

Another feature that Linux desktops have been threatening for a couple of years, but have as-yet failed to deliver, is pervasive searching. Despite being a killer feature on the OS X desktop and the iPhone, and despite several highly efficient implementations, a simple search that can read documents, your email, and online communication with a degree of intelligence is still some way off.

Windows embeds its search icon search in the bottom-left corner, just above the launch menu icon. It feels very similar to KDE's launch menu, and will quickly find the content you're interested in. Microsoft's version expects the user to define libraries of content, and these are locations on your computer where you're happy to have the search engine provide pervasive results, or not.

Windows 7 also promises to move file search away from local storage and on to the internet. Searching for a photo, for instance, might take you from your local photo collection and on to those you're interested in online, such as an associated Flickr account or Picasa. The capabilities of this online search are dependent on an appropriate extension for the media and the online resource that you're interested in, but it clearly has a lot of potential.

The average Linux desktop needs to get its act together if it's going to to compete with Windows 7 for search functionality. And whether you use it or not, it's a great feature for newcomers. New releases of distributions like Fedora still package search tools like Beagle, but that's a long way from being a single solution for the Linux desktop, and this is what we're going to need. Developers are aware of these problems, but the KDE 4 team, for example, have put off discussions on integrating search until the 4.4 release, which is likely to come long after Windows 7.

How Linux will look when Windows 7 is released

At the time of writing, we've still got a short while to go until Windows 7 is released. This means there are several major Linux releases between now and then that could add some significant updates to the Linux desktop. Most recently released is KDE 4.3, and it seems the KDE team are finally getting on top of things. Rather than being a release purely full of bug- and usability fixes, 4.3 added some cool new features and some nice eye candy.

The whole KDE desktop and associated applications will now have general access to geolocation data, which could be useful for laptop users. The task bar panel should be able to distance itself even further from Windows 7 with the addition of spacers. These will let you group a collection of icons together, rather than as a single glut, and the system tray should also get better management functions. There are plenty more Plasmoid desktop widgets too.

More Plasmoids are being added to KDE with every release, bringing fast feature turnaround for all.

More Plasmoids are being added to KDE with every release, bringing fast feature turnaround for all.

Most importantly, considering the emphasis in Windows 7 on merging local and remote data, the new KDE release resurrects the Nepomuk desktop idea - the so-called 'social desktop'. This means creating a connection between local and remote data, and making the desktop a seamless integration of the two. A lot of work has been done on the Akonadi PIM framework, for example - Nepomuk can analyse and annotate the body of an email automatically.

This means adding information like your location, people you're with and maybe events you're attending - the kind of information currently found on sites like Facebook and Twitter. There's also a new menu system, called Raptor, that attempts to guess what options you're most likely to want based on what you're currently doing. It's a cross between KLauncher and Gnome Do, and is a massive improvement on the current 'Lancelot' system.

Desktop innovation

Windows 7

  • Desktop search is well implemented and can go online.
  • Media libraries can be pinned to the start menu and task bar.
  • Jump lists can genuinely help improve efficiency.

Linux

  • Nepomuk blurs the border between local and online.
  • Gnome Do replaces the task bar entirely.
  • Google's Desktop widgets now on Gnome and KDE.

Round 3: Essential apps

The best example of a core application associated with an operating system is the web browser. But thanks to the legal wrangling that has surrounded Microsoft's browser bundling, Internet Explorer 8 isn't going to be as fatally intertwined in the operating system as its forebears were. The European release isn't even going to include a browser by default, which leaves users with the bizarre difficulty of not having a browser available to download an alternative.

This may also be why Microsoft chooses not to create more powerful applications for these core tasks, perhaps not wanting to risk the wrath of competing vendors or the European Monopolies Commission. And while these restrictions may seem harsh in today's online environment, it's a great opportunity for Linux to push integrated desktop applications as a serious bonus.

In Windows 7, these essential tools need to be downloaded separately under the Windows Live branding. Eight applications are selectable, and these include the latest generation of Microsoft's Messenger, Outlook Express, Word Pad, a content filter and Silverlight - Microsoft's competitor to Adobe's Flash. In Linux terms you might liken them to Pidgin or Kopete, Evolution, Kate and Gedit, DansGuardian and Moonlight. But the difference with the Microsoft offerings is that they feel very much cut-down, as the company would rather have you pay more for the fully functional versions.

Instant messaging

Despite Windows ports of Pidgin, Windows Messenger is still the instant messaging client of choice for most people on the Windows desktop. This is probably because it offers Windows users a seamless way of communicating with other Windows users, and as long as your contacts are using the same client, video and voice chat is usually just a click or two away.

Over the years, there has been steady progress, but nothing revolutionary, and the same is true of the version currently shipping with the Windows 7 release candidate. It's the same version that was shipped as Windows Live Messenger 2009 at the beginning of the year, and the first thing the average Linux user will notice is the embedded advertising. You can't open the main window or a chat window without a small banner or text fighting for your attention.

If you're chatting to other Windows Live users you do get the advantage of seamless voice and video chat, but that's the only advantage that Microsoft's Messenger has over multi-protocol clients like Pidgin and Kopete. Kopete in particular is a brilliant application that can send messages to almost anyone and anything willing to accept them. AIM, Jabber, Google Talk, Windows Live and even Facebook are all catered for through a series of plugins.

The best thing about instant messaging with Kopete is that (unlike with Windows) there's no advertising.

The best thing about instant messaging with Kopete is that (unlike with Windows) there's no advertising.

Photo management

Whether you choose Digikam or F-Spot, there's no doubt that Linux desktop users are well catered for when it comes to photo management. Both apps can both talk to the vast majority of digital cameras, enable you to organise your collection using tags, comments and geographical data, and then upload sections of your library to a variety of online photo repositories.

Microsoft's offering, by comparison, is far more modest, and a little creepy, as you have to sign into your Windows Live account when you first launch the application. This is because your library is closely tied to your online presence. They can be published on to Windows Live with a single click, and Flickr, Facebook and SmugMug are supported through third-party plugins. Google's Picasa photo hosting is a conspicuous absentee, but that's perhaps because it's associated photo management tool is a better application.

But Windows Live Photo Gallery is very fast, and it's an efficient way of getting photos from your camera on to an online repository with the least number of mouse clicks and CPU cycles. Like iPhoto, Digikam and F-Spot, it offers only bread and butter editing tools such as colour, contrast, crop and redeye reduction, but there are some weird usability errors. You can't drag tags on to photos, for instance, and photos that are part of your Pictures library aren't imported into the application unless they happen to be located under the My Pictures directory, which is confusing.

Online

Another aspect of Microsoft's new operating system that isn't quite so obvious is the default installation of Silverlight. Silverlight is web browser plugin, and it's Microsoft's attempt to unseat the dominance of Adobe's Flash, and it performs much the same function. It helps web developers create accelerated and interactive online applications for their users that plain old HTML just isn't capable of, such as YouTube or BBC iPlayer, and represents the pinnacle of Microsoft's .NET framework, using it to both develop Silverlight and as a method for creators to add program logic within its online applications. Windows 7 is going to be the first Windows operating system to install it by default, with version 3 currently going through a period of beta testing before its planned release in July.

The interesting thing about Silverlight is that there's a Linux version being developed by the same team porting .NET to Linux, and it's called Moonlight. Moonlight offers only a subset of the functionality currently in Silverlight, but it represents an incredible effort by the programmers. Since January 2009, it's been fully compatible with Silverlight version 1.0, and a beta version released at the beginning of May implements some features from 2.0, as well as a few from the planned 3.0 release.

There's no doubt that Moonlight is a considerable way behind the Microsoft implementation, but there's a bigger problem. For some users, Moonlight represents a big chunk of Microsoft's intellectual property sitting at the heart of the Linux desktop. This is why the inclusion of Mono on distributions like Fedora and now Debian has proved such a contentious issue, and if Silverlight becomes as dominant on the Windows platform as Microsoft hopes, it's going to become increasingly difficult to ignore either its potential on the internet, or its potential as a patent time-bomb.

Touch me

One of the most touted features in Microsoft's new operating system is its new-found ability to be controlled using a touchscreen interface. Microsoft has been experimenting with touch technology for years and its implementation has been overhauled for Windows 7, adding better hardware support and the ability to detect more than one finger press. Touch also seems to be the primary motivation behind the overhaul of the toolbar.

In its old incarnation, icons could be too small and their placement too unpredictable for fingers. In Windows 7, buttons have been resized, and custom spacing options should make it easier to hit the right target. This is also the first time multi-touch has been included, which must have been quite a task for an operating system than usually has difficulty if you connect more than one mouse, let alone 10 fingers. But Microsoft has also put hardware behind the rhetoric, demoing a hefty piece of multi-touch hardware called 'Surface'.

Until recently, multi-touch ability hasn't been a priority on the Linux desktop, despite various announcements on the subject in 2007. The ability to keep track of more than one controller on a standard desktop has been implemented by a project called Multi-Pointer X (MPX), and this is due to be rolled into the main X.org server code for the 7.5 release, due in August 2009.

But there is one important difference between MPX and Microsoft's Surface, and that's that multi-touch provides only a co-ordinate reference for each point. It can't interpret the shape and the size of the touch, which could be a problem if Microsoft pushes its advantage in this area. The most promising signs of progress comes from the netbook sector, where touch capabilities look like becoming the next big thing.

Windows 7 makes it easy to resize all the GUI elements to accomodate touch devices.

Windows 7 makes it easy to resize all the GUI elements to accomodate touch devices.

Version comparison

Windows 7

  • Starter: No Aero and no 64-bit.
  • Home Basic: Developed for emerging markets.
  • Home Premium: Standard edition including Aero and touch.
  • Professional: Adds remote desktop and encrypted filesystem.
  • Enterprise: Unix application support and volume licensing.
  • Ultimate: As with enterprise, but for individual users.

Linux

  • Starter: No Linux is this restrictive.
  • Home Basic: Crunchbang or Ubuntu.
  • Home Premium: For eye candy, try Mint or Kubuntu.
  • Professional: Fedora offers encryption as an installation option.
  • Enterprise: OpenSUSE should work well with Windows.
  • Ultimate: No matter which Linux you choose, there's no restrictions.

Round 4: Power users

One of the biggest criticisms levelled at Windows over the years has been its lack of proper user access control. Despite the last few versions featuring user accounts with different levels of authority and control, nearly everyone simply created an administrator's account and neatly side-stepped any attempt to rein in what the average user could and couldn't do. Windows 7 attempts to do things differently, upgrading Vista's User Access Control to finally achieve what Microsoft must hope is a major feature in an age where thousands of Windows machines run as zombies on the internet.

The idea behind UAC will be familiar to users of Ubuntu and OS X. When a user's application requires a higher set of privileges, a password requester asks for authentication. In Windows Vista, this password requester could be a little overzealous, appearing every other minute if you weren't careful, especially if you were configuring hardware. This annoyance was even seen as an advantage by some, as it forced software developers to avoid asking the user to elevate their privileges though UAC if they wanted to remain usable.

By default, a standard user will have no administrative control over their system, and neither will any viruses or trojans may have been inadvertently run by that user. Of course, this is nothing new for Linux users, as this feature is embedded within Linux thanks to its use of groups and permissions to restrict users and processes. It's our main defence against wayward applications wreaking havoc on our systems.

Even if a user's account is compromised and a virus is able to run on that user's desktop, a utility with limited privileges can do very little system-wide and network facing damage, although your personal data isn't likely to be so safe. This is part of the reason why there are so few Linux viruses, and why so few of us consider it any kind of threat.

User Access Control can limit what a user sees on the internet as well as the configuration options they have access to.

User Access Control can limit what a user sees on the internet as well as the configuration options they have access to.

PolicyKit

But the truth is that there's plenty of potential on the average desktop for any malevolent coder with enough motivation. How many of us install third-party binary packages on our desktops? And how many of us could check the source code if we had to? Even riskier is the number of times we resort to typing sudo or launching a shell with administrator privileges, effectively bypassing the security inherent in the normal/root user system.

Many distributions and developers think there needs to be an extra level of security, and the closest we can get to the technology behind Microsoft's UAC is PolicyKit, originally developed by Red Hat but now shipped as standard in Fedora, OpenSUSE and Ubuntu. PolicyKit gives application developers (and distribution builders) a finer degree of control over what an application can and can't do while it's running. It could enable a user to mount portable storage, for instance, but not allow the same user to mount a local filesystem, avoiding the potential hazard of sudo completely.

The impending KDE 4.3 includes PolicyKit integration, which means that many system administration applications for the KDE desktop will be able to take advantage of PolicyKit's finer-grained privilege control in much the same way that certain applications request authentication on the OS X desktop. Gnome has had this functionality since the beginning of last year, and its inclusion in KDE brings us a step closer to a unified desktop on the Linux platform and a unified system for accessing administrative tasks.

Online security

Despite all these improvements to User Access Control, Windows is still going to be the main target for hackers, and as such, a virus checker is always going to be necessary. For the first time, Microsoft is going to bundle a virus checker and spyware detector with the operating system. This is likely to raise considerable protest from manufacturers who sell competing products, such as Symantec and McAfee, as they're making a tidy living from plugging this lucrative hole in current Windows security.

But bundling a free virus checker with the operating system is a great step forward for the rest of us who have to endure a constant stream of attacks from compromised Windows systems. Microsoft's checker is going to be part of the 'Security Essentials' download package, and it replaces Windows Live OneCare, a similar package that Microsoft previously charged for on XP and Vista.

Microsoft's Security Essentials covers only the basics of online security: real-time virus checking, system monitoring and download scanning. This should leave plenty of room for the commercial solutions to fight over more advanced features and neurotic Windows users. As Linux users, we don't need to run a virus-checker unless you're receiving files from, and sending them to, Windows users. It avoids the extra CPU and memory load of constantly running a checker and keeping it up to date. But there are several checkers that are up to the task if you need them, including tools from BitDefender and AVG, as well as the excellent ClamAV.

The Windows System Monitor app has been redesigned to show more information and show it more clearly - it's actually very nice to use.

The Windows System Monitor app has been redesigned to show more information and show it more clearly - it's actually very nice to use.

PowerShell vs Bash

Windows 7

  • Integrated scripting.
  • You can type ls to get a directory listing!
  • Syntax highlighting.
  • Remote execution.

Linux

  • 30 years of refinement.
  • Used by almost every Linux distribution ever.
  • Plenty of online help and documentation.
  • Can be used to administer the entire system.

Who wins?

As you should be able to tell from the scope of the features we've discussed, Windows 7 marks a significant point of maturity in the development of Windows, and is what the much-maligned Vista should have been three years ago. There's still a distinct lack of innovation, but the improvements to system stability and performance are what's going to matter to most users. And most users of Windows are businesses. They're not interested in eye candy, Twitter integration and hardware acceleration. They just need Windows to be a sober working environment that doesn't get in the way of helping people work.

And this is where Linux can make a big difference. There's nothing in Windows 7 that Linux can't do, and in most cases, do it better. Our machines are quicker and more efficient. Our desktops are more innovative and less static. Our apps are more powerful, cheaper and less partisan, and Linux security has never been better. But best of all, we have complete control over the future of Linux, and it's success or failure at the hands of Windows 7 is in our hands.

First published in Linux Format

First published in Linux Format magazine

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Your comments

captive

The most frightning thing is the fact that there exists no viable alternative to windows for the average man on the street.
Are we all doomed to forever be tied by the M$ shackles that bind us?

Perhaps if linux was more cohesive and distos standardised on more things then more vendors would write drivers for it, there would be a greater uptake and things would be looking up, but until then I'm afraid that the boys in Redmond will continue to call the shots.

There's a lot of whining about the Orwelian style of M$ but the linux Czars are no better by refusing to listen to what people want and need.

The real meaning of ....

LINUX = Leave It Now Unless Xpert
WINDOWS = When In Doubt Order Windows Seven

nearly forgot....

MAC = Make Another Choice
SOLARIS = Surely Only Loads After Running Immense Script

Analogy

Funny thing the kids analogy... especially when kids can't play games in their OS.

If the lesson was about learning and teaching... some kids learn more alone than having a full time private teacher.
Many people are sheep and are guided by dogs... others have own motivation, dedication and brains! They self teach, read books, and discover things for themselves, kinda like learning a new OS.

Life gives you paths and choices... some pick the easy ones, others pick the hard ones. Whatever the choices one thing is always a constant... arguments about choices and others questioning your choices and methods.
While they question methods... others take actions... guided by their instinct and brains. Sometimes good things come out of those actions... other times... a top notch product.

Analogy

You make a few good points about self teaching but what you seem to forget is the fact that learning should be fun.
Now that's exactly what the M$ platform offers, an easy entry point for further exploration since the learning curve isn't so steep.

Some will never progress, but that's fine too as it provides a market and oppertunities for others to make some money helping them.

The whole PC revolution is down to M$ like it or not.

Linux is too clunky, unfriendly and puts most people off.
Sad state of affairs really as I want free software to dominate but no chance of that in the foreseeable future unless linux undergoes some radical changes!

Ubuntu not always the best advert for desktop Linux?

I hesitate to mention this, as I know that Ubuntu has many adherents in the Linux world. And with good reason!

However, many newcomers to Linux - even Windows and Mac power-users - will be seriously put off by the need to use the terminal for many configuration tasks. For people making the switch, I'd strongly recommend distros such as PCLinuxOS and Mint which can be configured and driven almost entirely from a GUI if the user choses to do so.

Like it or not, this issue can make a HUGE difference to the learning curve. New users who have never encountered the CLI before can soon feel in control of their new systems, and can go on to discover the power of the commend line - if they choose to do so - as and when they need to.

Bunnies

I killed a cute and fluffy rabbit each time someone typed "M$". vim says that's 16, including mine.

and I kicked a penguin up

and I kicked a penguin up the jack everytime someone mentioned linux.( I didn't even bother to count, I just took it out on 40 penquins)

first bit of good advice

Thank you Fraxinus.
I am considering taking the plunge into the murky waters of Lake Linux and your advice about Mint is very helpful.

Can not compare Oranges to Pineapples

To compare 'Linux' to Windows (any version) is like comparing a car to a human being.

The software architechture is designed completely different (single/multi user permissions)

The Way the software is built (Monolithic Corp vs Global Corps and Individuals)

Open vs Closed source

You simply can not compare the two... they are in two totally different bubbles.

Same Universe, by different Galaxies...as if a different species was creating each one.

Night and Day is the difference.

Windows will dominate until ISV's start to port their software and write software to include the *NIX's. Like games and major editing suites like Adobe and 3D rendering and CAD and on and on and on... Until than Windows will be the de facto standard (on the desktop)

But, who care? When Google OS comes out and Chrome Browser supports WebGL (openGL for 3d accelerated graphics within the browser along with faster Javascipt and the coming HTML5 canvas and SVG standards )

THAN you will see Linux as a 'Brand'. It will be called Google OS or Ubuntu and others that want to come play in the Desktop areana.

The Desktop Operating system SHOULD BE transparent... it shouldn't get in the way of the user at all... it is the applications that run on top of the OS that matter in the end.

So, the only place the desktop is to go, is to transparency, using the Web as the new super platform, as well as having Local running apps and storage which the Desktop can allow the user to access.

It will turn into two worlds. Online and Offline worlds.

The Online world is growing at a massive pace, which Microsoft is still stuck ( and always will be ) in the Desktop business. This will be Microsoft's down fall, unless they adapt and offer things online. Which is why Yahoo! partnership and Bing and all that is happeneing. MS is not stupid to this 'Internet Tidal Wave', as Bill Gates observed with Netscape/Java emergence in the early-mid 1990's.

SO my point is... in a decade or so, after Google OS is out, and Chrome and other browsers are so powerful they can run 3D games and other important Apps inside them, while having an X windowing system for Local computer...the Operating system will become a commodity. Something you will NOT have to pay for, nor the OEM (dell and hp).

The OS will end up like the Web Browser, something that everyone uses, and will become free of charge.

How the software business will make money is with SERVICES that software allows, but the direct sales of software will slowly die and dry up, including the Operating System.

Redhat will prevail as they sell a SERVICE to Linux and Open Source Enterprise, they do not SELL software.

Are you serious?

I've seen more fair and balanced comparisons on Fox News.

Inspiration and new ideas in Linux

If you are only using Linux, like I am, then it is difficult to know anything about the features of M$ Windows.

The developing pace of Linux is huge, and inspiration and new ideas is seen all the time in the Linux society. This article contributes to this.

Very good article (though a little long) :-)

A few notes...

Windows Live Photo gallery will happily add all photos included in the "Pictures" library. One can add any folder to this library on any drive/partition.

DirectX 10 for Aero ? Hmm, my 7600GS card handles aero just fine. Last time I checked this card had accelerated DirectX 9 and OpenGL support.

Install: Everything just worked when install was done doing it's thing. And this is a rather new rig. New mobo and CPU and 4GB of RAM.

Windows Security Essentials vs. no antivirus. On this rig I just don't feel the antivirus. No penalty for me on WoW, Runes of Magic, Quake 4, Doom 3. However, from the last round of testing on Phoronix, seems that gaming on Linux would take a higher performance hit from not so great drivers than Windows gaming would get from running an security product.

Messaging: Well, voice chat is almost all we do nowdays. Almost. Tell my 60+ mom she needs to type in messages to her nephew in the US because Linux has whatever tech. advantages over Windows, I dare you, tell her that after she just spoke to him online via Live Messenger.

Despite all the above, Ubuntu is so fun to use on my Centrino 1.6Ghz lappie.

Seems to be a question of using the right tool for the job after all.

almost forgot one

Windows Backup in W7 is just one fine utility able to create an image of the partition(s) one wished to backup.

I too happened to deal with weirdness after one app gone ape started to spawn windows like crazy until windows gave up the ghost and BSODed on me. Upon restart it would not go further than the login screen. After running some diagnostics from the windows install dvd and not being able to fix the problem I decided to restore the system from an earlier image created with windows' backup tool. In less than 10 mins I was back in biz.

To be honest, I have no idea how I could easily recover from a major disaster with any Linux flavor available at this time.

Who said Linux doesn't work?

I am not a programmer. I am not a power user. I do work in an office but it's the type of place I can't take work home from. And up until six months ago I had an immense fear of a command line. Then I took the dive and bought a System 76 laptop because I was sick of my "gaming laptop" being barely able to run Guild Wars and a browser simultaneously.

And I haven't looked back.

Webcam worked from the moment I plugged it in.
Mic worked too.
Wireless keyboard and mouse worked right out of the box.
Projector worked once I figured out I had to push Fn+F7 to switch monitors.
My laptop syncs with my digital camera and iPod.
I run Skype and Second Life natively.
I watch movies, DVDs, web shows, and listen to music without issue. The internet seems to run native on Linux for me.
I like that when I do have a problem, I just go to the Ubuntu forum to ask it, and I get a reply in a day. To me copy-pasting a command is way easier than fishing through obscure GUI menus.
Aptitude is the best idea for safe and reliable computing I've seen... well, ever.
Oh yeah, I run Guild Wars on WINE at max graphics.

Who are all these people having issues with Linux? Why can't they figure this out? If a regular joe like me armed with nothing more than a willingness to read and experiment can figure out Linux, why can't anyone else?

Tired

I'm just tired of Windows. People ask me about their Windows problems and I just shake my head and say "I have no clue".Sheep.

Why do I use LInux

A lot of us forget that Linux offers many a choice. However there is a learning curve, just like any operating system. People grew up with Windows as their operating system. Many of the students today are growing up with Linux. I recently installed Mint Linux 7 KDE version on an older system that what I have at work. This system is at least 3 years old and runs better than my work system running Vista. Am I going to bash Vista, no I am not. I hate to say that after SP2 Vista is a great operating system. I really can't see why people bash Vista after sp2. I think they just belong to the bandwagon of bashing operating systems. However as my choice of OS I choose Linux. Why because it does everything I need to do. While $300 isn't too bad for me to pay, I prefer Linux. They provide a great deal of innovation and quite frankly I haven't run into anything that I can't do with it. For those of you, who bash Open Office. Have you ever seriously tried to use it. I use it a lot. I prefer to use this over Word any day. It's because that's what I am use to also it provides a means of editting PDFs which I can't serious use that abomination called Adobe Acrobat. I honestly can do more with Linux but YES I had to learn how to use it. Being an IT professional I understand the need of teaching most people simplicity, so we stay with what they know.

By the way I don't like paying for software, so tell me why will people go to the internet and purchase their services. Come on people, people want freedom and they sure as heck don't want to be paying a lot for doing so.

dunno

I mostly run windows xp as my copy of win 7 does not have an ati driver for my x800 series video card. Today I was about to wipe my win 7 away and put linux on that hd, so that when I am bored I can perhaps learn some linux.

Well I haven't wiped win 7 yet, as its just too damn good. So much faster than my XP (sure 7 uses more ram on my system but thats ok with me as I have 2GB and would rather have more performance). My video card is a bit old and am thinking of upgrading anyways.

I have played around a bit with linux over the years in short time segments for various reasons:

1. Installing flash under ubuntu a few years ago required(I mean, I had to do this, perhaps some would not copy and paste) copy and pasting some code from a forum that I had to look up. I did not understand the code that I copy and pasted as I am not into computer programming. I hope the issues with flash are less pathetic now.

2. If I wanted to play a game (a good game, a game that is commercially available and no I did not buy it, I used a little thing called utorrent), I had to reboot my pc into windows. After doing so, I found myself wondering why I even have linux.

3. I do play games less now and use office software more. Openoffice is not as good as MS Office 2007. Will it ever be? Probably not, but maybe eventually the difference will be much smaller.

4. The main concern I have with the linux community is the false argument used against windows. The argument I speak of concern the importance of free (as in beer) software being important to the end user. Most people that I personally know, have no problem at all in downloading software (the kind that is supposed to eb paid for) for free. Now it is good to state that GNU/Linux is free (as in beer), but don't assume most people care (its a slight perk). The point on free (as in free speech) is a much better point to state.

A lot of the problems with Linux wrt to a desktop user, are not really the fault of Linux or it's developers. It would be nice for hardware developers to better support Linux. Oh well, life is not fair.

wake up and smell the coffee

A lot of you still don't get it.
Windows is dominant not because it's better but simply because dear old Bill had a vision, dumb down software and people will use it.

It's no good looking at any software as a power user and saying "what is so difficult about this?"
To you and I it's not difficult but to the average man on the street, an O.S., word editor, whatever it may be is simply a tool like a screwdriver or hammer to get something done.
The harder it is to use, the less people will like it no matter how good it may be.
People are inherently lazy (well most anyway).

Linux developers are mostly out of touch with the average population by thinking that it's ok to type a whole bunch of obscure "words" into the command line to get something done.
People relate better to pictures, hence the popularity of the GUI and in this regard windows can't be beat.

I take my hat off to what has been accomplished with linux but it's just too difficult for the average user.

you must be joking

Why expect hardware vendors to support linux when there are no standards and it's such a mish mash of code.

Companies expect a return on investment, and as linux stands now, it's simply not a good deal to invest a whole lot of time and resources into a "fringe" operating system.

"Why expect hardware vendors

"Why expect hardware vendors to support linux when there are no standards and it's such a mish mash of code."

That's a BS excuse. All hardware support is handled by the kernel. There are no standards or mish mash of code to worry about.

RE: go figure

1. People don't know of it.
2. People are afraid to switch. (FUD)
3. People don't know how to use it.

There are quite a few

There are quite a few whiners in here! Here's my setup, I'm running Linux Mint 7 (GNOME) with Swiftfox as my browser. Instead of running Wine, I am using VirtualBox OSE and have that setup with multiple OS's. One of those is XP, use it for gaming and it works well! Instead of saying, "this doesn't work, that doesn't work," sob, sob, sob, look for alternatives. They are out there and they work REALLY well!

Windows is yesterdays news

I use Windows and Linux at work. Linux is simply better. It's less expensive ($0). It takes a lot less futsing with to get it to work well and look nice than Windows. All of the applications are free. The package management systems, yum and synaptic are almost too easy. If you think Linux is hard you simply haven't tried it recently.

I helped my daughter in law set up Kubuntu last weekend. I told her to go on and chat with company since this would take a while. I had to call her back in a couple of minutes because the install was done. I couldn't believe how fast the full install went. I have installed Linux for a 70 year old lady who knows practically nothing about computers because her Windows was so crapped up with internet debris that it would hardly run. She is now a happy Xubuntu camper. Her computer is no longer slowing down week by week. It simply works, well.

Windows is yesterdays news. Linux is the future...

The only thing that saved Microsoft in desktop

Is Directx! Bill Gates really won the developers hearth more than 10 years ago with integrated API for game development. The free contender, OpenGL was, and still is too broad for serious support from the game industry. Sure we have SDL, but there's no major player advocating for it. I would love to play game INDEPENDENTLY of OS. That would be a revolution!

Linux is a very moving target

"There are no standards or mish mash of code to worry about."

So why does almost every module from earlier 2.6 kernels require major structure and code changes? I would expect only minor changes within a series and major additions requiring rewriting of drivers and modules should go into the 3.x series.

I'm glad things are being worked on and improved, but it shows poor or no planning when major changes happen midstream.

I for one would LOVE to see several of the Linux camps quit fighting and join forces, make some plans and get developing together rather than fracturing and competing. Two people get way more done on a job than two people doing two jobs which are the same. Any time you look, the two separate guys are at least 50% behind.

!Not saying Windows 7 its not as a good product as Linux!

"Why expect hardware vendors to support linux when there are no standards and it's such a mish mash of code."

Come on... ¿No standars on Linux? You got to be kidding here. Linux IS by definition a plataform of standars. Furthermore, OPEN STANDARDS. Hardware vendors can do drivers for inux or simply let some other people to do it for them because of this (this is the case several times).

Had you tried to plug new hardware (like printers) on old Windows systems. You wont get drivers for that. This is because Windows does not have a Standard for its drivers. Drivers for Windows 7 will differ from drivers For Vista. Same Way Drivers for Vista differ from Drivers to windows XP.

Really... calling "STANDAR" to an OS that need a new driver development with each new version its not serious at all.

AGAIN, as stated on y title. I think Windows 7 can be a fair product. Just as Linux is it now. This is just a recovery from the total dissaster that Vista was, not the even yet to come "final" blow of Windows over Linux. Windows fans might no be aware of this, but Vista let Microsoft at an underdog paper in front of Linux. This is just the recovery to catch up with Linux and MacOS. And Microsft seems to had do it really well.

Being funny already?

"I for one would LOVE to see several of the Linux camps quit fighting and join forces, make some plans and get developing together rather than fracturing and competing. Two people get way more done on a job than two people doing two jobs which are the same. Any time you look, the two separate guys are at least 50% behind."

Now, you are not being serious, or you really don't know what Linux is.

Theres only one Linux Kernel. And several people from all over the world contribute to it, and already (and keep doing it) achieved a goal: To have a stable OS running over several flavors of hardware. Windows will never run on some devices where Linux kernel can run.

You have a missconception of what Linux is sice day one: when Linus invited any developer to contribute with it. You might be confused with some other concept like developing two applications that do the same... like developing two applications for web design. But you know what? this is also the case of windows... several companies develop different applications which happens some times to do exactly the same. But, they cannot contribute to each other because they source is closed mst of the time. So you have Adobe making an application like Dreamweaver an other several companies (like microsoft) making other web developing applications that are having the problem you just described. On the Linux case, the same happens, but the applications are able to share the code (95% of the time) if they want to.

Command Line FUD

This is some nonsense I'm reading about the command line. As I stated before I'm not a power user by any stretch of the imagination, just a guy with a willingness to research and experiment.

I would much rather copy-paste a code I get from the Ubuntu forum that I know will fix my issue than search for some obscure GUI menu that may or may not solve the issue. Sure, I don't know what I'm putting in there, but one copy-paste and a password later, the problem is solved.

I switched my wife's computer and a friend's computer to Ubuntu and they both agree: copy-pasting into the command line is *way* easier than GUI.

Why use Linux or Windows?

So, why using Linux?
a) it's free, no strings attached
b) it's free, costs you no money

Why are people still using Windows?
a) Games
b) OEMs

I'm using my computer every day, mostly for software developing and I never ever missed one application for my work or at home on my Linux box. Well, except Skype maybe for chatting with some friends.

Linux is becoming the best OS for business. You have free updates, you don't need to pay licenses fees, it's secure. Of course it's bad if you company depends on Windows applications, so you have to pay double (Windows license and app license).

If the OEM market wasn't so locked down, Linux would be also best for consumers, for the same reasons. Well, hopefully it will be more choice in the netbook/nettop/smartphone market.

But I guess, the Linux ecosystem isn't so friendly for third-class developer. I mean, antivirus, winzip/winrar, media player, audio player, office, chat/messaging, all the small helper applications are all for free on Linux. If Linux had a dominant market share, than I think that Symantec wouldn't had such a big office building in my city.

Linux always the loser

Given the multimillion pound/dollar advertising that will be used to promote Windows7 then Linux will be the loser. It doesn't matter how good the operating system is, it is all down to money.

The Fact

The Fact is, when Windows Vista disappointed the Windows Customers for some incompatibility of drivers and applications, the customers didn't go to Linux, 99% of the complaining customers switched back to Windows XP, and 1% moved to Mac OSX, Linux is not even a choice for a customer his #1 priority is backward compatibility, which Microsoft excels in it, and their customers expect that from Microsoft, for example you can see a crappy DOS game still plays on Windows 7, and with Windows XP mode in Windows 7 even the crappier applications designed only for XP will work just fine.

Linux is a completely different world, and most consumers are either unaware of its existence or don't care, however because the Linux community loud crowd we keep hearing about the year of linux everyday, while on the other hand if Windows croud were half as loud, Linux crowd would have been blown away.

the real world

The more I read these postings the more I wonder if linux supporters are from planet earth.

To say every kind of app is available for linux is just madness.
I'm an electronics engineer and getting decent cad packages for pcb's with proper gerber file support is like looking for rocking horse droppings.
As for circuit simulation software well these wont exist for linux for the next 50 years.

And what about compilers and programmers for microprocessors such as the 8051 family?

The same situation exists for mechanical engineering and I'm sure all other aspects of engineering.

Even in the production enviroment such as the company that produces our pcb's and metal housings guess what they use for their automated machines? no sign of a penguin there either.

Bottom line linux grew out of a hobby project and it's quite remarkable what has been achived, but windows is in a completely different league.
The execption being vista, which is absolut crap.
At least Microsoft accepts this and quickly released win7
to rectify the problem unlike the linux lot that keep bashing on and finding riddiculus patches to overcome shortcomings in linux.

Get your heads out of the sand and write proper code then people might actually consider linux.

Linux for big computers

LINUX is a clone of Unix. Where Unix is made for CPU's in mainframe computers, then Linux can run on an ordinary pc's CPU, like Intel, AMD or similar CPU's.
Linux has thus inherited the qualities of Unix: excellent networking, multiuser ability with protection of each users data and not least protection of the programs on harddisk(s).
So Linux was borne for big and fast computers and for using the computer in a networked environment.

When the IBM Personal Computer was borne, its operating system was DOS, an extension of the primitive CPM operating system. The first pc's had less than one MegaByte of ram - rather they had something like 64 kiloBytes of ram. The file system was the insecure FAT, and the (floppy) disk size was around 360 (?) kiloBytes pr. floppy. And by the way, DOS was developed for IBM, who outsourced this little project to a company named Micro Soft or something like that. This company was allowed to sell DOS for itself, so for many years you could by both IBM's PC-DOS and the similar MS-DOS.
MS Windows grew out of DOS - for example the file system in Windows95 was the aforementioned FAT and its bigger version VFAT.

Some people think that Linux was created as a hobby system. But SO VERY NOT! Yes, the porting of Unix to an ordinary pc's CPU started as a hobby project, but the fundamental principles, qualities and tools of Linux stem from the UNIX-world!

To continue the history: the Linux kernel quickly joined forces with the GNU free software movement, and today we have a huge and excellent software system called Linux/GNU or in short Linux - ready for super computers and networking and the Internet !!!

Let's be fair and not forget that there are other Unix-clones that can run on ordinary pc's: the BSD-versions and OpenSolaris and probably some more operating systems :-)

But speaking about growing out of a hobby system ...

holey winblows

I helped my daughter in law set up Kubuntu last weekend. . I have installed Linux for a 70 year old lady who knows practically nothing about computers because her Windows was so crapped up with internet debris that it would hardly run. She is now a happy Xubuntu camper. Her computer is no longer slowing down week by week. It simply works, well.

Thank you for that information ........

I for one will be giving linux a try ... within the next few weeks .,, it may not be for you , however im going to be like the 70 y o lady an have a bebris free computer ..
well thats my aim ... :)
.

Nobody uses Linux

Face it everyone uses Windows.

That includes of course:
* All of you air travellers who watch movies on.... Linux
* You Googlers who search the Internet using.... Linux
* You web users who get served up pages, at least 60% of the time from.... Linux
* You Tom Tom users who navigate home using.... Linux

Seems to me the Linux is actually quite a powerful platform for businesses to deliver products to their customers. The only common thing with the above is that they don't need the concept of a desktop OS to work.

Anything that needs a 'desktop', thanks to the OEM market, is pretty sewn up. Not because Windows is better, just because it's what you'll get when you buy a computer. Pity us all as we're paying a very high premium for this in all of our traditional computer technology.

Why so divided?

I've never had a religious attitude to operating systems.

For me, I use a Linux box for internet, word processing and accounts, gaming, watching films etc.

I have a Windows box for Cubase. It never connects to the internet, so it is reliable, and I never install any other software on it.

This works very well. I have found Windows can work perfectly well if you only install a single program and minimal drivers on it, and don't use the internet so you don't need the firewall and antivirus stuff that makes it run slowly. This seems to avoid the 'rot', and a single install will run fine for ten years or so.

Linux works perfectly well if you buy compatible hardware, and then you can do pretty much what you like with it and it stays reliable. But, if there is a single Windows program you really need that won't run in Wine, a separate clean install computer off the net keeps Windows reliable beyond even experienced Windows users expectations.

Theres plenty of games for Linux

To those posters whining about no games for Linux etc. Thats getting way old. Quit living life with your heads so far up Billy Boy's rearend that you smell the lunch he had yesterday. Try educating yourselves. The no games for Linux myth is dead and has been for a long time. If you want to play specific "Windows" games in Linux quit blaming Linux and get off you're butts and contact those lamer game companies who also seem to be sniffing Billy's lunch and ask them to support Linux. Otherwise start exploring Linux games,There are plenty of them and more all the time.

Windows won, as per usual.

I didn't even read this article, I just scrolled all the way to the bottom to the "enter a comment" section and started typing. Of course I know that Windows 7 is the winner, I don't even have to read the dumbass article to know this. I've tried linsux: it sux. No sound, no support for video capture or web cams, slow as molasses, no applications, no games, no nothing. Why does anyone bother?

Education.

"I didn't even read this article, I just scrolled all the way to the bottom to the "enter a comment" section and started typing. "

Try reading someday, it's quite fun once you get the hang of it.

yawn

This is really getting boring.
It's plain to see that linux will always be the "other system" simply because of denial and pig-headedness by it's supporters and developers that linux is simply inferior to windows in most applications except for:

1) Servers
2) little embedded devices so that the developers don't have to pay a licence fee

For everything else there's....windows!

Re: Linux won, as per usual - continued

A WORD OF CAUTION, IF YOU ARE NEW TO LINUX.

Though I just strongly recommended Linux, I feel it is necessary with a word of caution:
Do NOT switch to Linux in a busy period. If you have some deadlines to meet in your calendar, then stay with what you have or know.

Switching to Linux should be made in a calm period, where you have the time to learn about Linux and the use of it and where you have the time to set up your Linux machine and other equipment.

It would be a pity, if a migration to Linux faltered, just because you didn't have the time to learn the new stuff :-)

a word of caution

Switch to linux only in a calm and quite period.
Get real, who has that luxury in the work enviroment?
Infact if you have too many of those you soon won't have a job.

free my a@#$

Linux is free if your time is free!
Since most people are rather short of that commodity, windows works out much,much cheaper.

need help

Could we all stop arguing for a bit and perhaps give someone new to linux a quick tip?

I need a small fast distro with a basic GUI for low end PCs.(Pentium 1 333MHz with 128MB ram)
It should have perl, apache and FireFox.
Any suggestions?

Time to make the change

Im also think that people should not try to force them selves to change the OS. Whenever you are passing from Linux to Windows, from Windows to MacOS, From MacOS to Solaris... you should not put yourself into a situation you are forced to do the change. Simply make a dual boot install and just try both operating systems. You will end with the one you like the most. If you don't have time to decide whats should run on your machine and how (like the previous poster stated), at least try to give your childes the chance to make a choice. Don't force your kids to use Microsoft Windows. I thinks that the main market of Microsoft comes from his deals with several governments to teach on schools Windows. Kids simply assume that Windows its a better OS. Same happens with most people. If you hadn't an educational system forcing you to learn how to use a commercial product, most probably you'll learned from Windows because it simply came preinstalled on your machine. People, do not confuse reliability and features of an OS with market and your sense of comfort while doing always the very same. Learn, experiment. Im sure Microsoft its a fair product because I used several years. Im simply sticking to windows because I don't have 1000 dollars to buy me a gamer computer (neither got the time to Windows. Plain simple. I can work... my hardware performs better than other most expensive machines with XP or Vista on it (dunno about 7)... And my software its a bit more secure and it updates almost anything on its own. Furthermore, when I want my computer to do something new that it was not previously developed by anyone else (like simple automatically disabling my touchpad when my bluetooth mouse its detected), I simply change some text files and instruct my computer to do so. I don't need to download any spamware or spyware to achieve such things.

Someone claimed that its using Linux and miss Skype to chat with its friends. Wish I could answer to him, but I cannot. There is a Skype version for Linux on Skype website. You even have official Skype repos for your distribution. Hope you figure out you can actually chat, talk, and do videoconferencing with the Skype (privative) official app on Linux.

Another poster claimed that there is no software for Electronic engineering in Linux. Thats not entirely true. A simple Google search will show you that there are compilers and debugging simulators for Electronically circuits for Linux. Most specific, for the family of chips he refer to. Im going to assume that this poster got some years already working as Engineer and he is very used to do all his work on an specific Windows software, and its not willing to try another software on a different OS. It fair, but its not the same than stating that such software does not exist on Linux. Furthermore, I have a recently graduated Electronic engineer friend of my who is needing to start using Linux because of the valuable software Linux have for his job and his interest on the new ARM chips. Im not saying Windows does not have a software to work with ARM chips, just that he prefers to start learning Linux to do Electronic engineering jobs.

The comments

I'm getting tired of the "dislike" attitude you folks have.

Shut up, try, try, fail, fail, fall, fall, learn, work hard and it will bring you great success. Why? Because the reason why you can't get it to work is your self and you attitude. It's not the computer, the program or the operatingsystem. The software and hardware are just tools. If you are really interrested in new technology step up for the challenge. If you don't, don't bother to comment. Find a another hobby than computers. All these different OS and applications are here to stay. So why don't you take your time to learn them all? Istead you can help people and the whole computer comunity. Some need help with Linux. Help them. Some other people need help with Windows. Help them. Bring some positive attitude. Again it's just tools.

Personally it took me some years to learn Linux and it took me a lot of years to learn Windows. Every day I have still embrace the challenge to learn XXX number of new applications. It's all about logic and the challenge is to find a solution fast. I still have too learn about Mac, I'm looking forward to it in the future.

need help

Thank you Fraxinus for such a prompt reply.
I will certainly try the distros you suggested.

Windows is what comes on the systems.

The vast majority of people buy their computers pre-assembled, from companies with OEM contracts with Microsoft to only sell machines with Windows preinstalled.

So the vast majority of people have never had to install Windows, have never had to hunt for drivers, worry about compatibility or configuration. Hardware makers have known that in order to sell to that same majority of commodity buyers, they have to provide drivers that work on Windows.

Anyone who wrote "Linux isn't compatible with..." above shows their ignorance. It is the hardware maker who has not provided a driver.

The most astounding demographic in the F/OSS community is the nearly un-known gang of reverse-engineers who have tirelessly worked to make F/OSS drivers for hardware which is often not documented AT ALL by its maker.

This has made the hardware support in Linux the finest in the world, with more devices than any other OS (far outstriping Windows) on architectures as diverse as cellphones and multi-million-dollar mainframes. The device driver API is clean and well documented, because it has to be in order to support such a wide variety of hardware. The "mess of code" writer above suffers from severe anal-cranial-inversion.

Same with "Linux doesn't support games...", what it really is is lazy software producers who won't recompile to run on anything other than Windows, knowing they can make their quick buck on Windows users and then move on to the next project. There is no more "work" to a native Linux port than there is to more than one brand of console, and that happens every day.

If you have an application that you must use that runs on Windows, then by all means run Windows. Just don't blame Linux for your software vendor's lack of fortitude.

On the article itself, the gist seems to me to be "go for Win7 if what you want is just another version of Windows."

No thank you. I want better than that.

RE: Windows won, as per usual

You are a such a liar, Linux is slow? I've never had any problems with speed. No applications? Then what the hell have I been using to get all my work done? Why does anyone bother? Well because some of use aren't idiots, that believe all the MS PR FUD.
Sure some things like made especially for Windows may have problems on a Linux desktop, but what do you expect - it wasn't made for the Linux desktop.
Hope you are happy to be locked into using Windows for the rest of your life, paying for every updated version. Sucker!!

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