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

Fuck Linux in general

As the title says fuck linux. There's only two distros I feel are right in the linux world; OS X and Ubuntu. And Ubuntu comes in just under because it's by far the easiest distro I've used, which I believe is primarily b/c everyone seems to be jumping on the bandwagon or whatever.

Honestly, if all you linux OS devs just jumped behind one fucking distro, you'd probably would come up with a hell of a rival for Windows and OS X.

Re: need help

I had Debian on a k6-350MHz from 1998 running the latest Unstable just last summer. It ran OpenOffice, FireFox, etc, just fine. I simply didn't try to run more than one at a time and expect performance. Audio worked fine, as did non-real-time games, but not video. But then, video never did work on it even when the same hardware was running Win95.

Linux itself still boots on a 1.4MB floppy. It's not the kernel that is a burden, it's the "And The Kitchen Sink Too" desktop environments.

When the Debian install gets to "install what suit of packages", with "desktop" and "base install" selected, unselect "desktop". Once the base install is up and running, use dselect or aptitude to install those applications you want, along with any one of dozens of different Xwindow managers.

Just don't run GNOME or KDE as the "desktop". Those are the real system hogs (as much as anything in Linux is a system hog) and the particular GTK or QT applications you want will run just fine on any "desktop", like fvwm, twm, or you can run olwm and party like it's 1992! :)

And unlike Windows, your 10-year old hardware will still be fully supported.

....

"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."

Yeah or don't blame the software vendor's "lack of fortitude" for not engaging in a market share it feels it doesn't want to waste any time and money on. Even if porting may be "easy" that's still a couple of extra hours that company is going to have to pay that employee; and what company really wants to do that, seriously?

...by any other name, would still smell like shit.

"Yeah or don't blame the software vendor's "lack of fortitude" for not engaging in a market share it feels it doesn't want to waste any time and money on."

"Not engaging a market share" is just another way to say lack of fortitude. That is a decision of the application producer.

What galls me is the people who bitch and moan about "Linux doesn't do this" and "Linux doesn't do that" when it's just a list of hardware or software producers who have made the decision not to cater to Linux users. It is they who are not Linux compatible.

If someone doesn't want my money, that's fine, but don't blame me for their decision.

pfft

"If someone doesn't want my money, that's fine, but don't blame me for their decision."

I'll blame you if you bitch and moan about their decision for not wanting your money.

cheaper windows?

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

Windows is "cheaper" only if you skip doing malware scans, and disk defragging. Neglect those and your computer is a steaming pile of poo pwn'd by every script kiddy who sneezed at it.

Linux allows people to spend their time accomplishing useful work where Microsoft instead makes the users work to make up for their defective by design OS.

....

"Linux allows people to spend their time accomplishing useful work where Microsoft instead makes the users work to make up for their defective by design OS."

Riight. Nevermind the work I had to do to get my GMA945 chipset up and running to speed when there was some kind of intel vid chipset regression in the Ubuntu kernel?

Again?

"Nevermind the work I had to do to get my GMA945 chipset up and running..."

And where is your angry letter to the MANUFACTURER of the GMA945 chipset for not making their drivers available to the Linux developers?

Just in case you didn't know, reverse engineering other people's APIs is hard. I don't bemoan the Linux developers for not getting everything right the first time. I salute them for getting so much right.

Who and Why

I have never seen so much vicious falsehood, that many flat out lies, and so much stinky crap from so many people trying to defend something that is of no consequence to them.

As a long term Linux user who knows better, I just can't help my self asking who is doing that and why.

In regards to who, I can't find any rational reason other than a group of people who are hired and paid by MS. If they were random regular computer users, the attacks we see here in big numbers wouldn't be so well coordinated and well timed just before the release of Windows 7. Why would they bother with "BAD" Linux(their claim) if they are happy with Windows? What is it to them other than getting paid for these attacks?

Another group that might be involved in such coordinated attacks are the people who are robbing the consumers and making a killing selling Windows or Windows only products. They are afraid to lose all that revenue when Linux becomes very popular.

I don't see any other reasons.

In regards to why, well Windows 7 is nearing its official release. MS is so concerned, nervous, and scared shit-less that Windows 7 could see the same fate as Vista. When that happens, they would be in a very dire situation and will probably never be able to recover. That would mean the end of MS as a monopoly in the software business.

So, a good advice to all the readers of these sleazy posts, is to ignore their FUD (Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt), not to take them seriously, and find out for yourselves.

Give Linux a serious try. There is nothing to lose if you don't like it, but you would be missing a lot if you happen to like it and I can tell you, after using Linux for many years, there is a lot to like and appreciate. All you need is to try it from a CD/DVD, USB or even as a virtual install using free VirtualBox software over Windows. You can even try dual boot.

The bottom line is not to listen or trust all the lackeys with ulterior motives, try it yourselves to be sure.

-Abe

RE: Apologies

At least this review was taking consideration of a distribution of Windows. Please pay some attention to _all_ the Windows reviews that do not take any account of anything else available.

The authors of this review were trying their best, but they are evidently GNU/Linux users/enthusiasts/professionals. I for one am a GNU/Linux advocate, and refuse to use a proprietary operating system. But such is the gift of "Free Will."

As for games, whoever you were, moan at the games manufacturers for not supporting an open operating system. It's their work, not ours.

small distro

Damn Small Linux can be installed and turned into a debian install by following directions on their website. Then perl, Apache and whatever else you want can be installed on top of it.

Who are these people?

Who are these people coming on to a Linux website to complain about it? I don't normally go to websites of things that I hate to flame, and I can't think of anyone I know that would waste their time doing that.

Skype has a Linux version that runs just fine and I use it almost every day. My webcam works on Linux because I took a minute to research and found out all recent Logitech webcams work on Linux. I configured my Linksys wireless router without the CD, I just went on the website and followed alternate instructions. I play Guild Wars on Linux because I took a minute to read the Wine AppDB and saw that there were only minor issues with running GW through Wine.

See a pattern? I did my research, and everything I use on my Linux machine works. I'm not a programmer, I contribute nothing but my own opinion to Linux. As a smart consumer, I do my research before buying a product to ensure I get the most value for my money. Linux works fine for anyone who cares even just a little about what they're doing with their computers, and that should be every consumer.

Switching to Linux

Switching from Windows to Linux is like taking off the training wheels. Some people still need training wheels.

Re:Again?

"And where is your angry letter to the MANUFACTURER of the GMA945 chipset for not making their drivers available to the Linux developers?"

Hey, I was just trying to make a point about Linux seemingly only allowing "people to spend their time accomplishing useful work."

Besides, I can't fault the manufacturer too much because it's Intel's hardware and why should they release something to someone if they feel like they aren't going to get anything in return? e.g. Are people buying up comps preloaded with Linux by the boatloads?
And I'm sure there's other proprietary reasons that should be respected.

Hell, I can respect that decision, and if/when the situation changes to where people are buying preloaded linux machines but the buckets I might write that letter to the manufacturer.

"Just in case you didn't know, reverse engineering other people's APIs is hard. I don't bemoan the Linux developers for not getting everything right the first time. I salute them for getting so much right."

Hey that's great and all, but again my point was to show that Linux

Also, regarding some of the other comments. I don't know about the other posters, but I, at times, come and make comments b/c every time there's some article or discussion like this , it always comes down to some kind of dick measuring contest and it's funny as hell.

I mean shit, I haven't seen any hardcore/general Windows users/developers at all ripping on Apple or Linux, and I don't think that's cuz both those camps get things "right." I think it's cuz honestly they don't give a shit.

Anyways, how about you devs just stop comparing so much with what Windows/Apple is/isn't doing and just focus on what you guys think will bring over the average user over instead? Surely, there must be some awesome ideas that haven't been implemented that the mainstream user will dig? Aside from the cost I mean.

Alleged anti-competitive behaviour

I thought it was more or less traditional to drop the "alleged" when the party in question had been convicted - as Microsoft has, on two continents.

Aside from that it was nice to see a non-rabid article that actually took both systems seriously while it compared them. It's also nice to see that MS have made some improvements, since I suspect some of my friends will be using Windows for some time yet.

It's a pity to see so many "it won't install and I have to use the command line" posts in the comments, but then, I suppose we all prefer to use the previous decade's distributions, don't we? ;o)

Who and Why Anonymous

Who and Why
Anonymous Penguin (not verified) - August 23, 2009 @ 11:15pm

I have never seen so much vicious falsehood, that many flat out lies, and so much stinky crap from so many people trying to defend something that is of no consequence to them.

As a long term Linux user who knows better, I just can't help my self asking who is doing that and why.

In regards to who, I can't find any rational reason other than a group of people who are hired and paid by MS. If they were random regular computer users, the attacks we see here in big numbers wouldn't be so well coordinated and well timed just before the release of Windows 7. Why would they bother with "BAD" Linux(their claim) if they are happy with Windows? What is it to them other than getting paid for these attacks?
....... reply .....
I would have to agree with you there,,,, Money is a very powerfull motovator to to try to damage ANY rivals even
if they are free , and espesicially if they work better
that their product .. whether it be soap powder or tooth past or computer os 's ..
Another point is if the manufacturers of games "only" made
games based on ,and for use for linux exclusivly,,,
How many people would change over to linux ,, im guessing
by the truck load ...
How much money changes hands , so that this does not happen is anyones guess.......
Another point is big brother Finacing M$ so they can access and spy on the unsuspecting public , paranoya maybe
maybe not , then again Money IS control ...
Is linux more secure than m$ ???... Does linux threten their Control , the very reason of their attacks on this poor defenceless Penguin ...

uhhh?

"There's nothing in Windows 7 that Linux can't do, and in most cases, do it better."

I sucked on that sentence when I read it in the mag and here again, and no.. I still can't really understand what it means.

LOL @ awesome ASP.Net applications

I was stuck using ASP.net for two years....worst two years of my life. That crap is for web app noobs and noobs only. The second you need to do something outside of simple CRUD on a database table it turns into a serious nightmare. I hope for the sake of those stuck with using that crap that MVC.net has turned it into a real platform.

As for running faster...never have I seen people so easily knock servers offline with the crap that they built from the VS GUI. They didn't understand what they were doing at all. They just dragged and dropped controls and slapped lines into the code behind and hit the play button. It was just ridiculous.

Funny thing...I'm being interviewed by a LARGE company thats looking to get off the MS wagon for the exact reasons I listed above. My experience with ASP.net and seeing it as the crap that it is has given me a leg up and they flat out told me that. Even if I don't take that position my current employer has decided to do the same thing. The vendors of the major systems used here have been telling them from the jump to get off Windows and use Linux. The vendors don't want to even bother supporting Windows installs because they just cause problems. The majority of their customer base is on Linux and they have to field far less support calls from them.

Seriously....stop playing with toy servers (Windows) and learn about what the big boys use (*nix).

@LOL @ awesome ASP.Net applications

If you failed to get you're applications working right, it is your problem, ASP.net is an awesome platform, I have been enjoyin development on top of it since 2002, and I also do PHP every now and then, and PHP is just crap code comparing to C# and the performance of ASP.net (which is compiled) is faaar better than PHP.

Go learn how to code first before you say such things

Good article followed by lots of biased and unsubstantiated FUD

The author's attempt to be as objective as possible was apparent, but it's clear from many of the comments that this attitude isn't prevalent. The least useful comments present strong bias with poorly supported opinions (based on irrational comparisons, subjective positions, etc), but I found many comments providing insight into specific valid comparisons helpful - thanks to those posters. Obviously, personal experience creates the strongest opinions. Isn't it amazing how dissimilar our conclusions can be based on often-the-same experience but differing premises?

After almost two decades of heavy Windows usage, including some systems admin work (though not a MCE, perhaps that makes me more objective?) I have plenty of experience to draw upon - many issues and many solutions. Once you have enough technical savvy to work comfortably with any system (Windows, Mac, Linux, etc.), you judge by different criteria than the "average user". Two issues seem most relevant for Linux vs Win7: hardware and software support, and both of these are of concern for both Win7 and Linux.

Plenty of deficiencies exist with Windows, and if you haven't seen them, you must have less experience. I started using Linux a few years ago, and encountered numerous issues too, but mainly limited to hardware support. Given the clear bias in support from the hardware industry (identified market share reasons), that isn't surprising and the same is true for hardware support for Mac (non-Apple, third party hardware). There are plenty of bad Windows drivers, and absurd problems lacking convenient solutions. What I found surprising was how well Linux worked despite such limited hardware industry support. Nowadays, while more drivers still exist for Windows, Linux will handle the majority of them far better. And if a driver doesn't exist for Linux, it might be able to use a Windows driver (eg. ndiswrapper)... Only the newest hardware lags in support, otherwise Linux has it covered. If I want a system to "just work", I choose Linux over Windows - dramatically!! Anyone installing a system from scratch (not your average user) could attest to the clear difference in performance between the two. There's no comparison for Live CDs, of course, but I'm referring to a standard installation and maintenance. Your average user won't see that - only the final product - so they won't care, but I do. So I wouldn't give Win7 an edge in hardware support, since Linux has broader support but may lag in the newest hardware.

While WinXP and Win7 are snappier than Vista, in every system I've tested (controlled comparisons) they're slower than a comparable Linux distro/desktop. Performance, security, and configurability are clearly strengths of Linux over Windows. For software support, lock-in is both a blessing and a curse to Microsoft. Maintaining support for older software impedes progress and innovation, but keeps previous customers coming back. Open-source projects are indeed at varied levels of maturity, but development and innovation far exceeds MS, and many core MS products are easily replaceable for the majority of "average users". Open-source tools never die either, though you could say the same for limited use of Win95 today. Few users need all the extra bells and whistles of the "latest and greatest" MS offerings - an expression of the "good enough" rule so apparent recently. If I want the "latest and greatest" I look more at open-source projects which provide the flexibility for me to do what, when, how, where, why and as-often-as I want. But then again, I'm not your "average user".

Wow!!!!

After a request for help for a small distro for a pentium 1 and receiving several prompt replies, I've downloaded and tried DSL.

Within minutes it had booted(live cd), I had my network card setup, started the monkey webserver and served pages to my windows machines.(oh yes and created a pdf from the html source of a webpage).

Now this may sound very trivial and mundane to you more experienced linux users, but to a windows user whom has never used linux before, I'm pretty impressed at the ease of use and the features packed into this distro keeping in mind it's only 50MB.

Infact the only thing that's a bit crappy is the video, but that's because my test pc has a video card which still has t-rex paw prints on it.

The next thing to try is getting shares to work from my windows pcs.

I think I'm becoming a linuxholic!!

Time Wasters

I've seen a lot of time wasted on this article by people who purport to be experienced developers and power users of Windows. I don't believe they are anything other than dishonest and frustrated salesmen. If they were what they claim, they would not bother to use this site. They do, and rehash drivel from Microsoft's discredited sales blurbs (get the facts, et al.) Most of the comments here are a complete waste of time.

I use both Windows and Linux. Both work. Linux is my personal preferred platform for the web. Windows for stuff that needs to be compatible with the corporate net junkies.

If you are new to Linux, just download one of the live CD's and see if it works. Unless you have a plain vanilla PC, you might have to try several. It took about 6 to find one that worked with my HP Pavilion laptop. The broadband was from a manufacturer that didn't want anyone to know how it worked. I'd suggest Knoppix, Ubuntu, Mepis, Mint, Antix, Puppy, there are a lot of others to try. Google is your friend to find them. Trying new ones can be addictive. for a live Cd, you don't install anything, just pop it in and start the computer. Try everything, make sure the video, sound, mouse, keyboard and internet all work. Try peripherals. read the helps and howtos. If it works, and you like it, go with it. Linux will live with Windows just fine. When you think you are ready, you can delete the 'loser'. Or not. Linux leaves you in control.

One thing to watch for, if you have to reinstall Windows, as XP and Vista still need to have you do every year or two, Windows will trash your boot sector. Just reinstall the Linux distro to the boot manager after Windows. If you use partitions for /home (Linux calls the drives out differently than Windows does, something that really confuses pretended experts.) you can install different linux distros (versions) to find something you like better without blowing your data away. you can even install several different versions of Windows and Linux on the same drive, and choose which one to use when you turn the computer on.

I have fewer problems on Linux than on Windows. it's true, you don't generally need a virus scanner on Linux. however, you still need to not do stupid things.

Get all the software you need from a repository, and you are set. Specialty software will require that you know what the program was compiled with. There are several possible libraries. A .deb or a .rpm will include that, if the supplier is brighter than a piece of moss, and is really an expert. Most sales force drones are in the moss category, and will promise anything to make a sale, where someone else has to make it work. We have all run into this on all operating systems. the new solution to every possible problem, that never seems to work. I wish Linux was immune to this, but it isn't. You can also use Wine, but it is a bit arcane. I'd rather abandon the Windows app and find a suitable replacement. They do exist.

Linux is really as good as Windows, and has been for around 10 years. It's just different. That scares a lot of pretend experts.
s
My car and my truck are different too. Both work. Linux and Windows, no different. Each is better in some ways. Both work.

"Linux is really as good as

"Linux is really as good as Windows, and has been for around 10 years. It's just different. That scares a lot of pretend experts."

It's not just that.

By asking an experienced Windows user to try Linux, you are also asking them to being a long process of evaluation and learning that may not eventually be to their benefit.

The existence of Linux is a negative factor for many people. It raises the issue of their competitors saving money, or having a more secure and reliable system than their current Windows oriented office.

Deciding whether to switch to Linux for a business is not a simple or cheap process. So many people would rather it just went away, not because they hate Linux, but because the very existence of another alternative complicates their lives.

puppy worked first time ....

If you are new to Linux, just download one of the live CD's and see if it works. Unless you have a plain vanilla PC, you might have to try several. It took about 6 to find one that worked with my HP Pavilion laptop. The broadband was from a manufacturer that didn't want anyone to know how it worked. I'd suggest Knoppix, Ubuntu, Mepis, Mint, Antix, Puppy, there are a lot of others to try. Google is your friend to find them. Trying new ones can be addictive. for a live Cd, you don't install anything, just pop it in and start the computer. Try everything, make sure the video, sound, mouse, keyboard and internet all work. Try peripherals. read the helps and howtos. If it works, and you like it, go with it. Linux will live with Windows just fine. When you think you are ready, you can delete the 'loser'. Or not. Linux leaves you in control.

Thank you for your very practical advice ..

I tried puppy and it worked first time AND i even got on
the internet .... I have been a windows user up until now
Im going to change over to linux ,, i will NOT be putting
the new windows 7 on my computer ...
No more defrags ...
No more bugs fom internet use...
no more reinstalls.. and endless updates..,,,
Im going to find a small linux os (not thirsty ) just to run a media player and a safe internet browser ...
Im also amazed that you can run windows IN linux ...
Is this tru ???

A recent post said that windows 7 can do anything that linux can do , UMMM will windows allow linux to run INSIDE of their os ...????
please tell me if this is so ,,

PCLinuxOS

For all those individuals who seem to have had issues with Linux installations should give PCLinuxOS a try. My usual experience with that distro is a quick 15 minute install that requires only some nominal upfront setting screens.

Once installed I choose a repository, do an update to catch up from the progress made after the LiveCD was produced, then add my favorite programs. And there I have a PC equipped with a great OS, a universe of sweet and constantly improving applications with both sound and Flash working. No need for anti-virus or anti-anything.

I have 3 PCs in front of me here. What's better $0x3 or $200x3, just for the OS? Installation codes instead of apps? Puh-lease.. Unless a person is forced because of work to be chained to the Windows eco-system Linux is the clear choice.

Good article

I just have to give you guys a big thumbs up for the comparison. I was expecting the typical bias but instead I found and objective unbiased comparison bravo. Well done.

Linux is tha winner

I'm using linux for, uh, a month so far, but am loving it. I completely removed my windows partiton as for now, and now have one big Kubuntu partition. Great! I HATE windows.

Another PCLOS user here

I recently installed PCLinuxOS 2009.2 and have found it very user friendly. After using XP, which I like, and switching to Vista, and experiencing more and more problems with "not responding" and other errors, PCLOS is pretty snappy and refreshingly easy.
Not to mention that it's free.

Software Devel

(Back with some coffee on my hand)

After 13 years on Linux... my only advice to a Windows user is: Try it! If you don't like it... at least you've learned something about your hardware and how your machine works.

I've changed distro's a few times, some times because of workplace preferences, other times because of ME WANTING TO LEARN another.
The learning phase is always a constant on every OS, be it Linux, Windows or MacOS. You have to keep learning, and after 13 years of Linux... what I say is:

I will never know Linux fully! - not because I don't learn or study, but because Linux is on the top edge of faster OS development on this planet.
It changes every day, every hour. The kernel itself has +4 times per day, supporting more hardware, being more faster, supporting new and innovative filesystems. This is a constant in Linux... the Speed Changing Factor. It will never stop, and it will become faster has more time and more "enthusiasts" contribute to it.

The question that has been put on the table some time now is:
Will you develop your Application in Linux?

Some companies will say no, because users know more than an average "Windows user" and they are afraid of being DMCA'd, of people finding that they really suck.
Some have adopted Java as a multi-platform software.
Other companies will bet on it when they develop Real Time OS software, which will change the way you see the world.

One thing is clear... Linux is an alternative more and more, and if you want to earn money nowadays you will have to change the way you sell software, even on Windows.
Nowadays software support brings more money than software selling, and it will continue to be that way as the ups and downs of the economies. Your now competing with small developing countries, where cost of production is a kill factor. You have the "collegue" genius factor, the small unknown guy that comes out of collegue with a mind changing idea that will dethrone your software.

In the future, software products will be software products, no matter which OS they run, but one thing will change, OS adoption and the OS which brings your product to a major integration and not another one in the bunch of Windows software solutions.
The Linux software train is moving. If you want to sell and develop now its the time. If you stop to think you will loose the opportunity. The small developing countries are coming either you want them or not.

What I've seen over the years is Windows being used as a personal desktop: full of serial generators, virus, trojans, keyloggers, having nun authorized software, users saving password in yellow postits on the screen, having users sharing passwords of critical systems, always resorting into cloning a previous "nun up to date" OS (that gets infected as soon as it is cloned), hours spent on helpdesk and support because of "Full Laptop Administrators", ...

IMHO: Windows 7 is not revolutionary. Its just another version with corrections... and in the Linux world this is not a fuss to be "cheering" about! This is just a minor release, takes less than 1 year to make and even so has some ground breaking kernel features... with more to see than Windows.

Microsoft... if you want companies MONEY, show them the REAL KILLING features... those that will make them spend 160 pounds on the bulk "PROFESSIONAL" version.
And don't forget to add Professional AV + Professional Firewall + Office + Support remaking PC's + the rest of software that a Linux distro would bring for FREE.

RE: Developers we are not

>I am both Windows & Web Application developer and I use C# >and .net in both of them, and I also use Windows Server >which is still better, because whenever I need to run a php >or even a crappy old CGI stuff I can run them side by side >with my AWESOME ASP.NET applications, I can even extend the >PHP applications with ASP.net modules that runs on IIS >level, Good luck trying to do something similar on apache"

Clearly written by a novice apache user. BTW I do a bit of C# dev work myself, and all my ASP.NET app run on apache just fine.

RE: 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?

Honestly, installing Linux and using it for 5 minutes does not make you an expert on Linux - I sincerely hope this is not the way you do everything in life, 'cause you ain't gonna get anywhere.

I have been using Linux exclusively on my laptop for over 3 years now, and it runs much faster. No viruses, sound works, webcam works, dual screen works like a charm, etc. and best of all better support for playing videos (no stupid codec issues). All this on a Dell XPS M1530, pretty new hardware too.

best example?

You must be joking! OSX is not linux, it's running a custom BSD kernel
But if you want to talk about reality; at the moment you need both; MS crap and Linux (and FreeBSD etc.) As long as people just use and don't question they'll continue to use ms windows. If you need to do real work, both will do! Some need more maintenance on a daily basis, and some require you (sometimes) to use a few brain cells! I use both on a daily basis, and both only as a GUI! Windows easier? Get over it & get real!

Thanks to the Windows users

I have noticed as I have been reading the posts on this blog a number of Windows users posting about (and advocating) their preferred operating system.

I direct my comments to them. I would like to thank you for your continued inability to learn anything new or different. I especially thank you for paying unnecessarily for software and services, even though there are perfectly good open-source (notice I did not use the word free) alternatives out there (alternatives that would be even better if more people used and tested them).

And my reason for thanking you all, because I would be without a job if it wasn't for you fine people. Keep doing what you do best, the rest of us thinking foke appreciate you ;)

And thanks to William (Billy)

Thank you Bill Gates! Don't forget to thank him as well! I run my IT business on Linux (for free)! Yes, i'm thankful for the windows 'dominance' because it enables me to make a living! The Linux servers I've installed runs happily without my input/help; it's on the desktop where you make real money! A PC on every desktop in every home; YES!!! Bring on Windows 7!!

Oh my $oft!

(Coffee R Us)

News flash! Linux Sucks! Oh ye... I'm cool and I didn't know that! All I want is video and audio editing software...

The news is... OLD! If you want specific high profile software, like audio editing, video editing, document pubishing, CAD, ... be it in Windows or Mac or Linux or any other OS out there... Get your money out of your pocket.

You can't compare a full grown, stable, and years of experience professional software to a Linux distro one. IT WILL NOT COMPUTE! This is not even a sane comparison.

Remember, the Linux distros offer the INTRODUCTORY version of those softwares. Some have gotten further as OSS than many commercial ones, and this is where many people "DO NOT COMPUTE".

OSS is mostly based on time donation, and in that concept lies its strength. More people are contributing more time, be it in packaging, bug reporting, bug hunting, security discoveries, coding, studying it at collegue, WRITING about it and even flaming about it.

Like the old market moto (bad translated) says: "Bad talk or good talk! All I want them, is to talk about it!".

People know Linux, they know it exists, then its an alternative! It's up to the person using, driving, applying it to figure out what it wants. They can't except a given car to have high performance, so they can't except the same out of OSS. But it is... Linux is on a High shift going to Rocket speed.

As for the future... the wheel is turning, many companies are using, selling and supporting it! It has emerged and IT WILL GROW as every IT goes into freelancer mode, the more web projects are released, the more companies that get banged by the costs of a commercial OS. For some Linux is a solution... for others... well lets hope you manage to KEEP your operational costs has M$ increases its costs on licenses, changes its server licenses to CPU instead of computers, and makes all their software requiring another from their "flyers".

On the company that I'm actually replacing the Windows Desktops... M$ raised the costs by 46% after negotiations and wanted 106% costs increase, for the same licenses.
Well the result is... they will never set foot again inside this company! Or get their hands on the 1000 Desktops I'm replacing. They will loose this client!
But think again... this is just a TEST, ye ... a 1000 desktop TEST to the "major shareholder", a bank! To them, Linux is not an alternative, it's the SOLUTION to lower operational costs!

To the newcomers... "Welcome to the revolution OS!"

@Best example?

Alright alright. OS X isn't Linux. But it might as well be considering the FreeBSD joined up with Apple back in the day, that Canonical wants their user experience to be like OS X, and that on site like gnome-look there are themes to make your desktop look like OS X with similar docks.

OS X and Linux are Fundamentally different

OS X and Linux are fundamentally different beasts altogether. Can you customize and release your own version of OS X? Can you distribute OS X to your friends for free? Can you suggest improvements to Apple and expect them to be included?

The answer to all those questions is "no". But guess what, Linux does all of these things. It may not provide the same usability but for something you can download of the internet for free it isn't doing too badly for itself.

What most of the FUD above fails to take into account is what Linux stands for. Windows and OS X are just products released by companies who want to make a quick buck. Linux is much more than this. What other product can boast that it is developed and supported bt thousands of ordinary people adding to a core you are free to use in any way you like. All they ask in return is that you send back any improvements you make (if any at all).

Perhaps you prefer Windows or OS X over Linux. That's completely fine, you have the right to choose those proprietary technologies. Just respect the other people who exercise the same rights and choose to sacrifice certain features you take for granted for freedom.

Windows ignorance (sigh)

What surprises me more about all you windows-loving folk is how proud you all are of your ignorance.

Linux is free to use and modify. You windows punks are also free to NOT use it too. If you are not prepared to try something different, then just piss off and have your own pamper parties at your own Windows blogs.

Stupid ignorant wankers.

Strange Feeling

When I read this article I have this strange feeling that it's trying to confort me in the idea that "Don't be afraid, Linux is better". But when I try to be sensible and balance all the pros and cons I just come to the result that "Windows 7 is by far better". Since I installed Ubuntu, I spent more time fixing things and trying to find a decent product for my needs than really doing things with the computer. I don't want to be a computer pro I just want to use the computer, I don't need the product to be free, I just need it to work, I don't care about great future developments.

Re: Strange Feeling

(No coffee)

Your right!

But if you consider your borned and raised to walk in a Windows world from "child".

If you do one thing one way... you probably will never do it another way, or it will be an effort to change.

But guess... It just a question of attitude... not of effort!

@OS X and Linux are Fundamentally different

"Can you customize and release your own version of OS X? Can you distribute OS X to your friends for free? Can you suggest improvements to Apple and expect them to be included?"

1) Depends on what you mean by customize. If you mean theming or other GUI effects or even stuff with Tinkertool, then sure. If you mean switching to a different kernel, then yeah no. But then again, how many people, like the poster above that JUST WANTS TO DO STUFF ON the computer and NOT TO the computer won't be dicking around with kernel changes etc.

2)Yes, I can distribute OSX to my friends for free. They're called torrents.

3) Yeah I can suggest improvements with probably the same expectations of addition as I would for any of the distros out there. After all, it really comes down to THEIR schedule and work load doesn't it? More importantly, they're probably going to include improvements they really jibe with considering it's more of their personal project than yours.

"Perhaps you prefer Windows or OS X over Linux. That's completely fine, you have the right to choose those proprietary technologies."

Hey, I prefer all three equally. I use all of them at any given part of the day because I know each can do stuff for me. I have no problem if you guys want to use Linux.

I just have problem with lines like this:

"Just respect the other people who exercise the same rights and choose to sacrifice certain features you take for granted for freedom."

AND

"What most of the FUD above fails to take into account is what Linux stands for. Windows and OS X are just products released by companies who want to make a quick buck. Linux is much more than this. What other product can boast that it is developed and supported bt thousands of ordinary people adding to a core you are free to use in any way you like. All they ask in return is that you send back any improvements you make (if any at all)."

It's this faux moral superiority that's just annoying by some in the Linux crowd. As if there's some kind of inherent righteousness for using an operating system of all things when really it's probably more likely that those people probably lean on being control freaks/OCD in some regards and are using Linux as an outlet.

I mean fucking seriously come on. It's just a fucking operating system and yet you treat it like some fucking end all liberation in your life (the same thing that mac fanboys get mocked for.) And then act like you have to stick it to the Man a.k.a Microsoft because apparently they're doing something wrong in a capitalist marketplace and it's your job to "free" the rest under their apparent "unfair" control.

Jesus fucking Christ.

Btw, I understand how you might turn it around and say the same for me, but really I come into discussions like this because 1) they're hilarious and 2) i just like point out shit i believe to be stupid.

LInux is easier to use

I've used windows since 3.1. Every version (except ME) and trust me, Ubuntu is far easier to use than Vista or XP. It took me about 3 months to get the hang of it but once I did, it was great. I won't go back to windows!

The way I came to use Linux was out of sheer frustration with my then new HP Workstation Laptop. It came with Vista back in August of 07. I immediately began having issues with vista. It ran slowly despite having a top of the line processor and 4 gigs of ram. At some point in December of 07, I was at my wits end and was searching for an old XP disk to install and wipe out vista. I did not find one so I downloaded Ubuntu 7.10 and installed it in dual boot mode.

At first, I was completely lost on the gnome desktop. I spent a lot of time reading the ubuntu forums and finding my way around the OS. My mind did not comprehend the synaptics package manager and how stupidly simple it is to install software. I was in denial about how easy was to do things in this new OS... I was searching for the C: drive and was frustrated that I could not find it.. It turns out that the way Linux and Unix handle the file system is in a far superior and elegant way than windows does. In the end, for me at least, Linux is far easier to use and configure than windows ever was. I've even installed it in my 75 year old mother's pc after it kept crashing. It was infested with viruses and Trojans.. I had no choice but to wipe it out after recovering her documents and photos. This was six months ago and she is very happy with her Ubuntu installation. She does everything she needs and does not miss windows at all.

To say that I am extremely grateful to the Open source community for offering their time to Linux and other projects is an understatement. Keep up the good work!!

I had fun laughing at the MS apologists.

I am a high level user of both Windows and Linux. On my laptop, I have a dual boot: Vista and PCLinuxOS. Under PCLinuxOS, I also have my previous laptop's Windows XP license in use on a 10 gig VM.

I use Vista to play a game called Oblivion, and an ActiveX/IE based program that requires direct access to the CD drive, which isn't yet supported (last I checked) by VirtualBox.

I use Windows XP to run Cool Edit Pro and QImage.

I use PCLinuxOS to surf the web, manage my business, manipulate and package my digital products, edit my stock photography, chat online, watch movies, talk on Skype, listen to music, host my encrypted filesystems, write books, edit books, record audio, and on and on.

Is Vista a bad OS? It's not great... but it's better than Windows XP when either version of Windows has it's own partition(s) on the hard disk.

Is Windows XP a bad OS? Not as long as you run it in VirtualBox and click "revert to snapshot" every couple months.

Is PCLinuxOS a bad operating system? On the contrary, it spanks Windows' ass every which way from Sunday.

Today I had a friend complaining to me that his Windows install was infested with viruses. I reminded him about the suggestion of PCLinuxOS (which by the way hands down kicks Ubuntu and all it's derivatives to the curb). He came back with "If Linux is so good, why isn't 95% of the world using it?" Then he demonstrated why: the average person is afraid to even try it.

But Linux isn't helping itself, either. He told me he was afraid to try it because his "computer genius friend, who runs Linux" told him it was only for advanced users. This sounds like someone who likes the fact that he feels L33T running Linux, and wants to keep it that way. After I explained to him that Linux comes in flavors that range from very technical to "Windows is hard to use in comparison" and sent him to some websites discussing the differences between the two OSs, he decided he wanted me to come over and install it.

Ubuntu. What a crock. Decent distro, but seriously, do we need to have a run of the mill distro representing all of Linux to people and being the first thing they see? Get real, people. Ubuntu is a ridiculous choice for introducing Linux to Windows users.

What really amuses me is that the hands down best distro (PCLinuxOS) is so highly ranked on DistroWatch and yet still relatively a well kept secret. You guys who want to use Linux, but had a bad experience with Ubuntu or one of it's derivatives? Give PCLinuxOS a try. You have absolutely no reason to use the CLI in PCLOS unless you choose to.

As a user of Linux since 1996, I'd like to say that the Linux community needs to get a clue about a few things. Chiefly... if you want market share, you have to do what it takes to get market share! Same with mindshare!

As for Windows 7, I have a feeling it's going to be a linux killer for a lot of people. That's okay... whatever. Use what makes you happy. Windows has it's uses... Linux has its uses.

And for those who ask why Linux doesn't have all the esoteric software for manufacturing, etc... the answer is that business was using primarily windows when those apps were custom created. I see a lot of businesses still using DOS in a windows CLI. So businesses expect to maximize ROI... which means using the same software forever and a day. Well eventually, they'll update or upgrade and then they'll look around again and choose based on the best of the visible options at the time... which, by then, is likely to be Linux in most cases.

Simple Proof

I have systems in my home that are dual-boot Windows XP and PCLinux. I let my neighbors children (who, trust me, are not very bright} use my computers for school work or play. No matter what OS is booted at the time they set down in front of the computer, they happily go on about their business. Being XP or Linux, they have no questions. They sit down and do what they want to do.

That my friends is the ultimate proof. If a child can sit down and use either OS, why cant the "adults" act like adults and just use whatever they want without bitching and whining about it.

Ultimate Proof 2.0

My mother is about as computer clueless as they get, although I have met a few even more clueless individuals in my time teaching Introduction to Computing in college. It took several months to teach her how to use a mouse and browser, mainly because she is so afraid of computers because of all the problems she has seen me deal with on Windows, even as a professional computer repair tech.

For for years she used Windows, having purchased (against my specific reccomendation) a lowball eMachine computer. It came with Windows 98, and of course that self destructed in 2 years right on schedule, and she had to go out and spend as much for a copy of Windows XP as she did for the whole computer, because she was so scared of trying Linux.

After a few years of pulling my hair out keeping that machine running, I finally told her that I was going to be requiring her to buy a new computer from linpc.us with PCLinuxOS on it, because I had to move to Georgia and I could no longer come over and fix her computer every other day.

So after three months of resistance and protest, during which time I refused to fix her computer anymore (it was about 700 years old in computer years by that point), Window XP did what Windows does best: it committed suicide and scrambled the whole disk to hell. I refused to fix it. She finally bought a computer with PCLinuxOS pre-installed.

When she got it, I had her set it up and just watched. "No help, ma. You are going to see just how ridiculous you've been with refusing to use Linux."

So she turns it on and enters a root password and a user name and password and... logs in. And whoa! It looks very familiar! And whoa! Firefox is right there, and it works the same way, and so does OpenOffice, and so does the printer, and and and...

Long story short, the computer repairs stopped cold. I moved from 5 miles away to 600 miles away, and visited once or twice a year. I have not had to fix her computer since... only explain how she could adjust settings she'd have asked about under Windows too.

Mom's been using her computer without hassle, and it has allowed me to keep my hair and actually improved my relationship with her since I no longer argue with her because she doesn't understand that it's not my fault that Windows screwed up. (That was a big reason why I quit working as an on-site repair tech... clueless people would accuse me of damaging their computer after I fixed it and Windows would fail again.)

PCLinuxOS is the way to go. If you can't use that... your only hope is a Mac. Nothing else makes it easier to use a computer. Nothing.

linux distro

Hi my name is Paul and I'm a windows...er...fan.
Actually I use both XP and linux.
Which linux do I use? easy PCLinuxOS way better than Ubuntu.
Infact I cannot understand what the whole fuss about ubuntu is.
The only thing it's good for is putting potential new comers off linux.

malware

I have to admit that most if not all computers I've seen and worked on having XP are infected with a nasty of some sort or just run so sloooooow after some time.

I suspect that as linux gains in popularity, the same problem will start arising on them.(although not to the same extent).

Switched to Linux about 7 months ago.

I gotta say I'm loving it. My time has gradually gone from barely spending time with it to me being inside of Linux 90% of the time. Yes, there are some issues with some stuff when I first started using it but since then its been really stable and incredibly fast. I actually still use Vista on my other partition but there is really nothing I cant do (besides games like BF2) in Linux, but I think its definitely a good operating system for newbies getting started in the computer world.. Im going to buy my mom a cheap netbook and throw Linux on it. This article used biased language but still alot of what it says is defintely true.

@@OS X and Linux are Fundamentally different

1) My point was whether your changes would be included in the product that is sent out to everyone else who uses it, not what the product is. With Windows and OS X you have zero-chance. Linux you have some chance if it is worthy of technical merit.

2) Perhaps I should have phrased my sentence with the word 'legally'.

The rest of your response seems to be something of a rant, but I will clear a few things up for you:

- It is not faux morality. I was explaining why people choose Linux over Windows in the first place - but ultimately if Windows suits your needs better then feel free to stick with it. You have the freedom of choice of non-pirated software that you can install on your PC, and that is the reason why Linux users feel a moral high ground (as we offer you that choice).

- Your 'stick-it-to-the-man' comment reminds of me of the days when free software users were called communists. We aren't here to 'stick-it-to-the-man', you'll find that Linux runs most enterprise servers and is supported/used by Dell, IBM, Intel, Nokia, Motorola, HP, Google and countless other corporate giants.

Remember before you choose to go on into another mad rant you are on TUX RADAR. The clue is in the name. ;)

typo correction

1) should be:
My point was whether your changes would be included in the product that is sent out to everyone else who uses it, not what changes you can make. With Windows and OS X you have zero-chance. Linux you have some chance if it is worthy of technical merit.

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