Ubuntu vs Windows 8


Ubuntu and Canonical have come a long way since their 7.04 Feisty Fawn release, which followed Microsoft’s Windows Vista. Back then, Canonical failed to capitalise on Vista’s universal rejection by its users. But it's now 2012, and things are different. Does Ubuntu 12.04 have what it takes to position itself as a more usable alternative to Windows 8? We put both operating systems in front of 18 testers to find out...

The Ubuntu advantage

It’s ironic how the one feature in recent Ubuntu releases that might have lost it some users will now work in its favour and attract new users by the bucket-load. We are, obviously, talking about Unity.

Microsoft’s revolutionary Metro desktop is already facing criticism similar to that Canonical fielded when it introduced Unity on the desktop. They listened, learned and they evolved.

Furthermore, Windows 8 is a major departure from how Microsoft does desktops – offline installations that could connect to each other. Now, with Windows 8, you have an online desktop designed to deliver the best of the cloud to your visually new desktop.

It can do things in a way that no version of Windows ever could before. And we in the Linux world know what that means, right?

Be it with KDE 4, Gnome 3, or Unity, suddenly introducing new paradigms and a dramatic new way of doing things displeases users. And while the changes might be new to Windows, they have long been mainstays on the Linux desktop in general, and Ubuntu in particular. In this feature, we’ll attempt to ascertain if Ubuntu’s maturity and flexibility, and its range of options will score over Windows 8’s radically different new desktop paradigms.

Our test group...

There were 18 testers in our group. Although this was by no means expansive, we tried to mimic real-world usage patterns of these OSes. Of these, 15 testers used Windows either at home or in offices. Ten testers from the group used Linux alongside other OSes, including three who also used Mac OS, while only one used Linux exclusively.

Of the Linux users, six ran Ubuntu, and the other three shuffled between RPM-based distros, primarily Fedora and OpenSUSE, while the exclusive Linux user ran Debian. The group was dominated by non-technical users (11 in all), who used computers for every-day tasks. They were joined by three programmers, two power users and two enterprise users.

None of the testers had experienced Windows 8 or Ubuntu 12.04, although many had read reviews of Windows 8 and seen screenshots of the new features. Despite this, they had no idea about how deeply they were woven into Windows 8’s DNA. Only two testers were aware of the new Ubuntu 12.04 features, and understood their implications.

The Desktops

Both Canonical’s Unity and Microsoft’s Metro are unconventional desktops. So much so, in fact, that most of our testers first thought we were pulling a fast one on them when we invited them to give us their feedback for this feature.

Scrolling horizontally is still perceived as being pretty much a mobile concept, and it didn't go down well with the majority of our testers.

Scrolling horizontally is still perceived as being pretty much a mobile concept, and it didn't go down well with the majority of our testers.

Unity vs Metro

Windows Phone 7 users did recognise the Windows tiles interface, but having to navigate it with a mouse negated their familiarity with the interface. Others were simply at a loss as to how to proceed. Everyone’s first impulse was to figure out a way to “get to the desktop”.

Unity, too, was different from what most Windows (and non-Ubuntu) users were used to. But it still didn’t appear to be as ‘outlandish’ as Metro. Many simply thought of Unity’s launchers as shortcuts mounted on a panel, and then used them as such to launch their apps. On the other hand, usability-wise, the Metro Tiles looked out of place on a 23-inch FullHD monitor.

Even after we familiarised the group with the basic operations of the Metro desktop, many didn’t discover some of its crucial elements. For example, most users didn’t realise that they could influence the tiles by right-clicking on them.

A lot didn’t know they could add tiles for things from within apps (such as their IM contacts), but they all appreciated the ability to do so when informed about the feature. Those who had read reviews knew about the Charms bar and how to bring it up, but others just discovered it by accident.

Obviously, not everybody had a smooth experience with Unity, especially first-time users. But their inconveniences with Unity’s way of doing things were resolved easily after a quick glance at the Ubuntu Features page (www.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/features). The most common issues were spotting the Lens icons at the bottom, especially on larger displays, and finding apps that weren’t already pinned to the launcher. The traditional-looking desktop in Windows 8 is labelled, aptly ‘Desktop’.

It behaves like Windows desktops have in the past, and looks almost the same, too – we say almost because it lacks the one crucial bit that most users identify with Windows, the trademark ‘Start’ button. Thanks to this feature most were as lost at the Start screen as they were on the Metro Tiles.

Hot Corners

Once again, we jumped to the testers’ rescue and showed them the Windows 8 Hot Corners. The idea of Hot Corners seemed sensible only to users familiar with their implementations in either Mac OS or Ubuntu Unity. However, much to their disappointment, the Start Hot Corner button returns them to the Windows 8 tile-laden Start screen, from which they had just escaped. Not surprisingly, the first thing most Windows users tried to customise was to figure out a way to get back the traditional Start button and behaviour.

Despite the fact that Unity was as foreign to most users as Metro, they could find and launch apps they wanted, and use the desktop as they were used to, irrespective of the OS they came from.

All apps under Unity had the familiar window controls to minimise, maximise and close them – something sorely missing from the full-screen Windows 8 Metro apps.

Designed for touch

The fact that Windows 8 is designed with touchscreen devices in mind is pretty much obvious from the moment you boot up the OS. From the tile-laden Start screen to the Metro interface, the entire OS is designed to be completely operable by the five digits on each hand. So much so that even in the more traditional Windows 8 Desktop, browsing through open apps and switching between them requires you to junk how you’ve been performing these actions. To Microsoft’s credit, though, they have designed probably the best touchscreen interface we’ve seen to date. The actions and gestures to launch apps, cycle through open ones, close them, or send them to the background is pretty impressive on a touchscreen.

Unity is designed with a touchscreen device in mind as well, but it’s still a few paces off Windows 8. For starters, the traditional window controls help it score over Windows 8 on a regular desktop, but are difficult to tap on a touchscreen. Cycling through open windows is another task that’s still not optimised for touch.

Even the notifications in Windows 8 are written for touch-based environments.

Even the notifications in Windows 8 are written for touch-based environments.

Customising the desktop

With 12.04, Ubuntu has refined further its simplified consolidated System Settings window. Users can now make the launcher a permanent fixture on the desktop, as well as tweak its behaviour for multi-monitor set-ups, which was a much-requested feature by Linux users. This was well received by our bunch of testers, who had pre-conceived notions about the difficulty of setting up Linux.

Their experience with setting up Windows 8 was rather interesting. Their first instinct was to look for the Control Panel, which isn’t readily accessible, at least under the Consumer Preview. It shows up when you bring up the Charms bar under the Desktop view, but not under the main Start screen. This discrepancy wasn’t noticed by many users. Like Ubuntu 12.04, Windows 8, too, tries to simplify its settings options, with the most common settings accessible from under the Charms bar.

Other advanced settings, such as the BitLocker encryption, are still accessible via the Control Panel, or you can search directly for them from the Start screen. While most didn’t figure out the location of the Charms bar on their own, all our testers appreciated Windows 8’s style of segregating its settings, making commonly used settings more readily accessible than less frequently used ones.

Accessing hidden features

Another similarity between Ubuntu 12.04 and Windows 8 is their focus on making less visible features, buried beneath nested menus, easily accessible. Windows 8 is tackling this issue by adding an MS Office-like Ribbon to its Windows Explorer, while Ubuntu’s solution is the Heads Up Display (HUD).

Most testers thought of Ubuntu as being far more appreciative of traditional desktop navigation controls (keyboard and mouse) than Windows 8.

Most testers thought of Ubuntu as being far more appreciative of traditional desktop navigation controls (keyboard and mouse) than Windows 8.

Still, most of our testers preferred to stick to the Context menu when working with Windows Explorer. According to Microsoft, Windows Explorer has more than 200 functions (a fact we shared with our testers), but many simply continued using it to just look at and launch files.

Surprisingly, HUD got more looks than we expected, even though it forces people to abandon the mouse and use the keyboard. Linux users in general, and Ubuntu users in particular, appreciated the time-saving facet of HUD and how it seamlessly performs system-wide settings, such as setting up VPN, as well as app-specific actions such as saving a document or opening a bookmarked page.

Best Windows 8 features

We cherry-picked Linux users from our bunch of testers, and asked them to jot down their favourite Windows 8 features, which they think will enhance usability and productivity of the Windows desktop user.

Interactive tiles: The Metro app tiles do more than just open apps. They also display live data in the tiles. Our Linux testers agreed that this will enhance productivity, provided they can customise what information is displayed in the tiles. So, for example, while they like the Music app tile, which displays info about the current track, they would like to turn off the Mail tile, which displays snippets of their unread emails.

Improved task manager and File Copy tool: Both apps are more verbose than ever, and allow users more control. Most users liked the Performance and App History tabs of the task manager and the ability to pause file transfers in the File Copy window.

SkyDrive integration: Although Microsoft’s SkyDrive service has been around for some time now, its tight integration in Windows 8 is definitely one of the highlights of this release.

Split-screen apps: Metro apps can be stacked besides one another neatly. Our testers believe this will be a useful feature for users with widescreens.

Mounting ISOs: Starting with Windows 8, users will be able to mount ISOs on virtual drives simply by double-clicking them.

The Applications

While Windows has always shipped with some pre-installed apps, no Windows version has ever been as usable out of the box as Ubuntu. That’s all set to change with Windows 8, which ships not only with a wide gamut of apps, but also an Ubuntu Software Center-esque online app store.

Factory-fitted apps

Windows 8 supports two types of apps: those that are designed for its new Metro desktop, called Metro apps, and the legacy apps that do not conform with the Metro guidelines. The Consumer Preview has several of both.

One of the apps that most impressed our testers is the Windows Reader, which can read PDFs. It has also got several view modes, and even enables users to highlight text and add notes to documents.

For enterprise users

Both Ubuntu 12.04 and Windows 8 ship with features that’ll appeal to the enterprise desktop user as well. For starters, they aim to cut down on tool proliferation by baking several common enterprise functionalities in the OS itself, such as mounting ISO and Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) images.

Microsoft has tweaked its forced restart policy when applying security patches. It’s also increasing its notice period before it automatically restarts the system from, the default 20 minutes for Windows 7 to three days for Windows 8 – and that, too, if you have no apps running in the background.

Then there’s the most talked-about enterprise-centric feature of all, known as WindowsToGo. With this feature, companies will be able to provide a streamlined Windows 8 installation to their mobile users on an encrypted USB thumb drive.

Ubuntu’s biggest advantage for enterprise users over Windows, however, is that it doesn’t distinguish artificially between the home user and the business user. In addition, Ubuntu 12.04 is a Long Term Support (LTS) release, which is designed to align with a typical enterprise’s long support cycles. Still, in addition to the regular release, Canonical is also working on a special Ubuntu Business Desktop version of the distro.

Net loss

On the other hand, the app that our testers were most disappointed with was Internet Explorer. To be fair, they weren’t disappointed by the app itself, rather by its implementation. IE is bundled both as a Metro app and a non-metro app. Unfortunately, the apps look and behave differently depending on which version of the app you’re using.

This turned off users big on standardisation, and confused others, who just couldn’t figure out why the address bar jumped from the top to the bottom of the screen. On the Ubuntu desktop, it was business as usual – it bundles apps for handling all types of files users throw at it. For media files it couldn’t play, it offered to download the respective codecs with one click, which was something all our testers could do.

Despite Windows 8 having an expanded collection of apps, it still lacks several important options, such as a fully-fledged office suite. All of which can be installed through the Ubuntu Software Centre, of course.

Despite Windows 8 having an expanded collection of apps, it still lacks several important options, such as a fully-fledged office suite. All of which can be installed through the Ubuntu Software Centre, of course.

Starting with Windows 8, users will be able to download and purchase Microsoft-certified Metro apps directly off the wires – something we Linux users have been doing for a long time. All our testers had a positive experience with the Windows 8 Store, which worked as advertised. It’s still under development, and although its repository of apps is nowhere close to Ubuntu’s, expect a lot more apps when it nears release.

Although there’s little difference between the online stores in Windows and Ubuntu, the more advanced users noticed that there’s no provision to install Metro apps from other sources by adding third-party repositories, as with the Ubuntu Software Center.

One major advantage of Ubuntu that every tester noted was the integration of USC within the Applications lens in Unity.

The ability to directly download apps without launching another app was a hit with first-time users.

Maximising real estate

One of the main ideas behind both Metro and Unity is to best utilise the available screen real estate – which is why the Metro apps in Windows 8 run full-screen with no window controls. To close Metro apps, users need to grab them from the top and drag them towards the bottom of the screen, before releasing them into oblivion. This is something none of our users could figure out intuitively on their own. They tried the Alt+F4 key combo and, thankfully, it still worked.

Unity in Ubuntu 12.04 also hides the window control, but testers who were used to the global menus in Mac and previous Ubuntu versions were able to find them with relative ease. Also, while Unity now doesn’t auto hide the launcher by default, this behaviour can be tweaked easily enough from within the system settings.

All our testers preferred Unity’s way of giving apps maximum screen real estate. They’d rather sacrifice a sliver of the screen, and have the global menu with the window controls and the familiar file menu.

Background apps

Since both OSes now run apps in full-screen windows, they’ve had to devise ways of alerting users when an app in the background requires their attention. This is one area where Windows 8 scores partially over Ubuntu.

For example, while Windows was busy downloading an app using the Windows Store Metro app, users switched to other Metro apps. When the app was downloaded and installed, Windows briefly flashed a message that the app was installed. If a user hadn’t been on the computer, they would have missed the message.

But if the background task is on the traditional-looking desktop, for example a file copy operation, then it behaves much as in Windows 7 – the progress is tracked by an animated icon in the taskbar, which starts flashing and changes colour when the task is completed, and continues behaving this way until the user brings the window in focus.

Ubuntu, on the other hand, notifies a user of a completed activity by wiggling its icon in the launcher. It looks nice, and grabs your attention if you’re looking at the screen. But the animation lasts only a couple of seconds, and users who aren’t at the computer won’t be any wiser when they return.

App switching

Microsoft has devised a new way of switching between apps using the mouse. To reveal all open Metro apps, you have to first move your mouse to the upper-left corner of the screen. This will reveal the most recent app. If you then move the mouse alongside the left edge of the screen, you’ll be shown all your open apps. Instead of rewiring their neurons, most of our testers decided to continue using the Alt+Tab keyboard combination, which was unanimously voted as the faster way to switch between apps.

Metro Desktop

Also, our bunch didn’t like the fact that they couldn’t switch between Metro apps and non-Metro apps at the same time. That’s because the Desktop is a Metro app itself! So in the app switcher, the Desktop shows up as a single window, even if it has multiple apps running inside it.

Native applications for Windows 8 use a concoction of HTML5 and JavaScript to get maximum mileage out of the new touch-based Metro UI.

Our testers liked the fact that Windows 8 now enables them to update all Metro apps at the same time from within the Windows Store.

Our testers liked the fact that Windows 8 now enables them to update all Metro apps at the same time from within the Windows Store.

Many of our testers wondered if they’d be able to install and run legacy Windows apps, and if so, how these apps would behave in this new environment.

To test this out, we downloaded a couple of freely-available Windows 7 apps, and tried installing them on top of Windows 8. Much to the delight of our testers, they all installed without a hitch. Although not designed for Metro, these apps do install a tile in the Windows 8 Start screen, which more or less acts like a shortcut to launch these apps in the traditional-looking Desktop.

Microsoft also claims that it has put effort into making the classic desktop more touch-friendly, especially to account for the fact that fingers aren’t as accurate as the traditional pointing device – the mouse. This works well for legacy apps which, although designed for a keyboard and mouse, work well with touchscreens, too.

On the other hand, app integration in Ubuntu’s Unity has matured quite a bit since it was first introduced last year. 12.04 flawlessly ran all non-Unity apps our testers threw at it, and even KDE apps feel at home in Unity, and even adhere to the global menu.

Reset and refresh PCs

Two features that almost brought tears to the eyes of most of our testers who used Windows regularly, were the options to Reset and Refresh their Windows 8 installations.

As the name suggests, the Refresh feature leaves all the user’s files, settings, Metro apps, and apps downloaded from the Microsoft store and clears out the rest – system hogs such as toolbars, adware and unwanted apps.

The Reset function is a bit more severe – it wipes a Windows 8 installation completely. It’s advertised as an ideal solution if you’re planning to give away the PC.

Again, like most things Windows 8, the ability to zap the installation to its factory defaults isn’t exclusive to Windows, but is more involved in Ubuntu, and definitely not as newbie-proof as on Windows 8.

Cloud Integration

Windows 8 is being hailed as the most revolutionary Windows release ever, not just because of its interface, but because it’s redefining how Microsoft looks at Windows installations. One of the most widely talked-about features is its acceptance of the cloud, and how it’s used to deliver synchronised installations, much like Ubuntu.

Synchronised accounts

Starting with Windows 8, users will now be able to create online accounts that will associate their settings with a Microsoft account. Their settings go with them when they sign in to any Windows 8 machine with the credentials of this online account.

Not all our testers could wrap their heads around the concept of online accounts, especially the every-day Windows users. They had been creating offline Windows user accounts forever, and it wasn’t a surprise that many chose to do so, even with Windows 8.

Ubuntu 12.04 is big on privacy.

Ubuntu 12.04 is big on privacy.

The geekier of our testers went ahead and created themselves an online account, and didn’t have any complaints when navigating the Account Creation wizard. They also appreciated the control they had over what settings are synced.Although Ubuntu doesn’t yet have such levels of user account synchronisation, its OneConf mechanism is integrated with the Ubuntu Software Center and its Ubuntu One Cloud service to replicate installed apps across Ubuntu installations.

Cloud storage

Windows 8 is big on the cloud. In addition to its online account feature, it also enables you to connect to various cloud-based services, including its own SkyDrive file-hosting service.

Windows 8’s cloud integration was well received by all our testers. But as with other aspects of the OS inspired by Linux, online storage was something that made more sense to Ubuntu users who had been using Canonical’s Ubuntu One service since the last few releases.

SkyDrive offers 7GB (although 25GB was offered before April 22) of free space compared to Ubuntu One's 5GB.

SkyDrive offers 7GB (although 25GB was offered before April 22) of free space compared to Ubuntu One's 5GB.

There are several similarities between Microsoft’s SkyDrive and Canonical’s Ubuntu One service. Although our testers could upload files to the SkyDrive service, they couldn’t figure out how to back up their computer to it automatically, as with Ubuntu One and Deja Dup. Add to this the fact that the Ubuntu One service has a new control panel and a streamlined setup wizard, which all our testers could navigate easily to add and remove folders for automatic synchronisation.

Social desktop

Another aspect of Windows 8’s cloud focus that surprised several testers is its new ability to hook users into their online life. After setting up their online accounts, users in Windows 8 could connect to their accounts on online services such as Facebook, Twitter and Flickr.

On Ubuntu, this same functionality is extended by the MeMenu. The only difference is that, while Ubuntu users knew the app that was passing on the IM conversations or bringing in and broadcasting messages over Twitter and Facebook, on Windows the users knew these apps only by their function, such as mail, or messaging. Needless to say, this ‘dumbing down’ didn’t please the more advanced users.

Even more surprising is the fact that despite being easy to set up and configure, Windows 8’s social desktop was turned down by some existing Windows users. While some still found it all a bit too complex, many said that they shunned it because they weren’t used to interacting with their friends in this manner.

The one app that was appreciated universally by both Windows and Ubuntu users was the Photos app, especially its ability to email photos directly off the app itself, without configuring traditional emailing programs such as Outlook. Also, no one could point fingers at the implementation of the various online apps. Even novices could compose messages using the Mail app, add contacts from the People app, and include attachments from the local disk along with files from SkyDrive or from within the Photos app.

Privacy measures

Various apps in both Ubuntu and Windows store lots of information about their users and how they’re working with the computer. Most of this info is used for convenience purposes, for example to get you quickly to the last-used file, or to send anonymous usage statistics to the developer for improving the app or the OS itself. One of the highlights of Ubuntu 12.04 is its Privacy Control Panel. All our testers could use the panel to delete their activities. Advanced users appreciated the control they had over which activity is logged and which isn’t, based on applications, file types and locations.

In comparison, Windows 8 has fewer privacy control options, and these are scattered all over the place. Under the Privacy options in PC Settings, users could stop apps from accessing their location, as well as their account name and picture. But they couldn’t customise the behaviour for individual apps, as they could in Ubuntu. It only gets worse from here. Very few could figure out how to clear their personal info displayed in the tiles of the various online apps, such as email. And no user was even aware that they could tweak their right-click Jumplists to hide recently opened items and programs.

Touchy subject

One thing all our testers agreed on with respect to Windows 8 is that it’s an impressive touchscreen OS. Even Ubuntu users couldn’t deny Metro’s usability edge over Unity, on a touchscreen in its current form.

But as a desktop OS, Windows 8 got a universal thumbs down from our testers. They didn’t like being forced to use an OS designed primarily for touchscreen devices with limited real estate, such as a tablet or phone, on their multi-core desktops with wide-screen FullHD displays. Ubuntu’s Unity had pretty much the same criticisms in its early incarnations, but they have evolved since. In fact, much to our surprise, existing Ubuntu users had a much smoother experience with Windows 8 than existing Windows users!

When all is said and done, while existing Windows users were amazed by Windows 8’s new-found cloud antics, our Ubuntu users were far less excited, since they have been using their Linux distro in this fashion for quite a while now. Despite the fact that Windows 8 does some things better than Ubuntu (user account syncs for example), most agreed there wasn’t anything jaw-dropping about Windows 8’s implementation of age-old Ubuntu tricks.

Sync and backup with Ubuntu One

1. Install Ubuntu One

1. Install Ubuntu One

Ubuntu One has a new setup wizard and control panel. The app isn’t installed by default. When you launch it for the first time, from the Launcher or from System Settings, click the Install button to download the app.
2, Create an account

2. Create an account

After the app has been downloaded and installed, you’ll need to create an account with Ubuntu One. The free account gives you 5GB of space. After registering, use the authentication details to sign in.

3. Select cloud folders

3. Select cloud folders

Once you’ve signed in, the app will display the existing folders in your online account, if you have already been using the service. From the list, you can select the folders you want to sync locally with this computer.

4.Configure settings

4.Configure settings

Using the Check Settings button, you can control how your files are synced. You can ask the app to sync new folders that are created in your account or shared by others, and restrict upload and download speeds.

5. Choose local folders

5. Choose local folders

Select the folders on this computer that you’d like to sync with your online account. The app displays the default Ubuntu folders, but you can also add custom folders from anywhere on the computer.

6. Hook up Deja Dup

6. Hook up Deja Dup

You can set Ubuntu’s default backup app, Deja Dup, to back up your files to the cloud. Go to System Settings and click the Backup icon under System. Go to the Storage tab and set Backup location to Ubuntu One.

First published in Linux Format

First published in Linux Format magazine issue 159

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Your comments

Aps based operating system

Cloud based aps forces us to become more and more consumers and takes storage out of our hands and leaves us to not be able top partake in development, leaves the hobbyist to die off.

Leaves only consumers.

Consumers, lose interest fast and move on to new popular trends.

Computers die, Internet becomes the new media distribution system (weird version of cable)
planet gets ignorant because we aren't inter communicating anymore.

all because you want your operating system to depend on aps like Microsoft.

How about make Microsoft change their mind and not go cloud based aps.

Best battle is not mimicry.

The DIY Desktop of Linux

With all these cloud based desktops we seem to be moving away from the DIY style of the traditional desktop which allowed you to get into the guts of the system.

Thank goodness for Slackware style distros which still hold to the idea of the DIY style system and allowing you control over your system.


I am sure you'll get this question from others - I am a big fan of KDE and I wonder how it would have gone if you had included that.

Ubuntu...? Oh, I remember that!

Wasn't that the one that used to be a great distro before they started force-feeding their users an interface that made their computers stupider and look like Fisher-Price toys?

Many paper cuts in Windows 8

If you type your password to log into your Windows 8 account but you are offline, it will alert you that you are offline and that it needs to check your password against the one you previously used. Then it asks you to type the password again.

Ubuntu is best

Ubuntu is best in all field ... when it comes to matter of security ,,,ubuntu beats windows very easily. Windows is totally shit. And amazing thing is that ubuntu is free.

I prefer using Ubuntu 12.10

I prefer using Ubuntu 12.10 with gnome as the desktop environment. It is faster, and I think it is easier to use than Unity.

I ditched winders for Debian

I ditched winders for Debian with xfce a while back, man am I glad I did, btw I have tried unity, and it sucks, I dislike gnome, but I prefer it to unity


the company I work for will wait a long time before upgrading to Win8.
We are not even done rolling out Win7 yet, some still running XP
My hope is that we will just skip 8, just like we skipped Vista.
A couple of web services we use require IE8, so I am pretty sure I won't have to worry about Win8.

At home I am pretty happy with Ubuntu 12.10

I love Windows8

Its a mature OS with tight integration between my three screen, mobile, tablet and PC. The apps are not where they need to be but I anticipate the selection will grow been. I also anticipate MS to work on integrating the desktop/metro aspect even more so that it doesnt seem like you are in two worlds. Btw I like what the linux scene is doing but I like the Win environment better. It's home. Linux is like that cool vacation hotel room. Its great but nothing beats the comfort of home.

Ubuntu 12.04

If you like other desktops and not a fan of unity then install kde, gnome or any of the others still giving you all the features of ubuntu. However I have been using unity for a while now and I'm totally in love with it. I have used Windows before hand and never looked back since switching more than 10 years ago. So all I say is for security, usability, a sexy desktop, great apps and much much more then download, install and you will fall in love like I have. Ubuntu 12.04 and even 12.10 are so much better than Windows 8 any day.

touch screens and desktops

I've tried Win8 for a couple of weeks (Consumer Preview) on my desktop with a 20" non-touch monitor, and found it clunky.
I can easily picture using Win8 on a touch device, and the recent advirts rightly emphasize this use.
Ubuntu with Unity is something I avoided using until recently, and have found it works very well as a desktop, despite being "different". Formally I liked Xubuntu better because it was so simple to just use for everyday things.

Strictly personal conclusion:
Win8 = Not for me, yet. On a tablet, sure, why not.
Ubuntu = Works great on my system, Unity grows on you, my OS of choice for now.

GNU/Linux all the way

I ditched windows several years ago and never looked back since. I used to own and run my own Computer Repair/Sales shop and the market forced me to sell Windows systems, but I closed that down many years ago when I was hired on as software engineer by another company. So since I had no more reasons to sell or use Winblows!!! I've been using variants of XFCE and Gnome ever since. I've tried and succeeded to convert many people to GNU/Linux and have failed with others but what I've learned over the years is that people are branded and won't use something better for the simple fact that everyone else isn’t. To that I say (YOUR LOSS) not mine.

Tried Ubuntu, makes Windows 8 look amazing

I have been using Windows 8 for a while, but I decided to try Ubuntu because of all of the people that claim that Ubuntu is amazing. I was incredibly disappointed with Ubuntu. I expected that the ui would be better than windows 8, but it was terrible. Combined with the fact that Ubuntu had hardly any apps and there was no huge advantages that I could discern I couldn't wait to go back to the familiar windows 8. I find it funny when people say that there going to use Ubuntu instead of Windows 8 because they hate windows 8 so much. There is something called windows 7, that has a better and more familiar and has hundreds of thousands of programs.


I agree with berock212, I have Windows 8, and love it. I tried Ubuntu, IT'S HORRIBLE! DO NOT TRY OR TAKE UBUNTU! WORST OPERATING SYSTEM EVER! It's free, it's priceless, but priceless as in it has no value! It's the worst OS ever. IT'S EVEN WORSE THAN WINDOWS 1.1!!!!

Disagreed. Ubuntu is AWESOME

Plainly stated, windows 8 sucks. If you want a Windows OS that actually was worth the 100$ for the license, you should have stuck with Windows 7. That was actually worth something. But a hybrid kernel? Seriously? With the new Unity Desktop, Gnome Compatibility, and Open Source? You can't get much better than that. I'm running it off a computer with Windows XP. My only problem is that it's a little slow, but that's because the computer only has 384 MB of RAM. Not Ubuntu's fault. The computer's. With Wine in hand for Linux, there's limitless possibilities of what you can do with Linux.


p.s. When Windows goes open source, then we'll talk.

P.S. to my first statement.

The only windows that can begin to compare with Ubuntu is Windows 7. It's a tie between those two. 7 is the closest Windows OS there is to perfect.

Windows 8 sucks

Windows 8 is a nightmare. I will never buy it. Its totally gay UI sucks to the max and it is not user freindly at all.
Windows 8 is totally gay and sucks to the max. I am going back to linux.

You can minimize apps on windows 8...

What MS did essentially with metro apps is that they made the apps full-screen. When you press the start button you're actually minimizing the app. Some apps are suspended when minimized and some update in the background. Ex= People app, Messaging app.

Mouse and keyboard does not suck so much

I got used to Windows 8 with mouse and keyboard within 2 days. Rather than dragging the mouse to the corner to scroll. I just used the scroll wheel. That's much more effective. Metro is not ugly. It is ugly if you keep the live tiles off though. Metro feels much more 'live' than other UIs because the UI changes. If you have any objection, I agree your objection if it is related to personal preference.

HTML5 and Javascript only?

Are you sure that Windows Store apps use just HTML5 and JavaScript. Languages like C,C++,C#,VB.NET are also used.

f*** windows

Windows is shit, it is simple but is made for people who are experienced with windows PERIOD. Ubuntu is easy to learn and is more functional. It is also useful for experienced users because of its wide range of function

Windows 8 sucks

I say windows 7 is better than windows 8. And linux is awesome!!!

I used Ubuntu for a few

I used Ubuntu for a few years, but really grew to dislike it. I found the OS and many apps buggy and the UI is nothing special. Running it on a 64-bit OS presented a real challenge whenever I wanted to install a new bit of software. At first I didn't mind as I was learning the ropes of Linux, but after a while it just got to be a pain. In fact I ended up switching back to Vista! That said I couldn't wait till Win 8 came out. Out of the box is was a bit cumbersome for a non-touch PC, but after just a bit of tweaking I had the system setup to work smoothly. I've been using win 8 for four months now and I'm quite happy with it.





I'm happy with ElementaryOs

I'm happy with ElementaryOs :)

UBUNTU rocks

Ubuntu is the best. Because I use it.


run ubuntu and windows 8 live all free download online desktop asus pc apps

Thank you for the good writeup.

Greetings! I’ve been following your site for a while now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Atascocita Tx! Just wanted to mention keep up the great work!

Ubuntu is fine but it's only One Form of Linux

First, I am going to deal with a couple of trolls, berock212 and Clockworker, it is patently obvious that your posts are meant to be inflammatory anti Ubuntu/Linux troll rants. It is perfectly acceptable for a MS user to try Ubuntu and not like it--fine--that is called freedom of choice but it's clear that neither poster has one iota of real knowledge about Ubuntu. berock212's comment, "hardly had any apps..." is baldfaced lie or that person is completely incompetent. One of the biggest draws for Linux Converts is the plethora of installed Programs out of the box so to speak--full Libre Office Suite, Multi Media Programs( Rhythm Box-Banshee), Brasero CD Burner, Back Up Programs, F-Shot(or similar Picture) and so on; not to mention the Ubuntu Software Center and its function to install(for the most part) freely any program a user needs. If you are going to lie berock212 at least make it believable. Personally, I started with Ubuntu but did/do not for Unity. I shifted to PCLinuxOS, AmethystOS, Bodhi and SoLusOS as those OS and interfaces work better for me which is the ultimate point with Ubuntu/Linux--Choice. If something is not to one's personal taste or needs there are options. Ubuntu is just one of many variants of Linux. If a user does like it--rather than post lies and half truths on a Message board--check out a different Distro. Be fair or shut up!

Just a Correction Edit of my Original Post

My apologies to one and all. This board does not provide an edit function beyond a preview page. If something goes amiss then...this is the only way to correct. In any case, I meant:

"Personally, I started with Ubuntu but did/do not care for Unity. I shifted to PCLinuxOS, AmethystOS, Bodhi and SoLusOS as those OS and interfaces work better for me which is the ultimate point with Ubuntu/Linux--Choice," and " If a user does not like it--rather than post lies and half truths on a Message board--check out a different Distro. Be fair or shut up!"

I hope this clears up any confusion my word omissions may have caused. Thanks.

windows 8 ok linux ok

i adapted to win 8 in 5 days it runs al the aps ive triad on it even old games that xp and vista did not run win 7 did run them but with dificulties win 8 runs them flawlesly

linux ubuntu mint fedora ive tried them i like mint and fedora. ubuntu i just dont like unity it fels wrong. mint is the best linux and i use it alongside windows. mint is easy to tweak and to understand out of the box. windows 8 and 7 i like the most xp whas also ok

Windows suck

Ubuntu is great. Windows of whatever version sucks.

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