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Microsoft Ubuntu Windows Linux

Windows 7 vs. Ubuntu 10.04 702

Barence writes "PC Pro has performed a comprehensive test of Windows 7 vs Ubuntu 10.04. They've tested and scored the two operating systems on a number of criteria, including usability, bundled apps, performance, compatibility and business. The final result is much closer than you might expect. 'Ubuntu is clearly an operating system on the rise,' PC Pro concludes. 'If we repeat this feature in a year's time, will it have closed the gap? We wouldn't bet against it.'"
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Windows 7 vs. Ubuntu 10.04

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @10:25AM (#33586678)

    My wife got a Win7 x64 laptop and none of the older Canon hardware (printers and scanners) supported this OS. After 2 hours of trying to make it work with all sorts of hacks posted in the bowels of the internet support forums, I tested the devices on my Ubuntu desktop. They worked fine.

    The only app that she uses is Picasa and that works on Ubuntu. So I installed Ubuntu on her laptop and it works great. In the last 10 years, we've come full circle. If you want hardware support, you need Linux.

    I just wish that I could have paid less for the laptop without the Windows tax.

  • by Beat The Odds ( 1109173 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @10:26AM (#33586710)
    It's quite interesting that PRICE is missing from the comparison. I'd say that based on their own scoring system, that would make it dead even!
  • by Peeteriz ( 821290 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @10:29AM (#33586752)

    It would be interesting to see some proper statistics on how many home users actually buy/run games on windows.

    From my gut feeling it might fall both ways - it may be that a lot of people need the home computer to support DirectX games, as it is a must-have feature for myself.

    Or it may be just as likely that most typical home-users actually just use the computers for Web+Word, and quite likely get their gaming done on sites like facebook (which has more daily-active players than the entire PC FPS+RTS+MMORPG sales combined) or on consoles - in which case they don't really care about the PC games and Wine.

  • by elewton ( 1743958 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @10:30AM (#33586786)
    While I agree that Windows 7 is superior to Ubuntu in many respects, this comparison is weak because it's a Windows 7 user in a relatively foreign land.

    I'm used to various flavours of Linux, and Windows 7 seems impressive in some respects, but strangeness makes it feel awkward sometimes.

  • Derp derp (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Lulfas ( 1140109 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @10:30AM (#33586792)
    I love how they have a category for Entertainment and Bundled Apps, refuse to mention actual games and only focus on things that Microsoft would be sued for putting into their OS.
  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @10:35AM (#33586850)
    As a good geek, I've tried switching to Linux many times over the years. Every time has ended in frustration. Even putting aside all the games and software compatibility problems (and those are pretty frickin' significant), I also have to deal with a confusing variety of distros, poor documentation, and an arrogant support base (asking how to do something in Linux that you could do in Windows on a Linux support forum will evoke a "Obviously you don't belong here" blast of snobbery that would make the average high school head cheerleader blush). Ubuntu has helped with some of that, but it still suffers from pretty piss-poor documentation. And downloading and installing software, even using the built-in installer, is a confusing nightmare. With Windows, you download the Windows version, double-click it, and you're done. With Linux, it's often a mess of tar files, "Is this compatible with my distro?" And I *still* don't know the fucking difference between gnome and KDE, or why that should even be an issue.
  • by kalpol ( 714519 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @10:38AM (#33586914)
    > And your typical home user won't want it. Wrong. I have a very large family, most of whom are very typical home users, mostly computer illiterate - web, email, videos, and the occasional spreadsheet. My mother wants to surf the net, check her email, watch news video and view whatever pictures and video kids send her. She was always getting viruses on her Windows XP box, and after years of trying to keep her up and running I finally installed Firefox to get her used to the browser, and then a while later installed Ubuntu. I used a theme similar to XP, she loved it, and my workload dropped about 90%. She doesn't know Linux from Windows from a bag of frogs, and doesn't care as long as it works.
  • Poor usability. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MaWeiTao ( 908546 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @10:47AM (#33587012)

    Ubuntu may be getting better. But it still looks amateurish in comparison to Windows or OSX. It just doesn't feature the polish of those other OSs. Windows has a lot of clutter, but it is still a cohesive and fairly consistent experience. It doesn't seem like they gave enough thought to usability in Ubuntu, they simply copied bits of and pieces of what Microsoft and Apple have already done.

    Designing a user interface is actually quite challenging. It's not as simple as designing something pretty. Apple and Microsoft expend a lot of effort in this area. Apple has a fairly consistent vision which is why they generally do a good job, although I think they've blown it with the new version of iTunes. The problem with Microsoft is that they have too many different divisions with different ideas of what should be done and reinterpretations with every release. But even then they're clearly a lot of thought put into things, as much as possible given the complexity of functionality. And a lot of times it's small stuff that most people don't think is important, but taken as a whole becomes very crucial.

    I can't speak to the other items since I haven't used the OS enough, but I would have graded Ubuntu more harshly in this area.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @10:51AM (#33587096)

    I have to say that Adobe Flash is horrible on Linux, it uses far more CPU time and its not as smooth either.

    That said, there are plans (according to another /. article) for Steam to move into Linux too. And not even home user is there to play games.

    Flash uses 100% CPU time of one core under windows. Does that mean it's multi-core aware in Linux?

  • by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) * on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @11:01AM (#33587248)

    While I agree that Windows 7 is superior to Ubuntu in many respects, this comparison is weak because it's a Windows 7 user in a relatively foreign land.

    I'm used to various flavours of Linux, and Windows 7 seems impressive in some respects, but strangeness makes it feel awkward sometimes.

    You need to make the comparison between going from Windows XP (still the dominant Microsoft operating system) to either Windows 7 or a comparable Linux distro. Both Windows 7 and Linux are going to be very different from the perspective of that ex-XP user ... but because Windows 7 is so different, either way he's going to hit a significant learning curve. I felt the same way when I first experienced the "Office Ribbon" when I was upgraded at work. It thoroughly irritated me because it was so different and I had things to get done now. So I went back to OpenOffice because it was more familiar, more like Microsoft Office than the new Office was.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @11:05AM (#33587312)

    Does your mom play Team Fortress? You seem to fail to realize that there are millions of users who do not play games. And most of them probably don't even know what operating system they're using. And based on the the results in TFA, they might as well be using Ubuntu.

  • by pavera ( 320634 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @11:12AM (#33587430) Homepage Journal

    OS X is slick but it runs on very expensive hardware

    I love how this myth has continued to exist... Do you people really not know how to do a real hardware comparison? The last 3 laptops I've bought, I go to Dell, HP, IBM, and Apple... I configure the system I "need" (RAM, HD, processor, screen size, etc), then match specs across all vendors as close as possible (IE, maybe one has a 250gb HD, and the other only offers a 300GB HD)... And guess what? Apple, while routinely more expensive, is only slightly so... IE $20-50 more expensive. And when you throw in the fact that I don't have to purchase antivirus, deal with reinstalling the OS every 6 months, or other bizarre and arcane MS only issues... well its easily worth $50 to get the mac.

    Windows 7 is easily the best Microsoft OS ever... but I highly prefer OS X (and even Ubuntu 10.04 talk about wanting to tinker?!?)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @11:14AM (#33587466)

    What difference does it make how old the hardware is? The point is that it works. I have the same issue with a Canon scanner, and the scanner works as well as the day I bought it in Ubuntu. Windows 7 x64 helpfully tells me to "solve this issue" by buying a new scanner. Thanks, but if the hardware is working I am not going to buy a new scanner because Canon is too lazy to write a 64-bit driver for it.

  • by MrTripps ( 1306469 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @11:15AM (#33587506)
    I did a write up like this back in 1997 with Win95 and some flavor of Red Hat. It has been thirteen years and the basic arguments still haven't changed.
  • by Oxygen99 ( 634999 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @11:17AM (#33587536)
    Heh, nothing against you personally, but when I read comments about "how installing {insert Linux distro here} on Granny's machine meant problems dropped by 90%", I wonder if Granny simply stopped using her computer quite so much or whether she simply doesn't ask for advice anymore...

    "Goddammit Marv, I asked our son to speed up our computer and now we can't use it anymore! I'll be jiggered if I'm going back to him for advice..."

  • by mathimus1863 ( 1120437 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @11:20AM (#33587600)
    I had a similar experience. My girlfriend got a free HP or Canon printer (I don't remember which) with her laptop. Amusingly, her laptop came with Windows 7 and couldn't actually use the printer that came with it. We installed drivers from CD, downloaded drivers, tried troubleshooting... we couldn't get it to work. As a test, I booted an Ubuntu live CD, and it worked within 10s of boot.

    Hardware support has definitely become a positive aspect of Ubuntu, no longer the pain in the ass that it used to be for generic Linux. Admittedly, if there's no hardware support, it's a mess to get it... but it seems that there's a massive amount of native support already there, including the default PDF printer which I couldn't live without.
  • by horza ( 87255 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @11:26AM (#33587700) Homepage

    It's also a question of familiarity. I also think Windows 7 is the best version I've ever used, but I also think Ubuntu blows it away for usability as I've now been using Linux for so long. With Windows 7 the number of dialog boxes that pop up drive me mad, the number of things in the sys tray that keep asking me if I want to update, the number of simple apps that it misses that I can't get without having to pay for (screenshots, etc), the bloated anti-virus/spyware you end up installing, having to hunt around on sites for drivers that don't get found, etc.

    If all you know is Windows then Win7 is a great update, but then that is more to do with previous versions not being very good. If you are a gamer, then Win7 is pretty much your only choice. The sheer wealth of free software, coupled with being so customisable, makes Ubuntu already superior for others though. Until Win7 gets the equivalent of apt-get and a similar size software repository, it's not yet there for me in terms of desktop use.


  • by eepok ( 545733 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @11:35AM (#33587892) Homepage

    There's only 2 ways to get people to switch to Ubuntu:

    1) (Not likely) Make Windows games playable on it.
    2) (Possible!) Change the standard directory names to things longer than 3 letters. Even if you're a hyper-involved PC-user (building and fixing your own and others with tons of tweaks), the dive into the various versions of linux is a complete vocabulary shock simply because nothing says what it is. Programs are oddly named and folder titles are super-abbreviated.

  • by abigor ( 540274 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @11:37AM (#33587916)

    Why is Sun dead because they invented a wildly successful programming language and virtual machine? I don't get your logic here.

  • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @11:42AM (#33588008) Homepage

    The only real barrier at this point to having your average n00b run Linux is probably lack of support from Apple.

    The fact that Apple is actively hostile to accessing their devices outside of iTunes means more people are driven to keep WINDOWS around.

    Not being able to deal with their iPod or iPhone is more likely a show stopper than games at this point.

  • by RebootKid ( 712142 ) <> on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @11:44AM (#33588030)
    I converted my wife to Ubuntu after the 8th virus in 3 months. I did buy Crossover Pro for Photoshop, but that's about it. She loves how much faster her laptop is. She games on Facebook, uses Evolution for email, and OpenOffice for writing, etc. She's got Hulu Desktop installed, and will dock her laptop to our home theater system and watch TV that way. The number of "Hey hon, can you look at this?" type things have gone down incredibly. She's been on Ubuntu for about 18 months now, and can't fathom going back. So, I don't think that your point of, "Granny just stopped asking for help" is really valid. People are people, if you mess up their PC, you'll hear about it at every family gathering.
  • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @11:45AM (#33588058) Homepage

    > Usability: The need to use the command line for installing custom proprietary software is a shortcoming ...and what would those be?

    2nd Life?
    Bridge Construction Set?
    Robin Hood?

  • by colinrichardday ( 768814 ) <> on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @12:00PM (#33588330)

    Native clients will always run faster than Wine.


  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @12:10PM (#33588500) Journal

    >>>Perhaps they should do a Mac OS vs. Ubuntu Linux comparison.

    Heck I'll do it myself. Ubuntu 10.0 and Mac OS 10.6
    usability - 7 - 7 (tie)
    entertainment and bundled aps 8 - 6 (Mac scores same as WIN7)
    performance and mobility - 9 - 9 (tie)
    drivers and compatibility - 7 - 7 (tie)
    business - 7 - 6 (mac not as good as ubuntu)

    TOTAL 38 Ubuntu 35 Mac

  • Ubuntu (Score:2, Interesting)

    by CFBMoo1 ( 157453 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @12:34PM (#33588932) Homepage
    My biggest issue with Ubuntu is getting the sound system to "Just work" between Flash and regular Linux apps or WINE and Linux apps. Other then that it's been really great for the most part. Now and then I have driver issues for newer hardware but I ran in to the same problem with Windows 7 on a new laptop I got recently. My laptop actually worked better under Ubuntu 10.04 out of the box then it did with Windows 7 which needed me to farm drivers off Acer's web site.

    I think the worst problem I had with that laptop was the ear jack not working when plugged in but regular speakers working ok. A six step processes that ran an automated script from their support forum fixed that problem. Now I just have the Flash and WINE sound issues. Windows 7 had me downloading chip set drivers, sound drivers, video drivers, etc.
  • Should've tried Mint (Score:2, Interesting)

    by yk4ever ( 1110821 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @12:38PM (#33588996)

    Mint is much more friendlier to Windows user while retaining most of Ubuntu's goodness.

  • by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @12:41PM (#33589034) Homepage

    The real kicker about this is that Microsoft identified this exact issue about a decade ago, when they realized that web applications would eventually make their dominance of the desktop less useful than it once was. So far, they haven't been able to do anything about it, for several reasons:
      - Firefox largely put an end to the IE-only websites that were popular back in the day. This stunted Microsoft's attempts to control HTML and Javascript and add incompatible extensions to it.
      - Linux+Apache provided all the software for anybody anywhere to set up a cheap webserver or even Java application server. That solved the problem of Microsoft trying to control Internet protocols by controlling the server side.
      - The rise of broadband and AJAX meant that desktop apps aren't that much faster than web apps.
      - Apple's desktops and laptops have been rising in popularity.
      - And of course, the efforts of Google to make darn good web apps.
      - Gnome / KDE providing progressively more viable and easy-to-use alternatives to Windows.

    So that leaves Microsoft Windows often as a tool to access your awesome webapps, which can be relatively easily replaced by OS X or Ubuntu. Totally anecdotal evidence, I've had friends over who wanted to borrow my machine, and I happened to have Linux w/Gnome up and running, which they had no trouble using at all.

  • Re:Poor usability. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by boxwood ( 1742976 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @03:23PM (#33591586)

    ... I haven't used the OS enough...

    And that is exactly why you don't like it. There has been a lot of thought put into the UI of Ubuntu. But you need to give an honest effort to actually use it.

    I have used all three major OS's a fair bit. And my assessment? Ubuntu has the best UI of all of them. Windows is kludgy, and takes a lot more effort to get to your apps. MacOS makes it easier to get to your apps with the dock, but its really difficult to have multiple windows open.

    In ubuntu it seems like they're just sticking stuff in places for no good reason. That is until you start using it. If you want to open something new, you're going to be doing stuff in the top bar. If you're managing already open apps, look down to the bottom bar. The trash icon in the lower right corner doesn't seem to make much sense until you actually drag a file to it. Much easier to drag something to the corner than it is to right-click and select delete. I was scratching my head over why that was down there, until I had to clean up some of my old files.

    In the lower left corner is show desktop... as old Fitts said the corners of the screen are the easiest part to get your mouse to. Throw your mouse in the corner and click. I never really used the desktop much before, but now that its so much easier to access, I put stuff there all the time.

    Top left you got an Applications menu, and its actually organised sensibly, unlike the start menu in windows or the applications folder in MacOS. And if there's an app in there I use often, its really easy to drag that app to the middle of the top bar so its only one click away.

    Top right, Log out, Shut down, etc. In the newer versions of windows I always struggle to find those. I think it might be in the apple menu in MacOS? I don't remember.

    And ahhh the places menu. This is one I can't live without. Easy access to Folders, Network Shares, USB drives... you know all the places you save stuff. With windows to get to a file, I have to click Start->My Computer if its on an external drive, or maybe Start->My Documents, OR maybe minimize all my apps or click the Show desktop button (which may not be there or is hidden because there's a bunch of other crap in the quick launch bar), Start->My Computer if I've mapped a netwrok share as a drive, but start-My Network Places otherwise. MacOS I have to minimise apps or open the finder and start clicking around. Ubuntu I just click Places and its all there. When I need a file I know where to click.

    I think the issue a lot of people have with linux is that they come from windows or macOS with preconceived notions on how things should work. Its kind of an uncanny valley sort of situation. It similar in some ways to the OS you're used to that you start having certain expectations. But then when you see a difference, it seems weird. But there is no solution for this, really. MS, Apple and Ubuntu all do usability studies and they get the same findings. MS tries to keep things the same and stays in the same valley all the time. Apple does things completely different so they're in a totally different valley. Ubuntu tries to create a good user experience so their little valley has some similarities to MS, some similarities to Apple. Even if they have the best valley, visitors from Windows or MacOS get an unsettling feeling of similarity and difference at the same time. But realise that MS and Apple are doing lots of usability studies when they build their UI. So when Ubuntu does a usability study they're going to get similar results. And using those results they're going to have similar UI elements. Similar but not the same.

  • by Ammishdave ( 688623 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @08:37PM (#33594838) Homepage
    Compatibility is the goal of Wine. They spend most of their time fixing bugs caused by the "undocumented features" in the Windows APIs.
  • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @08:44PM (#33594928)
    The basic argument is "Win* user has an application they want to use that won't run anywhere else and they will accept no substitutes. Let's see what happens when we expose them to a similar program for ten seconds on a different platform".

    In my case it's WinXP that wins every time and Win7 that loses, until the software vendor gets off their backside and fixes the problems that prevent this years release from running on Win7.
  • Re:I'm a gamer (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mjwx ( 966435 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @11:56PM (#33596246)

    I'm a gamer. A PC gamer.

    As am I. I have more then a few games that run on Linux, despite that my gaming boxen still runs XP just for sheer simplicity. However my laptop (for travel) and my Media centre run Linux (Ubuntu and Mythbuntu respectively) for the exact same reason. Desktop Linux excels at simple tasks, torrents, web, email, chat, word processing, stuff makes up the entirety of computer use for 90% of people. So it's simpler to run Linux where possible because it does the job and hardly ever has problems.

    My Laptop is on more then my gaming desktop, why? because my gaming desktop sounds like a jet engine (I use noise cancelling headphones) and my lappy is quiet as a mouse so if I leave something going overnight it's on the laptop.

    Most people are too stupid to use windows correctly,

    People that stupid cant figure out windows, they use rote memorisation. So they learn to click here, then here and then here regardless of what happens. People like this are the easiest to re-train to Linux as you just give them the same rote learning system that they used to learn Windows.

    It's the people who think they know how to use computers but cant that art difficult, following your theory this is not most people. People like this will be a problem but their number is small.

    Most people will switch to Linux when their employer makes them. End of story, most people wont have an issue adopting even without much training as Windows and Linux are very similar, they just _look_ different. From the end user perspective right click does the same thing, as does the red X. Most people aren't as dumb as you think they are (well at least not in AU).

  • by HermMunster ( 972336 ) on Thursday September 16, 2010 @02:34PM (#33602594)

    I'm late to the party here. But as far as the usability issues, at least the first part, he was wrong on all counts. When I try to run adobe AIR on any computer I have to first install it after downloading. If Adobe can't get their system set up properly and provide a proper .deb file that's not Ubuntu's fault. That is after all a 3rd party proprietary product. When it comes to workspaces that is pure preference. He tries to make it out as if that's a usability feature but in reality you can just shut it off and use a single desktop. As far as pinning to the task bar, well, that's brand new in Win7 and hasn't been part of it for what now, 2 decades? Not really proper way to judge a budding OS. And, as far as docks go, there are plenty of them for Linux.

    Google chrome for windows violates the interface rules for Linux. It essentially goes against the environment. The buttons on the left are no different than the buttons on the left under Mac OS X. Switching the buttons back to the right is a trivial task in Ubuntu. There are even simple one click solutions to get it done.

    Microsoft paid the organization that holds the patent on MP3s for the right to include it into all copies of their OS. They were sued by that organization and lost, loosing over a billion dollars, when they stopped paying because they stated they assumed the license was in perpetuity. So, the only reason it is there is because Microsoft paid to have it there. In versions of Windows, prior to Vista, you had to pay for the ability to play back DVDs. In Linux it is no different. But, if you attempt to play a DVD or an mp3 the first time the system will prompt you to install the proper codec with the warning that it is proprietary and might require you to pay for a license.

    If you want glitz without the depth (things used to be different) you can install Amarok. It has plenty of glitz, though it has changed to the point that it disappoints those who used it before the 2.x release.

    No PCs come with a free edition of Office Starter. Every copy is a trial edition. Usually giving you 30 days and then you get to pay for it if you like it. Having a few models come with this is sort of silly in comparison to a full featured office product that is free and pre-installed.

    Having no Linux version of iTunes is not the fault of Linux, nor Ubuntu. Having encrypted information that is supposed to only be decrypted by iTunes is also not the fault of Linux. The iPhone issue is a non-starter. As far as an iPod goes you can use gtdpod to take full advantage and not have to deal with Apple's rather assuming iTunes player.

Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.