Windows 7 vs. Ubuntu 9.10

This article goes through the strengths and weaknesses of both OS’s. I’ve been very open to both sides, but I admit that I’m a regular Windows user and only play around with Ubuntu. I have a guy I work with that is a big time Ubuntu user and was actually the first one to turn me on to it. Here is a pretty quick and good comparison of both OS’s and for those of you who’d rather someone else tell you which to use, use Windows 7, wait I meant read this article. -Greg

Posted by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes

Over the past few days I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the differences between Microsoft’s latest Windows 7 and Canonical’s Ubuntu 9.10. Specifically, I’ve been thinking about the strengths and weaknesses of each of the operating systems. Is a free operating system really as good as one that you pay for?

Let’s take a look at several aspects of using operating systems and examine the various strengths and weaknesses of each OS.

Installation

Windows 7

  • Pros
    – Install is quick, easy and painless.
    – After working through a few wizard screens at the beginning, the install is automatic
  • Cons
    – None really

Ubuntu 9.10

  • Pros
    – Option to “try before you install” using the Live CD feature
    – Can easily install as a dual boot or even inside Windows using the Wubi installer
  • Cons
    – Unless you’re luck to get a CD, you do have to mess about with .ISO files and burn a disc. If you’re happy doing that, it’s not really a problem.

Speed/Performance

Windows 7

  • Pros
    – Both are excellent
  • Cons
    – None really

Ubuntu 9.10

  • Pros
    – Both are excellent
  • Cons
    – None really

Usability

I’ve thought long and hard about this one and I’ve come to the conclusion that while neither OS is perfect (far from it), both are also just as usable once you devote the time to figuring things out. I have years of Windows experience under my belt and a lot less with Ubuntu but I can’t say that’s a problem.

Software

Windows 7

  • Pros
    – If you’re willing to pay, there’s a lot of software for the Windows platform
    – Equally, there’s a LOT of free stuff if you look around
  • Cons
    – Bundled fayre is pretty poor

Ubuntu 9.10

  • Pros
    – Comes complete with an excellent array of software
    – Access to, and installing, new software is a snap
  • Cons
    – None really … just don’t expect to run Windows software (even if you do resort to Wine)

Media Support

Windows 7

  • Pros
    – Excellent support for media formats, including DRMed media, out of the box
  • Cons
    – Windows Media Player isn’t the best bit of software around

Ubuntu 9.10

  • Pros
    – Good support for media formats
  • Cons
    – If you want to play DVDs then you need to resort to “Restricted” codecs
    – Many media formats that use proprietary DRM just won’t work on Ubuntu because of DRM restrictions

Hardware support

Windows 7

  • Pros
    – On the whole, Windows 7 offers excellent support for modern hardware right out of the box
  • Cons
    – You might be out of luck with old hardware

Ubuntu 9.10

  • Pros
    – Overall, hardware support is good, and getting better
    – On really low-end hardware you can substitute Ubuntu for Xubuntu
  • Cons
    – There are no guarantees
    – There’s no “Works with Linux” logo that buyers can look for when buying new hardware

Final thoughts

There’s no doubt that Windows is the default OS for many users. In fact, for most users out there it’s the only OS and many of those aware that a different OS exists know about Mac OS rather than Linux.

That said though, Linux is a very good, robust and highly-usable operating system. It’s also fun to use and free. I understand how for many people operating systems are akin to religions, but there are huge advantages to being OS-agnostic. One advantage is that you can pick and choose the right OS for the job.

..READ THIS AT ZDNET