Monday, June 23, 2008

Linux VS Windows

For the 40th installment of the blog, I am going to be doing my own opinions on windows VS linux. This is bound to make the windows fan boys twitch, and the linux gods cringe.


My lovely MDG machine finally blew its hard drive after a brown out. A total loss of the MBR, followed by the thunk-thunk-thunk noise of the reader arm tapping the flatline against the spindle. Its been a beautiful machine to me. Unfortunatly, money is a little tight right now, and I havent been able to replace it. Windows XP is my primary OS, however It requires a HDD to run. Some people have dabbled in creating a portable version of it, however there is no true following to run with. Bring on linux, which Ive used for a few weeks now, and is what Im using right now.

The first step in looking into the OS's is not to compare them. They are two different animals, with two different history's following them. The key to learning them is to separate them mentally into two different os.

So I am going to look at this as more of a linux review then anything else.

Linux has been long heralded as the redheaded stepchild to windows. Its never been as publicly known about, and isn't a run of the mill OS like windows is. Chances are if you visit a buddy, his machine will likely have some incarnation of windows on it.

Windows uses DOS for its kernel, as Mandriva uses Linux. Linux boots slightly slower then Windows xp, however once loaded, its basically ready for use. There is little driver hunting, or seeking. Configuration is minimal. This is what makes linux distros so popular in thier followings. Its easy to install, and configure over a wide range of systems. Linux is so versatile it is used in everything from micro laptops, through to cell phones, servers, and just about anything. Right now mine is running on a machine with no hard drive. Its on my USB jump drive.

But its not all roses. Linux's GNU liscense is its acheles heel. Unlike windows where your drivers are typically professionally made to work, linux's programmers are largely volunteers. If you happen to have that limited production device, chances are your gonna wait for its driver for a long time.

As well with linux its small following makes it limited for mainstream applications, such as games. Games are designed for the mainstream as most people use windows based machines.

Not being number one is a strong point. Linux is an oddball. Just like Mac. Because it isnt the #1, it tends to fall out of the cross hairs of spyware and viruses. Its a different language that most don't speak.

Performance wise, I would say Linux is a hands down winner. Linux screams through multi-tasking like its nobody's business. Linux seems to figure out whats going to work best and set itself up for that. Ever use a windows machine, and see that wireless networking services are running although you don't have a wireless card? Linux seems to figure that out on the boot.

As well, not having to run a firewall, antivirus, anti rootkit anti malware, etc.. program seems to help.

Visual effects in some distros with Beryl are excellent with tons of configurations. They dont seem to bog the machine down as well.

Will I be keeping linux once the new HDD arrives and the Laptop comes? No. And heres why:

Linux isn't compatible with the unique software I use for my radios. This isn't a fault of Linux, its part of how it works. And most likely, I am not going to find a program for it.

Linux isn't beginner friendly. My wife can't stand Linux. Not because it sucks, its because it's different. Its not what she was taught on, and she doesn't want to learn. She knows windows and thats what she wants to see when she turns her computer on. Plain and simple. Push power and off you go. The schools are teaching windows because anywhere ya go, thats what your going to find!

Same with the kids. What my daughter is learning is windows in school. Not linux. Shes used to clicking the little firefox on her destop and going about her buisness. She isnt used to looking for it anywhere else.

For myself, my work uses Windows. And MS office. And thats what I need to use for pure compatablility when I work across computers.

As well, when Im on the road, Ill be putting XP onto the computer, just because most free internet sites in out camps and in truckstops are geared for windows, and I dont wanna spend my time dinking around with Linux when all I want to do Is get on MSN and go.

All In all, linux is great for certain people, as for me. When I get my laptop, it will be XP, and so will the MDG when It gets handed to her.

Now that vista thing *shudder* what was MS thinking?!

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