To be honest, I love XP – it does everything I want it to do.
I did use Ubuntu for a few months as a dual-boot thing but it seemed like going back in time and things were unneccesarily difficult. As much as pro-linux people say it’s better than Windows and more people should use it, it’s just not friendly enough to cut it for the vast majority of users. I spent hours and hours over several days finding documents and instructions on how to get various devices working – only with some success. The installation broke completely twice and I had to start again twice. It’s nowhere near as easy as just plug a device in, install the driver and off you go like you get with Windows!
If I find it a nightmare then your typical non-techie consumer is going to end up in a mess with it. I’ve been working in IT all of my working life and still deal with people on all sorts of platforms – mostly Windows these days (99.9% of businesses I deal with use Windows Servers and Clients), but a handful are hanging in there with things like AIX and I’ve spent many an hour navigating around in terminal screens. However, it’s the 21st century – I don’t want to be inside a terminal screen mucking about editing configuration files to make my computer work. It should just do it – and Windows does.
Considering Ubuntu is the current flavour of the month, I’d have expected it to be something special.
– publicenergy 2007-01-23 13:39 UTC
Each to their own, I guess
I find XP incredibly frustrating. I’m used to being able to do several things at the same time, and tend to have four or five apps open at the same time, switching between them without worry. Linux just handles anything I throw at it without a problem.
Just having a web browser and Photoshop open in XP means staring at the hourglass while windows are half-rendered on the screen, or menus are locked up. That hourglass is the bane of my life in XP. XP is a single-task system that seems to be only able to handle one program open at a time. That just doesn’t work for me, at all, and it’s totally 1980s. Ick.
In Linux, the apps themselves multi-task internally. I can be running a filter on a photo in GIMP, and continue to resize, crop and edit the image while the filter is processing. In Photoshop, I have to wait, and wait, and wait.
It’s not just about speed, of course. XP locks up far to often for my liking. I’ve lost more work to XP to any other system; the fact you need anti-this, that and the other in XP just to protect yourself from the Operating System(!!) is reason enough for me not to want to touch it unless absolutely necessary.
You’re right about Linux needing more knowledge than a non-techie consumer would be willing to possess. Ubuntu is better than most in this respect, but not perfect. Sound and video worked out of the box for me, but I had to fiddle around to get the wifi working, because the “proprietary” wifi firmware isn’t provided. That’s where ethics get in the way of practicality, methinks. Same for having to install your own mp3 and DVD codecs.
The difference I guess if that with Linux you can get under the hood of the system. Sometimes you need to. In XP, that’s all but impossible; it’s veneer of simplcity rapidly disappears when you’re in regedit
– GreyWulf 2007-01-23 14:10 UTC
I don’t have problems really but probably have more resources to handle running Photoshop and other apps at the same time (2GB RAM) that would be neccessary on Linux. The machines at work that have Hyperthreading or multi-core processors noticably alter the way Windows runs things simultaneously though, making it quite pleasant. There’s a lot of hardware there though to make that happen!
I’d love to run Ubuntu from the point of view of not supporting ‘the man’ but I felt when I was using it that if I cocked up installing a device driver or something quite low level I could kill the OS completely and not be able to recover it (that happened twice before I decided to stick with what worked and leave the other devices well alone). I rely on my one PC too much to risk that.
I’ll definitely dip my toe in from time to time to see how things have progressed though.
– publicenergy 2007-01-23 15:22 UTC
Yep, that’s a lot of hardware! I’d guess that XP needs four times the power Linux needs to get the same speed, so that’s a fair comparison. Vista look set to require double that, at least.
I used to run Linux out of ethical pseudo-political reasons, but not any more. Guess I’m past that.
I run it because it genuinely is better. It’s faster, more stable, less error prone and easier to customize how I want.
I’ll come over and convert you sometime
– GreyWulf 2007-01-23 15:43 UTC