Author’s note: This is probably going to be all over the place. And as of two days into writing this, it’s over 1,000 words. Whoops!
So I decided that I couldn’t wait anymore and decided to go the dual boot way with Kuro. For those who don’t know, dual boot means you can choose which Operating System to boot into, instead of the usual Windows-only or OSX-only environment.
My weapon of choices has always been Ubuntu. I feel in love with it two years ago when Ubuntu didn’t have any problems keeping my computer running the whole night while Windows XP had a problem with overheating the components.
Still, that’s not to say that Hardy Heron and Jaunty Jackalope haven’t been without their fair share of fun troubleshooting. It’s usually solved by common sense, but common sense is a lacking commodity nowadays.
So I’ve been using Windows 7 for about 2 weeks now (I think, feels like I’ve been using this OS forever) and I decided to log back into Jaunty yesterday for sheer fun.
Things I noted immediately:
With Windows 7, the default behaviour is to download updates and install in the background; a very arrogant stance carried over from Windows XP. Though I can change this, thanks to the new Windows Update, I dislike the fact that the default is “download and install all important updates.”
I much prefer Ubuntu’s default download, which is to let me know which updates are available, what they do, then to go ahead and download them. It’s a much better alternative, especially when you’re running Ubuntu on an eeePC (Shiki runs on eeeBuntu Jaunty).
Score one for Jaunty across all platforms.
Edit: I was informed by Marauderz that the download option is actually set at point of installation, so the point is moot. No points here.
One of the biggest issues with Ubuntu is the lack of a black theme. Theoretically it’s possible, but it’s hard to get. Most black themes don’t work well, making some boxes turn dark while others remain white. The biggest problem is the dreaded black on black: writing black text in a black box.
There’s a theme I’m currently using that solves this, but I don’t know whether to congratulate Ubuntu or the theme creator. Either way, it looks nice and feels very responsive.
Windows, on the other hand, has blown my socks off with their theme packs; you can set wallpapers to change automatically after a set time without you needing to do the actual work. This will come in very the handy for Nanowrimo, especially the calendars.
Windows 7 Equal.
Edit: Ok, I’ve just discovered a very annoying trait of Windows 7’s themes. For some odd reason, I can’t change the size of the picture in some themes, especially if I was building on an older theme. Instead of letting me set the picture size (this is for a 1 picture theme) as Centre, Windows 7 insisted on making it stretch.
I had to go into the actual picture folder itself, right click to select it to set as Desktop Background, then go into Personalise again to change the picture size. This is annoying.
Did I mention that before you can delete unsaved themes, you need to actually save them? Um… brainbreaking much?
No doubt about it, I still prefer Ubuntu’s. Open Terminal, apt-get install program name, done! Removing it is also easy, with apt-get remove program name. If I wanna remove it completely like what I did to Ekiga and Evolution, sudo apt-get purge program name. If purge doesn’t get ’em, then the Janitor (new addition in Jaunty) will. >D
There’s also a GUI I can use, which is the Synaptic Package Manager, but I only use that if I can’t find the name of the programme, or if the name’s too long (like Flash). Both occasions are rare.
Windows’ current modus operandi means I have to get the programme I want either online (aka via download) or from a CD. Once it’s been transferred to my computer, I’ll have to run it to install the actual programme, and then delete the file if I don’t want it to take too much space.
When you consider that I regularly download 1GB plus files (these are copies of freeware games like Caesar, Poseidon etc and MMOs like Maple, Dragonica and the like), yes it’s a problem.
Let’s simply say this. Long before Windows did it, Amarok for Ubuntu already did. Monitoring libraries, I mean.
I’m neutral on this, because I can get quite a few old, abandonware games (think Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale, not to mention Diablo) to play with WINE, but Windows 7 (probably) supports all the MMOs I love plus newer games.
Transfer and Document Searching
I like the fact that Ubuntu usually places my media in a separate partition. Jaunty is also quite far more stable when it comes to transferring large files; it handles them much better than XP used to.
Windows 7 and Ubuntu both display information about the files being transferred, how long it will take, and where they originate to where they’re going. However, I prefer the way Ubuntu does it. All the information is displayed in a single box when the transfer is happening. For Windows 7, I need to actually click on more information.
Search wise, I love how Windows 7 searches my documents and arranges them by most accessed. It’s a beautiful piece of work, and one that I sincerely adore. Nicely done, Microsoft!
Granted, this is personal preference more than anything, so I’m giving both a point.
Point: Ubuntu and Win 7 for being far better than XP.
This, I have mixed feelings. I love the fact that I can now move the program buttons in the taskbar in Windows 7 around, meaning I can arrange them to my liking, but I hate the fact that Windows 7 groups them together automatically, without letting me choose what should go where.
Although not as robust, I still prefer Ubuntu’s separate-each-program-window-and-treat-it-as-individual approach.
My usual arrangement for my programs is : Firefox Main Window 1 > Email Client (for the office), or Twitter Pidgin Window (at home) > Firefox Window 2 (usually research tabs) > etc and everything else.
This allows me to tab quickly through different windows and programs I have. However, Windows 7 likes to group them together, and from an aesthetic point of view, for me at least, it’s very annoying.
Not least when I keep opening my Download Window instead of my second Firefox Window because I’m opening my Windows without really glancing at the task bar.
At 1080 words now, I’ll stop this commentary, but as you can guess, Ubuntu really wins out for me. I’ll keep using Windows 7 because it’s far easier to send files etc when you’re working in a Windows Environment, but I still do love my Ubuntu. Also, yes, I’d miss my games, especially the MMOs.
That said, I still think it’s worth coming out with the money for it. Windows 7 is a far more robust system than I expected, and it’s got a tonne of new features that XP users will love. If you’ve only got time to tinker with just one system, then keep it at Windows 7. If you want to be completely free, then switch to Ubuntu.
Either way, it looks like the OS wars just got more interesting.