Windows 7 vs Jaunty Jackalope

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:

Downloading updates
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.

Themes
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.

Point: 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?

Installation Ease
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.

Point: Ubuntu

Media Management
Let’s simply say this. Long before Windows did it, Amarok for Ubuntu already did. Monitoring libraries, I mean.

Point: Ubuntu

Playing Games
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.

Point: Neutral.

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.

Taskbar
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.

Point: Ubuntu

Conclusion
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.

23 Responses

  1. panje October 21, 2009 / 7:05 PM

    maybe you are not linux friendly person…learn more then you know that it better than windows…

    • Naoko Kensaku October 21, 2009 / 8:20 PM

      Eh, that’s where you’re wrong, panje. I like using Linux, just that I go back to Windows for my games. ^^;

  2. Cyrus_X October 22, 2009 / 8:49 AM

    Unfortunately most productive tools are written for windows. Trying to do MS Office, Adobe stuff and whatever in hand to accomplish task in the most comfortable level is not happening.

    Most unix family machine makes good servers or backends, they are fast, efficient, has tons of CLI commands to do things. If you administer windows server remotely over slow links, you will worship the CLI, and Noooo windows powershell will not do, at least not for now.

    • Naoko Kensaku October 22, 2009 / 9:18 AM

      Cyrus, I completely agree. That’s why I said Windows 7 is better for people who work in a Windows environment (which is 75% of the people I know). Things like formatted *.docs, xls, etc all look and respond better in Windows. However, I still prefer Ubuntu for day-to-day stuff and not touching Office suites. This of course, is mostly desktop based. As for servers, most people I know use Linux because of the cPanel option.

      I’ve never tried to use Adobe stuff on Ubuntu though. Not a programmer/developer per se. Thanks for letting me know about it. I should go bug my friends who program/design on Linux and see what they say. :3

  3. ReshWindblade October 23, 2009 / 12:18 AM

    Naoko, I am a computer science graduate I always believe to be neutral when it comes to technology, in this case operating systems.

    Ubuntu has it’s strengths and weaknesses but so does windows. But what I would like to share, most programmers I know use Linux base systems (Debian, Fedora, OpenSUSE, Ubuntu, Mint or Mandriva ) more for development, as some find them more stable.

    Also, with the rise of netbooks, most of my programming friends actually use Linux + IDEs and program on their netbooks, something which windows 7 + visual studio 2008 cannot do. Karmic will be released in a few days, will be interesting to do a comparison then.

    • Naoko Kensaku October 23, 2009 / 7:27 AM

      Hi Resh

      Thanks for the polite comment! Yesh, I do agree it’ll be better actually to compare Karmic to Windows 7 instead of Jaunty, but I couldn’t wait. ^^; I’ll probably do a full-on review later when I get my hands on Windows 7 Home Premium once they announce the &%#&# price. :D

      As for developing on their netbooks, it’s pretty much what you need to do on the lappie that decides whether it should be Windows or Linux. Still, that’s impressive that they can program on their netbooks instead of a full-fledged laptop or desktop. Thanks for dropping by!

  4. Zool October 23, 2009 / 3:59 PM

    Hi, nice article. I also dual-booting Windows 7 and Ubuntu Jaunty.. Waiting for the end of the month for Karmic Koala.. Can’t wait for it.. Two new OSes, i gotta try this and compare both of them.. What i like about Ubuntu is that it is an open source platform, thats mean we can dicover a lots of applications or mods that can be installed inside Ubuntu.. i’ve been customizing my Ubuntu to the fullest.. Since i’ve installed Ubuntu, i kept Googling all the mods that i could possibly find on the internet to make my Ubuntu ultimate desktop..

    • Naoko Kensaku October 23, 2009 / 4:07 PM

      Hi Zool,

      Thanks for the great comment. Yup, I can’t wait for Karmic too! It’ll be reeeally interesting to see how Karmic stacks up against Windows 7, and to see if they really did fix the stuff that wasn’t satisfactory in Jaunty. :D

      What’s the best mod you’ve found? Me, I’m just happy that all my dark themes ARE dark, and it looks really, really pretty. Do you know if they changed the colour scheme from orange/brown yet? :3 Getting kinda depressing logging into that colour all the time. :P

  5. Zool October 23, 2009 / 4:17 PM

    Yup.. They changing the icons too.. They used the new released gnome.. so the gnome-panel is slightly different from the old one, new boot screen, login screen, software store, using the fast EXT4 as default format.. You can take a look at my current Ubuntu Desktop http://zooldevil.deviantart.com/art/Elementary-09-139654801

    • Naoko Kensaku October 23, 2009 / 4:29 PM

      Ooo, it’s more streamlined! That looks good.

      Eh, wait a minute. Is that dock yours or Ubuntu’s? Not quite liking what it looks like. >>

  6. Zool October 23, 2009 / 4:40 PM

    Its called Gnome-do.. with integrated quicksilver in it.. i do all my stuffs from launching applications, change songs, internet search, “sudo”ing using commands inside that dock, file searching.. You will be surprised that there are more addons for Ubuntu out there, currently i’m watching the project called Zeitgeist integration.. It is one the most interesting project for gnome.. One more thing i like about Linux distribution is that we don’t have to worry about security issues or viruses because it is less likely to happens in Ubuntu..

    • Naoko Kensaku October 23, 2009 / 5:13 PM

      I do agree that we don’t really have to worry about viruses, but it’s always good to practice secure behaviour, even on Ubuntu.

      Really glad to hear it’s an add-on and not on by default. The dock isn’t really what I like. :)

  7. reshwindblade October 23, 2009 / 11:43 PM

    If you interested Naoko, I am doing a session for Beginner Linux and Ubuntu BoF on Sunday at FOSS.my 2009, once done I can post some screenshots of “super modified” ubuntu and fedora if you like to see how myself ( as a programmer/ web developer ) customize.

    • Naoko Kensaku October 24, 2009 / 7:00 AM

      Resh, that would be great. :) Thanks for taking the time!

  8. reshwindblade October 30, 2009 / 12:53 AM

    Hi there,
    Sorry for the late reply, I was preparing for Malaysian Government Open Source Conf (MyGOSSCON) which is happening next week so was abit busy.

    Picture #1 – Default Desktop ( http://img214.imageshack.us/i/screenshot2l.png/ )
    – This is how my desktop looks like. On the top I got access to 3 Different web browsers (chrome, firefox and opera), plus Evolution for my Calendar/Events/Mail with Tomboy Notes for quick snippets I need to save.
    – Basically you can see I even have a “Force Quit” applet stick to the top right of the bar incase any application starts messing up (happens a lot when you do programming stuff). The usual workspace selector is available ( I have 4 workspaces )
    – I also have 2 types of Gadgets for my desktop, One is “Screenlets” and one is Google Desktop

    Picture 3 – This is one of my workspaces decorated with Screenlets ( Think of it like Windows 7 gadgets or KDE Widgets ) – http://img246.imageshack.us/i/screenshot4hi.png/

    – I have a few interesting widgets installed on this machine, one is a widget to keep track of the total bandwidth usage, one is to keep track how hot my graphic card gets and a few gadgets to give me short cut to folders and searches. There can be more added but these are a few which i use, try Screenlets for yourself.

    One interesting thing you notice that I dont have a Window Selector bar, that is because I use the Avant Window Manager ( That dock bar at the bottom of my screen ) to store my open windows, they appear as Icons just like how in Windows 7 they appear, icons ^^. In the screenshot above, I have Chromnium, Emesense, File Manager and DistroUpgrade on the dock since those are the programs which are open.

    Upgrading

    Well now i am upgrading to Ubuntu 9.10 as of writing this post, again I apologize for this late reply. Next week is OpenSUSE week for me, since ill be helping Novell at their booth in MyGOSSCON, got any questions above SUSE, or their new feature SUSE studio I can help :). Until then see you around.

    P.S. : I didnt mention other modifications which I consider quite deep for the layman, but if you want to know, you are welcome to drop a mail. Just dont feel bad if I take my time to answer, since I do get quite a few mails. Thanks

    • Naoko Kensaku November 4, 2009 / 12:02 PM

      Thanks for the reply! I’ll post my comment on this a bit later… kinda insane here at work. And yeah, your comment got lost in my spam filters for some reason. OTL

    • Naoko Kensaku November 4, 2009 / 1:56 PM

      Wow, that’s one mean looking desktop. Also looking far more overpowered than what I actually need, heh. :) Did you ever get your website up, by the way?

  9. kambinks October 30, 2009 / 4:24 PM

    LOL.. i find it awfully convenient that you take the Neutral stance on games when its the achilles heel of ubuntu? give that a win to windows dude.. ur looking too awfully biased to be taken seriously.

    Saving a theme considered as brainbreaking? what are you? 8?

    installation an ease? try saying that to non internet using user? it’s just convenient that you also try to ignore that.

    ur making an issue of having to click to see additional information during file transfers? how sad is that? what it shows is completion time and a bar.. more than enough information needed for an average joe user without trying hard to make itself seem soo smart.

    You can pin softwares to the taskbar.. u can arrange the little icons how you want it. shows how much u know tho.. try opening brainstorm.. people are actually suggesting ubuntu copying the superbar from windows 7

    and one thing i saw from brainstorm is how ubuntu users suggesting we should microblog bout how awesome linux 9.10 is.. despite having not tried it yet..

    • Naoko Kensaku October 30, 2009 / 4:46 PM

      Excuse me for not approving your comment right away. I was too busy trying not to laugh.

      In case you missed my blog entry, I wrote that it’s things I noticed about the differences between Windows 7 and Ubuntu Jaunty. 9.04 vs Windows 7. It was NOT meant as a comparison for the average Joe. Unless they took a chance, I doubt if most “average joes” would know the difference between Ubuntu Jaunty and Hardy Heron.

      I’ll only reply to one of your points, because the rest of them is perhaps due to the fact that you didn’t notice that these were things “I noticed.”

      Games are the Achilles Heels’ of Ubuntu only if you are a gamer. If you are, then of course I don’t suggest moving to Ubuntu, because a lot of the newer games need tweaking to play. I’m a gamer, but there are a lot of older games that I enjoy playing that IS supported by the WINE community. There are also a lot of newer games that I love to play that are supported only by Windows. So your point is moot.

      Thanks for dropping by. It’s been quite some time since I had such a frothing at the mouth commentator. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out! :D

  10. Serge Norguard October 30, 2009 / 5:01 PM

    roflmao…. im gonna geek out tonight!

  11. Zool October 31, 2009 / 6:00 PM

    Its a myth saying that Linux can’t play games natively. Recently i registered as a Heroes of Newerth(much like DoTA) beta tester, this game is compatible with all Linux distribution. Besides that, Neverwinter Nights 2(great RPG) also ported to Linux. The difference between games in Windows and Linux is that in Windows they used DirectX(proprietary) and Linux used OpenGL. For working environment, you got OpenOffice to replace Microsoft office, its free and it supports any Microsoft files. I created a simple post regarding to Heroes of Newerth for Linux at here; http://blynkdontbyte.blogspot.com/2009/10/heroes-of-newerthhon-on-linux.html
    and for other games in Linux you can check at here: http://www.playdeb.net/updates/
    Linux can do whatever Windows do
    1. Games(you can use Wine to play games for Windows)
    2. Works(OpenOffice is free and support Microsoft formats)
    4. Music & Video (Music & Video player integration is better in Linux)
    5. Internet(Torrent, Email, IM applications is a lot better than Windows)

    From my opinion, the integration of applications in Linux environment is a lot better than Windows.. They will speed up you works and organize efficiently..

    • Naoko Kensaku November 4, 2009 / 12:04 PM

      WINE’s not quite 100% game friendly though. The biggest obstacle to me ditching Windows is the fact that MMOs don’t play nice (I mean the Korean and Japanese ones) with anything but Windows.

      Thanks for your reply though, I apologise for the lateness in replying.

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