Intrepid Ibex vs Windows 7

I’ve downloaded the Windows 7 build 7000 beta, I wonder if it can match Ubuntu’s Performance, usability and feature set.

First the download itself: it took a long time since Microsoft didn’t expect so many people to download the beta..Is that naive or just plain stupid?

But after a full night downloading(yeah!,moreso, because of my internet plan :P) the ISO is in.

I had Vista before and I assume that Windows 7 should run on a machine with at least Vista’s settings: I have created a partition with 16Gb disk, 2Gb memory and 128Mb video memory, 3D enabled. Microsoft promised that Windows 7 would be more resource friendly.

It takes ages before Windows 7 has figured out what hardware the machine contains, but the installation itself runs smoothly. It requires 2 restarts, but thats normal with Windows(:P). After about 50 minutes I’m on a working desktop. But, darn!, Aero doesn’t work, that was to be expected. The install takes about 7Gb (!). So I ended up manually updating the drivers for the system and the video. Another restart required.

Ubuntu clearly wins here. The Ubuntu installation is easier, more logical and much faster.

Going over to the General performance issues. I feel thats its still slow. When I click anything it opens slow, very slow. The Card Deck application took about 50 seconds to open.

I have the feeling that Windows 7, as Vista, depends to much on Aero for the frontend that not being able to run Aero breaks the whole system. Also Windows 7 still starts a lot of services after it has already shown the desktop which causes it to be less responsive in the first minutes. After this is done the system response improves a lot. It’s not as fast as Windows XP , but it’s much better then Vista.

Memory usage after startup is 300Mb, that’s impressive!

Ubuntu is faster. That’s no surprise.

After playing with the monitor settings I managed to kill the resolution of the monitor, it now displays 800×600. So if you want to play with Windows 7: don’t fool around with the screen resolution!

I’m a Gnome addict, I never liked the Windows and KDE interface approach. The new taskbar which an act like a dock is pretty nice. It takes a lot of screen space though, which is a general problem with the Windows 7 visual design. The icon tray is still there, include the bizarre ‘hide icon when not active’ function.

Explorer (the file manager, not the browser) is very much the same as in Vista. The only difference I could find was that the ‘open folder’ triangles fade out when the pane is inactive. What’s strange is that the Folder Settings dialog is still the same as in windows XP, that dialog is 10 years old…

If I look at the default installation only, so no personalisation then Windows 7 is doing quite good. The Ubuntu default config with the awful orange/brown colors and the Gnome default layout is horrible. Windows 7 looks more clean and the start menu is fast and easy to use.

While configuring Windows 7 more to my liking I was reminded of why I prefer Ubuntu: Windows can’t be configured. You can can choose a predefined setup that matches your needs best, but you can’t tweak it completely. Windows is and stays what it is.

When you play around with Ubuntu it enables you to make it exactly as you want it. This takes time and effort, so not everybody will do that. If you stay with the default config I’d say Windows 7 is actually better then Ubuntu, but if you’re ready to think and do some tweaking Ubuntu is so much better than Windows 7.

On the ease of use I would say Ubuntu and Windows 7 are equal. Ubuntu is more configurable, but most people won’t use that, Windows is familiar and that’s working ok. On the visual level I like Ubuntu better (especially with the Shiki Colors scheme!), but that’s mainly taste. Windows 7 looks good, so I’d call this a draw.


There is a huge difference in the approach that Windows 7 and Ubuntu take the pre installed features here. Windows 7 is an operating system, with everything that an OS needs: kernel, GUI, utilities, even some end user applications like Notepad and Paint.It’s not a fully operation system after installation; you need to install your productivity tools yourself: mail, word processor, spreadsheet, etc. This makes sense: not everybody wants to use what your supplier offers you.

Ubuntu installs a lot more end user applications, it actually comes fully loaded. After installation you can start working. This is easier, but it also forces you to use the preinstalled tools or to deinstall them and install your own preferences.

When it comes to the preinstalled features Ubuntu is a clear winner. Windows delivers near to nothing when it comes to end user applications.

What Windows does deliver a complete stack of OS features. In that section it is a good competitor of Ubuntu. Please mind that I’m looking at this from the standpoint of the end user, and not a system administrator. Windows 7 even includes a decent command line tool, which supports some more Unix oriented commands like ‘ls’ and ‘cat’. A peculiar decision of Microsoft.

Windows 7 has a complete and understandable set of tools to manage the system. Ubuntu tends to get a bit hard to understand for newbies at some points, although this is improving fast.

Windows 7 has sufficient features to call it a good OS, but Ubuntu delivers a much more complete set of features. Ubuntu is the winner here.

Conclusion

Windows 7 is far better then Vista. It’s faster, looks a little better and takes yet another small step towards the future. But. I’ve downloaded 2.44Gb to be able to install a system that contains only an OS. Nothing more, just a kernel, a GUI and some utilities. It takes 7Gb on your harddisk after installation and it can’t run 3D graphics in a slower machine.

I have mixed feelings here. On the one side Windows 7 is really going somewhere, it’s good. But on the other side Ubuntu is so much better when you tweak it a bit. When Canonical would invest some more time in delivering a more tasty off the shelf install then it would easily defeat windows. But they don’t.

There is no winner in this competition. Windows 7 will be the next most used OS, there is no question about that. Ubuntu is trying to compete, but it will never be able to. In the end Ubuntu is a better OS, which a better GUI, but it should show that much better then it does now.

3 comments:

Pooja Rao said...

Whaata review!....I loved this Baggy!. The fringe is more conspicuous is what i could say. It makes me take cautious decisions, I must say.
And the thought about this being a mere rip-off from vista is far from true!. More because of the fact that Win 7 has compatibility problem with Intel 946XXX and 945XXX Chipsets which were built for Vista..
Lol lol..Was better sarcasm to infringe the fringe..:P :P

Gayithiri said...

I loved this to the core!!!..
A perfect review..!!
well put with a perfect timing!!

!nversed Poignancy! said...

@ Gayu..
U're presence and comment has elevated this to a greater heigh..[yeah..heigh..:P :P:P]
Thnk ya!

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