Windows vs Ubuntu – Usability

A couple of days ago I received a new laptop, and it came with Windows (Vista). I thought I’d give it a try (haven’t touched Vista at all so far). This Windows thingy came preinstalled on this laptop, so I was thinking I could jump right into it. Wrong. Of course, I had to go through the usual post-installation procedure. Ok, no problem, just enter name, password and go. Wrong. I had to click a million times on some button to confirm or deny installations of several crapwares (no), a couple of ‘do you want to register?’ (no!), some ‘please activate!’ (nooo!), accept a hundred EULAs (ok, if I don’t I can’t get into, so, hrmpf, yes). All in all, it surely took me 20 minutes to get into the OS. And it continued to not impress me. They (MS) seem to have the leading principle of getting in the way of the user. Stupid confirmation boxes around every corner. I quickly decided to remove that stupid OS that treats me either like a criminal or like an idiot, or both.

On the positive side, doing all the installation of Ubuntu was much less fuzz than go through the Windows post installation only. Click, click, click, wait 20 minutes, ready. And in the end I have all the important stuff on my computer. I can’t even imagine how painful it would be to get all the important applications and drivers on Windows (find, download, install, confirm gazillion boxes, reboot, repeat ad infinitum – *shudder*).


6 Responses to Windows vs Ubuntu – Usability

  1. Guilherme Costa says:

    Totally agree! I just installed my father’s laptop with Vista, those confirmation boxes everywhere are a pain, and I AM SURE he will call me 30 times a day to confirm he can click “Continue”. I don’t blame him, he is just wondering to make the right thing!

    I am using Ubuntu now, and I am pretty happy about it. Want to play a song and Ubuntu doesn’t already have the codecs? It will offer a place to get it, try it with Windows!!

    Of course I have some things to complain about Linux, like the headache of configuring keyboard right, in 1999 when I first tried it was a lot easier, now I am having some issues with new characters in my life (ẃ ś ć ń ḿ …).

    Guilherme Costa

  2. David Tanzer says:

    Hi Roman,

    first of all a disclaimer: I do almost all of my work either in Mac OS X or in Ubuntu. Installing Vista (and all the drivers, …) is really a pain – and your’s seems to be loaded with the usual crap that is pre-installed on laptops which probably makes it worse. Anyway, the confirmation boxes become much less during normal work.

    Also, if you get your hands on a copy of Windows Server 2008 and you *really* need windows for some reason try it out – it is really Vista done right! There is even a site which explains how to configure it for workstation use: . I have one (a legal copy of course) running in a virtual machine on my mac for whenever I need windows.


  3. Mario Torre says:

    So you still had to wait 20 minutes anyway before using the OS? 🙂 I always complain about the bad direction Linux has taken 🙂

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  5. Viraf Karai says:

    I’m glad that you tried Vista and came to the conclusion that it’s unusable. It is a total flop of an operating system. I understand that MS has invested millions of $ on this product and oodles of man hours. What a waste. Everyone I know who’s used it hates it (except MS employees). I had a similar experience with Vista a couple of years ago when I bought a new laptop preinstalled with Vista. After I saw how long it takes to boot, I promptly got rid of Vista and installed Ubuntu.

    In all fairness, I had to tweak it to get sound working. As well I had to tweak some system files to be able to use the laptop at the advertised resolution (1440×900). I’m a very happy Ubuntu user. I develop and design Java applications and my preferred IDE (IntelliJ IDEA) runs beautifully on Ubuntu. Also, my wireless internet works flawlessly. Kudos to the Ubuntu guys for such a rock-solid distribution. MS, you’re so 1990s!

  6. rainer haage says:

    I strongly agree with all points and like to add some: Not only that Linux provides a much more mature, stable and reliable environment in many ranges, in the last couple of years the common deskop-environments (Gnome, KDE) have grown far beyond what the windows-desktop has ever been belonging to usability and it is on the best way to outperform windows on most disciplines because MS will never be able to afford the man power that would be necessary to keep up with the daily increasing innovation-speed of the open community. Things like compiz (configured and used for optimum usability) are great steps forward wich microsoft hasn’t achieved yet. So we should stop using Windows as a reference for usability, that’s no longer a match. Now we should step forward and try to outperform osX regarding to usability at this point. I like osX (as far as i know it) and i think it’s much more fun to outperform a strong opponent than bashing a bad one. So let’s go for the future and Yes we can :-).

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