I’ve been using Microsoft Windows pretty much exclusively on my desktop computers and laptops for as long as I’ve been buying and building my own computers. While I always like to try live versions of the latest Android and Ubuntu operating systems on my laptop, I pretty much stick to Windows for fulltime use. While trying the latest Ubuntu version, I was so impressed I decided to trial it as my fulltime operating system while upgrading my laptop to a new 500GB hard drive.
Downloading and installing Ubuntu is so much quicker and easier than installing Windows. You can simply mount it to a USB and run it live or go straight to a full install. Of course, you can mount a Windows installation ISO on a USB too, but the advantage of Ubuntu is the whole fact that it’s free, and you can trial it without installing it. Once installed, it booted extremely fast and one thing I was really impressed by was that the wireless immediately worked as well as full graphics without any need to installing drivers. In comparison, when installing Windows I had to install the driver by USB, and Windows Update totally failed to find the driver when connected to the Internet via Ethernet.
I was really impressed with how good Ubuntu looked. The whole operating system looks great and very refined. Linux has really come a long way and it shows the potential for Linux distributions to compete against Windows. I like how it has more of a Mac feel with its launcher and prompts. Even the volume control dialogue is much nicer and the included music player Rhymebox has integrated music control buttons in the volume control from the top system menu. It’s easy to use and you can easily learn how to use the system as a newcomer to Linux.
While all these features make it appear as an awesome operating system, there are a few things that really annoyed me. So much so that I ended up installing Windows instead. First off, while the launcher looks great, the operation of it sucks. No matter how sensitive you set the auto-hide, it still won’t always show up when hovering over and sometimes it disappears right under your mouse. When you do click on an application, there’s no feedback that its actually started opening and you sit there waiting for nothing to happen.
I also found Ubuntu to be extremely slow and laggy. Now I know my netbook only has a 1.66GHz Atom processor with 2GB of RAM, but Windows 7 Home Premium works entirely smoothly and quickly. I did read that Ubuntu previously had a netbook edition but dropped it – why not support people on a whole range of computers? The software center sucks and never seems to be doing anything it’s supposed to (blank screens when nothing loads) and you can’t move the launcher around the screen like you can with the Windows task bar. If your auto-hide feature isn’t going to work, at least let us move a static version around!
But the thing that annoyed me the most was installing software that wasn’t available in the software center such as Google Chrome. I tried to install this about three times by downloading the installation package and the first time it just stopped installing halfway, the other two times it finished the installation but Google Chrome was not in fact installed. Eventually it did install, but after three times it was disappointing that it took so long to do something so simple.
While I think Ubuntu has some great potential as an operating system, and many of its functions are much more refined than Microsoft Windows, I just think Windows is hugely developed with such a big community backing it. I tried some other distributions like Mint, which worked much better but just didn’t look as good and seem to be as quick to use as Windows. Windows may not be free like most Linux distributions, but if you update a laptop regularly like I do, you get the newest version of Windows included as OEM. Maybe one day I will be ready for a fulltime installation of Ubuntu, but for now Windows seems to fill all my needs and works much better.