Friday, December 4, 2009

Windows 7 or Linux Mint?

So Micro$oft has released Windows 7 and people have had a chance to check it out. I have yet to switch from XP to Vista, and now Win7 is out. What sort of things does Win7 have that make it worth the switch?

  • Full 64-bit support
  • Simplified Folder Sharing
  • Performance Improvements (sleep/restore and usb detection)
  • Windows Live Essentials (messenger, mail, photo gallery etc.)
  • Internet Explorer 8
  • Windows Media Player 12
  • Window Effects
  • Windows Update
Of course the new windows offers a lot more. It claims to be geared for simplicity and giving users what they've been requesting for years. It also comes with a $130 price tag (as of 2009-12-04)

What if I were to tell you that I don't use Windows. Not XP, not Vista and not the new 7. So I must be using a Mac right? Well I must say getting into Mac's OSX would be a step in the right direction it's not the answer here. I am a solid user of Linux Mint.

When most people hear "Linux" they think "uhhhmmm what?" or they see a cursor blinking in a big black dos terminal bigeyes. The idea of Linux to most people is a headache. Why would you want to drop your store bought Windows operating system to get into Linux? What does Linux have that makes it even worth thinking about?

  • Full 64-bit support
  • Comparable Software (Openoffice, Pidgin Messenger, Thunderbird etc.)
  • Software Manager
  • Built In Firefox v3
  • Easy access to install 100's of free software titles
  • Customisable window effects
  • MintUpdate
Linux Mint is designed to be fast, smooth, easy to operate, compatible and best of all 100% free. All of the software, including the operating system itself is free. One of Linux's more notable features is the "Software Manager." Lets say you want a new program to listen to music with because your tired of Windows Media Player. So what do you do in Windows? You open the browser and google "music programs" and you look for one, download it, hope it isn't littered with viruses and you install it, only to find that it is a piece of crap and then you have to delete it and start again. Linux's Software Manager lets you look through a large list of categorised software and lets you pick a title, click install and it tells you when it's done. If you decide you hate it, just uncheck the box and it's gone. The MintUpdate tool will automatically update Linux and ALL the software you have installed through the Software Manager such as firefox, opera, XBMC, Amarok, frostwire, openoffice and all your dvd/cd writing software. MintUpdate also updates all your hardware drives when new versions become available.

So if Linux Mint is so great why doesn't everyone use it? Linux has a growing user base and is becoming more popular every day. Microsoft has a a lot of $$ invested in advertising so don't expect a community based operating system to take over any time soon. So what sucks about Linux?

  • Gaming - There are small desktop games, but 3D gaming is not fully supported
  • Slight learning curve to switch from Windows
  • Currently no iPod Touch or iPhone Support
  • Lots of popular Windows software titles not available in Linux
That's about it. If your a big gamer, I would suggest sticking with what you know and save Linux for a rainy day. Linux is easy to use, maybe even easier than Windows but it isn't exactly the same so it might take some time to get used to. My wife has an iPod touch and there is no support for an out-of-the-box iPhone or Touch. The last point about the software is good and bad. As an example, Adobe Photoshop isn't made for Linux, but an alternative software called "GIMP" is very comparable and quite polished. So some programs might not be available in Linux, but there are many alternatives available... all for free.

If your interested in Linux Mint go check it out. You can download the CD image and burn it to a blank CD. You just pop the CD in your computer, restart and you can run Linux right from the CD, you don't even need to install it, to try it. Running it from the CD is painfully slow wait so don't judge it's speed by that. If you have any questions feel free to ask sherlock


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