Monday, November 2, 2009

WindowsXP vs Ubuntu Linux :which is better for a desktop

To a layman who wants to use a computer, the first question he would probably ask ‘is there windows’. That is the reach of windows. He probably wouldn’t know that windows is an operating system on which software is loaded to make it functional. Many use it as a modern typewriter without knowing its full potential.
Though I learnt Basic and Cobol Programming in 1995 on DOS platform I didn’t put it to use. The first windows based computers were installed at the place of work in 1997, with a windows95 preloaded and MSworks preinstalled. I used it more to play the games and to do the occasional typing work of documents. We had lots of reports that we used to manually enter in large sheets as big as a drawing board. Though spreadsheet option was available, there was little knowledge or training imparted to use it on the system.
In the next year i.e., September,1998 I purchased an assembled desktop for my home which costed me close to Rs.28,000/- (or $900). It had a configuration like this: Pentium-II processor, 32MB RAM, 4GB Hard disk drive, CD-ROM drive, floppy disk drive, a set of speakers with a 14”CRT monitor.  I was interested in C programming, so I installed a Turbo C compiler as well as 3D Home architect (i don’t remember the version) and i used it to watch Hollywood movies. A licensed version of windows95 costed Rs.1,000/- (or $30 then).
Coming to the recent times i.e., August 2007 saw me buy an assembled desktop for my home which costed me close to Rs.19,000/-(or $450). It has a configuration like this: Dual Core processor, 1GB RAM, 80GB Hard Disk Drive, DVD-writer, no floppy disk drive( as the technology is obsolete), a set of speakers with a 15” CRT monitor. A licensed version of WindowsXP with SP2 costed Rs.2,500/- (or $60). Though my computing needs haven’t increased much except for a broadband internet, the cost of acquiring the hardware has come down by 50% while the cost of software has gone up 100%(factoring inflation).
And what else has increased- virus attacks, size of the software, innumerable updates and what not. Having gained lot of exposure and experience in using the computers I was instantly attracted to the Linux platform and Ubuntu in particular. I have partitioned the 80GB Harddisk into two 20GB partitions for windowsXP and two 2GB partitions for Ubuntu linux desktop very easily. I am alternatively using the XP as well as the Ubuntu as comfortably as a fish takes to water. I have tabulated a comparison between WindowsXP(with SP2) and Ubuntu Linux for desktops(version 8.10) out of experience from my group of friends and usage of both.
  •  The user has to purchase a licensed version for a minimum of $50.
  •  The graphical user interface has umpteen numbers of good themes to customise the desktop.
  •  The installation of the operating system CD for the first time has to be done by professionals.
  • It is very easy to install a network connection and enable the internet in case of Broadband using ADSL modem irrespective of the number of LAN ports.
  • You have to spend money on utilities like Anti-virus, MS-office, etc., and the more the utilities that you require, the more money you have to spend on buying the software packages.
  • Security updates are provided by Microsoft only in the case of licensed versions. There is no support for pirated or counterfeit versions.
  • It can be seen that there is no support to windows9X versions now as Microsoft has made XP the base version for all types of software applications.
  • You have to defragment the system regularly for optimum performance(read speed of access)
  • Depending on the processor speed and RAM available, the loading time (the time taken from switching on the power to display the desktop screen) varies from a few seconds to a few minutes.
  • Utilities like Nero for burning CD/DVD and Bluetooth can be run only after installing the necessary software provided by these developers. Every time new software is installed it occupies the Hard Disk memory.
  • Gaming is an area which is highly advanced on this platform
  • This is open source software and you can get a CD mailed to you free of cost or it can also be downloaded free and burnt on a blank CD.
  •  To customize the desktop there are very few themes and are limited to changing colours rather than designs.
  •  No professional assistance is required to install the operating system, if you select the options for the first seven questions like language, hard disk space etc. and the ubuntu CD takes care of the installation part.
  • It is easy to enable an ADSL broadband connection if there is only one LAN port in the computer, but if there are two LAN ports configuring the connection between the ports takes atleast 3 minutes.
  • Here, even the software is open source like Openoffice. No anti-virus is required as linux takes care of itself. Hence, there is no need to spend money on buying software packages.
  • There is no such problem as the same OS CD can be circulated to any number of users and there are people to help you out in case of problems. (see Ubuntu help online or the forums)
  • There is no problem of upgrades and you are free to install a newer version free of cost or continue with the old version till you are bored.
  • There is no such requirement of defragmenting the system with Linux as the system automatically optimises the files before shutting down.
  • The requirement of high RAM or a powerful processor is passe as even an old Pentium processor with 256MB RAM is sufficient to boot the computer with minimum usage options.
  • In case of Ubuntu, most of the utilities like CD/DVD burning, Bluetooth, video player and audio player, Mozilla Firefox are automatically installed at the time of installing the Ubuntu Linux operating system. This helps in optimum usage of Hard disk space. 
  • Gaming is little behind XP as far as this platform is concerned as the developers have not really concentrated on this area so far..
To summarize, these are two different platforms BUT is fun to use both (i.e., dual boot).


Trade marks, logos and copyrights published on this blog belong to the respective owners. Channels playing in this blog belong to their respective owners. No audio or video files which belong to third parties are stored or transmitted on this blog. Content is streamed with utmost faith that the audio /video are from the licensed owners. Adequate reference to the source is made when content is used from different sources as we have a strict 'no plagiarism' policy.

Disclosure Policy