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OS wars....to owners of Vista


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most forums now are packed with vista vs linux threads, i never reallly used linux but researched it quite a bit lately

linux users do put up some good arguements, enough to make me think really hard.

things like XGL with its window fire effects n stuff is kinda cooler than Aero from what ive seen.

claiming no maintanence

because i'm a gamer and wine & cedega would be alot of trouble to mess with i chose vista and preordered retail today(still wondering if i wouldve prefered linux and cedega for gaming as i prefer to do it all in 1 os)

i think alot of people these days are heavily considering a switch due to the negatives of vista in the press...like DRM/uac annoyances, licending/price...etc.

its hard if not impossible to get non biased opinions, especialy with linux users around, so admist the flamewars...and as unbiased as possible what do you guys think of Vista overal and in comparisons to Linux for those that used it?

Edited by dcyphure
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I'll try to give the best explanation I can. My primary OS is Ubuntu (GNU/Linux), and I am more than a little biased towards it. Also, I haven't used Vista RTM yet, but I used builds 5546 (Pre-RC1), 5600 (RC1), 5728 (September 2006 CTP) and 5744 (I think that's what the number was; RC2) extensively as my primary OS for a few months.

Personally, I am not at all a gamer, so that made the transition much easier for you. I will be honest - Wine and Cedega's compatibility levels are not nearly perfect. Wine is still technically pre-release software, and for good reason: it is too incomplete to be release quality software. I've never used Cedega, and it might be better, but it forked from a version of Wine that is many years old (the last one to use the permissive X11/MIT license that allows them to make Cedega completely proprietary without making any upstream contributions) and thus is quite different.

Also, there is Crossover Office, which recently hit version 6.0. It is based on Wine, but sends all patches it makes to Wine back to the Wine project, so in terms of actual Windows app compatibility, they are pretty much neck and neck. However, Crossover makes it much easier to install some common software (including a few games) by auto-downloading and installing needed software dependencies. They're bottle functionality is nice too, but easy to replicate in vanilla Wine.

I liked Vista when I used it, but not enough to justify spending $400 on it just yet. It (the pre-release builds) ran just as well as XP SP2 (which I currently dual-boot with Ubuntu) on my hardware, although it needed me to readyboost (an excellent feature of Vista that Ubuntu doesn't need) my 512mb USB flash drive or I would have a heck of a time doing anything. Not at all to my chagrin, Aero doesn't run on my laptop. I personally don't care about that fancy eye-candy; if I did, I'd be using OS X, right? That being said, I have messed around with Compiz, Beryl, and XGL (I think it is AIXGL on Ubuntu, actually) a bit, and they (coincidentally?) ran fine on my nVidia card with 32 megs of vram. However, the eye-candy is something I have no problems going without, and don't have installed right now. Besides, the nVidia driver to run them makes VMWare Server crash.

If you want some moderate eye-candy, but not the OS X or Aero type, then you can easily get that done without any of the aforementioned software. There are two main desktop environments for GNU/Linux and other UNIX-Like systems, like FreeBSD (which is a wonderful OS if you have the time to dedicate to it, but that's another debate): Gnome and KDE. KDE is *full* of eye-candy at default (although minus translucently and the like, and thus you don't need that good of a video card to run it, just a decent processor [i have a pent. 4 at 3.0 GHz myself]), and Gnome is more buisness-like, streamlined, and light. Both can be expanded heavily to meet your eye-candy desires. I personally run Gnome with gDesklets and make it look like this:


I haven't customized it that much (trust me, you should see what you can do with Gnome and KDE), but it provides be just the right amount of eye-candy for my productive liking. And I have a fast enough CPU to make it (and KDE) fly. KDE is more heavy, and a bit of a combination of Windows layout and OS X styling. I have it installed, too. It has some of the best apps in the world, such as Amarok, K3b, and KTorrent, and I use them without issue under Gnome. It is your choice. A lot of new GNU/Linux users prefer the simplicity of KDE and start (and stay) there. It just depends on personal preference.

As an OS in general, I can say that I like GNU/Linux (Ubuntu and Debian in particular), as well as FreeBSD and the like, much better than Windows. I feel like I am learning something with Ubuntu, and I am a much better computer user because of it. The terminal is just pure power; you might discover that once you master a few basic commands, you can do tasks in half the time compared to a clunky GUI. Don't try to compare it to the DOS prompt in Windows; Bash shell is completely different. I also enjoy knowing that I am running free software (as in freedom, libre, not price), and am not being locked into one company. The learning curve was negligible (although I've always been computer inclined), and the benefits were innumerable.

If you do decide to give GNU/Linux a shot, I highly recommend Ubuntu. Mepis and Linspire or Freespire might be good choices, too, but in the end, I like Ubuntu due to it's ease of use (just as easy as Mepis and Linspire, despite what they say), large community, and commitment to free software. The install CD for Ubuntu also functions as a LiveCD, meaning you can put the CD in, restart the computer, and boot into Ubuntu from the CD without modifying any files, but to really get the feel for it, you have to install it. VMWare is a good choice; also, setting up a dual-boot with Vista and/or XP is quite easy (just follow the directions to install and it will configure a dual-boot for you). Also, if you think that KDE would be better than Gnome for you, than grad a Kubuntu CD instead. If you install it, here are some tips:

Download Automatix. It will help you install codecs for DVDs, mp3, etc. very easily, as well as Flash Player, Google Earth, and more.

Click Applications -> 'Add/Remove' in Ubuntu (Gnome), or the equivalent in Kubuntu (don't remember what it is right now). Browse through software to install and give it a shot. Here is some that I highly recommend:

Amarok - the __BEST__ audio player. Ever.

k3b - the best CD burner ever

kTorrent - the best torrent app (for download legal stuff, which is what I use it for) ever.

Opera - if you like the Opera browser better than Firefox, then go ahead and download it.

AbiWord - an excellent word processing app.

Do a little research on terminal commands and play around a little.

Browse through and/or post on the Ubuntu Forums.

Bottom Line: Be bold and give it a shot.

I hope this post helped!

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I am in agreeance with WBHoenig mostly, although I still use windows as a primary OS. I have messed around with Vista since RC2 was released and I was not impressed. Looks wise, it has a polished feeling, but I can vouch that the OS is very bloated. To even take advantage of the GUI's eye-candy, you need a relatively beefy system, and dont even bother with 512MB RAM. As far as the price is concerned, its outrageous. Poor saps dont know what hit them.

As with linux, ive come to learn it for desktop and server purposes, and it does both very nicely. As I am sure your familiar with compiz/beryl and Desktop eye-candy, I think its much "cooler" looking and doesnt lose its functionality. If you like keyboard shortcuts (like me), it can be a very functional desktop. And it doesnt have the nasty resource usage of vista. People have been known to run compiz/beryl with P3's with old or crappy GPU's and still get smooth performance. My linux box is also a FTP HTTP SMB (Windows file server) and hosts private game servers. Even under load, it still runs very nicely on my Geforce4 MX, which wouldnt get me far in the Vista world. And of course linux is rock solid stable, known for its long uptimes and security as well.

I am also doing research about gaming in Linux, since my gaming machine's mobo just died and I have to use my linux box exclusively. And as far as applications go, you can pretty much find a linux equivalent to most windows apps.

Word/Excel/PowerPoint/Project = OpenOffice

Photoshop = Gimp, and theres another one thats Gimp based, but with a PS-like interface.

Notepad = Gedit, xemacs, nano

Adobe Bridge = F-Spot

Windows Media Player = VLC, xine, mplayer

Winamp = XMMS

iTunes = Amarok

eMule = aMule

RealPlayer = RealPlayer

FileZilla / CuteFTP = gFTP

Internet Explorer = Mozilla Firefox, Konqueror

Windows Explorer = nautilus (i dont remember the name for the one in KDE)


Outlook = Thunderbird

Nero = K3B

Pretty much all the functionality comes out-of-the-box, most distros come with the applications you need already, for example, the apps in the list above.

For widgets and a dock bar (OSX style launch bar) = gdesklets, engage, gnome-dock, ksmoothdock, kxdocker

Video of Aero vs. Compiz vs. OSX: http://www.abadiadigital.com/noticia1778.html

Also, you can try a "live" version of linux, just boot from the DVD and its a full working linux on the disc. That way you can try linux without having to mess around with installing it on your system: http://fedoraunity.org/news-archives/fedor...-spins-released

Fedora Random Screenshots: http://www.fedoraforum.org/gallery/showimage.php?i=1084

btw, I use Fedora Core 6 and I like dark desktops hehe.


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Nice desktop. Is the OS X-like bar at the bottom the StarterBar for gDesklets?

By the way, Konqueror in KDE is the windows explorer equivalent.

Also, the majority of those apps run on Windows (and the KDE ones, like k3b and Amarok, will with their next versions that use Qt4 and the KDE4 libs), so you can try them out before switching operating systems.

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Well, I tend to tow the party line where it makes sense, and for someone who isn't a gamer I find Vista Ultimate to be much easier to use overall in my day-to-day activities. I've got beefy machines, so hardware isn't an issue, and cost isn't an issue for me (nor will it be for most people, because the largest channel for non-corporate sales of Vista is royalty OEMs on new hardware). I really like the new Media Center functionality (and works great with my 360 as an extender, and Zune content works quite well here too), and the fact that my x64 machine runs all of my 32bit applications just fine (and runs Visual Studio much better now as well, thanks to patches released today). The look is much better than the "lego-block" look of XP, the new GUI bells-and-whistles are great (even if they are late in getting here), and integrated search really does help me quite a bit with keeping track of my code and my media content (photos and videos). It even works great on my tablet, much better than XP tablet did (especially with OneNote 2007 installed rather than 2003). In short, it has things that I find I need that XP lacked (namely integrated search and an x64 version of Media Center), and doesn't seem to perform any better or worse on the same hardware XP x64 was installed on previously.

Obviously most of you can tell I'm a bit biased, but I must say my opinions have nothing to do with my employment - my opinions of Vista and Office changed from Beta2 of each product to RTM, as I really disliked both products during Beta2, and love both now that I'm used to the changes.

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-huge memory footprint

-requires great gobs of hard drive space, and everything seems to be an exercise in just how bloated an app can be for a given function

-OS that in many respects is designed to keep the user safe from himself

-annoying ui designed to obfuscate basic system tasks, or require clicking through 5-6 menus to get at what was 1-2 in XP

-counterintuitive re-organisation of things such as the networking centre, which is really only a novelty

-ubiquitous search functions for users who, after having finished downloading a trojan, realise that they forgot that this time they randomly decided to put it in systemroot, and need to quickly get to wherever the hell they put it to infect their computers again(is it so hard to simply organise files, which would render search largely redundant?)

-Layer upon layer of DRM

-offers nothing that is immediate to the (non-retarded) user compared with XP

+aero is ok

+resources/performance app is a useful condensation of what previously required the commandline or a few third-party applications

+rebuilding of the audio subsystem should prove useful once wavert/exclusive mode applications emerge

My general impression is that it is designed to be an OS for idiots and for DRM support. Whatever networking/enterprise improvements have been made are not obvious, and probably have no practical benefit for desktop users.


My experience is limited to several months with FC3, and I am considering again installing some distro. IMO the benefits of linux tend to flow from the fact that it can be customised to any extent desired. It can be made lean, pretty, secure, fast, whatever. The major downsides, and which will probably mean that I don't bother heading back, is that for the desktop user there isn't often a great need to customise to that degree; i f***ing hate dependencies; and the FOSS experience is invariably a case of how close applications can be to their commercial equivalents - there are always caveats, bugs, problems to be sorted through, and functionality is generally only some per cent of what the commercial equivalent offers. Two examples - GIMP and OOo. Neither is the better of its commercial rival, and both are always spoken of in terms of, to be frank, the partial extent to which the usefulness of photoshop and MS office has been achieved, or how much of the basic functionality has been duplicated.

My desktop/file server is rapidly becoming obsolete in HW terms, so I might get rid of XP on it and use instead some linux distro.

Edited by katalyst^
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the last couple weeks ive been playing around with multiple distros of linux, they just really didnt impress me. xp just seems alot more user friendly to me... maybe thats b/c im so used to it. but vista definetly is not the way to go right now, not until a service pack at least.

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I am using XP until at least Vista SP1 - which is already in the works. I only like a few things in Vista: the new media center, the improved clock and quicklaunch, and some under the hood improvements. The list of things I dislike is much longer.

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I am using XP until at least Vista SP1 - which is already in the works. I only like a few things in Vista: the new media center, the improved clock and quicklaunch, and some under the hood improvements. The list of things I dislike is much longer.

well ya there are plenty of improvements, but like u said, plent of dislikes. mainly the stability... it is just horrible compared to xp. i tried using vista for a couple of months, and i just ended up going back to xp. way to many problems. not to mention that none of the video drivers worked correctly for madden 07... and some other games.

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I think it's pretty good myself, they've finally given it an overhaul.

On the surface it seems as if nothings changed but if you dig deeper into it you'll see that it's a considerably big change from XP.

The networking stack has been rebuilt, all those free TCP/IP registry tweeks etc are no longer necessary as Vista performs all that for you. The SMB protocol is now updated for the 21st century. It's a lot easier for enterprise to deploy as Vista and BDD2007 give HAL independent imaging. The BitLocker drive encryption is good, and even better since the passwords can be stored in the domain. As a bonus the imaging technology is included in Vista Ultimate (but for the price you pay for Ultimate, so they should)

The new help facility actually shows you what buttons to click (i.e. greys out the desktop except for where you should be clicking). It's not for every help tutorial but we were shown it

It's an operating system built for Joe Public

In my opinion Linux flavours are not yet for the masses, Ubuntu and the like are getting very close but Microsoft are good at making things easy for Joe Public. As an example, setting up a Wireless NIC to a network is very easy with Vista (and XP sp2) but a colleague of mine had a considerable amount of trouble getting the same card to work with Ubuntu linux, whilst he is very proficient with Linux (he's a fan of open source) he wasn't impressed about the amount of time and effort involved in getting it to work. But to be fair SuSe on the other hand handled it fine.

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Well i'm using it right now, but I dont like it much, gave it a couple months to get time to get used to it etc, but it definately has stability issues, and I really hate DRM. It is ok to use on a day to day basis, like web browsing or email etc, dont get the point of the search thing personally I know where all my stuff is, and for the odd thing i forgot then XP's search was adequate... Drivers are a pain, I have a soundmax onboard sound card, and my god that does not like to work very well, I cant play audio cd's in windows media player (but can in everything else), playing movies in media player then pausing them kills audio as well requiring to restart part of the new audio stack, half the time codecs just wont play stuff, or crash things.... I know a lot of that is down to drivers/codecs, but doesnt stop it being very annoying, so I do agree that give it a try once SP1 is out but stick with XP for the time being...

Though if I had my way, I'd be saying use linux and dump microsoft :D

(but i know that's not always practical, especially for gamers, however linux probably handles my hardware 10 times better than vista does now, although maybe not quite as well as XP, although close)

To be honest with you I personally think this is another WinME flop, though time will tell, and MS have listened to the music/movie industries far too much and not to the customer.

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well i do have a problem with the whole "bloated" arguements against vista

technically everything can be changed in windows

but vista basic is not nearly as bloated, plus you have vlite to remove whatever you wish, then thing is many replace it with 3rd party apps many of which install lots of registry entries, force startup by default, force auto update and who knows what else its sending, i prefer not to use any 3rd party apps if i can help it.

thanks for replys, very informative..seems both has advantages or disadvantages, i got vista the other day, havnt installed it yet, i dont mind if its buggy, have to expect it out of any new software or game, i'll report back with what i liked and didnt liked, shame i'll probably never get around to trying linux but we'll see what happens when the next gen of os's are ready

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well linux isnt all that to try out. yes it kills xp sp2 imo, but not xp sp2 that has been nlited. the stock windows, no matter which version, is just crap. i got vista to run much better with vlite, but that still doesnt get rid of the random bsods and crashes.

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well i do have a problem with the whole "bloated" arguements against vista

technically everything can be changed in windows

but vista basic is not nearly as bloated, plus you have vlite to remove whatever you wish, then thing is many replace it with 3rd party apps many of which install lots of registry entries, force startup by default, force auto update and who knows what else its sending, i prefer not to use any 3rd party apps if i can help it.

Do you think that we are not capable of discerning the difference between memory used by the OS and memory used by third-party applications? It is absolutely unambiguous: Vista uses a great deal more memory than XP, and a great deal more memory than perhaps it should. It is true that it is possible to reduce the memory requirement somewhat, by disabling unnecessary services and drivers, but to make any significant reduction will require a great deal of dedicated hacking by nuhi, and an OS does not qualify as 'lean' if it requires a third-party developer to spend hundreds or thousands of hours manually discovering what can be ripped out, in order to make it lean.

There is something seriously wrong with the development approach of an OS when an installation of the OS itself can take up to 13 GB of hard drive space. That, to me, bespeaks bloat and lazy development on the philosophy that memory and hard drive space is cheap.

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