Tuesday, July 3, 2007

A Microsoft Case Study

First a rant: it isn't Windoze or M$, it's simply Microsoft Windows. Windows isn't a horrible operating system, it works just as well as many Linux distros. Each operating system has it strengths and weaknesses, it's just Windows isn't for me. I do not like having to pay for software that I have no rights to. If I spend money on your product, please do not tell me I don't own it. I paid for it, it's in my house, how is this product not mine? Why can't I look at the code, or modify it? In the same vein I hate DRM. I paid for the song or movie, it's mine. If I want to put it on a backup CD for my car, put it on my iPod, or stream it across the net to buddy so he can hear how cool it is; don't tell me no or restrict my ability. In Ubuntu, I can customize everything, the desktop enviroment, package handler, themes, skins, code and etc. The most important reason I use Linux is that I love my FREEDOM. So don't say M$ Windoze sux, both Windows and Linux get the job done and have some really great programs. Tell people you love free, as in freedom.

Now that the rant is over, back to the story. All this stuff doesn't mean a thing to my kid sister. She wants to surf the web, use iTunes and do her work in Microsoft Office. She would trade her freedom for compatibility and usability and that's okay because it's her choice. So I setup Windows XP on her new Dell Inspiron 1501 this week. Wow, the difference between installing Ubuntu and Windows is night and day. Below is a picture of all the drivers I had to install to get her Dell 1501 to work.


The Ethernet, audio, smbus, ricoh card reader, touchpad, graphic and wireless drivers had to be installed. Basically nothing worked. During installation of the drivers I had to reboot 6 times. Then I still had to install flash, Microsoft Office and VLC to get the media codecs that Windows didn't come with.

In Ubuntu all you need is an Ethernet cable and a LiveCD. You don't even need to install the Ubuntu on your Dell 1501 to have a pretty functional computer. You can use the Ethernet connection and the LiveCD session to surf the net,listen to audio, use the card reader and touchpads advanced features.

An Ubuntu install isn't perfect, but it's still much easier than Windows. The only drivers you need to install are the wireless and graphic card. Wireless card issue is being worked on and future kernel updates should have support built in and Ubuntu's Restricted Driver Manager helps you install the ATI driver with 3 clicks. An office suite comes installed and media codecs and flash also take three clicks of a mouse button.

Overall I find the Ubuntu install to take half the time and half the headaches.
edited by pHreaksYcle


rollerskatejamms said...

On the other hand, the Windows XP installer nearly always boots on any PC, whereas Linux has trouble booting on quite a few.

Just playing devil's advocate, you know where I stand.

redDEAD said...

Good point, Microsoft boots on everything. This was just a case study on the Dell 1501.

Ken said...

I agree with you that each operating system has its own merits, and while I dislike windows personally, I can completely understand why people use it. It has a much better developed software base and it's a lot easier to find drivers for some things. I myself dual boot because for one, I paid for Vista (it came OEM on my 1501), and for the other, there are a few applications like Quicken, that far outshine their open source counterparts in terms of ease of use (and yes, I tried GNUcash... Quicken is MUCH more user friendly).

However, I frequently use the M$ designation for Micro$oft for all of the reasons that you gave. Whatever the merits of their product, the company is a greedy monopoly. They go above and beyond the limits of decency and exploit their monopoly status in the market to the detriment of users.

NUNZ said...

redDEAD said...

Good point, Microsoft boots on everything. This was just a case study on the Dell 1501.

Hmmm ... you obviously haven't tried booting the XP installers on machines with Scsi, SATA or other eseoteric hard drives. Even 'standard machines' like the ML110 from HP can be a nightmare. At least with linux you get lspci to let you get a grip on the problem and can tune something to make it work. Windows is just a beast on some machines uless it comes stock standard with ide type hard drives.

My 2c worth.