Photo by Zeusandhera
Linux enthusiasts have always touted for Linux to be one of the best operating systems ever. Their voice grew shriller with the advent of Microsoft Windows Vista in the market. There have been quite a few times that a serious problem, posted in some of the forums by a Windows system admin is responded by some enthusiasts in a single phrase — “Install Linux”! This may not be the right solution for the concerned person but it indicates the evangelism aura, Linux has in its periphery.
The reasons for such findings are legion – A high price tag for Vista, problems associated with the support of legacy applications on Vista, etc.
Without getting into much details, we shall today try and see 5 major reasons why people who prefer Linux over Windows Vista do so.
1. Hardware Requirements: It’s never too much for Vista!
Linux doesn’t require a lot of memory or a good graphics card to get running. However, Vista’s system requirements are high. This is evident for the fact that for bare minimum, it needs a processor which is at least a Pentium 4 with 512 MB of RAM.
However, you bet if you can run things seamlessly on a Vista machine with a RAM anywhere less than 1GB, which is recommended by Microsoft itself! Vista needs at least 64 MB video RAM and takes up at least 6 GB of disk space. Usually, a Linux distro with a graphical user interface takes up around 1.5-3 GB of disk space. You may do the mathematics now!
Vista’s Aero and the GUI as a whole looks pretty indeed, but somehow it fails to make things simple and easy. Does it help find things any faster than Google Desktop Search app or other alternatives which are available for Windows and Linux both? Or does it make an application run any faster? On the other side, it consumes a lot of memory resources, hence slowing down the system, drastically at times. Just to give you an example of resource utilization, Vista uses 256MB of memory just for screen rendering! That is not a minuscule amount considering just graphics.
2. Rights & Limitations: Unlike Vista, Linux doesn’t restrict how content is used on a system.
Windows Vista comes with an in-built digital rights management (DRM) feature that is absent on Linux machines. The DRM features can cause a lot of problems like – technical support problems, sluggish behavior of the computer, conflict with the peripheral devices and software. The fix for this may be as simple as an online upgrade or as complex as replacing the hardware!
A common example for his is Vista having copy protection technology for HD-DVD and Blu-ray disks. High-quality output paths like audio and video are reserved for protected peripheral devices. This means artificial degradation of the output quality.
On most of the Linux distributions, music and movies shall play seamlessly provided you have the correct encoders installed. The software — free and open source — will get installed and run.
Linux follows a policy which doesn’t interfere with legitimate fair-use rights for the content owned by users. However, Vista’s DRM can interfere with all kinds of computer use, including the ones that have nothing to do with digital rights. This again costs the precious CPU resource as Vista is continually monitoring itself to ensure compliance.
3. There is no Linux Genuine Advantage!
You’d have surely co-related this to Windows Genuine Advantage and you’ve got it right! Linux shall continue to work and upgrade without bothering to know the origin of the software. You may get it from some of the repositories or compile it from source,there is no risk of losing functionality. Windows Vista, on the other hand, relies on Windows Genuine Advantage servers to verify the serial number of the product. If the servers go down, as it did last year, Vista users worldwide are locked out of their computers running legitimate copies of Windows Vista. This shall probably never happen with Linux!
4. Security Issues: You can never miss out on this.
Anti-virus and anti-spyware applications are mandatory on Vista machines to prevent things getting worse, unlike Linux boxes where you essentially need not have one.
The prime reason for Linux being secure is because malware developers specifically target Windows operating systems (Vista being the latest of them all) and Windows based applications. Hence, the Linux users do not have to worry about spyware or malware (dll, exe) which they would have downloaded inadvertently.
5. You name it, you have it!
The increasing number of available applications for Linux have made it easier to get away from the propriety Windows applications.
- Few examples include OpenOffice which offers standards-compliant document formats and is widely used today for it being free!
- The next big thing is Firefox, which needs no introduction. Most Linux distros come bundled with the latest stable release of Firefox. How many Windows users actually use IE today?
- Vista is still shipped with a sole picture editor application – MS Paint. Most of us were kids since we’ve been seeing it the way it is today! Contrary to this, most Linux distros come with GIMP, a powerful application which is far better than MS Paint and similar to Adobe Photoshop in terms of it features.
These were the few first hand differences you might consider before spending that hefty amount which Windows Vista comes with a tag of! You may try out a distro based on Choice of Linux Distros or log-on to DistroWatch to have an in-depth knowledge about your favorite distros.
Microsoft started work on their plans for Windows Vista (“Longhorn”) in 2001, prior to the release of Windows XP. It was originally expected to ship sometime late in 2003 as a minor step between Windows XP (codenamed “Whistler”) and “Blackcomb” (now known as Windows “Vienna”). Gradually, “Longhorn” assimilated many of the important new features and technologies slated for “Blackcomb”, resulting in the release date being pushed back several times. Many of Microsoft’s developers were also re-tasked with improving the security of Windows XP.
Microsoft has announced that Windows Vista will be broadly available as a stand-alone product or pre-installed on new PCs on January 30, 2007. Windows Vista will be made available to Volume License customers later in the month of November 2006.
After “Longhorn” was named Windows Vista, an unprecedented beta-test program was started, involving hundreds of thousands of volunteers and companies. In September 2005, Microsoft started releasing regular Community Technology Previews (CTP) to beta testers. The first of these was distributed among 2005 Microsoft Professional Developers Conference attendees, and was subsequently released to Microsoft Beta testers and Microsoft Developer Network subscribers. The builds that followed incorporated most of the planned features for the final product, as well as a number of changes to the user interface, based largely on feedback from beta testers.
Windows Vista was deemed feature-complete with the release of the “February CTP“, released on February 22, 2006, and much of the remainder of work between that build and the final release of the product focused on stability, performance, application and driver compatibility, and documentation. Beta 2, released in late May, was the first build to be made available to the general public through Microsoft’s Customer Preview Program. It was downloaded by over five million people. Two release candidates followed in September and October, both of which were made available to a large number of users.
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