Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Windows XP vs Linux Mint (pg. 1)

Today we are going to take a look at installing, and running, both Windows XP and Linux Mint on a Dell Inspiron 6400.

Why crusty old XP and not the sparkling new Windows Vista? For the unspectacular reason that it's what I have. You see, I purchased the computer about a year ago and Vista had not shook the world yet.

This particular machine came with an Intel pro3945 wireless network card and Intel 950 graphics card. Very much like the E1505N laptop Dell is currently offering with Ubuntu installed on it. I was constantly checking Linux on laptops and this Dell hit the sweet spot on price/compatibility at that time. The fact that it came with XP installed really didn't matter to me.

My initial affair with Windows lasted an entire two days. The first day I just wanted to make sure all the hardware was working and was a bit giddy with a "new computer" buzz. I spent the second day trying to remove all the "crapware" Dell had installed, with little success, and getting the machine ready to dual boot. At the precise moment Windows would not allow me to freely burn my restore partition to a DVD-R, I snapped. After a full day of battling crippled demos and irritating, worthless add-ons, I handed all 100 gigs of the hard drive over to Open Suse 10.1.

Well, here we are. One happy FOSS filled year later. I've ran nothing but various Linux distributions or FreeBSD on my laptop since that fateful day two and have honestly enjoyed it. If I'm so happy, why am I installing Windows now? Long story short, I have some simple applications and some web development I'm doing for people who run Windows. Mostly family and friends stuff, but making Windows necessary just the same.

Over the course of the next couple of pages we will examine how easily each operating system installed and what is needed to perform a few necessary task. A few things that I absolutely must be able to do are:

1. Use Flash and Java. A lot of content I need is delivered via these formats.

2. SSH and SCP. I keep my material on a home server and have to be able to get at it securely.

3. Burn ISO images and check md5sums. I'm in the distro of the week club. ;=)

4. Listen to Shoutcast streams. No local radio stations/long hours at computer.

First out of the gate, Windows XP.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the nicely written and entertainig article. Now, I'm not a Windows fan boy, but comparing a 6 years old OS to a 1 month old OS is not really fair.

Could someone post their experience with Vista instead of XP? Note, I do not have Vista, and use mostly Mandriva Spring 2007.1, and very rarely Windows (only to play multimedia from the Web Sites that are Windows-Only friendly.

Best regards,
Serge.

Sarab Singh said...

Yeah, my situation sounds kind of similar to yours. I just purchased a Windows Vista system, however. I am working on partitioning out the system, to separate the page file, program files, big multimedia files, and so on, most particularly the Vista OS, and trying to Install Linux on one of the partitions, as I have always wanted to play around with Linux.

Sarab Singh said...

Vista is ok. I haven't noticed anything to spectacular as of yet. But then again, I haven't really tested out the waters yet.

Anonymous said...

serge, comparing XP to Mint is perfectly valid, since XP is still a fully supported OS and every major hardware and software company supports it with software and drivers (which is more than can be said for Vista)

i would still like to see a comparison to vista, but that takes nothing away from the validity of a comparison to xp

rob

Night Owl said...

Yeah, I haven't had any real experience with Vista. It's somewhat taboo, even in Windows geek circles. I haven't tried it, at least not really, because I don't want to spend the money on it. But I can say that gentoo with all the latest stuff (Beryl and XGL and other things) is a really awesome OS to have.

Jzv said...

@anonymous:
I think this one comparison article might satisfy your request: Ubuntu Feisty vs. Windows Vista.

Anonymous said...

I haven't even read the complete article yet, but I think it is fair to compare XP vs Linux. XP has been under constant development over the last six years as has Linux. But from day one, no one has said that XP was not ready for the desktop like they have Linux. So, I think whenever Linux fares comparably with XP, then no one should be saying Linux is not ready for the desktop.

Also, I think Vista has a lot of XP momentum to overcome anyway. I make a very nice living programming windows software, and I have never seen Vista running anywhere outside of Best Buy.

smith said...

i can give a first hand opinion on this article,i am advanced windows user,i installed linux mint 3 as soon as it was released and i can state that it equals windows xp in every way,i have to also say that it beats windows vista for speed and ease of use,do your self a favour and give linux mint a try.

Anonymous said...

What you need to do is install vmware-server and put XP in a virtual machine running in Linux. Then you don't have to ever reboot to use XP for the limited times you'll need to.

I don't own XP, but I put Win98 in a vm so I could use TaxCut which isn't ported to Linux yet. Works great.

Works good for exploring other distros too, no hassling with partitions and grub/lilo re-writes. You can use samba to share host files too. I currently have 9 virtual machines at my disposal and never have to reboot to use one a different OS.

Adler said...

I find this very interesting that you picked Linux Mint.

I ran M$ Vi$ta for a couple of days also. I was shocked that there was nothing new there. I've had Desktop Widgets for years with SuSE, and UBUNTU.

Let's talk about that huge amount of disk space taken up because of the Restore function. I had to keep up-dating everything, and all those pop-up made me ill!

Really -- I beg everyone to try Linux. Join the OpenSource communbity. It is a better place to live.

Comparing any version of M$ to Linux is truly insulting. Really.

Adler aka JJMacey

Martin said...

I dont think this review is fair. You are complaining about how much time took to XP to download and install all the updates he needed. And you said you used some OEM cd you had around. Well, you should try to install maybe Ubuntu Hoary (or something like that) and then make the review. It is totally unfair. I dont think you should do it with Vista, (because I wouldnt install vista anyway, since I need windows for running only one program); but at least you should be fair using two "contemporary" OSs :)

Anonymous said...

Our shop is buried in work. Summertime is when all the folks go off on vacation, and leave us with their machine to clean out.

Well, there are a huge pile-on of purchasers of new machines who want XP or Linux installed, instead of the Vista that it came with!

DRM has failed miserably, and taken down Vista with it.

Go figure. Mepis installs in 9 minutes, and full updates take 6 minutes more. Cheaper labor, this way, and they know it.

Sure beats the two hours from scratch OEM install of XP (customers keep the old computer's XP license sticker, often removing, or cutting out, the metal plate!)!

Yes, Linux is a whole lot less work. Try the Mepis, it is Ubuntu based, or go for the PCLinuxOS, Mandriva based.

You decide. It's your high speed Information Highway!

ron said...

i tried Windows Vista and its a bad OS
i was a windows user forever
WinXP is much better than Vista

after i tested Vista i was so dissapointed that i wanted to try somthing else and move on from microsoft's os

10 years ago i was playing with linux a little bit so i started test new linux os
started with SuSe and moved to Kubuntu.

now dualbooting Kubuntu Feisty and WinXP
i have XP only for Cubase SX so i can make my music as i like.
if i could run Cubase SX 2 or 3 in Linux i would delete XP from my PC

Vista had not much drivers and didnt run everything when i tested it, its much much slower than XP or Linux,it had too many bugs, blue screen of death is still there.
XP is much much much better than Vista.

Linux eats them both in a breakfast.

its free, its working better, its fast, configurable, no BSOD, no crashes, no internet disconnections, KDE is more polished than XP or Vista, firefox is much better than IE and Thunderbird is much better than Outlook

while at first i liked the Vista's 3D window flipping, when i first time ran Beryl in linux, i was was amazed and it made the vista look like an old OS.

and now i will never switch back to windows

Anonymous said...

I just barely made a switch from Windows to Linux, (Linux Mint, to be more specific)and am very impressed with Mint. It is definitely a very big step up from Windows 2000! Thanks for the article!

butthead said...

wow....I actually tried some distro to see which one I like the best. To my surprise....most of the open source that I tried are not complete in programs...I had xandros 3 for a while then switched to freespire...but are way to slow. The last distro I tried was Linux Mint Bianca and oh my....this one just blows me away....most of the programs are there. Seriously, for anyone who wants to try linux...PLEASE start with Linux Mint. I think it will be a while till other distro catch up with this one. Right now...I cant wait to try Linux mint Cassandra. Imagine...Beryl woohoo

butthead said...

For any Linux Newbie out there...please try LINUX MINT.
This program just blew me away, and I only have Bianca.
I cant wait to see Cassandra...I think ill have a date next week....hehehe. Imagine....Cassandra with Beryl ...woohoooo
Kudos to the Linux Mint team...I will support them one way or another.

Ted said...

Got a system with Vista a few months ago, for gaming. Fairly high end with a 8800 GTX card and such. Had to replace my printer and scanner as there was no Vista upgrade available and none planned according to HP's website. One thing Vista for me was SLOW even in comparison to XP. Installs downloads were much slower than my xp machines on the same line. Also I awoke several times to a screen that said something like "your machine has been restarted caused by a crash of undetermined reason." Kinda strange as this machine has almost nothing installed on it but WoW and LoTr. Oh and I lost my desktop image the first day and never could get it back, I believe it was something to do with the LoTr install but with Windows who can tell? So anyway i put an 80 gig hard drive in this gamer and have tried out Ubuntu,Fedora7,and Open Suse. I am right now downloading Mint and will try it today. So far though Ubuntu is my favorite because install and initial use went so well. Fedora seemed like I was spending way to much time looking for codecs and such, may have just been my imagination not sure. Off to burn Mint and see.

Ted

im pulling a minty distro said...

well i found mint on distro watch. i have always for the past 4 years or so been playing with *nix and i loved it but the problem always hardware .so i downloaded mint.and not looked back.i have everything working all hardware is up and running even my 3 identical usb hdds. my dvb-s card is up and running with a smoothnes i have never seen.

the wifi side of things is solid and allways works none of this reboot 1 in 10 for the wifi to load.

mint truly rocks.
the age of a true end user friendly linux os is apon us.

m$ wont see whats hit them .

Cheyne said...

Keep up the good work.

The Time Machinist said...

@ron
Cubase SX 3 runs pretty well on Wine: http://appdb.winehq.org/objectManager.php?sClass=application&iId=1181