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OS Comparisons From the BBC

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the level-playing-field dept.

Windows 524

igb writes "As part of their coverage of the launch of Vista, the BBC last week asked people to submit descriptions of the benefits and drawbacks of their chosen system, and today they've posted responses from two Vista users, a Linux user, and an OS X user. There's nothing earth-shattering here, but it's interesting to see the operating systems compared on a level playing field, and good that the BBC has given equal time to the major alternatives."

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524 comments

Not level (5, Insightful)

suso (153703) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809308)

I'm sorry but this is not a level playing field. What this is is acknowledging the competition so as to appear fair and silence advocates, but then show off the latest features of Vista's interface, but not show the same in Linux and OSX. They have been playing this game for long enough that they know that eye candy sells. For goodness sake a Linux user that I work with said he was going to buy Vista just because he thought the box looks cool.

Re:Not level (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17809362)

For goodness sake a Linux user that I work with said he was going to buy Vista just because he thought the box looks cool.

IN THE NAME OF DARWIN, KILL THE SUBHUMAN!

Re:Not level (4, Informative)

Nanpa (971527) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809380)

To be fair, they spend just as much time with Linux's prime features (Package Manager, Free Software, etc) and OSX's (Stability, ease of use, etc).

Re:Not level (4, Informative)

DJ Rubbie (621940) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809402)

Agreed, like how AIGLX+Beryl isn't covered. However that is still considered beta currently, despite of that, I use it and it does more than what Windows Vista does in terms of eye-candy usability, and it hasn't quite crashed on me once yet if I don't push it (VT-switching causes it to blackscreen for me, but the desktop can be restored by restarting Beryl (try restarting just the windows manager on Windows - you can't).

For those who don't know, AIGLX+Beryl has the window thumbnail and alt-tab zoom like OS X, yet the alt-tab has a live thumbnail of what the window is currently showing unlike OS X (not sure about the latest version of OS X). AIGLX+Beryl also has 3D window stack similar to Vista when the desktop cube is under rotation. I don't think it would be hard to implement that window stacking feature without the Desktop cube. Also multiple workspaces on the 4 sides of the cube, which I don't think neither supports natively.

Re:Not level (1)

strider44 (650833) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809468)

It's funny that one of the bigger arguments against Beryl's forking of Compiz was that people thought it would be amazingly unstable, yet I've had no problems at all with Beryl since I've been using it. The only criticism is that some of the animations (especially the floppy windows) hurts my eyes since I have a bad lcd monitor with a pretty bad refresh rate and vga input which I might replace soon.

Beryl's Stability (2, Interesting)

tyroeternal (999352) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809590)

I've heard lots of hooplah about beryl being unstable... and it drove me away for a long time. Stability is a major issue for me... but in my time spent with it... its perfectly acceptable.

Re:Beryl's Stability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17809934)

Well, Beryl is unstable in the linux sense, which is like a 2.0 MS Windows app ;) Most of Beryl's problems are in starting it up at all, once you have it running, it tends to work fine. The one problem is working along with 3D programs, but for the most part I have had no trouble (I recall one program giving me problems, but I also recall it was generally a PoS).
  So, if you could bear to use Windows, Beryl is ok. Specially if you consider that when Beryl crashes, you don't have to restart the environment, you just have to run a window manager (beryl or not, doesn't matter).

Re:Not level (1, Informative)

Ken_g6 (775014) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809718)

try restarting just the windows manager on Windows - you can't

Yes you can - usually. In Task Manager, find process "Explorer.exe" and kill it. If it doesn't restart right away, go to File -> New Task, and run Explorer.exe.

At least, that's the way it works in XP...

Re:Not level (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17809766)

Explorer is NOT a window manager, its only a file manager with desktop abilities. It dosent manage windows, notice that if you kill Explorer, window bars/titles are still drawn? You can still move windows? Yes? Thanks.

Re:Not level (5, Informative)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809778)

Yes you can - usually. In Task Manager, find process "Explorer.exe" and kill it. If it doesn't restart right away, go to File -> New Task, and run Explorer.exe.

That is one way, yes. A much cleaner way that very few people are aware of is this:

Go to Start > Shutdown. When the dialog appears, hold CTRL+ALT+SHIFT and press Cancel. Explorer will cleanly unload all of it's resources and shutdown. To start it back up, open Task Manager (CTRL+SHIFT+ESC is one way) and go to File > New Task and run 'explorer'.

This method was designed for people writing plugins and handlers for Explorer who needed to be able to unload it all and start fresh without rebooting or uncleanly killing Explorer's process. Can be nice to know.

Re:Not level (2, Informative)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809782)

Explorer isn't a window manager, it's a desktop shell and file manager (equivalent to Nautilus in Gnome, Konqueror in KDE, or the Finder in Mac OS). In Windows, the tasks that would be performed by a window manager under X are in the graphics system and the standard library.

Level Enough (1)

tyroeternal (999352) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809532)

Though the attention did move, for the most part, toward vista... it was a good quality discussion. Vista is new... so its no wonder that they got the majority of the focus, but they didnt cut anyone's legs out. On the whole this may not have been the PERFECT debate that all the fanboys were looking for... but for the launch of a new MS OS it was unexpectedly fair. I was quite pleased with the focus given to each side of the argument.

Re:Not level (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17809568)

"I'm sorry but this is not a level playing field."

Two on Vista. One for the others. The 1st Vista user sounds like he has never used any OS except Windows yet touts it will give OSX a run for its money. Typical Windows users. Little or no experience on another OS but yet its the greatest thing since sliced bread. As evidence by his statement:

" A huge amount of research has been put into this new version which is evident in everything from the user interface right through to the new security model."

Yeah, much research and security by looking at other operating systems! sigh.

Note in contrast, however, the OSX and Linux dude have had prior experience. That makes their testimony more creditable in my book. But, hey, if you like Vista, more power to yeah.

So, erm, AmigaOS? (5, Funny)

mynameismonkey (658515) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809720)

I know there's at least three other people besides me who are shocked at the complete lack of AmigaOS 4.0 coverage from the BBC.

Worthless article (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17809310)

I wish there were a way for me to vote on articles because I would have voted to strike down the posting of such a vapid article.

Mac user (2, Insightful)

Veinor (871770) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809322)

The Mac user writes: "I find it hard to find things to criticise, except perhaps to say that new versions of iWork and iLife are produced each year and it is hard to resist buying each new version, modestly priced as they are." Does anybody else smell a shill?

Re:Mac user (0, Troll)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809530)

"I find it hard to find things to be excited about, given that new rehashes of iWork and iLife are produced each year and it is hard to justify buying each new version, even modestly priced as they are."

There, now the opinion is more realistic.

Re:Mac user (4, Insightful)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809820)

"I find it hard to find things to be excited about, given that new rehashes of iWork and iLife are produced each year and it is hard to justify buying each new version, even modestly priced as they are."

There, now the opinion is more realistic.
Not really, that is just your opinion. I've got no problem with you having a differing opinion. What I do have a problem with is you being a prick about it and not being willing to accept a differing viewpoint at face value.

Re:Mac user (3, Insightful)

XCol (1057404) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809534)

"I don't remember the last time a programme crashed on me, and OS X itself has never crashed on me." I have to wonder if this guy does anything but play reversi on his Mac. Lord knows I cant make full use of my Macs without at least one drop out or crash a week...

Re:Mac user (2, Interesting)

melikamp (631205) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809780)

I second that. I owned a PPC powerbook for about a year, and both Panther and Tiger crashed on me pretty badly about once a month (just hang or not wake up). I cannot really say that my Ubuntu Gateway is all that better, since I never got it to sleep without loosing modules, and ndiswrapper used to misbehave (until they fixed it). The rest of the OS, though, is absolutely rock-solid. Not a single crash since Edgy came out.

Re:Mac user (2, Insightful)

DAharon (937864) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809644)

No kidding. That comment invalidates everything he said previously (as if there were anything of significance in any of the blurbs). Give me a friken break! I wasn't born yesterday.

Re:Mac user (3, Insightful)

melikamp (631205) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809686)

I felt that the criticism for Vista and OSX was kinda weak. May be it's not even about a shill, but rather about not knowing any better. The main issue with the non-free systems is that you cannot tinker with them, but most users do not even realize what they are missing. The Windows guys were, like, "Vista > XP", and the OSX guy was, like, "OSX > XP". Well, duh. Of course the new version is better than the one that's 5 years old--anything less than that would be a disaster. They do not see, though, how limited they are in their ability to customize their systems, both in terms of appearance and functionality, and this limitation is directly linked to the fact that the source is proprietary and the system can only be produced in "one size fits them all" format.

Only the Linux guy was actually capable of providing a reasonable assessment of strengths and weaknesses, thanks to his broader knowledge of OSes and what they are useful for.

Re:Mac user (5, Insightful)

mr_matticus (928346) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809838)

The problem is an issue of values. You assume that people value the ability to tinker over the value of what is essentially an appliance, which is not true--some people would prefer the Apple "just work" mentality. As computers grow more specialized (media servers, desktop workstations, mobile information devices, etc.), the desire for a self-contained, reliable, attractive solution will only grow.

Some people don't see open source as a virtue, and it's not simply because of Microsoft FUD. Most people I know honestly don't care because they don't want to have to dig around in the depths of the OS. They don't want to compile applications, and they don't care that the same source tree works on four different platforms thanks to elegantly designed tools. As long as there are Windows developers making applications that allow them to do what they want, it's an immaterial advantage. Some don't care that Linux costs nothing, because they never buy Windows either. It comes with their computer, so from their perspective, Windows doesn't cost anything either. If computer makers sold their machines at one price and offered to preinstall Windows for a separate fee, that act alone would be Linux's greatest boon in a decade.

Trying to "educate" users about how "wrong" they are is the fastest way to look like a pretentious computer geek and lose credibility. It's not about "seeing the light," it's about what values people have and which OS most closely matches. People here hate and mock attempts at religious conversions and many seem to resent government deciding what to do with tax dollars, but they have no such problem with pushing their Linux agenda on the masses.

Linux will always be relatively small because its virtues appeal only to a small portion of the population. It can't compete on ease of use with OS X, or the universality of Windows, or on cost with Windows (as long as Windows is bundled with PCs), or on the cohesiveness of OS X, or on many other fronts. Linux is great for tinkerers and those with an allergy to closed source; the rest of the population isn't broken because they don't care about those things.

Re:Mac user (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809944)

Good Post. In addition, I'll bet that a lot of serious Linux users that do care about the elegant aspects of Linux don't spend a lot of time digging around and recompiling applications unless they have to to maintain their system or it is directly relevent to their jobs. Professionals use their tools to get their work done and that rarely involves tweaking tools that already work.

Re:Mac user (2, Insightful)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809864)

"The main issue with the non-free systems is that you cannot tinker with them, but most users do not even realize what they are missing."

You mean they're missing the opportunity to tinker their way to disaster?

Re:Mac user (1)

melikamp (631205) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809930)

Hehe, fair enough. But no. I mean, they miss the richness afforded by the fact that other people (who know what they are doing) can tinker with the system. Think all the distributions, window managers, and desktop environments (all two of them).

Re:Mac user (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17809690)

Nope, just another 'too proud &/or too dumb' to admit fault, MAC user.

Re:Mac user (0, Flamebait)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809788)

No but I smell a paid troll named Veinor. iLife is cheap for what you get with it. You see, some of us used to be poor geeks but we got off our ass and got a real job and a life. Maybe your should get off your ass and do the same. iLife is $79.00 USD with free shipping. That is about the same as a night out with the gf. I would not even miss that money.

Re:Mac user (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17809846)

OK, so he's a paid troll but he should get a job?

Are you familiar with the old robot saying "Does not compute!"?

Re:Mac user (1)

Virak (897071) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809872)

I smell yet another idiot who thinks that 'troll' means 'person I disagree with'.

And just because he doesn't think it's worth paying for the constant upgrades doesn't mean he can't afford them.

Re:Mac user (1)

wall0159 (881759) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809842)


>> Does anybody else smell a shill?

Yes. Especially when they talk about the 'industrial strength of Unix' - they're either a paid representative, or have read too many Mac adverts. ...and I say this as a Mac owner.

Having said that, the Windows people were spouting the Microsoft lines too...

only the Linux-user was pure and untainted - a lesson for us all ;-)

Re:Mac user (1)

Reed Solomon (897367) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809918)

only the Linux-user was pure and untainted - a lesson for us all ;-)
Yet his read like the worst sale job of them all.

FTFA (3, Insightful)

fabs64 (657132) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809334)

"The most unique new feature is called Readyboost. When you're having performance issues due to insufficient memory, you can use a USB flash drive as an additional cache of memory to boost performance."

Wh... WHAT?!

Sounds like a good way to wear out a flash drive..

Re:FTFA (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809382)

Yes - from the descriptions on the MS site it appears to be a bad idea implemented poorly. Don't take it from me - read their description of it and wonder how it got into the release.

Re:FTFA (1)

DDLKermit007 (911046) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809438)

Fine by me if they want to sink money into it. Due to that insane idea I made off with a number of 2GB Sandisk Thumbdrives in Presskits (along with a few games, 128MB thumbdrives, and other stuff) during CES. They are slightly outa their minds thinking you can put a thumbdrive through that kinda punishment for very long.

Brought to you by... (1)

macadamia_harold (947445) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809584)

"The most unique new feature is called Readyboost. When you're having performance issues due to insufficient memory, you can use a USB flash drive as an additional cache of memory to boost performance."

Wh... WHAT?!


What, you don't like KillerNIC's new product? I hear it also helps get an additional 30FPS in Half Life 2.

Re:FTFA (4, Informative)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809594)

Wh... WHAT?!
Sounds like a good way to wear out a flash drive.

Ever hear of the hybrid hard drive?

Using ReadyBoost-capable flash memory devices for caching allows Windows Vista to service random disk reads with performance that is typically 8-10 times faster than random reads from traditional hard drives. This caching is applied to all disk content, not just the page file or system DLLs. Flash devices are typically slower than the hard drive for sequential I/O, so to maximize performance, ReadyBoost includes logic to recognize large, sequential read requests and then allows these requests to be serviced by the hard drive. When a compatible device is plugged in, the Windows AutoPlay dialog offers an additional option to use it to speed up the system; an additional "ReadyBoost" tab is added to the drive's properties dialog where the amount of space to be used can be configured. ReadyBoost may also be able to use spare RAM on other networked Vista PCs in a future release. ReadyBoost [wikipedia.org]

Q: Isn't user data on a removable device a security risk?
A: This was one of our first concerns and to mitigate this risk, we use AES-128 to encrypt everything that we write to the device.

Q: Won't this wear out the drive?
A: Nope. We're aware of the lifecycle issues with flash drives and are smart about how and when we do our writes to the device. Our research shows that we will get at least 10+ years out of flash devices that we support.

Q: How much of a speed increase are we talking about?
A: Well, that depends. On average, a RANDOM 4K read from flash is about 10x faster than from HDD. Now, how does that translate to end-user perf? Under memory pressure and heavy disk activity, the system is much more responsive; on a 4GB machine with few applications running, the ReadyBoost effect is much less noticeable.
ReadyBoost Q&A [msdn.com]

Re:FTFA (1)

fabs64 (657132) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809806)

The only bit of actual technical information in that garbled press doc is that they're encrypting what if effectively a part of the swap file... That's an interesting way of efficiently using memory :-S

Re:FTFA (1)

jpardey (569633) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809908)

Don't worry, all Vista compatible flash drives will be able to do encryption in hardware, so they can cache the protected content you are watching.

Re:FTFA (2, Insightful)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809604)

Does it use the thumbdrive as core or swap?

The first would work horribly, the second ... horribly, but might wear your thumbdrive down slightly slower.

Either way, it will shuttup any "insufficient memory" alerts Vista may throw up, thus it's a feature: "Look how easy it is for me to add extra memory to my computer! How cool is that!" The fact that Vista consumes a gig or so of RAM just doing it's thing is simply above a casual user, thus such band-aids are effective.

No to look too far down my nose at anyone, but this feature is for shit, and the guy who came up with it doesn't know how computers work.

Re:FTFA (2, Interesting)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809734)

I got some food into me and up went my blood sugar and I was being too harsh. The person who invented the thing probably knows ablot about computers.

Something very important about computers is that people often buy them for bullet-point features. "ReadyBoost" makes a great bullet-point, while "Decreased OS memory footprint," no matter how you phrase it, doesn't. This is very vexing.

ReadyBoost is the computer equivalent of a chrome dashboard. It looks great, is a super feature for the gee-whiz effect alone, but certain exceptional conditions (involving deceleration and your face) might make it sub-optimal.

Re:FTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17809874)

News flash: You've apparently read a small amount of readyboost marketting and you think, in your infinite slashdot-weenie wisdom, that you understand anything. You don't. You don't understand the feature, you don't understand the benifits, and you don't understand the problems. You are not better qualified to judge the quality of this feature than the Windows kernel engineers who designed and implemented it. Sorry to burst your bubble :(

Unique feature? (4, Insightful)

Anubis350 (772791) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809350)

FTA: "The most unique new feature is called Readyboost. When you're having performance issues due to insufficient memory, you can use a USB flash drive as an additional cache of memory to boost performance."

Unique? That's Virtual Memory. Sure, the fact that it's easy (may be) a good thing (though how many people are going to keep an empty flash drive around for this? Easier to get the kid down the street to install more ram for you and be done with it if you cant do it yourself. However, unique? I can put a swap file on flash drive and itd do the same thing...

Re:Unique feature? (5, Informative)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809454)

Unique? That's Virtual Memory. Sure, the fact that it's easy (may be) a good thing (though how many people are going to keep an empty flash drive around for this? Easier to get the kid down the street to install more ram for you and be done with it if you cant do it yourself. However, unique? I can put a swap file on flash drive and itd do the same thing...

Will the swap be encrypted so taking away the stick can't reveal confidential data? No.
Will taking the swap out in the middle of the OS running lock it up? Yes.
Will the OS benchmark the Flash for you and determine which pieces of data are best stored there and which not for best performance? No.

So when you say "it's the same" you're stretching truth quite a lot.

Re:Unique feature? (1)

smorken (990019) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809746)

Additionally merely putting a swap file on a flash drive might cause a lot of writes.

Re:Unique feature? (1)

Nasarius (593729) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809952)

Will the swap be encrypted so taking away the stick can't reveal confidential data? No.
Yes. See cryptoloop.

Will taking the swap out in the middle of the OS running lock it up? Yes.
Wait, are you saying that you can just rip out the USB stick and nothing bad will happen? That doesn't make any sense. Otherwise, see swapoff(8) [linuxcommand.org] .

Will the OS benchmark the Flash for you and determine which pieces of data are best stored there and which not for best performance? No.
Aha, finally an interesting feature. I don't believe that Linux or any of the *BSDs can handle different tiers/priorities of swap space. But benchmarking? A USB2 flash drive is a USB2 flash drive is a USB2 flash drive. There's no great difference there, unless something is broken.

Re:Unique feature? (1, Informative)

zigziggityzoo (915650) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809504)

You don't necessarily need an empty flash drive. You can allocate a portion of the drive for ReadyBoost use. On my 4GB Flash drive, I have allocated 1GB for Readyboost use, and the remainder is free for file storage.

Re:Unique feature? (1)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809784)

Unique? That's Virtual Memory. Sure, the fact that it's easy (may be) a good thing (though how many people are going to keep an empty flash drive around for this? Easier to get the kid down the street to install more ram for you and be done with it if you cant do it yourself. However, unique? I can put a swap file on flash drive and itd do the same thing...

Tell me this... can you change your virtual memory settings without a reboot under xp and below? I've not played with my settings but i'm willing to wager that xp requires a reboot. I'm sure XP wouldn't play nice with the idea you deciding you wanted to remove the flash drive.

Not that I think it's a good idea or anything. Flash drives do have a limited life span, but hey for $20 or so you can get a 1 gig unit, sometimes 2 gig units. For a small investment you can dedicate flash virtual disc virtral memory storage. It's something joe user can do to make something work that otherwise didnt work.

Good to see the alternatives get some face time... (2, Interesting)

greenhaven (1057220) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809356)

Nice report, though the Linux guy should have pointed out the DRM on Vista. They did a good job with the security portion too.

Re:Good to see the alternatives get some face time (3, Insightful)

spencerg83 (972647) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809588)

I was surprised that none of the Vista users had complaints (well, maybe it is no surprise due to the fact they weren't entirely critical). I subscribe to Maximum PC magazine, and they shred the crap out of Vista-- sure, they love the eye-candy and other handy things that Vista has to offer over Windows XP, but the editors of Maximum PC wrote another article detailing about 10 things they hate about Vista, including ridiculous DRM software, redundant program install prompts, AND the fact that it will have compatibility issues with a lot of software on the market today (well, the latter is to be expected as newly released OS's run into this). In the end, they recommend putting off the whole upgrade for at least a year (when PC games will catch up to DirectX10, and when hardware will be more compatible with the new OS).

Oh, and they absolutely hate the high-dollar price tag, and the scaled software packages (Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, Ultimate).

I'll stick with my XP for now and upgrade when I need to, for gaming's sake.

Re:Good to see the alternatives get some face time (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809868)

Nice report, though the Linux guy should have pointed out the DRM on Vista.

You would prefer a dialogue which began with the Vista user demonstrating his new Blu-Ray drive by playing Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire?

In high definition with full theater sound and large screen projection?

Because access to protected content is all that DRM means to the casual user of Vista or the Mac.

This is a good start (4, Insightful)

JoshJ (1009085) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809414)

The linux advocate pointed out the free software license, contrasting it with "piracy". Hopefully this is the start of free software making a real impact in the mainstream media.

It's Filler (4, Insightful)

Bullfish (858648) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809420)

This is just filler for BBC's tech page. There is no real detail given on any of the operating systems other than, "it's cool, I like it". Before anyone says they should've said this and should've said that, this is aimed at people who know squat about computers, less about OS's and will likely read this article on page 5 of their newspaper. It was probably tossed on the desk of some rookie rerporter at five minutes to quitting time.

Stereotypical users (1)

jesterzog (189797) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809566)

It was probably tossed on the desk of some rookie rerporter at five minutes to quitting time.

I think you're probably right; there's nothing new or particularly interesting here. Both Windows guys have only ever used Windows, and they compare it with previous versions of Windows with no reference to the outside world. The Linux guy compares Linux with Windows (with a brief side reference to Macs), and the Mac guy compares OS X with Windows. Even the past experience of these people seems completely stereotypical, but if you spend all your time working in your favourite OS, it shouldn't be a big surprise that comparative knowledge of other OS's is limited.

It would have been a lot more useful to have genuine reviewers write something from a perspective of having used all three systems a lot, without bias, and fully understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each... but I presume there are already a few of them around.

Summary (4, Informative)

Paulrothrock (685079) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809434)

Windows: Eye candy, eye candy, and you're gonna have to upgrade.

Linux: Secure stable, and I swear it's got software you can run! I mean, people give it away for free.

Mac OS: I use my machine for things and I really like it. And it's pretty

Re:Summary (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809880)

Summary:

Windows: Eye candy, eye candy, and you're gonna have to upgrade.
Linux: Secure stable, and I swear it's got software you can run! I mean, people give it away for free.
Mac OS: I use my machine for things and I really like it. And it's pretty


Summary: Slashdot.

Re:Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17809894)

>Linux: Secure stable, and I swear it's got software you can run! I mean, people give it away for free.
Stable? Not since the 2.2 days. Secure? Only if by "linux" you mean "Openbsd".

Insecure much? (2, Insightful)

XCol (1057404) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809444)

"It is clean, uncluttered and lets me get on with my tasks. When I see Windows' reminders, popups, and other interruptions, I appreciate its absence in OS X." Isn't it funny that the only person to sledge their non-choice of OS was a Mac user?

Re:Insecure much? (1)

XCol (1057404) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809492)

OK, so maybe i was hasty... "And using powerful desktops such as KDE and Gnome with stunning visual effects it is able to look even better than Vista and OS X. Also, unlike Vista and OS X, Linux provides comprehensive support for languages such as Gaelic and Welsh. " Though that comment isnt laced with sarcastic pity.

Re:Insecure much? (2, Insightful)

Helios1182 (629010) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809526)

Compare the amount of user interaction with the OS in Vista and OSX and you will see what he means. It is very rare that OSX gives messages or prompts to the user.

Re:Insecure much? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17809878)

Insightful my ass.

Try browsing the web with safari without putting the keyring password in.

he's not talking about vista (1)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809892)

"The first thing I noticed after switching from Windows to Mac OS X almost six years ago is its complete lack of distractions."

Vista wasn't out six years ago. He's probably talking about a popup infested 98 or ME system.

Re:Insecure much? (1)

WaKall (461142) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809660)

I wouldn't say it's not funny.

However, I would say that it's expected. I would guess that the flux of users from one OS to another over the past couple of years has been heaviest from Windows to OSX. It's still easy to use and you can buy it pre-installed, at increasingly competitive prices in the already-built space (but still not totally competitive).

What's the likelihood of finding a Windows user who switched to windows because of things they didn't like about OSX or Linux?

Re:Insecure much? (1)

XCol (1057404) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809706)

Does someone who switched from Windows to OSX then back to Windows like me count?

Re:Insecure much? (3, Insightful)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809848)

"It is clean, uncluttered and lets me get on with my tasks.When I see Windows' reminders, popups, and other interruptions, I appreciate its absence in OS X."Isn't it funny that the only person to sledge their non-choice of OS was a Mac user?
Did you totally miss that the guy was a switcher from windows? That might be why he mentioned the contrast between the two systems. You might want to loosen that tinfoil hat a little.

Drawbacks? (2, Insightful)

Add_Water (1056858) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809448)

"requires more resources", "is less widespread than the competition", "it is hard to resist buying each new version" are these the real drawbacks? And where's the comparisons the headline talks about? It looks like they picked 4 fanboys comments and posted them. And why are there 2 comments about Vista, and just one of each other oses? Because windows has a bigger market share?

Re:Drawbacks? (2, Insightful)

Falladir (1026636) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809682)

Because they told the first guy they would publish his comments before they realized that despite having used windows since 3.1, he knew jack-all about it. Here's a summary of his comments, rendered in caveman-speak:

"I use windows long time. Now it pretty! When changing between programs it VERY pretty! But my flash drive doesn't work any more."

Seriously, how can a major news source publish "it just adds to the overall experience." Seriously.

I can't respect a guy who's so utterly hung up on the eye candy. Having my window manager respond instantaneously (go, fluxbox, go!) turns me on much more than it ever would to see 2d windows rendered in 3d perspective.

Possibly false assertion from the Linux guy?? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17809524)

Also, unlike Vista and OS X, Linux provides comprehensive support for languages such as Gaelic and Welsh.

I believe this to be false, and I am assuming it is coming from someone who has never used OS X. I just looked in System Preferences, and they are indeed there under International (you need to look under its native name, e.g. "Cymraeg" for Welsh -- it's hidden under the "Edit" button). OS X was built with Unicode in mind. OS X even comes with built-in support for the Inuktitut (Eskimo) language for chrissakes!! (Try visiting http://www.gov.nu.ca/inuktitut/ [gov.nu.ca] in Safari --- that is rendered in the default font!!)

I use both Linux and OS X heavily, but stuff like this doesn't lend the Linux camp any credibilty IMHO.

Call me idealistic... (1)

jtpalinmajere (627101) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809538)

... but i thought that the introduction of the linux and mac user would have to have their critique of Vista (ie. offer their perspective on the competition). This article is really nothing more than four fan-boys of a particular IT community dissection flaunting their collectively underwhelming e-peen in our faces.

I suppose it would be fair to say that there was a level playing field in terms of effectiveness in promoting their respective platforms... if I showed these "articles" to my parents, or some random person at the mall / office, I'd be surprised if any would be the least inclined to try any of the platforms.

Re:Call me idealistic... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17809764)

"This article is really nothing more than four fan-boys of a particular IT community dissection flaunting their collectively underwhelming e-peen in our faces."

Yeah, I'm so glad we're reading Slashdot instead.

readyboost = wtf?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17809548)

This is the first I've heard of this feature. What are they smoking at MS that they though allowing users to dump virtual memory to a USB thumb drive would be a good idea? It's not going to be any faster than storing virtual memory on a SATA connected HDD and it is going to eat the flash memory. Don't people know those things wear out? They're going to learn the hard way. It's not like most people don't already have enough disk space that a feature like this would even be needed. When was the last time you saw a computer that was slow because it didn't have enough virtual memory?

oh no (0, Troll)

holywarrior21c (933929) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809552)

linux and vista and max os x comparison in one place? This is going to be the END OF THE WORLD or some apocalypse, finally some aliens liquidate earth with friggin laser beams attached to their friggin starship. -- -noothin 2 she here. muv alon-

Sounds like a joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17809580)

So two Vista users, a Linux user, and a Mac user walk into a bar...

Re:Sounds like a joke (1)

hasbeard (982620) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809730)

I can't believe you didn't get any mod points for this; I thought it was pretty good. :)

Re:Sounds like a joke (4, Funny)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809840)

...and the Vista user sits down and says to the waitress "I'll order an Opteron...I want to take a Leap Ahead"
Not to be out-done, the Linux user looks up and says "My name is gentoo, and it's gonna be a long day for me...I'm gonna want some Intel Inside!".
The waitress scribbles this down and looks to the mac user who blandly says "Just an abacus for me, thanks".

As the waitress walks off to get their order The Vista and Linux users look puzzled at the mac guy who then calmly explains "if you guys aren't going to use a real computer, neither will I"

Re:Sounds like a joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17809962)

Umm, you might want to use a joke that still works.

I'm a long time unix supporter... (2, Interesting)

Syde (1047152) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809596)

Another significant advantage with Linux is that, unlike in Windows, there is no need to worry about security since viruses are very rare, no virus has yet spread successfully on the platform.

And that statement makes me cry.

1. Security is not limited to viruses, and saying there is no need for security just... ya makes me cry.
2. Depending on your exact defination of virus... say if you include worms, saying that no virus has never spread on Linux is simply not true.


I see purpose for all 3 OSs - well maybe not Vista directly, but Windows in general yes. But I really think they should have chosen people that clearly have alot of experience in all 3 OSs - which these people clearly do not.

Re:I'm a long time unix supporter... (1)

Bob54321 (911744) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809694)

I think you need to consider the audience that the article is intended for. As far as most people think, anything that attacks your computer (including spyware/adware) must be a virus. The article is not the place to explain the difference to the masses. Also, the "no need to worry about security" statement is not far off for the average user. Most easy to install linux distributions are reasonably secure by default - sure there is a lot more that can be done but for your average PC user knowing that their computer is not going to become infected by a "virus" is most of their security concern gone.

Question. (1)

oddman (204968) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809600)

Can anyone tell me what the Linux guy has running on his desktop? Specifically, I'm curious about the semi-transparent apps running on the right hand side of the thumbnail in the article.

Thanks.

Re:Question. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17809722)

Those semitransparent apps look like superkaramba themes in KDE its possible they are showing a KDE or KDE+Gnome desktop but I cant tell because the thumbnail is so small.

Re:Question. (1)

idonthack (883680) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809772)

The stuff on the right is probably a Karamba or SuperKaramba applet. Install it via your package manager of choice and check out all the stuff for it at kde-look [kde-look.org] .

Re:Question. (1)

r_jensen11 (598210) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809900)

It's either gdesklets or adesklets. I'm inclined to say adesklets, seeing as gdesklets has been down for a while now. The desklets actually used are most likely from the sidecandy collection

Which to buy? (1)

lindseyp (988332) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809618)

My motherboard just died on me in such a way that I ended up killing my WindowsXP installation trying to recover from what I thought was a driver problem. The Dual Opteron246 Tyan I was running it on has been unstable ever since I moved house and I'm sick of it. My wife's laptop got a broken screen at just about the same time and I immediately bought a replacement, which I have yet to set up. I'm thinking, Do I really need Windows anymore? Both Linux and OSX can run many Windows programs on the desktop, but I'm still not sold on Linux as a home desktop OS. Macs are fast, cool, and if you stick with 3rd party upgrades for memory and drive space, they're not too badly priced at the high end. I'm thinking I should take back the laptop I bought for my wife and get her a MacBook. All she does is internet, mail, print postcards and manage family photos and her blogs. Then I can replace my Big Rig with a Mac Pro on which I can do all my stuff: Number crunching with Mathematica, Photography, Family videos, music production (cubase) ... All that stuff will work. What do I lose? Lots of free VST instruments which are Windows only. -- sad but I'll find replacements. True Excel functionality -- I use a lot of add-ons such as Bloomberg price feeds that I'm not sure would work. Do I really need em? I'm not sure. Warez. -- I'm no warez junkie, I buy most of the commercial programs I use, but it's very convenient to be able to find copies of software to try out or use for a one-off I would otherwise never pay for. Can I manage my home network as well? I have a large video and music collection on a Terastation, I hear Mac users sometimes have problems playing .AVI files, and right now there is *no* way to play AVCHD files as produced by my Sony HD cam. OK I'm sure this will be addressed fairly quickly. Can any /.ers put my mind at rest on any of these issues, or perhaps point me in the direction of some resources to ease the transition? Otherwise are there any /.ers who did "switch" and wish they hadn't?

Re:Which to buy? (3, Interesting)

mr_matticus (928346) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809978)

Advantages for the Mac: There is a robust shareware/freeware market, and much of Windows' small apps are capabilities built directly into what a shipping Mac can handle. It also runs X11, so with Fink or your package manager of choice, you have access to thousands of X applications. Managing your home network is a breeze (you configure your router via a webpage anyway, right?), and unless you're trying to play AVI files from Windows Media 10+, you should be able to find plugins. I can watch most WMVs and all DivX files from my Macs, no problem. No idea about your Sony cam. Linux: There really is no replacement for Excel. There are good spreadsheet programs, but I've always wound up frustrated with alternatives to Excel--it seems to be one thing Microsoft got right. Your mileage may vary, of course. There's also no Linux support for lots of not-uncommon activities, and getting the fonts set up so that text looks acceptable is far more trouble than it should be. I have always been bothered by the way all Linux desktops look--it always just seems flat and rough around the edges. There are tens of thousands of applications available, which can be a good thing, but it also means you might have to try 3 or 4 different apps before finding one you actually like and which can do what you want it to do without being frustrating. I know I'll probably get knocked for this, but while there is a wide selection of quality software for Linux, only a small portion of it has the refinement and efficacy of solid titles available for Windows or OS X. Even finding a good media player was a bit of a challenge (I liked Amarok, but it had some serious limitations). I'm saying this as someone who has administered Linux machines in the past and who had, until about two years ago, a Linux server. I'm now Mac-only and have seen nothing compelling me to pick up Linux again, but I have no bad feelings toward it. Linux is something you can benefit from if you put effort and energy into it, but it's not really something you can just fall into comfortably.

Favorite part of the article (4, Interesting)

WankersRevenge (452399) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809648)

The first thing I noticed after switching from Windows to Mac OS X almost six years ago is its complete lack of distractions. It is clean, uncluttered and lets me get on with my tasks.

If you look at the adjacent screenshot, you'll see a completely cluttered desktop filled with distractions. I find it amusing that out of all the images, this one has the most clutter.

...walk in to a bar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17809726)

I read the links first and I thought this was leading in to a joke.

"two Vista users, a Linux user, and an OS X user" ... walk in to a bar.

Correct me if I'm wrong... (2, Interesting)

lord_mike (567148) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809800)

...but didn't the BBC have it's own Operating System at one time?

Something like this? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BBC_Micro [wikipedia.org]

Too bad they never continued that project...

Thanks,

Mike

Re:Correct me if I'm wrong... (2, Interesting)

Akir (878284) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809854)

BBC didn't actually have their own operating System. As I understand it, the BBC Micro was actually running a slightly modified RISCOS.

The virus argument (1, Insightful)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809818)

FTFA:

Another significant advantage with Linux is that, unlike in Windows, there is no need to worry about security since viruses are very rare, no virus has yet spread successfully on the platform.

1. I do not like windows.
2. I used to develop on freeBSD and linux (now Windows because I am a game production developer, it comes with the job.)
3. This argument about viruses has absolutely no basis since if an OS is not widely used, it simply isn't an attractive commercial target for virus/adware writers. I wish Linux/OSX cheerleaders would not use this point in listing the merits of a system beause nobody can convince me that if everyone used Linux or everyone used OSX to the degree that Windows dominates the market (and especially the novice computer user market with respect to Linux) this argument would neccessarily hold up. (It might hold up, I'm just sayin that right now theres no way to know.)

Re:The virus argument (1)

bcguitar33 (1001772) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809910)

Well, let's be fair. It sounds like you're debunking the claim that Linux immune to viruses, which he never made. In fact, he even said that the lack of virus spread on Linux is due to the rarity of viruses created for it.

What about Amiga! (5, Funny)

kurtmckee (870398) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809828)

> good that the BBC has given equal time to the major alternatives

I use Amiga 4.0 you insensitive clod!

Write to your local elected representative (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17809948)

...and demand that PC manufacturers be forced to sell their computers without Windows installed. We are currently paying ~$80USD for every computer we buy. If the Linux Counter is correct, that is about 2.3 BILLION dollars Linux users have BEEN FORCED to give to Microsoft. Vista represents some very serious problems related to privacy and digital rights management - and you will be forced to pay for it.

Write to your government. This is not just about Microsoft - it's about consumer rights.
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