XP vs Ubuntu, the beginning
I have recently purchased a new computer, by parts, to build it by myself. I was terrifically excited and nervous, since I’ve never built a box by myself, really.
Well, there was that one time in Florida, when a lightning fried our house, melting my modem and scorching the motherboard. Then I bought some junk stuff from Computer Renaissance and put it together. This is different. I got to pick what went into it. I got to spend many agonizing hours fretting over whether the CPU will jive with the motherboard I picked.
Anyway, that’s not what this post is about.
Pretty much every CPU now comes with support for 64-bit computing (x64, or AMD64 command set), so I decided to load it with x64 OS, since I am so forward. Additionally, I decided to dual-boot Ubuntu and XP Pro, since I really liked my previous experience with Ubuntu, when it was still known as Feisty Fawn (7.04). It has now grown up to Hardy Heron (8.04).
First, I installed XP Pro (following a suggestion that Linux’s GRUB loader is far superior to its Windows’ counterpart), and after I got that running, I installed Ubuntu. And in the process, for the first time really, came to realization that Ubuntu is more user-friendly out of the box than XP.
When first installed, XP did not recognize my wireless network adapter (Linksys WMP54G v 4.1) and motherboard’s audio chip. Then came the fun part. Linksys doesn’t have a 64-bit driver, even though the chip manufacturer RaLink does. That chip is pretty much the only thing that matters. The rest of the card is basically an antenna. Way to get on the ball, Linksys.
It’s a good thing I was familiar with the whole chipset debacle, since I had to deal with it in my first attempts with Linux.
Audio chip drivers at least came in 64-bit format on a CD with the motherboard.
Even then, however, wireless doesn’t work very well. Windows waits for 10-15 minutes before deciding to connect. In the meantime, it just hangs out, refusing to even detect any networks.
Then, I installed Ubuntu.
First of all, its formatting utility, GParted, is awesome. Resizing partitions was a snap, whereas Windows set up one partition, and then pretended the rest of the hard drive does not exist. Not to mention that GParted was willing to set up any kind of file system.
Installation was run entirely through GUI, no scary CLI craziness.
And then everything worked on the first install – wireless picked right up, without an arbitrary waiting period, and so did the audio. I only needed to manually configure network security settings – the adapter itself was detected automatically. (By the way, network configuration is much more stable now, it didn’t work at all for me in 7.04.)
In the end, it left me even a bit confused. It was over too quickly and too easily. I kept feeling like there’s something else I need to do. But there wasn’t. (Excepting personal setup things, but that’s nothing to do with OS.)
I know it’s been said a myriad times, but now I’ve really seen it.
Out of the box, Linux beats Windows. Easy.
Filed under: Linux, Windows | 6 Comments