I upgraded to both on one machine each. Before going into the pros and cons of each, I better tell the makeup of each machine I upgraded.
Windows 7: A Dell 755 Optiplex. Basic stock, additional media card reader, and extra RAM. Networked. Running XP Service Pack 3
Ubuntu 9.10: A Dell XPS 400. Basic stock, additional wireless NIC (N), and extra RAM. Home networked via SAMBA. Running Ubuntu 9.04.
- Windows 7: Used the upgrade as opposed to a completely new install. Install took about 3 hours. Running the User State Migration Tool showed me everything would work except for two networked printers. While this really is a fresh install, I do like how my previous data was automatically moved to a new partition.
- Ubuntu 9.10: Used the Distribution Update. Install took about 6 hours, as I upgraded two days after the release, which is unlike me. I usually wait a couple weeks to allow for this. No real problems during upgrade.
- Wow! I guess looking at an 8 year old operating system will make anything new look like gold. I like the feel and look of their gadgets. Of course, I went with the neon clock right away. I also like the new taskbar at the bottom. Vista, apparently had something similar, but since I skipped Vista, it was new to me. I like how when you have multiple windows for one app, and hover over them, it will give you small thumbnails of each at the bottom. Very slick.
- Ok, so after a few weeks of using it, I do like how the security features are in place to make sure we want to install a software application, but again, similar to Vista, they go a little too far. Do I really need admin permission to throw out a file? Or do I need to login with my admin credentials multiple times to install an application. Looks like we’re a little better, for Windows, but not so much for the wide world.
- I did lose some support on hardware. My free Embarq webcam will not work. Not too surprising, as it was a free gift from a vendor! Worked fine under XP, and Ubuntu, so I will probably just use it at home. Out of the three networked printers (one a copier), I lost support to two of them. Still trying to find the drivers for those two, but coming up empty so far.
- Most of my software applications that I used on XP have been ported over for Se7en. Haha, nice poke at Hollywood there! I just tried one though, Fast Stone Capture, an image capturing tool, and it does not appear to work correctly. All my main apps do work fine though. No arguments there.
Ubuntu 9.10 (Koala):
Well, it’s Ubuntu, so of course I love it. First up, you will hear so many folks complain that it’s brown. Well, it’s Ubuntu, of course it’s brown. I actually like the brown and oranges, but then 50% of my wardrobe is either brown or orange. They did ship it with some nice quality wallpaper this time. I am partial to the cherries. So looks are fine with me. I especially like the new themes. The one in the image is the ‘New Wave’ theme. What I like, besides the gray tones, is the highlighting of the window choices. When you hover over the window controls (the X for instance), it appears to light up.
I do not really notice anything else overly differently on Ubuntu 9.10. I do notice a little bit quicker boot time, and a nice, slick new boot screen. The notifications seem better integrated since they were release in 9.04. Hardware support seems much smoother too. On my perennial FAIL Dell E1705 laptop, it actually recognized the wifi drivers necessary on a fresh install. This NEVER happened before. Good to see this! Otherwise, a nice, uneventful upgrade. And that speaks volumes for Ubuntu and Linux. It appears we may be just about on the cusp of easy, widespread usage. Maybe it’s time for me to load it on my Dad’s computer. The true test!