Operating System (OS) plays a very important role in a desktop or laptop or your mobile phone. It is system software that prepares the ground for playing different applications by effectively translating user commands to be processed on the hardware. It unleashes the hardware’s capability to perform multiple tasks enthusing users all the time. The system will be live as long as the OS is live. The proprietary software from Microsoft, Windows has made its way in the lives of millions of people across the globe. Windows is able to lead the OS market even though there is competition from Mac OS and UNIX based open source software, Ubuntu.

Ubuntu vs. Windows

We shall find the pros and cons of Ubuntu 11.04 vis-a-vis Windows 7.

  • Even though Ubuntu is evolving over a period of years as an open source OS, it was not much successful in desktop line with some exception in deployment in servers and embedded systems. As Ubuntu is free software, you are free to use and distribute. You can customize the OS to the maximum possible extent. The only cost involved in procuring Ubuntu OS is your download time from the site. On the other hand, Windows 7 is to be purchased and there is no chance for customization.
  • Comparatively, the boot time with Ubuntu is quicker than Window 7. Ubuntu is faster on both old and new hardware whereas Windows 7 is faster than Vista on old hardware.
  • While Ubuntu can detect some hardware peripherals automatically, for some you need to work with command line which will be a tedious process. Almost all device manufacturers will issue a drivers CD, so working with Windows 7 is easy and at the same, Windows 7 has not completely resolved driver issues.
  • Coming to multimedia, DVD playing capacity will not come with Ubuntu. It has to be installed separately. Windows 7 fares better with Media Center with its ability to organize pictures, audio and video files.
  • For software applications you need to download applications in the lines of iPhone to perform certain operations on Ubuntu. You can download these applications from Osalt. Ubuntu offers Open office for word processing and Gimp, photo editing software. These are open source software. Ubuntu handles mail through ‘Evolution’ client. It is difficult to install Skype or Google Earth by average users in Ubuntu. It has to improve in this aspect. With Windows 7 you need to purchase MS Office or you can install free software, Open Office or Gimp. Outlook works as email client in Windows 7. Windows 7 comes with windows live messenger and Internet Explorer 8.
  • Ubuntu comes with Ubuntu software center to add and remove applications. Ubuntu fares well with ‘Cloud Computing’. ‘Ubuntu One Service’ is the free cloud storage offered by Ubuntu. You can save files up to 2 GB on Ubuntu one service. The service is integrated with OS. More space can be availed by pay plans. It is possible to share files which are on cloud storage. User interface of Ubuntu has to improve a lot. It lags behind Mac and Windows. Even though it will be entertaining to use Ubuntu by checking the new stuff released frequently, it is not a stable OS for production purposes. On the other hand, Windows 7 fares well as production software.
  • While the learning curve is more with Ubuntu than Windows 7, it offers great security closer to 100% whereas there are so many security issues to be fixed on Windows 7.

Ubuntu 11.1 aka Oneiric Ocelot will be released on 13 October 2011 and would not include the classic GNOME desktop as a fall back to Unity, unlike Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal. Instead, 11.10 will include a 2D version of Unity as a fallback for computers that lack the hardware resources for the Compiz-based 3D version.

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