Linux is easier to install than Windows

Just what the world needs – another “Linux is better than Windows” post…

I installed Windows 2000 last night. I hadn’t done a Windows install in a while and I remembered what an awful process it is. Ah, the famous Windows 56 step install.

Install. Reboot. Install chipset drivers. Reboot. Install Intel Application Accelerator. Reboot. Install ethernet drivers. Reboot. Install video card drivers so I can get something beyond 800×600. Reboot. Get SP4. Reboot. Get IE 6. Reboot. Windows Update – get 20 security patches. Reboot. Windows Update – get more stuff. Reboot…After everal iterations, there’s nothing left to get (well at least until tomorrow) and you have a system with Internet Explorer, Notepad, and Calculator.

Compare this to Ubuntu, where I boot into the Live CD and have a working environment and then click Install and one reboot later I’ve got a functional and secure system without hunting down any drivers (I have pretty boring hardware; folks with fancy ATI & Nvidia cards or wireless may go through some pain to get their toys working in Linux – life is hard on the bleeding edge in Linux) . And I’ve got OpenOffice, The GIMP, MySQL, Apache, PHP, Python, Ruby, evince, GnomeBake, XMMS, Firefox, Thunderbird, Evolution, etc…

18 thoughts on “Linux is easier to install than Windows

  1. I think there is a roadmap to fix this issue. Windows should catch up by the time Vista comes out in 2020.

  2. @Bill: My first reaction was to wonder whether that was a fair comparison, also. But then I realized that no one was wondering whether Windows was “ready for the desktop” when 2000 came out.

  3. Hmm minor niggles with ndiswrapper in Ubuntu aside, my Netgear Ma111 wireless adaptor has installed and ran easily in Redhat, Debian, Mepis, Ubuntu & Debian.
    WinXP has been a trial and error process. If you don’t install the drivers correctly (I forget what the issue was) then XP has a habit of getting halfway through booting and dropping you back to the bios, no warnings.
    This is with hardware that was targeted at XP with windows drivers only. So that would be one case where windows is more problematic even when dealing with it’s own hardware.

  4. Ok fine, so Ubuntu is easier to install that WinXP. I know that because I’ve tried it myself. However, I have one very big niggle. Everyone’s raving about xgl at the moment, so I decided I might try it myself. I followed the installation steps closely and got xgl to work in no time at all.
    Only problem? The super-key got lost. I re-installed Ubuntu, thinking maybe I had done something wrong, followed the same process, and the super-key disappeared again! It’s crazy! THESE things don’t happen in Windows, sorry!
    And after a quick search on Google I realised I’m not the only one to have this problem, either..

  5. Not sure what you mean Adrian, if it’s just the functionality of the “start menu” from the “windows key” (shoot me now for that one 😉 Then Pop into System, Preferences, Keyboard Shortcuts. Then click on “Show Panel Menu” and hit the super key (Super_L). That’ll bring the functionality back. If not then check your gnome configuration. It might be that compiz/xgl is reserving the super key for a function.
    You can remap that from Application/System Tools, Configuration Editor (I think).
    I hope that helps, I’ll have a look at it in more detail and see what I can come up with.

  6. As a recent Linux (Ubuntu) convert, I couldn’t agree with you more! I’ve been a Windows user for *years* and just this past week I experienced the live CD and it blew me away! I was like “how can this OS be running off a CD?!” And then I installed it and, man! Rock solid, excellent performance, packed with applications, hooked into a repository system so everything gets updated and downloaded easily (I LOVE Synaptic) and I’ve got the power of a million suns at my fingertips! (Okay, maybe not the million suns part, but it feels that way.)

    Ubuntu breathed new life into my old PC. Go Linux go!

  7. @adrian: your best bet is to file a bug report for this. Xgl is still in beta, so some small annoyances are to be expected. Xgl is just an intermediary step to a true OpenGL-based X server anyway.

    @marc: I totally agree. I once got my ex running Ubuntu for about a year. He liked it, but the one big issue was installing software: package managers are just too overwhelming for ordinary folks. That’s pretty much the one thing that keeps Linux off of people’s desktops. Auropackage is IMHO a good solution for this, but for some reason distros don’t seem to be picking up on it…?

  8. I’m not going to dispute your post, but for a historical perspective… my goodness… I remember when Windows 2000 came out, and wow it was a DREAM after NT4!

    Linux distributions at that time were certainly not as nice and straightforward as they are today, either.

    Windows just doesn’t seem to move forward much. I wonder whether Vista has got this sorted. I need to go and read some installation experiences.

  9. nice blog!

    to add another nice fact, why it is much easier to install a linux (ubuntu) system than a windows XP:
    once i tried to install windows XP on a actual PC with only a S-ATA – harddisk. the windows XP – CD-rom does not know anything about S-ATA and you cannot install it without having a floppy and the drivers for the serial ATA – controller. Ubuntu Breezy installs on the S-ATA disk without any problems. 😉

  10. Agreed. Ubuntu rocks. It happily runs my home file server / print server box, and assists on one laptop.

    One way I spread the word about Ubuntu happiness is through https://shipit.ubuntu.com/ — the Ubuntu folk will happily ship you a collection of Live CDs (Mac, PC and 64bit PC). Free.

    I find the ‘professional’ packaging helps support the credibility of a ‘linux’ distro.

  11. @Ara Pehlivanian: You do realise you are running beta software…?

    From the Ubuntu Wiki page https://help.ubuntu.com/community/CompositeManager:

    “Xgl and AIGLX are both VERY alpha software and should not be used on production machines. They do have bugs and do not always play nice with other programs. You have been warned.”

    As for your problem, there are constant fixes for Xgl, so make sure you grab the updates and secondly, there have been known problems with various different keyboards and their configuration layouts.

    Cheers and happy hacking. 🙂

  12. Yes. Ubuntu coupled with a few fancy add-ons like XGL/Compiz can give the commercial OSs a real run for their money.

  13. XP brought down the reboots to a reasonable number (pre-XP required a reboot on every install, xp only on major changes), but here’s the big install difference between a Linux distro and Windows:
    Windows has a fixed image burned to a disc that is only updated at each service pack. Let’s say you install Win 2000 and then run Windows Update; you’re in for a couple hours (or days if you have dial-up) of update downloads and installs. With Linux (I prefer Suse 10.x), there’s a good chance you got all your security fixes in a very recent tarball or disk image (pardon my Linux noobness if those aren’t the right terms) that you burned to disk and installed. It’s not that there aren’t updates needed on Linux, it’s that you have the freshest copy from the WWW versus a dusty Windows copy from the Best Buy shelf. I will argue that Windows is easier to install and update, but Linux may be faster to getting an updated OS running on your pc. And free is nice, too.

  14. here an unhappy MS user (for job and entertaining) for 15 years starting from a MSDoS till my LAST windows, a buggy toy called XP home edition. Then, a year ago I’ve lost my job and, having lot of time to spend, I’ve started to try Linux with slackware, then gentoo (ouch my head!), suse, mandriva, fedora, debian and AT LAST! ubuntu dapper – now I’m writing with a large smile from my rock solid and productive SO that i suggest even the most scared windows user to try, to see how good is and how much time (and nerve) have been lost with that nasty MS crap.

  15. Gotta agree with the Ubuntu install, I now have three OS´s running on my pc and Ubuntu with Gnome is excellent. For ease of setup and actual spec required to run it, it is cool compared to my Vista partition, i have a pretty high end machine and vista just appears to get by. I hope MS will sort this out before the final release, they have to remember not everyone has a high end machine to run it on!

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