Windows 7, A Linux User's Perspective

It’s no secret that I’m a Linux fan. I love it. I use it. I tell of its goodness far and wide. It’s also true, however, that I administer and use a variety of operating systems throughout any given day. I like to think that makes me more objective than some, and I like to think more people will pay attention to me if I don’t bash every other operating system out there.

This week, I tried out Windows 7 Beta.

I know it’s Beta, and it can’t be expected to perform perfectly. I get that. There are some glaring issues that I think Microsoft missed with their attempts to fix what they broke with Vista.


I was never a big fan of Vista’s usability. It had some real flashy visuals (if your computer was fast enough to support them), but compared to earlier versions of Windows it seemed cumbersome to me. Windows 7 looks a lot like Vista, but is trimmed down on the flash. It oddly seems to resemble the KDE desktop, at least to me. I don’t have a problem with borrowing design ideas if they work (I like the Start menu idea myself), but it makes me chuckle that Microsoft would decide to emulate KDE. It’s possible that I see KDE because I’m a Linux nut -- but the task bar, clock area, and default settings just look a lot like K-Panel to me.

Microsoft KDE?

I realize that looks don’t equal functionality. This is true regardless of the operating system. Compiz, for instance, has some nice features. The ability to switch virtual desktops with a 3D cube effect certainly doesn’t make it more functional though. (Of course, Compiz can manage those 3D effects with a simple onboard Intel card, and Vista requires a Dodge Viper class video card -- but this article isn’t supposed to be about Vista...) Functionality is really the key to productivity, so that’s where we’ll go next.

Simplicity, Not Stupidity

Apple gets lots of credit, much of it deserved, for having a simple interface. Linux has a variety of choices that vary from absurdly simple (netbookish interfaces), to customized chaos. That’s one of Linux’s advantages, it can be anything for anyone. It can also seem to be a downfall, because “This is Linux” tends to be confusing when it can look so drastically different.

The problem I have with Windows 7, is that Microsoft still seems to confuse simplicity with dumbing down. Windows 7 is supposed to be much simpler, much more trim, and much easier to use. Trying to manage any system settings is an exercise in futility. Just connecting to a local area network was a 12 step program towards insanity. I know Microsoft is trying to answer all the ridicule they get about security, but asking a user to decide security question after security question does not make security “simple.” Microsoft, please read this: Don’t ask a user if they want to open their computer up for sharing to home, work, or public -- block off all sharing unless a user asks to turn it on. Look at how your competition manages to handle security issues. You don’t need to try making it more simple, just as simple. And speaking of security:

Secure, or Insane?

I realize Windows 7 is still in Beta. I really do. I read that it’s supposed to have backwards compatibility with Vista though. I have a corporate version of Symantec Antivirus, designed for Vista, and I can not get it to install. You tell me I must be administrator. If I try to run as administrator (BTW, why can’t you just prompt me for an admin password?), I get crazy messages about insecure installation mode, unsupported somethingorother, and you ask if I’d like to install with the correct permissions. Sadly, clicking on “YES” brings me back to the start.

It scares me to run Windows without anti-virus software, so the inability to install Symantec worries me. And that brings me to the interesting observation I made while testing Windows 7. Linux has better support for software. Give the average user a Beta install of a popular Linux distribution, and a Beta install of Windows 7 -- and guess which one will be easier to use out of the box? Linux! Which is easier to install software on? Linux! Which requires you to enter an absurdly long alphanumeric key in order to install? Not Linux!

Microsoft: I was expecting great things with Windows 7, and the most I can muster is, “Meh.” I think I’ll go format that hard drive now, because a Windows machine without virus protection makes me nervous.


Shawn is Associate Editor here at Linux Journal, and has been around Linux since the beginning. He has a passion for open source, and he loves to teach. He also drinks too much coffee, which often shows in his writing.


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Windows 7

Anonymous's picture

I have used windows for years and have used linux only a few times and I have to say I would very much prefer to use linux continuously. Windows 7 is another Windows ME with all of the crashes and freezing up. ( I have ample memory (6 gigs) to run the system and should be having no problems with lag etc..) I have had to reformat my harddrive twice and have only had the computer since May. If I try to run any non microsoft program in place of the Windows live essentials programs things start crashing. I have also lost the use of numerous photo editing programs. I use my computer for work & photo editing & printing, I don't want everything connected to socialize. If I want to socialize I'll choose to do it and install the programs needed. The only version of Windows that I can say I have actually liked was XP. I have found very few distros of linux that I don't like (not fond of ones with the KDE desktop, but I can change to Gnome or other variations without problem) The only down fall that I have found in Linux and is the reason I am still using Windows at all is Linux doesn't have drivers to support my printer so all the features work correctly (which is being worked on), as soon as they do I will gladly say goodbye to Windows forever.

Linux is Best

Anonymous's picture

There are two OS's .... Linux is for geeks & Windows is for stupid dickheads.

Linux vs Linux vs Win7

Anonymous's picture

In my opinion, derived from about 30 years of using PC (Since the IBM-Jr) and fumbling through Windows 3.1, 95, 98, XP, Vista and the RC of Win7, I think that Linux will do what most home PC users need and want. I still have 3 desktops running XP and a laptop running Vista. All 3 desktops dual-boot with PCLinuxOS which I feel is about the simplest of Linux distros and very friendly with newbies. As most home PC users only care about email, surfing the net, photos and videos,and the capabilities that OpenOffice will provide, PCLinuxOS ably handles all that right off the top, installation is a snap and the KDE Desktop is quite nice and easy to navigate. The price is right, updates are foolproof through Synaptic and you don't even have to reboot after the updates or installs of new programs are finished. Just go use them.

I say give PCLinuxOS a try (instead of Ubuntu) and see how it rivals Win7 for the things you do on a daily basis.

BG... Thank Office you're still here!

Gov'na's picture

I'm an IT person by trade. And just like any other decent IT professional, I'm the IT guy for the family, friends, etc. Funny thing about this debate from my perspective: I can't remember the last time a family member asked me to come over and look at their Ubuntu machine because it was running slow and they were receiving random pop-ups... Nope, those requests are always Windows. The last candidate was infected so badly that McAfee couldn't even be started using the services.msc snap-in; stinger ran a sweep and still the blasted buggers were there.

Of the two family members that I'd convinced to switch to Ubuntu, I hear little from them other an occasional exchange of preferred tools. That's right, their are more than one tool to perform any job. And oddly enough, that's without licensing restrictions, worry of installation on another machine if this one gets hosed, or any of that jazz. I manage of 6000 songs with my ipod on linux using Rhythmbox... that's a feat that is NOT pretty on Windows. Can you say lag??? Yep, you can open Synaptic and just SEARCH for just about any software you'd ever need; and most times, what you get in return is options. No Google search, no credit card, and no license restrictions.

So do you need the internet to set up Ubuntu the first time? Yep, you sure do (if you want it to be easy). But the last time that i installed Win7 (last week, in a testbed), I do believe that I needed about 40 updates to run against the base OS, right out of the box (about an hour). So there's not much difference there. And yes, in most desktop instances, the hardware is automagically detected in Ubuntu now... So Skype (with a logitech webcam/mic), wireless, GIMP, OpenOffice, Thunderbird, Firefox, and Totem/VLC... yep, they all work right out of the box.

So why do I think Windows is still so dominant? And where am I going with this? Office. Yep, the office suite. It only runs (really, natively only on 1 platform as it should) on Windows. Office is still the king of productivity suites, by far. Unfortunately, after seeing so many vulnerabilities exploited on so many Windows machines... well I hesitate to use that Windows machine for anything other than Office, despite already having Symantec 64-bit running. So when it's time to do a document, a powerpoint, or a spreadsheet... regrettably it's Windows all the way. But for anything to do with graphics, internet, music, etc (LIKE MOST HOME USERS!) it's back to UBUNTU!

I think this is a great

dog's picture

I think this is a great article to show the flaws in Windows in general as well. I tried to install a spelling checker the other day on my sister's laptop, but it took me an hour or so and lots of clicking on button's saying "Go on". I am really going to refer to this article if people ask me why Windows is bad. Thanks again!

Windows 7 is not vista, Linux is still not ready for primetime

Wishitcouldwork's picture

I know you won't admit it, but Windows 7 and Leopard are the best OS out there. Of course despicably nefarious web criminals and the European Union will always target anything Microsoft, but in early 1995 Bill Gates stood in front of the world in a news conference and stated "windows 95 and beyond will be an OS for everyone". Jobs isn't jealous cause Apple is not for everyone. Redhat is not jealous cause they have learned, faced the truth and found there niche.

The only Linux that I have successfully installed on my single-processor 2006 amd computer is ubuntu 8.04 server. Artisx 7 worked for awhile, but none of the other Ubuntus or derivaties have been successfully installed without having to "rescue" each time. To be frank, there is always "something". On my 64 bit dual processor, it has been impossible to successfully install any x86 version. I can run the live CD, but after installing the OS, it simply will not run. Again, always "something".

After years of wasted downloads (I'm still throwing away) and versions and desperation, I have come to the conclusion that too many cooks in in the kitchen simply will never (I mean never) work. It is/was a good idea in the late 90s, but it has been 15 years now and the only reliable linux I have found is proprietorial "Redhat" server which also makes "Fedora". Linux lovers I feel you, but wishing Linux would thrive does not make it so. Ubuntu was and is a good idea, but you need 100 top programmers in a controlled environment to be successful. That's just how it is. Microsoft knows it, Apple knows it and Redhat knows it.

I thought there was a chance with Linspire and Freespire which actually installed and ran beautifully in the early 2000's. Someone or many people dropped the ball along the way.

I tell you the truth

I have to agree

Anonymous's picture

You know, I really am cheering on Linux but it still has a ways to go to become everymans OS. I still like it and it has its uses. I have an ancient IBM Thinkpad T20 laptop that still runs fine. I put the latest Ubuntu Distro on it and it runs a dream, I can check emails, do basic word processing, even watch a dvd on it, it works great as a back up in case my computer crashes which has been known to happen. My main rig is running Win7, and while I still feel sore over it - losing the use of many of my programs not compatible, it is simply the most widely used OS, I have software that only Windows can run which is why I am always watching what Wine can do. But then again, I remember building computers in the mid 90s scoffing at people for wanting to play their old Sierra Kings Quest game with flashing CGE graphics on floppy disc under Win95. There comes a time where we have to let things go.

I hope that Linux can get to a point where it can be a little more user friendly... no I don't mean Apple-like user friendly, I have fond memories of using DOS and the big upgrade to Win 3.1, I always respected Windows for at least not treating me like a zombie. I still fight Win7 processes that do things I don't want them doing, but you know, I am at least thankful that we aren't using card punchers or programming in Basic anymore.


John ZuPag's picture

I hope that these days is microsoft will change their minds and change their OS Family to Linux...

I tried all three major OS's. I prefer windows.

ArdentPause's picture

With due respect to linux, and less respect to apple(I believe that apple's hardware policies are satanic at best), I still prefer windows.

I admit, that the differences are not as stark as people claim, but linux just isn't as simple as people make it out to be. Linux reminds me of using PHP in a nutshell for the first time. Unless you get it, you just don't get it. Many programs for linux only work from command line, which, I can use, but am not fluent in.

And lets be honest, the command line can be pretty difficult to learn if you aren't trained in google fu, and pretty accustomed to learning a lot of new things, in a short time.

Wine makes the transition easier, but performance drops incredibly. And lets not forget people who don't have internet. I can't seem to do anything without an active internet connection.

I used windows for a long time, I used MacOSX for years after. Linux is still new feeling, and the learning curve can get awfully sharp sometimes. I'm really rooting for linux, but it isn't quite there yet.


sixdot28's picture

I felt Windows 7 exactly as KDE as well, not liking either of them :P

A Comparison

Anonymous's picture

I think that each OS has it's ups and downs.

Windows has the support of huge community of people which means pretty much everything (including viruses) can run on it. It has been looking a lot better, but I don't like the increased amount of buttons you have to push for the Control Panel. What they should do is include some kind of question in set up to the affect of "What kind of user are you? Beginner(a.k.a. ask me stupid questions all the time), Intermediate(a.k.a. ask me stupid questions once), or Advanced(a.k.a. NEVER ask me stupid question)." It's that simple.

If you take the base of Linux and shine it up and put it on one line of hardware you get Mac OSX. It is basically pre-configured Linux. I do admit it is nice, but the price is a little much for me.

Then there's the open-source Linux. Often times it is assumed that only Nerds can use it, but this is not true. I found that there are many different flavors of Linux that are very similar to Windows (like OpenSuse) that work great and are fairly easy to install (at least not anymore complicated than Windows).

As for which works the best out of the box, I want you people to know that if you install windows there are NO drivers installed at all. You only get drivers if you have the discs for the hardware and even they may not work. Linux on the other hand detects most drivers or at least enough usually that it is usable. Bottom line is what ever your computer came installed with is what's going to work almost always the best.

Hmmm... I cannot believe how

Anonymous's picture


I cannot believe how stupid these Linux fanboys can be....

Windows is geared towards ordinary people who are not tech savvy. These people just want the os to simply work out of the box. Try to play a mp3 file in Ubuntu 8.04 after installation. It will try to download some kind of a codec for the mp3 playback.What if a person who does not have a internet connection?

Don't tell me to go for some other Linux distro... Linux nerds say that Ubuntu is the best Linux distro. So this clearly means that the best linux distro is simply useless for a normal user, who likes to surf the web, listen to music, watch movies or play some don't even get me started on that.

If you are afraid of being unable to install Symantec antivirus, go for Nod32 or Kaspersky or AVG or whatever you like. There are freeware antivirus available for windows. I run my Windows 7 system without an antivirus, just the built-in firewall is turned on.

Simplicity... never say that Linux is simple. You say that setting up a lan connection is a 12 step process.But this is designed to help even the least tech savvy user to get the network up and running.

I am not bashing Linux, but, just think about this. Linux has had close to 20 years to unseat Windows. As you might say, it has been constantly updated, more secure,simple to use and most of all available for free. You don't even need to download it, you just fill up a form and the cd is sent to you.Still, Windows is the predominant os.Reason, Windows is the people's OS. There is no denying the fact...


JFLS45's picture

Anyone who relies on the built-in Windows firewall and NO anti-virus is asking for trouble... I guess we heard from a Windows user. I bet he is using AOL internet for his email, etc...

you must be the most stupid

toto's picture

you must be the most stupid fuck-0 out there.
dont make a fool of yourself , anymore, windows users are not that incredibly dumb as you.

poor moron, you shouldnt even breathe

You just dont get it

Anonymous's picture

I get so annoyed when "Windows Fanboys" Try to bash Linux.

Theres one main thing that you dont get, and that is Linux isnt trying to 'unseat' windows. Do some google searches on Linus Torvalds, and you will soon learn that he created the Linux Kernel for himself, because HE wanted something better (Not better than Windows, but better for him)

Linux is easy, and you would find it easy too if you grew up with it instead of having windows thrust upon you as is common in society today.

I read somewhere once, that its not a case of why you should want Linux, being so community orientated, its moer a case of why Linux would want you...

No Moron, Windows is just the usual DEFAULT OS...

Anonymous's picture

It's just the usual default OS when you buy the machine. Saying that Windows is the best OS is like saying that diapers make the best underwear.

A lot of us don't care for Ubuntu because of those same issues, but at least the people that have *buntu got to choose *buntu; which is way more than you can say for the average Windows fan.

Allow me to also add that there are a lot of us "stupid" Linux fans who don't give a fig about you coming over to Linux. People with intelligence and/or education need to leave the masses to their own devices. We don't ALL need or want your attention. Go can fuck yourself.

"Windows is the people's OS.

Anonymous's picture

"Windows is the people's OS. There is no denying the fact..."

Actually, that depends on your perspective. If you're referring to the benefits reaped from higher desktop market share, then absolutely yes. (At least *reported* market share, since Linux use is harder to track since registration is not required). If you're talking about ease of use, then maybe. (Consider the fact that Linux implementations have been made easy enough for preschoolers living in third world countries who had never been significantly exposed to computers--for example, the OLPC).

On the other hand, Microsoft's proprietary model restricts "the people" from freely viewing, modifying, or redistributing the source code. But as you infer, everyday users are not developers and could care less about these "freedoms" that they don't immediately need. Although someone could make the argument that the free/open source movement has yielded enormous benefits for everyday users. Take for instance, TCP/IP--without this free/open source protocol, the average user would still be in the "dark ages" of stand-alone computing.

Ultimately, however, the debate over which desktop OS is better may become less relevant as cloud computing becomes more prominent. Of course, on the server side, cloud computing will probably ensure that Linux and free BSD variants will maintain and maybe even advance their market superiority.

I was trying windows 7

Anonymous's picture

I was trying windows 7 release candidate version for last 2 months and it has crashed so many times (Blue screen of death) that I had to finally revert back to vista (which I equally dislike). I think i need to go back to XP.

There is only one real problem with windows!

Anonymous's picture

Management! Windows would be properly managed if people weren't forced into having it pre-loaded on most new PC's and Laptops. If Windows didn't have such a pre-existant dictatorship over hardware vendors, maybe they would actually produce a decent OS and people wouldn't corrupt it with virus' and exploits. If they actually wrote the OS properly before forcing it onto its populous, it might actually be worth having.

Being forced to update your OS every 3 to 5 years isn't progress, it's a snake oil marketing plan.

Linux actually improves with upgrades and gets better every time I open my laptop. When was the last time anyone in the IT world said that about Windows?

First of all,for Ubuntu you

Yeah right's picture

First of all,for Ubuntu you don't need internet connection to install something,just make your own Aptoncd compilation for once,and everything works out of the box from one cd,even the updates,for every next instalation(if there is any,remember this is not windows to do that every 3 months).Even that mp3 codecs works from that aptoncd, can you imagine that,and wtf,Nod32 or Kaspersky are freeware?maybe for a month,until they expire.It doesn't matter if Windows is the predominant os,we all know that most of people are much dumber than few percent of smart people,maybe it's the same thing here,90% of windows users isn't smarter than 10% of other OS users,so I wouldn't say that you are stupid,I would only say that you are from the bunch of people from that 90% groupation.

Thank you

goblin's picture

Thank you for trying Linux, and thank you for your feedback.

The continued interest from the Linux user base is the primary driver for the continued success of Linux, which has had a steady growth in market share through all its years, since it was first introduced to the world in 1991.

Linux sucks

Anonymous's picture

Linux sucks

Linux Rules

Zappo the Wizard's picture

Just to comment on the last reply:
Windows sucks.
Only people not able, or not willing to use an other OS think it's good....
With Windows (any release) I have to re-install every 6 months, just to keep the system working decently.
Someone commented below about XP. I agree: WinXP is the only Windows version that somewhat "works".
Forget about Vista. What a piece of Crap.
I suspect Windows 7 will not be any better.


Phil Z.'s picture

From my experience, Windows gets INCREDIBLY bogged down after maybe a month or so of doing anything worthwhile.
To be honest, i push my computers to the limit, often times going above and beyond multitasking, to the point of my family calling me crazy.
Now, my computers used to crash all the time, and i always blamed windows. But in my honest opinion, computers break and operating systems suck because people don't know how to maintain them. Sometimes, in the case of Vista, the world either isn't ready for it, it was ahead of it's time, or just a complete failure because it just doesn't make sense. I mean, in a time when most high-end consumer level PC's had 2gb of DDR RAM, Vista required more than HALF of this for system resources. IMHO, that is just stupid.

Windows 7 is a LOT better, but i still prefer to try out all the different flavors of Linux. I have an old computer, tiny hard drive, w/ the primary being XP. I take good care of it, and it works. Has for more than a year.

The only reason i don't use Linux 100% is because i want a stronger rig w/ more harddrive space for a dual boot. (That, and I am waiting for a Zune off eBay. 'Nuff said).

... Basically, most Windows OS'es do suck, but they serve there purpose when they are used right. I would venture to say that every OS is like that. Somewhere, someone is going to hate it.

Immitation not innovation

slackware user's picture

Windows 7 bla bla bla. Windows 7 is vista with a new theme and some minor modifications. The difference is with win 7 they have been frantically working on creating the hype which was missing with vista. The public beta's have been used to get people talking and writing reviews which gets the name windows 7 into the news. The immitative practices constantly followed by microsoft are laughable. The zune, xbox, and advertising are direct attempts to copy successful products.

The zune flopped, the xbox might work, and the I'm a pc thing is a total farce. Even the slogan makes me sick to my stomach. Windows... Life without walls. WHAT! Really, if there are no walls there is no place for windows. Linux users will hate anything that microsoft puts out. The only thing new application versions do is break interconnectivity for linux clients (look at exchange 2007 and evolution). The funny thing is when they show up at places like the mobile developers conference and demand the use of open standards to promote interoperability. They are double dipping in the open source community. They are not providing justifiable value for the costs they are charging.

balance sheet
windows 7 license + office license + antivirus + antimalware + hours of administration costs = LARGE COST

linux + openoffice + low administration hours = LOWER COST

Windows 7 will be trash just like vista. XP was the peak and now we are watching the decline.

As for the KDE looks like windows 7 argument. I have to say I have been a huge kde fan for years and years. KDE 3.5 looks kinda windows 98ish. It is very clean and easy to use. KDE 4 is absolutely annoying. I can't stand it, it reminds me of windows in alot of ways. The quirky menus and relocation of routine menus has really killed off my ability to like it at all. I don't want to hear about the compiz fusion eye candy integration crap... who cares. Its usability has taken a huge step backwards. Unfortunately, I will have to finally give in and switch to gnome once kde 3.5 is no longer an option.


Anonymous's picture

Its so aggravating seeing people mention how you NEED a virus and malware protector to run windows. Windows 7 is released now so this article is rather old but id still like to comment on the virus protection deal. If your smart enough to run an open source OS like linux and can actually find your way through all the various apt commands then you can not be stupid enough to get a fucking virus...... Spyware happens, even i get stupid shit from time to time that i gotta clean out with malware bytes but to come on here and say you NEED virus protection is just bogus. If your stupid enough to click on the ad declaring YOU JUST WON 1 MILLION DOLLARS, then you deserve a virus. If your not stupid enough to click on ads like that then you should not be encountering viruses. Maybe your a porn addict? happen to dload to much on Limewire? I don't know but maybe you have been pampered with Linux being so under the radar that people don't actually right viruses for it so when you experience windows it just blows your mind that joe blow is trying to take over your network.

I understand Linux has amazing security features and it being open source and free just makes it so much better. I view myself as rather computer savvy so when i installed various Linux clients over my years i had no problem getting the complete functionality out of the OS. The only major problem i had with Linux is driver support for older video cards, though a lot of it is Ati and Nvidia's fault. The shitty drivers absolutely kill the ability to play games on Linux. I had to buy a new gfx card for 250 and change just to get full benefit of my second computer and Linux, though like i said most of that is on Ati and Nvidia for declaring legacy devices with no Linux drivers on cards released like 3 years ago.

Other major gripe with Linux is games. This is a big one as it is quite a pain to install games on Linux. Some are easy and you breeze through installs but others like call of duty 4 is worse then the 12 step network setup the OP talks about. Installing COD4 is like cutting your own arm off its horrendous.

any windows vs linux

delphipgmr's picture

I have been using fedora for over a year now, I would never go back... these are the big reasons:

1) I dont care what neat "toys" msoft puts in, I need a computer to do work, not play gadgets... yes, AERO was fun to look at for a couple days, then it was old.

2) I love the fact that i have no more virus's or spyware to worry about.

3) the computer runs just as fast now as it did a year ago.

4) doesnt crash.

my opinion is... all the os has to do is work.. not crash, not get virus's and allow me to work.. i dont care how pretty or glitzy it is...

the biggest factor for me is #2. that was a big problem with windows, and im sure it always will be.

i think as linux gets more stable, more and more people are going to switch to it.. it may take some time, but msoft is certainly pricing themselves out.

1. try saying that to

Anonymous's picture

1. try saying that to prominent 3ds max users where the software and plugins works only in windows.. or even any professional field softwares that require these softwares to do serious work. things that takes more than just office, gnome or even the sad subtitute 3d software blender.
2. using windows beta 7000 ~ 7077 since january no anti virus softwares.. surprise2.. no viruss yet to date. monthly checked with kaspersky removal tool.
3. yeah.. it still runs as well even with 12 of the latest games install which linux users claim would bloat my system.. evidently not an issue
4. Crashed only when my RAM was faulty back in april.

here's one pro windows 7 for you..
1. i can play the latest games!!! by the time linux users can get GTA4 to run decently on their windows emulator, i'd be laughing out loud playing RE5 and replaying GTA4 for the 3rd run time..

get of ur high horse and stop making pathetic attacks and lies on MS products.. people who complain a lot bout their competitors are ussually insecure bout their own.

The majority of computer

Anonymous's picture

The majority of computer users don't play video-games.

And if i did, and had to choose between
a) beeing able to play super expencive video games occationally and having the risk of getting infected by a virus, or worse loose all my data.

b) no games, a stable computer and no slowdowns...

i'd take B.

Personally, I have been

Anonymous's picture

Personally, I have been running xp for years, and I've never really had a problem. Well, besides all the viruses, and having to reinstall everything every 6-12 months or so, and I don't run the fastest computer, it's a Pentium 4 with 1 gb of ram, good back in te day but kinda gettin' useless now, you know? I got nice new computer on it with windows 7 ultimate on it and the dual quad core and 4 gbs of ram and everything else that I could ever want, and let me say this about Windows 7:


I mean, it looked cool, the taskbar seemed kinda nice and convenient, and everything looked pretty... Then I tried to set up a home network... This is where I began to realize that I wasn't gonna be very happy with 7. Firstly just finding the options to connect to a computer that wasn't a window7 computer took me forever. Microsoft insists on this stupid new home group feature, which would be nice and easy, but here's the thing, I tried running 7 on my old computer, and, well, lets just say it ran slower than vista frickin' did... Once I got them hooked up though I could only access things on the xp computer through the windows 7 computer reliably. I would have to reconfigure the network every couple days or so otherwise all the stuff I've been backing up onto the good computer Would be inaccessible. (I'm getting ready to put linux on it, or maybe just reinstalling xp, if I'm having all these problems with my current set up I can't imagine the hell that I'd have trying to get a linux computer into the network lol). So if I can't even set up a home network simply by putting both computers in the same homegroup, like you do with xp, then Idk why I would even want to use 7.

Next there's that nifty security question thing. Every time I click on something damn near I have to confirm that it's ok. And doesn't the screen blacking out for a few seconds just kinda freak you out a little? I've been a computer user from way back, nd that used to precede a BSoD, at least in my experience... Just annoying as all hell.

I never had vista to put up with, so I never had a chance to get used to this "feature"...

Another fine inconvenience is that when you want to have multiple windows open at the same time, it often times moves everything into that stupid taskbar. And god forbid you try and move a window up to the top of the screen, it maximizes everything and if you happened to have more than one window open by some sort of miracle, you sure wont then.

And don't even get me started on the control panel... Redundant much?

the only thing good I can say is it does run games and stuff fast, though it seems to have problems with all my music editing programs, which is a bit of a pain because I'm a musician and a producer, then again, I've been running on the same slow ass P4 for several years so perhaps there's no real difference, I'll let you all know after I update this machine to xp next week...

On a different not, I happen to run a fairly decent Linux based machine that I use for . It's had a couple different distros on it, I'm hunting for the one that fits my needs, only ever had problems with fedora (which sucks because that's my favorite name for all of the distributions. Fedoras are fancy hats!) but not big problems, and I for one can run any game I want on a machine that's not really that amazing. Never had a performance problem in my life... not even with GTA4, which I got with my new computer along with half life 2 and a bunch of other games. It's easier for me to use them on linux than 7 half the time... I don't know what you people do to have so many problems with games, perhaps you setup your computers without thinking at all about what you wanted...

Bottom line, windows 7 is a waste of money, linux is an inherently better system, and once people actually learn about linux (one of the downsides of being free is that advertising is a bit lacking. Many friends of mine never heard about linux until they saw me use it)everything will eventually be lnux... Unless the governments of the world and corporations that control them kill linux with some underhanded shit like they are trying to do to the internet...


Win-7 & linux

Anonymous's picture

I use ubuntu-gnome(desktop), suse 9.3-KDE(desktop) and Mint-XFCE(laptop) and actually prefer XFCE as my window manager. I found Win-7 to be another irritating Windows experience because of the changes from Win XP in the way things are done. I didn't try Vista, because I talked to people who had bought new computers with Vista on them, and decided that it wasn't worth the headache. I used to dual-boot XP and linux, but when I would finally go back to XP every month or so, I found the updating of OS , anti-virus & firewall took so long that it just irritated me. The final straw was when XP on my laptop refused to complete installing SP3. I blew it away & didn't run a Windows OS again until I tried the Win-7 beta. The changes that MS makes, apparently just for the sake of changing the way things work, each time they change the OS has been a continual source of irritation.
I have been using computers since DOS 2.11, and after Win 95, each new Windows OS has seen a change in the way of doing things that means I have had to learn a new way of doing the same simple tasks. The nice thing about linux is that dropping to a terminal allows me to use the same commands no matter what window manager they use. If the run menu in Windows allowed the same thing I might have at least kept one copy running, but in their wisdom, they change the actual commands from time to time. I am tired of fighting with the operating system, I like to be able to do some actual work with the machine, so I will stick with linux, thank you.

windows 7 is just another windows ME

Liothen's picture

i make the comparison not that it is crappy as ME was... but its just an pretty update to windows vista, i haven't used the new kde, i stick to gnome and fluxbox on all my systems. might have to try kde again one of these days

A Fair Chance?

Anonymous's picture

After reading the post, I honestly don't think Windows 7 was given a fair chance. Yes, I realize that you will be biased towards Linux, but there are things which should be taken into account.

This is supposed to be an update to Vista, instead of a full-fledged upgrade. If a user has used Vista, everything in W7 is arranged in the same fashion.

It is a trimmed down version of Vista. The install is smaller and it runs noticebly faster. W7 installed on a 1.5 Celeron w/ 512 MB. The same machine would not run a Vista install. I was not able to enable the Aero features, but the base system ran smooth.

On usability Vista, Ubuntu and now W7 are very comparable. Each has its own drawback, but all are easy to use. Each has its own version of tweaking once install is complete.

I use Linux and Windows (separate machines) and both have their positives and negatives. People tend to view the OS debate as black and white, when in reality it is a huge mass of grey. But if you want to try a beta, give it a fair shot and plenty of time to evaluate.

Windows 7 UI Does not Look Like KDE

Anonymous's picture

The Windows 7 UI looks nothing like KDE. This is what is holding Linux back. Quit trying desperately to vilify Microsoft and do your own thing.

More details please

grabur's picture

I was excited to find this article, but it lacks substance. Trial an OS over a week to give it a fair go.

And please no KDE vs Gnome discussion! It's obvious KDE borrowed ideas from Windows and Windows borrowed ideas from elsewhere.

I'm just after simplicity and productivity. Both OS/X and Gnome/Ubuntu work out the box. But I cannot stand the admin menu in Gnome (too long / ungrouped).

Why not:
*steal the OS/X system panel?
*have a simple, intermediate, advanced interface, that you can easily toggle?
*have an easy widget that allows you to configure your monitors, like on OS/X?
*improve the update manager (only flag essential updates), and clean up synaptic, so it's fast, and easier to use?
*add a simple Networking panel? This has always been confusing in Windows. Interfaces, Folder Shares, Service Shares that kind of thing. Look at OS/X (10.4 on).

The convergence of interfaces between OS's is welcome, but I miss Linux being the true innovator, it just looks like it's copying more and more from windows, and I think that's a turn for the worse.

If Linux on the desktop is to succeed, it needs to borrow the finer ideas from other OS's, innovate a little, and just work.

Scenario: I have a friend who wants to use my laptop to do a presentation. I want them to be able to just take the laptop, plug it into a projector, hook up to a wireless network with no bother.

Let's talk about those killer, missing and annoying features of an OS. For instance Samba is a pain to configure, but in Ubuntu you right click a folder and share it, that's the way it should be. (BTW where do these shares end up, they are not in my smb.conf!) But once I share my folders, how do I know they are shared? When I share my folder, it doesn't ask me how i.e bluetooth, windows, appletalk etc.

These are usability improvements, that would sway me into using the OS. Like the screen zoom in Compiz or in OS/X.

You'd think you'd have the best think tanks working at Microsoft and Apple HQ, doing exactly this. To produce a killer OS. Wouldn't you?

Another example: The touchscreen on the iphone, this works great just flicking between pictures. Windows and Apple will bring in more touchscreen / touchpad features, and these could radically change the way we interact with computers. I haven't heard anyone taking about these kind of features in Gnome or KDE. Let's not miss the opportunity, and let's not play catch up 3 years later. (I don't know if we discuss these ideas, as we don't want XYZ company stealing the ideas and patenting them. Or that the community is held back through patents.)

It's not just the desktop environments, that need to think outside the box. It's apps too. I used to like OpenOffice until it copied Microsoft office. And now I prefere Microsoft's interface in Office 2007, why didn't Openoffice do that before Microsoft?

I worry that as we are scared of change. We might not give new, perhaps better ideas a chance. I know I recented WinXP after Win2000, but I got used to it, the speed alone, was worth the improvement. Perhaps hardware has caught up, and now can run Window's Vista, and that will give Window's 7 the illusion of being better (much like XP, have you seen it on less than 256MB of Ram?).

Perhap's I'd ask for another evaluation, or a Ubuntu/Windows 7 comparison, on mediocre hardware. With an exploration of features, like running a VM.

I've often thought if OSX was cheap enough and available for non Mac hardware, I'd be happy to buy it. Call me tight, but I might just buy Windows 7 if it's about £50, and doesn't exclude me from running Linux. The least Microsoft could do is give away a miniture run time for free, to play PC games. Isn't it time Microsoft did a Suse, and release an OpenWindows...?

Excellent ideas!

goblin's picture

Why not:
*steal the OS/X system panel?
*have a simple, intermediate, advanced interface, that you can easily toggle?
*have an easy widget that allows you to configure your monitors, like on OS/X?
*improve the update manager (only flag essential updates), and clean up synaptic, so it's fast, and easier to use?
*add a simple Networking panel? This has always been confusing in Windows. Interfaces, Folder Shares, Service Shares that kind of thing. Look at OS/X (10.4 on).

Those are excellent ideas. Now go and convince a distro to do this - or make your own distro. If you're on to something, success will surely follow.

I agree, those are excellent

Anonymous's picture

I agree, those are excellent ideas! And with certain Linux distros, you are able to develop your own flavor and wrap it in a nice package to share with whomever you choose. I would suggest you do this for free instead of waiting for the 'fat cats' to feed you something while cashing in.

"Confinement is not an option. Don't be kept in the dark. Open your eyes, open your source."

Sure is Beta

Barton L. Phillips's picture

I installed Windows7 after many problems. As with most Windows versions Windows7 Beta does not like to be placed on a second hard drive (Windows is #1 and should be on the primary disk). I finally got it onto disk 2 by temporarily removing disk 1.

Also, Windows7 refuses to be placed on a USB disk, probably for the same reason.

I never liked XP's default menu options and always changed it to "Classic", never used Vista so didn't have that problem. I have not figured out how to make Windows7 Classic yet.

The layout of functions has once again changed for what seems not real reason. Why does Microsoft think it is better to change the location of things rather than just fix the bugs and leave the layout the same. It make every version of Windows a new learning experience.

The networking layout has changed and makes it very hard to set up the system -- why? The old layout worked just fine.

There are plenty of bugs/new-features in Windows7 and it looks like Microsoft either has a lot of work to do before release or after release (the normal approach).

I use Linux (Ubuntu) but am still interested in what is new in computing, unfortunately Windows7 Beta does not seem to have much that is new just moved around -- "names changed to protect the innocent or guilty".

Symantec doesn't work anyway

tommyt's picture

I use a variety of OS's also and would like to comment that on Windows, Symantec does not catch anything it's supposed to. Trojan after trojan slip past, only to be removed by Malwarebytes or the like.

As far as Ubuntu goes,that is one very nice OS. While an admitted noob, there are features that would be nice to see implemented, such as a rollback.

A recent change from Gnome to KDE left my LT inoperable and had to reinstall Ubuntu from scratch. Even so, I still will keep both XP & Ubuntu or Kubuntu on my old dual boot Gateway LT.

My only bash of Linux was the difficulty involved in trying to get wireless to work, my one and only complaint. With the release of Ubuntu 8.10, PCMCIA wireless became a reality! My sincere thanks to those who worked to get this working. This has put me off Linux for some time, the wireless issue.

Having installed Ubuntu on countless older desktop machines, I can attest to it's low resource requirements and ease of install and use.

Lastly, running RealVnc under Wine was the last issue for me to tackle, it runs flawlessly! Publisher 97 also runs falwlessly, another hurdle. Have yet to try Publisher 02 or 03, then I think I'm there.

"As far as Ubuntu goes,that

Anonymous's picture

"As far as Ubuntu goes,that is one very nice OS. While an admitted noob, there are features that would be nice to see implemented, such as a rollback."

All Rollback does is uninstall software and change the system settings back to what they were at a given time. That feature exists in Debian and Ubuntu in a much more fine grained and user friendly fashion. You can remove any, and every package you install and all of the changes they make if they give you a problem through synaptic or aptitude.

"My only bash of Linux was the difficulty involved in trying to get wireless to work, my one and only complaint. With the release of Ubuntu 8.10, PCMCIA wireless became a reality! My sincere thanks to those who worked to get this working. This has put me off Linux for some time, the wireless issue."

Why spend any time on this??

Hans Bezemer's picture

Why spend any time on this? I was supposing to be reading LINUX Journal, wasn't I? If I wanted to read anything on MS projects I'd pretty much visit any other site (or buy any other magazine) on the planet. The base of existence of LJ is the LACK of coverage that Linux gets elsewhere.

So what's next? An article on IIS? An article on Visual Studio? An article on Internet Explorer? An article on Office 2007? Whatever argument you have for covering this subject, this is the logical consequence.

natural evolution

Anonymous's picture

Why stop there? There is a wide world of unrelated topics that could appear in LJ: favorite knitting patterns, hot classic cars, dog training tips, best meditation techniques, Makita vs. Black and Decker showdown....with luck, it could evolve to where we won't be bothered with Linux stories at all.

Great article

Anonymous's picture

I think this is a great article to show the flaws in Windows in general as well. I tried to install a spelling checker the other day on my sister's laptop, but it took me an hour or so and lots of clicking on button's saying "Go on". I am really going to refer to this article if people ask me why Windows is bad. Thanks again!

A shortage of Windows coverage

Anonymous's picture

There is a severe shortage of Windows articles in the tech press. Thankfully, Linux Journal and its top-notch team of clueless I mean tireless editors are heroically stepping into the breach. (Insert sarcasm tags)

Shawn, this is a waste of space, and you are an embarrassment. Linux Journal has sunk to a new low.


goblin's picture

Shawn, I like your articles, but I find Windows-topics to be extremely boring. And guess what, at the top of this page it says "Linux Journal". So please stick to the topic - Linux is great on its own merits, and not just because the competition sucks.


Shawn Powers's picture

My take was "meh" too regarding Windows 7. The reason I blogged about it instead of just formatting the drive and moving on was that it amused me how much it looked like KDE. :)

And for the record, I really do agree with you. I'm not a fan of blatant OS bashing. I think it makes us look petty. Windows 7 puzzles me more than anything, and I figured you all might want to know what some of the hype was about.

Shawn is Associate Editor here at Linux Journal, and has been around Linux since the beginning. He has a passion for open source, and he loves to teach. He also drinks too much coffee, which often shows in his writing.


goblin's picture

I see. But for every "tried it, hated it" Linux take on Windows we can produce, Windows followers can produce +100 the other way, so please excuse me for not expecting anything useful to come from this approach :-)

IIRC, KDE was (partly) inspired by Windows back in those days, so the question might be "how different can Windows look from KDE?"

Anyway, after around 30 years of GUI operating systems, I'd expect some kind of convergence. And that doesn't mean that anybody copied too much from someone else, just that best practices are crystallizing out.

This is actually good for Linux - "no more operating system revolutions" means that it will be a lot harder to stick a "New and improved"-tag on an OS and make people pay for it. GUI operating systems will be more and more same-old-same-old, and thus harder to make profits on. This means that Microsoft, being a profit maximizing monopolist, will have to allocate less resources to Windows since the ROI can't be expected to be good. But as a community-backed effort, Linux resource allocation is not as dependent on profits as Windows.

I think that this broke Vistas back: Same-old-same-old (or worse) compared to XP. And as sales drop, MS will be more and more desperate to invent obscure "improvements" that can sell new Windows versions.

"I like to think that makes

Anonymous's picture

"I like to think that makes me more objective than some, and I like to think more people will pay attention to me if I don’t bash every other operating system out there."

If you want to be taken seriously, why the do you compare a beta version to a regular release of Ubuntu? You ARE bashing another OS, even a beta version.

I too like Linux but to be frank: I'm getting to the point that what I like about linux is the idea of open source. Every single linux release that I've installed the lsat year has bitten me: Fedora 10 (no wireless), Ubunutu 8.10 (dead slow wireless on a rt2500 card), Mandriva 2009 killed itself while updating), Mandriva 2009 x64 wouldn't even boot after install,...
On all releases the ATI drivers failed for my Radeon 9550 card... and so on.

Why it is that PCLinuxOS 2007 can get wireless and ATI card without any problems and more current releases of big names are crap? wireless has to work out of the box. How else can you get updates to get it to work?
I have yet to see a release that gives me a complete out of the box experience.

I dualboot now with Vista x64 SP1 while i dislike the license agreement. Also some software that works on a 32bit Vista version don't work on a 64bit version, but at least my wireless works, and my ATI card works. Not out of the box buth with the drivers from the cd's that came with it.
As long as we don't get linux drivers for wireless cards, they should try to make it work out of the box.


Anonymous's picture

What does Gnome prevent you from doing that you can do easily in KDE? Perhaps you are falling into the trap of "what you are used to" here because I personally find KDE much more difficult to navigate. Now, to be clear, I'm a UI tweaking junkie. I love to tune little features here and there to get my environment to beautiful... I've always found that easier to do in gnome than in KDE.

Still, UI environments are UIs. I love it when it looks good but it doesn't equal a good machine. Microsoft has spent all this time and money to build an operating system that can run their ui instead of building a ui that can run on their operating system. The reason they fail is because they have their priorities backwards.

I couldn't resist to comment

El Perro Loco's picture

I spend too much time reading Linux Journal's blogs. Maybe it is because it is a source of inspiration for this humble Linux fan.

However, I do have my small complaints about parts of the Linux world - mainly Gnome. I have to agree with Linus Torvalds, who said that Gnome's "'users are idiots' mentality is a disease" (or something to that effect).

I'm just taking the opportunity to comment here, cued by Shawn's "Simplicity, Not Stupidity" section title. Gnome is ultimately a child of Miguel de Icaza's, whose mindset is heavily influenced by Microsoft. It is impossible to configure things as simples as screensavers in Gnome, and there are other places where Gnome also tries to second-guess the user. Gnome is stupid, sometimes, because it assumes the user is, too. Typical Microsoft, typical Windows, typical Vista and, apparently, typical Windows 7.

I have to use mostly Gnome because I use Ubuntu, which, unfortunately, is too Gnome-oriented. ("Use Kubuntu", yeah, I know.) But I grind my teeth every time I want to do something that I could easily do in KDE but Gnome, Microsoftly, prevents me from doing.

I'll keep trying, as hard as I can, to follow Linus' advice: use KDE instead.

And, of course, stay away from Windows.