Saturday, January 30, 2010

Windows 7 and Ubuntu - My perspective

A screenshot of my desktop under Ubuntu:

and, a screenshot of the similar set of applications in Windows 7:

A constant battle that plays out everyday in my mind - to use Ubuntu or Windows as my primary development box
I use both interchangeably in my dual boot laptop, most of my work related files is kept in a shared partition, this way I can use either Ubuntu or Windows any time. I could use a virtual machine hosting Windows or Ubuntu but I don't like the idea of allocating a good chunk of resources to run a Virtual machine in my "not a high end" laptop.

I will continue to use both for the foreseeable future, the following is just an attempt to list down the specific reasons why I like/hate Ubuntu and Windows and prevents me from sticking to one or the other:

What do I really love about Ubuntu:
  1. The super clean desktop, once I have changed the default Ubuntu look by adjusting the DPI settings using this article( and changed the theme to Murrina Gilouche(
  2. Terminal - For controlling the small scripts that I have  - to start subversion, confluence, bamboo, run maven scripts
  3. Package Management tools - Synaptic, aptitude and apt-get make software install a cinch.

What do I really hate about Ubuntu:
  1. Lack of a good pdf reader plugin support in Google Chrome/Firefox.  I know Adobe provides a pdf reader for Linux but it does not work well with Google Chrome/Firefox
  2. Lack of ITunes port for Linux. Yes there is Rhythmbox, but it does not for some reason synch my iPod Nano.
  3. Picasa - I know a port using Wine is available, but I would have preferred a native version.
  4. Flash experience is buggy - It works but there are bugs - for eg, I have issues in watching videos in full screen mode at TED, if I go into a fullscreen mode there are times when I hear the sound but no window.
  5. Java applications like Netbeans, JEdit with default look and feel(typically Metal) look very bad in Ubuntu, if the L&F is changed to GTK then it is passable.
  6. Hibernate and Resume is very slow(order of minutes) in Ubuntu.

What do I really love about Windows:
  1. Default Windows Aero based desktop is very clean and I like the new taskbar in Windows 7
  2. Flash, Pdf Reader(and plugin!), Itunes, Picasa work well on Windows
  3. Office suite - some of my work related documents does not open up correctly using Open office, and there is no equivalent of Visio in Open office.
  4. Very fast Hibernate and Resume

What do I really hate about Windows:
  1. The command shell and Powershell are not as good and intuitive as the Linux terminal(tab completion, color support etc). Yes there is Cygwin, but I do have problems in some applications related to the different way paths are handled(forward vs backward slash and the default "Program Files" space resolution)

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