Ubuntu 9.04 vs Windows 7 RC vs OSX86 on my laptop!
I thought it might be interesting to try and see how the most prominent OS of the day run on the same hardware. So I setup grub to be able to triple-boot Ubuntu 9.04, Windows 7 RC and Mac OSX86.
The idea was for me to see if my computer is still fit to run with the latest OS software and also to look for a better OS if that's ever possible.
The harware specs are found below.
The boot times (from power on to full desktop) are roughly similar and not one OS is a clear winner. Since OSX86 is customized to make Mac OS work on PCs, the estimate is just, well, estimated.
Ubuntu 9.04 : 35s
Windows 7 RC: 55s
Mac OSX86 : 43s
Comparing software is indeed difficult. Some apps are made to run only on some platforms. Because of my harware, most apps like Firefox and OpenOffice or MSOffice or iWork take about 10-15s to start.
- WINDOWS - MS Office 2007 SP2 is a clear winner in Windows 7 RC. Prefetch makes applications launch in 1s the second time with. The software is snappy and supports pdf and openoffice formats.
- MAC - iWork 09 Trial Edition takes about 10s to start and is very responsive. Its unconventional presentation takes time to get used to. I haven't tried MS Office 2008 Trial Edition.
- UBUNTU - MS Office 2007 through CrossOver in Ubuntu takes about 12s to start the first time and improves to 2-3s from the second time. It's great for everyday use.
OpenOffice takes 15s to start. Start times can be improved through the openoffice startup option, to a zippy one second only. It is responsive but the UI looks dated and the conversion of Word documents is sketchy.
I downloaded and used Adobe Photoshop Elements Trial Edition on Windows and Mac. I also used Gimp for Windows and Ubuntu. On each platform the programs performed well, except some notable freezes of Gimp in Windows.
I use Firefox on Windows and Ubuntu with the same plugins. I have no base for comparison with OSX86 since the required hardware is not recognized.
I have found Firefox to be more stable on Windows than Ubuntu. I believe this is due to some conflicts between Compiz and Firefox that degrade video performances.
This one is very personal indeed.
- WINDOWS - The whole UI is consistent and the new bar functionality is very interesting indeed. The lack of customization out of the box is appaling though.
- MAC - The UI is crisp and clean. The only notable exception is that fonts look blurry (something to do with hinting perhaps). Again, the lack of customization right of the box is a problem. Overall the UI looks smooth and professional but a little boring too.
- UBUNTU - Customization galore! Ubuntu is really what you make of it and themes can be quite easily changed. The only drawback is graphical unity sometimes.
All the desktop effects were enabled (Aero, Expose and Spaces, Compiz, etc...). All the UIs stood firm with my hardware. However, because of bad Intel support in Jaunty, the desktop effects are slower than in Ibex.
For everyday use I would choose and recommend Ubuntu. Most apps react like they should and perform well. It is free, its community is awesome and you can customize it at will. If you need professional applications like Adobe products or OS restricted products (iLife for instance), you can choose Windows 7 or Mac OSX.
I found Windows 7 RC interesting but I'm still worried about spyware and viruses, which prevents it from being the OS of choice. However it is the desktop reference and MS Office SP2 is absolutely irreplaceable.
OSX86 gives you the opportunity to try OSX and its associated software. In my opinion, OSX is no better than Linux in terms of safety, but the simplicity and elegance of its software (iLife and iWork) makes it a worthy candidate if you want to remain a casual user and don't want to be bothered by your computer acting up on you (outside hardware faults of course). The price of Apple hardware and software is not justified though and brings it down to a shameful 3rd place.
To make a strong and significant difference in the OS world I believe Ubuntu needs companies like Adobe (Photoshop) or even MS (MS Office) and Apple (iTunes) to develop native versions of their acclaimed software. The future will tell...
Desktop : iMac 21.5" (2011) Core i5 Sandy Bridge - AMD Radeon HD 6750M - 8Gb RAM - OS X 10.8.3 Mountain Lion
Laptop : EasyNote TS 44HR (2012) - Core i3 Sandy Bridge - Intel HD3000 - 4Gb RAM - elementary OS 0.2 + Windows 7 Home Premium SP1