Microsoft has always tried to be in the race to stay at the top, but there are other operating systems that are present in the market and have a niche about themselves. Cropping up from behind the shadows of Windows, Ubuntu also has a good fan following. Windows 8 has dominated the news, but there have been other debuts as well.
For instance, Canonical’s Ubuntu 12.10 “Quantal Quetzal” arrived in October. Though the launch was a lowdown affair, it had a challenge to face ahead. There was a slogan up on the OS’s official launch and was an eye-grabbing one. Though there has been modification to the slogan, the challenge still remains.
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A New Window to Reach Out
One cannot underestimate the fact that Ubuntu is a prominent name in the OS category. Being open-source has only helped its cause and this has increased the popularity of the OS to more than 20 million users. The timing of releasing the latest version couldn’t have come at a better time, though. The users who were stuck with Windows had to decide whether to take the dive in favor of Windows 8 or jump to a new OS, Ubuntu.
Microsoft did take a gamble up its sleeve, though. Early reports suggest that Windows 8 has had a disastrous start and this opened the gates for Linux to cash in with the latest release. On drawing a comparison of Ubuntu with Windows from a business user’s perspective, the OS’s have tried to out do each other. Let’s take the plunge and explore the opportunities that they have to offer.
1. User -Interfaces: Unity vs Modern UI
Looking at both the OS’s, Microsoft and Canonical have been targeted for the default user interfaces in their own worlds. For Microsoft, it’s the Modern UI, formerly known as Metro, whereas for Canonical it’s the Unity. An overlook reveals that both are designed on the lines of touchscreens and give a greater insight into the mobile world.
The Modern UI takes the opportunity to leave the Start button and also overhauls the manner in which users will interact with the OS. This acts as a challenge to the users and also provides them a great chance to learn. The Unity, on the other hand, has undergone the knife and has been revamped accordingly with better features all the more.
Linux has long been favorite for the unending option of virtually being customizable, but the scenario has become all the more important , due to the controversy that surrounds desktop interfaces.
This is where Windows 8 and Ubuntu have the difference. Windows 8 gives the accessibility to users to customize some aspects of the working environment, like determining the size of Live Tile icons, shifting of the commonly used tiles to the left side of the screen or grouping tiles by the program type. Though these changes are more cosmetic and don’t have a built-in system to set the OS to boot to the traditional Windows desktop.
Unity, on the other hand is a very loose integrated UI. Firstly, there are free alternatives with which you can replace the UI, which include KDE, Xfce, LXDE, GNOME 3 Shell, etc. There are also third-party customization tools that help and include Ubuntu Tweak. The basic rule that governs the interaction is that if you don’t like the UI, change it. Also, you have the feasibility to run four different desktops as Ubuntu supports multiple workspaces.
3. Compatible Hardware
Windows 8 has a huge list of hardware requirements that need to be fulfilled to make it run. For a desktop the requirements are: a minimum of 1GHz processor or faster that has support for PAE, NX and SSE2. The Ram has to be minimum of 1GB for the 32-bit version or 2GB for the 64-bit version, together with 16GB or 20GB space on the hard drive, depending on the version. To enable the graphics you will require a Microsoft DirectX 9- compatible graphics device with a WSSM driver.
Whereas Ubuntu, has a more modest requirement list. The minimum requirement list includes 512 MB RAM and an additional 5GB on the hard drive. There are versions like Lubuntu and Xubuntu that are compatible with machines with lower specifications. Thereby, Ubuntu has the vulnerability for various hardwares.
4. Integration of the Cloud
The Cloud has always fascinated Linux. With the launch of Ubuntu One, in 2009, the technology has enabled the users to store files online and synchronize them with desktops and mobile devices. You can also stream audio and music from the service to the devices. The One is compatible on Windows, OS X, iOS and Android.
The latest release allows the OS to integrate Web apps and online searches on a direct basis into the Unity desktop for a better experience.
Windows, on the other hand, has the benefit of the cloud. The latest release gives you the access to establish similar preferences with all the hardware and services that are Windows-based. The main idea that goes into the employment of this service is to connect the desktops, tablets, mobile devices through a common user-experience.
5. Security Issues
Windows RT apps run within a sandboxed environment for better security purpose, whereas Windows 8 Pro desktop have no other choice. Adding fire to the fuel, you have third-party developers that are left on their own to add security measures to their apps. Windows 8 and Ubuntu both, have pre-installed firewalls, but also have the option for full disk encryption.
Windows 8 provides Secure Boot support on the OEM systems, whereas Ubuntu 12.10 offers various advanced features that increase the security pointers. There is support for the installation process with Secure Boot systems. There is also a pre-installed security measure of Linux Security Modules (LSM), by default. There are many third-party measures as well that are present to bail them out.
The above-mentioned five reasons are the major ones for making a better choice and helps you as a user to make that tough decision as to which OS to opt for. Windows 8 has its own advantages, whereas Ubuntu 12.10 does outshine its counterparts in various terms. So, the choice is yours.
I was a ardent Windows believer and was planning to upgrade to Windows 8, but after reading the write-up I have decided to go otherwise. Ubuntu is my choice of OS now and the features have it in them to take it the next level.