Windows Vista Ultimate, Mac OS X 10.4.x, Ubuntu Dapper Drake (6.06)

It seems every man and his dog is running around the internet posting reviews of Windows Vista Ultimate, and a goodly proportion of these have made comparisons to either Linux or MacOS, now its my turn ;).

Vista – I think I’ll start here as it is the most logical place to begin and is perhaps the freshest in my memory. I finished downloading the beta last night and installed it onto my AthlonXP 3500+ (2G Ram, X800 Pro, 200G SATA HDD). This system scores a 3 in Vista’s performance metric, let down by a somewhat “underspecc’d” CPU. I was drawn to test vista because it is considered by many to be the future of mainstream computing and I like to know what I am likely to have on my desk in 3-5 years from now, and the many reviews tempted me to have a look – ooo shiny

Installation: The installation is perhaps the smoothest Windows install I have performed, it asked all the questions and did not bother me again, until it was time to set up a user account. The backdrops provided are extremely detailed and it is nice to have the option to set this before getting into the system. There were several things that the installtion could not handle – but I was doing somewhat unexpected things – namely – swapping SATA cables about, the system was able to detect (after a refresh) that a different drive with different partitioning was there, but was unable to install on this drive until rebooted. It was also incapable of installing onto a Silicon Image SATA (raid) controller (that did not have raid configured on it) which I found surprising as my motherboard is now two years old (Gigabyte K8SNSXP-939 or something similar) WinXP drivers worked allowing Vista to see and use the drives.

Initial thoughts – pretty. It is very pretty and things like the dashboard and the start bar do not get in the road too much (other than the new start lozenge which for some unknown reason sticks up 5-10 pixels above the heght of the rest of the bar and is always over the status area of apps which is not very nice). Once the initial prettyness is over things begin to get annoying. The “glass” of the application borders is annoying. It’s like having a constantly variable colour of bar, and it is very easy to lose which is active and inactive.

Improvements: Window’s don’t seem to grab focus when they want your attention, which means that you can continue to type in your main window and get around to looking at the window that wants your attention in your own good time.

User Account Protection: I like the idea of this, something windows needs. This implementation however is bad, very bad! It will get to the point where people will just click the accept boxes to do what they wanted to do in the quickest possible way. Rendering the scheme useless.

Ubuntu “Dapper Drake” 6.06

The interface of Ubuntu is making some massive progress presently. The font support and basic design of the windows are pleasant to use. The applications available for Linux (*BSD, etal) are making massive strides and some (like Firefox) are my default applications across all patforms (Win, MacOS, Unix). Some issues that I do have with Ubuntu (when being used from the perspective of handing it over to people not comfortable editing things like config files, the command line) is that some configuration options (like a bootmenu editor) for grub are not plainly obvious, this becomes important, as the menu fills with options to boot old kernels. I cannot comment on installation as I performed an upgrade from Breezy Badger (5.10) using the apt tools.

MacOS X – 10.4.6

I must admit that OS X is my most favourite operating system of the day. A coherent interface for the more part (things like Metal vs Plastik are not overly jarring for myself), easy to find, use and configure options, via a single application. Most things GNU are a simple recompile away. Programs and codec’s that support pretty much every format and usage scenario one might imagine. The OS is not without its problems however – Mach-O does slow down some operations especially thread creation, but I find it liveable. I am very tempted to upgrade my Powerbook to a MBP, but am unsure if I should go the 15″ or 17″ so I may as well wait a little while :).

Summary summary:
Vitsa – Litte more than a themed XP, some annoying changes with the theme, some cool new UI enhacements. UAP the intent is there but implemented really really really poorly. Lets hope they can get it improved before final release.
Ubuntu – Almost something I could give my mother and she would not complain.
OS X – My preferred OS still.

One Response to “Windows Vista Ultimate, Mac OS X 10.4.x, Ubuntu Dapper Drake (6.06)”

  1. malliemcg Says:

    It seems that this review has been stumbledupon.com ‘d I hope that people enjoy its contents, I hope to get some time to have a deeper, better and more indepth look at the three in the near future – current work commitments seem to be conspiring to prevent that however.

    M

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