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A Linux user's review of Windows 7 Beta

Feb 24, 2009, 17:02 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by jhansonxi)

[ Thanks to jhansonxi for this link. ]

"Windows 7 Setup is graphical like those on most Linux distributions (which they've had for many years) but the functionality isn't much better than the XP installer. The only really useful addition is the ability to use USB storage devices to load drivers instead of requiring a floppy drive. Like in XP it is single-task based so that every partition edit is immediately applied while most Linux installers queue up a series of operations and then perform them in a batch. The installation and updates took a long time with several reboots (and of course entering the 25 digit key). I don't remember the details about the one Vista installation and update process was like but both are faster to install than XP with it's service pack and several updates that often have to be performed sequentially. The progress messages from the setup screen did seem to indicate some updates were installed but after logging in Windows Update installed some more. The earlier messages may have been referring to updates on the ISO that weren't slipstreamed.

"Ubuntu's graphical installation process is a lot faster, especially considering the number of applications included. Its updating can take longer but the package manager updates everything, not just the OS. I use an internal mirror with netbooting via PXELinux that's partially automated using Kickstart so my installations are very fast and already updated. You can achieve some of the same benefits on Windows with the AIK, WinPE, WDS, and slipstreaming but you still have to deal with licensing, product activation, and updating. Windows Update only covers Microsoft products so other applications need their own update functions else you have to do them manually. Like Ubuntu and Debian most Linux distributions come with text or graphical installers or both. Text installers are not as friendly but work on systems with limited memory. Graphical installers are easier but require more memory. Many of them are integrated into Live CDs that can be used for web browsing or playing music while the OS is being installed in the background. There are a few Windows Live CDs, mostly based on BartPE. I haven't tried any of them but once I made a Windows 98 Live CD with a DriveSpace volume that had Quake installed as a feasibility study for RAM disk usage on an embedded system. Using Windows 98 on an embedded system was STUPID but I wasn't the engineer in charge of the project."

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