Benchmarked: Ubuntu vs Vista vs Windows 7

Distros

In depth: A lot of people have been chattering about the improvements Windows 7 brings for Windows users, but how does it compare to Ubuntu in real-world tests? We put Ubuntu 8.10, Windows Vista and Windows 7 through their paces in both 32-bit and 64-bit tests to see just how well Ubuntu faces the new contender. And, just for luck, we threw in a few tests using Jaunty Jackalope with ext4.

When Windows users say that Windows 7 is easier to install than ever, what do they really mean? When they say it's faster, is it just in their heads, or is Microsoft really making big strides forward? And, perhaps most importantly, when Linux benchmarkers show us how screamingly fast ext4 is compared to ext3, how well do those figures actually transfer to end users?

These are the questions we wanted to answer, so we asked Dell to provide us with a high-spec machine to give all the operating systems room to perform to their max. Our test machine packed an Intel Core i7 920, which in layman's terms has four cores running at 2.67GHz with hyperthreading and 8MB of L3 cache. It also had 6GB of RAM, plus two 500GB of hard drives with 16MB of cache.

The tests we wanted to perform for each operating system were:

  • How long does each operating system take to install?
  • How much disk space was used in the standard install?
  • How long does boot up and shutdown take?
  • How long does it take to copy files from USB to HD, and from HD to HD?
  • How fast can it execute the Richards benchmark?

We also, just for the heck of it, kept track of how many mouse clicks it took to install each OS.

Before we jump into the results, there are a few things we should make clear:

  • To ensure absolute fairness, install time was measured from the moment the computer was turned on until we reached a working desktop.
  • The same computer hardware was used for all tests, and all operating systems were installed fresh for this article.
  • We used the Ultimate versions of Windows Vista and Windows 7, simply because Windows 7 was provided only in this flavour.
  • We used the Windows Vista SP1 disk to accurately reflect what users are likely to experience todaay.
  • Our Windows 7 version is the open beta that Microsoft issued recently. It is probable Windows 7 will be at least this fast in the final build, if not faster.
  • For Ubuntu 9.04 we used the daily build from January 22nd.
  • All operating systems were installed using standard options; nothing was changed.
  • After checking how much space was used during the initial install, each operating system was updated with all available patches before any other tests were performed.
  • Our journalistic friends have informed us that Windows Vista (and, presumably, Windows 7 too) has technology to increase the speed of the system over time as it learns to cache programs intelligently. It also allows users to use flash drives to act as temporary storage to boost speed further. None of our tests are likely to show this technology in action, so please take that into account when reading the results.
  • The filesystem, boot, shutdown and Richards benchmarks were performed three times each then averaged.

And, of course, there's the most important proviso of all: it is very, very likely that a few tweaks to any of these operating systems could have made a big difference to these results, but we're not too interested in that - these results reflect what you get you install a plain vanilla OS, like most users do.

Install time

Amount of time taken to install, from machine being turned on to working desktop. Measured in seconds; less is better.

At first glance, you might think that Ubuntu clearly installs far faster than either version of Windows, and while that's true there is one important mitigation: both Windows Vista and Windows 7 run system benchmarks part-way through the installation to determine the computer's capabilities.

A bit of a flippant one - just how many mouse clicks does it take to install an OS with the default options?

Surprisingly, Ubuntu 8.10 gets it done with half the clicks of Windows 7. NB: hopefully it's clear this doesn't make Ubuntu 8.04 twice as easy to install. Measured in, er, mouse clicks; fewer is better.

Disk space used immediately after a fresh install. Measured in gigabytes; less is better.

While some people might complain that we used the Ultimate editions of both Vista and Windows 7, they probably forget that the standard Ubuntu includes software such as an office suite as standard. NB: Vista failed to detect the network card during install, leaving us without an internet connection until a driver was downloaded on another computer.

Bootup and shutdown

Boot up time was also measured from the moment the machine was turned on, and the timer was stopped as soon as the desktop was reached. The Dell box does take about 20 seconds to get past POST, but to avoid questions about when to start the timer we just started it as soon as the power button was pressed.

Amount of time taken to boot, from machine being turned on to working desktop. Measured in seconds; less is better.

The 32-bit version of Windows 7 is the only one to beat the one-minute mark, but that advantage is quickly lost in the switch to 64-bit. Linux has always been rather slow to boot, but as we understand it reducing boot time is one of the goals of the Ubuntu 9.04 release.

Amount of time taken to shutdown, from button being clicked to machine powering off. Measured in seconds; less is better.

Windows lags a little behind the Linuxes, with 64-bit again proving a sticking point - this time for Windows Vista.

IO testing

To test filesystem performance, we ran four tests: copying large files from USB to HD, copying large files from HD to HD, copying small files from USB to HD, and copying small files from HD to HD. The HD to HD tests copied data from one part of the disk to another as opposed to copying to a different disk. For reference, the large file test comprised 39 files in 1 folder, making 399MB in total; the small file test comprised 2,154 files in 127 folders, making 603MB in total. Each of these tests were done with write caching disabled to ensure the full write had taken place.

Amount of time taken to copy the small files from a USB flash drive to hard disk. Measured in seconds; less is better.

Amount of time taken to copy the small files from one place to another on a single hard disk. Measured in seconds; less is better.

Let us take this opportunity to remind readers that Windows 7 is still at least nine months from release.

Amount of time taken to copy the large files from a USB flash drive to hard disk. Measured in seconds; less is better.

Amount of time taken to copy the large files from one place to another on a single hard disk. Measured in seconds; less is better.

With the exception of Windows 7 while copying larges files around a hard drive, Windows generally suffered compared to Linux in all of these tests. Obviously Windows does have to worry about some things that Linux doesn't, namely DRM checks, but these figures show a drastic performance difference between the two.

Notes: Vista and Windows 7 really seemed to struggle with copying lots of small files, but clearly it's something more than a dodgy driver because some of the large-file speeds are incredible in Windows 7.

Both Vista and Windows 7 seemed to introduce random delays when deleting files. For example, about one in three times when deleting the files from our filesystem benchmark, this screen below would appear and do nothing for 25-30 seconds before suddenly springing into action and deleting the files. However, this wasn't part of our benchmark, so isn't included in the numbers above.

This was very annoying.

Richards benchmark

Notes: This was done using the cross-platform Python port of Richards. For reference, Ubuntu 8.10 uses Python 2.5.2, Ubuntu 9.04 uses Python 2.5.4, and we used Python 2.5.4 on the Windows tests. Even though the 64-bit results for Linux and Windows don't look that far apart, we have to admit to being very impressed with the Windows tests - the deviation between tests was just 3ms on Vista, and 5ms on Windows 7, compared to 20ms on Linux.

Amount of time taken to execute the Python Richards benchmark. Measured in milliseconds; less is better.

It's clear from that graph that having a 64-bit OS can make a real difference in compute-intensive tasks, but it's not too pleasing to see Windows pip Linux to the post in nearly all results.

Switching to ext4

All the Linux benchmarks above were done using ext3, so what happens when we switch to ext4? Well, not a lot:

Boot, shutdown and filesystem tests for Ubuntu 9.04/x86-64 using ext3 (blue) and ext4 (red). Measured in seconds; less is better.

Although there's no difference in shutdown speed, the boot time using ext4 dropped by 8 seconds, which is a fair improvement. We can probably discount the the USB to HD tests simply out of error margin, which leaves the HD to HD tests, and there we find a very healthy boost: 3.7 seconds were shaved off the small files test, making ext4 about 25% faster. Our tests also showed an improvement in the large file test, but it's not as marked.

Conclusions

Benchmarks are always plagued with questions, uncertainties, error margins and other complexities, which is why we're not going to try to look too deeply into these figures. Obviously we're Linux users ourselves, but our tests have shown that there are some places where Windows 7 really is making some improvement and that's good for competition in the long term. However, Linux isn't sitting still: with ext4 now stable we expect it to be adopted into distros fairly quickly. Sadly it looks like Ubuntu 9.04 won't be among the first distros to make the switch, so users looking to get the best performance from their Linux boxes will either have to fiddle with the default options, have patience, or jump ship to Fedora - which will be switching to ext4 in the next release..

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Your comments

Comparisons

Tt's interesting you have to turn to pro-Linux blast to get decent comparions between Linux and Windows.

Well done for a bit of honest comparison wthot any marketing spin!

All I too am a Linux user, I'm glad to see the results which endorse my belief Linux is easier to use.

Here's a little table:

Issue Windows Linux
keyclicks to install More Less
Speed of start More Less
Moving files More Less
Benchmark tests about equal
Cost $100s Free

Why do you think this is sent from a Linux machine. I don't like wasting money!

Ubuntu !=linux

a few notes:
First when you compare windows 7 to ubuntu you don't compare it to to linux.
I've used ubuntu for 2 years and now I find debian faster on everything. Plus, I already learned enough to optime my machine really good. The strenght of UBUNUT is that it has really excellent hardware support, but that comes with a cost - it fits everything, so it's really bloated and slow...

Second, when you compare python on windows 7 to python on ubuntu you should check how python on windows 7 was compiled and how on ubuntu - for example usually ubuntu packages are optimized for i386 arch. That ofcourse has a price... I think windows 7 binaries where optimized to i686... but it has to be checked...

And finally, installation time is really not measured by second, rather by what you get after that.
In installing any modern linux distro today, icluding ubuntu, you get a really productive computer which includes a full office suite, printer drivers and digital camera drivers and etc. With windows you get solitaire and mineswipper, and note pad. With every product you have to connect to you computer you need to install drivers, and there is not software coming with it... so in Total linux is much more usable after install.

So benchmark like this are not really convincing.

Richards benchmark

Hello,
could you throw at me the Richards benchmark you used? I'd like to run it on my own machine (running Arch and Windows 7 from the time I was checking it) to see the difference...

Cheers!

RE: Debian

@oz123:

While I agree that Unbuntu != Linux, I think this benchmark does right to ignore optimizations. This only tests the default installation. I'm sure that Windows can also be optimized by removing uncessary services, reducing eye candy etc. (but Linux would probably win there as well)

Perhaps the author could add a couple of distributions to the benchmark. And also try an install with KDE as well?

Boot-up times

The boot up time is not representative. Ubuntu install comes with a full suite of software compared to Windowse with just the OS. Load Windowse up with the a similar application suite and you'll be suprised how long it takes before you can start working on anything. Windows showing a desktop is lightyears from being able to work with this thing. My dual boot Ubuntu takes about 55 secs to boot while my Windowse with similar apps takes about 4 minutes before clicking a mouse provides any response. Don't be fooled, it puts a desktop up infront of you very quickly, but it is totally useless.

Wrong figure

The last figure, Fig. 11, is a duplicate of Fig. 10.

Another point on boot times

I would also like to point out that it would interesting to test boot times, once someone has installed 50 applications onto each OS. Just think of the registry on windows 7, and all those little tray icons chewing up all the memory and the disk swapping like an man walking on hot coals.

It is also worth pointing out that the install figures don't tell the whole story, once Ubuntu is installed, I have a fully working desktop, with many applications, to make the comparison real, you would need to install the same number of applications, and record those times as well. I suspect, once you have installed all the anti-virus, spyware, IM client, office suite, IDE, graphics software etc, and spent around £2,000, plus spent at least another 2 hours installing it, the comparison would be pointless.

Nick

Memory & Battery Life

I know Vista needs 1GB (but slow) at less and I install Ubuntu with full efects in a old pc with an AMD 700Mhz 284RAM and 32MB en Video RAM. In this aspects for movil PC Linux should be better options

boot time

68 second boot times ? Mine only takes 15 .... that's factoring in the X-Server sleep :^]

@oz123, I think the title

@oz123, I think the title reads "Benchmarked: Ubuntu vs Vista vs Windows 7". Where is the "Ubuntu !=linux" coming from? The author clearly states this at the beginning. It was also stated that DEFAULT configurations were used (therefore, no OPTIMIZATIONS).

I myself would have liked to see other major linux distros in the mix (as well as Windows XP). That would be quite an interesting read...

Ubuntu 9.04 does support

Ubuntu 9.04 does support ext4, btw. Although you may need to install from the 'alternate' disk and manually partition the disk.

I know it works. I'm using it now :) (Ubuntu 9.04 alpha3)

DRM checks?!?

There is no such thing as "DRM checks" in Windows (when copying files). The only DRM-like things is PMP (Protected media paths), but this code is only activated when you use Windows Media Player to watch DRM protected media. Not when copying files.

DRM Garbage

Quote:
"Obviously Windows does have to worry about some things that Linux doesn't, namely DRM checks, but these figures show a drastic performance difference between the two."

Can you explain to me your reasoning that DRM had _any_ impact on these benchmarks? I'm at a bit of a loss as to why any DRM checks would be going on while you're copying random files from media to media. This might shock you, but Windows doesn't do a DRM check on txt files, or mp3's, or jpg's, or, to my knowledge, effectively any file whatsoever. Nor does it factor into the install process.

Seeing as your benchmarks don't include playback of DRM'd media, the DRM subsystem is wholly irrelevant, and frankly, your mentioning it as a possible reason for any benchmark results seen above only serves to discredit what I thought was otherwise a pretty reasonable benchmarking article.

Odd, actually. I experience

Odd, actually. I experience faster times with a desktop
having less horsepower. Could be the distro, of course.

I exclusively use openSuSE (11.1) - a far superior distro
to Ubuntu, IMO. One an AMD 64 with 4GB RAM and four
1GB drives ...

My install time is about the same, but more of the kitchen
sink gets installed with openSuSE. I never count mouse
clicks for the install, because for me, it's more important
what gets installed - but I think the "newbie" install mode
for openSuSE is like 4-6 clicks. What I find more important
is "configurability" of install - with openSuSE, I have
more level of detail over install than Ubuntu could hope for.

Disk space used for final install. Yea, I have the kitchen
sink installed, so more than Ubuntu - not as much as Win,
but who cares with the price of storage these days.

Boot up time: about 25 seconds for me. Shutdown about 10.

IO performance? Bah ... we all know any *nix system will
beat a Windows box.

But what about all the other "performance" figures that
are usually missed? How about all the time it takes to
turn off and configure out all those nuisance security
dialog box items with Windows (?)

And don't forget the time it takes to download and install
the required antivirus/etc tools for Windows. And all the
subsequent maintenance tools that will be required for
a Windows box.

For me, it's not about install, bootup/shutdown, and file
copying times .... it's more about the daily productivity
I realize with Linux (I also use a MacBook Pro) over
Windows. I get MORE work done with *Nix than I do with
Windows because of the REDUCED overhead of the
weeklymaintenance chores inherent with Windows.

Thanks for the article!

Regards, mjt ... author, "Inside Linux"

great arguments all round, but what about gamers?

i definately hear what everyone is saying, and by the looks of things, ubuntu is the better OS. HOWEVER, what about people who want to run a blisteringly fast system, to play games on as well as run graphic-intensive programs?
ubuntu just really doesnt seem to hold its own in this respect......

Games

For games there is a thing called a Game Console. Games does not belong on a desktop unless you want to break and bloat your install.

Are you sure about the boot time?

It takes me about 48sec from a cold boot to full active desktop in Windows Vista, and about 37sec on Windows 7. Both are 64 bit OSes. Where'd you get your figures?

BTW, Vista and Windows 7 tends to be slower just after installation. It get s faster once Super-Prefetch learns the booting sequence.

don't know anything about

don't know anything about ubuntu, just wondering about the install times. does ubuntu install all of the drivers that win7 does, or does it take time to hunt them down and install them?

PC Gaming

Asterix, are you serious?

The PC has been the one gaming platform that has truly endured, and frankly, there are games you can play on a PC that you simply can't play on a console. Not just due to processing power and capabilities, but superior control mechanisms as well.

Not to mention things such as modding...

Either you've got no idea what you're talking about or you're a troll. I'm undecided which is worse...

Installation

I think it should be mentioned, that a fresh installation of Ubuntu includes a full office suite and other usefull software while with Windows all you get is more or less a naked OS.

>does ubuntu install all of

>does ubuntu install all of the drivers that win7 does, or
>does it take time to hunt them down and install them?

of course yes

Benchmark

Something is up with your benchmarks. Windows 7 is faster for me in every way than Vista, except for shutdown times. It takes me about 25 seconds from POST to desktop with a PC with lower specs. Also, Windows 7 only took 35 min to install for me while Vista took near an hour. Also, Windows 7 automatically installs drivers and other things like that during install, so the PC is completely usable at first boot. Also, about the amount of clicks to install, Ubuntu installations are 80% keyboard based, maybe more. My 10 cents.

Boot Times

The boot times you have for Windows 7 are REALLY slow for that high spec system.

I have a 2yo laptop - 1.83Ghz, 2GB RAM, running Windows 7 32-bit. It boots in 37 seconds, compared to around 50 seconds with Vista.

So really not sure how a Core i7 with 6GB RAM could have a 59 second boot time.

With this benchmark being so far off what I've experienced, I seriously question all of your statistics.

Boot tome

I am up and running with 7 office 2007 installed in 50 seconds and online. I have a p4 dell with three gigs. It's getting like mac fanboys with ms and linux. I also find it much easier to install 7 than buntu and have done it with only 7 or 8 mouse clicks. I do agree with the fact that you have openoffice on the buntu install. 7 is an improvement and hopefully will get better. I have never really cared for buntu or any other linux distro. They are just not pretty enough and who likes to wake up with a cayote ugly install..............

Yes....

It may be slower but whats it worth having a faster machine without really good software? I'm a long time Linux user and its nice for web browsing etc. But what about indesign, photoshop, flash editing, video editing, music editing...?
Yes there are a few remakes with maybe gimp as the king. and maybe you cut all your holiday movies with Kino but some people have to do serious work.

Daily productivity

"For me, it's not about install, bootup/shutdown, and file
copying times .... it's more about the daily productivity
I realize with Linux (I also use a MacBook Pro) over
Windows. I get MORE work done with *Nix than I do with
Windows because of the REDUCED overhead of the
weeklymaintenance chores inherent with Windows.

Thanks for the article!

Regards, mjt ... author, "Inside Linux""

...more work done. Could you please explain what you "work" on Linux that flows so much better? Weekly maintenance... on my desktop?!

Install times

The only thing I'm quite surprised of is the install times. Specially for Windows. I thought Windows XP was incredibly slow and difficult to install compared to Ubuntu. (Slow in time and difficult because my hd-controller on newer machines never worked out of the box)

But after having to reinstall Windows Vista on my Thinkpad T61 (dual-core 2.2ghz cpu, 160ghz 7200rpm hd and 4gb of ram) i was amazed on how deadly slow Vista (32bit) installed.

I had to wait for hours and hours. It definitely took way more than 4 hours to get to a working desktop and the first set of 'updates' to install afterwards easily took another 2 hours.

I don't think i ever installed Ubuntu from scratch of cd-rom in 15mins (900s) but in my experience every Vista of XP install took at least hours on modern hardware not 22mins..

How about Mac OS X?

It would be really nice to also see Mac OS X numbers. I switched from Windows to Mac mainly because of performance, and I've been satisfied so far. But Ubuntu may be even faster, and I am thinking about moving from Mac to Ubuntu. What do you think, should I?

A few words on disk space usage

Don't forget that Windows creates a special file for hibernation which has the size of your RAM. Looking at the graphs you will find out that the difference between Windows and Ubuntu disk space usage is almost 6 GB - just the size of your RAM.

What really pleases me about

What really pleases me about this benchmark is the fact that the two operating systems are in the same league.

It's impressive if you think that one comes from a multi-year, multi-billion dollar investment from a single commercial entity (a giant one), while the other is the product of the relentless and coordinated effort of thousands of people around the world.

So having a high level commercial-quality product, mantaining control over it (source code), and free of charge, really makes me feel good.

The sofware industry is the only one where this is happening, and I find it a very pleasant place to be.

Disk Usage

A big difference between Windows and Linux disk usage is that Windows installation have to include a swap file (up to several Go) where it is set apart in the Linux installation.

It is not sufficient to explain the difference between disk usage but it has to be noted.

Regards,

Ive ALWAYS wanted to do a test like that

Ofcause i cant help to think how one of my favourite distros would reak havoc.

Gentoo: (ofcause this is just a though up one)

Installtime: 30 min -> 30days you'll never know

Mouseclicks to install: 0
Boottime with InitNG: 28 seconds (actually did that on a older laptop to gnome so not unreasonable)
performance: anything from debianish to GODLIKE depending on your magic touch .
Lastly , why not try tux3 or btrfs : BOOM crashy crashy

EULA?

You know, that benchmasking Windows 7 Beta violates the EULA?

nit pick

"Measured in, er, mouse clicks; less is better"

s/less/fewer/

Different results

I suspect your test machine has some driver issues

On a much lesser spec machine (Asus eee 901 single core 1.6Gz Intel with 2Gb Ram)

From switch on to workable desktop: 41 seconds for windows 7 32bit, shutdown in 11 seconds.

For comparison: The same machine boots XP in 22 seconds to the desktop but before it´s usable 40 seconds will pass.

Ubuntu on a eee 901 more than 60 seconds.

Grub delay

Usually Ubuntu configures the bootloader Grub for a delay of 3 seconds. Did you set it to zero? Otherwise the results are not correct.

ubuntu and win7 install times

well....i have an athlon xp 2600+ (1920 mhz), 768 mb ram(ddr 400 mhz), 2 year old 160 gb seagate hdd (IDE), nforce 2 mainboard. ubuntu takes aprox.20 minutes to install, win7 aprox 25 minutes, and vistaSP1 almost 28-30 minutes (all are the 32 bit versions of the OS)
about the boot times i don't know....did not take the time to measure it :)). the only thing i can say is that win 7 is much faster than vista.

I'd like to learn more about small file copy

This is a set of interesting tests.

Could you please explain the details of your small file copy benchmark?

For example how many files, what's the average file size, how did you copy the files etc...

Thank you in advance.

Why Ubuntu???

If i can choose, i prefer Fedora to ululubuntu.

an IT bod of 20 years

I like the way he calls Windows 7 'a contender', as if there's actually going to be some sort of competition for the desktop (as opposed to scrabbling for the <15% of machines not running a version of Windows).

He also treats both distro's as if Ubuntu comes with all codecs and s/w installed - it doesn't (Yes I know Windows doesn't have .FLAC and the like, but it still outdoes Linux for ready-installed codecs by a large margin).

And, at the end of the day, it would have been nice if the open source community had been putting this much effort in 15 years ago, when it would have made a difference....

Lol

Some more useless tests are coming?:)
I would recommend to switch off indexing after windows installation. Well, "pro-tester" like you should know that, especially when copying from USB2HDD HAVE TO be exactly the same on every platform.
Install time and mouse click was the most pointless test ever!:o)
HDD usage in time of 2TB HDD is also quite funny:)
And bootup/shutdown time when windows has working STR since the end of the last millennium is also quite pointless:o)
I really looking forward another pointless benchmark!!!:o)))

Errrr

Personally I couldn't care less on how many clicks are needed to install an OS [wouldn't more be better as it show that you could have options?]. Obviously Ubuntu will install in less time and take up less disk space. It's 20% the size of Windows 7. And once again, I don't care on how long it takes.

I installed Ubuntu 8.10 on one system and at the first GUI boot-up it complained that my screen could not handle the resolution. When I finally got it at a decent resolution, it still was way more than a 17" LCD could handle.

moon

ok

Hmmm....

As a user of both platforms....I find the review a little bit skewed. I'm not calling the reviewer a liar, but some of those numbers are pretty off. Some things have to be kept in mind as well, Vista and Windows 7 both have protection running 24/7, and there's a resource and performance monitor running 24/7 too. To get a completely 'equal' benchmark, you need to disable System Restore and all the resource, reliability and performance monitoring tools within Vista/7. Granted, a straight default compare will show these numbers to the naked eye possibly, but you need to note the fact that these things are going on in the background vs. Ubuntu which is pretty much raw and has no overhead....which also means that if God forbid you have issues somewhere along the line, GL recovering. However, I did some tests on my laptop which is lower powered than the test machine used in this review and I didn't get equally representative numbers by any means. I only used 32 bit software, since I just wanted to get an idea and the machine is a T330 with 2GB Ram and 160GB hard drive. Vista took ~1410 secs, Windows 7 took ~973 secs and Ubuntu 9.10 took ~930 secs. Ubuntu also gave me a helluva time setting up partitions, but I didn't count that.

The reason deletes/etc. take a while...like copying does as well is that the performance monitor benchmarks everything, and superfetch caches everything. If you check the Reliability and Performance monitor, you can see what I mean. Everything is there.

Windows works with indexing (to find files fast etc.) and superfetch (to read and write files that are repeatedly opened). That means that the first time a certain file is copied/read/written it may take a while, but if that same file is dealt with again the action is much faster. It also means that cutting/pasting is faster than copying. Superfetch means that applications in general run a lot faster after they're used a few times. And indexing while using some overhead, pays off when searching for files. This is an advantage. Because of this, your bootup and shutdown times aren't a true reflection of Vista/7's numbers.
For instance, I run Vista Ultimate 64, I have been for about 2 years (so imagine the gunk in my system?!) and I boot in 47 seconds, start to finish (I have no less than 35 icons starting in my notif. area, mind you) and my system reflects ~17 seconds less than yours. I'm also not running as powerful a system as you are (C2Q 6600@3GHZ, 4GB PC 1000, NV8800 GT, 2+TB HDs, etc.) Shutdown is a solid 15 secs. One reason 7 is faster than Vista is because MS has found some way to optimize the process of monitoring everything at all times.

Now let's talk software. A bunch of people are saying that Ubuntu has so and so installed. Vista and 7 have it all as well, with the exception of an office suite.
If you're going to test amount of clicks it takes from start to finish, it'd be nice if you tested some software installs from sites like betanews etc. to see how quickly something installs in Ubuntu vs. Vista/7.

Now I read the little protection used for the review...."these results reflect what you get you install a plain vanilla OS, like most users do."
That's all well and good. But a great car isn't one that runs perfect in the first week of turning it on. It's the one that lasts and keeps on running. Superfetch and indexing improves Vista/7s numbers over time, and system restore protects users from crashes/install issues. I suggest you use the system for a week or 2 and then benchmark the copies/deletes/boots/shutdowns again.

Re: an IT bod of 20 years

"[...] He also treats both distro's as if Ubuntu comes with all codecs and s/w installed - it doesn't (Yes I know Windows doesn't have .FLAC and the like, but it still outdoes Linux for ready-installed codecs by a large margin)."

Windows only comes with MP3, WAV and Windows Media support (well these are the codecs that matter most of the available ones in windowss).

While Ubuntu cannot legally offer MP3 or Windows Media from install, it's ridiculous to say that out of the box Ubuntu isn't loaded with a lot more software than Windows is. It comes with an office suite, chat, VoiP and a lot more out of the box. The size of the Vista 64bit version (which is the Windows version I use) after install is ridiculous.

"[...] And, at the end of the day, it would have been nice if the open source community had been putting this much effort in 15 years ago, when it would have made a difference...."

It still makes a difference, I'm very happy Linux and OSS are around :)

This is aggravating

Why must people come complaining about their distro not being used or screaming "my distro is better". Get over if folk. Go to your community and ask them to do a benchmark like this. First off he seems to want to compare a user friendly desktop distro so Debian though it may be faster probably would not fit the bill. For that matter Fedora while powerful and cutting edge is not as likely to work out of the box as Ubuntu is. This is no knock on Fedora because I like the distro and I try out each new version so I KNOW its less likely to work out of the box. I've tried OpenSUSE and found that as many have said it seems sluggish out of the box. Now if you ask me he could have tried Mint, PCLinux, Mandriva and some others that are user friendly and that would have been fine as well. For whatever reason he went with Ubuntu...that doesn't make Ubuntu == Linux.

As for the comparisons of Win 7 I have seen similar results with the beta I downloaded. I didn't get this feel of blazing speed and it boots slow for me. These benchmarks confirm that I'd be wasting money paying for Win 7. The two are in the same league.

Also I think that it should be reiterated. When installing Ubuntu (or almost any other Linux distro) you are getting almost ALL of the drivers you need installed AND a full set of software for documents, graphics and more. I think it is downright amazing that all of this is installed in the time it takes to get a basic OS shell in a Win7 install.

@Tyr

If I'm not mistaken Ubuntu comes with indexing turned on by default. There is no difference between the two. I don't believe it has anything like superfetch by default as preload is an additional install but I could be wrong.

Is there a benefit to the performance monitor slowing your performance?

As for software yes Windows lacks and office suite. It also lacks a cross network messenger, Photoshop style graphics editing software, DVD/CD burner application outside of the OS baked in functionality, a text editor of equal functionality, a webcam application, a photo manager (could be wrong), a full email client (I don't think Outlook Express counts compared to Evolution)... There simply isn't a comparison on software out of the box.

I think he should go ahead and use the system and then test again. The only thing Widnows is going to do is indexing which Ubuntu is going to do as well. I don't see how this is going to affect the result by that much.

Antiviruuus

All Windows must be benched with a Antivirus!

seriously

Minor Note on Boot Times

I notice a lot of folks have been mentioning the extraordinary boot times for any of the OSes listed, and how on their lesser hardware they seem to do better. Heck, booting Ubuntu from a USB stick on older hardware I seem to do better (in general) but I haven't timed it. One note the author does make, however, is that the DELL post takes about 20 seconds -- so don't forget to subtract about that much from any of the listed boot times and things come in line with what everyone else seems to be experiencing. As for the Vista system that still boots in about 47 seconds after two years -- kudos! I worked on a Vista system the other day that was only about two weeks old. Boot was horrible, because the user already had spyware and viruses! Pick a Linux, any Linux, and I'll bet you'd be better off! Any OS that requires add-on software to keep it usable is deficient.

Wow....

If this article was to invoke dialog, you were successful; however, if it was to inform users of any facts or even perception of facts, it fails.

This article, the opinions and the methods of the test are a slap in the face of Ubuntu and Windows equally.

As many posts already try to explain, you have many massive inaccuracies in both fact and author's opinion of what the OSes are doing.

Here are a few points that you might want to consider before you lose all technical credibility...

1) Get your facts dead on.

2) Don't assume what the OS is doing, know what it is doing and explain it instead of taking a guess.

3) Don't cross review technologies and then force them to conform to a standard set of scores. Example: The ext3/ext4 is pointless, and yet there is no information on NTFS. (Also this disregards what the FS are doing, like NTFS's journaling and copy on write snapshot features. BTW - DRM has nothing to do with anything at the FS or NTFS level EVER, that comment is just scary coming from anyone using a computer, let alone a technical review.)

4) Get technical people to review an article like this before you publish it. My tech team alone could have saved you a lot of embarrassment.

5) Don't pick abstract 'benchmarks'... Do you really think users care how many mouse clicks it takes? Did you explain a simple command line or installation script on Vista or Win7 can reduce this number to 0? You can also reduce the clicks on Ubuntu as well. And just these anomolies make a 'test' like this pointless.

6) Don't disregard performance features of an OS as meaningless, and then go on to benchmark it for performance. Example: There is a massive differnce between the first hour of operation on Vista or Win7 to the next hours of usage. (Disregarding prefetching, superfetch, etc would be like turning off the caching features of Ubuntu and telling users it won't matter in the performance differences.)

PS: Do you not realize that Vista/Win7 doesn't even optimize the boot time until it has been rebooted more than five (5) times, a simple check of a MS Whitepaper explains, because it is expected that users are installing drivers and software.

Our labs show quite different results, and some are more favorable to Ubuntu and some are more favorable to Windows.

-----

At the 'best' you are losing the respect of technical users and at the 'worst' you are misleading non-technical users. And sadly hurting both Ubuntu and Windows at the same time.

Wow...

The Net Avenger

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