[ubuntu-uk] fit for the purpose

Alan Pope alan at popey.com
Wed Jun 20 23:51:39 BST 2007

Hi Tony,

On Wed, 2007-06-20 at 22:41 +0100, Tony Travis wrote:
> Have you ever upgraded Windows?
> Or MacOS?
> Believe me, Debian/Ubuntu is much, much easier to upgrade!

A very good point. I think often we take for granted some of the
features of Linux (specifically Ubuntu) that are just light years ahead
of Windows.

* Software installs. A straightforward way to install, remove and
upgrade individual packages and their dependants. Something Windows
doesn't have and never has.

* Release upgrades. As Tony points out, Windows upgrades are pretty
painful. A significant number of applications break after an upgrade, at
least comparable with the issues reported by Norman. Note it's just not
possible to boot an XP kernel on Vista to resolve a "scanner not
working" issue as he had.

Worth noting that as a result of it upgrading well, and because Ubuntu
runs on lower spec hardware, people are _more_ likely to upgrade than
under Windows where the hardware requirements go up tremendously with
each release. The vast majority of Windows users never upgrade their
operating systems so when they move to Ubuntu and complain when
something breaks in an upgrade, they often don't have a comparison under
Windows because they've never done it.

* Fast installs. Installing Ubuntu is way faster than Windows. Even
installing from a recovery CD is painfully slow. Some suggest as a
counter argument that "nobody ever installs windows" (due to it being
pre-installed) which is of course incorrect. Many Windows users
reinstall their desktops repeatedly during the life of one computer,
often due to malware infestations, viruses and general system slowness.

* Upgrades of _all_ software in one go. I recently _had_ to install XP
(to apply a BIOS update) and once the product recovery CD had done it's
work (which incidently took around 4 times longer than an Ubuntu install
on the same host - and installed one 5th of the amount of data/apps)
there were applications shouting at me to update them. With Ubuntu you
just have one little icon to worry about - the update icon on the task

* Flexible installs. With Ubuntu you can take a backup of your /home,
and a list of packages you have installed and can reinstall (or install
a new version) and get back to a running system very easily. I did this
recently. I plugged a USB hard disk into my ubuntu laptop, booted to
recovery mode and copied the entire /home onto the drive. I wiped the
internal disk, installed XP (as detailed above) and then copied my /home
back from the USB drive. All my data, settings and preferences were

* Moving disks to another machine. I recently had a motherboard failure
in my wifes old computer. I just yanked the IDE hard disk out and put it
in another computer. I only had to reconfigure the (different make and
model) of video card - _no_ reboot required - and it Just Worked.

And all of this is without even mentioning the fact that it's free and
open! How marvellous is that!? Let's try to remember some of these
fantastic innovations when we draw comparisons with other operating

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