Windows vs. Linux: An Unbiased Review

Review written by Cody Hollis-Perdue on Sunday, May 15, 2005

from the can't-spell-evil-without-vi dept.

After hearing all of the hype about Linux, I decided to give it a try. That was my first mistake. I soon realized that Linux has more flavors than you can shake a stick at.

I asked a computer savvy friend which was best, and he chuckled and said "Try OpenBSD." He told me that "OpenBSD is the most secure operating system that civilians can legally use," so I decided to install it and see how it compared with Windows.

ACQUISITION:

To get OpenBSD, I had to go to their website and choose between so many disks. I eventually settled on the 3.6 ISO and burned it to a CD. The whole time I felt like a dirty criminal.

Windows, on the other hand, was much less painful, as there were only two versions to choose from: Windows XP Home Cheapskate Edition and Windows XP Professional Enhanced Deluxe Plus! Edition. I chose smartly and took the Professional Edition, paying the cashier only $400 for it. The process was simple and I left the store feeling like an upstanding citizen.

Winner: Windows

INSTALLATION:

I'll start with Windows. To put Windows on your computer is relatively straightforward: You hit ENTER a few times to agree to wipe out your existing data and sell your soul. Then you enter your serial number, make a typo, and have to try again about 5-6 times. Later, the install will suddenly crash without explanation and you repeat the process. Overall, it takes only about 3 hours.

If Windows had a title screen before the install, it would be much like OpenBSD 3.6: Welcome to Hell on Earth. The installation lures you into thinking all is going well until it hits you with OpenBSD's most reliable security method: the Dumb Sysadmin Prevention System. In short, OpenBSD's install is so hard that you need to be genius to complete it, thus eliminating the cause of the majority of security issues -- dumb sysadmins. I must say it works rather well.

The OpenBSD install seems simple at first. But after blindly hitting ENTER a few dozen times, you reach fdisk. What is fdisk, you ask? At first glance, it looks a tool that allows you to preserve some of your hard drive's data, while making it possible to have multiple operating systems co-exist peacefully.

Hardly. The ugly truth is that fdisk is a hell-spawned minion that will ravage your brain, cause general mayhem, and make you want to replace the word "fuck" with "fdisk" as the F-word of choice in your cursing vocabulary.

Once through the complete hell of fdisk, you think the madness is over. Not so fast. Next comes the devil himself known as disklabel, to wreak even more havoc on your puny existence. This program serves no purpose other than to cause general confusion while suddenly forcing your installation to fail (although, unlink Windows, it does provide a reason for the failure).

If, by some miracle, you are able to emerge intact from fdisk and disklabel, the rest of the install is a piece of cake -- but you'll never be the same again.

Winner: Windows

FIRST BOOT:

During the Windows first boot, you are prompted to set up things like networking, automatic updates and such, which is all just a ploy to send your personal information to Microsoft. Soon you reach an appealing desktop environment, designed by blind children (God bless Microsoft for allowing disabled children the opportunity to work on their products).

The OpenBSD first boot takes you to a cold black-and-white command line, with no support for a mouse or windows. (Apparently, you can obtain an archaic desktop by using something called "X". Or so the rumor goes.)

Winner: Windows

BOOTUP SPEED:

OpenBSD boots up really quickly. In fact, it's so fast I can't get up and grab a cup of coffee before it finishes. Windows, however, loads slow enough to do this... and I really like my coffee.

Winner: Windows

INCLUDED PROGRAMS:

Web browser:

OpenBSD comes with a text based browser called lynx, which is limited in functionality. Windows comes with Internet Explorer. Let's face it: Internet Explorer is a hunk of crap.

Winner: OpenBSD

Text editor:

Windows comes with Notepad, a great easy-to-use text editor.

OpenBSD comes with vi, another hell-spawned weapon of evil which causes mayhem and kills kittens every time a user attempts to do something productive with it. Using vi is about as pleasant as a trip to the dentist for back-to-back root canals, without anesthetics. It should come as no surprise that vi is part of OpenBSD's Dumb Sysadmin Prevention System, making it nearly impossible for mortals to cause damage by recklessly editing system configuration files.

Winner: Windows

Graphics editing:

Windows comes with Paint, the almighty graphic editors of the graphics gods and goddesses. Enough said.

Winner: Windows

Multimedia:

Windows has Windows Movie Maker, Windows Sound recorder, Windows Media Player and more. OpenBSD has ???? and ????. It isn't very functional at doing anything.

Winner: Windows

Games:

Windows comes with top quality games, such as Solitaire and Minesweeper, whereas OpenBSD comes with things like fortune, banner and hack.

Winner: Too close to call

UPTIME:

My Windows computer stays on until I go to bed, when I shut it off. My OpenBSD box stays on for days and days on end, because I can't figure out how to turn the damn thing off!

Winner: Windows

OVERALL:

After my intensive testing of one install of OpenBSD, I can conclude without a doubt that Linux is not ready for the desktop. Maybe if they added some blush or other cosmetics, it might fare better.

Everyone should know that Windows is the only real operating system out there and will be the only one to gain acceptance from anyone. Now, if only Internet Explorer went through the same quality control as the other programs like Paint and Solitaire...

[Editor's Note: The author is not affiliated with Sys-Con.]

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