Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Mehdi Daoudi, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, XebiaLabs Blog

Related Topics: Linux Containers

Linux Containers: Article

Is Windows or Linux easier to install?

Microsoft's been at this longer so Windows should be easier to install, right?

(LinuxWorld) -- I've been preparing my Sony Vaio for an extended tour of duty at my girlfriend's new home. To make it as familiar and easy to use as possible for her, I decided to make it a dual-boot system. That way she can run Windows if she wants, and Linux awaits when I inflict her with my presence. It turned out to be a great opportunity to compare the installations of a popular Windows release with the latest from Red Hat. I kept copious notes as evidence.

My goal was to install each OS, get Internet connectivity via a Netgear PCMCIA NIC working, make each OS recognize a USB IBM PC Camera, and apply the latest security and bug fixes to the OS and default applications. Since Microsoft has been in the operating system business for exactly 21 years (DOS 1 debuted August 12, 1981), and employs 50,000 souls, I expected Windows 2000's installation would be seamless, fast, and lightyears ahead of upstart Red Hat's by any measure I could concoct. It turns out the Windows 2000 Pro installation is superior to Linux, but in two dubious categories.

First batter, Windows 2000 Pro

The clock was striking high noon as I inserted the first of three Sony System Restore CDs supplied with the laptop. I sat back to see what might happen.

Right out of the starting gate, Microsoft wanted me to accept the EULA. It didn't show me the EULA, but rather referred me to the Introduction to Windows 2000 Pro manual for a copy. Half an hour later and all three CDs had been fed in, it was time to reboot and continue the adventure.

Windows took a long time to boot, evidently checking everything to make sure it was to its liking. Then a Setup Wizard appeared. First order of business? You guessed it, accept the EULA. Then I set the time and time zone. Again, it rebooted to continue.

When Windows awoke from the reboot this time, I was attacked by a flurry of competing screens. One was a hardware wizard, another wanted me to register the Sony Vaio, and yet another was a sales pitch for McAfee's Virus Scan. But that's not all. There were three more under all those: a guided tour for getting started with W2K, a second hardware install wizard, and a request for me to insert the first Application Recovery CD.

Sticking to my game plan, I closed everything but the Applications Recovery process. Then I inserted the appropriate CD and clicked the OK button. After a brief period of no visible activity, a new prompt appeared asking me to insert the Word 2000 CD. A minute or two later and it was time to reboot, you know, in order to continue.

The hardware wizards reappeared following the reboot, but thankfully, they came one at a time. I installed the Netgear CD and unclicked the "Specify location" radio button. It breezed right past the needed files on the CD. I clicked Back, selected the "Specify Location" option, and tried again. This time it found the file it needed. I gave up trying to puzzle out the connection between specifying a location and it searching the files on the CD.

Next came the IBM PC Camera CD. I avoided a big problem by refusing to accept the Win98 .inf file it suggested for the device, pointing it instead at the Windows 2000 version. I knew from previous experience that had I accepted the default offering, the camera would not have worked.

Up popped the Internet connection wizard. A couple of clicks and I could try to connect. The first time failed, but on the second attempt it worked. A very intrusive popup from Macromedia appeared wanting me to install a plugin. Finally, the screen was cleared of unwanted clutter and I could begin the final part of the installation, which was updating the OS and apps.

I selected "Windows Update" from the Control. A scan of my system revealed I needed a number of patches. Guess what? Several must be installed by themselves, and each had its own EULA to click through. Amazingly, or perhaps not, each required a reboot to continue. (If you're not keeping score at home on the number of times I had to reboot, don't worry; I reveal the final tally later.) Ah, Windows, no wonder I haven't missed you.

First came SP2 for IE 5.01, then came IE 5.5, and then Windows 2000 SP3. The SP3 update took the longest -- 30 minutes for that update alone. Finally, the remaining three critical updates could all be installed together: two security updates for IE 5.5 and one for the Windows Media player. There were more upgrades for W2K that did not fall into the critical category. They required another 30 minutes to apply. When all was said and done, the entire process had taken 2.5 hours.

Second batter; Red Hat 7.3

Then it was Red Hat's turn. I inserted the first installation CD and rebooted Windows. I chose to manually partition the disk using fdisk. First, I deleted the partition I had originally created for Linux. Then I created a 256-megabyte swap partition and gave the rest of the drive to Red Hat, choosing the ext3 journaling filesystem.

Red Hat asked a few more questions about the system than the Windows installation did, but the default selections were always satisfactory. I chose to use the GRUB boot manager, to place it on the MBR, and for the Linux to be the default. Next, I accepted DHCP as my network settings, medium security, and picked my time zone. The installation asked for a root password and then let me set up as many user accounts on the laptop as I needed.

Next came package selection. I selected three package groups: GNOME, development tools, and Games & Entertainment. Red Hat's installation correctly identified my video card as an S3 Savage. Then I was all set to start reading the packages from the CDs. My group selections resulted in 697 packages to be installed. The process of reading the packages from the CDs began. After 20 minutes or so, the Installer asked me for CD No. 2, and 10 minutes later it asked for CD No. 3.

After all the packages had been read and installed, I was given the opportunity to create a boot diskette, test the default display resolution and color depth, and choose whether I wanted a CLI or GUI after booting. Those tasks done, it was time to reboot.

When the GNOME 1.4 desktop appeared, I closed the "Start Here" window and looked around. A round icon with a bold exclamation point in it caught my attention on the toolbar. I clicked it and learned there were critical updates awaiting my attention, which totaled 59 updates in all.

It took a few seconds to register at Red Hat, and then I launched up2date. It took about 30 minutes to download and install the updates. I checked the IBM PC Camera by starting xawtv and sure enough, Red Hat had it working without any effort on my part, just as it had done with the PCMCIA NIC. The install was soup -- no dependency insanity, and just one stinkin' reboot.

The box score

Windows 2000 Pro vs. Red Hat 7.3 installation facts

Now let's compare and start with the facts. W2K itself took 2 hours and 5 minutes, and required CDs to be fed eight times during the installation. It required eight reboots.

Red Hat 7.3 was considerably quicker, taking only 1 hour and 35 minutes. It was much less pesky, too, requiring three CD loads. Red Hat required one reboot. Red Hat did ask the user to get more involved in the installation than Windows, though the defaults were usually correct for my situation.

What annoyed me most about the Red Hat installation was reading not one, but three tales explaining how Red Hat came by its name. Did it result from Marc Ewing always wearing a red cap during his college days, or from an affinity he had for his grandfather's red lacrosse hat? On the other hand, is it because of what red has symbolized throughout history? Not that I really care, but it bugs me that Red Hat can't stick with one fable, or lacks the cleverness to poke fun at its myriad tales.

Several things bothered me about the W2K install. First, the jumble of windows popping up following the first boot after loading all the data from the three restore CDs. That is simply stupid design.

Next, the default security of W2K seems to be create the Administrator account with no password and to use it for normal computing. This is not the stuff of trustworthy computing. I've been told that Setup asks for the Administrator's password to be set, but I don't remember seeing it if it did. No password becomes the default simply by being accepted.

The number of reboots is another aggravation. It is also a clear sign the RPM package system is superior to whatever Windows uses. One of the Red Hat updates was a new version of the kernel. A screen appeared recommending a reboot so that the new kernel could be tested, but otherwise "reboot to continue" is just not a part of the Linux experience.

Another area of comparison is the question of functionality right out of the box. I call this category a draw. Sony ships Microsoft Word with W2K Pro, while Red Hat 7.3 has AbiWord. The real answer depends on the functions you require. Need a full-featured spreadsheet? Red Hat Linux wins by providing Gnumeric. Need a video camera editor? W2K comes out on top. I should point out, however, that if I had wanted to, there were hundreds of applications I could have selected to be part of the Red Hat installation. Not so with W2K.

Lastly, the constant click-through of EULA's and supplemental EULA's is tedious and legally pointless from the consumer's perspective. If you buy an operating system and you agree to its license terms, that should be the end of it. But I had to click-through a mind boggling 8 EULAs to get W2K installed and updated. On the Red Hat side, there were none.

Post-game analysis

Do Windows users have a choice? Sure. They can continue to run the older version of Windows with the original license, but if they do they are begging for someone to crack them.

Bruce Sterling had it right when he said at the recent O'Reilly OSCON, "Microsoft Windows is slowly but surely becoming an armed terrorspace. It's like an airport. You go into an airport nowadays, it's really kind of amazing that the people who run them still expect you to spend money in there. They still pretend to you that you are this pampered jet-set consumer, instead of a captive under armed guard, which is what you are."

For example, to get a more secure version of Internet Explorer, consumers must give up their freedom of speech. That's right. By clicking "I accept" you agree not to "disclose the results of any benchmark test of the .NET Framework component" unless you have written permission from Microsoft.

But there is more. We're talking about gagging consumers with the sheer volume of the licenses, not just their terms. How can anyone keep up with all they have agreed? Multiple Windows EULAs are a shell game on steroids. I didn't read each EULA carefully, and may have pledged allegiance to the French Foreign Legion.

Hold it. What am I doing? I can't do this. I've changed my mind. I'm going to wipe W2K off the laptop. If she wants Windows, she can install it herself. There won't be an end anytime soon to the problems with Windows software. Or with the egregious terms Microsoft imposes on its customers. I should have known better. Friends shouldn't help friends run Windows.

More Stories By Joe Barr

Joe Barr is a freelance journalist covering Linux, open source and network security. His 'Version Control' column has been a regular feature of Linux.SYS-CON.com since its inception. As far as we know, he is the only living journalist whose works have appeared both in phrack, the legendary underground zine, and IBM Personal Systems Magazine.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Robert Cohen, an economist and senior fellow at the Economic Strategy Institute, presented the findings of a series of six detailed case studies of how large corporations are implementing IoT. The session explored how IoT has improved their economic performance, had major impacts on business models and resulted in impressive ROIs. The companies covered span manufacturing and services firms. He also explored servicification, how manufacturing firms shift from se...
The question before companies today is not whether to become intelligent, it’s a question of how and how fast. The key is to adopt and deploy an intelligent application strategy while simultaneously preparing to scale that intelligence. In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sangeeta Chakraborty, Chief Customer Officer at Ayasdi, will provide a tactical framework to become a truly intelligent enterprise, including how to identify the right applications for AI, how to build a Center of Excellence to ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Massive Networks will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Massive Networks mission is simple. To help your business operate seamlessly with fast, reliable, and secure internet and network solutions. Improve your customer's experience with outstanding connections to your cloud.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CAST Software will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CAST was founded more than 25 years ago to make the invisible visible. Built around the idea that even the best analytics on the market still leave blind spots for technical teams looking to deliver better software and prevent outages, CAST provides the software intelligence that matter ...
Everything run by electricity will eventually be connected to the Internet. Get ahead of the Internet of Things revolution and join Akvelon expert and IoT industry leader, Sergey Grebnov, in his session at @ThingsExpo, for an educational dive into the world of managing your home, workplace and all the devices they contain with the power of machine-based AI and intelligent Bot services for a completely streamlined experience.
Because IoT devices are deployed in mission-critical environments more than ever before, it’s increasingly imperative they be truly smart. IoT sensors simply stockpiling data isn’t useful. IoT must be artificially and naturally intelligent in order to provide more value In his session at @ThingsExpo, John Crupi, Vice President and Engineering System Architect at Greenwave Systems, will discuss how IoT artificial intelligence (AI) can be carried out via edge analytics and machine learning techn...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datera, that offers a radically new data management architecture, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datera is transforming the traditional datacenter model through modern cloud simplicity. The technology industry is at another major inflection point. The rise of mobile, the Internet of Things, data storage and Big...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Arvind Radhakrishnen discussed how IoT offers new business models in banking and financial services organizations with the capability to revolutionize products, payments, channels, business processes and asset management built on strong architectural foundation. The following topics were covered: How IoT stands to impact various business parameters including customer experience, cost and risk management within BFS organizations.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business - from apparel to energy - is being rewritten by software. From planning to development to management to security, CA creates software that fuels transformation for companies in the applic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pulzze Systems will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Pulzze Systems Inc, provides the software product "The Interactor" that uniquely simplifies building IoT, Web and Smart Enterprise Solutions. It is a Silicon Valley startup funded by US government agencies, NSF and DHS to bring innovative solutions to market.
From 2013, NTT Communications has been providing cPaaS service, SkyWay. Its customer’s expectations for leveraging WebRTC technology are not only typical real-time communication use cases such as Web conference, remote education, but also IoT use cases such as remote camera monitoring, smart-glass, and robotic. Because of this, NTT Communications has numerous IoT business use-cases that its customers are developing on top of PaaS. WebRTC will lead IoT businesses to be more innovative and address...
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, will introduce two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named “Platinum Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business – from apparel to energy – is being rewritten by software. From planning to development to management to security, CA creates software that fuels transformation for companies in the applic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Elastifile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Elastifile Cloud File System (ECFS) is software-defined data infrastructure designed for seamless and efficient management of dynamic workloads across heterogeneous environments. Elastifile provides the architecture needed to optimize your hybrid cloud environment, by facilitating efficient...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Golden Gate University will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Since 1901, non-profit Golden Gate University (GGU) has been helping adults achieve their professional goals by providing high quality, practice-based undergraduate and graduate educational programs in law, taxation, business and related professions. Many of its courses are taug...
Recently, WebRTC has a lot of eyes from market. The use cases of WebRTC are expanding - video chat, online education, online health care etc. Not only for human-to-human communication, but also IoT use cases such as machine to human use cases can be seen recently. One of the typical use-case is remote camera monitoring. With WebRTC, people can have interoperability and flexibility for deploying monitoring service. However, the benefit of WebRTC for IoT is not only its convenience and interopera...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web communications world. The 6th WebRTC Summit continues our tradition of delivering the latest and greatest presentations within the world of WebRTC. Topics include voice calling, video chat, P2P file sharing, and use cases that have already leveraged the power and convenience of WebRTC.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Secure Channels, a cybersecurity firm, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Secure Channels, Inc. offers several products and solutions to its many clients, helping them protect critical data from being compromised and access to computer networks from the unauthorized. The company develops comprehensive data encryption security strategie...