Welcome!

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

Related Topics: Linux Containers

Linux Containers: Article

Linux vs. Windows installation comparo, Part 3

Next at bat is Red Hat 8.0. Can Linux take a 3-0 Installation World Series lead over Windows?

(LinuxWorld) — Prior to Susan starting her first Linux installation, I had prepared the Sony Vaio laptop so that it was in the same state it had been for her installation of Windows XP. All partitions on the hard drive were removed, the Netgear PCMCIA NIC was installed, and the USB IBM PC Camera was attached. Just as I did for XP, I placed the installation CD in the drive and powered the unit down. All she needed to do to start the installation was power it on.

I need to point out that Susan, who is smart but is not a computer-system administrator, was not installing a retail version of the newest Red Hat. Version 8.0 had not yet appeared on local store shelves when we conducted the test, so I downloaded the three ISO images from a site in Ireland. I tried to download them from Red Hat first, but even after subscribing to Red Hat Network, the speed was too slow. I guess that is just the way it is after a new release. Everyone and her brother wants the free version... and right now, thank you very much.

Susan powered it up and the laptop began to boot from the CD. Advisory windows appeared, informing her that USB drivers were being loaded and PCMCIA devices were being initialized.

Defaults rule & avoid 'the look'

The rules for the installation were the same as before: defaults rule. If a choice was offered and a default given, the default was taken. If a choice is offered, there is no default and Susan doesn't know what to do, she can ask me for guidance. The only exception to the above would be a case in which she knew that the default is wrong without asking.

The next screen to appear asked if she would like to test the installation CDs before proceeding. Not only was that choice the default action, it is a good idea. In a solo run I made the day before, it detected that one of the CDs I had burned was bad.

One at a time, each of the three CDs was tested. The process of checking them took about 5 minutes each. During this period, Susan commented that the Red Hat installation was "not as pretty as Windows XP." She noted that the block letters and text windows made it look very much like something you would see in DOS.

As the check completed for each CD, the screen went blank for about 15 seconds without any indication of what was happening. Not good. Not as bad (or nearly as long) as similar periods during the XP installation, but still a point of concern.

At the 16-minute mark, all three CDs had been checked, and Susan dutifully placed the first CD back in the drive. The next few minutes kept her busier than she had been in the XP installation.

Anaconda started up to determine what sort of hardware on which Red Hat Linux would be installed. Then the Red Hat installation screen appeared. I told Susan to just hit Enter to proceed. She gave me "the look" and reminded me that I was not supposed to be guiding her through the process. She also suggested that I sit quietly and take notes, but not to speak unless spoken to. I'm not the brightest bulb on the tree, but I know enough to follow all directions given immediately after "the look."

Susan then clicked on Next about nine times in a row, accepting the defaults for Language Selection, Keyboard, mouse, Installation Type, disk partitioning, boot loader, network configuration, security and additional language-support. The suggested Installation Type was a new one for Red Hat called "Personal Desktop." One choice from the past — for laptop installations — was no longer there.

Next, she was asked to enter a root password and add a user. She has shared laptops with me in the past, so the concept of different users on the same computer was not new to her. Then she was asked to accept the default list of applications for the Personal Desktop installation. That list included the GNOME environment, Open Office, the Mozilla Web browser, the Evolution mail client, instant messaging, sound and video players and games. She voted a straight-ticket and accepted all the defaults.

The actual installation of the selected packages began 22 minutes into the installation. There wasn't much to do as packages were being loaded except read the infomercials that appear and watch the estimated time of completion change. The estimated time, by the way, is not reliable until the last few minutes. It begins with an estimated completion only ten minutes away. But the longer the installation runs the further you have to go, peaking at an estimate of over 20 minutes to go. Then it begins to drop until the estimated and actual come into sync.

Susan was prompted for CD No. 2 (we never needed CD No. 3) and placed it in the drive. Finally, 57 minutes into the installation, she completed the package installations. Susan was then prompted to create a boot disk, but since the laptop does not have a floppy drive, she was forced to bypass that step.

Next came the video configuration. Red Hat identified the video as an 8-megabyte S3 Savage/MX card and Susan hit Enter to accept. Next came the monitor. Red Hat said it is unprobed and suggested 31.5-48.5 KHz for horizontal, and 50-70 Hz for vertical. Who were we to argue? Susan hit Enter again. Ditto for the 16-color at 1024x768 resolution.

One hour and three minutes after beginning, Susan clicks on Exit and the installation completes with its first and only reboot. When Red Hat appears again it is at a welcome screen. Susan checks to make sure the date and time were correct. They are. She then tests the sound configuration. It works fine.

I asked Susan to try the browser to make sure that she was connected to the Internet. She was. Then I have her start xawtv to make sure the USB camera was working. It worked just fine.

Using my new Red Hat Network subscription, Susan logged in and created an entitlement for the laptop. There were no updates available for Red Hat 8.0. Since it wouldn't be fair to make a comparison of update times against a brand new OS release versus one that has been on the market awhile, we used the Red Hat 7.3 update time rather than that for 8.0 for purposes of comparison.

The boxscore

Elapsed time is the easiest comparison to make. Red Hat easily wins in this category with a time of 106 minutes versus 160 minutes. That's amazing since it includes a 15-minute penalty (the time required to verify the downloaded ISOs were good). And a complete office suite as well. While the Windows XP installation didn't even include a word processor (note: the W2K installation did), Red Hat 8.0 installed Open Office 1.0, which includes a spreadsheet, word processor, presentation tool, drawing program and project-management tool.

Susan gave Windows the nod for being "prettier." Ease of installation? She thought that was almost a toss-up. Installing the OS itself was a little easier for XP since she didn't have to stop and answer nearly as many questions as she did during the Red Hat installation. Yes, in almost every case she simply took the default, but still it added a bit of stress and reduced the "ease" of installation when she accepted something without understanding what it was.

 Windows 2000Windows XPRed Hat 7.3Red Hat 8.0
Basic Installation0:421:030:521:03
Office Suite0:03 0:000:00
NIC/Network0:100:130:000:00
Updates1:060:540:430:43*
Camera0:040:100:000:00
Total Time2:052:201:351:46
 
CD swaps8234
Reboots8611
EULAs8400
* We show the same update time for Red Hat 8.0 as we did for Red Hat 7.3 because there were no updates for 8.0 at the time we did the installation.

The klunky update process under Windows XP and the fact that extra work was still required to get the NIC and the camera working were what tilted the results in Red Hat's favor. She had to ask her sysadmin for help with those parts of the XP installation. With Red Hat, the NIC was configured and the system was Internet ready. Ditto with the USB IBM PC camera. No action at all on her part was required to get either working. Red Hat sensed and installed both devices.

A disclaimer: Linux and Red Hat installations do not always go so easily, and they can be a real pain when devices are not recognized correctly. My point is a Red Hat 8.0 installation might be quite different on your system. On the other hand, the same can be said of Windows installations.

When I bought the PCMCIA card for the Vaio, I made sure it was supported on Linux before I purchased it. That's always a good idea regardless of the platform. The USB camera is a different story. Susan saw it marked down to $10 at Wal-Mart and we got it without knowing whether it would work with Linux.

The bottom line? Another win for Red Hat Linux. It is the smoothest and easiest Red Hat installation I've seen yet. Not perfect by any means, but definitely better. Chalk this victory up to a big advantage in time and a narrow margin for ease of installation. If Microsoft had a better mechanism for applying updates, it could have been a different story.

Next up in this round-robin shootout is Mandrake 9.0. The question then will be who will take the Linux (and the overall) crown for best installation.

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...