What is Linux Compared to Windows - Software Installation Reviews Part 4

First Impressions - What is Linux Compared to Windows - Software Installation Reviews Part 4

by Larry Neal Gowdy - March 08, 2014

Screenshot of Manjaro Mate 0.8.9.

Screenshot of the Manjaro Mate Edition.

Windows Compared to Linux - Part 1

Windows Compared to Linux - Part 2

Windows Compared to Linux - Part 3

Linux® has advantages and disadvantages compared to Windows®. It is recommended that you read Linux versus Windows - How to Choose Which to Use before deciding whether or not you may be pleased with Linux or Windows.

And Time Rolls On

Software has changed quite a bit in the two and a half years since I wrote the first three pages of this series. Windows® 8 is unacceptable for many business and personal users due to software incompatibilities and difficulty of navigation, and Office 2013's® all-white to light-gray skinning has also taken a large step downward for appearance and usability. Windows XP and Office 2003 are now only about a month away from the end of support date, which has many users concerned whether they should upgrade, keep using old software, or change operating systems and office suites altogether.

Screenshot of Manjaro LXCE

Screenshot of the Manjaro LXCE Edition.

Meanwhile, several Linux® distributions have continued improving their stability and display quality. At present, perhaps the only sizable advantages of a new Windows operating system are its ability to run Internet Explorer® versions 10 and 11, and for its ease of use by individuals who only want a cell phone operating system for audio-visual entertainment (similar to Apple's® focus). For the tens of millions of individuals who need a computer for business, education, or any other traditional use, Windows is losing its appeal.

The Manjaro Linux runs faster, cooler, and more energy-efficient than both Windows and Apple. Lubuntu and the lightweight Manjaro LXCE edition are suitable for older computers, and my recent tests repeatedly verified that the Linux operating systems are superior in performance and usefulness for the majority of personal and business uses.

I have long been a fan of Microsoft software simply because it was the world's best software available, and most of the software is indeed still very good, but time marches on, and nothing remains the same. When 100% of my business customers tell me that they hate Windows 8, and roughly half of all known Windows 8 installations are later downgraded back to XP, then we have to accept the uncomfortable choice to either stay with old software or else choose a different operating system altogether.

You can view my recent review of Manjaro at Manjaro 0.8.9 Mate Edition Review for March 2014.

Screenshot of Firefox in Manjaro LXCE

Screenshot of Firefox in Manjaro LXCE.

The Libre® Office has made sizable improvements of appearance and usability, as have Firefox®, Thunderbird®, and numerous other Linux-based programs. The quality of the open source programs is now quite good and getting better. The Linux-based Wine software now runs many Windows-based programs quite well, and if a person has a favored Windows-based program s/he will likely find that it runs through Wine as well in Linux as it does in Windows. Examples include NotePad++, Jasc's PaintShop Pro 7, Fritz, and even Microsoft's Office 2000 Word and Excel (I did not test later versions). Doom actually runs smoother and faster through Wine in Linux than it ever did in Windows.

Little things like taking a break to play a game of solitaire are now no longer available in Windows 8 (unless the user wants to see intrusive blinking ads), but the Kpatience solitaire card games in Linux are quite excellent, and Kpatience actually works (unlike the buggy Windows 8 games that are unresponsive and still crash after a year and a half of updates). It's really rather depressing that there are so few Windows games for grown-ups. Shredder chess comes to mind of being one of the very few quality grown-up games available, but Shredder is also available for Linux.

Screenshot of Kpatience in Manjaro LXCE

Screenshot of Kpatience in Manjaro LXCE.

I honestly have no idea why Microsoft is ignoring home and business users, but after seven years of Office progressively growing increasingly difficult to use - as well as being slower - then it appears that we should not expect Microsoft to ever again produce business software. All of my Windows 8 customers have the same complaints of incompatibility issues, wrist pain, inconvenient navigation, and a growing dislike of everything Microsoft. I like Windows 8/8.1, but only because I tweaked it for my own use. The typical user does not have the time nor the desire to spend dozens of hours tweaking, and so it is to be expected that Windows 8 will not be liked by many users. Linux usually also requires a lot of time to get installed correctly, and so it's a toss-up of keeping Windows or choosing Linux.

Distributions like Lubuntu and Manjaro typically install on single-monitor computers with very little or no hassle at all. Until recently Ubuntu seemed to be the best for all-around ease of installation - Ubuntu usually recognizes hardware batter than other distributions - and Ubuntu has a lot of enhancements for ease of use (like the software installer), but straight out of the box a lot of people do not like the Unity GUI. Lubuntu is a lightweight Ubuntu, but Lubuntu requires substantial additional work to be used on a multi-monitor setup that has monitors of different resolution. Manjaro has worked well on all of my computers including a triple-monitor setup, and now I believe that Manjaro is the ideal Linux for the typical home and business user. Generally, Linux distributions will install quickly, but may require more time for hardware setups, which is fine and sometimes enjoyable for some of us, but not enjoyable for the average user who knows next to nothing about operating system setups.

Some known large corporations are currently upgrading from XP to 7 at a huge expense, but when 7 approaches near to its end of service many of the corporations will be changing to Linux. Manjaro is Arch-based, which is a rolling-update system that does not require full installations of future versions, which is a very desirable feature for a lot of people right now.

For most of us the deciding factor remains the same as before: if we absolutely must use the latest version of Internet Explorer then we must stay with Windows, but if we can use Firefox then we might best choose Linux.

For my own personal use I have installed Manjaro on a laptop (removing Windows 8 entirely), two desktops were permanently downgraded back to XP, a spare desktop will keep Windows 8.1 for the occasional use with Internet Explorer 11, my wife is now using a PC with Manjaro for online work while she keeps her XP computer completely disconnected from all networks, and my primary computer is now running 64bit Manjaro Mate 0.8.9 and Windows 8.1 on different hard drives. Time will tell which operating system becomes the favored choice on my primary PC, but if Microsoft's current trend continues to ignore home and business keyboard users, then yeah, Manjaro will likely become the sole operating system.

You can read more about Manjaro at Manjaro.org.

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