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Some basic feedback from a long term Windows user.

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Some basic feedback from a long term Windows user.
« on: March 29, 2018, 12:04:00 PM »
 

alowe

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I've been using Windows for about 30 years now. Back then it wasn't much different from an 8-bit computer.
Finally settled with XP Pro and avoided any later OS from Microsoft because I'm not paying s for stuff that already does what I got.
But as you can imagine XP is getting more and more sluggish and unstable due to lack of support.

So, here are my initial comparisons between XP Pro SP3 and Linux Lite:

Comparison devices:
Windows Laptop - Toshiba Satellite, 2gb memory, 120gig hard drive, Core 2-Duo CPU (2 x 2GHz cores)
Linux Lite Laptop - Toshiba Satellite, 1gb memory, 150gig hard drive, Core 2-Duo CPU (2 x 1.73GHz cores)
So, you see LL is running on a slightly underpowered laptop compared to the XP laptop. Both are set up so I can compare them without having to rely on my own memory (which isn't 2gb lol).

Bootup speed:
Startup speed on my XP is hellish. It's over 5 minutes to boot up. Normally the solution when it gets this bad is to reinstall the OS but I've lost the CD and the CD drive is broken anyway.

Startup speed with LL was very quick. I'd have been happy with anything less than 1 minute. I know people want faster bootups (my father once said that 17 seconds was too long). I say to them, just use standby and you can get it down to almost zero. So now I drink less tea because I don't have time to make one while LL boots.

Application execution time:
XP laptop - reasonably quick except for modern bloatware like Firefox and Photoshop.

LL laptop - slower, but I don't mind this because I'm assuming that this is because LL is less heavy on precaching. That means less stuff bloating memory that doesn't always get used. So, I can live with this.
I am a bit confused by simple programs like gedit from the terminal takes as long to load as Firefox. But it's not something I use a lot.

Application installation time:
XP laptop - usually reasonably quick unless some integrated part of the OS is being changed (like .net framework, multiple restore points etc).

LL laptop - quite slow but the nice thing is I can expand the details and understand why as it's happening. With XP this information is often hidden or only flashed on a single line that you'd need to be Data to read.

Application availability:
Even though Firefox is bloatware and there are more efficient browsers I still use it because it's what I'm used to. So, I'm glad it works almost identically in LL as XP, but there are a few issues:

Firefox on my LL laptop doesn't use the default file manager when opening folders from the downloads dropdown. After a few days of research haven't found any solutions to this basic functionality.

The tabs don't share the CPU cores as effectively as XP does. This is even accounting for the weaker CPU. If I stream a video while opening another tab it can send the laptop into a cycle of chewing the hard drive that's difficult to get out of.

Processor usage:
On the LL laptop, just like the tabs, if multiple processes want servicing it can lock up the laptop with hard drive usage. I've even had to do a hard reset once to escape this. I've put this down to the small amount of available memory and the OS paging virtual RAM. But when this happens in XP it's easier to get out of and easier to avoid in the first place.

On the LL laptop I've noticed the CPU runs less hot and is significantly hotter on the XP laptop. XP is a lot more CPU and memory hungry imho than LL but the payoff is XP has slightly better stability with underpowered hardware.

The two laptops have identical hardware except for the memory and hard drive capacities, so it's significant that LL seems to handle streaming better than XP (as long as not too many other processes are running after which XP has the edge).

Usability:
I find LL to be surprisingly usable (considering the last time I used Unix was before Linux was invented). Searching from the start menu it's quite easy to find things based on common sense. System Info gives you system info, Terminal gives you the command line, Software & Updates and Lite Software are very easy to use. It all seems to be designed to be pretty idiot proof.

When looking for software I'm used to using in XP, I've found the alternatives quite easily for LL. I quickly discovered that a lot of what works for Ubuntu works in LL so don't always need to find an LL specified install. Linux installs seem to be quite efficient for overall filesize and Lite Tweaks nicely cleans up anything left behind.

VLC is pretty much the same on XP and LL. I've discovered Handbrake to downgrade videos to 720p and it works which is surprisingly difficult to do on XP. Worked first time in LL. In XP I've been trying to do this for years with mixed results. So, LL was more user friendly in that department.

I personally hate the modern Windows nonsense start screen that makes it harder to find the program you want to run, so, I'm glad LL doesn't do that.

The file structure on Linux is a bit of a learning curve. All these directories with abbreviated names that haven't changed much in 30 years from Unix. Most the time it's not an issue as it's not needed for the beginner user and I can learn as the needs arise. But it can seem a bit overwhelming when first experienced. I interpret this as because Linux is more of a programmer's OS and as such programmers need to have a more compartmentalised file structure to have more efficient control. It's a balance I suppose between low level control vs usability.

Laptop specific functions
The Toshiba Satellite has the ability to manually change the screen brightness and volume without having to use the mouse or touchpad.

XP laptop - quite reliable as long as user inputs haven't hung (which is hard to reproduce).

LL laptop - much more prone to other processes blocking access to the CPU. So, I can change the volume or screen brightness and not see the changes happen for many seconds. I've adapted the way I use the OS to mitigate this by limiting the number of applications and/or Firefox tabs open at the same time. It hasn't actually effected my usage so I'm not fussed, but it's only fair to mention it.


Overall
XP is past it. It's like some old crone with gums and wrinkles. That it still works at all is impressive. This is not so much the fault of the design of XP, but the inevitable changing of the world it operates in. It had a good run (a very good run), but it's time has passed. RIP.

LL is not perfect but where it does shine is in important areas. It has given life to a 1.73GHz laptop with only 1gig of memory in which would crumble to a halt with Windows. In the real world (i.e. not geek world) this means I save s not having to buy a newer laptop. If you save people s (even if they have no principles about Microsoft), that's a winner. You'll always win if you offer similar functionality for less cost.

LL struggles a bit more than XP when using multiple applications at the same time, but for the average (not heavy) user this isn't an issue. Considering how underpowered my laptop is it is quite impressive that it can still outperform an XP with slightly stronger hardware in some areas. Back to the real world, a cooler CPU is a happier CPU. Lasts longer. Crashes less often. Overheats less often. All real world (i.e. not geek world) important things.

The few areas LL is weaker can be overcome with mild changes to computer usage behaviour (and probably only apply to underpowered computers anyway). So, it's mitigatable.

Overall I'd give XP a 5/10 and LL a 6/10 for usage.
Where XP (and Windows fails) is the endless bloatware that drags down the CPU usage and chews up the memory.

Finally, I haven't installed a virus checker yet. Haven't needed to defrag the hard drive yet. XP needs more housekeeping to keep it working. So far LL is light on the work needed to keep it working smoothly. That for me is one of the biggest strengths Linux has over Windows.

It's a mixed bag but I'm staying with Linux Lite for now. Windows 10 - meh, forget it. It's basically a stealth tax for Bill Gates.
Last Edit: March 29, 2018, 04:34:49 PM by alowe
 


Re: Some basic feedback from a long term Windows user.
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2018, 03:56:54 PM »
 

TheDead

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Hi,

Did you install LL in 64bits or 32bits? This could make a difference at least memory wise.
LL3.6 32bits uses about 242MB and 64bits is about 386MB. XP is of course 32bits.

Also, I manage files a lot and where LL is so much brighter is in file management.
Copy a few thousands files in Windows is atrocious... took until Window8-10 to get things "better", but even then.

Using either XP or LL won't get you so much different CPU "power" when doing file compression, etc.
Same goes for "downloading",etc. because being limited by the hardware "troughput".
But LL will bring you happiness and joy! ;)

Using Windows 7 was ok, saw Win8 and coughed a lung and didn't touch this "thing". Then I jumped to the LL bandwagon when Win10 came out and was (and still is) all BigBrother on people.

Cheers and happy computing!
- TheDead (TheUxNo0b)
 

Re: Some basic feedback from a long term Windows user.
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2018, 04:17:08 PM »
 

alowe

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Hi,

Did you install LL in 64bits or 32bits? This could make a difference at least memory wise.
LL3.6 32bits uses about 242MB and 64bits is about 386MB. XP is of course 32bits.

Using Windows 7 was ok, saw Win8 and coughed a lung and didn't touch this "thing". Then I jumped to the LL bandwagon when Win10 came out and was (and still is) all BigBrother on people.

Cheers and happy computing!
Thanks :D

It's an i686 processor so is limited to 32bit installs only. I decided to never get another Windows OS after seeing Vista, and the only other OS I use is Android on my phone. Can't imagine why I'd want a Windows phone. Sounds like a fire hazard :o
Last Edit: March 29, 2018, 04:38:15 PM by alowe
 


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