Windows 7 versus Ubuntu: Operating System War

By Partho, Gaea News Network
Monday, October 26, 2009

windows-vs-ubuntuWindows 7 has made its debut and Karmic Koala(Ubuntu 9.10) is rearing to make a go. Ubuntu 9.10 is scheduled for a release on October 29. In most articles and discussions we found Windows 7 eclipsing Ubuntu and in some instances vice-versa. With a faster boot time, and flashy enhancements Ubuntu is winning out the geeky-hearts. Windows remains the favorite OS for its simplicity of use. WIndows 7 has received optimistic reviews from testers.  In the operating system market dominated by Windows, where Mac is bent to create its own niche, Ubuntu carries the prospects for Linux. What’s more, Canonical is introducing Ubuntu on mobile Internet devices MIDs, netbooks, servers and cloud system. Microsoft is already diversifying Windows 7 for netbooks and cloud systems, surely we could expect more. Clearly, both Windows 7 and Ubuntu 9.10 are complete operating system that could make for your daily desktop.  For the two blocks suipporting Windows 7 and Ubuntu here’s some food for thought.

Windows 7 and Ubuntu are both targeted the desktop market to a large extent and have their pros and cons.  Let’s compare the two Operating Systems based on their features

User Interface

When comparing Linux with Windows, user interface is always a contended issue. Windows 7 adds a number of UI enhancements. Windows Explorer comes with slideshow that changes the desktop background within a scheduled time. Redesigned Windows Shell with a new taskbar. Enhanced Start menu and window management. Overhauled user interface for font management.

Ubuntu offers a more intuitive UI as compared to other Linux distributions. Ubuntu 9.10 now adds overall theme refresh, and a redesigned login manager. It would carry the most up-to-date GNOME version.

Boot up time

This is most discussed issue between the two operating systems.  No doubt Windows 7 boots faster than Vista, but Ubuntu 9.10 has a breezy boot up.


Microsoft is close to making a completely secure operating system than that it has ever made. Windows 7 comes with remote connectivity to corporate networks seamlessly, protection for data on thumb drives, and fewer user account control prompts to bug users as compared to Vista. Windows 7 security has been enhanced with Multiple Active Firewall Policies, DirectAccess, BranchCache, BitLocker To Go, and AppLockerWindows 7 security enhancements are especially guided at mobile users.  Still Windows remains vulnerable spyware and virus attacks.

Overall Ubuntu is a highly secured OS. There are abundant ways to avoid spyware on the Linux-based operating system.


While Microsoft releases updates each month it includes patches for Windows, Microsoft Office software, Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, and other Microsoft software like SQL Server and Exchange. Where as Ubuntu may be able to boast of lesser vulnerabilities, given that the user is only using the core operating system.

Hardware support

Windows 7 edges over Ubuntu for this, as there are a number of compatible hardware devices and software applications available to use with it. The flexibility to install a wide range of additional hardware and software enhances the overall user experience.

Ubuntu continues with its user friendliness and artwork upgrade. It’s hardware detection is like to receive a boost in the latest version. Especially, Ubuntu has much less trouble adapting to the 64-bit configuration.

System upgrades

In Windows 7 DirectX version has been updated to 11 and the OS also features native support for WWAN. Karmic Koala will have Ubuntu One client installed by default and Ext4 would be the default file system.

Media Player

Windows 7 includes  Windows Media Player 12, along with new codecs for playing formats such as H.264, MPEG4-SP, ASP/Divx/Xvid, MJPEG, DV, Advanced Audio Coding (AAC-LC).

Ubuntu comes with a VLC player with supports a wide range of codecs that surpasses WMP.

Additional features

Windows 7 offers a calculator rewritten to include Programmer and Statistics mode along with unit conversion and date calculation. Windows 7 offers a Windows XP Mode for users still easy with the older version. Windows 7 offers multi-touch for Tablet PCs and capable devices.

In the latest version oif Ubuntu Pidgin has been replaced with Empathy IM. GRUB 2 is the default boot loader for Ubuntu 9.10, replaces the previous GRUB Legacy boot loader.  Still it misses some features like lock/password support, an equivalent of grub-reboot, and Xen handling.


Windows 7 comes at a better tag price as compared to Vista. Still Windows price seems a pipe dream when you compare it with Ubuntu that comes at $0.


For better Windows 7 should strive to be faster and resource efficient like Ubuntu and the later must look to build a user-friendly interface like Windows 7. Clearly Microsoft looks forward to Windows 7 as its best bet in the desktop market, where Ubuntu is Linux’s challenge that will break the Windows.


May 22, 2010: 8:31 pm

hello everyone…my name is siddharth.i have really loved using ubuntu 9.04….but there is a very small problem….i want to customize its live cd such that it readily includes all the software packages that i need and i dont have to download them again…like audio codecs , blender , avidemux/pitivi and audacity…thanks in advance :)


March 30, 2010: 6:30 am


no, not by default

You could install WINE or simular program under Linux but there is no guarantee that your particular software will run properly

Luckily there are ample linux based applications that do the same job or better than the ones targeted for the microsoft windows OS.

February 28, 2010: 3:32 am

I would like to know whether I can use windows based softwares after installing ubuntu/kubuntu operating system or not. I will not install double operating system,i.e. windows and ubuntu.
please respond to my quarry.

Thank you.

Indian Art
November 8, 2009: 12:53 pm

Great that you are writing about Ubuntu. I wish it would get some more coverage and publicity in India.

I have been using it for more than a year. It is very safe, efficient, stable and cost effective. Although I do have Windows on my Laptop & PC, I don’t use Windows anymore.

‘….where Ubuntu is Linux’s challenge that will break the Windows.” Partho, I wish your prediction comes true.

I hope does an article of OpenOffice too.

October 26, 2009: 3:48 pm

Windows 7 is proprietary, allowing the vendor to abuse it’s users in many ways. Ubuntu is free, preventing abuse from anyone and allowing improvements targeted on the user’s interests, not the vendor’s.

October 26, 2009: 12:39 pm

So many misconceptions or blatant errors, so little time.

“Ubuntu offers a more intuitive UI as compared to other Linux distributions.” << how is that, considering most Linux distributions are using the same desktop environment.

Now if you were saying that Ubuntu includes some nice tweaks that other Linux distributions do not include then that would be true, but otherwise the user interface is practically the same except for styles and themes which are easy for any and all of them to update.

If you are used to Windows, then anything that doesn’t look, act, smell and feel like Windows is going to be “difficult”. Just like OS X. I use Windows and Linux and honestly I prefer the Linux desktop over Windows.. it is just more comfortable.

“Windows Explorer comes with slideshow that changes the desktop background within a scheduled time. Redesigned Windows Shell with a new taskbar. Enhanced Start menu and window management.” << all of which, from what I have seen, has been included in KDE 4 which came out before or right after Vista! The auto-chaning background has been there even longer! (KDE 3)

“Where as Ubuntu may be able to boast of lesser vulnerabilities, given that the user is only using the core operating system.” << Yes, Microsoft will update all of their (Microsoft) applications but the update process also includes updating all of the applications installed from the repositories. Don’t need to have to have Acrobat check with Adobe, Firefox check with Mozilla, Office check with Microsoft, etc. With Ubuntu, they check ALL of the applications installed (from the repository) and can update ALL of them with just a couple clicks. Plus, non-kernel updates usually do not require a reboot.

“Windows 7 edges over Ubuntu for this, as there are a number of compatible hardware devices” << This is due to no fault of Ubuntu. If the vendors made drivers for their devices available for Linux then this would not be an issue. Linux has done a darn good job of hardware compatibility considering device driver developers aren’t any help.

“Ubuntu comes with a VLC player ” << Totem, the default, is also just as good and is pre-installed. For music playing and iPod managing there are multiple applications able to accomplish that, not just one “certified by Apple” application.

Andy Jackson
October 26, 2009: 10:49 am

You “should” never see a password protected or lockable boot loader as it’s so easy to replace or work around it. Look for security in a /home level, like the new-to-9.10 “encrypt home directory with password” feature.

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