The release dates for Microsoft’s Windows Vista operating system are out. November 29th is when the OEMs will be able to lay their hands on Vista. So are we waiting for ? Its shootout time . . . . What will Vista be able to do for $399 that Ubuntu cannot do for free ?
The User Interface
Its pretty much a straight battle here, Aero vs Beryl. Since Edgy has AIGLX built into it, there’s no configuring or mucking around to do. You just install it and it works. Aero, I’ve gotta admit, looks very good. But the point is, Beryl can be themed, whereas with Aero, we might be stuck having to buy programs like StyleXP or Windows Blinds to theme it or be stuck with the default style for another 5 years.

The Shell And Search
The new features in Windows Explorer for Vista include graphical thumbnail previews for any type of files (previously it was just images and videos), support for adding metadata to files and different language support for each user. Oh wait ! I think, I’ve been using all these features on my Linux box since . . . . a long time. In Ubuntu you can preview audio files just by selecting them, text files have the first few words on their icons and obviously images and videos have previews too. And if your thinking language support, you really shouldn’t even be thinking twice. The OSS community is known for having quite the best language support there is.

Oh yes, about the search part of it, you could just install Beagle and be done with it. Or if you need something a step down, the Deskbar applet for the Gnome Panel is a great option.


Sidebar Widgets
Here we go again . . . . more eyecandy. But who the hell said eyecandy is bad ? Windows Sidebar is a great little app that sports a number of “gadgets” including –

Calculator, Clock, CPU Meter, Currency Conversion, Feed Viewer, Feed Watcher, Notes, Number Puzzle, Picture Puzzle, Recycle Bin, Slide Show, Stocks, and an egg timer.

. . . . . . an egg timer ? That must be the workaround to measure time for when the clock gadget crashes (hmm . . . . i wonder how many scrambled eggs make a day ?). Other than that and the RSS Viewer/Watcher, pretty much everything else on that list is available as a gnome panel applet. Plus, gDesklets is working on adding full yahoo and apple widget support. So Windows Sidebar could be a little useless here. (No offense . . . . I love my boiled eggs. But not this much.)

Windows Mail
There’s Windows Mail, which is basically Outlook with a new name and a new look. Evolution hopelessly outclasses it as it stands, but if you start taking into account the exploits that are going to be discovered a week after the launch . . . .

Windows Photo Gallery
No dissenting views here. Microsoft has got a brilliant product in the Photo Gallery. F-Spot Photo Manager which is Ubuntu’s default photo cataloging/viewing/misc app doesn’t hold a candle to Redmond’s software.

The Ever Presents
These, rather than being features of Vista or Edgy Eft are the basic differences between the Microsoft and Ubuntu ideologies –

Free and Non-Free

Ubuntu is totally free as is every last bit of software that goes with it. Vista, as I’ve already said costs an exorbitant $399 and you will probably have to fish out even more cash later to buy software for it.

Support

Microsoft gives free professional phone support whereas with Ubuntu, you have to pay for any professional support. But that being said, the IRC channels and the forums are not crawling with slouches either.

Licensing

Ubuntu is yours to do what you want with it as opposed to Vista which can only be re-installed five times. So if you’re a geek who’s constantly experimenting with system hardware and software and have to re-install constantly, you’re out of luck buddy.

Conclusion
There is no conclusion. I know that if I try to write one, I will tell you Vista is worthless and Ubuntu is software nirvana. Therefore, make up your own minds instead of being mindless un-opinionated Vogons.

Note: There are probably a ton of features in both OS-es that i haven’t mentioned here, but this is a blog post and not a thesis. So I’ve mostly concentrated on the stuff which users are like to notice like instead of going on about the marvels of Upstart or Microsoft’s new security features.

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