I have been a loyal Microsoft advocate for a long time, everyone who knows me knows this. I also was a early adopter of the Windows Vista beta program and did some extensive testing on our network with some positive results. However, the final conclusion I arrived at was that there is really no compelling business reason to migrate to Windows Vista. In fact I am of the opinion that Vista is really only attractive to gamers and people who are happy to work with immature products. The only real benefit, if you can call it a benefit, is the attractive Aero Glass user interface.
As a network administrator Vista has introduced several obstacles that make installing and maintaining software an unpleasant experience. This saddens me as I was hopeful that the new implementation of user access controls would improve that situation, not impede it further.
Additionally, I was very disappointed with Windows Vista pricing. I am impressed that Microsoft can sell Vista at the current price points.
For some time I have been interested in trying out Linux. Previously Linux had in my opinion only been appropriate in the server area, and more specifically in the web server area. However I had heard some good things about the Ubuntu distribution of Linux and decided I would try it. For my testing I decided to use the same Dell Dimension 8400 system that I have been using for my Windows Vista tests.
Ubuntu Linux is quite an impressive suite. it includes the operating system and tons of software, including Open Office. Open Office is in nearly every respect a Microsoft Office replacement. If you have a typical Microsoft Windows and Office installation you probably have about $600 per seat invested. If you compare this to the completely free Ubuntu system you can save a lot of money. This can be particularly interesting to business users.
One of my early impressions with Ubuntu is the stability. I am also impressed with the performance. Ubuntu seems more efficient than Windows Vista, and perhaps even Windows XP Professional.
Ubuntu by default installed a virtual desktop system which is fascinating and should be very useful for power users who like to have a lot of applications running at the same time. Switching between the desktops is as simple as clicking an icon at the botton of the screen.
I will be doing a more in depth report complete with screen shots in the coming weeks so if you have wondered what Linux, and particularly Ubuntu looks like check back again.