Is Linux finally ready for prime time? Barry Collins pits Ubuntu 10.04 against Windows 7 in a series of real-world tests to find out
Linux's fight to dislodge Windows as the people's desktop operating system of choice has been a long, sometimes bitter and ultimately unsuccessful one. Despite the bombastic predictions of open-source advocates, and a short-lived spell as the default netbook operating system, Linux remains at the very margins of mainstream computing.
However, something rather extraordinary is happening in the Linux world. Amid all the distros that have come and gone over the years, one finally has the potential, the momentum and the commercial backing to at least challenge the Windows hegemony.
Ubuntu 10.04 LTS is the most mature, user-friendly and feature-packed Linux desktop OS to date. From the Wubi installer - which installs the operating system with the ease of a regular Windows app - to the built-in music store, online backup service and comprehensive driver support, Ubuntu 10.04 has the unmistakable demeanour of a mainstream OS. It even looks nice.
But is it good enough to outflank Microsoft's magnificent return to form, Windows 7? We're going to pit the two operating systems against one another in a series of tests, examining their usability, features, performance, mobility, business aptitude and more. We'll score both operating systems on each of our tests, and we'll add up the scores and deliver our conclusion on the merits of each. Let the battle commence.