OS Smackdown: This Time It’s Personal

Sunday: 4:00-5:00

See what all the excitement is as ITS panelists Wes “The Penguin” Hamilton, Scott “iEverything” Kehoe, and Rick “800-Pound Gorilla” Levine face off with demonstrations and discussions of the latest and greatest offerings in operating systems.

Rick Levine shows Windows 7Windows 7 (Rick Levine)
Anyone like Vista? Not so bad, but Windows 7 is better. Some of Win7’s best features are already in Vista, but Microsoft didn’t do a good job of letting us know.

  • Lets you customize to make user experience better (“don’t dim the desktop”)
  • Wordpad is new and improved, to the point it looks more like Word 2007 (with ribbons et. al.) – it still defaults to .rtf, but can also open and create .dotx
  • Other new/unknown items: gadgets aren’t stuck in the sidebar; no more My Documents: instead it’s all just in a user “library” (similar to Windows Media Player libraries to organize music – lets you organize into “categories” regardless of where it actually lives in the directory structure); actually helpful troubleshooters; just start typing in Start Menu to find things

Taskbar is very different – not quick Mac’s rollover/icon zoom thing, but more useful – rollover application, and it shows thumbnail of every window open in that application to make it easy to go right to a window. Things can also be pinned to taskbar or Start Menu – and pinned items stay in the same place on the taskbar, instead of icons being ordered by the order in which they were opened. Quickstart is gone, but pinning can sort of replace.

By the way, all of this needs good graphics card.

Alt-tab has fanicer applications scroll (two options).

Shortcuts: Peek = taskbar icon makes active windows transparent so you can see the desktop; Shake (just click/hold/shake active window minimizes all other windows; Snap: automatically snaps two windows side-by-side, without you having to resize both windows.

Compatibility mode: older windows let you pretend to run application in Vista as XP. Win7 actually creates a virtual machine so the applications really are running on that OS – only comes on some Win7 editions (maybe only the lowest doesn’t come with it) – Rick recommends getting Professional edition.

Wes Hamilton has fun with UbuntuUbuntu 9 on Linux (Wes Hamilton)
Ubuntu 9 is designed to fix a lot of problems from other distributions. Bootup should take no longer than 18 seconds.

Very easy to install – everything just worked. Designers tried to make a lot of decisions for users, by bringing together lots of software and combined it all together, polished it so it all works well together, and makes desktop very clean and simple. OS is an all-in-one system – includes Firefox, Open Office, and everything is up-to-date (don’t have to go to Windows Update six or seven times to get latest versions).

System has many notification alerts, to always let you know how things are working (or not working).

Some pieces are still missing – sound and video comes to mind. Sometimes it’s because proprietary systems are involved which prevents developers from including in install – but usually they are available.

Desktop is a “cube” so you have four desktop to flip through. OS is very keyboard-centric (Windows is usually mouse-centric).

Windows 7 is designed to be a replacement for WinXP, as computers will need to be replaced (Vista just did not cut it). Ubuntu is designed for people who can’t afford replace their computers – it will run just fine on older machines.

Soctt Kehoe gets to the PointSnow Leopard on Mac (Scott Kehoe)delicious links
Macs are good for libraries, because it’s what many kids use in school. And, no virus (which is why it’s good to have a mix of Windows, Linux and Macs, or at least be familiar with them, because this mix is not going to go away).

Only one version of OSX (no different editions like Windows) and no product keys (like Windows) so upgrade works with just one disk and reboot.

Scott’s favorite features:

  • Time machine: makes backup to external or network drives easy (can also be automated) – do it hourly, so you can almost always get deleted things back. It also self-manages, so it can delete old files when it runs out of room.
  • Exposé: show you everything you have open, using different numbers of finger combinations and button clicks
  • Hot corner: lets you have multiple desktops, easy to flip between them (including just by clicking that icon in the Dock) – this is a feature shared by all three OS’, so it is something to get used to
  • Finder: (heart of the Mac; Windows equivalent is Windows Explorer, but Finder is better) – when dragging and dropping into a folder, that folder opens up so you’re sure you’re putting it in the right place. It also gives you a thumbnail preview, which can be zoomed by clicking on spacebar
  • Spotlight: search for anything on the computer – not just file names, but also body of files, emails, and shows results in realtime (not like Windows that has to run search while you wait)
  • Built-in pdf support (including editor), so you don’t need Adobe Reader at all

OS Follies

Review of Vista, Linux, and MAC OS.

Barbara Andrews, Andrews Consulting – Vista

  • Very easy to connect to peripheral devices. Connected to projector with no problem.
  • With printers, “I’m able to connect to any printer pretty much seamlessly.
  • Coming out with service pack in next year. Continuing sales for XP through 2009.
  • Look of desktop – more modern. More MAC-like.
  • Right side of desktop, Windows sidebar. Gadgets on the right side of desktop. Barbara has a clock and an RSS Reader for news updates. Can add more gadgets.
  • While showing different clocks can add as gadget, Barbara said, “How useful all this is, I don’t know, but it’s fun!”
  • Start menu no longer says start, just a little button.
  • Start menu set up differently.
  • Search box in lower left Start menu. As typing, Windows does an active search. FAST!!!!
  • Lower right of start button is the sleep button. Puts the computer in low power, but will come right back to where you left off when you wake it up.
  • The windows all have an address bar at the top and a search button to the right, so you can search files in a particular folder.
  • Control panel is organized by categories, but allows you to go back to classic view for people who like the old way.
  • Somewhat hidden in Vista and Office 2007, there’s no Help menu. Look for the question mark.
  • Snipping tool allows you to capture parts of the screen. Can select an area of the screen, and it converts the image into a JPG file.
  • Save button still has image of a floppy disk.
  • User account control – prevents something from being done to the computer from off site. Security feature. Bad thing is it can be turned off.
  • Photo gallery – Like iPhoto (MAC program.) Looks a lot like Picasa.
  • Minimized windows – if you put your pointer on the task bar, you get a thumbnail of what’s in the window.
  • Added 3D capability. Hold Windows key and press tab, able to scroll through different windows with a cool 3-D effect.
  • Built-in parental controls. Can set up an account for a child and set up types of Web sites they can visit, time limits for the computer, control access to games, block access to specific programs.
  • Can use a USB drive as additional RAM. Once you use a portion of the flash drive as memory, it can’t be used for storage again.
  • Windows firewall been improved, Windows Defender is built in.

Wes Hamilton, Western Massachusetts Regional Library System, Linux

  • Up until recently, GNU Linux hasn’t really been considered as a viable alternative to Windows, but people are working to change that.
  • Linux is known to be very reliable.
  • Known for maximizing the resources built in your computer. Can get more bang for your buck.
  • Known for its freedom to choose, to copy software freely. Also a problem, because there are so many people contributing to linux, that there are so many distributions of Linux.
  • Showing Ubuntu today. Fedora, Open Suse are also popular distributions.
  • Ubuntu – latest and greatest version doesn’t come out until Thursday. Couldn’t get it to project. Showing last version – 6 months old.
  • Ubuntu is known as Linux for human beings.
  • Ubuntu makes it easier to take advantage of the built-in security.
  • Ubuntu is simple. Installs what you need automatically.
  • Affordable – It’s affordable. Also affordable in terms of support costs.
  • You’re free to put what you want on the desktop. They don’t choose for you.
  • Disk usage analyzer – provides a nice map where all the disk space is going. Graphical representation of how much space each directory is taking up. If running out of disk space, can run this program to figure out how to free it up.
  • If you run into trouble, there’s a large support community to tap into.
  • Thought years ago was that it’s not the operating system that matters, it’s the applications. Strong point for Windows. But Ubuntu automatically comes with these applications: Open Office, Firefox, Evolution (replacement for Outlook, isn’t quite there yet.). Automatic updates for these applications as well. Gimp is similar to Adobe PhotoShop.
  • If there is a program you need that isn’t installed, can go into Administration and Synaptic Package Manager. Tracks different packages can install, but doesn’t automatically install them. Can go there to install other programs.
  • In terms for libraries, if you have an older computer, starting to slow down. One option is to get an Ubuntu CD to build a simple Public Access workstation.
  • Adding linux to an existing system can be problematic. Need to partition drive to make space for Ubuntu.
  • “Ubuntu just works except when it doesn’t.”
  • Question about Koha software. Wes has looked at the code; it seems to be very impressive.
  • Question: How old computer? What’s realistic? Wouldn’t do much older than three years old. If older, other distributions are geared for lower resources.
  • Question about viruses. Aren’t a lot of viruses on the Linux platform. Worms have happened from time to time in the past. But it doesn’t happen enough to make it an issue. Free anti-virus program called Clam.
  • Question about Ubuntu and wireless. Depends on the wireless cards. AMD, HP known to be friendly with linux. Broadcom can be problematic and they make a lot of wireless cards. There are always workarounds, it’s a matter of how much time you can spend on it.

Apple OS 10, Scott Kehoe, Northeast Massachusetts Regional Library System

  • Links to this presentation available at http://del.icio.us/bibliotechy/osx
  • As he tries to get system to project, Scott says, “All of these systems work great with projectors until we came into this room.”
  • Not a Mac guy who’s been using Macs forever and can’t stop talking about them. Well, he wasn’t one of those guys until a year ago. “Once you go MAC, you can’t go back…It makes everything fun again.”
  • Dell died last October – blue screen of death constantly. Tried using MAC. “Now you can’t pry it out of my hands.”
  • Apple notorious for the one-button mouse. But in OS 10, you can now use a two-button mouse.
  • Works really well with peripheral devices. Doesn’t prompt you for disks to find drivers.
  • Compatibility isn’t an issue. Scott uses Mac version of Microsoft Office, no trouble burning CDs that work on any OS, thumb drives work.
  • Software – knocked because does not have as much freeware. In past year, Scott has noticed a change in the amount of software available for Macs.
  • In the guts, Macs are using the same hardware as PCs.
  • No viruses to worry about. No Spyware, no bloatware (all those icons that come with your new Windows computer for programs you don’t want.) “I’m the only Mac user I know who uses Symantec anti-virus on my Mac.”
  • Menus are plain English.
  • Help menus are actually helpful.
  • DeepFreeze has a version for Mac. A site license includes license for Mac.
  • Talked to librarian today who just loves the built-in PDF support. The PDF just pops open without a separate download for Adobe. Don’t need to worry about Adobe updates.
  • All three of us share in common – we can all use Firefox. “Firefox in the Mac works just like Firefox in Windows.”
  • OS 10 is called Tiger. Came out in 2001.
  • New version of OS 10 (Leopard) will come out next Friday according to media speculation. Similar to a Windows Service Pack, but Apple charges you for you.
  • http://www.apple.com/retail/storelist. Apple stores have free WiFi, have all their stuff out to play with, free classes.
  • State/local government store online. Government employees get a discount.
  • F9 key – brings all of your open windows forward on your desktop.
  • Spotlight search – constantly indexing stuff in the background of your computer. Immediately start searching as you type.
  • Easy to set up another user account with restrictions for children. (Vista is a little slicker, according to Scott)
  • Question about joining a Windows domain. Very easy – Scott is on a domain at work. Easiest way to get in is via IP address. Once you know the IP address of your server, click on Connect, type IP address, and your part of Windows domain. No problem sharing files.
  • Question about when Office 2007 will be compatible for Mac – will come out with Mac version 2008 in January.