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 – Windows Vista, Linux GNU/Ubuntu and Mac OS X

This presentation covers three popular operating systems: Windows Vista, Linux GNU/Ubuntu and Mac OS X.

Barbara AndrewsVista: Barbara Andrews

  • Comes with a lot more drivers so fewer things need to be installed
  • Service Pack is coming out in the first park of 2008 (support for XP will go through 2014)
  • Vista is more Mac-like, graphics-wise. Much more visual cues and helpers, such as a variety of desktop “gadets” (like Mac widgets)
  • Start menu is pretty much the same, exept “start button” have been replace with Windows icon
  • Built-in computer search, which is also useful for locating programs
  • No more fly-out menus – everything is dropdown
  • Windows explorer has search box. They’re trying to eliminate menu bars so tools and features are not hidden.
  • New: Snipping Tool – allows easy screen capturing to convert any section of screen to jpg and email. It also allows annotating these images
  • New: User Account Control – alerts user when some non-user-initiated process begins. Pops up whenever something unusual is happening, to warn you of viruses. But it can be annoying
  • New: Photo Organizer – similar to Mac’s iPhoto, it easily puts photos in folders and allows basic function, such as redeye reduction, size reduction, cropping, etc., and also has various print options (multiple images per page)
  • Task bar shows thumbnail of minimized program
  • Alt-tab has new Windows-tab 3D program scroll feature
  • New: Built-in Parental Controls – inside user accounts, you can create a “child” account, and then set things like website filtering, time limits, block programs/games based on ratings or other criteria
  • New: Allows USB Flash Drives to be used as additional RAM (“speed up my system” auto-detection). This portion of the flash drive then becomes dedicated computer memory, and can’t be used for data storage
  • Windows Defender firewall comes standard
  • Question: How much RAM?: Presenter using 1GB, so 2GB (which has been recommended) is not necessary

GNU/Linux (Ubuntu) Wes Hamilton

  • Reliable: Linux is known to be reliable, and is increasely becoming a realistic alternative to Windows
  • Powerful: Linux gets more out of a computer, so older computers get new life
  • Freedom to Choose: Open Source means lots of different developers working on lots of different projects, so there is a lot of available options (good projects rise to the top, and bad projects fall away)
  • Ubuntu: Secure, Simple: Made for people to use, and doesn’t have virus like Windows. For root-level changes, it prompts you for admin password (like Vista, but doesn’t prompt you every single time)
  • Computer settings are divided between “preferences” and “administration” – administrator settings requires password
  • Afforable: It is free
  • Does not force applications at you like Windows (who sell desktop space for new installs)
  • Allows for switching between different “workspaces” instead of minimizing programs.
  • Comes pre-packaged with software: games, Firefox, Open Office software, photo editing, an dmore – doesn’t require additional installations
  • Default view is a desktop, but also has a built in terminal program
  • File storage is slightly different than Windows – everything can be found from desktop menus
  • Niche for libraries: give new life to old WinX computers – for free
  • Can Windows be undone to add Linux to an existing system? Yes, but it’s involved, because Windows wants to take up all available space. Windows partition can be shrunk to make room for Ubuntu, and then ask on bootup which OS to boot into
  • Question: Is there anti-virus for Linux? Luckily, not many viruses written for Linux. There are some worms, but patches come out quickly. The anti-virus is called Clam (ClanWin for Windows). Doesn’t run in background like Windows programs, but is more of an on-demand scanner
  • Question: What about wireless? It actually depends on the hardware of your wireless card. Broadcom is kind of hostile to open source, so their equipment doesn’t work very well
  • What about Overdrive and DRM? Depends on vendor and how they feel about open source – web-based programs work better. Also an idea is to run a Windows-emulator within Ubuntu (VMWare) and run the Windows programs that way

Scott KehoeMac OS X Scott Kehoe

  • Pronounced “O.S. ten”
  • Links available on Scott’s del.icio.us/bibliotechy/osx
  • Once you go Mac you can’t go back” – it’s true, because Macs make computing fun again
  • How different is Mac from Windows? Right-click still works, file formats and peripherals (mice, USB drives, CDs, DVDs) all work the same, almost as much freeware and most windows programs have Mac-versions, and now Macs use a lot of the same hardware
  • OSX and libraries: work just fine with printers and other peripherals, no virus, spyware or bloatware, built-in firewall with “invisible” wifi (easy to set up in Mac), comes with secure mode (like Deep Freeze), has built-in PDF support (don’t need Adobe Reader and keep up with updates), Firefox works the same, many kids get familiar with Macs in school, and using Macs make the library look tech-savvy
  • Current version is OS X 10.4 Tiger. Next is 10.5 Leopard due in 10/2007 (kind of the equivalent of Windows XP’s Service Pack 2). Has a new built-in feature called “Time Machine” that is a backup system – backups all versions of all files
  • Apple Stores are a great resource – free wifi, classes, hands-on experience, and tech support at the “genius bar.” store finder
  • Macs are keyboard-oriented, so lots of shortcut keys. F9 displays all open windows in miniature. System search (“Spotlight”) works really well to find documents, programs and even email messages
  • Office 2008 is due in late January 2008 (Mac’s version of Office 2007)