Ubuntu 14.04 LTS vs. Windows XP: Pros and Cons

We take a close look at the main Windows XP contender and its appeal

By on March 1st, 2014 21:15 GMT

More and more people are looking towards the release of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) as the natural Windows XP replacement, so we'll try to present the pros and cons for this decision.

A lot of Windows XP users are looking to make a change after their operating system will cease to receive security updates from Microsoft, in April. Like most people who are migrating to Linux, they have a lot of questions about various aspects, regarding its use and its capabilities. The truth is that probably Windows XP users are more scared than they should be, as we will show right now.

Installation

If you ever installed a Windows operating system, you will know how to install Ubuntu or any of its flavors. It uses a very simple and straightforward installer that doesn't bother the users with difficult choices.

The only drawback is that if you want to partition your system you might encounter some names that are not familiar, like swap or EXT4. The good news is that it’s unlikely that you will ever need multiple partitions.

Ubuntu installation
Ubuntu installation

Drivers

Windows users also need to install drivers for new components, like Webcams for example. Some are supported by the operating system, other need manual installation.

The only driver that you will have to worry in Ubuntu is the one for the graphics card. It’s not quite clear from where you can change it at first and installing a newer one might take some adjusting. The good news is the when you will learn how to add a PPA or how to upgrade your packages, everything will seem a breeze.

Install proprietary drivers
Install proprietary drivers

Main interface

Ubuntu is somewhat different from Windows XP in terms of the general interface. Although it’s intuitive, some users might not want to invest the time to learn how to operate a new OS.

The good news is that Ubuntu has a lot of flavors that are a lot more similar with the way Windows XP looks, like Xubuntu or Lubuntu. Both are based on Ubuntu and feature pretty much the same software.

Main Ubuntu desktop
Main Ubuntu desktop

Applications and security

Installing applications in Windows XP seem easy, right? Double click on a package, hit next a couple of time (agree to an EULA agreement you don't actually read), and everything is set.

In Ubuntu things are a lot easier. Just open Ubuntu Software Center and search for the application you want. Click install and you're done.

Installing applications in Windows XP could be very dangerous, especially after Microsoft will pull the plug and end the stream of security patches. On Ubuntu you will never get viruses or malware, and the number of viruses for the Linux platform is extremely small. Whenever a problem appears, it only takes the developers a short while to fix it.

The only drawback on Ubuntu is that you might not find all the applications you were used to on Windows XP. Most of the bigger apps are cross-platform, but on Ubuntu you might need to search for alternatives.

Installing applications in Ubuntu Software Center
Installing applications in Ubuntu Software Center

Gaming

Windows XP might seem a better platform for gaming, but the truth is that most game developers will soon stop to make their software compatible with a dying OS. Valve is putting a lot of effort towards the Linux platform and they are pushing the gaming industry in this direction.

Steam for Linux got more than 500 games in just one year and there is no sign that they are going to slow down. In the next couple of years, the Linux platform will surely be on par with any Windows OS. Adopting Ubuntu now and getting used to it, if you are a gamer, might a great idea.

Portal 2 in Linux
Portal 2 in Linux

Conclusion

If you are a Windows XP user and you have doubts about adopting Linux and Ubuntu, you might want to think twice about your decision to upgrade to Windows 7 or 8. Linux has it all and there is no good reason not to want an operating system based on it.

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