The latest loop of Windows has now been unleashed, and as has become tradition at Linux Format, we pit the Redmond-ian OS mano-a-mano with Linux to determine the ultimate operating system. One is a free codebase which can run on most any hardware imaginable, the other is a proprietary product with an undecouple-able GUI that, until recently, has run only on x86 PCs. Our approach will be to consider features from Windows 10 and compare them with like-for-like equivalents from various Linux distributions.
Windows 7, released three years after Vista, did a reasonable job of righting some of its perceived wrongs and, credit where credit is due, was generally a much better OS than its harbinger. Adoption was fairly cautious, but by Q3 2011 it had surpassed XP. Regrettably for Microsoft, many of those XP diehards refused to budge and to this day continue not to do so. If you have an older computer running Windows 7, or even XP, and are considering upgrading to Windows 10, then bear in mind the minimum system requirements:
- 1GHz CPU
- 1GB RAM (2GB for 64-bit)
- 16GB Hard Drive
- DirectX 9 video card (with WDDM driver)
- These are pretty modest, especially when one considers the demands Windows Vista imposed back in the day. DirectX 9 has been around since 2004, but hardware from that era will likely not meet the driver requirement.
New converts to Linux often make the mistake of going and manually hunting for drivers. This is almost universally a bad idea, your distribution will come with drivers for pretty much all hardware that is supported on Linux in the form of loadable kernel modules. These will be loaded automatically as soon as each bit of hardware is detected, and while they might on some occasion need some minor configuration tweaks, rare is the occasion that one would want to replace them. There are all manner of Linux distributions designed to be run on embedded devices, including Yocto Sancto and Angstrom.
It is also worth mentioning that there are already a huge number of embedded devices already running Linux in one form or another sat-navs, set-top boxes, the TVs which the latter are hooked up to, the list goes on.