Ubuntu 9.10 vs. Mac OS X Snow Leopard vs. Windows 7

Posted by jun auza On 8/27/2009
Over a short period of time, three major operating system releases will take place. From Apple, Mac OS X 10.6 (also known as Snow Leopard) will ship on August 28,2009. From Microsoft, Windows 7 has already been released to manufacturers, with general retail availability set for October of this year. Representing Linux, Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) is also slated for an October 2009 release. So, there are a lot of reasons for us to be excited.

Since I use Mac OS X (dual boot with Xubuntu) on Macbook Pro, Ubuntu on my main workstation, and Windows XP on some of our computers used for our family business, I'm looking forward to these consecutive "big-time" updates. However, I still haven't made up my mind if I'll immediately upgrade to the new versions. But I did a little research and collected some important information so that I could somehow find out early on if the upgrades will be worth it.

For all of you, I'm going to highlight the main features of Ubuntu 9.10, Mac OS X Snow Leopard, and Windows 7. I will also share my quick observation later on.

Mac OS X v10.6 (Snow Leopard)

* UI (User Interface) Enhancements:
- Stacks will allow viewing a subfolder without launching Finder. Stacks have also been modified to include scroll-bars for folders with many files;
- Contextual menus which come out of Dock icons now have more options and have a new look, with a semi-transparent charcoal background and white type;
- Exposé can now display all windows for a single program by left clicking and holding its icon in the dock;
- More reliable, higher-resolution iChat;

* System Enhancements:
- Faster installation, startup, shutdown, Time Machine backup and connection establishment;
- Smaller footprint compared to previous version (7GB of disk space will be freed);
- 64-bit support with nearly all system applications built with 64-bit code;
- New technologies introduced to enhance the performance of multiple processor cores and graphics processing units;

* Additional Features:
- New version of Quicktime;
- Out-of-the-box support for Microsoft Exchange;
- Automatic updates for printer drivers;

A complete list of features can be found HERE.

The main focus on this release is obviously on improving performance and efficiency on utilizing key system resources, rather than adding new end-user features.

Windows 7

* UI (User Interface) Enhancements:
- A redesigned Windows Shell with a new taskbar;
- A new control panel interface;
- Windows Explorer now includes a desktop slideshow that changes the desktop background in a designated amount of time;
- Start menu and window management enhancements;
- The user interface for font management has been overhauled;

* System Enhancements:
- Faster boot speed;
- The DirectX version has been updated to 11;
- Multi-touch support for Tablet PCs and other capable devices;
- Native WWAN support, similar to native WiFi added in Vista;
- Enhanced security features;

* Additional Features:
- Calculator has been rewritten, with multiline capabilities including Programmer and Statistics modes along with unit conversion and date calculation;
- Office Open XML and ODF support in WordPad;
- Windows 7 will include Windows Media Player 12, along with new codecs for playing formats such as H.264, MPEG4-SP, ASP/Divx/Xvid, MJPEG, DV, Advanced Audio Coding (AAC-LC), AA;
- Windows XP Mode;

A more complete list of features can be found HERE.

Windows 7 is like a striped-down version of Vista but few key enhancements are added here and there. --Hardware and applications that are compatible with Vista will be fully compatible with Windows 7. In addition, overall performance improvements are also expected.

Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala)

* UI (User Interface) Enhancements:
- Overall theme refresh;
- Using the most up-to-date GNOME version;
- A redesigned login manager;

* System Enhancements:
- Faster boot speed;
- Ext4 will be the default fileystem;
- Ubuntu One client will be installed by default;

* Additional Features:
- Empathy Instant Messenger will replace Pidgin;
- Will utilize GRUB 2 as its default boot loader;

Since Ubuntu 9.10 is still in the early stages of development, a lot of changes can still happen as some features may still be added or removed. I can only give more and accurate information when the release date approaches. However, you can take a peek at what's cooking HERE.

I've noticed that Windows and Mac OS X is trying to be like Linux right now --fast and resource efficient. On the other hand, Linux on the desktop is still polishing its user-interface perhaps to be like Windows or Mac OS X. Although I now absolutely prefer Linux for its overall features, my geeky side still tells to me to check out Snow Leopard and Windows 7. Hopefully, I can share the complete experience with all of you here soon.

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