PC WORLD: XP vs Mac vs Linux

PC World New Zealand compares WinXP, MacOS X, and Linux/KDE2 and concludes that Linux/KDE2
offers the best usability, tieing XP in features/support. XP does win overall, but we should be proud that our little free operating system/environment built out of passion and dedication has come so far in so short a time.


Good. Now to improve:

Installation: theKompany where is your installer, why miss the boat. you can strike a deal with Ximian who has the techhow for this, offer subscription. We forget Linux installation itself....

Look and Feel: Go Gallium! Go Mosfet! Go Qwertz! Go Tackat! Go KDE-Artists! Go! We need more nice default themes too, and better theme management.

Performance: I would say we beat XP hands down already, puzzling...

Keep going and you will be the winner soon!

By KDE User at Mon, 2001/11/05 - 6:00am

Performance is still not where it should be!

By kde user 2 at Mon, 2001/11/05 - 6:00am

It's true that performance is still nowhere near where we all would like it to be. But:

1) It's not all in KDE's hands, as Waldo Bastians pointed out a while ago in an article about GNU ld and C++. Let's hope some smart people are looking at it...

2) We beat WinXP on "normal" machines. Not everybody has a fancy PIII 2GHz 256MB RAM etc. I tried XP on my 500MHz K6-2 with 192MB and it takes more than 10 minutes just to boot, and even then starting apps is still slooowww. KDE on the other hand is much faster: from cold boot to running (Star)Writer 6b in less than 3 minutes.

3) KDE looks better :-)


By Steven at Tue, 2001/11/06 - 6:00am

Well, I'm no Windows fan, but I'm not sure why everyone says WinXP is slow. On my PII 450 MHz with 256 megs of Ram it loads in less than 30 sec. flat, although it's a bit sluggish once it gets going... (isn't that the way Windows *always* is?)

By Timothy R. Butler at Tue, 2001/11/06 - 6:00am

It's a memory problem. XP is a pig in this regard.

(Well, XP _is_ a pig, but that's another flame altogether.)

By Christian Lavoie at Tue, 2001/11/06 - 6:00am

>I tried XP on my 500MHz K6-2 with 192MB and it takes more than 10 minutes just to boot,

Oh, something's wrong there. One of the big improvements in XP was a big reduction in boot time. Most people see a 15-30 second reduction over 98/2000 (like me, P3 500 128 MB) and there are reports of 10 second boots! I think there was some hardware incompatibility issue there or something, your results are not typical at all. I also don't notice much of a difference in application start times using XP, and everything is much more stable (except for my %*#$* video drivers, but that's not MS's fault). Overall, on my machine XP is faster, but KDE is improving with each release while XP is not improving. I have to agree with you about the look though :-)

By not me at Tue, 2001/11/06 - 6:00am

Darn it! I even checked to see if the comment had been added before re-submitting, and it hadn't appeared! Navindra, I hope you get around to fixing this bug sometime :-)

By not me at Tue, 2001/11/06 - 6:00am

Who boots?!

The one good thing about Linux is that I don't _have_ to reboot all the time. It runs and runs and runs. The only place I'm using XP is in my VMWare installation, so that I can get access to a few things when I need them. Otherwise, the switch is on!

. . . tizzyD

By tizzyD at Tue, 2001/11/06 - 6:00am

..., which is the biggest problem. I see many many computers (especially in companies) that are left on running all the time, although they are rarely needed. Though this might be independent from the OS, I find this to be an alarming thing.

Today, a new computer with a large crt can easily use about 500W of power, and people don't know, because it neither is very bright nor very loud ;)

I think KDE (and other OSs/desktops) should have a default setting that the computer shuts down completely after an idle time of around 2 hours.

By me at Tue, 2001/11/06 - 6:00am

Computers in large companies and universities _should_ be left open. (But not their screens).

Think about Sun's Grid thingamiajig, or queueing systems.

Yours Truly,
The Sysadmin of the Beowulf cluster of the Biomedical Engineering Department of McGill University

By Christian Lavoie at Tue, 2001/11/06 - 6:00am

Most computers nowadays have power-saving built in. I think most new computers that you buy in the store automatically turn off their monitors after 10-20 min. and most go into standby in an hour or so. The monitor is where most of the power is used so this cuts down on a lot of power consumption. KDE does support monitor power saving, but I don't think it is turned on by default (this could be for technical reasons though). Linux supports standby, but KDE can't provide support for it because it must remain platform-independent. This is the job of distros.

By not me at Tue, 2001/11/06 - 6:00am

Umm, sorry to break this to ya, but XP is just as stable as Linux on most desktop configs. And KDE isn't exactly FreeBSD stable yet either.

PS> This was posted from Konqueror on KDE 2.2.1 ;)

By Rayiner Hashem at Wed, 2001/11/07 - 6:00am

Booya! I upgraded my Athlon 950 356mb ram Voodoo 5. Bad news.. not only was everything I had on the system incompatable. but I couldn't she my sat internet, (it said that the sofrtware I was using was unstable and will not be run..) But my lovely Voodoo5 nolonger has opoengl support at all. GRRRR. n I got the system for games and microsoft took it away. Oh yes and my sat intyernet is mostly owned but microsoft. "Ain't that funny!"

By Jason BRower at Tue, 2001/11/13 - 6:00am

I think that it keeps memory images somewhere on the disk or makes some another such tricks. It boots 30s for me, but after I slightly modify its configuration ( adding TV driver ) the boot time increases to 1 min 30 s ! But 10 min it is really too much, you must have something broken.

By Me at Wed, 2001/11/07 - 6:00am

I doubt KDE beats XP on normal machines. XP on my machine (300MHz PII, 256MB) is about as fast as Windows 2000, and both are significantly faster than KDE 2.2.1. XP (and 2K) are a little RAM hungry, but once you give them that, everything is blazing. Try this in XP. Start up Visual Studio and Word at the same time, grab the resize bar and whip the thing back and forth and then quickly close them. Then try the same with KWord and KDevelop. On Windows its quite uneventful while its a rubber-banding mess (not to mention incredible load time) on KDE.

By Rayiner Hashem at Wed, 2001/11/07 - 6:00am

wow! what a miracle! for me win2k eats and eats and eats and eats (RAM of course) i can run kde under 32mb ram, can xp do that?

By Rajan Rishyakaran at Sat, 2001/11/10 - 6:00am


By tech2kjason at Tue, 2001/11/13 - 6:00am

Yes pleeeeease - an installer like windows has !

By Robo at Tue, 2001/11/06 - 6:00am

There's an installer already, it's called Kpackage and is in the kdeadmin module.

By Evandro at Wed, 2001/11/07 - 6:00am


By Chris Bordeman at Wed, 2001/11/07 - 6:00am


Oh, wait, what were we talking about again?

By Carbon at Thu, 2001/11/08 - 6:00am

Isn't that the RPM based one? For windows users, that is just far tooo hard. Have you ever used a windoze installer. It's basically one click installation. I hope KDE will have a install / uninstall program like win and RedCarpet soon.

By Robo at Wed, 2001/11/07 - 6:00am

kpackage sits on the packaging system of the underlying distro. In debian, it sits on top of apt, and has no dependancy problems (leading to the one-click installation you so sorely want).

The major problem with mandrake and redhat is that they don't integrate apt into their distro's. Most likely because it's expensive to maintain a huge package database like debian's if you need to actually pay people to do it, instead of depending on volunteers.

You can't really form an honest opinion about dependancies in linux until you've used debian.

By Joeri Sebrechts at Wed, 2001/11/07 - 6:00am


Mandrake already has an installer: Software Manager.
It enables you to install/uninstall any RPM without taking care of the dependencies. By default, it uses the Mandrake CDs as package source but you can add (by clicking.. like on win/mac oses) an FTP source.

To install an app, you just have to select it in the list, then it'll download the app and dependencies if you use FTP source or ask for the CD if you use CD source. It also can uninstall cleanly and keep you aware of package updates and security fixes.

Conclusion, in Mandrake 8.1, you have a software that manages installations FAR more easyly than windows does.

More over, I think the installation is a distribution's matter, not a KDE's matter.

So, the problem doesn't exist.

By Julien Olivier at Wed, 2001/11/07 - 6:00am

So I don't use Mandrake. Or Debian. If I used Gnome (which I don't) I could do it all via Red Carpet. Windows has Windoze Update. Even Mozilla has an easy self downloaded / installer. Why don't you think it's a KDE's matter? I understand someone is writing and Win-like installer for KDE anyways.

By Robo at Wed, 2001/11/07 - 6:00am

According to me, it's a distribution's matter because installing binaries sometimes can corrupt a distribution because they won't go in the good folders. I mean that if KDE installer put KDE in /opt/kde while you distrib puts KDE in /usr, you might have big problems with KDE and maybe with other things too. So, whether all the distributions accept to rely only on this installer and don't make their own packages, OR they (and only them) make the installer for their distribution.

I also think more unification would be great. That could happen if such installers appear. But nowadays, installing KDE is not the same on Mandrake, Debian and Suse (well, I imagine so...).

So, maybe that's a good idea, if it really WORKS.

By Julien Olivier at Thu, 2001/11/08 - 6:00am

No, installing with kpackage is easier. You only have to open the file with konqueror and click the "Install this package" button.

On Windows, the setup program differs in each application available. Users find it intimidating to install new programs.

By Evandro at Wed, 2001/11/07 - 6:00am

Ok then. So how do I easily update to the latest KDE then? Where is the (single) "Install this package" that I grab and single click to install? Windows has about 2 different installers that I have used, and both are incredibly simple. (Well, windows users are a bit simple aren't they?)

By Robo at Wed, 2001/11/07 - 6:00am

You run Debian, and type "apt-get install kde." It really is that simple. I can't speak for other distros, but Debian has this "installing software" thing down cold. If you want great package management, you want Debian.

If Debian ever gets a decent installer/X configurator, it will simply blow all other distros out of the water as far as I'm concerned.

By not me at Wed, 2001/11/07 - 6:00am

Progeny always worked for me, as far as being an easy to install Debian. After that, you have the ease of apt-get, and you can point apt-get to download from standard debian lists, if you want.

Debian just needs to roll in the Progeny installer into Woody.

By J35u5 at Thu, 2001/11/08 - 6:00am

And do you get a setup program to update Windows?

No, you don't. To update Windows components you use Windows Update. On GNU/Linux, you can use APT (Debian and Conectiva), RPMdrake (Mandrake Linux), up2date (Red Hat) or YaST (SuSE).

By Evandro at Thu, 2001/11/08 - 6:00am

With the speed issues being addressed in KDE, I would like to see another comparison done when KDE 3.0 comes out.

This comes from New Zealand where anyone who is worth a pinch of salt leaves asap due to not getting payed very much. To bad they come to OZ.

By shortfella at Mon, 2001/11/05 - 6:00am

Hey! This is Linux and not Windows, so

first stability then speed!
Working with a stable program is much faster than working with a so call "fast" program (believe me :-)

A second one?

First security then usability!
I don't use any installer that forces me to enter the net as user "root".



By Thorsten Schnebeck at Mon, 2001/11/05 - 6:00am

Well, Windows XP has both stability AND speed, so there!

PS> Yes, I use KDE, but not for speed nor stability.

By Rayiner Hashem at Wed, 2001/11/07 - 6:00am

> Well, Windows XP has both stability AND speed, so there!

But does it have security? Increased security very often can mean decreased speed and usability. For example, *nix OSs are multi-user, with a clear user/root distunction. This brings enormous security benefits, but may be inconvenient for the average user. Consequently, MS have made WinXP Home into a single-user OS (so the user is effectively running as root all the time). It is well-known that Microsoft applications use secret, internal APIs. Not only is this anti-competitive, it is also a great security risk, since these APIs bypass many security checks in order to gain their increased speed.

A few days ago, someone found a way to use Hotmail to crack into other people's Passport accounts. Would YOU trust a company that seems to have no concern whatsoever for security?

By Yama at Wed, 2001/11/07 - 6:00am

In theory, Windows has tighter security than any free UNIX. In Windows NT, every single object in the system (thread, process, window, file, etc) can have its own access control list. In practice, Windows is full of security holes, but these exploits can mainly be found in the server code. XP (or any other version of Windows) makes a great workstation OS, but no one in their right mind would use it on a server. As it stands, XP's security is more than enough for desktop machines.

By Rayiner Hashem at Fri, 2001/11/09 - 6:00am

> As it stands, XP's security is more than enough for desktop machines.

I assume that you're referring to XP Professional. XP Home, the version that most people will be using, isn't much different from Win9x in that it encourages people to do everything as root. This is the most insecure thing anyone can do.

By Yama at Fri, 2001/11/09 - 6:00am

Pay isnt too bad over here and some of us enjoy the lifestyle... why would we go to Aussie?? Its full of Australians *grin*

As a comparison, I would have to say that Win2K 'feels' quite a bit snappier on my hardware (PII-500celeron with 256mb Ram) than KDE2.2.1 does (Mandrake 8.1). Obviously XP will be slower than Win2k.

However... KDE feels snappier than Win98 on my test machine (P100 notebook with 48mb of RAM)?????? This is a Debian Woody install (no sid, KDE2.1??), so maybe the distro comment is relevant and I should try Debian on my main machine.

In regards to the article... the guy is from a general PC mag, catering to the general PC populace... so I would expect it to be a fairly glossy overview, rather than indepth.

By KiwiFella at Tue, 2001/11/06 - 6:00am

Yes, distro is quite relevant. This has been debated before (by me =), see

By Christian Lavoie at Tue, 2001/11/06 - 6:00am

>This is a Debian Woody install (no sid, KDE2.1??), so maybe the distro comment >is relevant and I should try Debian on my main machine.

nope, no sid KDE2.1 ,there is however a sid KDE2.2 which is even better :-) (it`s supposed to enter woody soon, but there`s some issue on hppa hindering that IIRC)

By cobaco at Tue, 2001/11/06 - 6:00am

cheers for the comments guys... It is just a straight woody (kde 2.1) install, though I have jumped up to Sid for a couple of things like XFCE (about the only WM that runs at a decent speed on a poor old p100 with 48mb of ram)... and kde definately loads comparitively quicker (alowing for slow hardware) than on my Mandrake... I had a couple of very frustrating nights with Debian, getting my mind around it again.. would you believe that i actually installed debian as my FIRST distro back about 3 - 4 years ago?? from 18 floppies and download shite off the net on a 14k4 modem... managed to get ppp and X and everything going... :)
Anyway, back to what I was talking baout... Im seriously thinking about installing debian instead of Mandrake on my main pc... even though Mandrake does have a lot of bells and whistles.

By kiwifella at Thu, 2001/11/08 - 6:00am

hehe, Debian was my first distro to (though I installed it from a CD accompanyning the installing debian Gnu/Linux book), the install is definately _not_ as difficult as rumoured (just have to know your hardware). Still, to bad the new installer isn`t going to be finished in time for woody.

mandrake is a good distro(had a brief forray with it as a newbie before I got broadboand, notting beats apt-get and lots of bandwith :-)
I suspect Debian has all the bells and whistles you need(though you`ll need to apt-get them first as they`re not installed by default) and the debian kde packages are great(tnx Ivan :-)

By cobaco at Thu, 2001/11/08 - 6:00am

Uhhmm I hate to break it to you but that very same article was in an australian magazine a few months ago :p so shaddap about the kiwis, you'll disturb their sheep

By dice at Wed, 2001/11/07 - 6:00am

sorry my bad english.

i use KDE since kde 1.0. I love it :-) But when i see Windows, i think the gui is not so slow by comparison KDE GUI.

i think the reason is hardware acceleration. most of the windows gui-element are
accelerated by hardware. 4 years ago i programmed from windows and there was the complete GDI-API in hardware accelerated.

sorry i can't my mind to put into words.
Ich probiere es dehalb einfach in Deutsch weiter :-)

die meisten Sachen unter Windows sind Hardwarebeschleunigt. Die meisten Grafikkarten sind auch darauf ausgerichtet die WindowsAPI zu beschleunigen. Wenn jetzt QT genauso beschleunigt werden würde, dann glaube ich würde das der gesamten KDE-GUI zugute kommen.

Ich meine unter der KDE-GUI ist so ziemlich alles langsam im Vergleich zur WindowsGUI. Angefangen beim Fenster verschieben bis hin zu den Menüs und Rollovereffekten. (sehe ich an der CPU-Auslastung) Ich liebe alle diese Effekte und hab sie deshalb auch eingeschaltet.

Klar sind unter X auch eine Dinge Hardwarebeschleunigt. Aber das sind nur die primitivsten Zeichenfunktionen. Unter Windows hatte man die eigentliche API direkt in Hardware implementiert. !!!!!!!!! Damals bei GDI hatte man es zum Mindestens so

!!!!! Ich will euch nicht zu Windows bekehren. Hab es seit über 3 Jahren kein bisschen mehr benutzt. Aber wenn ich bei uns im Büro mir mal eine Windowsrechner anschaue dann ist, rein subjektiv gesehen, die GUI wesentlich schneller. Vorrausgesetzt natürlich man hat aktuelle Hardware :-))

By Anonymous at Thu, 2001/11/08 - 6:00am

Cool, ein deutsch-gemachtes Forum ;-)

Der Speed hängt auch viel mit dem scheiss C++-Compiler unter Linux zusammen. Ich mein tolle Sache das man sowas auf die Beine stellt. Aber der C++ Code des gcc ist fast 40 % langsamer als der von visual C++ geschweige gar von den Intel-Compilern. Hier muss man arbeiten. Sicher ist die QT-Beschleunigung auch eine feine Sache. Toll wäre es auch wenn Bitstream ihren neuen Fontserver (btx) für Privat-Personen kostenlos zur Verfügung stellt. Der ist wahrscheinlich viel schneller als diese lahme X+Xft Kombi. Ich denke Linux währe schneller hätte es nur ähnlich viele kommerzielle Unterstützungen erfahren wie Windows (der .NET Compiler entsteht auch wieder in Zusammenarbeit ;-) mit Intel).

By Sebastian Werner at Wed, 2001/11/14 - 6:00am

Gruss euch!
Wenn MS mit Intel arbeitet, sollte Linux Comunity mit AMD arbeiten - für AMD wäre es auch vorteilhaft so auszusehen, als ob sie NEUE FREIE WELT schafft.
Compiler konnte man schon bei AMD entwickeln.


By Bizon at Thu, 2002/05/30 - 5:00am

Having used KDE 2.2.1 on Mandrake 8.1, RedHat 7.1 and Debian Sid I would like to know if anyone can answer this question.

Why is there such a speed difference between distros? Has anyone else seen this?

Tested on the same Hardware with the same services running and the same kernal (Custom kernal I compile)

k6 2- 500, 128MB Ram

Debian Sid (Fast - max 1 sec to load)
Redhat 7.1 (max 5 sec to load, min 3 sec to load)
Mandrake 8.1 (Slow max 30 sec to load, min 5 sec to load)

All are supposed to be compiled with object pre-linking.

Debian compiled with 2.95 and the other two with 2.96...

By Debian User at Mon, 2001/11/05 - 6:00am

When I say load, I mean load an application.

All pretty much the same once loaded.

By Debian User at Mon, 2001/11/05 - 6:00am

Were the hdparm settings the same on all distros? Also, the XFree version can make a difference - I think in older versions the font file had to be re-parsed every time you launched an app. It's hard for anyone to tell you what the problem is if you don't provide more information on what is different between the distros, like what versions of XFree, etc. they use.

And if you find the secret, tell me - I want 1 sec. startups for everything too. I'm running Debian woody w/ some sid on a similar machine and the only things that start in 1 sec. are Konsole and the Control Center (?!). Everything else takes longer (Konqueror, KMail, and Kate in particular).

By not me at Mon, 2001/11/05 - 6:00am

hdparm is set the same for each disto.

XFree 4.0.1 is used with each version, though the patch level may be different I didn't check.

As for fonts, Mandrake I think does install a few extra fonts, but nothing to confirm the speed difference. AA used with each disto.

Konq., kmail, etc all only take around 1 sec to load.

By Debian User at Tue, 2001/11/06 - 6:00am