Vista just finished installing. I thought I would put it up against XP, Ubuntu, and OS X to see how everything stacked up.
Looks nice and didn't give me any hiccups. It's a vast improvement over the XP installer. It didn't seem any faster than what XP seems to take while installing, so Vista (at least Beta 2) still took around 40 minutes. It still does everything, and is cryptic about what it is doing. It's hands off, requiring only me typing in the serial key and clicking 'Next' a few times. It could still use a bit of polishing around the edges, but I assume it will be cleaned up before Vista officially ships.
The same installer look as NT4 and Windows 2000. It's familar and not hard to use at least, but compared to newer OSes like OSX, user-friendly Linux distros, and Vista, it looks extremely dated.
Quickest install of the three. Only about 15 minutes to run through the installer (compared to my 1ghz PIII machine which took a whopping 20 minutes, still beating the Vista and XP installs). And, while it's installing, I can still get online, chat, and use a basic desktop as Ubuntu Desktop now installs via a LiveCD interface.
Very pretty install. Not hard to do at all. Took a long time on my iMac, but it's an older model. Took over one hour to install, which was really my only gripe.
Winner: Ubuntu Desktop 6.06
First Reboot into Desktop
It found all my hardware. I wasn't expecting that from a beta OS. Soundcard, Video card, NIC, it was all there. The only thing it didn't find was my onboard NIC (3com gigabit ethernet) which is dead anyway, so I never count it. It asked me to set up my first user, what background I wanted, and then the time. After that, it gave me my login screen I logged in. Very, very impressive. I lowered the Aero-glass effect to help speed some things up, but that was it. The only gripe is the security pop-ups in Vista. That is annoying as all get out, especially when you were asked by Vista to confirm something (such as network info), and then it asks if you authorized the change.
Thank God it at least found my NIC. Now I get to hunt down drivers (but not before turning on my firewall, just in case). Out of the box the only thing that worked was the video card only in SVGA mode, and my USB at 1.1 speeds.
Everything is there minus accelerated video drivers from ATI. It at least makes the effort to install the Ubuntu ATI drivers which work fine for everything but that requiring 3D acceleration. Sound, network, and everything else works. Now onto the updating phase.
Everything worked. I had to do nothing but change the resolution from 800x600 to 1024x768.
Winner: Tie between Vista, OS X, and Ubuntu
There was a section during the install that said 'Installing Updates.' I didn't see any massive network traffic at that time, so either there are no updates, or they were small. There was one optional update, and that was it.
This is, hands down, the worst part of installing Windows XP. Not only do you have to install updates out of the box (which is forgivable, all OSes are like that), but then there are updates for the updates! And I don't mean installing SP2 and then the updates for that, I mean installing a security update, and then installing another update because that previous update broke something else. It takes longer than the first two phases (install + driver install).
I got a pop-up telling me to update. I clicked 'Download Updates' and continued using my computer while everything downloaded in the background. Had to run the update only once. It required a reboot at the end, but did not make me do it until I was ready.
Pretty much the same as Ubuntu, minus the reboot. Took forever as it reindexes the harddrive, and it was too slow to use while it was installing the updates (again, a problem due to my machine's age).
Winner: Ubuntu (No Vista as there are no updates)
Windows Vista: 1
Windows XP: 0
OS X: 1
So, Ubuntu wins, at least this round. So far my only gripe with Vista is the stupid security pop-ups. I understand that Microsoft wants to make security a big issue with the new OS, but this is paranoia. Even OS X and Ubuntu do not ask for this many confirmations.