Ubuntu vs. Windows 7 on the business desktop

Microsoft Windows may be the de facto standard desktop operating system in business environments, but high costs, restrictive licences and constant security issues are leading an increasing number of companies to consider open source alternatives — as Kat Orphanides explains.

Audio drivers proved less problematic in Ubuntu and multiple input/output devices were correctly detected and set-up. The Sounds Settings tool makes switching between them straightforward too, so it's a non-issue to swap from built-in speakers to a headset when using VoIP, for example.

Ubuntu Desktop

Networking is an oft-cited problem area with Linux, but the current version of Ubuntu's Network Manager utility detected both Wi-Fi and a USB 3G modem correctly, although connection details for the latter had to be specified manually.

User Interface

Ubuntu's interface was revamped with version 11.04 and the new Unity UI is designed to provide streamlined access to applications. Unity looks significantly less clunky than the GNOME UI used by previous versions of Ubuntu, nor does it have the Windows XP-inspired looks of KDE, the other most popular Linux UI.

Ubuntu Desktop

The biggest change introduced with Unity is the Launcher. This runs down the left of the Desktop and replaces the taskbar of old that sat at the bottom of the screen, but it performs a similar purpose. It works much like the Windows 7 Taskbar too, with a selection of pinned' quick-launch icons for commonly used applications.

The Launcher also shows icons for other running applications that can be pinned in place for faster subsequent access, along with shortcuts for any USB-attached devices and a handful of other useful OS tools. In addition to clicking the appropriate Launcher icon, the foremost running application window can be switched using the [Alt] + [Tab] keyboard shortcut.

Ubuntu Desktop

The Launcher is also home to Ubuntu's Workspace Switcher for managing virtual Desktops. Windows can be dragged across Desktops when this is open, which is a useful way of managing application windows without a built-in Windows equivalent.

Ubuntu also has a toolbar that runs across the top of the Desktop that works in a similar way to the Mac OS X menu bar. This is always visible and carries a fixed array of tools, such as an icon that shows the status of the email inbox, network settings, volume and sound settings shortcuts, and a System Settings menu with the usual log out, restart and shut down options.

Ubuntu Desktop
Featured Resources

Shining light on new 'cool' cloud technologies and their drawbacks

IONOS Cloud Up! Summit, Cloud Technology Session with Russell Barley

Watch now

Build mobile and web apps faster

Three proven tips to accelerate modern app development

Free download

Reduce the carbon footprint of IT operations up to 88%

A carbon reduction opportunity

Free Download

Comparing serverless and server-based technologies

Determining the total cost of ownership

Free download

Recommended

Ubuntu vs Mint: Which one is better?
operating systems

Ubuntu vs Mint: Which one is better?

27 Oct 2021
16 ways to speed up your laptop
Laptops

16 ways to speed up your laptop

15 Oct 2021
How to virtualise Windows 7 inside Windows 10
Microsoft Windows

How to virtualise Windows 7 inside Windows 10

9 Sep 2021
Managing a late migration
Microsoft Windows

Managing a late migration

11 Feb 2021

Most Popular

What should you really be asking about your remote access software?
Sponsored

What should you really be asking about your remote access software?

17 Nov 2021
Business customers can get 30% off the Surface Laptop Go for Black Friday 2021
Laptops

Business customers can get 30% off the Surface Laptop Go for Black Friday 2021

26 Nov 2021
Nike to take customers into the metaverse with 'NIKELAND'
virtualisation

Nike to take customers into the metaverse with 'NIKELAND'

19 Nov 2021