I had a hard drive failure on my home Windows XP Pro DELL system last week. I decided this morning at about 4AM to rebuild the system as a dual boot with Ubuntu 9.04 on the second partition. The goal is to minimize my "Windows dependency" status as much as possible. Another goal was to come up with functional partitions that could be imaged and cloned. I couldn't sleep anyway.
I installed a replacement hard drive and started the task with DELL's XP Pro re-install disk. I have images of the system but they are loaded with a lot of stuff I didn't really need for future work. So I decided to re-install everything from scratch. The DELL disk was slip-streamed with SP2 and I have a network install for SP3. So maybe its not really totally from scratch, close enough.
This time I'm running a clock on the whole process. I won't fault Microsoft for the bad drive so the clock starts at 4:23AM after the drive is installed and the system has started booting from the CD.
I've partitioned the 200 GB drive I installed into 2 sections. The first partition is NTFS for Windows XP Pro at 90GB. The second will be for Ubuntu 9.04. At this point, the second section is just unpartitioned space. There is a second drive, 320GB in size, that is formatted in a single partition as NTFS. Both drives are Western Digitals. The final drive complement is a CDROM\DVD RW and a CDRW drive. The computer is a P4, 2.8GHZ with 1GB of DDR RAM, a DELL Dimension 2400. It has the stock Intel video 845 family chip turned on as primary video adapter and a Nvidia TNT2 Riva PCI pcb with 64 MB of RAM as the second video adapter. Drivers for all of this are from the DELL web site. The Nvidia drivers are in SP3.
Base XP Pro system install at SP2 level is done by 5:08AM.
In the end what's installed on the system is SP3 from the network install package already resident on the second hard drive and approximately 60 updates downloaded “live” from Windows Update. Not all of the ones offered, but most. Total size of the first of 3 Windows Updates runs was 149 MB, including IE8. There were updates that loaded specifically for IE but I have no clue what size the files were. I refuse to install MediaPlayer 11 or dotNet framework 1.1. MediaPlayer 11 gets dumped because of the DRM issues. As to dotNet 1.1, nobody should still be writing to that piece of drivel. Other ignored patches related mostly to security patches appropriate for NT domain membership or for multiple language options I'll never need.
I also installed Mozilla FireFox 3.5, OpenOffice 3.1, Google Chrome, InfraRecorder, mspgcc (a gcc toolset for the TI MSP430) and Adobe Reader 9.1. All of these were package installs from the same second drive. With the exception of mspgcc, these are what I consider essential function tools for a typical desktop.
I used the open source tools simply because the Ubuntu install will get the same applications installed to match the XP.
Clock stops at 6:30AM. Total install time for Windows XP Pro SP3+ selected applications is 2 hours and 7 minutes. Actually quite fast for Windows simply because I “cheated” and already had all of the packages downloaded minus the SP3 updates.
Clock started again at 7:15AM. Now Ubuntu 9.04 is getting the same installment routine into the open partition on the IDE primary master drive (sda). The base system has finished installing by 7:30AM. I go into System/Administration/Update Manager and start it to download all the updates released for Ubuntu 9.04. It downloads 145 MB of updates and starts installing them.
Clock stops at 7:55AM. Total time for install is 40 minutes. Google Chrome for Linux isn't out of early Beta although I really don't need it on Ubuntu. Infrarecorder isn't necessary on Ubuntu since Brasero installs as part of the base install. The base install also includes FireFox 3.x, an Adobe Reader substitute, and OpenOffice 3.0. I haven't looked yet but mspgcc might be available in Linux.
I did get one giggle out of all the keyboard banging and mouse clicking this morning. There was an option to import my User settings from the Windows XP Pro partition. Not ever having done that before I clicked it mostly to see what it would do. It grabbed my desktop picture from the XP Pro Settings & Documents folder for my XP admin account and dropped it on the Ubuntu desktop. Ba-da-bing.
So for the price of:
1 hour and 27 minutes more of my time installing Windows XP Pro versus Ubuntu;
20GB of hard drive space used by Windows XP Pro versus 8GB of hard drive space in Ubuntu;
no differences in functionality;
potentially becoming XP-ground-zero for every malware-writing jackass in the world;
I get the “equivalent” in Windows XP Pro?