The stark contrast between management of Windows and Ubuntu

Windows 8 LogoI’ve been using Ubuntu as my primary operating system since the start of the year, and certainly, for web development, it’s been a huge breath of fresh air.

As we work with Ubuntu Linux servers and code in mostly in PHP, the simplicity of getting everything up and running on my localhost in such a way that it matches the server has been a great time saver, and furthermore, installing and working with development tools like git, composer, node and other tools is far faster than it ever was in Windows.

I am keeping Windows around though, primarily for use of various music software and Lightroom for my photo processing. I know there’s the Linux alternative of Darktable but after a brief inspection I realised that I’d need to relearn a lot of approaches and I just don’t want to lose that time at the moment. Perhaps when work settles down I’ll see about migrating my raw photo processing to Darktable.

Update available!

Anyway, today I booted into Windows for the first time in quite a while and decided it was time to do a bit of a general tidy up and update necessary software whilst uninstalling other software I’d no longer need with the OS primarily focused on music and photo processing.

My word, what a shock it’s been to come back into the land of Windows and have to deal with updates without a repository system behind it.

  • Windows Update, restart, Windows Update, restart, Windows Update, huzzah no restart!
  • Native Instruments own software updater (which failed various downloads and I had to download zips from their site).
  • Comodo Internet Security license expired, so now about to try out uninstalling, restarting, installing alternative and no doubt restarting.
  • SpyBot running through its own update process.
  • Dexpot popping up with notification of needed update.
  • Firefox updating twice and having to restart.
  • Updating CCleaner by being directed to their site, nagged to upgrade, then being redirected to Filehippo to download the exe.
  • Discovering a tonne of unnecessary Native Instruments drivers that I must have accidentally installed with the last Traktor update.
  • Evernote prompting for update on launch and then proceeding to steal window focus for security reasons whilst it self-updates.
  • For the laugh I launched the Windows 8 ‘store’ to see whether that had done some magical auto-updating, and after getting confused by the “Modern” experience for a while, I finally found that I did indeed have 6 updates to manually install there as well (whilst waiting substantial seconds for each Store view to actually load).

Also, take note that I have undoubtedly not actually updated all the software that is in need of updates yet. I’d have to go on a further hunt to find more updates, which, for all I know, could be critical for system security.

There must be a better way

After living with Ubuntu for a few months, it’s amazing to see how poor an experience Windows delivers with regard to managing the operating system and software, and even though they’re making steps to an integrated ‘Store’ which handles all the updates in a similar fashion to the Google Play store (although nothing actually notified me of available updates, I had to go looking), it’s still a far cry from sudo apt-get upgrade.

I know Warren will just laugh to hear me saying this, but I guess when you get into a rhythm of such a fragmented approach to handling software updates, and haven’t spent enough time in the land of Linux, you just accept it as normal and don’t realise that there’s a far better way to go about things.

Could this be another reason that Microsoft are clearly starting to worry about the boom in Chromebook sales, as people get introduced to a system that doesn’t require anti-virus nonsense, and they never have to be faced with large dialogue windows appearing telling them to update something they know nothing about. It’s also no wonder that so many Windows users get duped into installing malicious software which mimics the interminable update nag screens that so many Windows users are presented with.

I guess that Microsoft are trying to correct this by moving towards the “modern” interface with a central repository for handling all updates, but I can’t see the heavy desktop software that I use, such as Reason, Traktor, Cubase, Lightroom etc being able to use the modern interface any time soon


  • Photogenie

    The need for the updates on Windows has given me fits for years since I help maintain a number of Pc’s with various versions of the OS running. One tool that I find helpful is Secunia PSI which I keep running on my personal Windows PCs. Running Ubuntu 14.04 on my main system does alleviate the problem and makes the online experience much more enjoyable.

    • Thanks for the Secunia PSI reminder – forgot about that. I had tested it out before. It does help, but then it doesn’t track all the software I use on my Windows install so it doesn’t quite match up to apt..

      Still, helps take some of the burden off!

    • Heh, so Secunia PSI notified me this morning of updates to Flash and Adobe Air, but separately I got notified by other programs of updates:

      * Dexpot
      * Evernote
      * uTorrent
      * Logitech Set Point
      * Foobar

      So definitely not quite the replacement for apt that I’d hoped..!

  • Warren Daly

    The incumbent desktop OS rules in terms of external audio hardware. However, Linux is obtaining more support. With the likes of Tracktion and Bitwig running on Linux it’s time OEMs started devoting resources to writing Linux drivers. As for your comments regarding Chromebook, I am worried about the day when attacks are more common. Although I am ready to run with Haiku OS (formerly BeOS) as it’s a fantastically fast OS, with a small footprint and perfect for running a browser (and any other desktop orientated software).