6 Things I Miss About Windows Vista in Linux

27 07 2009

missvistaAs I go through the daily grind on my trusty Thinkpad,  I once in a while notice quirks in Linux Mint / Ubuntu that makes me miss certain small but important conveniences from Windows Vista.  I’ve been taking notes, and here’s my list.

update: thanks to some wonderful tips below, my list has quickly gone down to 3 in the last 24 hours.

  1. Too many reboots. I distinctly remember being able to use Windows Vista for 1 to 2 weeks without ever having to shut down my notebook. The Suspend feature worked great.  On Linux Mint / Ubuntu, I probably reboot every two to three days because of the screen going totally blank or my notebook becoming unresponsive.  And the most irritating experience is when I come back from lunch to find my notebook had rebooted by itself.
  2. Slowdown in graphics.  I honestly believe better graphics makes for a more pleasant and easy-to-use operating system, Linux included.  But related to my first point, I notice I have to restart my computer or at least GNOME a few times in a week because Compiz starts slowing down.  Whatever the cause for this is, I never had this problem in Windows.
  3. Drag and pop the minimized window. I recall being able to drag a file to a minimized application on the Windows taskbar and waiting for a second or two for the application to pop out.  And boom, I could seamlessly attach my file to my email program or copy a file to a new folder.  Can’t do that any more. update: I retract this point as some commenters pointed out, it should and does work.  I’m guessing something was going wrong with my system when I wrote that point down in my notes.
  4. Drag file + alt-tab. Similar to number 3, Windows Vista allowed me to drag files by holding onto the file with my mouse and using alt-tab to switch to the next window.
  5. Too many updates are driving me crazy. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the value of updating the system and I totally appreciate the hard work the people behind Linux Mint and Ubuntu do to improve it by pushing updates via MintUpdate. But I probably get an update request everyday.  Believe it or not, there’s a method to the madness in the way Windows manages it’s updates to a weekly schedule. update: M’s comment below is useful.  I’ve since learned how to change the frequency of checking for updates via MintUpdate (edit -> preferences) and have set it for every 5 days.
  6. Long cuts to make a shortcut. In Windows it was right click – copy – paste shortcut.  Done.  In Linux Mint it’s — and I had to google this to figure it out — right-click – create launcher (huh?) – choose type, name… OK stop. That’s already too complicated for me.  I have since stopped using shortcuts and I do miss them dearly. update: dragonbite’s comment below is an eye-opener for me.  Great tip. Will be using that from now on.
Obviously I don’t run like that all the time but knowing I can is just comforting, especially when you realize it’s all done FOR FREE.
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34 responses

28 07 2009
dragonbite

1 & 2. Haven’t come across that yet. My wife constantly puts the laptop into suspend and back out and this is not a powerful system to start with (512 MB ram). (I am assuming Suspend is where it goes to RAM and Hibernate is where it goes to hard disk.. my wife does the one that goes to RAM when the lid is closed)
3. Yeah, I agree.
4. Haven’t tried that yet.
5. Rather have updates than dead silence and suspect my system is up-to-date or having to go an manually update my Adobe, Office, Windows, anti-virus, Paint.NET, etc individually. Or worse, not be able to do much of anything because everything is “phoning home” on their own!
6. To make a link, I middle-click, drag it to where I want (like Desktop) and select “Link Here”.

28 07 2009
opendaily

Your point 6 is wonderful! Thank you dragonbite!

3 01 2016
Bill Brasky

thanks!

28 07 2009
factotum218

I guess I miss a couple things from Vista on my laptop.

1. A controllable wireless mouse
2. Compatibility with Adobe CS3 applications.
3. Better power management and longer battery life.

That’s about it really. Only 3 things, but they are essential.

28 07 2009
JustSayin

Shortcuts are actually simpler in Linux GNOME desktops: Go to the menu, left-click and drag the program you want to shortcut to the panel or the desktop…

Shortcuts to documents: Open Nautilus, find the file you want, right-click, select “Make link”, drag the created link to where you want it.

Dragging a file onto a minimized application will cause the application to pop up, and you can drop the file into the app (I haven’t tried all the apps, so it might not work with some, but it has worked with the ones I’ve tried).

Reboots and graphics slowdowns — sounds like you may have some conflict with the graphics driver. You might want to look into that. My two desktop machines are never rebooted except for new kernel updates (or power failures, but what can you do…). Overall, my experiences with Linux have made me never look back with any fondness for Windows at all…

I hope you get it all sorted out!

28 07 2009
twitter

I’m afraid that our user does not so much miss Vista as he has yet to master GNU/Linux desktops. There’s not much that can be done about intentionally sabotaged power management, but the rest has been dealt with many times by the free software community. There’s a way to do things that’s sure to make him happy.

Look at Konqueror for file management and application launching. Every time you drag a file or files, it asks you if you want to move, copy or link the files to the destination. Split panes and tabs make for a very powerful file manager. It also makes for a good launcher because it has a mime type sensitive right click menu. That means a right click will bring up an “Open With” item that lists every program you have that works with that type of file.

As for shortcuts, you don’t need them if you master the BASH command line. Just type the first few characters of the program you want to run and press the tab key, then Bash will complete the name. This is a lot faster and easier than any program launcher or shortcut mechanism you will find on any version of Windows. Don’t forget to to finish your command with & so you can run that program and the next one. For infrequently used programs, there’s always your distributions excellently organized menu. Happy hacking.

28 07 2009
opendaily

@ twitter “…as he has yet to master GNU/Linux desktops”

I totally agree. I look forward to the day when I can finally say I’m more comfortable with a Linux-based desktop. But until then, I’m still living in the in-between, I guess.

Thanks for the suggestions. Will look into them later.

28 07 2009
dino

1 + 2: I’d suggest your experience of slowdowns and random reboots etc is actually hardware specific, I run ubuntu (latest) on darn near everything I own, and have never experienced what you mention here. I’d suggest you start looking deeper into the cause for your own sanity.

3: works perfectly fine for me, I just tried it. (It’s a feature I’ve used since windows too)

4: thats a new one on me, I’ll have to try that one out!

5: I have all the update features turned on on my boxes and I don’t find it near as annoying as you suggest, and I rarely need to reboot. (I do a lot of messing around with HD’s and other stuff that sometimes I’m forced to reboot to clean up weird problems, but not so much with updates)

6: I rarely need to create shortcuts and so have never really worried about how many clicks it takes, although you are right this is an area where gnome could improve.

I’ve been running ubuntu only for about 2 years now, and enjoy it immensely, previously i dual booted and before that I tinkered for AGES, my computer is so much more powerful/productive running Ubuntu than XP for a number of reason’s, I say powerful because I can open several different GFX specific programs at the same time and not experience a slowdown or other windows related problem. IE

As an experiment I did this one day: (i have dual widescreens running on an nvidia card)

Opened up my TV app to watch TV (I have a TV add-in card)
then I opened up a movie from my fileserver, then I opened up and started 7 tabs in firefox, I started my torrent download program in the background, I started a VM of XP, and lastly I started my favorite Run and Gun game (Urban Terror).

I did all of that on my 1 computer at the same time and didn’t notice a single slowdown in any one of the apps. 2 videos running (TV, Movie) a VM and Urban Terror in window mode and everything just worked. I tried that a while later on my XP partition and watched as 2 videos messed each other up and Urban terror stopped any video from running.

Obviously I don’t run like that all the time but knowing I can is just comforting, especially when you realize it’s all done FOR FREE.

28 07 2009
opendaily

“Obviously I don’t run like that all the time but knowing I can is just comforting, especially when you realize it’s all done FOR FREE.”

@dino, totally agree with you. Deep-down, I am a fan of Linux/Ubuntu/Mint and other free software. This has so far been a very interesting experiment for me to use Linux 100% of the time. It’s been 2 months now and so far so good.

28 07 2009
visbuntu

I would add the following:
[-] A modem that is recognized, works, and can send and receive faxes.
[-] A quick and easy way to share your wireless net connection through
your LAN card, or eth. port.
[-] A quick and easy way to share your 3G broadband connection through
your ad-hoc network!
[-] A quick and easy way to get your 3G modem to work effortlessly,
without editing configuration files and adding rules.
[-] Did I mention that when using wireless that my PC still needs
ndiswrapper to drive the allegedly supported wireless card? Well, at
least I don’t miss that part of Vista.

28 07 2009
John Moore

My wife’s Dell M50 laptop and my Dell Dimension 8400 are on 24/7 unless a storm comes along or we go out-of-town. We use PCLinuxOS 2009 (2007 earlier) and my Dimension has 3D graphics. Compiz-Fusion is eye candy for special effects I found them of no value to me. Never use them. We do not have your problem. I LOVE updating to keep my software up-to-date, but I update when I choose, not when someone else tells me. Probably update at least once a week at least. Neither computer freezes or causes me to reboot. You might give PCLinuxOS at try. I’ve used Mint, but PCLinuxOS is more stable and its updates (including applications) are tested by a development team before making them available in repositories. We know they are compatible and will work properly. I detested Vista and only use WinXP in a dual-boot, separate partition where it cannot harm my system. I only go to XP for some heavy work with Adobe apps or to allow my teen-age grandkids to play Windows games. I play Linux games normally.

28 07 2009
Raul

Seems like a LinuxMint problem, not Linux.

28 07 2009
opendaily

Agree. But regular users have a hard time distinguishing distributions. And my blog’s intention is to view the free and/or open source experience in how a regular Joe/Jane would view it.

28 07 2009
M

You can take number 5 off the list – it’s an easy one to change in ubuntu.

System>Administartion>Software Sorces, then in the Updates tab. In the Automatic Updates area you can change how often ubuntu looks for updates, and even have security updates install automatically.

I haven’t used mint in a while but the menu structure shouldn’t be too different from ubuntu. Hope this helps.

28 07 2009
opendaily

@M you rock. Thanks for the tip.

28 07 2009
lefty.crupps

Your shortcut issue is a Gnome one; try KDE which is (IMHO) much more configurable and user-friendly. Gone goes out of its way to not let you do certain things easily.

Drag+[alt]-[tab] works great in KDE, I have never tried it before but no problems here.

Updates are there for your security, but if you prefer to be insecure for a month and patch the first Tuesday of each month like Windows does, you can wait until them to install the updates.

I’m not a big fan of Ubuntu if you didn’t notice — too many bugs are specific to Ubuntu but not other distros. Mint will have the same issues since they have the same base. Try Debian Testing if you have the knowledge to install the base system and can use the command line… http://tinyurl.com/no-ubuntu

28 07 2009
zoet13

1: Unfortunatelly most hardware vendors dont care about linux, which causes system crash because the drivers are not complete. The community does a good effort releasing drivers for users, but a community is not one step forward of vendors
2: Is related to point 1, i dont have any problems, even when i’m using ATI driver that sucks.
3: I can do this, window manager? (mine’s gnome)
4: You’re right, this is not possible yet
5: I see this as an advantage, but is possible to use a very stable version of linux (debian stable is a good example) which releases only a few updates. The fact is that updates are taking place only because you want the last software version, and this is not possible in Windows
6: Again, window manager? On Gnome: Right click on file -> Create link

28 07 2009
Michael Schemer

Interesting… Compiz never slowed down for you in Aero?

I agree about the shortcuts and the drag files thing.

28 07 2009
Gen2ly

1) and 2) try Arch linux. Yeah I know another install and takes more time to do but I’ve experience better performance (better than Vista) and seldom if ever have to reboot

3) and 4) you can do in KDE 4

5) in Arch you have to tell Arch when to update. Yeah it’s through the command line but it’s not too tough.

6) you can do this by holding the middle-mouse button dragging and droping in KDE 4.

Arch may not be for you because it’s an command line based install but it has good documentation. Check the forums if you ever need help.

28 07 2009
opendaily

@ Gen2ly thank you for the advice. A full command line is a little intimidating for me. But who knows, maybe one day. 🙂

28 07 2009
Seriously

Seriously stop!
This is not limitations in linux, it is Gnome, switch to KDE and be happy!

28 07 2009
Mark

Points 3, 4, 6 -> use KDE. Point 4 – you can even drag + change virtual desktop and then drop. 6 has different implementation, but it’s even better.

28 07 2009
opendaily

@Mark and @Seriously Thanks for the advice. I’ll try KDE one day, I guess. But since GNOME was the default interface, I’ll keep at this for now. In any case, these things I miss are not showstoppers.

28 07 2009
fchristophersen

I’ve been using xubuntu (almost identical to ubuntu and mint) for a couple of years and it never rebooted by itself. You should check your ram with memtest86 (included in the live cd) and your hdd (check the manufacturer site for an auto diagnostic live cd).
It surprises me you can’t drag and drop between windows using the panel. It did work for me on Gnome, Xfce and Avant window navigator.
If you don’t like updates you can set the update manager (at least on ubuntu) to update only every two days, every week, or every two weeks. Or if you don’t want updates at all you can completely disable the update manager from autostart.
You may be right with the other subjects, but personally i found them trivial.
Anyway, good luck.

28 07 2009
Links 27/07/2009: Fedora 11 Rave, Google Wave Freed | Boycott Novell

[…] 6 Things I Miss About Windows Vista in Linux As I go through the daily grind on my trusty Thinkpad, I once in a while notice quirks in Linux Mint / Ubuntu that makes me miss certain small but important conveniences from Windows Vista. I’ve been taking notes, and here’s my list. […]

28 07 2009
tom

After reading your blog, one has to wonder if your just a whiner, that whines about anything and everything that doesn’t exactly meet your expectations. You have a right to complain about Vista because you paid for it, but since I dough t you contributed or payed anything to any Linux Dis-trow, since you downloaded it for FREE, maybe you should show a little class and quit your whining about nothing. If your so enamored with Vista why not just stay with Vista.

28 07 2009
opendaily

I appreciate you reading my blog.

But to clarify, I am not specifically complaining about Linux. I am simply pointing out what I miss in Windows. I believe there is a fine difference between the two.

And you’re right, I have not contributed directly to Linux with any code or whatnot, because I don’t know how to. I’m in marketing, not IT. The most I have done is try to spread the word on open-source with a couple of ads I put together. (https://opendaily.wordpress.com/2009/06/27/no-assembly-required/#more-122) and (https://opendaily.wordpress.com/2009/06/24/personal-ad-idea-for-mint-7/#more-83)

But I take it you won’t be reading my blog again if you think I’m a whiner. 🙂

28 07 2009
kevinsm

I can’t address most of your complaints, as I’ve never used Linux on a laptop. But here are some observations on a couple of them:

#5: This is the one unpleasant side effect of having the update system work for all the software on the computer. I’ve never found it to be much of a problem because you can run the updater in the background and surf the web at the same time. But, as others have mentioned, you can change the setting to update less often.

#6: You may have found one thing that Linux Mint is worse at than Ubuntu. In Ubuntu, I can create a launcher by right-clicking the application in the GNOME menu and selecting “Add this launcher to desktop” in the resulting context menu. You might be able to get this same ease of use by replacing Mint Menu on your panel with Main Menu. Of course, doing so gives up one of the main selling points of Linux Mint: the fact that MintMenu is more like the Windows Start Menu than either of the standard GNOME menu options.

27 07 2009
Darren

1&2 : Never seen this. My uptime is now 5 weeks 🙂

3 : works 🙂

4 : Try using the scale plugin in Compiz. I have mine activated at the lower screen corners. drag the file to there, scale shows all your windows, hover over your drop target and the window becomes active, then drop. Hey, no keys needed. Very quick too.

5 : 5 days here too.

30 07 2009
5 Things I Would Miss in Linux Mint « Open Daily

[…] Things I Would Miss in Linux Mint 30 07 2009 So after my last post, I figured it would be interesting to ask myself, “what would I miss in Linux Mint?” if […]

10 10 2009
Shé

@Tom: I think the idea of this blog is to look at things the way an
ex-windows/newbie-linux-convert would look them. I think it is good that the author is looking at all of these angles and noting them so that any people who have yet to try linux or are just getting used to it will not be too surprised or disappointed should the situation arise for them, hence helping the entire open source project, which in turn, I believe contributes greatly to the distro… so 😛
😉 Keep up the good work OpenDaily!
(the only niggle I have is that you are working in marketing… but I’m prepared to overlook that as you seem like a good person)
Bill Hicks on advertising/marketing
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDW_Hj2K0wo (“,)

13 11 2009
anonymous

You forgot one thing. Creation of new versions is a hobby for this wonderful guys from Linux Team(no more than 8 guys). Ubuntu team consist of no more than 30 people.

Microsoft has more than 1000 programers employed in developement of windows.

Geeks from linux world make a good job. The future of Linux is bright.

If you want help them : http://www.linuxmint.com/getinvolved.php

You can join Linux Mint community.

1 05 2011
warrick

Yes this is a few years old now.. For anybody reading, you should give one of the new Linux Mint 10 distros a spin.. i’m currently using Mint KDE and I have to say.. This is it! After years of feeling frustrated because it just didn’t feel right it finally does.. I love using this syetem.. Even the fonts look fantastic on Mint KDE.

3 06 2011
sam

I have a desktop that runs Linux Mint and i have Debian on my laptop. And I’d like to say about points 1 & 2, that Since I moved to linux I too miss
1. Too many reboots: Really on windows Xp/Vista/7 you gotta reboot every second day or your machine will become slow as hell and damn you’ll want to take a hammer and clobber it. You install any thing you reboot, you update you reboot, even you sneeze you reboot. My desktop runs for months without needing a reboot and my laptop goes in and out of sleep perfectly (Though I did have some issues with mint on my desktop, it would slow my apache down after the coming out of sleep, but debian is perfect)
2. Slowdown in graphics and everything else.. well won;t exactly call it a slowdown it’s more like a freeze.. windows just wouldn’t work or let me work, specially vista on any comp has the power to render the machine useless. You really need a powerhouse to run Vista.

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