Friday, August 14, 2009

Windows Responsiveness (or Lack Thereof)

It's official: I really have gone off the deep end -- at least if you talk to anyone from Redmond. BeOS fanatic zealot that I am, I'm acutely aware of the responsiveness of an operating system's desktop user interface. I expect my computer to run slower if I'm hitting the hard drive or processor pretty hard. I also expect programs to NOT take several seconds to respond to input or to redraw themselves. My experience with OS X is pretty shallow in comparison to my usage of various Linux distributions, BeOS and its variants, and all Windows versions save Media Center and 2.0 -- yes, I there was a time where I twiddled with Windows 1.0. Nonetheless, to my recollection, I have never seen Windows respond to the user very well even on a machine far beyond the recommended specs.

After spending the summer with my work laptop running Ubuntu, I had to install XP Pro. I didn't want to, but my school is a Windows-only shop. I disliked doing the install and resented having to hunt all over the Web for drivers only to have to install 500MB of system updates, but the last straw was when I was copying over my MP3 collection. Both machines were running XP and the file copy was taking forever. After about fifteen minutes, I rebooted the source machine into Linux, deleted what little had been copied, and started copying the collection using FileZilla to do an SFTP transfer. I had two files being copied at once and each one was taking half the time to copy as the XP file copy had. Somewhere in there, there's a problem. Worse yet, the destination machine was so slow (Athlon 64 3000, 512MB RAM, 80 GB hard drive) as to be unusable. Just plain sad. Man, I'm going to dislike using this machine with Windows again. :(

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