Saturday, 3 October 2009

In the time it takes your computer to boot up ...

"In the time it takes your computer to boot up ..." is a phrase I have heard over and over. What people should be saying is "in the time it takes Microsoft Windows to boot up you could go make a cup of tea, some toast, cook a Sunday lunch and dash out to the shops." This generalisation bothers me. It bothers me because not all computers are the same. They might contain the same hardware. But the software that makes that hardware do useful things makes all the difference.

Even with Linux, which generally boots fairly quickly the hardware and software setup makes all the difference. With an SSD drive at it's disposal Ubuntu 9.10 will boot in 5 seconds. Without the SSD drive it will be more like 10 to 15 seconds. The last time I tested Windows 7 Beta 1 on my Dell XPS 720, which has an Intel Core 2 Quad CPU runnung at 2.66 GHz and 8 GB of RAM, I was still counting Windows boot times from a cold start in minutes. Ubuntu 9.04 boots in 15 to 20 seconds on the same machine.

So bloggers and particuarly Priya Ganapati who is the latest offender to annoy me with this rediculous generalisation. Get it right! If you're talking about Windows PCs then say so. If your talking about Macs? Say so. If you're talking about Linux based PCs. Say so!

This is an important distinction to make. The PC landscape is changing rapidly. New OS players are coming into the market and they're all fighting for their slice of the pie. People tend to look to the media, blogs, forums etc to help them understand and figure out the differences between new products coming to the market. So it's important to get it right. Slow boot times are no longer an issue for everybody.

Apple seems to be able to do no wrong. Even though some of their business practices are worse than Microsofts'. Google is trying to muscle in with Android and Chrome OS. Both Linux based OSs. And of course we can't forget Linux it's self. Ubuntu is making good ground. Canonical, the parent developers of Ubuntu, are gaining support from the likes of IBM, Intel, Dell, HP and Sun Microsystems. All big names with interests in making Linux  success.

So in the time it takes your PC to boot. Try and see if you can figure out with OS you're running!