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Old 07-12-2013, 11:52   #1
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Windows 7 or Linux: which is a better turn-key solution?

I'm trying to design my computer based navigation system and it seems like there are a lot of little things that will be easier on Windows than on Linux. I was originally thinking about going with Linux because it's cheaper and because I want it to be a dedicated system so I was considering going with something like Xinutop.

Anyway, I have basically no experience with Linux, but it's also been awhile since I used Windows and that was XP. I guess I'm just looking for opinions on which one will give me less headaches during the set up and be more reliable after. If it's a close call, is the extra money on Windows worth it? I hope this doesn't start a PS4/Xbox type war, although I feel like it probably will... lol
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Old 07-12-2013, 12:58   #2
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I'm trying to design my computer based navigation system and it seems like there are a lot of little things that will be easier on Windows than on Linux. I was originally thinking about going with Linux because it's cheaper and because I want it to be a dedicated system so I was considering going with something like Xinutop.

Anyway, I have basically no experience with Linux, but it's also been awhile since I used Windows and that was XP. I guess I'm just looking for opinions on which one will give me less headaches during the set up and be more reliable after. If it's a close call, is the extra money on Windows worth it? I hope this doesn't start a PS4/Xbox type war, although I feel like it probably will... lol
Both

If you can find a cheap copy of XP then dual boot is easy and you can have the best of both worlds.

I ended up heading that way as a few programs needed windows, some ham email stuff and jvcomm wfax software. One thing to bear in mind with the computer though, dedicated com ports are much better than trying to get gps or ais data in though a USB.
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Old 07-12-2013, 13:12   #3
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Re: Windows 7 or Linux: which is a better turn-key solution?

Similar to dual booting, you can also have separate VM machines withing windows, mac or linux. depending on your overall needs, time and wants..
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Old 07-12-2013, 13:41   #4
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Re: Windows 7 or Linux: which is a better turn-key solution?

I guess I didn't really consider dual booting. I guess I could always start with Linux then if I find I'm having trouble with something I could look for a deal on XP.

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One thing to bear in mind with the computer though, dedicated com ports are much better than trying to get gps or ais data in though a USB.
That brings up another question I've been having. If I have a NMEA network that plugs into my computer, will any instruments I connect to the network be able to communicate with the computer? Like I just have one spot where the network plugs into the computer, then have water depth, water speed, gps, wind speed, etc plugged into the network and be able to use all that info on the computer?
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Old 07-12-2013, 13:55   #5
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Re: Windows 7 or Linux: which is a better turn-key solution?

As a side note, in April, Microsoft will drop support for Windows XP. I would NOT install it or and DEF NOT buy it. Once support is dropped security holes will not be patched, CA will not be updated, and new drivers will not be patched in. Its a dying OS.
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Old 07-12-2013, 14:06   #6
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Re: Windows 7 or Linux: which is a better turn-key solution?

On the other hand, one could just use XP to run utilities, etc. without ever seeing "the outside world". That and never using unscanned thumb drives alone would make it close to bulletproof in a dual-boot (or more) situation.
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Old 07-12-2013, 14:08   #7
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Re: Windows 7 or Linux: which is a better turn-key solution?

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On the other hand, one could just use XP to run utilities, etc. without ever seeing "the outside world". That and never using unscanned thumb drives alone would make it close to bulletproof in a dual-boot (or more) situation.
You could do that, but why sacrifice the future when alternatives exist?

Ubuntu is just about as user friendly as WinXP ever was, and it is active and well supported. Almost everything you can do in windows, you can do in Linux with perhaps a few one off exceptions. But most of the time if you're willing to change a bit, you'll find an alternative.
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Old 07-12-2013, 14:09   #8
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As a side note, in April, Microsoft will drop support for Windows XP. I would NOT install it or and DEF NOT buy it. Once support is dropped security holes will not be patched, CA will not be updated, and new drivers will not be patched in. Its a dying OS.
As a main machine, maybe. But as a nav computer is it such a big deal? Get it working and leave it working
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Old 07-12-2013, 14:12   #9
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Re: Windows 7 or Linux: which is a better turn-key solution?

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As a main machine, maybe. But as a nav computer is it such a big deal? Get it working and leave it working
I'm fine with the idea of leaving a nav computer in isolation, but someday new nav software may come around that isn't supported on WinXP.

Its nice to have the nav system as a backup, or conversely, use another system on board if the nav computer dies (which you could do with more modern OS).

Finally, while WinXP was lightyears ahead of WinME and Win98, its stability is seriously called into question when dealing with a modern OS. In short, its old technology that isn't as robust, more prone to failure, not as efficient, and vulnerable to threats.

I'm not great passagemaker so take my advice with a grain of salt, but I am an IT director of a firm support 10 million users. So that is just one man's opinion.
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Old 07-12-2013, 14:15   #10
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Re: Windows 7 or Linux: which is a better turn-key solution?

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As a main machine, maybe. But as a nav computer is it such a big deal? Get it working and leave it working
That's exactly what I plan on doing! Really though if I went with Windows I could probably get an extra license for Windows 7 for cheap from my dad's business.
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Old 07-12-2013, 14:34   #11
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Re: Windows 7 or Linux: which is a better turn-key solution?

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As a main machine, maybe. But as a nav computer is it such a big deal? Get it working and leave it working
you going to get online to check weather? It's a dead end technology and it makes no sense to spend time or money on it. It's not secure now, never was and no amount of patches will make it so. Win7 or Win 8.1 are the current supported technologies.

Related to this, whatever OS you choose, an SSD drive makes a lot of sense and even more sense on a boat. Its not as susceptible to environmental factors such as vibration humidity temperature, and SSD drives are much faster.
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Old 07-12-2013, 14:36   #12
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Re: Windows 7 or Linux: which is a better turn-key solution?

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Related to this, whatever OS you choose, an SSD drive makes a lot of sense and even more sense on a boat. Its not as susceptible to environmental factors such as vibration humidity temperature, and SSD drives are much faster.
What size SSD would you recommend for a dedicated nav computer?
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Old 07-12-2013, 15:06   #13
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Re: Windows 7 or Linux: which is a better turn-key solution?

I've just set up an old toughbook as a nav computer. I put a 120Gb SSD - which are now pretty cheap at that size - into it and it improved it's performance remarkably.

On the subject of Linux vs Windows, I was under the impression that Windows has better power managment than Linux. I opted for XP on this ols toughbook, although I would prefer Linux running VM's if I had the power and computing power to do it.
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Old 07-12-2013, 23:55   #14
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Re: Windows 7 or Linux: which is a better turn-key solution?

Make a list of the software you plan on running and then you'll have a better idea of what platform to use.

I'd go with Windows 8.1 over 7 because of the added security features built into the os. I hate the Metro interface but I just added a 'start button' shell to it.

If you don't mind tinkering with the operating system Linux is cheaper but not as easy to administer. I've also found Windoze programs often works better than it's Linux alternatives. Not that it's not perfectly usable just not as clean.

Because Windoze has such a large user base it's usually easier to google for fixes and work arounds for problems with the os and the software running on it.

Stay away from legacy products like xp, nt, windoze 2000, and vista. Not only is it not as secure as the newer operating systems but drivers are also not being developed to support newer software protocols.
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Old 07-12-2013, 23:55   #15
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you going to get online to check weather? It's a dead end technology and it makes no sense to spend time or money on it. It's not secure now, never was and no amount of patches will make it so. Win7 or Win 8.1 are the current supported technologies.

Related to this, whatever OS you choose, an SSD drive makes a lot of sense and even more sense on a boat. Its not as susceptible to environmental factors such as vibration humidity temperature, and SSD drives are much faster.
The boat computer never goes online, android tablet does that, xp is just for a few programs which won't run on Linux. And is on there instead on 7 for budget reasons. And it works fine. 7 would cost not far off the cost of building the computer in the first place.


And yes, ssd drives are good and make a lot of sense. I used a CF card as a hard drive to start with then upgraded to ssd.
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