Difference between Windows 2000 and Mandrake 8.1

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At home, I run four systems: two laptops running Mandrake Linux, one HP running Mandrake with a smaller install (no development tools, no servers, etc) and one Windows 2000 machine because I have to use Microsoft at work and I needed a VB/VB.NET development box. Recently, I decided to upgrade my mother’s old Windows 98 box (it was running a little clunkily) to Windows 2000 and when I did, I noticed a few things in common with my own experience installing Win2k.

First of all, Mandrake Linux has always detected the CD-RW drives on my systems. I’ve got two different models of hewlett-packard CD-RW, one older than the other, and I never had much of a problem getting them working with X-CDRoast, or GCombust, or really any of the other Linux programs that interact with the drives. Maybe I occasionally had to fiddle with settings, that’s it.

But when I installed Windows 2000, I couldn’t get my CD-RW or my mother’s to work at first (hers is a generic model, not an HP). Windows 2000 just didn’t have any drivers for them. We ended up having to buy Adaptec’s Easy CD Creator 5 for my mother’s PC, and I was able to get an older version for mine due to some deal between HP and Adaptec (or are they Roxio now?).
That was kind of a hassle.

My mother’s DVD drive didn’t work at all. We eventually figured out that we had to pay around forty bucks for a DVD-decoder (retail). We gave up. We’ve got a DVD-player. Of course, Linux won’t play DVD’s either thanks to the DeCSS brouhaha, so I don’t know how big a deal this is. Still, the fact that Windows 2000 doesn’t come with a decoder means you’ll be buying some software if you want to use your DVD.

Mandrake 8.0 came with Bastille, which sets up an iptables kernel firewall and hardens security, which was kind of cool. I don’t have any antivirus software as yet, but I don’t generally run as root so I figure the worst thing that will probably happen is I lose my user account on my internet box (not really a tragedy, all I’d have to do is reinstall Crossover, big whoop).

Windows 2000 came with nothing really useful security wise, so I had to pick up Norton Internet Security for about seventy bucks. This contained Norton Antivirus and Norton Personal Firewall, which I hope will cover my mother’s machine.

For backups, I bought Norton Ghost, but I’m going to use Ghost for both Linux and Windows so on that angle, I guess it’s a tie. 😉

Overall, and I’m not jumping on a Linux soapbox here, the gist of things seems to be:

Windows 2000 will work fine, but you will have to spend another few hundred dollars buying (and many, many hours installing) CD-RW software, DVD decoder software, antivirus software, and a firewall if you want to be happy with it.

Mandrake Linux is a little harder to work with, but you get everything for free with the O/S.
And, hardware detection worked just fine on my system when I was working with Mandrake. Windows 2000 missed a couple of devices, mostly a couple of features of my sound card and graphics card. The omission didn’t seem to hurt anything too poorly, so you may not really care about it.

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