Windows XP is Better Than Ubuntu 11.04

by @edent | 3 comments | Read ~1,105 times.

Yes, yes, yes, the title is linkbait – but it’s not inaccurate. Let me explain….

I’m a dyed-in-the-wool Linux user. All my machines run some variant of Linux, usually Ubuntu. So, when a new client asked me to to use Windows XP I nearly quit on the spot! But, after a week of using the ageing OS, it strikes me there are a number of things that XP does better than Ubuntu.

I was able to sideload Ubuntu using Wubi, so these issues all relate to the same machine. All of these issues are relevant to me and may not reflect the typical user.

Multiple Monitor Support

I’ve been using multiple monitors in XP for over 10 years.
Multimon 2002
Linux has slowly been catching up, but it’s still not quite as good as XP.

Windows XP Multi-Monitors

XP detected my monitors instantly, no reboot or config file configuring required. It also recovered swiftly when I unplugged my monitor. Ubuntu has come a long way since I started using it, but it often chokes if a monitors is suddenly connected or removed.


BlueTooth is universally rubbish. It’s a protocol designed by committee with no regard for end users. It’s always painful to use. But it’s more usable on XP than Ubuntu.
Windows XP Bluetooth
Sharing files doesn’t require esoteric package installation – and setting up audio was easy.

Mouse Key Remapping

As per one of my previous posts, I need to remap my mouse’s keys. There is literally no way to do this in Ubuntu other than to futz around on the command-line and add arcane commands to mysterious text files.

XP isn’t perfect, but has several programs – including this one which came with my mouse – to help.
Evoluent Mouse Buttons GUI
This is a highly requested feature in Ubuntu and surely can’t be too hard to implement.

Extended Keyboard Controls

I use a Microsoft 4000 Ergonomic keyboard and most of the buttons work on Ubuntu. The problem lies in a bug first reported in 2007 – X11 won’t recognise keycodes about 255. There are some hacky work arounds, but it’s really unsatisfactory that newer hardware won’t work in Linux.

Android Debugging / Hacking

Doing Android debugging in XP just involved plugging the phone into a USB cable.
Android Debugging on Ubuntu? Get thee to the command line and hope that UDEV hasn’t changed since the guide you’re following was written!

First noted 2.5 years ago.

Indeed, all the good Android hacking or upgrading tools seem to require Windows. Some work in WINE, some don’t. I’m usually quite happy with the selection of software that Linux has – but for some esoteric software, Windows is often the only way.


I love Ubuntu, and I wouldn’t return to XP for anything. But it’s obvious there are a number of basic flaws which aren’t being fixed. I see this a lot – in Android especially – that the cool new features which are fun to program are given priority over fixing the rather basic bugs.
xkcd linux

3 thoughts on “Windows XP is Better Than Ubuntu 11.04

  1. sheila says:

    I suspect this is not a problem specific to OS development. I’ve experienced the same bias towards new features from within a dev team. It seemed to be down to a percieved need to keep up with or ahead of the competition in terms of feature complement. Plus, if a problem had gone unfixed for quite a while it was often because it would require more time and resource (which could otherwise be working on new functionality) than it was deemed to be worth.

    It would be interesting to hear if/how other people balance focus on bugs v. shiny.

    1. Seb35 says:

      All that is true. Concerning specific hardware one important reason is that hardware manufacturers use to create specifc hardware drivers and softwares for Windows and never for Linux; this is typically the case with mices, keyboards, game controllers, digital cameras, etc. It can be noticed however that some hardware drivers tend to appear for Linux, I used successfully a driver from nVidia for management of monitors under GNU/Linux (Ubuntu for me). And during the acquisition of my new digital camera last week I was not surprised to see the specific software furnished runs only under Windows and MacOS, so I have to search a specific Linux software for that.

  2. Rod says:

    I started with a dual boot system (XP and Ubuntu 11.04 now 11.10), and little by little I’m returning to XP because so much of the software in Ubuntu is flaky.
    1. Printer sort of worked with 11.04 but died with 11.10. despite re-installing drivers and upgrading kernels for weeks, no luck so I now use XP when I want to print anything.
    2. Video USB capture. Nothing quite works in Ubuntu, despite lots of searching and fiddling. The XP applications work a treat.
    3. Audio editing with audacity, can’t get a signal in. Back to my trusty Soundforge in XP which is trouble free.
    4. Creative Audigy Paltignum card works in Ubuntu but the Creative interface box is not recognised, so it’s back to Windows XP to use this.
    5. DVD authoring and MPEG editing. The Ubuntu aplications all fail at some stage, so it’s back to XP and TMPGEnc whic is superb.
    6. One plus for Ubuntu is that WinFF works fine in Ubuntu but unreliably in XP.
    So I still need both XP and Ubuntu, but I keep thinking Ubuntu is like a kit car, great fun and nice to drive but you need to be a full time mechanic to make it work!

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