Windows Vista Advantages & Learning to Become A Competent Linux System Administrator

April 13, 2007 by  

The more I read about Windows Vista, the more tempted I become to upgrade my Windows XP to the latest release from Microsoft as soon as possible.

I decide to upgrade not because I can afford to or because I have a Vista Premium Ready PC but because I need to. As a software developer for the Windows platform, there’s no escaping for me to ensure that my software are compatible with the latest OS in the market.

I was asked several times by my customers if my software is compatible with Vista . While I expect them run without problem, the only way for me to know for sure is to test them on Vista myself

However, instead of replacing my Windows XP installation, I am considering to install Vista on a separate partition allowing both Vista and XP to coexist. This setup will allow me to select which OS to run while the PC is booting.

This will also give me ample time to play with Vista before migrating all the data from XP partition and finally make it as my default operating system. I believe there’s a tool in Vista that simplifies data migration between the two operating systems.

Besides the necessity to get Vista as I mentioned above, there are several other advantages that one could enjoy for upgrading. The obvious advantage most people have heard of are enhanced security, cool Aero interface, built-in instant search – like what you get from Google Desktop – and several others.

However, most have not heard of the internal advantages such as SuperFetch, protected processes, cache management, resistance to system hangs on I/O, and the multithreaded kernel.


Windows Vista Advantages

SuperFetch prioritizes the programs you’re currently using and adapts to the way you work by tracking the programs you use frequently, at what times of day that programs are used and intelligently preloading these into memory.

So what so great about this you ask. If your computer is struggling to accommodate other tasks while your antivirus or backup utility or even Photoshop image processing is running, just plug in a USB 2.0 thumb drive to boost the memory and you can literally enjoy a performance boost instantly.

If you are using a laptop, SuperFetch will lengthen your battery life too because your hard disk spin less frequently which translates to less power consumption.

As for me, the reason I upgraded my desktop RAM to 3GB recently is to take advantage of this feature.

Those I/O hangs will be a thing of the past as Vista is engineered to avoid them and the interference from rouge processes. Yes no more system hanging and pressing the reboot button finally.

From the security department, one of XP’s biggest security problem is that it promotes everybody who wants the ability to run a vast number of programs and conduct common activities as an Administrator. As a result anybody, including a malicious program that has the admin privileges is able to wreak havoc and exploit your system.

Vista ‘s User Account Control solves this problem by creating a Standard account which is not as powerful as the Admin account but it still allows the widest possible range of activity. Now, even an Administrator run at Standard level. A warning is displayed when elevated privilege is required.

Another cool feature of Vista is the ability recovers previous versions of overwritten files with a click of a mouse.

The multithreaded kernel feature is made for multicore processors. Unfortunately, this is one area that my PC can’t take advantage of because it’s a single core machine. If you have multicore processors or dual core system, you’ll notice a significant improvement in performance when running applications that support multithreading.

There are many other advantages Vista’s has over XP. One can always say other OS such as Linux has been supporting multithreading and better user management so why bother with Vista? You don’t have to if are happy with what you got and it gets the job done for you.

But me, I want BOTH.


A Self-Sufficient & Competent Linux Server Administrator

I am quite excited actually with the thought of learning another new operating system along side Vista. I got another machine on my home LAN running Windows 2000 where I plan to install Fedora Core 6, one of the freely available open source Red Hat Linux variants.


The computer will be setup to simulate a production server where I hope to learn the ins and outs of Linux administration. There’ll be no fancy interface there, just the dreaded command line interface which I find quite interesting actually as a programmer.

This will be helpful as I am making the transition from the owner of a managed server to managing an unmanaged one. Actually I’ve been on unmanaged server before for five years. I know the basic Linux commands and basic server administration but that’s not enough for me. I survived with that server because I sourced out the complicated tasks such as server hardening and optimization to a third party.

To help me learn, I am going to buy these books from


Linux System Administration



Linux Administration: A Beginner’s Guide


Obviously there’s some money to be saved when moving from a managed to an unmanaged server. By doing everything myself, the saving it brings will allow me to rent a more power server. How cool is that.

BTW, the migrations of my accounts from the current server to the new one are doing fine. That’s only after tech support fixed a problem which prevented me from continuing with the transfer. I am getting tired of this old server dying on a daily basic, sometimes several times per day as you may have noticed.

I hope to complete the transfer before the end of next week.

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Comment by ShaolinTiger
2007-04-13 18:01:23

I recommend Ubuntu over Fedora, the apt package management system is SO much better than rpm, even with new YuMM stuff.

Debian based systems knock RH based systems off the chart.

Comment by Gaman
2007-04-14 00:41:45

My production server uses either RHEL or CentOs. I am giving Fedora a try first and perhaps when I have time later. check out the other distribution.

Comment by Boss Lepton
2007-04-13 20:45:14

Hi Sabahan,

I recommend you not to buy those books. That’s because the linux world is constantly changing and improving. While the basics remain the same, we can see the different versions of the linux kernels that requires different approaches.

The best places to learn about linux is through the internet forums.

Hope you find it helpful. and the books are not cheap.

I’m using OpenSuSE 10.2


Comment by Gaman
2007-04-14 00:39:29

Thanks for the advice.

I am fully aware of the ever changing world of Linux.

From my experience, sorting out the gamut of information and figuring out which ones are useful and which ones aren’t can be a daunting task. Been there done that 🙂

The books provide a guideline on things that I should really pay attention too and this will save me time and energy.

I am not learning about any particular Linux flavor or version, just the concept of Linux administration. My production server runs on CentOS or RHEL.

Linux System Administration was published on March 1, 2007 btw. The accompanying website will be a good source of updates too 🙂

Of course I’ll be visiting my favorite forums too.

Comment by toxicle
2007-04-13 21:24:38

Very much agreed … go ubuntu.

Vista pissed me off so much I just downgraded back to XP

Comment by Gaman
2007-04-14 00:48:00

I would suggest at least 2GB memory and enable SuperFetch 😉

Comment by Wahlau.NET
2007-04-14 23:05:24

i think vista is still unstable..I have the free upgrade to vista home premium…now still need another 1/2gb and waiting for upgrade to have stable vista

Comment by ketyung
2007-04-15 10:21:25

I have heard a lot about Vista still remains unstable, so far, haven’t got chance to try yet. Anyway, if you wanna master Linux, of course the command line will make you king. As after possesing the command line skills, you have no boundary for any Linuxes/Unixes

Comment by Gaman
2007-04-16 02:33:07

I’ve decided to install CentOs Server CD finally. It contains a subset of packages used for most server installs on a single CD for installation. Nothing fancy.

As for the book I’ll purchase Linux System Administration only.

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