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Hi All,

I would like to build my first XBMC machine but one of the first fundamental questions is which OS.

I've done a search but couldn't really find anything discussing comparisons between Ubuntu and Windows.

I have no problems buying Windows if that is the better solution as it will be quite a high end machine. But are there any benefits to either?

What about virus protection? does this cause any issues? (like pop up warnings etc)

Thanks.

Andy.
Well, I'm bias to give my opinion, but I use Win7_x64 on my Zotac HW. Win7 is secure (using MS's own free Security Essentials) and works perfectly with SSD (librarymode can be quite IO intensive). Win7 also facilitates all sorts of External controll Devices (remotes etc) to be utlizied quite automatically with good support. Also GPU Accleration works good with Win7.
That's My option, many may differer.
ive used both windows 7 and XBMCbuntu, and i prefer the XBMCbuntu version as windows (even with messing with the registry and setting xbmc as shell) tends to steal focus every once in a while, needing to perform updates and such. I'm by no means a Linux nerd, and quite frankly dont have the time in my life to be messing around learning new things, and find the XBMCbuntu with beta3 works great.
I use Windows 7 x64 on a Zotak ID41 and it works great. I was too afraid of hardware compatibility to go with Linux.
What about power and cpu usage is there a big hit?
With Linux, you will find that you have less impact by other applications (virus, updates, etc.) and more of the resources directly available to XBMC. With Windows, you get a user interface with which you might be more comfortable and the potential for HD audio.

I prefer Linux for performance reasons and extensive scripting/scheduling capabilities in the base operating system.
XBMCbuntu should be fairly straightforward for a novice Linux user to set up. Once it's installed, it just works.

I use XBMCbuntu on an old Acer Revo because I like the set-top box feel, but I use XBMC for Windows on my main HTPC because I also use the same machine for gaming (this is a pretty atypical HTPC usage case these days).

Neither setup requires much maintenance after install, though Windows is definitely easier to set up. One thing I would recommend strongly AGAINST is installing XBMC on top of a standard Ubuntu install. I tried this on a machine I built for my brother (he wanted to do file management with an easy GUI, back before XBMCbuntu came out), and I ran into at least six hair-tearing errors.

I eventually got everything to work, but there's a very sharp contrast between XBMCbuntu and XBMC running on stop of Ubuntu, so that's definitely something to keep in mind.
Thanks for the replies chaps.

I think i'm potentially leaning towards win7, as much as anything due to having much more experience with it (and knowing many of its negatives!)

Better the devil.... maybe?

Andy.
I'd say so - especially if you don't want the learning curve. Win7 is stable and responsive, and hardware friendly. You'll get the best driver support and HD audio.
DDDamian Wrote:I'd say so - especially if you don't want the learning curve. Win7 is stable and responsive, and hardware friendly. You'll get the best driver support and HD audio.

+1 for Win7 because of this ^

I never thought I'd see the day I would support a Microsoft OS but for this I do.

Also Netflix is on Win platform.

IMO - If you do go Linux and think of getting a dedicated system, use an NVidia Card. They have the best Linux drivers and support.
a_team Wrote:+1 for Win7 because of this ^

I never thought I'd see the day I would support a Microsoft OS but for this I do.

Also Netflix is on Win platform.

IMO - If you do go Linux and think of getting a dedicated system, use an NVidia Card. They have the best Linux drivers and support.

Excellent points, and you can run XBMC as the shell to avoid most of the Windows start-up stuff if you want to make it more "appliance"-like.
running it as shell is where i found the drawbacks. as nice as it is to boot directly into xbmc, windows would minimize my xbmc overnight - or when sitting idle - and i'd be left with a black screen, making me hook up the mouse and keyboard to maximize it again, or ctrl-alt-delete to task manager to run explorer.exe.

im not a linux fanboy, i just like the way the xbmcbuntu setup works for me out of the box and is light and snappy. if i need to browse the web with the computer, i logout, log in to the xbmcbuntu desktop and browse away, then logout and back into the xbmc user and voila, xbmc again!

i never get lucky when it comes to setting things up, but so far i'm batting 3 for 3 with my zotac zboxes and xbmcbuntu with eden beta 3