Since then, I've realized that if I can boot a Live USB on this laptop, I can certainly boot a USB drive with Linux installed on it. And that is what I have done. I am using an 8GB USB flash drive, about the same capacity as you'd find in a netbook, for example. (I boot into Linux on weekends, on my own time.) Works great! So I hope to use this as a way to directly show the differences between Linux and Windows.
Here's an example: remember a few weeks ago when I discussed how Windows Update isn't finished installing updates even after it's installed the updates? At the end of my post, I wrote:
In stark contrast, when I ran Linux at work, I could install updates while using the system. If the system update tool wanted to reboot afterward, it was usually because I'd received a kernel update, and you do need to reboot for the new kernel to take effect. But on Linux, you can keep using the old kernel until you're ready to shutdown/reboot. And I always had the option to shutdown or reboot later, when I was ready to.I'd like to demonstrate this in action: This morning, I booted my laptop using the Linux USB drive. Not long after I'd booted, I was greeted with a message that I needed to install updates. (This is not surprising, since I only get to boot Linux on weekends, so there's a week or more of patches to install.) As usual, I let the system install updates while I was working.
And in Linux, when you reboot or shutdown, you actually reboot or shutdown. None of this "let me install a few updates before you really get to shut down your system." Reboot means "reboot", and shutdown means "shutdown".
I guess I got spoiled for how cleanly Linux systems apply updates. Microsoft sure could take a lesson from that.
After the updates were installed, I got another message saying that some of the updates would take effect after I logged out and logged back in:
It's rare to have to do anything in Linux after installing updates. Usually it's only when I install kernel updates, which always needs a reboot unless you use something like Ksplice.* But there were several gvfs updates in there (gvfs allows you to access a network resource as a virtual file system) and I suspect gvfs needed to be reloaded for the changes to be visible. gvfs runs at the user level, so the system only needed to log out / log in for the changes to take effect.
I wasn't really finished working, so I could have clicked "Close" and continued my work. But I realized that this was an excellent opportunity to directly compare the difference between installing updates in Linux, versus in Windows. So I opted to log out and shut down, just like in Windows.
And when I clicked "Log Out", I got the usual dialog:
Care to guess what happened after I clicked "Shut Down"? My Linux system actually let me shut down. Like, right then. None of this "let me install a few updates before you really get to shut down your system", like in Windows. I wasn't held hostage by an update process that insisted on owning my machine for another hour. The system just shut down, normally.
Linux "System Update" was done when it said it was done. That is how modern systems are supposed to work!