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Is XP really that good?

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Some good folks around DC may recall that I have opinions...  :tellme:

I am a huge fan on Linux, Unix and most things other than M$ OSes.  That being said, I have been running Win XP for several years.  I have a fairly tweaked system that I don't screw with much and I have been stable for a long time.  I recently upgrade to 4 GB RAM because 1) I could and 2) I thought it might improve my performance.  I have been running 2 GB for most of my XP career.

I'm currently running all of my normal stuff plus Google Chrome and have used only 1 GB RAM.  I'm using Process Explorer and I have been sitting at 1GB.  I've got  8 freaking tabs open plus I'm watching a movie* with VLC on top of all the other RAM sucking things I run normally.  WTF?  Is XP really that good at RAM management?

I'm spoiled enough to have a whole P4 system dedicated to PCLinuxOS.  It's cools and snappy; i'm not sure it's worth switching from XP.  Have we finally reached the point where local resources are a 2nd priority?  My Dell D600 laptop sucks (explainative) with 1024 RAM, why is my desktop so much more usable with the same free RAM?

I always want to believe Linux is better with RAM than XP; but I'm having a hard time making a case for desktop use.   What am I missing?

*Hancock MKV

Paul Keith:
Umm... I don't have 4gb ram but the most often thing I hear mentioned is that XP can't fully use all 4gb of ram.

Carol Haynes:
All 32-bit versions of Windows have a 4Gb limit- but you have to deduct from that any memory mapped devices (such as graphics card memory). For example if you have graphics card with 1Gb of memory onboard you will not be able to use more than 3Gb of your memory (and there may be other memory mapped devices that force memory to be unused).

64-bit Windows doesn't have this restriction.

XP is pretty OK at managing memory, it's a bit too conservative wrt. using free memory for caching, imho.

32bit XP can't utilize 4gig (or above) memory (technically it can, but MS has disabled the capability), 64bit XP or 32bit server OSes can handle "quite a bit more than 4gig".

Also, it's really a question of how much memory the applications you run use.

I don't think you're missing anything.  :)

 It's not so much an issue of XP being "so good" as it is an issue of it being "good enough."

WinXP is good enough for what most people want to do with it.

PCLinuxOS is a very good distro. Very stable and polished. But unless you want to take on the role of evangelist, why bother making a case for Linux at all?

I alternate between Linux and Windows on a daily basis. Since I (like you) have the luxury of running both, I never saw the need to pick one over the other. I just use whichever (depending on what I'm trying to accomplish) although I must admit I've gone from a 50-50 to an 80-20 time split in favor of Linux over the past year.

But I'll also dump any OS like a bad habit should the day ever come when I need to do something that it won't let me do. The best advice I ever got regarding systems was the following:

          Don't ever marry your tools. Better yet, don't even fall in love.

That seemed like wisdom to me. Consequently, I only date my technology. We just hang out with each other for fun. No promises, no commitments.

I'm the exact opposite of that with people. But that's just me. ;D


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