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I'm looking compare Windows NT 6.0 (Vista) to a version of GNU/Linux of similar vintage, and I'm not referring to a particular distro, rather the OS the Free Software Foundation promotes. Does anyone know where I can find documentation on the internals of GNU/Linux as it was around the end of 2006?

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The FSF does not maintain Linux, they maintain Hurd. – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Sep 25 '10 at 20:35
What are you trying to compare? OS features? Performance? – Velociraptors Sep 25 '10 at 20:41
Since when did anyone use Windows NT x.0 - thought that ended with Winblows NT 4...? – t0mm13b Sep 25 '10 at 21:15
@tommieb75: "XP", "Vista", etc. are names. They are still versions of a product line called "Windows" (or "Windows NT" if you want to be picky) and do have actual version numbers. – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Sep 25 '10 at 21:22
Putting aside the issue that no one maintains an official GNU/Linux operating system (Linux being the kernel and the GNU tools being separate), there are also no versions other than the distributions because everything in the system undergoes continuous incremental updates. The linux kernel version system looks like major.minor.patch where major has been 2 for more than a decade and minor (even for stable and off for development) has be 6 for several years. The patch number changes regularly and is currently 30ish. However, features are often added without changing even the minor version. – dmckee Sep 25 '10 at 22:29
up vote 1 down vote accepted

The best I could do was use Google's Archive Search and then 'Advanced' to restrict it to 2006 Linux compared to Windows, year 2006. Other than that I can't really say, as others mentioned maybe choose a popular distro from around that time.

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Comparing is complicated, these are mostly orthogonal approaches to computing.

Windows is more straightforward for daily use. It is achieved mostly by hiding everything from the user, to the point that advanced users have a hard time finding things. An operating system based on Free Software, like GNU/Linux distros, is less straightforward to nowadays average users.

Free Software never has anti-features, since being Free means that anti-features could be easily detected and fixed, and demoralize a project. No spyware, no malware, not even nagware. A Free Software will never consume your computer cycles and bandwidth doing stuff you wouldn't want it to do. It may be checking digital signatures from the distributor for your own security but you can disable it.

In general Linux is are stable and reliable, and in general more forward compatible (Think of MS Word format that suddenly starts saving documents in a format that is not even recognized by the MS Word sold a year before). And they cost zero dollars in royalties.

If you take the HD of a Windows computer and plug it on another computer, it will go crazy about not having the drivers and not understanding that hardware at all. If it has a standard Ubuntu install for instance, unless the other computer is too new or too old, it will work out of the box.

Windows comes in a DVD and can be installed in a few languages, or sometimes comes even bound to a given one. Most GNU/Linux distros come in a CD, and Ubuntu comes in several many languages.

Ah, Not all Free Software is promoted/endorsed by FSF.

Linux fully supports Windows filesystems. Windows does not support Linux filesystems at all.

Linux supports many standard secure encryption schemes out-of-the-box.

But for the Desktop applications, mail clients, web browsers, Office suites, media management, etc., I feel that at that time (2006), most of well-known Free Software was much less developed than it is now.

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Could forcing everything to be edited in text configuration files be an anti-feature? It certainly is to me. – Billy ONeal Sep 26 '10 at 2:00
If it bothers you and you don't understand a reason why it is so, then it is definitely a drawback. If you can progam a little bit you may develop a GUI for that. You won't be a criminal by doing that. It's not fobidden or even discouraged. An anti-feature is something that a software inside my computer intentionally does, and that I would be happy to have it being simply skipped. All systems have highlights and drawbacks. But not every drawback is an anti-feaure, only systems you are not allowed to modify and redistribute can possibly have anti-features. – user39559 Sep 27 '10 at 12:11

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