Let’s be clear on this: I use Linux a lot. It has been my desktop OS of choice for the last 10 years or so, and I’ve used it on countless projects in the last 10-15 years. Therefore, I also upgrade it a lot.
Comparatively I use Windows when I have to, which isn’t really that often. So the stats here are skewed against Linux.
But even so, every Linux update I have done in the last 10-15 years has been pretty painless. On Linux I have never been constantly nagged to do an update or had one done without my permission. Rarely has it taken more than 10 seconds of my time to approve an update (or to run the update command). Rarely has it interfered with my operation of the computer beyond that and the very, very occasional need to reboot. And then, rarely has that reboot taken longer than a minute or so (most of which is due to the BIOS/EFI). I can count the number of times an official distro update has failed on me on the fingers of one hand.
But adding all of those 10-20 seconds and occasional minutes up over the hundreds of times I’ve done Linux updates in that time, I reckon the aggregate time I have had to wait for Linux to do upgrades can’t be more than around 30-40 minutes. The last Windows upgrade I did took more than 4 hours!
I am, of course, talking about downtime here folks. Linux upgrades take time to download and time to install. The difference is, none of that impacts the user. Whereas, for a Windows system, this is an all-too-common sight:
In fact, I have worked at several large companies where it’s common to see Windows Laptop users walking around the office with their laptops precariously held, lids open, waiting for the damn thing to finish upgrading so they can shut it down. Equally, it was fairly common to see people groan in the morning when they went to start up their PC to see it come up with an “Updating” message.
I am also, talking about mainstream Linux distro upgrades applied to desktop/laptop machinees. I’m not counting the times I have “upgraded” Linux distros by compiling my own kernel although, I reckon in a lot of cases, I could download, compile, install and boot a new Linux kernel in the time taken for some Windows upgrades. I’m also not counting the times I’ve upgraded servers, as I have probably done thousands of those updates in the last decade. Having said that, they have been equally painless and I probably could include them.
How much is this costing companies in lost productivity? I’m not sure if any wide-ranging study has been done, but at one company I did a project at, one employee measured his own lost time due to Windows upgrades, and he reckoned he was losing approximately half a day per month. That’s 6 days per year per employee!
That’s crazy! Especially when there are viable alternatives.