Every OS out there can be updated over the Internet. In fact, this functionality is a critical and important part of the OS, and updates are often done in an automated fashion. Windows has its Windows Update, Mac OS X has its Apple Software Update and Ubuntu has its main repositories.
We have measured the software update “access point” availability for these three operating systems during Q2 2008 (April, May, June). If that access point is unavailable or inaccessible, the operating system cannot connect and download updates.
So, how reliable are they?
It turns out that Microsoft wins this one hands down. Their Windows software update was available 100% of the time.
Apple had a respectable 99.9% uptime for its software update. It was only unavailable a total of 2 hours and 34 minutes.
Ubuntu on the other hand came off worse, with only a 98.64% availability for its main repository. That is a total of 1 day, 5 hours and 45 minutes in the three months of this survey. It should be noted, though, that Ubuntu’s repositories have mirrors around the world, so users can download packages from those as well.
About the survey:
The monitoring was done using Pingdom’s uptime monitoring service, performing a test once every five minutes. Downtime was always confirmed from two different locations.
For Apple’s software update we monitored the URL “swscan.apple.com/content/catalogs/index-1.sucatalog” which contains the index information necessary to receive new updates.
For Windows we monitored the URL “www.update.microsoft.com” which is used by Microsoft to distribute updates.
For Ubuntu we monitored the URL “archive.ubuntu.com” which is the main repository that contains all the packages that can be downloaded through Ubuntu. Again, it should be pointed out that there are other mirrors that can be used.