Both Windows and Linux are Operating systems with their own advantages and differ in functionalities and user friendliness.
|What is it?||Linux is an example of Open Source software development and Free Operating System (OS).||Windows is the family of operating system (OS) from Microsoft, which is the most famous OS in the world.|
|Cost||Linux can be freely distributed, downloaded freely, distributed through magazines, Books etc. There are priced versions for Linux also, but they are normally cheaper than Windows.||For desktop or home use, Windows can be expensive. A single copy can cost around $50 to $ 450 depending on the version of Windows.|
|User||Everyone. From home users to developers and computer enthusiasts alike.||Everyone. From home users to developers and computer enthusiasts alike.|
|Manufacturer||Linux kernel is developed by the community. Linus Torvalds oversees things.||Microsoft created the Windows operating system, but allows other computer manufactures to distribute their own computers with Windows pre-installed.|
|Usage||Linux can be installed on a wide variety of computer hardware, ranging from mobile phones, tablet computers and video game consoles, to mainframes and supercomputers.||On PC's desktops, laptops, servers and some phones.|
|Development and Distribution||Linux is developed by Open Source development i.e. through sharing and collaboration of code and features through forums etc and it is distributed by various vendors.||Windows is developed and distributed by Microsoft.|
|GUI||Linux typically provides two GUIs, KDE and Gnome. But there are millions of alternatives such as LXDE, Xfce, Unity, Mate, twm, ect.||The Windows GUI is an integral component of the OS and is not replaceable. This is a huge con when it comes to Windows 8 Metro|
|File system support||Ext2, Ext3, Ext4, Jfs, ReiserFS, Xfs, Btrfs, FAT, FAT32, NTFS||FAT, FAT32, NTFS, exFAT|
|Text mode interface||BASH (Bourne Again SHell) is the Linux default shell. It can support multiple command interpreters.||Windows uses a command shell and each version of Windows has a single command interpreter with dos-like commands, recently there is the addition of the optional PowerShell that uses more Unix-like commands.|
|Price||Free but support is available for a price.||$50-$450|
|Security||Linux has had about 60-100 viruses listed till date. None of them actively spreading nowadays.||According to Dr. Nic Peeling and Dr Julian Satchell's “Analysis of the Impact of Open Source Software” there have been more than 60,000 viruses in Windows. Anti Virus cost about $20 to $400|
|Threat detection and solution||In case of Linux, threat detection and solution is very fast, as Linux is mainly community driven and whenever any Linux user posts any kind of threat, several developers start working on it from different parts of the world||After detecting a major threat in Windows OS, Microsoft generally releases a patch that can fix the problem and it can take more than 2/3 months. Sometimes sooner, Microsoft releases patches and updates weekly.|
|Processors||Dozens of different kinds.||Limited but most (80%)|
|Examples||Ubuntu, Fedora, Red Hat, Debian, Archlinux, Android etc.||Windows 8, 8.1, 7, Viata, XP|
|Gaming||Very few games available natively. Some games can be played through Wine, but often not all features are available.||Almost all games are compatible with Windows. Some CPU intensive and graphics intensive games are exclusive to Windows PC's.|
|User experience||Although there are many GUI applications, most of the work is done through Terminal (a console window), and if a problem arrises GUI is rarely usable to fix them.||Everything can be controlled through GUI and incompatibility problems are rare.|
|Graphics performance||Because hardware manufacturers, such as NVidia, often does not provide documentation for linux developers, drivers can not use full card performance.||Combined with newest DirectX versions and full graphics card support the performance is almost as good as it can get.|
|Killer features||Ksplice - kernel update without reboot||Internet Explorer, only takes 30 min. to load basic html|
|Company / developer||Linus Torvalds||Microsoft|
|Introduction (from Wikipedia)||Linux is a Unix-like and POSIX-compliant computer operating system assembled under the model of free and open source software development and distribution. The defining component of Linux is the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released||Microsoft Windows is a series of graphical interface operating systems developed, marketed, and sold by Microsoft. Microsoft introduced an operating environment named Windows on November 20, 1985 as a graphical operating system shell for MS-DOS.|
|Supported platforms||All||PowerPC: versions 1.0 - NT 4.0; DEC Alpha: versions 1.0 - NT 4.0; MIPS R4000: versions 1.0 - NT 4.0; IA-32: versions 1.0 - 8; IA-64: version XP; x86-64: versions XP - 8; ARM: version RT;|
|Default user interface||Gnome or KDE (Depends on distro)||Graphical (Windows Aero)|
|Preceded by||Basic Terminal (CLI)||MS-DOS|
|Source model||Open Source||Closed / Shared source|
|Update method||Many||Windows Update|
|Terminal||Multi Terminal Windows||--|
Windows first released as a part of Disk operating System(DOS) in the year of 1985. At that time Apple’s Macintosh was a very popular OS, as it introduced GUI to the world. So to increase the popularity of DOS, Bill Gates’s Microsoft bundled Windows 1 with the DOS at that time. But until Windows 3 which was released in 1990, achieve the success in the GUI based OS market. And with the release of Windows 95, in 1995, Microsoft became a household name in the OS market. From that time on, each Personal Computer comes with Windows OS as the preinstalled OS. The biggest achievement for Windows OS is that it is very user friendly, easy to understand, and it has the versatility to run with almost every different kind of Personal Computers.
Linux is based on the Multiuser OS UNIX, and it can be distributed freely. It is the brainchild of Mr, Linus Torvalds. Typically all underlying source code can be freely modified and used. Linux Kernel was first released for public use in 1991. The biggest achievement for Linux is that it is a multiuser OS and the Security and stability is better than Windows.
edit Market Share and user
According to the market research data of September 2007, on 92.63% of the world’s PCs, Windows is running, while only 0.8% PC users use Linux. The Home users, Multimedia enthusiasts mainly used Windows, where as for serious use, server application, Corporation servers are running on Linux. Irrespective of the GUI, many users find it is very difficult to use Linux as compared to Windows and so the appeal of Linux is very limited to common people. Also for licensing agreement with Microsoft, various PC vendors are entitled to bundle Windows OS with their PC. And for this Windows gain the initial market popularity over Linux. Though these days many PC vendor such as DELL, HP started to give Linux as the preinstalled OS to cut the cost of their PC system.
According to latest IDC report, Windows Server market is gaining popularity over Linux based Server. The annual rate at which Linux is growing in the x86 server space has fallen from around 53 percent in 2003 (45 percent globally), when Windows Server growth was in the mid-20 percent range, to a negative 4 percent growth (less than 10 percent globally) in calendar year 2006, IDC Quarterly Server Tracker figures show. Over the same time period, Windows has continued to report positive annual growth, outpacing the total growth rate in the x 86 markets by more than 4 percent in 2006, indicating that Linux has actually lost market share to Windows Server over this time. Linux servers now represent 12.7 percent of the overall server market while Windows server comprised 38.8 percent of all server revenue in Q1 of 2007(http://www.linux-watch.com/news/NS5369154346.html).
The main reason is that, while Linux Servers are looking for high performance computing and web serving, but Windows is apparently adopted on a much broader basis.
edit Threats and problems
Security and stability issues are the problems that every Windows user has faced. As Windows is the most widely used OS, so hackers, spammers target Windows frequently. Consumer versions of Windows were originally designed for ease-of-use on a single-user PC without a network connection and did not have security features built in from the outset. Microsoft releases security patches through its Windows Update service approximately once a month although critical updates are made available at shorter intervals when necessary.
Many a times also users of Windows OS faced the “BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH”, in which the program stop responding, and eventually the user has to restart the PC manually. This is very frustrating to the user as by this they may be loss valuable data.
On the other hand Linux is very stable and more secured than Windows. As Linux is community driven, developed through people collaboration and monitored constantly by the developers from every corner of the earth, any new problem raised can be solved within few hours and the necessary patch can be ready at the same time. Also Linux is based on the UNIX architecture which is a multi user OS, so it is much more stable than Single user OS Windows.
edit Multimedia, Gaming and Productivity applications
Both Linux and Windows OS are very rich in multimedia applications, though setting up sound and video options in older versions of Linux can be difficult for some users. The main advantage of Linux is that most of the multimedia applications are freely available, while in the case of Windows, users may have to pay a hefty amount to get the software although many Open Source/Free versions are often available. Moreover, if anyone buys a copy of Windows on a CD-ROM, he/she gets no application software with it, other than bundled Microsoft software. But if the same person buys a copy of Linux on a CD-ROM, it typically comes with lots of free application software, such as: Open Office, a complete free Office suite including Spreadsheets, Presentation etc. A new computer with Windows pre-installed may have additional application software but that is totally up to the PC vendor. But, each Linux distribution comes in multiple flavors; the more expensive versions come with more application software.
A major attraction of Windows is the library of games available for purchase. A majority of games support Windows and are released first for the Windows platform. Some of these games can be run on Linux with a compatibility layer like Wine, although Wine is difficult to set up and require different versions of it for various games. Others, and especially more modern games that rely on proprietary delivery systems, copy protection, Windows dependencies, or advanced acceleration features, may fail in Linux environment. Though there are exceptions, such as id Software's Doom and Quake. When a developer chooses to write graphics code in OpenGL instead of DirectX, Linux ports can become much easier.
edit Cost comparison
Windows is much more costly in organizational implementation purpose. As Windows Home is a single user OS, so for each PC, the organization needs to purchase a site license copy of Windows, which can be costly. Although, in developing countries and ones with oppressive governments, non-profits can receive a free site license from Microsoft. Where as for the implementation of Linux based solutions the organization only needs to obtain one copy. And as it can be freely distributed, the same copy can be used in all the 50 employees’ workstation. However, setup and support services may need to be purchased on an as-needed basis.
Current prices for some of these products are available on Amazon.com: