Both Windows and Linux are Operating systems with their own advantages and differ in functionality and user friendliness.

Comparison chart

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Linux

User Rating (2316):
  • current rating is 4.08/5
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Windows

User Rating (1060):
  • current rating is 3.59/5
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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. $119 - $199.99, $69 for students, $99 to upgrade to pro
User Everyone. From home users to developers and computer enthusiasts alike. Everyone
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. Developed and distributed by Microsoft.
Manufacturer Linux kernel is developed by the community. Linus Torvalds oversees things. Microsoft
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.
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.
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.
Available language(s) Multilingual Multilingual
License GNU/Free Proprietary
Default user interface Gnome or KDE Graphical (Windows Aero)
Source model Open Source Closed / Shared source
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;
Update method Many Windows Update
Preceded by Basic Terminal (CLI) MS-DOS

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, they do not get any 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 a lot 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.

The video below features a comparison of Linux-based Ubuntu 12 and Windows 8.

edit Threats and Problems

Every Windows user has faced security and stability issues. Since Windows is the most widely used OS, 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. 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 times users of Windows OS face the “BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH”, caused by the failure of the system to respond, and eventually the user has to manually restart the PC . This is very frustrating for the user since they may lose valuable data.

On the other hand, Linux is very stable and more secure 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 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:

edit Market Share and User Base

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.[1]

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 History

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.


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