Comparison of the two Giants – Linux vs. Windows

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Even if you’re a dedicated Windows user you have probably at least heard of Linux, and it may be possible you even know a few people who swear by Linux. It wouldn’t be unreasonable for you to often wonder whether Windows or Linux is the better operating system. One thing to remember is Linux is different than Windows. You may download Linux thinking you’re getting a free souped up version of Windows.

Many people do this and are disappointed because they have to learn the ins and outs of Linux, but most people find once they are familiar with the operating system it is fairly easy to use. Windows was the first operating system to break away from DOS and is very user friendly, but it is not without its problems. Each product has its benefits and drawbacks. To determine which operating system comes out on top each deciding factor should be looked at.

Price

As a whole Linux is a free download that can be installed on any computer, in comparison Windows comes with price range of $60 to $200. Another price consideration is that the Linux Software is usually available for free and can easily be downloaded directly onto your computer. Software for Windows can range in price from $20 to well over $200. A final price consideration is that Windows is constantly putting out new window versions that cause users to replace their games and software.

Reliability

Linux is known for solid reliability and can often be run for months without ever having to be rebooted. In contrast Windows has always had reliability problems that require the user to stop what they’re doing and reboot. Additionally with Windows, the user constantly has to download patches to improve reliability issues. New versions of Windows are being developed constantly. For example, programs and software for Windows 3 are not compatible with Windows Vista or Windows 7.

As Windows keeps fine tuning and upgrading their operating systems, users have to purchase new programs and reinstall data to keep up with the current version of Windows they choose. Linux upgrades come as kernels and address the upgrades and operating issues all in one download. Linux is basically the same program it was when it was introduced. This is not to say it is a static program without advancement, but the advancements are easier and less traumatic to install and start to use.

Ease of Use

This is the area that personal preference really comes into play. All in all Linux has a higher ease of use platform, however it isn’t a natural ease of use and takes a little exploration to develop understanding. In contrast, Windows has a better ease of use for new users, the Windows operating system is practically plug and play. Linux does what Windows does, but it does it differently. Experienced Window users may find it harder to switch over to Linux than someone who is not as proficient with their computer since their habits are so ingrained.

With Windows the majority of the choices of programs and preferences have pretty much been made for users, Linux gives users many choices. This amount of freedom and choice may intimidate some users, and it is not uncommon for Window users to get frustrated and stick with Windows because of the amount of choices to make.

Security

Both operating systems can be attacked at any time; however Linux has always been very secure and as a result has fewer security problems. In actuality Windows has a higher level of vulnerability for both viruses and attacks. There have been online attacks on Windows operating systems in the past that were so severe that they were turned into national news.

Window has backdoors easily accessible to malware, viruses and computer hacks. Linux was designed without any of these doors so it is a much more secure operating system. Attacks and hacks on Linux are very infrequent. Users can use Linux with the confidence their computer and data are more secure than with Windows.

Support

Both Linux and Windows offer a great level of support. Linux has support available online through documents and many books. Windows like Linux also has a stream of support options online, however Windows support is superior to Linux in that it has a built in help solution in addition to an online chat option that will connect the user to a live person capable of walking them through any problem. If that weren’t enough they also have the ability to remotely connect to the users pc and repair any troubleshooting problem.

Linux support is a community of volunteers and former Window users may feel frustrated at the lack of speed in which they receive help. Window users are used to paid-for support and this means quick and dependable support for their operating system. Linux users realize their form of support comes from the community of fellow Linux users, websites or books. This culture shock may be one of the biggest hurdles to get over when considering switching to or installing Linux.

Making Your Choice

It’s clear that Linux is superior to Windows across the board, however new users and users that want the security of knowing there’s help when they need it, would be wise to stick with a Windows platform since support for Linux is purely on a volunteer basis. Users must also be ready to learn how to use Linux and realize it is not Windows. Many Linux users say once they learned the ins and outs of the operating system they found it easy to use and very secure.

For those who are ready to get a safer, more reliable and cost effective system, Linux is definitely the way to go. It really comes down to whether someone wants to stay within their comfort zone, or step out of it and spend a little time learning the basics behind everything that Linux has to offer.

Contributed by Jason Phillips, Jason’s immense knowledge on web designing, web hosting, and web development drives him to write exceptionally great articles. For more information visit his site Flash templates.

  • Caleb Begly

    “Windows has a higher level of vulnerability”
    “advancements are easier and less traumatic to install and start to use”
    “Users can use Linux with the confidence their computer and data are more secure than with Windows.”

    Ha, ha, ha. Lies, all lies. This article has an obvious slant.  In the author bio, the words “immense” and “exceptionally great articles” are jokes.  Try again, and this time, use facts with references instead of opinions.

    Of course, if this is simply an article to get people curious about linux, then the lying will do just that: and they will be disappointed.

    NOT inclined to read any more articles of yours, Jason Phillips.

  • Guest

    This is a fairly shallow comparison of Linux versus Windows.  How about using peripherals like printers and scanners?  How about PDF editing comparable to Adobe Acrobat or Foxit Phantom?  How about being being restricted to out-of-date software under Linux because the distro maintainer(s) haven’t included the most up-to-date version of a particular app?  What about the fact that Linux uses much lower resources (memory, disk space) than Windows?

    One last point.  In my comparisons of Linux vs Windows, I feel that the GUI in Windows (Windows 7) is much more polished than anything I’ve seen in Linux.  I think the GUI in Linux looks cartoonish.

  • Aklajwin

    This seems to be a slight modification on a comparison made years ago

    http://www.computerhope.com/issues/ch000575.htm

    If you would like people to take your articles seriously then you should at least create original works (or cite things you have copied)