Windows and Linux are synonyms for licensed software and open source software. A licensed software, like the windows, is a one for which the users have to pay a fee. In return, they get software services, customer support and updates. On the other hand, open source software are those tailored by various computer professionals as well as hobbyists. Available free of cost, open source software are considered as a form of democratic system policy in the computer word. This article explains head to toe of what do Windows and Linux represent and how can one make a wise choice while choosing the operating system in the little precious powerful semiconductor pile up machine.
Microsoft Windows has been important, dominating Operating System for years now and has millions of users especially with Windows XP, Vista, 7 and will have more with the soon to be launched, Windows 8. However, it has suffered lot of criticism for security concerns and sudden system failures. Linux has been an innovative introduction as no single company owns it and during a recent Linux World conference, Linux proponents proudly celebrated Linux’s increasing importance in the world of operating systems.
GRAPHICAL USER INTERFACE (GUI)
Windows is a complete operating environment while Linux is a kernel, not a complete operating system, developed from base UNIX. Windows has a single interface and Linux initially had no no in-built GUI interface but users were free to choose among many commercially available GUI X-Window interfaces like Gnome, KDE, Motif which enable a different look and feel. Now Linux OS like Fedora and Ubuntu do give a GUI as a default feature.
Microsoft is the sole owner of Windows while Linux comes from different companies like Red Hat, SuSe, Mandrake, Knopping, Slackware and more. In Linux, not only the OS is free but almost all application software are also available free of cost. Being an open source OS, Linux can be modified by the users to its very core and has a dynamic improvement. As one proceeds down to read the article, Linux developers all over the world might have created another useful feature for the users. This confirms that the number of bugs is comparatively very less in Linux environment. People can change code and add programs which obviously help to use your computer better. Windows is a closed source application and user has to license it as well as some important software like word and spreadsheet applications. No changes to the source code of the system can be made.
INSTALLATION CAPABILITIES & SUPPORT
There are three ways to install Windows: Clean install, an Upgrade install and a Repair and a Recovery install which would use a disk image backup. Linux has its own installation programs. A general view is that installing Linux on a computer without an existing OS is much easier than with an existing OS. Linux can be installed in any number of machines while Windows, you are eligible to install it on the number of licenses you purchase. Linux has a huge community with Forums and you can also buy support from Linux companies while Windows you can buy paid support form Microsoft. There are many versions of Linux but for a starter Ubuntu is considered to be the most suitable. .
Booting is possible in Windows from a primary partition while Linux can boot from a primary partition or a logical partition. Linux based OS “Ubuntu” comes with a feature that provides pen drive based booting and installing. Windows being a closed source uses hidden file for its swap file whereas Linux uses a dedicated partition for its swap file. Windows must boot form the primary hard disk while Linux can boot from any hard disk in the computer.
EASE OF USE
If you use Linux you need to type instructions into the command line interface or shell whereas Windows has a GUI with lot more options easily understood by the user. Linux typically provides two GUI’s as KDE and Gnome. Recently, Linux has also been found to largely improve on graphical interfaces as well as providing a soothing user experience.
DIFFERENT RUN LEVEL SUPPORT
Linux has inherent ability to stop at different run levels wherein you can work either from the command line (run level 3) or the GUI (run level 5). With Windows you have a command line via Safe Mode but there aren’t tools that you need to fix up a problem. Having different run levels is definitely more helpful.
CRASHING, FREEZING AND SECURITY PROBLEMS
It is true that Linux crashes and freezes significantly lesser than Windows as Linux’s underlying architecture is more mature and stable and can run without any problems for many months or even years without being rebooted. Your chances of security flaws are less with Linux whereas Windows suffers from repeated virus attacks or worm attacks.
If you are a thorough Gamer, Windows will be your destiny as you can enjoy whole range of entertainment with it.
Windows and Linux can be installed on same hardware platform and if hardware configurations are reasonable, both of them can be used on the same machine but one user can operate one OS at a time. Linux has never been known for high ROM and RAM requirements, while with every OS Windows progresses, a higher requirement for hardware is there. Though it turns out to be useful in providing some essential and beneficial user services, it renders the older hardware useless and later, lifeless. This is where Linux strikes again. A computer enthusiast can install this hackable system on a modest computer that is obsolete for Windows and still get the same feature as the Windows does.
Both of these OS have some strong advantages as they are easily compatible both with desktop and portable computers and being human made, they have certain disadvantages. Windows is widely accepted everywhere and has plethora of GUI’s and has millions of software packages that run under it. Linux is more developer oriented, solid and exhaustively smooth running and in many ways is more streamlined but it lacks the commercial factors that strengthen Windows. Most of the computer hardware manufacturers integrate their systems with Windows and Linux gets less priority. Though now portable computing is now coming to Linux and open source systems like Android, it is still a long way in terms of reaching the masses like the Windows has.