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Linux Vs Windows

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The debate on Windows vs. Linux is truly an on going one with no end in site. Regardless how you come at this juncture you are usually a UNIX supporter or a customer of Microsoft OS and products who are grateful for products of Microsoft. We will in the following paragraphs try to compare the advantages and disadvantages of these different systems. We will give a brief description on the cost of these products, what kind of market-share these two systems hold, the availability of application software, and the different types of Hardware needed. We will briefly describe the functionality, performance, File System Comparisons, and the Security that comes with these products. On the Personal Computer show in December 2003 John C. Dvorak forecasted a brilliant outlook for Linux. His key points being: it's free, the applications are getting more mainstream, Open Office is a "remarkable" product, the GUI is pretty much like Windows, it's high quality, bullet proof and resistant to the thousands of Windows viruses and worms. If he owned a company with thousands of PCs, he would put everyone on Linux. To date the only organizations that we found using hundreds or thousands of Linux based computers are government agencies in countries all over the world. They may be driven by cost and/or security concerns. Some countries also may not like being beholden to a U.S. based company for so much of their software. For a long time because of Microsoft's aggressive marketing practices, millions of users who have no idea what an operating system is have been using Windows operating systems given to them when they purchased their PCs. Many others are not aware that there are operating systems other than Windows. Many users because of their familiarity with windows seem to think that system is overwhelmingly superior to any other products. When we start breaking down different aspects of these products we can see how it is adaptable to different situation. One system maybe bests for one situation the other for another situation.

In regards to cost for a desktop or home use, Windows is expensive, but Linux is very cheap or free. For server use, Linux is very cheap compared to Windows. Microsoft allows a single copy of Windows to be used on only one computer. In contrast, once you have purchased Linux, you can run it on any number of computers for no additional charge. As of January 2005, the upgrade edition of Windows XP Home Edition sells for about $100; XP Professional is about $200. The "full" version of XP Home is about $200; the full version of XP Professional is $300. Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition with 10 Client licenses is about $1,100. Wal-Mart can sell a Linux based computer for $200 whereas their cheapest Windows XP computer is $300. You can purchase various distributions of Linux in a box with a CD and manuals and technical support for around $40 to $80. Regular updates and ongoing support range from $35 a year for a desktop version of Linux to $1,500 for a high-end server version. August 2004 Red Hat started selling a desktop oriented version of Linux for under $6 per user per year. Computer World magazine quoted the chief technology architect at Merrill Lynch & Co. in New York as saying that "the cost of running Linux is typically a tenth of the cost of Microsoft alternatives." The head technician at oil company Amerada Hess manages 400 Linux servers by himself. He was quoted as saying "It takes fewer people to manage the Linux machines than Windows machines."

Microsoft's creative marketing made it possible for them to get a strangle hold on the other competitors in the market place. Their market share on the OS systems for a desktop is an incredible 90%. Microsoft striking deals with pc manufactures from early on made this possible for them. Most of today's users grew up on Windows so they are familiar with it. Industry seems to be pleased in using Windows for their low end systems, but for high-end more critical systems the marketplace seem to be leaning towards Linux systems. The Linux system is more reliable and less prone to breakdowns and crashes. The protection from viruses and worms is an incredible advantage Linux system has over Windows. Linux possesses much greater processing power than Windows. Linux Servers holds a 39.6 percent market share, while Windows makes up the second largest percentage of server operating systems with 32.2 percent market share. In comparing the cost and market-share each system has its edge in different situation. No one single type of operating system can offer universal answers to all your computing needs.

Availability of Application software

Both Windows and Linux come in many flavors. All the flavors of Windows come from Microsoft, the various distributions of Linux come from different companies (Linspire, Red Hat, SuSE, Ubuntu, Mandriva, Knoppix, Slackware, Lycoris). Windows has two main lines: Win9x, which consists of Windows 95, 98, 98SE, and NT class, which consists of Windows NT, 2000 and XP. (Burgess, 2001) Windows actually started, in the old days, with version 3.x which pre-dated Windows 95 by a few years. All the Linux distributions released around the same time frame will use the same kernel. (Burgess, 2001) They differ in the add on software provided, GUI, install process, price, documentation and technical support. Both Linux and Windows come in desktop and server editions. Linux is customizable in a way that Windows is not. There are many special purpose versions of Linux above and beyond the full blown distributions described above. For example, NASLite is a version of Linux that runs off a single floppy disk and converts an old computer into a file server. This ultra small edition of Linux is capable of networking, file sharing and being a web server. Both Linux and Windows provide a GUI and a command line interface. The Windows GUI has changed from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95 and to Windows 2000 and to Windows XP and is slated to change again with the next version of Windows. Windows XP has a themes feature that offers some customization of the look and feel of the GUI. (Burgess, 2001) Microsoft Windows Operating Systems are more accessible than the UNIX/Linux Operating Systems to the general public, because Microsoft has created a monopoly in favor of its products in the global PC market. However, one thing that Linux can do that Windows can not, is to run from a CD. To run Windows, it has to first be installed to your hard disk. Windows is broken to the point that it can't start up, there is a free program called Bart's Preinstalled Environment (BartPE) that can run a few Windows programs from a bootable CD. But the main point is that Windows can not run from a CD. Normally Linux also runs from a hard disk, but there



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