Windows Vs. Linux: The real facts - Microsoft Windows

This is a discussion on Windows Vs. Linux: The real facts - Microsoft Windows ; >From listening to the zealots and both sides and trying both operating systems on my own, I have come to the following conclusion: To say without qualification that Linux is better than Windows or vice versa is completely ridiculous. The ...

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  1. Windows Vs. Linux: The real facts

    >From listening to the zealots and both sides and trying both operating
    systems on my own, I have come to the following conclusion: To say
    without qualification that Linux is better than Windows or vice versa
    is completely ridiculous. The truth is that Linux was developed
    through most of its history with Unix roots to be a multi-user/server
    operating system and
    is gradually being adapted for use as a desktop OS, while the opposite
    is true of Windows: It was developed through most of its history to be
    a
    single-user/desktop OS with DOS and, in the NT line, OS/2 roots and is
    gradually being adapted for use as a server OS. To examine the
    validity of this statement, let's look at some of the different needs
    of the two environments.

    The most important needs in the multi-user/server environment are as
    follows, in no particular order:

    1. Security - Linux wins this hands down. Microsoft is scrambling to
    improve its security to compete in this environment.

    2. Performance - Benchmarks clearly show that Linux is faster than
    Windows. Also, the modularity of Linux makes it possible to disable
    unneeded components to cut down on overhead. Advantage goes to Linux.

    3. Reliability - Linux was designed from the ground up to go for
    months or years without a reboot. Improving the reliability of Windows
    has been a painstaking process and it is still not even close to Linux.

    4. Flexibility - Linux has the ultimate in flexibility: Anyone can
    modify the source code. Even short of that, it was designed from the
    ground up to be highly customizable. It runs on all kinds of
    computers, not just x86 PCs. It is highly scalable and useful for
    everything from embedded devices to supercomputers. Windows only runs
    on x86 PCs and maybe a few other obscure platforms.

    Now, let's look at the most important needs of the desktop environment.
    Note that the qualities that are important in a server/multi-user
    environment are still important in a desktop environment, but not to
    the same degree.

    1. Usability - Microsoft designed Windows with usability for the
    average Joe in mind. All configuration can be done from GUIs and the
    user is presented with a consistent GUI interface to basically
    everything. Linux is not far behind with its KDE and Gnome
    environments, but they are somewhat less consistent across
    distributions and versions.

    2. Available applications - Microsoft has the advantage here, although
    Linux is improving. While this is partly because Linux is much less
    popular, the more stable (stable as in doesn't constantly change and
    break stuff, not stable as in doesn't crash) APIs and ABIs of Windows
    help too.

    3. Hardware support - No user wants to spend days trying to compile
    drivers or be stuck with a paperweight. However, on a server nobody is
    going to be plugging random hardware in and expecting it to work.
    Microsoft realized that desktop users want good hardware support and
    made a stable driver ABI, at a great expense in terms of flexibility.
    Linux has yet to do anything to make the process of writing and
    distributing a driver anywhere near as easy as Windows because the
    ultimate solution, the stable ABI, would sacrifice too much
    flexibility.

    4. Consistency - Microsoft has a huge advantage here because it
    controls Windows, whereas a Linux distro is a patchwork of different
    open-source packages. There is an obvious tradeoff between consistency
    and flexibility. Also, with APIs and ABIs that are consistent across
    versions and distributions, Linux would have much better hardware
    support and applicaiton availability. Finally, a consistent user
    interface is an important part of making a usable system. Much is
    being done to address this in Linux, most importantly the Linux
    Standards Base Project.

    Now let's see here, Microsoft is strong in the four most important
    categories for a desktop OS and Linux is strongest in the most
    important four things for a server OS. This has a lot to do with their
    histories. Microsoft is making tremendous strides addressing most of
    what is wrong with Windows as a server OS. The open source community
    is making great strides in addressing what is wrong with Linux as a
    desktop OS. The bottom line is that to say that either of these two
    OSes is simply "better" than the other is simply ridiculous. Linux is
    the better server/multi-user OS and Windows is the better desktop OS.
    Even this, however, could change in the future.


  2. Re: Windows Vs. Linux: The real facts

    congratulations to you both
    two very good contributions

    my opinion is that windows must go open source to rurvive
    windows is about to colapse because of the development costs, and the
    open source has a huge capacity not shown yet.

    the big problem are the kids. because of the comercial way of live
    windows does not want people to develop.
    they should use programs not write software.

    more and more companies talk about implementig linux on the desctops.
    more and more people download and test linux distributions.

    some day bill gates will and then he will see that he been wrong all
    this years.

    regards
    Chr. Eichert

  3. Re: Windows Vs. Linux: The real facts


    Christian Eichert wrote:
    > congratulations to you both
    > two very good contributions


    Thank you.

    > my opinion is that windows must go open source to rurvive
    > windows is about to colapse because of the development costs, and the
    > open source has a huge capacity not shown yet.


    That's a pretty fair assessment. Microsoft may have a new lease, since
    they have now been able to re-enter the UNIX market by obtaining a
    license from SCO. Prior to the SCO/Caldera merger, Microsoft could
    only reenter the UNIX market if they got permission from SCO. It was
    such an important strategic agreement, that SCO listed the Xenix
    contract among it's most valuable tangible assets.. Microsoft gave SCO
    $7 million and got BayStar to give them roughly $40 million, and SCO
    gave Microsoft "carte blanche" permission to reenter the Unix market.

    At minumum this means that Microsoft has unrestricted access to AT&T,
    BSD, and Public Domain source code written for UNIX. That could be a
    big help.

    > the big problem are the kids. because of the comercial way of live
    > windows does not want people to develop.
    > they should use programs not write software.


    Actually, it's very interesting. Baby Boomers got used to "Freeze
    Dried Instant Microwavable Success", but the slackers those born in the
    1960s and 1970s, were pressed to create and innovate and create their
    own opportunities. These were the "punks" who create web sites in
    "Internet Cafes" using a laptop and cellular phone. Many of them never
    saw customers face to face, but instead had a "face" or agent
    representing them.

    The "Slackers" have turned out to be anything BUT lazy. They were the
    first to learn HTML, Perl, and PHP to build portals. They were the
    first to adopt Jakarta, Struts, and JBOSS to build web services, and
    they were using Linux by the time they were 12 - because they couldn't
    afford to buy brand-new hardware at premium prices to get the latest
    versions of Windows.

    And the kids born in the 1980s, are even more Linux loving. Many of
    them got the hand-me-down PCs that wouldn't run the latest versions of
    Windows, but for a few bucks and/or an hour or two worth of download
    time, they could install Linux.

    > more and more companies talk about implementig linux on the desktops.


    The irony is that most of the major OEMs now realize that the ability
    to run Linux is critical to the success of any product line they wish
    to launch, - especially any machine based on 64 bit technology.

    At the same time, the OEMs still ship these machine with Windows
    because even Linux users want some level of Windows backward
    compatibility and an OEM Windows license gives them coverage for that
    functionality.


    > more and more people download and test linux distributions.


    Also significant is that so many machines are now running Linux, Open
    Source, and other "hybrid" solutions. It's getting harder and harder
    to tell when a desktop is really a Windows system. It might be running
    cygwin - which provides most Linux applications (though slightly out of
    date these days). It might be running Linux under VMPlayer. Or it
    might be running Linux under Microsoft Virtual PC.

    Or maybe it's really a Linux machine in which Windows applications are
    running under WINE or Crossover. Or perhaps they are running Xen or
    Win4Lin. Or perhaps they are using VMWare or Bochs. So the native
    hardware isn't even Windows anymore, it's Linux. Windows is running in
    a virtual machine - thinking that it has control of the hardware.

    > some day bill gates will and then he will see that he been wrong all
    > this years.


    Bill Gates has been really "freaked' a few times in his life.

    When Steve Jobs showed up at a computer show with his Apple II and blew
    MITS out of the marketplace.

    When DRI introduced both GEM and DR-DOS which actually worked, while
    Microsoft was still struggling to get Windows 286 to run properly.

    When Solaris suddenly captured 15% of the corporate desktop market with
    their IPC and SLC "lunchbox" and "pizza box" workstations - usually
    paired with X11 terminals.

    When the "Internet" - a global network based on TCP/IP suddenly went
    from being a research and government network to being a network with
    unrestricted access to customers and publishers - and the core
    technology was all UNIX and Linux.

    When Linux came out with "Plug-and-Play" and Red Hat was willing to
    offer their product to OEMs on a nonexclusive basis for less than
    $2/copy.

    When Corel partnered with some motherboard manufacturers and offered
    Corel Linux at 50 cents/copy - to be shipped with every motherboard
    sold. Millions of "White Box" Linux systems were created this way.

    When AMD offered 64 bit capability which was better supported by Linux
    than by Microsoft, and HP began shipping several product lines based on
    AMD-64 technology.

    When FireFox and OpenOffice each found a market in over 100 million
    desktop machines.

    Microsoft can still claim to have the lion's share of the market based
    on all of the machines sold in the last 10 years and the operating
    system originally installed on all of those machines, but even
    Microsoft is watching numbers very closely and has begun responding.

    The "Fast Facts" and Microsoft's intense advertizing campaign to try
    and get people to read them, are just one indicator of how much of a
    threat Linux and Open Source have actually created.

    Based on such indicators as browser surveys, license and download
    history, and financial statements from Linux companies, Linux is
    growing at phenomenal rates. Furthermore, current estimates are that
    Microsoft will sell 100 million licenses to OEMs. Nearly 50 million
    machines (including many of those sold this year) will be converted
    "after-market" to some form of Linux. Furthermore, nearly 100 million
    machines will be running at least some form of Open Source software
    (FireFox, OpenOffice, Cygwin, Thunderbird...)..

    > regards
    > Chr. Eichert



  4. Re: Windows Vs. Linux: The real facts

    Thank you for the very interesting and informative post. You pointed out
    some things I didn't know, only one thing is not very clear to me: how, and
    at which point in time, did MS get the power to force OEMs to sell
    windows-only PCs?

    > Microsoft quashed this
    > little insurrection by bundling Windows with MS-DOS and telling OEMs
    > that EVERY PC they shipped had to ship with Windows. *This was also
    > when Microsoft first started using preinstallation.
    >


    I mean, at the time MS was not (yet) the giant it is nowadays; where did
    they get all that "persuasion" power?

    Ciao
    Marcello

  5. Re: Windows Vs. Linux: The real facts

    On Sat, 18 Feb 2006 15:13:26 +0000, becco wrote:

    > Thank you for the very interesting and informative post. You pointed out
    > some things I didn't know, only one thing is not very clear to me: how, and
    > at which point in time, did MS get the power to force OEMs to sell
    > windows-only PCs?
    >
    >> Microsoft quashed this
    >> little insurrection by bundling Windows with MS-DOS and telling OEMs
    >> that EVERY PC they shipped had to ship with Windows. *This was also
    >> when Microsoft first started using preinstallation.
    >>

    >
    > I mean, at the time MS was not (yet) the giant it is nowadays; where did
    > they get all that "persuasion" power?


    Exclusive OS supplier = substantial discounts on the wholesale OS price.


  6. Re: Windows Vs. Linux: The real facts

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    On 2005-11-19, dsimcha@gmail.com spake thusly:
    >>From listening to the zealots and both sides


    Not to be nit-picky, but I have always wondered what is meant
    by 'zealots' as applied to operating systems. IMHO, there are
    those who are very enthusiatic about a particular OS, and those
    who are obnoxious about it. The latter would be obnoxious no
    matter what the topic. I think zealot is a fairly meaningless
    description in the world of computers.

    > and trying both operating
    > systems on my own, I have come to the following conclusion: To say
    > without qualification that Linux is better than Windows or vice versa
    > is completely ridiculous.


    I think you are completely right, keeping in mind an emphasis on
    the words *without qualification* . It's a choice and as with any
    choice, there are many reasons why some prefer one over the other.

    > The truth is that Linux was developed
    > through most of its history with Unix roots to be a multi-user/server
    > operating system and
    > is gradually being adapted for use as a desktop OS, while the opposite
    > is true of Windows: It was developed through most of its history to be
    > a
    > single-user/desktop OS with DOS and, in the NT line, OS/2 roots and is
    > gradually being adapted for use as a server OS. To examine the
    > validity of this statement, let's look at some of the different needs
    > of the two environments.


    Almost true. Originally Linux was never intended to be a Unix replacement
    at the time of it's development. Linus Torvalds wrote the entire Kernel
    himself and not one line of code is borrowed from Unix. It was actually
    a project he worked on while at university, and according to all accounts,
    he wrote it because he was intrigued by Minix, a system that was
    developed by a professor of computer science specifically for teaching
    purposes. At about the same time, Richard Stallman was writing a series
    of compilers and debuggers, and unix compatible support utilities, command
    shells etc. Again, it was all original code that he wrote, with no Unix
    code at all. He did this with the intention of writing his own operating
    system that he decided to call Hurd. Unfortunately, Hurd was not to be.

    He called his work, collectively, GNU which was a bit of a recursive joke
    standing for "Gnu is Not Unix".

    The two complemented each other, and eventually became the beginings
    of what is known today as Linux, or as some would more particularly
    call it, GNU/Linux.

    AFAIK, the system was not developed with a particular use in mind, be it
    destop, mainframe, or server environments. I suspect this was because
    it was flexible and robust enough to serve in any role. Early on it
    became a major player in server systems because of the stability it
    offered, the scaleability, and low maintenance. IMO this is why it was
    sometimes percieved as a server specific OS with no desktop potential.

    A major difference between it and MSDos was that Linux was designed from
    the bottom up to be a multiuser system (as you pointed out), with network
    support. MSdos was specifically designed as a single user system,
    presumably so that the system would boot directly into userspace rather
    than an account. The original version of windows was nothing more
    than a GUI frontend for MSdos. Each subsequent version built on this
    framework (up to XP?), which is part of the reason that there have
    been so many problems with security and stability; the system was new
    when it was originally written, and these issues were not considered
    at the time.

    It was easy to write a GUI(s) for Linux because they are actually
    interchangable, seperate, applications. It's kind of like Lego's; you
    don't like the blue ones, you snap them out and plug in the green ones.
    For a long time, however, there was not a great need for a
    GUI because most who were using Linux were doing so very efficiently
    from the command line. This had to change eventually for the benefit of
    new users who were not accustomed to the concept of using a computer
    without a GUI. As you noted, Linux has come a long way in developing
    good GUI's. There are now many very good GUI's to choose from, and overall
    system installation has been made very easy in most cases.

    Dynamic libraries notwithstanding, Windows is an imbedded system merging such
    things as the GUI and internet applications (such as explorer) into the OS.
    Unfortunately, this makes it *very* difficult to add new features to the
    codebase without bugs, and with efficiency of operation. This is one reason
    why the addition of networking to windows, and a networking specific windows
    version, have had, and continue to have, problems in many areas.

    > The most important needs in the multi-user/server environment are as
    > follows, in no particular order:
    >
    > 1. Security - Linux wins this hands down. Microsoft is scrambling to
    > improve its security to compete in this environment.
    > 2. Performance - Benchmarks clearly show that Linux is faster than
    > Windows. Also, the modularity of Linux makes it possible to disable
    > unneeded components to cut down on overhead. Advantage goes to Linux.
    >
    > 3. Reliability - Linux was designed from the ground up to go for
    > months or years without a reboot. Improving the reliability of Windows
    > has been a painstaking process and it is still not even close to Linux.


    This is very true. Frankly, and in retrospect this is an interesting
    reason, I made my choice to swich to Linux for it's impressive
    uptime, lack of the need to reboot for the purpose of fixing problems,
    and a thorough weariness with blue screens of death.

    > 4. Flexibility - Linux has the ultimate in flexibility: Anyone can
    > modify the source code. Even short of that, it was designed from the
    > ground up to be highly customizable. It runs on all kinds of
    > computers, not just x86 PCs. It is highly scalable and useful for
    > everything from embedded devices to supercomputers. Windows only runs
    > on x86 PCs and maybe a few other obscure platforms.
    >
    > Now, let's look at the most important needs of the desktop environment.
    > Note that the qualities that are important in a server/multi-user
    > environment are still important in a desktop environment, but not to
    > the same degree.
    >
    > 1. Usability - Microsoft designed Windows with usability for the
    > average Joe in mind. All configuration can be done from GUIs and the
    > user is presented with a consistent GUI interface to basically
    > everything. Linux is not far behind with its KDE and Gnome
    > environments, but they are somewhat less consistent across
    > distributions and versions.


    An interesting point to note is the difference in philosophies between
    Linux architecture, and Windows. Windows users value a consistent,
    one-size-fits-all, interface. This is obviously because once you
    have learned the ins and outs, you can use any windows computer
    anywhere with relative ease. This *obviously* has definite advantages,
    and it is understandable that many people prefer it.

    Linux users that haven't migrated from another OS, tend to value
    the many choices that allow total customization of the work environment,
    perhaps most notably, the enormous choice of GUI's that are avaiable.

    > 2. Available applications - Microsoft has the advantage here, although
    > Linux is improving. While this is partly because Linux is much less
    > popular, the more stable (stable as in doesn't constantly change and
    > break stuff, not stable as in doesn't crash) APIs and ABIs of Windows
    > help too.


    Windows has more stable API's? No. If I understand you correctly
    this is what you are saying. Linux is definetly more stable on all
    fronts, but windows definetly has more *commercial* software titles.
    Hands down. Having said that, there is so much high quality Open Source
    Software available that runs on Linux, Commercial products aren't even
    missed by the average Linux user. Every possible need has a software
    solution in Linux, from Office Suites (Koffice, OpenOffice etc.) to
    telescope control and astronomy software (Kstars, Stellarium), to
    packet radio software. In fact, it is safe to say that Linux has more
    software available for more varied tasks than Windows does, just not
    in the same form as some users would expect, but in most cases just
    as easy to use, and pleasant on the eyes. Kstars is an excellent example.
    I was excited to find Kstars because I needed a good astronomy program
    that had telescope control support. Another Linux'er steered me to it,
    And it is an amazing program.

    The one area really lacking (in my experience) is games. However
    my philosophy is, you want games, buy an XBox ;-)

    > 3. Hardware support - No user wants to spend days trying to compile
    > drivers or be stuck with a paperweight. However, on a server nobody is
    > going to be plugging random hardware in and expecting it to work.
    > Microsoft realized that desktop users want good hardware support and
    > made a stable driver ABI, at a great expense in terms of flexibility.
    > Linux has yet to do anything to make the process of writing and
    > distributing a driver anywhere near as easy as Windows because the
    > ultimate solution, the stable ABI, would sacrifice too much
    > flexibility.


    Sorry, not true.

    Linux has automounting of hardware, which means that when you "plug"
    hardware in, or change a disk in the DVD-Burner (etc.), the hardware
    is "activated" or "deactivated" (mounting) as need be, automatically.

    Linux dosen't require a driver to be installed for every hardware (and
    many software) additions the way Windows (often) does. Support is routinely
    already there, and maintained through updates to the system which are
    usually set up by the installer to run as nightly cron jobs,
    (automated tasks). For instance, every night at four in the morning,
    YUM (yellow dog updater, the fedora core linux update program) runs on
    my system, updating every single application, server, utility and modules
    for which updates are available. I believe new kernel versions are
    downloaded as well. Hardware support used to be an issue at one time,
    but isn't anymore. No flexibility is sacrificed; since Linux is a modular
    system, it takes 2 minutes to add a new feature to the system. Example;
    I didn't need to get a driver from netgear to install my Ethernet cards.
    I just added the natsemi module to the Kernel, and it was up and running
    immediately. Natsemi was already in the /lib/modules directory. This is
    one reason Linux users don't freak if their is no support for Linux
    mentioned on a hardware box. Four out of five dentists agree that
    it'll work just fine.

    When I went to Fedora, every peice of hardware was detected and setup
    automatically by the installer, even the non-standard stuff like my
    superdisk drive.

    Try a live CD like Damn Small Linux, a full distro on a 210 meg cd-rom
    to get a feel for how well supported hardware is under Linux.

    http://www.damnsmalllinux.org/

    Knoppix is another good choice:

    http://www.knopper.net/knoppix/index-en.html

    Neither will install on your system unless you tell them to,
    they run directly from the CD drive, so windows won't even know
    you're dating another girl.

    > 4. Consistency - Microsoft has a huge advantage here because it
    > controls Windows, whereas a Linux distro is a patchwork of different
    > open-source packages. There is an obvious tradeoff between consistency
    > and flexibility. Also, with APIs and ABIs that are consistent across
    > versions and distributions, Linux would have much better hardware
    > support and applicaiton availability. Finally, a consistent user
    > interface is an important part of making a usable system. Much is
    > being done to address this in Linux, most importantly the Linux
    > Standards Base Project.
    >
    > Now let's see here, Microsoft is strong in the four most important
    > categories for a desktop OS and Linux is strongest in the most
    > important four things for a server OS. This has a lot to do with their
    > histories. Microsoft is making tremendous strides addressing most of
    > what is wrong with Windows as a server OS.


    The problem is, they aren't. Which is somewhat understandable for reasons
    already stated.

    > The open source community
    > is making great strides in addressing what is wrong with Linux as a
    > desktop OS. The bottom line is that to say that either of these two
    > OSes is simply "better" than the other is simply ridiculous. Linux is
    > the better server/multi-user OS and Windows is the better desktop OS.
    > Even this, however, could change in the future.


    While I don't completely agree with all your assessments, I think you are
    spot on with you comment about which is better. Argueing about which OS
    has the longer schlong is pretty silly. It's about choice, and users
    should use what works for them and what is most comfortable.

    Regards,

    Mathew




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