Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Answer to the Question of "what is the difference between Linux & Windows?"


That is a question that has many different answers, depending on what aspect of Windows or Linux you want to know about. Both are what are known as Operating Systems, and in this case, both are designed to work on the same type of hardware -- PCs, otherwise known as IBM Compatibles. There are enormous differences in the way that they behave at a technical level, but I suspect what you really want to know is how they differ from the perspective of an end user. This makes any answer I give somewhat subjective (users have different preferences and expectations of their computers), but I will do my best to give an answer that is generally accepted by the IT community.

Windows was introduced by Microsoft in 1983, and has been the dominant Operating System available for the PC since the early-nineties. As such, Microsoft has enjoyed great financial success, and Windows has had many years and incredible fiscal resources to evolve to meet the demands of the mass-market. There is an staggeringly rich set of features here, from very explicit, step-by-step user interfaces for the first time computer user, to powerful interfaces for the computer professional, and everything in between. By contrast, Linux achieved notoriety a bit later, in the mid-nineties, with a distribution known as Redhat, and although Linux was built on more mature, stable underpinnings (Unix), it did not enjoy nearly the same marketing or development budget that Microsoft threw behind Windows. In fact, the developers of Linux are commonly credited as founding the Open Source Software movement, which is the idea that software can be made better through the free sharing of its source code. In this philosophy, programmers often volunteer their time to develop software for free, as was done with Linux, and Linux is still available for free in its more basic forms. Companies like Redhat only make money by "packaging" Linux with printed documentation, extra software utilities, and setup wizards designed to make the installation of Linux and its subsequent software packages easier. Even so, the amount of money they are able to generate this way is paltry compared to the wealth of Microsoft (which makes most company's financials look paltry). Because of this, the marketing behind Linux has been miniscule compared to that of Windows, and its lack of acceptance among less technical users reflects this. A large reason is because Windows has established a very deeply-ingrained (and some have argued unfairly controlling) relationship with PC hardware manufacturers, ensuring that almost every new PC ships with Windows installed from day one. Given that they must satisfy the demands (though perhaps less than perfectly) of the majority of novice computer users, and add to that the amount of time and money that Windows has enjoyed to make itself accessible to these users, and it is easy to see why Windows is generally regarded as superior to Linux in the area of accessibility to novices. There are graphic user interfaces (abbreviated as GUI) present for almost everything you could want to do, and there is almost always more than one way to do it. In fact, one common criticism of Windows is that so many features have been layered on top of one another over the years, that it has become an overly-complicated, almost labyrinthine user experience. By contrast, some may find Linux to be more streamlined; however, there are still many equivalent features in Windows for which Linux does not provide a GUI, and the user is forced to type textual instructions into a command-line interface, or shell. While many power users consider this a plus, it is unrealistic to demand this of novice computer users, and novice users should bear this strongly in mind. All this being said, Linux still shines brilliantly in some areas that Windows seems to consistently flounder. Because the underlying architecture of Linux is more mature, stable, and secure than Windows, Linux "crashes" and "freezes" significantly less often, and can run continuously without problems for months or even years without being "rebooted". In addition, Linux does not suffer from the same security flaws as Windows, and your chances of contracting a virus, a worm, or some other form of predatory software is much lower. On an more subjective note, I suspect that given the same time and monetary advantages as Windows, Linux might have easily developed into a superior operating system in every regard.

As it stands today, they each have pros and cons. Windows is widely accepted everywhere, boasts an enormous plethora of GUIs, and has millions of software packages that run under it. But it is buggier, less secure, and sometimes feels cavernous. Linux is solid and smooth running, and feels more stream-lined to many. But what technical users call stream-lined, novices may interpret as spare, and sometimes barren or just plain missin. There are also fewer software packages available for it currently, though many of those that are available are free. As time goes by, and the Open Software Community develops more for Linux, these differences will shrink, but until there is financially powerful, unifying force (company) behind Linux, this author thinks it is doubtful they will go away all together.


Linux is open source, free under GNU, Windows is Lincesed os. Windows is developed by Microsoft. Whereas linux has many distributors such as redhat, mandrake etc. Linux is more secure, windows is less secure than linux in case of virus, worms.

== Answer ==

Linux has many distributors like Radhat, mandrake, Corel etc whereas windows has only Micrsoft. One more major difference is Linux works on both GUI & Console mode but windows only GUI. LINUX have multiuser, multitasking, multiprocessing, multiprogramming features


there are many differences, one being that all versions of linux are not the same, with the many distributions about, they all look the same but run a little differencetly, such as the way that the software is installed, one some, they use RPM packages which, with a package manager, install them selves when u ask them, others you would have to unpack the souce code, build the program and then install it... i personally use Gentoo (kinda new to it but loving it) its install system is called portage, with simple commands.. it has an online package database that stores all of the current applications and plugins that the portage people know of (mostly notified by the developers that it exists). To install something, say you wanted to have an mp3 player, you could type in the console emerge -S mp3.... this would search the database for mp3 in the package description and tell u a list of packages that the string was found in, you could tell it to pretend to install it and so on.... there is more information about this on www.gentoo.com I personally swapped to Linux because of all the problems i had with windows, even with a fresh install i was having different problems to what i had in a previous install. Another thing to point out is that the linux developers develop linux not for money but as a hobby, making the code great is what they enjoy, creating usefull items wanted by the public. There is a vast network of forums and irc channels dedicated to linux and you can find the solution to almost any problem there. I will say that it takes longer to set linux up than windows, but if you look at the time spent maintaining the two OS, you will see that that time is swiftly made up. :D


Linux is more secured when compared to windows by giving the accessing rights.where as in windows we have just password security.


FYI regarding viruses. There's an old joke that asks "why do people rob banks,..ans: that's where the money is!"....the reason why Microsoft gets dinged so much is that windows is probably running on >95% of all consumer desktop computers. Many feel that if Linux ever competes, it will garner the attention of virus hackers, and also be plagued by viruses, worms, trojans, etc. Even now, there are websites (albeit not well known) that track the development of Linux viruses...aka www.viruslibrary.com for instance.

Another reason WHY linux is not affected by viruses, is that its code has been open source for more than a decade, tested by people all around the world, and not by a single development team like in the case of Windows. I mean to say that, probability of finding (and thus fixing) exploitable holes in Linux is very high. So there is extremely enhanced security and lesser chances of exploits.

Again, theres one more good reason. Linux was originally meant to be a multi-user OS. Windows was meant for the end-user. After a few years, Microsoft realised the fact and tried to change their primary design goal. After building two floors, if you try to replace bricks, you would end up with high instability. This is what Windows is experiencing.


An easy and fun way to try linux is to go to shipit.ubuntu.com ...just that way, no www. You can order a free, two disk set of Ubuntu linux. One is a live CD that runs over windows, in RAM, and doesn't change your system at all..the other is an install disk. I've used the live CD on two XP machines and they both ran flawlessly. When you want to quit, just go to logout under system tools, and shut down. Ubuntu will turn itself off, eject the disk, and turn of your PC. Remove the disk, boot up, and you're running your Windows again. Details at www.ubuntulinux.org. Note: They even pay the shipping.


Windows and Linux are two different operating systems. The purpose of an operating system is to: 1. control all the hardware components that are part of your computer. 2. manage a computer's ability to do several things at once 3. provide a base set of services to programs to keep software manufacturers from have to reinvent the wheel a million times for the same thing.

The Linux operating system was developed from a base of Unix (another operating system) after the Unix systems stopped being free. The Linux people believe in free and open software, and so they "reinvented" Unix, and improved it slightly to make Linux.

Windows is a proprietary operating system owned by Microsoft. It was developed independently from Unix, and its internal details are much different. They should perform the same tasks, however at the deepest levels, details differ, and so a program written to run on Windows will not run on Linux, and vice versa.

Widows comes in several "flavors", like Windows NT, Windows 2000, and Windows XP, all of which are slightly different, but share enough in common that programs written for one flavor will run on the others 99.9% of the time.


Linux is a open-source OS. It's build by "amateurs". people can change code and add programs which will help to use your computer better. It's designed as a reaction on the monopoly position of windows. you can't change any thing in windows. you can't even see which processes do what and build your onw extension. Linux wants the programmers to extend and redesign it's OS time after time, so it beats Windows or at least is as good as windows, but whit open-source, so you can see what happens and you can edit the OS


Difference Between Linux and Windows

1) Linux is a open-source OS.People can change code and add programs which will help to use your computer better. It's designed as a reaction on the monopoly position of windows. you can't change any thing in windows. you can't even see which processes do what and build your onw extension. Linux wants the programmers to extend and redesign it's OS time after time, so it beats Windows or at least is as good as windows, but whit open-source, so you can see what happens and you can edit the OS

2) All the flavors of Windows come from Microsoft, the various distributions of Linux come from different companies (i.e LIndows , Lycoris, Red Hat, SuSe, Mandrake, Knopping, Slackware).

3) Linux is customizable in a way that Windows is not. 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.

4) For desktop or home use, Linux is very cheap or free, Windows is expensive. For server use, Linux is very cheap compared to Windows. Microsoft allows a single copy of Windows to be used on only one computer. Starting with Windows XP, they use software to enforce this rule (activation). In contrast, once you have purchased Linux, you can run it on any number of computers for no additional charge.

5) You have to log on to Linux with a userid and password. This is not true of Windows. Typically Windows 9x does not ask for a userid/password at boot time and, even if it does, this can be easily bypassed. In general, Windows NT, 2000 and XP do require a userid/password to log on. However Windows 2000 and XP can be configured with a default userid and password so they boot directly to the Windows desktop. Windows XP, 2000 and Linux all support different types of users. Windows XP Home Edition supports Administrator class users that have full and total access to the system and restricted users that, among other restrictions, can't install software. Windows XP Pro and Windows 2000 support additional levels of users and there are groups of system privileges that can be assigned to a particular user. In Linux, the user with full and total access is called root, everyone else is a normal user. The options for Linux security privileges don't seem to me to be as robust as in Windows 2000 and XP Pro, they are focused on files and directories (can you read, update and execute files). Linux has a concept of a group of users that Windows does not, but again the privileges associated with a group are all file/directory related.

6) Linux has a reputation for fewer bugs than Windows

7) Windows must boot from a primary partition. Linux can boot from either a primary partition or a logical partition inside an extended partition. Windows must boot from the first hard disk. Linux can boot from any hard disk in the computer.

8) Windows uses a hidden file for its swap file. Typically this file resides in the same partition as the OS (advanced users can opt to put the file in another partition). Linux uses a dedicated partition for its swap file (advanced users can opt to implement the swap file as a file in the same partition as the OS).

9) Windows uses FAT12, FAT16, FAT32 and/or NTFS with NTFS almost always being the best choice. Linux also has a number of its own native file systems. The default file systeAll the file systems use directories and subdirectories. Windows separates directories with a back slash, Linux uses a normal forward slash. Windows file names are not case sensitive. Linux file names are. For example "abc" and "aBC" are different files in Linux, whereas in Windows it would refer to the same file. Case sensitivity has been a problem for this very web page, the name of which is "Linux.vs.Windows.html". At times, people have tried to get to this page using "linux.vs.windows.html" (all lower case) which resulted in a Page Not Found error. Eventually, I created a new web page with the name in all lower case and this new page simply re-directs you to the real page, the one you are reading now (with a capital L and W). m for Linux used to be ext2, now it is typically ext3.

10) Windows and Linux use different concepts for their file hierarchy. Windows uses a volume-based file hierarchy, Linux uses a unified scheme. Windows uses letters of the alphabet to represent different devices and different hard disk partitions. Under Windows, you need to know what volume (C:, D:,...) a file resides on to select it, the file's physical location is part of it's name. In Linux all directories are attached to the root directory, which is identified by a forward-slash, "/". For example, below are some second-level directories: /bin/ ---- system binaries, user programs with normal user permissions /sbin --- executables that need root permission /data/ --- a user defined directory /dev/ ---- system device tree /etc/ ---- system configuration /home/ --- users' subdirectories /home/{username} akin to the Windows My Documents folder /tmp/ ---- system temporary files /usr/ ---- applications software /usr/bin - executables for programs with user permission /var/ ---- system variables /lib --- libraries needed for installed programs to run

11) Both support the concept of hidden files, which are files that, by default, are not shown to the user when listing files in a directory. Linux implements this with a filename that starts with a period. Windows tracks this as a file attribute in the file metadata (along with things like the last update date). In both OSs the user can over-ride the default behavior and force the system to list hidden files.

12) Windows started with BAT files (a combination of OS commands and optionally its own language) and then progressed to Windows Scripting Host (WSH) which supports two languages, JavaScript and VB Script. Linux, like all Unix variants, provides multiple scripting languages, referred to as shell scripts. In general, the Linux scripting languages are older and cruder than WSH but much more powerful than BAT files. They tend to use special characters instead of English commands and don't support objects (this only matters to programmers). One scripting language that can run on both Linux and Windows is PHP. It always has to be installed under Windows, it may have to be installed under Linux. PHP is typically found running on Linux based web servers in combination with Apache, but it is capable of running "client side" (on your computer).

13) Every computer printer ships with drivers for last last few versions of Windows (at the time it was manufactured). Running the printer on a very old or too new version of Windows may or may not work. Still, this a far better situation than with Linux which does not support as many printers as Windows. In an environment with many Linux users, shared network printers a tech support staff, this should not be an issue as you can limit yourself to well supported printers. Home users of Linux however, will no doubt suffer from the relatively poor support for printers.

14) Windows allows programs to store user information (files and settings) anywhere. This makes it impossibly hard to backup user data files and settings and to switch to a new computer. In contrast, Linux stores all user data in the home directory making it much easier to migrate from an old computer to a new one. If home directories are segregated in their own partition, you can even upgrade from one version of Linux to another without having to migrate user data and settings.


Linux is based on an adaptation of Unix, started by a Finn named Linus Torvalds when he was a student. Through the manifestation of the Open Source model, too involved to explain here, it is continually upgraded by volunteers, and is produced in a wide variety of "flavors" or distributions. Linux is always free. To get a handle on the Open Source movement, check out http://www.opensource.org/docs/definition.php . There's a ton of information available, just google linux once and you'll see. It's reputed to be a very stable, dependable operating system, generally uses fewer resources to do the same task, and can be had in a form to do anything from server tasks to compiling code. In addition, many versions come with 1,000 or more open source programs to do anything from word processing to photo editing, all free. www.theopencd.org is a good place to grab some free programs that are open source, but written to run on windows. You'll be surprised at how good they are. Windows, on the other hand, is based on DOS (disk operating system) that was borrowed from IBM, if memory serves. Windows 3.1 is the last heavy DOS operating system from Microsoft. For Windows 95 they pile a graphical user interface on top of DOS, the gui we hear about. It worked, sorta, and folks who didn't like command line stuff ate it up. It is a strictly commercial program, and includes a minimal amount of free software, like notepad or wordpad. Microsoft keeps making them bigger and more expensive, and we all keep buying them. I'm not looking forward to being Longhorned. Both Linux and Microsoft have their advantages. One difference is that if you obtain or download one linux disk, you can use it on as many machines as you like, and it's free. With Microsoft, you pay a good chunk of cash for their operating sytems, and you can use it on one machine and one only. With the advent of XP, they force you to "reactivate" XP every time you install it. You can only do so a certain number of times. Each has it's positive and negative attributes. It will be interesting in the coming years to see if Linux continues to grow as it has. Check out this articla about XP if you think I'm kidding. http://www.arachnoid.com/boycott/index.html Personally, I'm really curious about Linux. Free is good. Good luck.


Linux is an open source operating system that, until fairly recently, was only used on servers. Now it is used on Mac OS X computers, and more people are starting to use it on computers that aren't servers. It is very secure, efficient, and flexible.

Microsoft Windows is a closed-source operating system created by Bill Gates, supreme ruler of the earth. It is gradually losing it's grip on the market because it is insecure, slow, and wasteful.

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