Windows vs Linux

Written by:
Lucie Sadler
Date Posted:
30 January 2020

How do two of the most popular operating systems compare? 

Popular operating systems
In 2020 most IT teams have an operating system (OS) of choice firmly entrenched in their business. Even with several OS now available on the market for desktops and devices, the age-old question still stands – Windows or Linux?

Windows and Linux have long been considered two of the world’s most popular operating systems, but they cater to very different markets. IT aficionados often put them head-to-head, but as both systems have minimal differences in terms of functions and applications, their compatibility with other applications and personal preference are often deciding factors. 

Back to basics
Windows is a gateway OS that many users first learnt to use a computer on and is pre-loaded on so many computers (that aren’t fruit-based) worldwide. Linux, however, is hugely popular with the technologically adept, allowing users to personalise their OS. As Linux is open source, any element can just be coded in to suit the user. 

Windows follows a standard version structure with updates and versions split into tiers, with the latest version of Windows being Windows 10. The Linux Kernel is more complex and as the system can be modified by anyone, there are hundreds of bespoke Linux-based operating systems, known as distributions or distros.

Windows vs Linux
Here are some of the key facts about Windows and Linux OS to consider:

  • Ease of use – Linux does require some knowledge to get the system set up and for getting used to its subtleties, but once the basics are learnt, it is easy to use. Windows is designed to operate out of the box, without needing extensive configuration.
  • Code – Windows has always protected its source code, so users cannot make modifications to the software. As the code is closed-source, only Microsoft can add to the operating system’s functionality.  Linux is open-source, meaning that users are free to add to the operating system and customise it.
  • Licensing –  Windows charges a licence cost per user, per machine. However, Linux has a free licence and users can re-use the license on any number of systems.
  • Command Line access – Linux is suited to users who want to use command line configurations, which are useful tools for administration and daily tasks. With Windows, it aims to be more user-friendly with a graphic user interface, as there is a command line but users have to navigate to ‘run’, then enter ‘cmd’ in order to make it work.
  • Support – Linux is open-source so it has a huge community of developers to help with any issues. As there is no official support, it does deter some companies from using the OS. Windows has easily accessible support forums and also the option to receive paid support from Microsoft.
  • Security – Windows has regular updates and patches to solve security issues. As it is closed-source code it does mean that any issues that users find cannot be rectified immediately. Windows is also a major target for viruses and malware due to its number of users worldwide. With Linux, it is easier to identify bugs and fix them as the code is open-source. Linux is also known for being more secure by nature because of the way it has been designed and handles user permissions.

Do you use Windows or Linux? Let us know your OS of choice @hyve

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