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Windows v Linux

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Windows v Linux

I have a feeling this will be a good debate. I assume most of the users here use Windows on their primary PC. This is probably due to the ease of use and compatibility Windows has with almost everything. It is also pretty stable - enough for home users anyway.

But Linux really is the hard core nerd's OS....or at least it was. Recently developments and advances in the GUI systems like KDE and GNOME means you don't need to remember loads of commands.

But which system really is better. That is a hard question, and is very difficult one to answer unless given a context. So I'd like 2 points of discussion for this:

Which is better for a) a home user environment and b) a server environment?

Remember the new Lindows OS when you discuss this as well. Wink
21 REPLIES
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What lets Linux Down?

Hi,
There is no doubt in my own mind that linux is a fantastic OS, indeed I went out and got myself a copy of Red Hat Linux some time ago and installed it on a machine. The install setup process wasnt exactly what I would call simple nor without difficulty and as a fairly experienced user I would say it would be rather difficult or impossible for a complete beginner. Now to be fair that was some time ago (Red Hatch version 5. something or other) and I know that Red Hat has greatly improved the whole install setup process.

However the one thing that I feel still to this day lets Linux down is the sheer lack of mainstream programs/applications. The only application that I could find that came close was Sun systems StarOffice 5.1(at the time!).

The other aspect of Linux that lets it down is the lack of inter-changability with MS files & MS applications. If we didnt live in an either or world it might be different. It does seem to me that Linux has become far more like MS windows in recent years and MS WindowsXP now has some of the sheer stability that was previously Linux's claim to fame.

In the server & internet environment there is no doute that Linux and apachie server wins hands down.

Ivan
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Windows v Linux

The RH9 install is very easy to use. It is exactly like the Windows installation really...all graphical and with side bars to help. Most distros now come with Open Office as standard which has the same features, and more, as MS Office - plus you can save and open in the Office format.

But the problem is the compatibility of the software. Vendors need to produce software for Linux as well as Windows to help make it a success.
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compatibility still the problem!

Hi David,

Thanks for what you said above, as I said before I really like RD Linux and I still think in many ways it probably is better than MS Windows but its the compatibility problems that let it down so much. And also the lack of good quality software that would give users the same or similar range of choice as windows users have at the moment. Enough said really otherwise I'd be using it no doubte about it.

**You might like to know that Linux is used commercially inside a huge number of satalite TV boxes made by people such as Eldon Technology based in Bingley. They make TV boxes for EchoStar in the USA (they are as big if not bigger than BsykB is here in the EU). The main reason for this is that they dont have to paid the licenses for using the software unlike if it was a MS product!!. $$$$$$$ etc etc.

Ivan
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Windows v Linux

Quote
Which is better for a) a home user environment and b) a server environment?

Remember the new Lindows OS when you discuss this as well. Wink


Better for what?

At home a good distro, (I like Mandrake) will suffice for Mail, Web, basic office apps, and a few other home type things, but you'll still need to be pretty tech savvy when adding new hardware, and as soon as you want to play games windows suddenly enters a different class. I don't count Lindows as it still doesn't really work. :roll:

In a server environment where proffessional expertise is available the equation changes, For shared hosting web servers linux has to be the tool of choice, but in a business environment priority should be given to the software used to run the business and the platform should be a secondary consideration.

Of course, if by better you mean, what offers the most satisfying end user experience Apple are just soooooo far ahead it's unreal. :shock:
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Windows v Linux

Probably should take into account things like an IBM mainframe system as well.

Of course it does all really depend on the context, like nn780 pointed out.

Also the knowledge possessed by the user/admin and the jobs that need to be run on the system.

A home user environment could be either, I personnally use Windows, but while at Uni my flatmate quite happily used both Slackware Linux and RiscOS (which I noticed you didn't mention). So for web surfing, e-mailing and general office tasks I expect that any of them could be used, it's really down to user preference, which doesn't always reflect the quality of the product (as I'm sure the diehard BETAMAX users will confirm!).

In a server environment the same sort of thing applies. If you are just serving an office full of Windows clients then a Windows server would probably be better suited than a Linux/Unix server. But in a development or database environment the OS may just as easily be Unix, in which case a Unix server is 'Better'.

This is a debate that has been going on much longer than this tread and if the answers were black and white it wouldn't have gone on as long as it has!

So in summary the answers are:

A) Depends on scenario.
B) Depends on scenario.
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Windows v Linux

You need to consider the user.

1) The sofware developer
2) Joe Bloggs
3) server apps

For the software developer, unless you write .Net applications then the OS of choice has to be linux.

Joe Bloggs who has had M$ products forced upon them at their workplace will inevitably want to use the same software at home - it's all down to familiarity.

For server applications Linux is still far superior.

At present Linux, for the home user who has heard of it, it is still considered to be an experts OS and a daunting prospect to convert. Until there is a method for easily installing applications on Linux with the ease of use M$ has I dont think many will convert. I still regard Linux as my OS of choice, but alas my wife has grown up in an M$ world and wont use it Sad
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Windows v Linux

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For the software developer, unless you write .Net applications then the OS of choice has to be linux.


Actually, there's mono (http://www.mono-project.com).


As for compatibility, I do not believe its the fault of Free/Opensource developers of various free Operating systems and their applications. Take OpenOffice for instance, it runs on various architectures and many Operating systems providing complete compatibility across them all, but compatibility with word documents for example will sometimes be an issue, naturally MS wants everybody to use their products and locks them in so people continue to do so, compatibility is not their concern, they will never offer such a thing either.

I think its really down to requirements at the end of the day. Another factor of course is hardware support. Many manufactures do not care about anything other than supporting windows, even when they claim to support other operating systems, even Mac users suffer.

What is becoming old is the fact that Linux is hard to use, yes it can be if you are not familiar with the command line, how many people use the command line in windows? Ignoring the command line, both have an easy to use interface, either way, may not suite everyone (which is why Linux has many).

I've used Linux for about 6 years now, and dumped windows simply because it doesn't do what I need or have the applications I've grown to enjoy using. Linux has introduced me to various programming languages from something as simple as bash scripting through to C, I've even hacked a sound driver in the kernel to make it work properly on my laptop. My point here is not to get something working in Linux you need to know a programming language, but it enables you to do things you couldn't before, like learn a new programming language, especially on a low to no budget. Could I hack the source code of a windows driver to make it work properly? No, not unless I had access to the source code. This is just an example of course.

From an everage joe bloggs perspective, K3B is a most excellent CD/DVD burning application that requires little to no knowledge to use, Amarok, an awesome music player, Firefox, (what do you know? a cross platform browser promoting compatibility), many many desktop environments to choose from, you're not stuck with one generic type of desktop (outside of purchasing addons in Win). KDE, GNOME, XFCE4, Fluxbox to name just a few.
Eh, there are too many cool things to list..

Infact why Windows versus Linux? if you can't decide, dual boot!!

May I suggest Kubuntu or Ubuntu? If you feel adventerous, try Gentoo and practically build your installation exactly the way you want it.
deepfatfrier
Grafter
Posts: 99
Registered: 26-09-2007

Re: Windows v Linux

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I assume most of the users here use Windows on their primary PC. This is probably due to the ease of use and compatibility Windows has with almost everything. It is also pretty stable - enough for home users anyway.

I personally don't, simply because I don't like...
a) Needing to reboot my PC twice a day if I'm doing anything more than Solitaire.
b) Being asked if I really, really want to be able to look in my Windows folder.
c) Looking at a GUI designed for a toddler. (Yes, this can be changed, but hey - I needed a point "c" Tongue)

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But Linux really is the hard core nerd's OS....or at least it was. Recently developments and advances in the GUI systems like KDE and GNOME means you don't need to remember loads of commands.

Yes - this is a very good point. If KDE hadn't been developed, I'd still be desperately trying to find the file containing the Paperclip assistant and PGP-Erase it to oblivion, because I couldn't survive without a GUI.

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But which system really is better. That is a hard question, and is very difficult one to answer unless given a context.

For sheer "user-friendliness", Windows obviously wins hands-down. For actual good code and efficiency, Linux is light years ahead. But, of course, it's more complicated than that... Wink

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Which is better for a) a home user environment

It all depends on the home user. With KDE and Gnome getting more user-friendly without annoying the power users, Linux is becoming more and more viable as a home OS. I personally use SimplyMEPIS, which uses Debian for packaging, so installing apps is mostly easy.
Of course, for the PC-nearly-illiterate, it just ain't gonna happen at the moment, it's Windows or nothing.

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and b) a server environment?

Linux. No question whatsoever unless you specifically need to link up to something running proprietary databases etc, at which point it might become difficult. Linux is just more stable, more flexible, and can run on much lower hardware (I'm planning to try to get it running on an old 386 laptop sitting on my floor that can just about manage Win 3.1...)

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Remember the new Lindows OS when you discuss this as well. Wink

Sorry to break hearts, but:
a) Lindows (now called Linspire) isn't new. It's been around a while, and is only just now beginning to look any good.
b) Linspire is actually just a Linux distro with a few tweaks to make it look user-friendly. In fact, the one way in which Lindows is like Windows is that it essentially makes the first user created, root. That is the one thing you really don't want to bring to Linux, it's very dangerous. (Also, it costs money. Another bad thing, Tongue)

Overall, it's all personal preference and how much hacking around you can stand. If you want to test Linux before you take the plunge, the SimplyMEPIS install CD is a LiveCD, meaning you can run the entire OS from the CD before you install it. I've managed to get used to Linux, and don't plan on going back to M$ anytime soon... :twisted:

PS. Apologies for the utterly massive post... :lol:
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Windows v Linux

Yes, Linspire has had its shortcomings for the so called Linux power user, however they are targetting the average home user. There is also the fact that Linspire give back alot to the free software community, which IMO is a great thing, regardless of the fact they charge for services (why not?).

For the average user, I believe Linspire doesn't fall short because of what it offers them, the average user just wants to get on the internet get their email, chat with friends, whatever..

The whole idea of free software doesn't mean it can't be charged for, it's a whole new concept and the community as a whole is second to none.

I think a good insight to what Linspire is about and what they offer is to listen to an interview here: http://www.lugradio.org/episodes/27 which even turned the opinions of the presenters of the show.

I'm not a Linspire user, I use Gentoo Linux on anything I can get my hands on!
I do believe Linspire are the good guys so to speak.
deepfatfrier
Grafter
Posts: 99
Registered: 26-09-2007

Windows v Linux

I'm not suggesting that Linspire is rubbish, it just doesn't seem to be particularly functional. The install failed twice, before it finally went on, on my other PC, but it just seems to be lacking that little bit. I just don't see why it has to charge $60 (I think that's right) for something that essentially, other Linux distros (SimplyMEPIS included, but SuSE is a good example) are providing for free. I don't see that much difference between Linspire and other user-friendly Linux distros, except that Linspire's charging. I'll take your word for it that Linspire is putting a lot back into the free software community, but it just seems to be another distro to me... Sad
lorisarvendu
Grafter
Posts: 328
Registered: 26-08-2007

Windows And Linux together...aaahhh

Hullo all. Just migrated to f9 from pipex, and thought I'd dip into the forums.

I run a little lan at home with a couple of Windows PCs (for gaming & stuff) and a little mini-tower running Mandrake linux.

I am a bit of a nerd (I'm an IT Tech guy in a Uni), but I got into linux about 5 years ago, simply because I was bored with Windows. Having to learn a totally different OS made IT interesting again.

I know a lot of people think "Windows V Linux" but I don't see it that way. They are too different, and one can never replace the other...except perhaps in the server market. On the home/workstation platform however I think Windows will always win out, simply because it has always been aimed at the home/corporate user since 1995 and earlier. Linux' strengths have always been in the server market.

Personally I think of the two as like comparing a car to a van. If you want a nice comfortable trip to town, or on holiday, you take the car. If you need something more robust to lug things around, use the van. The two don't really have to compete.

I have a Mandrake linux server because I can use it as a Windows domain controller. It has two 120Gb hard drives in it, that the other two Windows PCs see as "H Drive" and "N Drive". It has a web server and ftp server, and I can operate it remotely using vnc. It runs like a dream, and all that on a very cheap piece of hardware (P3-550 cpu, old BX motherboard, 768Mb ram). Oh, and no monitor, keyboard, or mouse (that's what SSH is for!).

I could never get a Windows server running on such old kit.

-DaveB
A tortoise? What's that?
You know what a turtle is? Same thing.
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Either/or ........or both Windows and Linux

Windows vs Linux??

I guess like most users, I couldn't decide, so I opted for both using dual drives.

Here's what I found using Windows and Linux side by side over last year (as a non-networked home user).

Windows was tiresome and in need of more maintenance than Linux and I put up with it because of familiarity with certain software (Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Microsoft Office).

Linux on the otherhand, is complicated. I have only ever used Unix at university a while ago and I haven't been endowed with the virtues of a nerd to feel comfortable setting it up alone. Once set up, it lacks industry standard software, particularly the powerful graphics/photoshop tools available for Macs or PCs. Even with its word-formatting package on Red Hat, pagination problems occurs when flipping between Word documents and Linux ones.

Yet Linux is wonderful: its beauty outclasses Microsoft in the simplicity of one solitary command where Windows struggles with "Program not responding": : "Kill all". Wink

I found Linux more suitable for a desktop environment - I wouldn't dream of a laptop with Linux, so Windows it is. Perhaps when the desk top is finished its upgrade, I'll reinstall the new version of Linux as a slave and then configure Linux to enable Windows to be opened inside the Linux OS i.e. the Linux drive searching in the Windows drive to open up software programs.. For the home user, this might be the optimal option to address the software problem with Linux.. It's certainly pleasing to have both Linux and Windows co-existing to compensate for one another's problems. Otherwise, the only alternative is a Mac, which is definitely not DIY upgradeable.

Best regards,

RJ
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Windows v Linux

Old discussion really, and I dont think you can say one is better than the other. Its like saying, is php better than asp I suppose.

I use windows on my laptop (I also have a gentoo laptop) and also Gentoo on my workstation at home. One thing I noticed was when installing windows, it does it all for you - for the average joe bloggs is great.

Me being techy, I want to control where the boot sector gets written on the disk, I want to control the drivers loaded, I want to control the amount of memory allocated to specific applications, I want to have my wifi services working without the need for a GUI, I want a fileysystem which will let me talk to an nfs drive, an ntfs drive an ext3 drive and a jfs drive and so on and so forth. Windows for me does not give me that flexability on my workstation.

On my laptop, it does give me what I need. The need to manage switches, the need to administrator 3 different pbx systems using a gui and a console, the ability to add mmc consoles to administrate the ldap database... etc .etc

So one is no better than the other - it depends who you are and what you are doing.
deepfatfrier
Grafter
Posts: 99
Registered: 26-09-2007

Windows v Linux

Indeed splink, I think you've got it there (but PHP is much better than ASP :lolSmiley

I run Linux (dual booting with XP SP1 and, ahem... another Windows OS Wink) on my PC, because my hardware isn't that great, and Windows lags too much when I'm doing 10 things at once! :twisted:
But Linux does seem to start a little slow, so when I get a laptop I'll probably use Windows mostly.

For the average user, Linux isn't an option right now, whether we're talking Mepis, Linspire, SuSE or anything. It's too complicated and unfamiliar.
But if the Linux market share grows, more development gets done, some of that development goes into user-friendliness, more people are interested, the Linux market share grows, rinse, repeat... :lol:

I guess for now it's only us geeks that are penguin fans... Cheesy