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It may sound absurd; the idea of comparing the seemingly more popular Windows to Linux, but you might consider switching from one to the other after seeing the advantages and disadvantages of each operating system. Linux has tons of advantages over Windows, it also has its own fair share of disadvantages as well. 

Linux is an open-source operating system. Linux is widely used by most websites on the internet so you probably encounter interactions with it on some of the sites that you visit. Open source means that the Linux software is distributed along with its source code so that it can be modified by others, to suit their needs. The Linux system held this advantage over Microsoft until the release of Windows 10.

Linux is very similar to UNIX, however, they’re not the same operating system; Linux is only a UNIX-like operating system. Linux was written from the UNIX kernel hence the many similarities. 

To be very clear, Linux is just a kernel and not a complete operating system. But Linux distributions can be referred to as operating systems because they contain the Linux kernel. That’s the difference; UNIX is an operating system because everything that makes it up comes from one source. 

On the other hand, Windows is an operating system developed by Microsoft for desktops devices, personal computers, and servers. It is actually a series of operating systems, and each system comes up with a graphical user interface (GUI) which is preinstalled. The windows operating system comes with almost every company that makes personal computers or laptops. It is designed to run on x86 hardware.

Windows is a commercial operating system; unlike Linux, it doesn’t have a free license for developers to make alterations to the source code. This makes it somewhat secure. Its target ever since it started has been the world’s personal computer market. Windows NT now has three operating systems sharing the same kernel: 

  1. Windows. The operating system for personal computers, smartphones and tablets. And its competitor is the Mac OS by Apple for personal computers and Android for mobile devices.
  2. Windows Server. This is the operating system for server computers. The main competitor for this family is Linux.
  3. Windows PE. This is a lighter version of the Windows, meant to work as an operating system used for bare-metal computers (for a lot of computers at once). It is used for troubleshooting and recovery purposes; it is also secure.

Windows NT and its successors are designed for network security and multi-user PCs but were not made with the internet in mind since it was developed in the early 1990s, so it was not that secure. Microsoft releases patches for the security in windows update service approximately once a month. This series of operating systems are for multi-users, and it has absolute memory protection

Here are some differences between Linux and Windows:

  • Linux will run smoother and faster than Windows latest editions on old hardware whereas Windows are slow on old hardware.
  • Linux is an open-source OS whereas Windows OS is commercial/proprietary.
  • Linux is secure as it poses a more difficult challenge for hackers, whereas Windows and its large user base make it an easier target for viruses and malware attacks, which by extension make it less secure.
  • Linux has full control of updates that can be installed when needed, and it doesn’t take time to reboot whereas Windows updates will come when you least expect it, which keeps users frustrated especially as it usually takes more time.
  • Linux has a lot of different distributions that can be modified and customized by users whereas Windows has very few customizations available.
  • Linux OS doesn’t collect user data, whereas Windows collects all user details which may count as a violation of privacy.
  • Linux is used by large organizations, and service providers such as GTHost as servers for security reasons, while Windows is mostly used by business users and gamers.
  • Linux is difficult to install but tends to complete complex tasks faster while Windows takes a long time to install but gives users a simple system to use and operate.

Linux’s Security Advantages

Linux has a number of security advantages when compared to Microsoft Windows. For one, Linux has a built-in updater that comes along with each Linux distribution. It takes care of security updates and patches up any vulnerability that the system might come in contact with. Linux’s software updates and application upgrades are delivered frequently plus they are free. There’s no need to search the internet for upgrades; downloading Linux updates from the wrong sites could open the operating system up to infections and viruses. Every update or upgrade needed is right on the Linux system. There are thousands of them on each Linux distribution repository.

It is possible for the Linux system to have infections. But the Linux system was designed to withstand them. 

Comparison for System Administrators

Both operating systems have similarities as well as differences. Each system administrator has a different job. For Windows, the system administrators are in charge of everything. They manage the computer systems that used and are connected to the Windows operating system. Their job is to think about the system needs and install hardware and software required to make everything run smoothly. They also make sure that the organizations’ networks are fully secure. They are responsible for adding new users to the different networks, and teaching them how to use the computer systems within a select environment.

Windows system administrators have to be well taught in order to diagnose and solve any problems that might arise within the system. Whether it’s a problem on the hard drive or a mistake on the directory, the system administrator handles it, especially technical problems.

Linux system administration is a job that can be as much a challenge as it can be easy, depending on how it is approached. Linux system administration requires a great deal of concentration and knowledge. Linux administrators do a lot; system building, security management, disaster recovery, file recovery, backups, making sure that the networks are secure, hardware and software maintenance, and storage management. 

The knowledge of the Linux system administrator has to be broad; knowing how to configure networks, interoperability, and even with the Windows operating system. Some technical knowledge is required on the part of the Linux system administrators. Features such as firewalls, databases, etc. are covered by Linux system administrators. 

Linux system administrators have to stay on top of new knowledge in the field; learn about new software, take care of security notifications, and install hardware updates. In turn, both the Linux and Windows system administrators require a lot of time, knowledge and energy.

Open Source Advantages

Linux, being an open-source operating system, has many benefits.

  1.  Open source is free software, basically. The developers made the source code available so that other developers can use it and see how it works in a bid to encourage improvements.
  2. It is free so it doesn’t have to be paid for. It may not look too good to a fellow developer seeing as their hard work can be changed by others. Developers who change open source software can be looked upon as co-developers, meaning that they simply assist the developers. 
  3. It is possible to use open source software and make it fit your business needs and requirements. With a good developer, businesses only need to have a sketch of what they want in mind and communicate it correctly to a developer. This is not possible with proprietary systems.

When Is Linux the Wrong Choice

Most people complain about the Linux operating system when it comes to installation on personal computers. Most of Linux OS criticism comes from its lack of user-friendliness, not being adequate for desktop use, lacking hardware support, lacking popular versions of applications and many more. 

Applications written for Linux should be easy to install on any and every distribution but this is not the case. Linux is probably the wrong choice when it comes to the modern way of life and its user-friendliness as an operating system.

Conclusion

The advantage and disadvantages of both operating systems, Linux and Windows, have been laid out. Both Linux and Windows have their highs and lows. 

For Windows, it is user-friendly and simple to use, hence businesses and individuals prefer it. For Linux, large organizations prefer it for its excellent security advantage. Organizations like Google use Linux for mobile applications. 

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