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What are the pros and cons between Linux and Windows?

Posted on 2011-10-22
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What are the pros and cons between Linux and Windows?

Why should I use Linux at all, what are the main purposes? For example, I use Windows because most programs I need are for Windows. Are there any special type of programs that are better to run on Linxus instead of in Windows?

Could I use Linux for language databases (Chinese, Japanese, French etc. languages/dictionaries)? Or for searching web sites for information? Or for information searches in general? Learning programming languages, or using programming languages? Software development?

Perhaps one advantage with Linux would be security but there must be more advantages before I would be interested in using it.
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Question by:hermesalpha
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käµfm³d   👽 earned 700 total points
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Speaking as an individual who dual boots (Win 7 & Ubuntu), I'd have to say that much of the time I spend on my computer is in Windows. The reason, is that (as you said) most of the programs I need are in Windows. This is a consequence of my job, though, as I am a .NET developer by day. However, I have found equivalent programs under Linux even for .NET (see Mono Project).

I don't know the finer points of the differences between the security models of Windows and Linux, but historically, Linux has been dubbed more secure than Windows.

Could I use Linux for language databases (Chinese, Japanese, French etc. languages/dictionaries)?
I'm not 100% on this, but I believe you could.

Or for searching web sites for information?
Definitely. Firefox comes standard on most distros. I just recently installed Opera on my machine, and I believe Chrome is available also.

Learning programming languages, or using programming languages? Software development?
Most definitely!! Linux is very developer-centric. You can develop in C, C++, Java, Perl, Python, Haskell, PHP, C# (see aforementioned Mono Project), Ruby, and probably many more! The wonderful thing about Linux is that everything (barring 3rd-party closed-source) is open source. That means you are free to view or change the code at any time. You can even modify the kernel if you like. Windows...  not so much.

I believe many non-developers like Linux because there is almost always a free (as in $$) application for something you want to do. Word processing? Check. Spreadsheets? Check. Sound editing? Check. Just to mention a few.

The one big drawback Linux has, in my opinion, are that games aren't as plentiful. I believe this is just due to Windows prevalence. I don't know if this will ever change.
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by:käµfm³d 👽
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P.S.

You can't beat the price of Linux compared to Windows  ; )
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by:Dave Baldwin
Dave Baldwin earned 300 total points
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Linux powers a lot of the internet.  Experts-Exchange is probably running Linux because it is the preferred server for hosting Oracle databases.  Oracle even has a version of Linux intended for that purpose.

Linux is derived from Unix as are some parts of Windows.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unix  Unix was intended from the beginning as a "multitasking, multi-user computer operating system".  Much of today's networking code was developed there even before Windows existed.  The first release of Linux was October 5, 1991, a few months before Windows 3.1.

Linux can be used for almost everything that Windows is used for except for running some Microsoft software.  Even then, there are many substitutes for Microsoft programs that do run on Linux including a couple of 'office' suites.  Many scientific programs run under Linux and have never been written for Windows.

You are running Windows now because Microsoft targeted individual users with a simpler operating system for many years and let us 'borrow' copies of DOS and many versions of Windows so we became comfortable using them.  Now that Microsoft has become more protective, Linux looks cheaper again so some people are taking advantage of all the 'open source' software that is available for Linux.
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by:käµfm³d 👽
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except for running some Microsoft software.
Not 100% accurate. Not that you can run every Windows application with it, but there is always WINE  ; )
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by:wolfcamel
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it is hard to do a true cost comparison between windows and linux - sure the OS is cheaper, but 99% of users already know how to drive windows and 99% of IT support companies can readily support windows - this does represent a cost to a business.

performance wise - many people may be able to run comparisons that show one is faster than the other - for 99% of people both will be fast enough.

Security - there is always a lot of talk about windows being insecure, a target of malware, etc etc - however consider this..both are mad by man not god so both can and do have faults, good security practises are wise irrespective of the OS.

Security 2 - Active directory integration - windows on a workstation will integrate tightly with windows servers.

Applications - sure there are a lot more apps for windows than linux, but there are more apps for an ipad than an android and android is still successful - the key is - are the apps you want to use available?

Reasoning - a lot of people use poor reasoning to make their decision - they choose linux or a Mac because it is NOT microsoft, while others choose microsoft out of habit rather than logic.

Personally i too am guilty of a lazy approach - but mainly because i put a high value on my time - i stick with windows for workstations and servers, i like symantec for antivirus/spam, etc etc - not so much because they are the best - but because I am familiar with them - I can support them quicker and I dont need to learn too many new things before i can be productive or run new versions.

I must commend you on at least coming in here for some advice...through macs into the comparison to really get people argumentative!
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by:Dave Baldwin
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Searching for "who uses Linux" brings up a lot of responses including this one http://www.focus.com/fyi/50-places-linux-running-you-might-not-expect/
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