Monday, February 18, 2008

A Comparison of Windows vs. LINUX

Many of you who are reading this article are using Windows as most of the other internet users do. There is a huge difference between the number of users of LINUX and Windows. Some say Windows is much better than LINUX because it gives you an easy handling of the hardware and software. Some say LINUX is much better because it started as Open Source software and that’s why it is much more flexible than Windows. Then why there is a huge market difference between these operating systems?

The answer to this question is quite easy. Since 1985, computer users and programmers became so accustomed to using Windows, even for the changing capabilities and the appearances of the graphical interface of the versions, therefore it always stayed as the product of Microsoft. On the other hand, LINUX has so many different versions from a variety of companies some of which are namely Lycoris, Red Hat, SuSE, Mandrake, Knoppix, Slackware, Lindows. These companies release their own versions of the operating systems with slight changes, and yet always with the same kernel. This variety and the fact that none of these companies are even close to competing with Windows, mostly causes the difference in the market. Nevertheless, this reality might drastically change after Novell’s purchase of SuSE.

Linux and Windows differ in many aspects. First of all, the Linux GUI is optional while the Windows GUI is an integral component of the OS; speed, efficiency and reliability are all increased by running a server instance of Linux without a GUI, something that server versions of Windows can not do. The detached nature of the Linux GUI makes remote control and remote administration of a Linux computer simpler and more natural than a Windows computer.

Secondly the command prompts of these operating systems are quite different. In general, the command interpreters in the Windows 9x series are very similar to each other and the NT class versions of Windows (NT, 2000, XP) also have similar command interpreters. There are, however differences between a Windows 9x command interpreter and one in an NT class flavor of Windows. Linux, like all versions of UNIX, supports multiple command interpreters, but it usually uses one called BASH (Bourne Again Shell). Others are the Korn shell, the Bourne shell, ash and the C shell (pun, no doubt, intended).

The costs are amazingly different. While you have to pay some hundred dollars for a new version of Windows, you can simply go and download Linux. As it comes from the nature of Linux, there are no manuals or simple installers for the free version, however. You really have to know what you are doing while using this free package. There are also some easy automated packages of Linux for low prices, as well.

The security issues with Windows, as most of you already know, are the biggest cons of Microsoft. Most of the malicious files, spyware, adware programs deal with Windows. You generally do not deal with these kinds of unwanted circumstances unless you are working with Windows. The user-id and password protection for Windows can also be easily bypassed, whereas Linux offers a strong protection.

The only area that Windows beats Linux in this “competition” is the software availability. As it was mentioned above, most of the software releases are configured for Windows. If you are using Linux, you have to emulate Windows with a special software and then you can use your windows based programs. Another option can be to install Windows as a subsystem to Linux which takes all administrative abilities of Windows and gives them to Linux.

After mentioning some of the different aspects of these operating systems, it can be said that all Linux needs to compete with Windows is some user friendly interface and a strong company support which can provide the users with technical information and user manuals.

Is Vista Worth The Hype?

We have had some time now to get accustomed to Microsoft's latest incarnation of Windows with its release of Vista. And it seems the general consensus is....PASS!

If you are considering a new computer, understand the hardware has not caught up to the physical demands set forth by Microsoft and it's newly born cash cow.

The most important upgrade you could buy to make your computer experience worthwhile is more memory. In other words, the hardware needs to catch up to the software.

Running 512k memory is useless so don't even bother to buy one with this amount of memory. You have to get AT LEAST 1 gig of memory to even consider running Vista.

But here is a point to consider, why should you have to go out and spend more money on more memory just to be able to run a spreadsheet and watch the latest episode of 30 Rock? Why should any new machine slog along as if it has been subjected to year’s worth of unprotected malware attacks?

Sure there are some great security features built into Vista that pretty much prevent you from doing anything to your machine, but what is the cost? The user experience really has taken a hit with this release.

Why? Vista takes at least 350k of memory for it just to run. WOW! Nothing like streamlining your software Bill since you have only delayed the launch four times.

People have been buying computers for twenty years now and at no time was your new machine worse than the old one! It seems as if Microsoft and the hardware people need to get together and come up with a decent performance standard that would be acceptable for everyone.

Companies like CompUSA and Best Buy are charging consumers $150-$200 to UNISTALL Vista! That's right, up to $200 to take the software off of your machine. Seems like we really have taken a step back with this upgrade.

The new UI (user interface) is clean and rounded and bubbly and smooth and looks nice. There is a bit of a learning curve with some of the functionality so you want to spend some time going over the built in "what’s new" function.

Microsoft seems to be taking user feedback and using it to eliminate or bury unused features. For example, in previous incarnations of Windows you would get to the "Run" feature (used primarily when your DVD or CD that was supposed to autorun decides not to run) by going to Start>Run.

Vista hides Run - here is your trick. Start>Acessories>Run, not too big a deal, but it is if you can't find it where you have been looking for it for the last four years.

In short, if you are in the market for a new machine, put your arms around the fact that you are getting Vista no matter what. Just make sure you save a few bucks to upgrade your memory or your user experience is not going to be what you want it to be.