One of the biggest questions in the world of Operating Systems is, will Open Source Operating Systems ever be able to compete Microsoft Windows operating systems or even come reasonably close to it, in terms of popularity?
The debate is never-ending. While open source advocates talk endlessly and the Windows vs Linux discussion will go on for ever, about why Linux is superior to Windows, here are the reasons why I feel Microsoft Windows wins over Open Source operating systems.
Linux vs Windows Comparision
1. No operating system is as user-friendly as Microsoft Windows. No one wants to write numerous lines of code if he/she can get the same work done by a few clicks. The user interface of Microsoft Windows is much better and easy to adjust as compared to the Open Source Operating Systems. This is due to the fact that Microsoft Windows is designed in such a way that even the most basic users can adjust to its interface.
2. Windows commands a market share of around 90% while Linux is still languishing at around 1%, even today. Due to its large user base, Microsoft Windows has a wide ecosystem and supports a large number of software which provides its users an opportunity to select software programs as per their need – many of it being free software too. Open Source operating systems also have a huge collection of supported software but in comparison to Microsoft Windows, they lag behind; seeing that most of the software programs are built while taking Microsoft Windows into consideration.
3. Open Source operating systems like the server editions based on Linux Kernel are often called the most secure operating systems. If not better in this regard, Microsoft Windows Server Editions are equally secure and they are constantly being made better day by day. The fact is because Windows is used by most people around the world, malware writers find it more profitable to attack Windows, hence it is hammered at more often. After all, why would anyone want to target 2-3% of the operating system market?
Nevertheless Windows Servers are known to recover faster from Security attacks than Linux. If Linux or Open Source was completely secure, would it have been possible to hack the Linux website itself? One has to understand and accept that, as the popularity of any OS increases, it too tends to come under the radar of malware writers, as we have seen in the case of Apple Mac also in recent times.
4. Microsoft Windows supports a wide range of hardware and most of the hardware manufactures support their hardware in Microsoft Windows due to its larger user base. On the other side, Open Source operating systems have a comparatively smaller user base and hence only some manufacturers support their hardware in Open Source operating systems like Linux.
5. It is a hard task to find support for Open Source operating systems as they are not used by majority of the population though some resources are available on the Internet in the form of Discussion Forums, eBooks and Community driven websites. In comparison, Microsoft Windows includes its own help section and there is a vast amount of resources available on the Internet and many books are available in the market for reference.
6. Starting with Windows 7, final release of Microsoft Windows usually have a negligible amount of bugs as it is tested by highly trained professionals at the Microsoft Corporation, its Beta testers and MVPs, and it goes through various test stages before its release. Microsoft is also usually quick to releases fixes if any are required. Open Source operating systems are also tested by professionals and they have both alpha and beta releases before their final release, yet they do have some bugs which are fixed by the updates and upgrades.
7. Then there is the questions of costs. Now this is one area where Windows loses out! Almost all of the Linux flavors are either free of cost or are available at a much lower price. Whereas for Windows you have to pay! While for the desktop version it may not matter much to many, in the Enterprise segment this becomes important. Maintenance cost of Linux is said to be rather low as compared to Microsoft Windows. This is therefore one of the fields where Microsoft Windows is facing a tough competition from Linux Flavors, esp in the Server segment.
You may also want to check out this webpage from Microsoft on Windows Server vs Linux (UPDATE by Admin. 8th Nov: Thanks to a comment by Michael Carter, we now learn that this webpage/link has been taken down by Microsoft Canada, after posting this article) for further reading.
Please let us know your views also on this subject.