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Although Windows is still the world’s most popular operating system,  in the last few years Linux has been steadily gaining in popularity. The traditional view of Linux operating systems is seen as complicated and usable only by geeks, however the latest Linux distributions are in fact very user-friendly. If you are unsure whether to choose Windows or Linux for your next computer, read on to find out the differences between the two.

 

Topic

Linux

Windows

Price

Most distributions of Linux are available for free, or at a much lower price than Microsoft Windows.

Windows can run between $50.00 and $150.00 for each license copy.  Server editions can run $500 and up.

Reliability

The vast majority of Linux distributions are famous for being reliable, and can often run for months or even years, without needing to be rebooted.

Although Microsoft has made great improvements in reliability over the last few versions of Windows, it still cannot match the reliability of Linux.

Software Cost

Many of the programs, utilities, and games available on Linux are free or open source.

Although Windows does have programs, utilities, and games for free, the majority of the programs will cost anywhere from $20.00 to upwards of $200.00.

Security

Linux is, and has always been, a very secure operating system.  Although it can still be attacked, when compared to Windows, it is much more secure.

Although Microsoft has made great improvements over the years with security on their operating system, their operating system continues to be the most vulnerable to viruses and other attacks.

Open Source

The majority of Linux distributions, and many Linux programs, are open source and enable users to customize or modify the code, however they desire.

Windows is not open source, and the majority of Windows programs are not open source.

Support

Although it may be more difficult to find users familiar with all Linux distributions, there is a vast amount of online help, documentation, and support available, as well as books written for Linux support.

Microsoft Windows includes its own help section, has a vast amount of available online help and documentation, as well as books on each of the versions of Windows.

Ease of Use

Although the majority Linux variants have improved dramatically in ease of use, Windows is still much easier to use for most computer users.  This is likely because of the familiarity of Windows, and because they are probably using a Windows computer at home, and in school or at the office.

Microsoft has made many changes that have made Windows a much easier to use operating system, and although it may not be the easiest operating system, it is still easier than Linux.

Software Availability

Linux has a large variety of available programs, utilities, and games.  However, Windows still has a much larger selection of available software.

Due to the large number of users, there are many more people creating programs, utilities, and games for Windows.

Hardware Support

Although hardware manufacturers have made great strides in supporting Linux, some hardware devices are still not be supported.  However, for the hardware devices that have driver support, they will usually work in all versions of Linux.

Because of the number of users and the broader driver support, Windows has a much larger support for hardware devices.  Almost all hardware manufacturers will support their products in Windows.