With so many Microsoft Windows related viruses, errors, and other software problems, many average computer users are looking at alternative operating system platforms, such as Linux. It is important that users, frustrated with Windows, don't simply install a version of Llinux without knowing what they are in for. There are many important differences between Windows and Linux that anyone considering a change should be fully aware of. Herein we discuss some of the similarities and differences between Windows and Linux so you can get a better idea as to which operating system is really best for you.
The major difference between Linux and Windows is the open-source nature of Linux and closed-source nature of Windows. Linux, as an open-source OS, can be modified by the user as he/ she sees fit. Open source really means that anyone can modify the underlying code, and that no one completely owns it. Microsoft Windows, on the other hand, is not an operating system you can modify easily - it was designed to work a particular way with a certain user interface as designated by Microsoft software engineers.
The consequences of Linux being an open-source OS are many. Because you can modify the code, and because there are many user interfaces out there (GUIs), there are usually compatibility issues with various software applications. Some software may be designed to work with multiple Linux GUIs, while others many only be able to work with a few, or just one. Also, the open-source operating system demands that the user know how to work with and modify the program - a task that is usually very difficult for the average computer user familiar with Windows. Even the installation of Linux can be a chore if you are not familiar with Linux terminology.
What I am getting at here is that Linux is great for those who are willing to take the time to learn the program, pick out and install a GUI they like (this may take a while!), and prefer choice over simple usability. Windows is easy to learn, easy to run, and does not demand a lot from its users. This OS is appropriate for a majority of the general public who simply want something that runs right out of the box with little configuration. People also want universal compatibility, and don't want to have to deal with constantly modifying their OS. Price wise, Linux is super cheap compared with Windows. For advanced users who have the desire to modify their OS, Linux is the by far the best choice. If you don't have the time or knowledge, however, stay with Microsoft Windows for the time being, and be sure to download all updates and security patches as often as possible!
Bradley James is a senior editor at SciNet.cc, a website containing many helpful consumer electronics review articles. For more information on Windows and Linux OS, please visit our Linux vs Windows webpage.