Friday, 5 September 2008

Linux and Windows - 10 fundamental differences (2/2)

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Continued from Part 1 of Linux and Windows - 10 fundamental differences...

6. Centralized vs. noncentralized application installation
With Linux you have (with nearly every distribution) a centralized location where you can search for, add, or remove software - for example, package management systems like Synaptic. With Synaptic, you can open up one tool, search for application(s), and install it without having to do any web searching (or purchasing). On the contrary, Windows has nothing like this. With Windows, you must know where to find the software you want, download / purchase it , and install it on your machine. For many years, it was thought that installing applications on Windows was far easier than on Linux. And for many years, that thought was right on target. Not so much now. Installation under Linux is simple, painless, and centralized.
7. Flexibility vs. rigidity
Let's compare Linux (especially the desktop screen) and Windows to a room where the floor and ceiling are either movable or not. With Linux, you have a room where the floor and ceiling can be raised or lowered, at will, as high or low as you want to make them. With Windows, that floor and ceiling are immovable. You can't go further than Microsoft has deemed it necessary to go. Take, for instance, the desktop. Unless you are willing to pay for and install a third-party application that can alter the desktop appearance, with Windows you are stuck with what Microsoft has declared is the ideal desktop for you. With Linux, you can pretty much make your desktop look and feel exactly how you want/need. You can have as much or as little on your desktop as you want. From simple flat Fluxbox to a full-blown 3D Compiz experience, the Linux desktop is as flexible an environment as there is on a computer.
8. Fanboys vs. corporate types
Linux users, even now, tend to be soapbox-dwelling fanatics who are quick to spout off about why you should be choosing Linux over Windows. Of course, this is seen as less than professional by some. After all, why would something worthy of a corporate environment have or need cheerleaders??? Shouldn't the software sell for itself? Because of the open source nature of Linux, it has to make do without the help of the marketing budgets and deep pockets of Microsoft. With that comes the need for fans to help spread the word. And word of mouth is the best friend of Linux. Windows, sadly, does not have similar fan following. Instead, Windows has a league of paper-certified administrators who believe the hype when they hear the misrepresented market share numbers reassuring them they will be employable until the end of time.
9. Automated vs. nonautomated removable media
Remember those old days when one had to mount a floppy to use it and unmount it to remove it. Well, those times are now vanishing, though not completely. One issue that plagues new Linux users is how removable media is used. The idea of having to manually "mount" a CD drive to access the contents of a CD is completely foreign to new users. There is a reason this is the way it is. Because Linux has always been a multiuser platform, it was thought that forcing a user to mount a media to use it would keep the user's files from being overwritten by another user. However, there is no such requirement with Windows.
10. Multilayered run levels vs. a single-layered run level
What I'm talking about is the inherent ability of Linux to stop at different run levels. With this, you can work from either the command line (run level 3) or the GUI (run level 5). This can really save your socks when X Windows is fubared and you need to figure out the problem. You can do this by booting into run level 3, logging in as root, and finding/fixing the problem. With Windows, you're lucky to get to a command line via safe mode - and then you may / may not have the tools you need to fix the problem. In Linux, even in run level 3, you can still get and install a tool to help you out. With Windows, you are stuck at the Graphical run level unless you hit a serious problem.

Finally, the VERDICT...
Those are 10 fundamental differences between Linux and Windows. You can decide for yourself whether you think those differences give the advantage to one operating system or the other. Me? Well I think my reputation (and opinion) precedes me, so I probably don't need to say I feel strongly that the advantage leans toward Linux.

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