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Comparison of Unix, Linx and Windows

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Comparison of UNIX, Linux and Microsoft

There are three basic types of operating system in use today. UNIX, Linux and Solaris are on one group, then Windows, and then Mac. There are 7 major factors that affect a choice on each of the systems not including the Mac. In this paper, we compare UNIX, Linux and Microsoft Windows across these seven categories:


Market Share

Hardware requirements

File processing

Programming capabilities

Avaibability of application sofrware

User interface

Cost and Market Share

There are a quite a few advantages to using Microsoft products over Linux. It is true that Linux source is freely available and users can build a good reliable system using it but to build a Linux system, a user needs good knowledge of a compiler

program to compile the kernel and build the basic system, good knowledge of the Linux/Unix file system, the ability to scour through the net and find programs freely available to use and a good chunk of time. How much knowledge is required to use Microsoft operating system? Not much, it’s really built for people with little to no skills except maybe how to use a mouse and keyboard. The second is in the support field; hands up if you know a Linux guru, they are rare and they spout free software with one hand and charge a hundred bucks an hour with another. Now throw a rock into a crowd and you'll hit a Windows expert and if you shop around you probably get one cheap because they haven't had to be super programmers before they could learn the inner workings of the OS. Now let’s get to software. Choices for Linux are growing but still limited to free source, compile yourself stuff or semi-professional MS office. In argument for Microsoft, we ask how much we value our time. Do you want to spend three weeks getting the system just right (or paying someone to do it) or just insert your windows disc and click install? Half an hour later you've got something you can use which is pretty reliable and has heaps of support and software.

Can Linux compete with Microsoft and cut into the market share? According to the Yankee Group’s 2005 survey of 500 American companies the answer is no. Linux has held its ground with 15% of the market share while Microsoft has 73% and other operating systems have 12%. Microsoft Windows has the market where they want them and there is very low probability that companies will switch completely from Microsoft to Linux. However, Linux does maintain a strong server presence, 60% of the companies polled by the Yankee Group said that Linux was installed somewhere in their organization (Dido, 2005). "An overwhelming 88% of corporations report that Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Server 2003 operating system provides equal to or better performance and reliability than Linux in comparable usage scenarios (Dido, 2005)."

It seems as though it would be a little easier for Linux to cut into the market share due to the fact that Linux is free or very cheap and can be installed on as many machines as you see fit. Microsoft is very expensive compared to Linux because a license has to be purchased for each computer that it is installed on. Each license vary, Microsoft XP Home edition can be anywhere from $100-$200 and the professional edition can be as much as $300 per license. This can be costly even if you are a small company. For example if a company with ten employees purchased a server with 10 user licenses it would cost around $1,100 plus $3,000 for each XP professional workstation which brings the total cost to $4,100. If you were to do the same with Linux you could do it for free if you had the expertise to install and use Linux. The great thing about Microsoft is that anyone can use it, even a young child.

Hardware Requirements

Over the last several years the UNIX companies and broader Linux community, along with hardware manufacturers, have put a great deal of effort into improving the hardware support available for Linux. Today Linux will support most hardware devices commonly available, with the leading hardware manufactures providing the most comprehensive support. However, many generic hardware companies still do not offer drivers or support for their hardware in Linux.

Windows on the other hand has an enormous user base and as a result enjoys almost limitless driver support. There are complete web sites dedicated to supporting hardware devices running in a Windows environment such as With the majority of corporate and personal computers worldwide running Microsoft

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