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Linux vs Windows – Difference and Comparison

Posted by Hemprasad Y. Badgujar on August 28, 2012

Linux vs Windows

Both Windows and Linux are Operating systems with their own advantages and differ in functionalities and user friendliness.

Comparison chart

What is it?:

Linux is an example of Open Source software development and Free Operating System (OS).

Windows is the family of operating system (OS) from Microsoft, which is the most famous OS in the world.


Linux can be freely distributed, downloaded freely, distributed through magazines, Books etc. There are priced versions for Linux also, but they are normally cheaper than Windows.

For desktop or home use, Windows can be expensive. A single copy can cost around $50 to $ 450 depending on the version of Windows.


Free but support is available for a price.

Free (To Developing Countries) and from $80+ (Cost can be bundled as part of a new OEM PC)

Market share forDesktop PC:

The market share of Linux is about 0.8%

As on 2007, 92.63% of PC users from all over the world run Windows OS


Everyone. From home users to developers and computer enthusiasts alike.

Home users, developers, gamers, Business


Linux kernel is developed by the community. Linus Torvalds oversees things.

Microsoft created the Windows operating system, but allows othercomputer manufactures to distribute their computers with Windows pre-installed.


Linux can be installed on a wide variety of computer hardware, ranging from mobile phones, tablet computers and video game consoles, to mainframes and supercomputers.

On PC’s servers and some phones.


Dozens of different kinds.

Intel and AMD, but WinCE runs on some additional processors. (see: WinCE)


Originally developed for Intel’s x86 hardware, ports available for over two dozen CPU types including ARM

x86, and AMD 64


Linux typically provides two GUIs, KDE and Gnome. But Linux GUI is optional.

The Windows GUI is an integral component of the OS and it is mainly influenced by Apple Macintosh OS and Xerox.

File system support:

Ext2, Ext3, Ext4, Jfs, ReiserFS, Xfs, Btrfs, FAT, FAT32, NTFS


Text mode interface:

BASH (Bourne Again SHell) is the Linux default shell. It can support multiple command interpreters.

Windows uses a command shell and each version of Windows has a single command interpreter with dos-like commands, recently there is the addition of the optional PowerShell that uses more Unix-like commands.


Linux has had about 60-100 viruses listed till date. None of them actively spreading nowadays.

According to Dr. Nic Peeling and Dr Julian Satchell’s “Analysis of the Impact of Open Source Software” there have been more than 60,000 viruses in Windows

Development and Distribution:

Linux is developed by Open Source development i.e. through sharing and collaboration of code and features through forums etc and it is distributed by various vendors such as Debian, Red Hat, SUSE, Ubuntu, GentuX etc.

Windows is developed and distributed by Microsoft.

Threat detection and solution:

In case of Linux, threat detection and solution is very fast, as Linux is mainly community driven and whenever any Linux user posts any kind of threat, several developers start working on it from different parts of the world

After detecting a major threat in Windows OS, Microsoft generally releases a patch that can fix the problem and it can take more than 2/3 months. Sometimes sooner, Microsoft releases patches and updates weekly.


Inspired by MINIX (a Unix-like system) and eventually after adding many features of GUI, Drivers etc, Linus Torvalds developed the framework of the OS that became LINUX in 1992. The LINUX kernel was released on 17th September, 1991

Windows first released in 1985.


Can coexist with virtually any operating system out there.

Can coexist on local networks with Windows, BSD, Macs, and other Unix-like systems. Sometimes file compatibility issues may arise.

Popular Applications:

Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, LibreOffice.

Internet Explorer, Microsoft Office Word, Windows Explorer

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