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What Differentiates Linux from Windows?

CmdrTaco posted more than 10 years ago | from the besides-the-random-crashes dept.

Software 1135 sent in a Linux Insider piece about the difference between Linux and Windows. Quoting the synopsis "So, what's really the difference between a Unix variant like Linux and any Windows OS? It's that Microsoft reacts to marketing pressure to make design decisions favoring running a few processes faster but then finds itself forced first to layer in backward compatibility and then to engage in a patch-and-kludge upgrade process until the code becomes so bloated, slow and unreliable that wholesale replacement is again called for."

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The author, Paul Murphy... (4, Informative)

tcopeland (32225) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534470)

...also wrote The Unix Guide to Defenestration [] , which is an executive-level discussion of making a data center profitable.

He's been a Linux advocate for quite a while...

Re:The author, Paul Murphy... (5, Funny)

dupper (470576) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534619)

At first, I thought that said The Guide to Unix Defenestration. Of course, I pictured a bunch of pocket protectored Geeks toppling a server rack out of a 6th story window. Heh.

Oh, and for those who don't get this or the parent: ... [] "

Don't RTFA (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8534474)

Good job guys! Typically, you don't post the conclusion of the article as the blurb, you put the intro. Very simple idea really...

Long live the French!

Re:Don't RTFA (1, Insightful)

Orgazmus (761208) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534507)

Its actually a good idea, since it looks like nobody RTFA anyways.

The Difference... (3, Insightful)

psycht (233176) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534479)

market dominance.

Re:The Difference... (5, Insightful)

Orgazmus (761208) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534541)

MicroSoft makes an OS to make money, Linux is designed to be an effective OS

Re:The Difference... (5, Insightful)

dingbatdr (702519) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534567)

So by the metric they care about, Microsoft is an effective OS.


Re:The Difference... (2, Funny)

Orgazmus (761208) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534630)

Well, MicroSoft must have confused that with imperial. 1m of Windows buggyness =~ 1' of linux sweetness

GORILLA PENIS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8534480)

How big is a gorilla penis?



A gorilla's willy is just 1.5" long!!!!! Shocking huh?

Re:GORILLA PENIS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8534496)

Good thing I'm not the descendant of a gorilla.

Re:GORILLA PENIS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8534564)

Hard or soft?

It's simple. (3, Insightful)

lofoforabr (751004) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534488)

Linux is made with efficiency and innovation in mind, by lots of people around the world that believe in the idea of freedom. Windows is made with profit in mind, by one big corporation that wants nothing besides seizing market control. Need to say anything else?

Re:It's simple. (4, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534552)

Windows also has ease of use and ease of hardware integration...

You can't tell me that Linux is easier to use and install hardware drivers for than Windows.

While I know that we are all Windows haters it does do quite a few things rather well. It isn't used by so many people because it is *completely* inferior. It serves its purpose.

Re:It's simple. (5, Informative)

Dylan_t_p (630258) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534596)

yea! The only drivers I ever have to install are the nvidia video drivers linux. For the most part has all my drivers and the only reason for the nvidia drivers is so I can have gl support, otherwise I could just use it out of the box without the installation of drivers.

Re:It's simple. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8534683)

and I am 100% certain you make sure that whatever hardware you buy works out of the box w/Linux. My latest digital camera does not work out of the box w/Linux. I had to get a USB card reader for my SD/MMC card to get it to work.

Re:It's simple. (4, Insightful)

GoofyBoy (44399) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534577)

>Linux is made with efficiency and innovation in mind, by lots of people around the world that believe in the idea of freedom.

Ummm IBM, SGI and lots of other profit-oriented companies have contributed code to Linux. Do they actually believe in "freedom"? Why not opensource all of their products?

Re:It's simple. (2, Insightful)

Orgazmus (761208) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534590)

You forgot to mention who actually uses Linux and Windows. Linux is made for and by the people that needs something that dont restrict your computer experience. Windows is made to make money, and dont need to do more than the average user needs. (Exept the server versions of course)

Re:It's simple. (0, Flamebait)

ranolen (581431) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534592)

Yes, but at least it comes out with the updates it needs in a reasonable time. With linux you are depending on a bunch of people sitting in their garage, to come out with something that "may" work. At lease with MS there is responsibility in what they write.

Excellent (3, Insightful)

andih8u (639841) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534490)

A nice unbiased article about how Linux is superior...from a Linux magazine. Perhaps we'll be posting the article from Windows Insider about how Windows is better? No? Didn't think so.

Re:Excellent (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8534515)

Quick.... get Paul Thurott on the horn

Re:Excellent (1)

Spoing (152917) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534662)

  1. A nice unbiased article about how Linux is superior...from a Linux magazine. Perhaps we'll be posting the article from Windows Insider about how Windows is better? No? Didn't think so.

Note that he generally talks about Unix and when being specific most of the time Solaris is mentioned. When he talks about *BSD and Linux it is along the lines of 'oh, and other Unix-like systems such as ...'.

Now, anyone who has read the Linux kernel list or at a minimum Kernel Traffic [] will recognize that what he says does indeed apply to Linux as well. Without that knowledge, though, it looks like the reasons why Solaris is better and Linux just happens to be like Solaris. (As someone who has admined solaris boxen and owns a few ancient ones -- I'll take Solaris though I want Linux if at all possible.)

in one word (-1, Offtopic)

blurfus (606535) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534495)

stability? (of course I didn't RFTA) ;)

Re:in one word (1)

savagedome (742194) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534579)

Unless you are going back to good old Windows98,ME,NT(pre SP 6a) days, stability is not that big a difference.

I have a Windows XP and Windows 2000 machine at work and haven't seen the BSOD in a looonnngggg time.

Re:in one word (1)

blurfus (606535) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534680)

You are 100% correct.
I have Win2K at work and have not seen it either (in at least three years)

What about the server side of things? What are your thoughts on that?

Outside of business... (5, Interesting)

neiffer (698776) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534499)

Murphy writes that "For example, cost is usually important in business only if the products being compared are otherwise very similar." I work in education and cost is everything. I can really say that my Linux OS machines (running the K12LTSP) are equal to my Windows 2K/XP machines but cost is huge. I can literally put a lab in my classroom using Linux, I'd have to settle for a couple of PC's at best under the commercial software regime.

Windows has driver support (4, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534623)

K-12 institutions receive lots of donated hardware. How do you make, for example, a donated scanner work with GNU/Linux if SANE lists it as unsupported? Do you reserve a Windows box just for that scanner and a few other donated peripherals that the community hasn't yet figured out how to get to work with a Free operating system?

Bottom-up Top-down is dying (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8534509)

The new conflict is design before or after the fact.

You decide which is which.

The Difference. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8534511)

  1. Linux does you want. Windows does what Microsoft wants.
  2. Unless what you want is to copy and paste between applications, in which case the opposite is true.

Re:The Difference. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8534624)

Amen. and so true! About as short a synopisis as you can get.

But what about mac. Perhaps

3) Mac does what should have wanted to do in the firstplace but did not realize it yet.

Re:I wanna (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8534632)

I want to copy paste between applications.
Thank you.

I also want to play PC games without having to run Windows emulators and other shite with only 30% compatibility......

Re:The Difference. (2, Informative)

peragrin (659227) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534633)

using KDE and Gnome, I haven't had a problem ctting and pasting between windows. It is a bit hard to figure out as ctrl-c ctrl-v doesn't always work, but selecting the text and middle clicking always does in my limited experience over the past few years.

Re:The Difference. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8534716)

You're still using text?

The other side (4, Insightful)

krog (25663) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534512)

So, what's really the difference between a Unix variant like Linux and any Windows OS? It's that Microsoft reacts to marketing pressure to make design decisions favoring running a few processes faster but then finds itself forced first to layer in backward compatibility and then to engage in a patch-and-kludge upgrade process until the code becomes so bloated, slow and unreliable that wholesale replacement is again called for.

As opposed to Unix, where the design is so open and extensible that anything is possible, yet there is no coherent interface and none of the non-server applications work or look as good as they do on Macintosh or Windows.

Re:The other side (1)

neiffer (698776) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534578)

I guess I beg to differ. Many of the applications have outstanding interfaces, like the GIMP and

Re:The other side (1)

krog (25663) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534629)

Many of the applications have outstanding interfaces, like the GIMP and

Those interfaces stand out to me, because they are so second-rate that it makes me want to cry.

They are both fine programs -- don't get me wrong -- but they pale in comparison to the programs they seek to emulate (Photoshop and MS Office).

Re:The other side (1)

GoofyBoy (44399) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534719)

These are the exceptions, rather than the rule.

I just wished applications got simple things uniformed like selecting a file. Different interface on GIMP, OpenOffice, Mplayer all on Gnome.

Re:The other side (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8534582)

Applications on Windows are looking good?
Yeah, sure.

Wow, trolls never cease to amaze me.

Uh - was that a question? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8534516)

Looks like that's answered already.

Inconceivable! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8534519)

Your logic is dizzying.

Mozilla Crash@? (0, Offtopic)

Zegnar (704768) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534524)

I know somewhat offtopic... but the article link crashed Moz here for me.. anyone else get that? Ver 1.5

Re:Mozilla Crash@? (5, Funny)

ultrabot (200914) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534585)

I know somewhat offtopic... but the article link crashed Moz here for me.. anyone else get that? Ver 1.5

I'll AOL that.

Actually, this is a good opportunity to pinpoint all those Internet Exploder users within the slashdot community and excommunicate them once and for all.

Re:Mozilla Crash@? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8534607)

Works fine in 1.7a on x86 Linux

Re:Mozilla Crash@? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8534693)

firefox 0.8 here, NO crash , no hangs no problems.

Why use Moz, when its lightweight brother firefox kicks so much a$$.

Its all about the floppy disk (0, Troll)

litewoheat (179018) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534527)

When you stick a flopy disk in a Windows machine you don't have to mount it, you can immediately read and write to it, you can eject the disk without unmounting it and put it into another computer and read what you just wrote on the previous computer. And other such obvious stuff that Linux just doesn't do because its so much better to do it the better (ie) Linux way...

Re:Its all about the floppy disk (2, Informative)

Ayaress (662020) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534580)

I take it you've never heard of automount, eh?

Re:Its all about the floppy disk (4, Insightful)

litewoheat (179018) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534689)

No, and why should a user who just wants to use a computer, not configure a computer, need to know about that? This is the kind of stuff that really makes Linux and Windows different. Linux is for those who care about THE computer windows os for those who care about USING a computer...

Re:Its all about the floppy disk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8534608)

Windows doesn't automount floppies - perhaps you're thinking of Amigas

Linux, like Apple, can't handle floppies? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8534612)

Really? All this hassle to use diskettes on Linux? I knew that Apple had it hard to use them too: "bend paperclip and jam in pinhole to eject". Why is making an easy-to-use diskette system so hard that Linux and Apple Macintosh can't do it?

Re:Its all about the floppy disk (2, Insightful)

roomisigloomis (643740) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534694)

This, however much a troll, is a good point. I'm fairly new at Linux but I installed Knoppix on my laptop about two months ago. I have a USB thumb drive that I spent a week figuring out how to mount. It took me another two weeks to figure out how to get the built-in wireless card working on booot...the first week was spent just getting the wireless card to work. And now, I'm spending what I expect to be another week trying to get StarOffice to render my fonts correctly on the screen. Now, about the mounting and copy and paste issues: couldn't those just be programmed into the kernel, for Pete's sake? I mean, maybe common stuff like copy/paste, mount/umount and stuff like that could just be made to work on boot? Having said that, one of the reasons I love Linux is that I can tinker with it all day and make it work like I want it to.

Re:Its all about the floppy disk (1)

neiffer (698776) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534703)

I'd suggesting this was over modded down. These types of useability questions are important to desktop users and may prevent users from switching. Remember, a lot of the Windows user base are the completely tech dumb folks that find AOL a challenge.

Simple Difference... (2, Funny)

axis-techno-geek (70545) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534530)

Linux is Good, Windows is Evil. :)

ZardOS (0)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534672)

"The Gun is good, The Penis is evil."


English 101 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8534531)

Don't cram a paragraph of text into a single sentence.

Simplicity (4, Insightful)

ultrabot (200914) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534532)

Unix revolves around the idea of simplicity. Microsoft revolves around complex systems, and misguided attempts to hide them with friendly configuration interfaces.

Net result is that you might get something done quickly, but you still won't understand how the thing works. This is not optimal, especially for critical systems.

Nobody understands Windows. I for one don't even want to understand it.

Re:Simplicity (4, Insightful)

SlashdotLemming (640272) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534625)

Nobody understands Windows. I for one don't even want to understand it.

No-one understands Windows, but anyone can use it. Linux is simple, but few can use it.

Re:Simplicity (1)

GoofyBoy (44399) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534665)

>Unix revolves around the idea of simplicity. depends on your point of view. To me, and alot of other people, Unix is complex. Its a big OS. To even being to state that Unix is simple is glossing over alot of history and actual functionality.

Re:Simplicity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8534712)

Unix is simple and Windows is complex? You need to update your piss test.

Everybody knows! (1, Insightful) (629916) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534538)

I don't think any reader of Slashdot or Linux Insider needs to read this article. It should be posted on BusinessWeek or some non-technical magazine instead.

OT: petition top recall Verisign (-1, Offtopic)

fanatic (86657) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534540)

Go to [] and sign the petition to get Verisign to stop abusing their control of .com and .net TLDs

Oh (-1, Redundant)

timothv (730957) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534543)

just about everything?

stability, security, licensure, etc (0, Troll)

cjsteele (27556) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534558)

linux is stable, windows is not.

linux can be secure, windows can not.

linux is open, windows is not. ...we could keep playing this game, but is it really necessary? why can't we get articles about things that actually matter?

Re:stability, security, licensure, etc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8534651)

I heard somewhere that your user ID number is directly proportional to your IQ.

Thanks for proving that this is true.

Re:stability, security, licensure, etc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8534691)

Any OS can be secure and stable. To the trained professional, both are just as easy, although Linux is more geared to security and stability.

Re:stability, security, licensure, etc (2, Insightful)

MisterFancypants (615129) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534700)

linux is stable, windows is not. Been living under a rock? The whole Windows being unstable issue went away back in 1999. linux can be secure, windows can not. Actually neither can be secure. What a dumb statement. I'm no big fan of Microsoft, but why bother posting things like this? It doesn't help the Linux-users case when zealots are just mouthing off nonsense like 'Windows is unstable'.

Driver support or lack thereof (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534709)

windows is compatible with drivers that come on discs packaged with devices, linux is not. this is the major barrier to my adopting linux in my home.

Rewrites necessary (5, Interesting)

IAmTheDave (746256) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534565)

Despite conventional wisdom and some articles to the contrary, sometimes complete ground-up software rewrites are necessary. Windows 2003 is - for my money - one of the best server systems around. Its stability is equal to the linux servers I run, and finally it installs completely locked down.

Windows 2003 wouldn't be possible if 90% of its codebase was from the WinNT 3.1 kernel.

Even Macs - OSX is so completely different than OS9 that they can't even be compared fairly. OS9 was dead in the water before it came out - the rewrite of the OS (albeit on the BSD kernel) was necessary to allow Mac to continue to compete at all.

I don't think anyone says this but.. (5, Interesting)

freerecords (750663) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534571)

.. the gap is closing between the two in terms of usability and stability - in BOTH DIRECTIONS. this is hardly ever mentioned, but Windows has improved BIG TIME since 95/98/ME -> If you have used 2003 you will note the speed is much improved over older versions as is the stability. Now before you brand me a Redmond freak, I've been a linux user for 5 years (since I was 12) and will be forever, but I can hardly help noticing that everyone thinks Linux is gaining on Windows, when in fact Windows is also gaining on Linux
just my 2 pence

Re:I don't think anyone says this but.. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8534646)

That's circular logic and makes no sense. If Fred is catching up to Ted, Ted can't be catching up to Fred. Fred and Ted can both be improving their race times though.

Re:I don't think anyone says this but.. (2, Interesting)

freerecords (750663) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534701)

I dont think that's true -- ie. look at it like this
Windows Linux
Usable +--Unusable
Insecure--+ Secure

Windows users aren't commies (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8534576)

Windows users are productive and aren't poor so they can afford it. Linux is made by poor people for poor people and is under the GPL which the Communist Party also uses. co mmunist-manifesto/"

Customization (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8534581)

I think the strength of Linux lies in its extensive customization option. Where else can one optimize the kernel for a specific task (say video streaming) to accentuate ROI in the organization?

We pride ourselves in our extensive deployment of Linux servers in our environment. We find that their MySQL processing is 10x faster than our previous architecture running on SQL Server 4.1.

Which is nice.

the difference you morons (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8534584)

is that windows installs then runs, unlike linux where one must

-attempt to install
-attempt to configure partitions

once installed you must
-attempt to configure your devices
-attemtp to run updates

face it, linux is fine for you pimple faced nerdos, but this shit will never fly for the rest of us.

"Linux, getting you to spend two days configuring your system, only to realise it offers no benefits over XP"

Here's one difference: (-1, Troll)

Shut the fuck up! (572058) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534600)

$ uptime
11:23am up 480 days, 20:43, 1 user, load average: 0.08, 0.02, 0.01

The Difference Between Lunix and Windows (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8534604)

Lunix is homosexual to the max
Windows is the best Operating System ever

What no wants to hear but should be said ... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8534606)

Although no self-respecting /.er wants to admit, there is a steeper learning curve to using Linux than Windows. How much more steep is debatable. There also is a tendency for closed-minded people who want to do as little thinking as possible to choose Windows, even though it paves the way for migraines later. My two cents, be gentle with the flames. Ah heck, I'll post anonymously, so flame on!!!!

Windows Obsolescence? (1)

wideBlueSkies (618979) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534610)

From the article:

But Microsoft -- and Intel -- remain trapped in the megahertz race because Microsoft's basic Windows OS design is unable to take full advantage of even today's limited two-way thread concurrency.

So it's like the author is suggesting that Windows is obsolete, or almost there.

OK, but what is it that's going to keep windows from dying anytime soon? It seems to that MSFT will be able to keep Windows alive simply because it's entrenced in so many business environments. (And by the likes of dirty tricks like the SCO fiasco).

Sure, there's a small momentum growing in certain companies towards LINUX. But in my firm at least, nobody is seriuosly talking about the desktop.


i guess (3, Funny)

jiffah (685832) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534615)

it is that one is inately evil..

Windows is Easier To Install and Use (3, Insightful)

amigoro (761348) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534616)

Like how the guy says here [] "All my Windows user friends are happily playing games or downloading porn while I am trying to get this piece of excrement to work properly"

This is exactly the problem with Linux. A Linux user spends(well wastes) most of his time just trying to get a simple thing like an office suite to work, where as the Windows user can happily go about doing whatever he wants to do.

Linux is good for the geeks. But for the normal everyday man, Linux is no alternative for Windows.

I am a Linux user: that's my personal preference. But I don't see many of my friends ever using it. Quite a lot of them are very computer literate. Why don't they want to use linux?

simple because they want to use a computer as a tool, and not as a source of frustration.

Two words: Linux zealots (-1, Flamebait)

rqqrtnb (753156) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534617)

A spectre is haunting the world, the spectre of the Linux zealot.

What the Linux zealot is will appear evident to whoever has experienced or came in contact with the discussions which daily rage the Web disguised as news, e-mails, reference material, etc. The Linux zealot, is nothing but an animal wandering unceasingly in virtual and true reality (which moreover he treats in the same way) claiming to be an authority on the Linux operating system, an out-and-out guarantor for everyone's freedom, opposed to any safeguard of intellectual works (for a Linux zealot, the expression "copyright" is tantamount to sin against the Holy Spirit: there is no kind of expiation); in fact, he champions software freedom as a fundamental point for world evolution.

But first and foremost, the Linux zealot is a deeply dangerous being as he claims to be the guardian of truth, and sees with suspicion (when it goes off well) or scorn (for the rest of cases, i.e. most of them) those people who simply think differently from him.

But what's Linux? A Linux zealot will never give an authentic answer to this kind of question. He won't, not because he doesn't want to (even if this is the case), but because this question has been answered already, somewhere else by someone else. Linux is nothing but an operating system. The Linux zealot will claim that it is a different operating system from all others. But this is not the case. Because an OS is an OS, its main function is to manage the resources of a machine we will call "computer" from now on, for comfort of description. By the term "computer" we mean what is commonly meant by this expression, i. e. the system of hardware resources which are fixed to a certain purpose, be it home use, business use, or server management. Linux is an operating system. Like Windows, MS-DOS, OS/2, etc. There is no difference, in this sense, between Linux and other operating systems. Linux manages a computer, no more, no less. So do MS-DOS, Windows and OS/2. What the Linux zealot self-importantly and arrogantly highlights, is the fact that Linux is a free operating system, i.e., it is made available free of charge to the end user. This of course isn't true at all, but the Linux Zealot believes it. Linux is freely distributable, not free of charge. This means that the kernel and everything included in the operating system's minimal requirements can be freely distributed, not that they must be distributed free of charge. This is the first great misapprehension of the Linux zealots, who find their claim challenged by facts: if the essential parts which make the operating system, and some additional software, are freely distributable, they should explain the reason of the costs -- not prohibitive but certainly notable -- of the most popular Linux distributions, Red Hat and SuSE foremost. And most of all, they should explain the fact that companies like Red Hat are regularly listed on the stock exchange, and Mr. Linux Torvalds enjoys a rather high standard of living. These benefactors of mankind, these software alternatives, these computer non-conformists (so much non-conformist as to be terribly conformist in their non-conformism) naturally justify the distributing companies' profits with excuses like "but there's a printed manual", "but the bundled software is qualitatively and numerically superior compared to the most popular distribution". "but it is easier to install" and other unspeakable nonsense. "On the other hand" they say "if someone wants Linux, they can just as easily download it from the Internet". Sure. Download it from the Internet. But how long must you stay connected, if you regularly pay an Internet bill, to complete the download of an updated version of a decent distribution of an operating system? So what? Is Linux free? No. Linux is not free, same as nothing downloaded from the Internet is free, unless you have access to an University server or can in whatever way scrounge a connection. If you ask a Linux zealot to burn the material you are interested in, he will do so with great disappointment, and at least he will ask the money for the CD back, or will invite you to make a donation to the GNU project, another sublime decoy produced by the zealots' ingenuity.

Why don't Linux zealots explain what Linux is and how it works? Simply because it is characteristic of the Linux zealot to be self-sufficient, to be content with what he himself (as a single person or as a representative of the collective entity of this operating system's users) makes. In this, the Linux zealot is wholly equivalent to modern religious cults like the Jehovah's Witnesses, or ones of the last century, like the Mormons. The Linux zealot never asks anything outside of what the Linux world makes inside itself: in fact, he gets all the angrier everytime he has to deal with news, questions and inquisitiveness from the outside world. In this case, one cannot say that the Linux zealot be on par with his co-religionists of the Kingdom Hall. In fact, when Jehovah's Witnesses are asked questions by an external person, they are glad, they try to explain, they're inclined to a dialogue, and they bring themselves into question. If they don't have a sure answer on the question of the Trinity, they say: "Sorry, I can't answer you now, but I'll of course think about it, perhaps we'll meet in a few days and I'll give you an answer which is based on something firmer than my personal hypotheses". It's a fair attitude. Saying "I don't know" when someone asks us something is a good start. You stop, you collect informations, you work out, and then you go on. Instead the Linux zealot doesn't do so, he refers you to his literature, and that's it.

Hence, to the question "What's Linux?", which can be replaced by an appropriate number of other questions on the subject, according to the interlocutor's interest, the Linux zealot will always answer referring you to something others wrote for him, showing not only unparalleled pride and haughtyness, but especially a clear inability to reason for himself, seeing his stubbornness to persist putting forward solutions which are found inside documentation or manuals written by someone else. If moreover you approach the Linux world through the gateway of the so-called "external" (e.g. manuals bought in a bookstore, books or publications which aim to explain the Linux operating system and phenomenon to "people"), you will be looked upon with scorn, because for a Linux zealot, anything dealing with Linux which was not produced inside the Linux official channels does not merit consideration. If, for instance, you are looking for a manual and you find one of these books (absolutely useless in most cases, one must admit) which cost at least $ 50, containing step-by-step instructions for Linux installation and usage, possibly with an obsolete CD attached, and decide to pick it up, the true Linux zealot will give you his usual scornful look, and will say you were ripped off, as there are some wonderful tools on the Internet, which are called "Linux Documentation Project", which were written by a lunatic who had the wonderful idea to gather up a ponderous work where, of course, you won't find any answer to your questions, and in addition, it's free. Do you have a SuSE distribution and don't know how to install it? Don't be frightened: you won't find a solution in the Linux Documentation Project. Never mind though; the work is ponderous, someone got the brilliant idea of making it available free of charge (and hitherto it's entirely their own business), but it's not necessarily valid. Should you try printing it, what with the paper and the ink cartridge -- not to talk of the printer itself, which may well be a write-off in the end -- you will spend a lot more that the dead tree book and CD you had set yourself to buy.

One cannot see why the Linux zealot has to look up and down anyone who commits the crime of not applying to the usual informative circuit of truth distribution. It's as if the mafia got angry at a drug addict who took detoxification instead of applying to his usual dealer for his daily supply of illegal drugs. In the Linux world, everything which is approved is legal. In this sense, the Linux zealot has no differences whatsoever with the Holy Inquisition or with the Imprimatur Commission of the Holiest Romanest Apostolicest Churchest.

Because what one does verify, is that Linux is a hard-to-use operating system, at least in the install phase. Especially if one wants to make it cohabit, at the start, with another OS with better-known features, waiting until one is more familiar with it, one must know what a partition is, how to create one, how two operating systems can safely coexist, and so on. But the Linux zealot doesn't explain this, he doesn't want to. "There are loads of explanations and publications; if one doesn't know what to do, he should refer to these and he'll find the solution to his question. If he doesn't, it's a sign that he hasn't understood some basic concepts, and he must go a step backwards before carrying on". It's a very peaceful and logic wiewpoint on the surface. On the contrary, it's extremely violent and disrespectful. It's violent because one quietly calls the user an idiot without taking direct liability for what one says. It's disrespectful, because every user is different, and everyone has different requirements from time to time, from machine to machine.

What the Linux zealot never understood and will never understand, is that it's the user who chooses the available resources he needs, out of how he needs them, and out of how he can use them, there are no ready-made solutions which fit everyone. This is why the Linux philosophy is losing and will never gain ground, because it's not respectful, it's angry, it's gloomly and worryingly contentious, it demands others to adapt without being content with adapting to others' requirements. The Linux zealot doesn't proselytize those who are interested in using Linux, even if just to see how it works; the Linux zealot crusades against all other operating systems, especially Microsoft's. If someone doesn't agree with the way Microsoft work, distribute, and sell their software, or with their already unchallenged domination over the market, it's fair that he should create his own alternative channels, but it isn't at all fair that he demand others to comply. If a Windows user asks a Linux user about a malfunction he found in his operating system (Windows, not Linux), at the very least he will be answered that Windows is an OS that doesn't work, that it can't be OK, that Bill Gates sells his products and that these products are paid even if they're included with a computer. Among the Linux zealots there are the mysterious figures of the Microsoft conscientious objectors, i.e. those who buy a computer, demand a bare machine, and ask for the operating system money back, pointing out that they're free to install whatever they want on their computer. With the result that the storekeeper understands he has a PITA in front of him, and sells the computer to someone else who doesn't make such a fuss, or sells the bare thing to him, making however a profit on the sale of the operating system he retains to himself, and will sell underhand to someone else. This is the great illusion: the Linux zealots think they've put a "system" under check, but the system keeps working even without them, or rather better, because from the business point of view, the less headaches the better. The saying of the Linux zealot is not "people have the right to do what they want" (in which case one cannot see why he gets so angry on those who use Microsoft products, as they also are doing what they want!), it is "I do what I want and the world must see and must know". Indeed. But one doesn't see why. One doesn't see why the world ought to know that a Linuz zealot uses Linux, same as one doesn't see why it should know that Linux exists and is free. If someone chooses to buy an OS which costs money, but allows him to do stuff more intuitively, one doesn't see why he could not. It's exactly like people who can't ski, and instead of plunging on the slope and snowploughing, they pay for the lessons of an instructor on the beginners' slope. The idiocy of the Linux philosophy appears particularly in the claim of free circulation of the OS and software in question. It's not by chance that Linux is a very common operating system in anarchoid environments. And when one speaks of anarchoid environments, one means precisely "anarchoid", not "anarchist". These who respect freedom do not force their truth on others' choices.

Windows crashes on you? First of all, you must reformat your hard drive and install Linux. Can't use an operating system without a GUI? Don't be afraid, Linux has an extremely heavy-to-load ugly-as-hell user-friendly interface, which will solve every problem for you, by shamelessly copying Windows. So then, we might just as well keep using Windows, which at least we know, and has a more pleasing look. You know, Linux zealots are especially angry by nature, and they object to this remark that there's no reason whatsoever to use Windows. If they need a word processor or a spreadsheet, there are free ones for Linux, without need for Office: in conclusion, Linux has everything you need to manage anything, so why insist on using something you must pay for when there are other applications which are free? The answer is simple: because it's not their own business. But they don't know this, or rather, so they pretend. Choices are no longer personal: everyone can use what he wants, as long as he uses what they want.

One of the objections which most frequently are made to the Linux zealot is that Linux is a hard to learn OS, that one must be a programmer, or anyway, know a lot about programming, to modify the source codes of freely distributed programs. Linux zealots use to answer, with the snooty self-importance which sets them apart, that Linux is a software made exactly for these in the know. So why on earth do they want Linux to be accessible to the humblest of users? If one can't program, if one can't use Linux, why should he be forced to use it? The answer is very simple again: because otherwise Linux zealots get angry and take it as a personal offence. Same as the fact that there are some people who develop software for whichever OS and sell it making a profit from their work is a personal offence. Again, the solution is only too simple, one doesn't need to bother Dr. Watson to find it: as copying software without permission is a crime in most countries, instead of attacking the law, they attack these who profit from it. These people clearly have never bought a newspaper in their life, when they go to the bookstore, they walk up to the pay desk with provocative and know-all attitude, and start saying: "A book cannot be intellectual property of the author, but of the people who read it".

For them, the intellectual work does not exist as such, but as a collective work. They wanted to make a free OS? Indeed, and they even want us to thank them. We can. Provided that they leave us, at last, in peace. Laughing.

Re:Two words: Linux zealots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8534708)

Now I wonder where you got that idea []

Boils down to (5, Interesting)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534618)

Boils down to something like this.

Windows: easy to configure, easy to break
Linux: difficult to configure, difficult to break

Don't get me wrong, I use both, its an apples to oranges comparison. The question is what do you want to do with it? A MS firewall is unconsiderable, but so is the thought of putting Linux on my sisters desktop.

the desktop experience (-1, Flamebait)

fluor2 (242824) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534620)

i've been starting to use KDE for some time now. I first tried Gnome, but that completely sucked, so I started with KDE.

There are so many things that I miss from Windows, that I really must say that Linux has a loong way to go before I can work as fast as I am working when I use the Windows GUI.

windows just works (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8534634)

the difference is windows just works while linux is a big piece of trash that never works.

plug in usb keychain drive
windows - detected and ready for use
linux - just sits there

i could go on and on with examples but there isnt enough memory on this computer to list them all

It's obvious (5, Insightful)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534636)

On one hand, we have an O/S that works with X86, once worked with one other architecture, and has gone nowhere else.

On the other hand, we have an O/S that works with X86, and now works on everything from calculators and old gaming consoles to some of the largest supercomputing clusters in the world.

Anybody who says that Linux isn't inherently more robust and flexible at the critical core areas is living their life under a rock.

They're just Different. (4, Interesting)

Cytlid (95255) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534639)

It's like driving a car you're not accostumed to every day. It's just different.

But to be slightly OT...

It sort of reminds me of something ... I'm a huge Linux fan, but I also use windows. (Often tagged, albeit incorrectly, as a 'Microsoft Hater'). Anyhow, my point... what happens when someone open sources windows? Or, more specifically, comes up with an Open Source Windows clone?

I've always wanted to write a book talking about how the two camps actually need each other. Microsoft would have more to fear from an open source windows variant than any threat Linux could ever bring.

ReactOS is an open source windows clone (5, Informative)

MichaelCrawford (610140) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534711)

ReactOS [] aims to be binary-compatible with Windows both for applications and device drivers.

It's still in development, but you can boot it and run some programs on it already.

Lin vs. Win, from the middle-aged perspective (5, Interesting)

Mori Chu (737710) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534642)

My dad (a reasonable, intelligent, only semi-computer-literate man) asked me this exact question the other day. The best I could give him was that Linux is a hobby OS and Windows is an OS driven by business interests. That gives pluses and minuses to each of them. Dad and I talked about the good and the bad; obvious things like, security issues, lock-in, consistency across apps, integration, stability. We agreed that Linux could really benefit from some of the aspects of Windows, such as centralization and consistency across the UI in every app. We also agreed that Windows could benefit from many things Linux has, such as increased peer review, freedom (beer and speech), and community. In the end, he wasn't interested in switching to Linux or anything, but he hoped that its influence was going to get Microsoft off their rear ends and improve their product. I think whichever OS can meet the other in the middle--with a balance of security, usability, and power--will win the long-term battle.

It's Simple... (1)

spudthepotatofreak (649917) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534649)

The difference between the two, is the BSOD...

Re:It's Simple... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8534698)


when was the last time you saw a BSOD? I haven't seen one in over 3 years, and im surrounded by 2000/xp

get real

Hardware drivers database (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8534676)

Windows have a HUGE hardware drivers database, which makes really easy to install new hardware.
Besides, if a given piece of hardware is not supported by Linux, it's not clear what the user should do.

History (5, Insightful)

eidechse (472174) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534678)

The points in the article (and others) also reflect the fact that Unix variants came about during an era of big expensive hardware and timesharing versus small cheap (relatively) hardware and a single operator. These categories can also be looked at as Unix favoring "enterprise" tasks and Windows favoring "personal" tasks. The interesting part is that both camps are trying to became more attractive to the other's "side"; i.e. Windows han been targeting the infrastructural role while Unix variants are warming up to the desktop.

Granted, this analysis is a little superficial but I think it's true in a broad sense.

Definition... (OT) (5, Funny)

Embedded Geek (532893) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534682)

Whenever anyone presents a "definition" that is clearly loaded with bias (regardless of whether I share the bias), it makes me recall an incident with Clint Eastwood (cited here [] ):

While he was in New York on location for Bronco Billy (1980), Clint Eastwood agreed to a television interview. His host, somewhat hostile, began by defining a Clint Eastwood picture as a violent, ruthless, lawless, and bloody piece of mayhem, and then asked Eastwood himself to define a Clint Eastwood picture.

"To me," said Eastwood calmly, "what a Clint Eastwood picture is, is one that I'm in."

Simple: Pet projects (5, Insightful)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534684)

What differentiates Linux from windows is the amount of attention paid to all of it's various sub-systems. Pick any chunk of Linux, and you will find a active developer who is constantly working on making that particular driver the best little thing he or she can.

Windows on the other hand is sterile and ferile. No one is personally involved in one particular aspect (at least for very long, comparitively speaking.) So you get mountains of code that, once written, are rarely re-thought. They work, they go through testing, and until some new function is needed for it or some vulnerability found, never given a second thought.

Think Bit Rot.

Troll topic :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8534685)

What Differentiates Linux from Windows? Ugly...

I have a better troll/flame war...

What Differentiates MacOS X from Windows? :)

what's the differnece? (0)

AssProphet (757870) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534686)

the mouse pointer is black in linux... anything else I'm missing?

Linux Zealots (3, Interesting)

Borg_5x8 (547287) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534688)

Ugh, there have been far far far too many MS-bashing linux-is-so-great posts on /. recently... yes, Windows may have flaws, but it has good points too people. At least pretend to present a balanced view, lest the Linux community comes to be seen as the mad fanatics Mac users are.

It turns people off Macs, and it can do the same for Linux.

the answer is simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8534695)

*nix is a collection of many utilities that are excellent at doing one thing and one thing only.
windows is a collection of utilities that are *ok* at doing a few things. ( jack of all trades is a master of none )
combine those with the upgrade models that surround the operating systems, *nix get better and more secure.. windows gets slower, bloated and full of more holes.

Good description of Linux IPC (2, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534705)

It's that [Linux] reacts to marketing pressure to make design decisions favoring running a few processes faster but then finds itself forced first to layer in backward compatibility and then to engage in a patch-and-kludge upgrade process until the code becomes so bloated, slow and unreliable that wholesale replacement is again called for."

That's a good description of Linux inter-application communication. Linux is still stuck with a antiquated pre-object model of interprocess communication that's based on pipes, signals, forking, and sockets. The Linux/Unix world has never been able to come up with a good answer to COM/DCOM/Active-X. CORBA never caught on. The window managers and OpenOffice have totally different approaches to inter-application communication. In typical Linux fashion, there's an attempt to hack a "gateway" between the two, rather than standardize.

Because of this Mess Underneath, most interprocess communication is done by adding a bloated layer on top, usually at the language level. This leads to hacks like Java RMI, or the Mozilla "platform".

Cut and paste sucks because the infrastructure needed to do it right is missing.

It's ownership (5, Funny)

DangerSteel (749051) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534714)

Microsoft owns the code to Windows

SCO owns the code to Linux

any questions? /puts on flamesuit/

main difference (4, Insightful)

Coneasfast (690509) | more than 10 years ago | (#8534715)

here is the (very general) main differences IMO:

Windows is an OS driven by the desire for profit and more widespread use.
* ease of use
* compatibility with hardware/programs
* small learning curve

Linux is driven by a desire to create a more 'better' operating system with a desire for more configurability.
* longer learning curve
* more versatile
* not intended for the average user (and will not be anytime in the near future)
* more concentration on bug fixes and security, and less on user-friendliness

there are commercial companies obviously that sell linux, but mainstream usage is not #1 priority for the main developers, therefore it is a hard sell for the linux distribution vendors
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