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Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Windows 7 vs Linux Ubuntu: Which is better?

This article will show you the pros and cons of the 2 Operating Systems. It will give you an idea of the systems. And it would give you some advises if you hesitating to choose one and it would tell which one suits you.

First of all I will give you a short introduction of linux. It's latest version is Ubuntu 12.10. Maybe you have heard that linux is more complicated but it is easy to use. If you are a windows user, it will take some time to get use to Ubuntu. Windows and Ubuntu has same functions but they have a different interface.

    1.Home Screen

Here is the home screen of Windows and Ubuntu

The home screen is a thing that I will let you choose which is better as it your personal choice. I will give you an advice do not pay attention to its home screen too much as you must see its features and its functionality.

    2. Software Package

By default, Windows has a small set of software. Word, Excel and Powerpoint is not provided, you have to purchase and install MS Office separately. For me, it should have been bundled in Windows.

On the other hand, Ubuntu has LibreOffice(MS Office Equivalent) pre-installed. F-spot, another pre-installed software, is an image editing program. It has also Empathy, an instant messaging client, that has chat provisioning for Facebook, G-Talk, Yahoo, MSN and VOIP.

Drivers: One of the biggest advantage of ubuntu is that it comes with a package of drivers for webcam,  wifi, audio, video and printer. We all know the pain to find and install a driver in Windows. In ubuntu you can also install propriety drivers such as Nvidia and so on.
    3. Media 

Windows comes with Windows media player, which is pretty much useless without codecs, as majority of the videos/movies that we watch require codecs like Xvid. So there is a need to download a codec pack before Windows media player becomes fully functional.

Ubuntu is bundled with Movie Player, and also requires downloading codecs.
However, in both the operating systems, it is very easy to watch videos by simply installing VLC media player.

    4. Installing Third Party Software 

When it comes to installing third party software, the steps required to install a software in Ubuntu is considerably less. An illustration is shown here of installing software in Ubuntu.

Ubuntu has a utility called Ubuntu software center. This is one of the most loved features by Ubuntu users. It is as simple as installing an app in your phone from iTunes store or Android Market (now re-branded to Google Play). Just select the software that you need, hit install, and the software is ready to use.
It is clear from the screen shots, that installing software in Ubuntu is a lot simpler than it is in windows. Moreover, Ubuntu will check for any dependencies that the software needs and it will be installed automatically.
However, an argument can be made for computers that don’t have internet access, ease of installing software in Windows outmatches as that of Ubuntu, as it is viewed a very complicated process that includes the terminal (command line interface). Although, it is very unlikely that someone will be without internet access these days.
    5. Minimum Reqiurements

Windows 7 requires a minimum of 1000 Mhz processor with 1GB of RAM, while Ubuntu requires a minimum of 700 Mhz processor with 384MB RAM. While these are the official requirements, in practice, the requirements are considerably higher. From my experience, If you install both the operating systems on identical hardware, Ubuntu’s performance is significantly higher than that of Windows 7.

In fact, if you were to pull out a 7 year old computer from a junkyard, Ubuntu will work flawlessly.
Moreover, the boot time of Ubuntu is considerably less than its Windows 7 counterpart.

Ever wondered why the world’s fastest computer runs Linux and not Windows? that’s right, its performance! check the specs here.

I can tell you that Windows 7 has some pretty good security features that, if implemented properly, can give you quite a secure system to work with. Its firewall has advanced features that you can configure. However, there are many who believe that Windows still remains a weak operating system from a security standpoint.

This ensures that any automated program or script cannot make changes to the system without explicit privileges from the user. Although Windows has implemented a similar mechanism called ‘User Account Control or UAC’, Which does provide good protection although not as robust as Linux does.

In fact, I am yet to hear this from a friend or a fellow systems administrator, that they are using Linux, and that it has been infected! am sure most administrators or users  must have had a similar experience.

    5. Security

Linux on the other hand , has always been a secure operating system since the early days. It has often been the subject of debate that an open source operating system cannot be as secure as a proprietary one, but Linux has proved  that belief to be untrue. Overall, I believe that Linux offers much more security by default.
Access Privileges -   Linux by default does not run as a root (the Windows ‘administrator’ equivalent)
Viruses - Viruses and other malwares continue to be a constant headache for windows users. Combating viruses is not only time consuming, but also expensive when we talk about using Windows in a large scale production environment. Moreover, there is always a need to purchase expensive antivirus software with yearly subscriptions, punching additional holes in your pocket.
Linux on the other hand has significantly less number of viruses, so you are considerable less likely to get infected.
Overall Security - Overall,  I believe that Linux will always be much more secure than Windows operating system.
In simple terms it means given a large number of developers and beta testers, every problem will be identified quickly and that the solution of that problem will be obvious to someone.  

    7. Availability of Softwares
Since Ubuntu/Linux has a relatively less market share, availability of popular software for Ubuntu is a major concern. Some users are forced to stay with windows since their favorite software is not available on the Linux platform.Though this has recently changed and many commonly used  programs have now been ported to Ubuntu.

However, some advanced commercial software like the Adobe suite (Dreamweaver,Photoshop etc.) is not available on Linux, due to which, thousands of web developers and designers choose Windows over Linux.

    8. Gaming
Gaming support is another aspect of an operating system. While Linux does have many games, it certainly cannot match Windows 7 in this area. Most of the high-end games have been built for the Windows platform, that make extensive use of Microsoft DirectX.

So its not hard to say that Windows 7 should be definitely your choice if you are a gamer.

    9. Ease of Use

This is the part that worries most users who are used to the Windows 7 User interface.
In case you are not pleased with the Ubuntu user interface, there is another distribution of Ubuntu called Kubuntu, which has a marvelous user interface,its very easy to use and is similar to the look and feel of Windows 7 in many aspects.

    10. Cost  

Windows 7 ranges from $100 to $300 (Rs. 5000 to Rs.15000) depending on the version you are buying.
On the other hand, Ubuntu/Kubuntu is free of cost. You can download it from the official website.
If you would ask for my recommendation, I  would tell you this:

It may interest you to know that, Desktops and laptops that are shipped without a Windows license have a lower cost. (For obvious reasons that it does not include the cost of a Microsoft license)

Well, I use both of them. I use Windows 7 for certain mission-critical applications and software that work only on Windows 7. Moreover, as a Microsoft Certified System’s administrator, I work with Windows almost everyday, as it is a part of every small to large sized businesses.

Summary -
In conclusion, we saw the pros and cons of both the operating systems.
If you are an average user, who uses the computer for some email, little bit of presentations or spread-sheets, movies and web browsing, Ubuntu/Linux is Definitely the operating system you should use. It enables you to accomplish everything that you normally do using Windows 7, its much more secure, has little or no maintenance, and its free of cost.
For advanced users, say web designers, gamer, programmers who develop software for the Microsoft platform, or have certain applications that only run on Windows, you should stick to Windows 7.
So your next question would be, which OS do you (the author) use?
For most of my multimedia needs, emails, web browsing, weekly backups, NAS(network attached storage)  and more importantly some casual scripting, I use Ubuntu.  Moreover, my software development server, firewall, proxy server and VoIP server run on a Ubuntu sever machine.

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