Windows or Linux

Argumentative Essay: Windows or Linux Owing to the increase in use of computers in daily activities and the rise in technological awareness, the issue of choosing a computer with Windows or Linux, has become rather pressing. Although, the trend in Linux usage has improved over time, yet Windows continues to rule its dominance in the market (W3Schools, 2011). In contrast to Linux, Windows may be less superior in certain features. yet, Windows is still the priority of majority of computer industrialists and consumers. The most important factor that ensures the dominance of a system is its usability. Most Linux products still require a slight level of technical knowledge from their users. On the other hand, even a nontechnical user can perform even the most technical tasks by merely clicking a button on screen, through the user interfaces provided by Windows. This feature of ease of use alone is the most essential factor that has kept Windows at the top in consumer market over the years. The improvement in the sales of Linux over these years is because the Linux community has started focusing its development efforts on the usability of the products. But the rich interfaces of Windows still stand unmatchable. Windows may not be an easy system to learn, but it is still easier to operate than Linux. Therefore, in the comparison of the usability of the two systems, Linux still has a substantial ground to cover. Another important factor for comparison of the two systems is the availability and reliability of utility software. Windows has been dominating the market for a long time. So the utility programs available for Windows are considerably more than Linux and also in a variety of price ranges. Although some free, well supported and well documented Linux products are available in market which are in fact comparable in performance and even better than Windows. But as the Windows users are more, and the fact that the Linux products cannot be run on Windows machines, these few products remain within the circle of Linux users. Secondly, the success of a utility program amongst its users is considered a proof of its reliability too. A utility program made for Windows is subjected to being tested by a large database of users. And therefore a success of a product in that big a community is considered higher in terms of reliability. Another issue with the development of Linux is that in order to keep up with technological changes it has shifted too much to support the untested technologies. This attributed to a non consistent technological record of Linux products and a state of unreliability in its users or those that wished to try it. Windows on the other hand has been consistent in following only the tried and tested technologies. Another factor in which Linux has always been considered superior to Windows is the fact that being platform independent and less hungry on resources, Linux could be installed on any and even the oldest low memory and slow set of hardware. In the present day however, the x86 platforms, required for Windows, are cheaply available and so are the other related hardware. This somewhat resolves the issues of memory and speed. Alongside that, computer hardware is constantly undergoing advancements. The designs are being revised for lower power consumption and faster processors. The computer users are upgrading their hardware and the older hardware is becoming nearly obsolete. So, the aspect of superiority Linux once had has almost vanished now. Presently Linux supports many hardware devices, yet its driver support is still not comparable to that of Windows. Owing to the number of Windows users worldwide, the hardware manufacturers design their hardware while targeting Windows. And Windows is simultaneously upgrading itself in order to keep in pace with the advancing hardware. Another important factor to consider is the security and speed of the system. Linux has always been considered securer than Windows. This is visible from the fact the number of documented virus and hacking attempts on Linux systems are very less as compared to that of Windows. But with the advancements in the Windows system over time, the claims that were made in the past by the Linux community do not surface anymore. Windows is a large operating system and consumes more space and resources as compared to Linux. And therefore is slower than Linux in performance. This is the reason why mostly the servers that offer real time services choose Linux over Windows (Security Space, 2011). In these servers, the users are mostly technical people that do not require a rich, user friendly interface to work with. One of the reasons of slower performance in Windows is in fact its rich graphical interface. The factor of open and closed source system cannot be ruled out while comparing the two systems. Linux is open source while Windows is closed source. Majority of the available Linux utilities are customizable and so the end user can have them adjusted to the specific organizational needs. With Windows utilities that option is unavailable and at times the organization may have to be altered in order to use the available utilities. Linux being open source offers room for innovation on one hand but may also result in less perfect software due to clashing egos of developers. Since the development may not be according to recognized standards, the reliability may be questionable. And it may not be worthwhile for corporations or end users with critical agendas to utilize it. The final most important factor considered in the debate of Windows and Linux is the factor of cost. Linux is an open source program and most of its distributions are free. Even the few commercial products available in the market are lowly priced as compared to the corresponding Windows alternatives. However, the business corporations still avoid opting for the free and low cost Linux products in contrast to the apparently more expensive Linux products. The reason lies within the difference between the support services and utility programs available for the two. So there are two aspects to consider while making the cost comparison. software and support price and the price of ownership (Microsoft, 2006). The aspect of price and support can be explained by comparing the most dominant commercial product of Linux called Red Hat Enterprise Linux with the alternative Windows Server 2008 Enterprise edition. The Linux server costs subscription charges of approximately $1,499 per year or $4,047 for three years for its support which includes the patching and bug fixing. The software itself is free. However, this software does not include advanced features set which will have to be acquired separately with additional free software with another yearly subscription package. On the hand, the Windows server can be purchased entirely for approximately $3,999 which includes a lifetime of patching and bug fixing support. The advanced utilities can also be purchased one time with a lifetime support. The second aspect is to compare the ownership costs which include the staffing and administration, hardware and downtime costs. IT professionals for Windows are available in abundance in contrast to Linux. These Windows experts are more experienced, more productive and relatively cheaper to hire (Microsoft, 2006). Basing on the above comparative arguments on factors of cost, ease of use, reliability, utility software and their costs, hardware support, security, open source, it can be concluded that Windows is a more stable operating system as compared to Linux. Due to its consistent design, long market life and enormous user community, it remains the top priority of consumers and hardware and software vendors worldwide. References Microsoft (2006). Get the Facts: Total Cost of Ownership. White Paper. Retrieved from http://download.microsoft.com/download/a/0/6/a0628eee-0114-4444-9793-e52a92dc4cf4/GetTheFacts_ExecSummary_TCO.DOC Security Space (2011). Web Server Survey. Retrieved from https://secure1.securityspace.com/s_survey/data/201101/index.html W3Schools (2011). OS Platform Statistics. Retrieved from http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_os.asp