University of Phoenix
POS/420 Introduction to Unix
October 20, 2008
MS Windows vs. Unix/Linux
The Microsoft and Linux operating systems have been long considered to be in a competition to be the best operating systems on the market. This paper will compare and contrast these operating systems to help the consumer decide which is right for his or her environment. Such subjects as; cost, market share, hardware requirements, file processing, programming capabilities, availability if application software, networking, and user interface will be examined.
The cost difference between running a Linux desktop / server compared to a Microsoft desktop / server is overwhelming. In all scenarios, Linux ends up being the cheaper and more “functionality rich” option. In the first scenario, let’s compare the cost difference between a Linux and Microsoft desktop. The first cost difference in this scenario is the cost of obtaining the software. A copy of most Linux distributions can be obtained for under $60 dollars, and free if it is downloaded from such sites as www.linuxiso.com. A Microsoft desktop is not so cheap however; the initial cost of purchasing a full copy of Windows Vista is currently $319.95, a much larger cost than that of Linux desktop. Functionality wise, both the Linux and Microsoft desktops provide the basic needs of the “home user,” however, such additional features as an Office Software Suite can cost up to $300 dollars extra on the Microsoft platform. On the Linux platform, such packages can be downloaded for free from such sites as openoffice.org. Finally, when the cost of support is compared, both the Linux and Microsoft desktop cost the same to be fully supported. With both products online documentation is plentiful, however, the cost of obtaining hands on service will be the same for both desktops when brought to such stores as Best Buy or Circuit City.
In our next scenario, we will compare the cost differences between a Linux server and a Microsoft server. The first cost difference in this scenario is the cost of obtaining the software. A copy of most Linux distributions can be obtained for under $60 dollars, and free if it was downloaded from such sites as www.linuxiso.com. A Microsoft server is not so cheap however; the initial cost of purchasing a full copy of Windows 2008 Server Standard is currently $999 with only five CAL licenses, a gigantic cost difference to that of Linux server. Functionality wise, both the Linux and Microsoft servers provide basic services such as; print, file, dhcp, dns, and remote access, however, such additional features as a SQL server can cost up to $24,000 dollars extra on the Microsoft platform. On the Linux platform, such packages can be downloaded for free from such sites as mysql.com. Finally, when the cost of support is compared, both the Linux and Microsoft server have a cost to be fully maintained and supported. The cost of this support however, will vary with the needs of the organization. Both the Microsoft and Linux support comes with such tools as; SMS, YUM, and SUS, however, such services come with an extra charge in the Microsoft world. The cost of trained personnel can also be larger in the Linux world however, so both have their downsides in the support cost category.
When comparing the Linux and Microsoft operating in systems in terms of market share, we see a heavy win on the Microsoft side. Why? Simply put, Microsoft dominates the market share because they make a better desktop, gained popularity early, and has better marketing campaigns. As far as, the desktop comparison goes, Microsoft has been making a desktop solution for a long time now and has gained popularity because of it. Linux however, is new to this market and has yet to gain the popularity that Microsoft currently has. Microsoft maintains dominance in the desktop market because...