Saturday - Jun 19, 2021

Is Linux a Viable Alternative to Windows?


There has been a lot of debate touching on operating systems and which is better. Most of the debate tends to concentrate on the pros and cons of Windows and Linux-Based Ubuntu OS. Linux is being lauded as the next OS platform where people should find comfort after XP loses its steam. There is also a suggestion that most computer users will continue using XP even after the withdrawal of Microsoft technical support as from 8th April 2014. Microsoft is trying all means possible to push XP users to the new Windows 8.1 but there is a lot of resistance. We can only wait and see the direction majority of computer users will naturally take. 

The big reason why Windows 8 and 8.1 have received a somewhat cold reception is arguably the issue of the start screen. If you have seen it, it is more of an integrated monitor than the conventional one you are used to. Users have been accustomed to the start menu in XP which is also supported in Windows 7 and Linux. This is why there is every indication that Linux is likely to  get a lot of new users coming on board. Do not forget that XP and Windows 7 command a lot of usage as per now.

Why Linux is the likely replacement to Microsoft Windows?

Linux is more secure than even the latest Windows versions- There is an ever growing  genuine acknowledgment that Linux is secure by default while Windows needs a raft of costly enhancements to guarantee security. The UK government, for instance, unanimously declared Ubuntu 12.04 as the safest OS in the world today. You will be amazed that Windows 8 and Mac OS X were beaten with a very wide margin.

The Communications-Electronic Security Group (CESG), UK’s tech and information assurance authority, conducted a number of pertinent tests on all the available Operating Systems to identify the safest among them. The tests included VPN, Disks Encryption, Authenticity & Boot security, Platform Integrity, Malicious Code Detection & Prevention, Security policies’ Enforcement, External Interface Protection, Device Updates Policy, Incident Response among others. Ubuntu passed nearly all the tests far beyond Mac OS X and Windows 8. Those who have been using Ubuntu OS may not be shocked by these revelations.

Linux is easily customizable- Windows 8 is actually a customizable version but it can never beat the more salient customizable platform of Linux-based OS platforms like Ubuntu. Linux comes with the inert capability to even boot in the old Widows desktop while Windows 8 only allows you to change the size of icons and group tiles by their specific program. You cannot change the desktop substantially in Windows. You can change almost everything  in Ubuntu  because it is more of a 'loose' UI. Additionally, you can also replace it with other free options like MATE, GNOME 3 Shell and KDE rather than sticking with one version for long.

Linux contains more applications- Windows 8 pro is by default built in Microsoft’s Internet explorer version 10 and that is quite a scoop over other competing OSs, but what about Ubuntu’s ? Ubuntu is a Linux-based open-source platform where you can use Firefox, Libreoofice, Thunderbird or Operamini for both individuals and businesses. You have wide freedom to select your browser of choice without having to play by any default rules. Ubuntu apps store has more than 40,000 applications compared to Windows 8 at its inception with only 9,000 apps to offer to users.

Linux brings better hardware compatibility- you require high-speed processors to run Windows (especially Windows 8) on your computer. To be precise, you need 1 GB RAM and 16 GB hard disk space to run the 32-bit Windows 8. The 62-bit version requires 2GB RAM and 32 GB disk space to operate smoothly. Linux is a very modest OS: you need only 512 MB RAM and a maximum of 5 GB disk space (those with old generation computers may understand this specs math than those with the latest computers). There are also low spec versions like Xubuntu and Lubuntu if you are still using the CRT computer models.

Integrated cloud- since the launch of cloud computing in 2009, Linux has been given another advantage over Windows. You can store and sync files online for up to 5 GB for free. If you want more than that, you will be charged a small annual fee. Although Windows 8 offers advanced cloud facilities and storage, this is one more reason to still believe in Linux as a valid alternative to Windows OS.

Linux is free- while Linux is a free OS, Windows 8 will cost you $ 199 for the first purchase and $ 39-69 for the subsequent annual upgrades. This fee could be considerably too small to make any difference. But that is only if there was no significant difference in the utility that users get out of these OS platforms. So the real difference will be felt properly when Linux, the free OS, will clearly unseat the one you pay for.

The odds Linux is facing in replacing Windows.

Linux may be narrowing the advantage that Windows has enjoyed and still does enjoy over it but there are still some odds before it becomes the viable alternative. First, Linux does not play well with some modern hardware and software. You need to get the vital hardware and software that is going to run slickly with your Linux OS.

The other odd lies in the fact that despite Microsoft dropping support for XP in April 2014, people have the choice to continue using XP and still be able to do most of the things they could do before. The lack of technical support by Microsoft does not mean the machines using it will stop functioning instantly. If XP continues to perform at optimum levels going into the future, then Linux will not enjoy the predicted immigration. At least not so soon.

So, is it Linux or Windows? The answer can go either way. However, one thing is clear to every computer user; the lead that Windows has over Linux and other competing Operating Systems keeps narrowing every year.