Windows Vs. Linux

I read an article today about perceived value in operating systems. Basically the article stated that end users perceive Windows to have greater value than Linux because of the price tag. While I agree that this is probably the case, I completely disagree with anyone who claims windows has more value than Linux.


What is the value of lost productivity?

Windows constantly nags you to click things when you are trying to work. This is extremely annoying and counter productive. I am not talking about administrative access, I am talking about all the tray notifications and whatnot. I am a programmer, and use many tools such as svn, vnc, ssh, web editors, xml editors etc. None of these things are provided in Windows by default, so there is a productivity loss finding, purchasing and installing these applications on windows. Any time you zip, unzip files, or do anything with files you are loosing productivity in windows. Linux is just faster. Anytime you have to enter a registration number in windows you are loosing productivity, Linux has none, things just install totally and completely without any questions.

What is the true value of Windows Software?

With few exceptions, I can get better applications for free on Linux than I can on Windows. All of these applications add up quickly! MS Office($399.95) vs OpenOffice or KOffice (free) MS Outlook(109.95) vs Kontact (free) Photoshop($649) vs Gimp or Krita (free) Illustrator($599) vs Xara, Skencil, Inkscape (free) So far we are up to $1757.90 and I haven't mentioned any of the really expensive applications like 3d editing software, doing so would add 3,495 to the total. In most cases I would argue that the open source equivalents are better. But you can always install wine or a Virtual Machine and run Windows apps under Linux.

Does the perceived value of your Hardware change based on your OS?

It should, think about it. If you run Windows, 7+ gigs will be filled up with your OS, more if you run Vista. Compared to 3 gig or less running Linux. If you want you can run a Linux distro that is smaller than 150 meg! And then there is the CPU cycles and memory wasted running (much needed) anti virus apps which aren't so much needed on Linux. Of course if you want to run anti virus software it is free on Linux. Add another $70.94 to our total.

What is the value of down time?

With windows, if you mess up your registry or click the wrong popup ad you can be left in a situation where your system won't boot. In this situation you have to hope and pray that the restore feature works, or grab your install disk and re-install. Unless you payed for a backup utility, doh - another $70.95 for our total. On Linux you can boot off the live CD and keep working. That is right, you can boot completely off of the install CD! Now you can mount your drives and fix the problem, or if that report is due you can do it first and fix your system later.

How long can I rant like this!

Truth be told, I could go on and on for hours. But here are some of my biggest Windows gripes. In Windows:

  • File drag and drop behavior changes based on the source and the destination. You have to hold down [alt] or [ctrl] to know what is really going to happen. I know several Windows users who have accidentally moved when they wanted to copy or link and visa versa, sometimes with large consequences.
  • Very limited customizability. Not just with the desktop, but with the filesystem as well. Windows lets you move your My Documents folder and that is it. Which is fine for Diskeeper since your OS will get fragmented, but aside from performance this also makes backing up and re-installing a pain. Plus, the file system hardly understands its own links. In Linux, I can put any folder I want on any partition I want. I can even mount a file as a virtual partition and use that, or I can use symbolic links which the file system and every program recognize. It is so nice to be able to keep all of my user data truly separate from my OS's data.
  • Lockups almost always mean a reboot in Windows. If an application locks up the GUI in Windows, you have to reboot. In KDE, you can kill the offending application by pressing [Ctrl]+[Alt]+[Esc] and clicking the Window. If for some reason that doesn't work you can reboot the Graphical Desktop Manager(KDE) by pressing [Ctrl]+[Alt]+[Backspace]. Or you can shell out to a terminal [Ctrl]+[Alt]+[F1] and kill KDE from the command line and restart it or start another Desktop Manager like Gnome. Options are good right? Isn't that why the PC won out over the Mac?
  • Explorer is not Konqueror! Not being able to split explorer Windows, Tab, save and load profiles, view visual filesize representations, attach virtual terminals and all the other nifty things you can do in Konqueror are huge usability/productivity issues for me.
  • Everyone should give Linux a try! No install needed, just download an iso from, burn the image to a CD, stick in your computer and reboot! No install needed, just remove the CD and reboot and everything is back the way it was. For complete noobs I recommend PC Linux 2007 OS for those who like to tinker I recommend Kubuntu (Gutsy or Dapper)