Major disruption was experienced all over the world when this device known as the computer was invented. It embodied the genesis of technology and created a tectonic shift in all facets of the complex cube of life. This computer, with elegance, irrevocably changed and transformed all industries and it has been agreed to be the source of the technological industrial revolution. Not only did it create a multitude of new industries but it brought about a paradigm change in the business world.
Its speedy growth caused explosive ripples resulting in the creation of new professionals, line of jobs, multifarious career paths and the inception of billion-dollar businesses and startups. It is also worth recognizing that it changed how traditional things were done in organizations and at homes. As the wheel of time rolled to this era, almost everything depends on technology, be it communication, be it research, be it delivery of education or quality health. In brief, the dependence of technology is at the peak and it continues to penetrate even the most conservative of places.
This write-up will focus on comparing and contrasting the two biggest operating systems that power most of the services that the technological backbone depends on. When you decide to poke your technological nose into the sphere of computers and all that it entails, we can bet that catching a whiff about Linux and Windows operating systems will be quite easy. Those two words among others represent what fuels most of the purring servers around the world apart from the millions of personal computers that have become ubiquitous in the last few decades. Let us begin the adventure of exploring what Linux and Windows are all about.
A little history
Microsoft was born on April 4, 1975, by Bill Gates and Paul Allen. They began selling basic interpreters and dominated the operating system market when they released MS-DOS for personal computers in the mid-1980s. This was thereafter followed by Microsoft Windows which has continued to upgrade and improve to the current Windows 10 and a range of enterprise servers.
On the eve of the early 1990s, on the other side of the world, Linus Torvalds, a Finnish software engineer was busy developing an operating system that resembled MINIX, a UNIX operating system. It was in 1991 that Linux was officially launched and, today, it powers a third of the internet.
Core differences between Linux and Windows
Even though there are other finer differences that we will not cover between Linux and Windows operating systems, there exist major differences worth mentioning between the two which includes the following:
1. Linux is Open-source in contrast to Windows
The philosophy of open-source stipulates that all software should be decentralized, transparent and unrestricted. It encourages the idea that systems’ source codes be freely available and open to anyone who cares to look at it, use it and better yet improve on it. Linux bought into that philosophy and therefore the Linux Kernel can be freely downloaded by anyone around the world. What this means is that you can develop your own computer running on the Linux Kernel if you wanted to. It is a wonderful philosophy.
Windows on the other side is a closed system. This means that the operating system is not available to the public. It is centrally developed and packaged in such a manner that the public cannot freely distribute, alter or view the source code. It is based on a licensing model and hence one has to purchase it.
You can practically run your desktop and servers purely on Linux for free.
2. Availability of Applications
Due to the state of affairs, it can be easy to tell that most software to be run on Linux can be easily found free of charge. Be it music players, office packages, and many other applications that one may need. This is because many contributors around the world collaborate with major Linux distributions to make these applications available to the users. Most of the core applications that run on windows are developed by Microsoft. If you have the ability to pay for most of their core applications, then you have the benefit of accessing their office suites together with other applications that are very important for computer users.
Since the Linux Kernel, the core component of a Linux operating system is free, it brought about an explosion in the development of distributions. You have probably heard of Ubuntu, Linux Mint, CentOS, Fedora, Elementary OS and many more. Well, all of these run the Linux Kernel but developed to suit different needs.
In contrast to Linux, Windows provides only one distribution of windows per release. There is no way you will ever hear that there are two different flavors of operating systems running the Windows Kernel.
One of the topics that never fails to come up when talking about Linux and Windows is that of ease of use. In the past, Linux was thought to be difficult to use and hard to learn. But as time went by, new distributions (especially desktop editions) were developed having very easy user interfaces that any person who knows how to click can use.
Windows has always been user-friendly as can be attested by most of its users. Its GUI has been developed such that any person can easily find their way around but Linux has caught up in this area.
5. File Systems
Linux and Windows have a major difference in their file systems. Windows users and supports File Allocation Table (FAT) and NTFS file systems. Linux supports different kinds of file systems such as Ext, BtrFS, XFS, ZFS and many others. Unlike Windows which cannot read Linux file systems, Linux can read and write on Windows file systems.
Benefits of Windows
1. Ease of use
Windows Operating system was developed with the less tech-savvy users in mind. It has been made for easy navigation, easy installation of applications and generally easy to get-by after day one.
For those who have subscriptions and licenses for Windows products, there is the availability of support from the company and even from the community.
Benefits of Linux
1. It is Open-source
One of the best blessings of Linux is that it is free to use and distribute. It does not stop there, in case you are a developer and you are dissatisfied with a certain feature, you can go ahead and make changes to your computer to suit your needs. Full power is given to you.
2. It is stable
The Linux Kernel is the most stable operating system on the planet.
3. Better secure compared to Windows
4. Availability of Many Distributions
Another benefit of Linux is the availability of many distributions. In case one does not satisfy your needs, you have the choice of looking for others developed to make your desktop experience wonderful.
5. Supportive Community
The community that is using and supporting most of the Linux products are always ready to help out there. Just give it a try and check it out.
How to get started with Linux
The entry of Linux into the industry led to its successful acceptance to run core organizational servers due to its stability and relative security. Since it powers one-third of servers globally, this should communicate something. Linux provides a suitable career path for an interested candidate. With the world giving more power to technology, Linux skills should be one of those any interested party will be happy to have. It opens doors that lead to much more than meets the eye. Be it machine learning, the rise of containerization, DevOps, SRE and Software Engineering, Linux comes in extremely handy since most of the technologies that are rising run on it.
Having said that, one needs to get started immediately. One of the most important attributes that anyone interested in learning Linux is that of curiosity. Being ready to explore, to install, to break and to fix things within your Linux machine is what will set a person apart. The good news is that there are plenty of materials in this blog and others in other places.
Those long nights and long days of getting to understand Linux files, commands, installation of applications, the accidental deletion of system files and the pain of it all will pay off sooner than you think. After getting well acquainted with those skills, you will find it relatively less difficult to branch off into new and growing career paths that heavily depend on Linux.
Easy Linux distributions for starters
To get you started and pick up fast depending on your ability and willingness to learn, the following are some of the easy Linux distributions you can jump on immediately. Advice, get comfortable with using the terminal to do almost everything. It does not matter what it could be, just try to use the terminal to do it.
- Ubuntu Workstation
- Linux Mint
- Elementary Linux
- Fedora Workstation
- Budgie desktop
Also check Best Linux Desktop distributions to try
Certifications to help new learners
Another viable option that can really propel your understanding of Linux is deciding to get certified. As you put your head into getting certified, chances are that you are going to learn a lot as you progress. For that reason, you can start with the following Certification paths:
- Linux Certified Professional Insititute -LPIC (Level 1 and goes up to 3)
- Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator -LFCS (This one is performance-based and is good)
- Red Hat Certified System Administrator
- CompTia Linux+
In case you would wish to jump in right away, check out the resources below:
Moving from Newbie to Pro
After you have wrapped your head around the concepts behind Linux and you are proficient at finding your way around, it never stops there. Time will come when you will have to get comfortable with larger and more complex tasks. An avenue that you can decide to follow is to challenge yourself with projects that will stretch your horizons of thinking and therefore make you better.
As you progress in this unending trajectory of learning, you will stumble upon more challenging projects that you wonder how they get done. Those are the same ones that you immerse and embroil yourself in completely. This way, you will expose yourself to better techniques, deeper understanding and hence a better professional.
If you have a chance to attend conventions, conferences, and tech meet-ups, do not hesitate to jump in. These are the places you will get to learn what others are doing, better techniques that they can share together with getting to know what is hot out there.
You can challenge yourself to study advanced certifications in order to better yourself as well. This way, you will stumble upon advanced Linux topics and there is no better way to boost your swimming skills than delving into the deep waters.
Career Opportunities for either
As it had been mentioned before, a huge percentage of the internet is powered by the two operating systems discussed above which have opened a range of career paths to follow. The following are career paths for each
- System Administrator
- Systems Engineering
- Network Engineering
- Site Reliability Engineering
- Linux Administrator
- Cloud Engineering
- Windows Server Administrator
- Windows Engineering
What you learned:
- Linux compared to Windows
- Linux vs Windows complete comparison
- Getting started with Linux – Starting from Windows World
- How to learn Linux from dummy to expert
- Moving from Windows to Linux
- Career Opportunities for Windows and Linux
As the world relentlessly transforms into being more technologically inclusive, this will open up opportunities that never existed before. Artificial Intelligence, Data Science, Computer Science, and even Engineering are all viable ways that anyone skilled in computers can thrive and make a name for themselves. We, therefore, encourage you to keep the fire blazing hot and your suns shining bright because the world needs the next generation of geeks to make a difference.