The debate over deciding which is better, Windows or Linux, has been one which has been ongoing since the early days of the internet. However, the debate is more or less based on their factors in relation to the web hosting business and what customers want, but factors such as security and usability do come into consideration. Linux is rarely used as a desktop operating system, as its main use is as a server OS; however, Microsoft has released many different versions of Windows meaning that it can be used in almost any scenario.
Linux is a free, open source operating system which comes in many different versions – these are known as ‘distributions’, ‘distros’ for short. Each distribution has been made for a different use in most cases, but all can be used for similar things; an example of this would be Ubuntu Linux – it was produced mainly for the home user but can be used as a server operating system as well. Linux also has the advantage over Windows that it is less resource intensive meaning that it can be used on older machines or lower specification machines. Security wise, Linux also comes out better than Windows; although viruses do exist for Linux, the number is far less than the number of viruses which can have an affect on the Windows operating system. In most cases viruses can sit in a Linux environment and not have any negative effect, in other words they can sit there in harmony doing nothing.
From a web developer’s point of view, Linux is much easier to work with than Windows is; this is because there is a greater range of free resources and scripting languages that will work within a Linux environment. Also, Linux web hosting is considered to be an affordable web hosting solution than Windows web hosting because the cost of the server software is little or nothing when compared to Windows software.
Windows is a premium operating system which comes in many different versions, that you can only buy. It is the world’s most commonly used computer operating system and is what has made Bill Gates the richest man in the world. At this moment in time, the current main versions of Microsoft’s operating system are: Vista and Server 2003; Windows Vista is Microsoft’s latest desktop operating system and Windows Server is run on servers. As Windows is widely popular, it is a virus magnet meaning that there is thousands of viruses at the current time capable of causing damage to someone’s computer; this means that people have to fork out more money for anti-virus and internet security software to ensure that their computer is safe.
Windows was the first main-stream computer operating system which gave it a head start within the market; however, Unix based systems like Linux and Mac OSX are starting to eat their way into Microsoft’s market share. If you are a web developer Windows isn’t a very versatile system to work with; you are limited to the languages which will run on Windows, the main ones being Microsoft’s classic ASP and ASP.NET – however, you can get RoR and PHP to run on Windows.
If you are looking for a robust system then you can go with either Windows or Linux, but if you don’t have any experience with Linux then you shouldn’t go with it as the only support that you will receive is community support which may not always give you the answer you need. With Windows you are paying a price, but you are guaranteed support from Microsoft – there is also enough websites on the internet to help you along with both. If you want better security then go with Linux, but if you have the ability to fork the extra money out for Windows’ security software then go with Windows.