Comparison Of Windows Unix And Linux Computer Science Essay

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In this term paper study of different OS are done. To know which is better the features , pros and cons are compared. Also the reliability of each OS is consider for this study. Since OS is the most important program of a computer, therefore the study of good software is also plays an important role.


An operating system is a main program that is designed to run other programs on a computer. A computer's operating system is its most important program. It is considered to the backbone of a computer, which manages both software and hardware. Operating systems are made for everything from the control and allocation of memory to get input from external devices and display output to computer screen. They also manage files on computer hard drives and peripherals.

The operating systems acts as the human guide to interact with the computer hardware. They are responsible for linking application programs with the hardware, thus achieving an easy user access to the computers.

Figure : Operating System terminology;


Real-time Operating System: It is a multitasking operating system that used to executing real-time applications. Real-time operating systems often use special scheduling algorithms so that they can achieve a better behavior. The main object of real-time operating systems is their quick response to events.

Multi-user: The operating systems of this type allow a multiple users to access a computer system concurrently. Time-sharing system can be classified as multi-user systems as they enable a multiple user access to a computer through the sharing of time.

Multi-tasking and Single-tasking Operating Systems: When a single program is allowed to run at a time, the system is called a single-tasking system, while in case the operating system allows the execution of multiple tasks at one time, it is classified as a multi-tasking operating system. Multi-tasking can be of two types namely, pre-emptive or co-operative.

Distributed Operating System: An operating system that manages a group of independent computers and makes them appear to be a single computer is known as a distributed operating system.

Embedded System: The operating systems designed for being used in embedded computer systems are known as embedded operating systems. They are designed to operate on small machines like PDAs with less autonomy.



Windows is a personal computer's operating system from Microsoft corporation that, together comes with some commonly used applications. Windows has become a "standard" for common users in most organizations as well as in most homes. Microsoft Windows is a series of operating systems and graphical user interfaces produced by Microsoft. Microsoft first introduced an operating environment named Windows as an add-on to MS-DOS in response to the growing interest in graphical user interfaces (GUIs). Windows has approximately 91% of the market share of the client operating systems. The most recent client version of Windows is Windows 7; the most recent server version is Windows Server 2008 R2; the most recent mobile OS version is Windows Phone 7.


Unix is a computer operating system originally developed in 1969 by a group of AT&T employees at Bell Labs. Today's UNIX system is split into number of branches, developed over time by AT&T as well as various commercial vendors and other organizations.

UNIX was created to provide a multiuser, multitasking system for users. The object behind the design of UNIX was to provide simple, yet powerful utilities that could be pieced together in a flexible manner to perform a wide variety of tasks. Unix is a family of multi-user operating systems. Unix has a very strong security and model and relatively simple design, making it popular and fairly easy to implement. Many operating systems are either based on or modeled after the first Unix systems, such as Linux, Solaris, or Mac OS X.

The UNIX operating system comprises three parts: The kernel, the standard utility programs, and the system configuration files.


Linux is a Unix based operating system that was designed to provide personal computer users a free or very low-cost operating system comparable to traditional and usually more expensive Unix systems. Linux has a reputation as a very efficient and fast-performing operating system.

Linux is a remarkably complete operating system, including a graphical user interface, an X Window System, TCP/IP, and other components usually found in a traditional systems.

Unlike Windows and other proprietary systems, Linux is free and publicly open and modifiable by contributors. Because it conforms to the Portable Operating System Interface standard user and programming interfaces, developers can write programs that can be ported to other operating systems. The development of Linux is one of the most prominent examples of free and open source software collaboration; typically all the underlying source code can be used, freely modified, and redistributed, both commercially and non-commercially, by anyone under licenses such as the GNU General Public License.


The UNIX Operating System is available on systems with a large range of computing power, from microcomputers to mainframes, and on different manufacture's machines. No other operating system can make this possible. We see the reasons of popularity and success of UNIX.

The reasons are the following:


The system is designed in high-level language making it easier to read, understand, change and, therefore move to other machines. The code can be changed and complied on a new machine.


The System hides the machine architecture from the user, making it easier to write applications that can run on micros and mainframes.

Multi-User Operations:

UNIX is a multi-user system designed to support a group of users simultaneously. The system allows for the sharing of processing power and peripheral resources, white at the same time providing excellent security features.

Hierarchical File System:

UNIX uses a hierarchical file structure to store information. This structure has flexible in grouping information in a way that reflects its natural state. It allows for easy maintenance and efficient implementation.

UNIX shell:

UNIX has a simple user interface called the shell that has the power to provide the services that the user wants. It protects the user from having to know the hardware details.


UNIX has over 200 utility programs for various functions. New utilities can be built effortlessly by combining existing utilities.


Linux has the following features as an outstanding operating system which is strong in security and networking.


Several programs can run at the same time since it provides number of consoles at the same time.


Several users can use to the same machine at the same time There is no need to have separate user licenses for different users.


Linux can runs on many different CPUs, that means it supports multiprocessor machine as well as single processor system.


Linux has native kernel support for multiple independent threads of control within a single process memory space to provide better performance.

Crash proof

Linux has the feature of memory protection between processes, so that one program can't bring the whole system down.

Virtual memory:

Virtual memory uses paging for disk to a separate partition or a file with the possibility of adding more swapping areas during runtime .

Memory pool

Linux has a unified memory pool for the programs run by user and disk cache, so that all free memory can be used for caching, and the cache can be reduced when running large programs.

Open source:

Free and Open source code for all: All source code of Linux is available, including the whole kernel and all drivers for all the users . Also, all of it is freely distributable. Plenty of commercial programs are being provided for Linux without source, but everything that has been free, including the entire base operating system, is still free.


Linux performs well with TCP/IP networking, including ftp, telnet, NFS, etc.


Microsoft was the first to introduce the idea of an operating system which was named as Windows in as an attachment to the MS-DOS in reply to the increasing curiosity in Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs). Microsoft Windows in the end started to monitor the world market of the personal computers, going far ahead of Mac OS, which was the leader before its era.

Microsoft has designed and marketed the Windows operating system as a collection of several operating systems.

Windows is the most known OS to a lay man.

It is trustworthy in the user's point of view.

First to introduce plug and play rule.


1.Most common difference: UNIX is propriety system while Linux is an Open Source system.

2. Technical: In UNIX 'Development' is targeted toward specific users and platform.

Linux development is diverse. Linux standard base was formed to remove this problem

but it wasn't of much help.

UNIX maintains consistency and ease of access between different versions. UNIX has a published standard that they follow for their customer.

Linux have inconsistencies between versions and no strict standards for tools, environment and functionality.

In UNIX developers of the OS are bounded by standard for development while in Linux developers are free and have no restriction.

In UNIX commands, tool and utilities etc are hardly vary over versions. Hence it is easy to administrate to update their skills. Moreover tools can be used on new edition of OS without a large body of testing.

In Linux commands, tools and utilities may change over time and with the distributions.

3. Hardware : UNIX was coded for some specific hardware platforms. Linux was designed to be as compatible as possible. It can run on dozens of Architecture and support numerous I/O devices & other external devices.

Linux has limitless Supported devices are.

4. Kernel ; UNIX kernel is not freely available. Linux kernel is freely available.

UNIX patches are available with highly tested. Linux patches are not highly tested as UNIX patches.

5. Updates and Bugs : Every OS, including UNIX and Linux, suffers from vulnerabilities and bugs that have to be patched, fixed and updated. But Linux enjoys a clear advantage over UNIX in this category.

Linux bugs tend to die an early death, because the OS undergoes an incredible amount of scrutiny in the global open-source community



UNIX systems are more stable than windows. There are many factors to support this fact but to name just a big ones: UNIX handles high server loads better than Windows and UNIX machines seldom require reboots while Windows is frequently need them. Servers running on UNIX enjoy extremely high up-time and high reliability.


While there is some doubt which operating system performs better, in our view both perform comparably in low-stress conditions. However UNIX servers under high load are strong than Windows.


Web sites designed and programmed to be host under a UNIX-based web server can easily be hosted on a Windows server, whereas the reverse is not always true. This makes the programming for UNIX sites the better choice.

Security :Unix has greater built-in security and permissions features than Windows. Until about the year 2000, i.e., before the launch of Microsoft Windows XP, Windows was considerably weaker in security as compared to Unix systems but today, it is really difficult to compare the two on this basis. Windows XP service pack 2 introduced various tools in areas such as emails, web browsing, memory, networking and even the kernel of the OS. The newer versions of Microsoft Windows that have recently been launched such as Windows Vista and Windows Seven, lay too much emphasis on security. They are far much secure than their elder versions. They have built in feasibility for permissions similar to UNIX which prohibits malicious programs from taking over the control of the system resources without user permission.



The majority of Linux distributions are available for free or at a much lower price than Microsoft Windows. Microsoft Windows can cost between $50.00 - $150.00 US dollars per each licensed copy.


Although the majority of Linux have improved in ease of use, Windows is still much easier to use for new computer users. Microsoft has made several changes that have made it a much easier to use operating system. It is still Easier than Linux.


The majority of Linux variants are more reliable and can often run for months and years without needing to be rebooted. Although Microsoft Windows has made great advancements in reliability over the last few versions of Windows, it still behind the reliability of Linux.


Linux has a large variety of software programs and utilities. However, Windows has a much larger selection of available software. Because of the large amount of Microsoft Windows users, there is a much larger selection of available software programs for windows.


Hardware manufacturers have made great advancements in hardware support for Linux. Today Linux will support most hardware devices. However, most companies still do not offer drivers or support for their hardware in Linux. Because of the amount of windows users and the broader driver support, windows has larger support for hardware devices.


Linux is and always been a very secure operating system. Although it still can be attacked. When compared to Windows, it much more secure. Although Microsoft has made changes over the years with security on their operating system, their operating system continues to be the most vulnerable to viruses and other attacks because of the large users.

Open Source

Many of the Linux programs are open source and enable users to modify the code however they desire. Microsoft is not open source and the majority of windows programs are not open source.


Although it may be more difficult for users to familiar with all Linux distribution, there are vast amounts of online help, available books, and support is available for Linux. Windows includes vast amount of available online documentation as well as books on each of the versions of Windows.


In this case study of which is better windows, Unix or Linux. From all the studies it was concluded that from the point of view of a lay user windows is still better for its ease of access.

For the stability the UNIX is best among all.

For the security feature the LINUX is best among all because of its large community.

I conclude that windows is best for the personal use and for the new user , because it is widely used and easy to use. Moreover drivers and support fir the windows is largely and easily available. It also support GUI which helps user to interact easily with the OS.

For commercial use LINUX is best to use. Because Linux is very stable and secure than windows ever. So for the large industries where the data is very important thing Linux is most secure OS to be used. Its true that UNIX is more stable than Linux and also compatible, but Unix is rarely used these days. Therefore Linux is still better and secure to use for commercial use.