Open source operating systems vs. microsoft windows

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.


The open source operating system Linux is poised to offer some serious competition to Microsoft Corp.'s dominance on the personal computer operating system market. The system is already in use with servers on large and local area networks. Linux is offered free to users and the code that comprises the software can be altered by users. There are many companies producing software that is compatible with Linux.

Computer software can be broadly split into two development models:

• Proprietary, or 'closed' software, owned by a company or individual. Copies of the 'binary' are Made public; the 'source-code' is not usually made public.

• Open source software (OSS), where the source-code is released with the binary. Users and developers can be licensed to use and modify the code, and to distribute any improvements they make.

In practice, software companies often develop both types of software. OSS is developed by an on-going, iterative process where people share the ideas expressed in the source-code. The aim is that a large community of developers and users can contribute to the development of the code, check it for errors and bugs, and make the improved version available to others. Project management. software is used to allow developers to keep track of the various versions. Both OSS and proprietary approaches allow companies to make a profit. Companies developing proprietary software make money by developing software and then selling licences to use the software, for example Microsoft receives a payment for every copy of Windows sold with a personal computer. OSS companies make their money by providing services, such as advising clients on the version that best suits their needs, installing and customising software and development and maintenance. The software itself may be made available at no cost.

There are two main types of OSS licences:

• Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) Licence: this permits a licensee to 'close' a version (by withholding the most recent modifications to the source-code) and sell it as a proprietary product;

• GNU General Public Licence (GNU GPL, or GPL, Box: under this licence, licensees may not 'close' versions. The licensee may modify copy and redistribute any derivative version, under the same GPL licence. The licensee can either charge a fee for this service or work free of charge.

Research Objective:

Comparison of Open Source Operating Systems with Microsoft Windows.

Research Questions:

* What are the features of Open Source Operating Systems and Microsoft Windows?

* How to Compare Open Source Operating System and Microsoft Windows?

* What is the future of Open Source Operating Systems and Microsoft Windows?

* Which Operating System is more reliable either Open Source Operating System or Microsoft Operating System?

Literature Review:

Literature is collected through electronic sources such as Google Scholar; books and web pages are also consulted.


True-open-source development requires that a community of software engineers band together to work on the software.The idea is that more minds create better software. Open-source programs always include source code for those interested in peering into how the program does what it does and possibly contributing to the development effort.

The software and source code are available without cost or obligation. Open-source models vary by source-code-license terms. Source-code licensing only matters if you intend to modify or reuse the source code in any way. These issues are not relevant to most of us.

Open source first evolved during the 1970s. Richard Stallman, an American software developer who believes that sharing source-code and ideas is fundamental to freedom of speech, developed a 'free' version of the widely used 'Unix' operating system. The resulting 'GNU' program was released under a specially created General Public Licence ('GNU GPL'). This was designed to ensure that the source-code would remain openly available to all. It was not intended to prevent commercial usage or distribution. This approach was christened 'free software'. In this context 'free' meant that anyone could modify the software. However, the term 'free' was often misunderstood to mean 'no cost'. Hence 'open source software' was coined as a less contentious and more 'business-friendly' term.

Linux's source code has been open since it was first created in 1991 as a simpler-to-use version of UNIX by Linus Torvalds, then a 21-year-old undergraduate at the University of Helsinki. He posted the approximately 10,000 lines of code on the Internet, and in short order other programmers began sending him fixes and improvements, which Torvalds incorporated into the system. As news of Linux spread through the programming community, more programmers joined the effort, and in March 1994, with 100,000 users, version 1.0 was released along with supporting software. This was followed in June 1996 by version 2.0.

By then, the Linux kernel--the core operating system--had grown to 400,000 lines of code, all of it written by volunteers and incorporated into the kernel by Torvalds. Under the terms of the "CopyLeft" license developed by Stallman's Free Software Foundation, a virtual organization that is promoting the concept of open-source software, anyone can use the code and modify it, but they must then send the change to the community for review. "Then, the ultimate decision on whether or not to incorporate a change rests with one of the `benevolent dictators' that `rule' a particular part of the Linux project," explains Lewis. Several thousand volunteers now contribute, but the buck still stops with Torvalds, who works for a small Silicon Valley chip designer called Transmeta Corp. in Santa Clara, California.

The development effort has spread to the commercial world. Today, at least four companies, including RedHat Software in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, and Caldera Systems in Orem, Utah, develop and sell Linux-compatible ancillary software such as graphical user interfaces and suites of common business applications, which the companies package with Linux. They, too, send proposed Linux modifications to the appropriate individual and adhere to the same CopyLeft license as everyone else. According to industry newsletters, the operating system now runs on an estimated 10 million computers, mostly workstations and Internet servers, displacing other UNIX systems and Microsoft's Windows NT.

Linux is also making inroads in the research community. Recently, Michael Warren's group at Los Alamos used Linux as the operating system for Avalon, a collection of 140 Digital Equipment Corp. Alpha desktop computers wired in parallel. The result is a genuine supercomputer, capable of 47.7 billion calculations per second, at a total cost of £300,000--parts, labor, and software included. Several research groups at Los Alamos have used Avalon to solve problems in areas as diverse as astrophysics and molecular dynamics (

Linux will soon make its most direct challenge to commercial software in the form of a set of programs called GNOME (the g is pronounced), a so-called front end that would turn Linux into the equivalent of the Windows 98 operating system for PCs, complete with supporting functions such as a file management system, text editor, mail protocol interpreter, and disk formatter. GNOME can't run software configured for Windows 98, but with filters it can work with files prepared in various Microsoft applications, such as Word and Excel. Recently, de Icaza, who heads GNOME development, "froze" further additions to the software in anticipation of releasing the first complete version in March 1999. "Now, the GNOME community--several hundred strong--will complete testing and debugging," says de Icaza.

That enormous people resource gives the Linux development effort and open-source software in general a key advantage, explains Ransome Love, president of Caldera Systems. "We and everyone who uses Linux, as well as the other companies that distribute it, benefit from the 24-hour-a-day efforts of thousands of people around the world who just pounce on problems and get them fixed." It's an advantage that Microsoft has noted. In a confidential memo posted to various bulletin boards by someone inside the company, Microsoft product manager Vinod Valloppillil wrote, "The ability of the OSS process to collect and harness the collective IQ of thousands of individuals across the Internet is simply amazing."

In Linux, Valloppillil said in a second leaked memo, the process has resulted in "a best-of-breed UNIX that is trusted in mission critical applications and due to its open source code has long-term credibility which exceeds many other competitive [operating systems]. Long term, [our] simple experiments indicate that Linux has a chance at the desktop market." A Microsoft spokesperson has confirmed publicly that these memos are legitimate, saying they describe "business models that would be valuable in order to stimulate additional internal dialog within Microsoft."

Linux is not the only success of the open software movement. Many add-on programs, so-called utilities such as the file compression program Zip, and file readers such as Ghostview were born of this movement. Apache, an Internet server program that runs under Linux and was developed by about 20 programmers from around the world, is now found on more than half the computers that host Web sites, according to the November 1998 Netcraft Web Server Survey (www. BIND, developed by hackers at the University of California, Berkeley, in the 1980s, is used by virtually every Internet router system to convert Web aliases into tree numeric addresses, and the open-source program Sendmail routes about 80% of all e-mail sent today.

Netscape embraced the open-source software credo last March when it released the source code for the latest version of its Communicator software. Within hours after its release, a group of Australian hackers wrote a small piece of cryptographic code that greatly increased the security of Communicator, which can be downloaded free from Netscape's Web site. Netscape got the fix for free, every user of Communicator benefited, the Australians, who call themselves the Mozilla Crypto group, got kudos from the programming community for their great hack, and their consulting group, Cryptosoft in Brisbane, probably got some more business.

Features of Microsoft Windows and Linux(Open Source) Operating System:


* Better at synthetic benchmarks.

* Faster transfer of large files.

* Final version likely to improve.

* Suspend/resume works!

* Desktop search is well implemented and can go online.

* Media libraries can be pinned to the start menu and task bar.

* Jump lists can genuinely help improve efficiency.

* Starter: No Aero and no 64-bit.

* Home Basic: Developed for emerging markets.

* Home Premium: Standard edition including Aero and touch.

* Professional: Adds remote desktop and encrypted file system.

* Enterprise: Unix application support and volume licensing.

* Ultimate: As with enterprise, but for individual users.

* Integrated scripting.

* You can type ls to get a directory listing!

* Syntax highlighting.

* Remote execution.


* Faster booting.

* Less memory usage.

* Smaller install size.

* Broader hardware compatibility.

* Nepomuk blurs the border between local and online.

* Gnome Do replaces the task bar entirely.

* Google's Desktop widgets now on Gnome and KDE.

* Starter: No Linux is this restrictive.

* Home Basic: Crunchbang or Ubuntu.

* Home Premium: For eye candy, try Mint or Kubuntu.

* Professional: Fedora offers encryption as an installation option.

* Enterprise: OpenSUSE should work well with Windows.

* Ultimate: No matter which Linux you choose, there's no restrictions.

* 30 years of refinement.

* Used by almost every Linux distribution ever.

* Plenty of online help and documentation.

* Can be used to administer the entire system.

Linux ( Open Source OS) vs. Microsoft Windows 7 According to Kevin Anderson's research

1) Security

Windows 7 is no more secure than Windows has ever been. Is it better than Vista? Sure. Is it faster than XP? Not so much. Does it run a ton of popular applications?. But is Windows 7 still prone to an endless array of malware programs and stuck with a pre-Internet security model? Yes - yes, it is.

I'm able to keep a Windows PC safe. I run my own Windows PCs and servers and help with friends. While I'm good at computers, I'm sure anyone who's reasonably smart can manage it as well. But I'm lazy: I don't want to always be keeping my eye on Windows threats; I don't want to worry about being hacked while shopping online; and I don't want to be careful about avoiding clicking on a crooked link in yet another malicious e-mail letter.

2) Cheap

I'm also cheap. I use older computers until they fall apart. I have Ubuntu 9.10 working great on a 1.4GHz Pentium IV HP with 512MB of RAM - a machine I got back in 2000. I could no more get a decent version of Windows 7 (Home Premium or above) to run on that box than I could get my old Toyota RAV-4 to break 100 MPH on the highway.

But forget about the hardware: let's talk upgrade prices. You can get Windows 7 now quite cheaply. For example, Windows 7 Home Premium lists for £119.99 as an upgrade, but you can do a clean install for the same price. With some shopping around, you can easily get that version of Windows 7 for around £50. Compare that to Ubuntu, where the price

3) Easy upgrade

This is how I upgraded Ubuntu: I downloaded and burned a CD, booted up my Ubuntu system with it, and installed the new version. I was done. Total time, just short of an hour.

This link describes how I upgraded my XP PCs to Windows 7. It took me eight hours. Here's the short version: I had to use two additional programs - Windows Easy Transfer and LapLink's PCmover - besides my installation DVD. When I do this for a business, I replace Windows Easy Transfer with User State Migration Tool 4.0.

It isn't easy. Unless you love playing with technology for its own sake, don't do it. If you really want Windows 7, and you're currently using XP, buy a new Windows 7 PC. It's not only easier, but when you consider how much time the process takes, it's also cheaper.

The upgrade path from Vista is much easier, but it's still time-consuming: Microsoft itself estimates that it can take up to 20 hours.

`4) Hardware compatibility

There is a persistent delusion that Linux only supports a limited set of peripherals. Wrong. Ubuntu Linux supports pretty much every piece of hardware out there. Yes, there are some items, especially graphic cards and chipsets, for which you may need to download a driver to get the most out of your graphics.

What does this have to do with comparing Windows 7 and Ubuntu? A lot. Even though Microsoft did a much better job of supporting hardware with Windows then they did with Vista, it still has gaps in supporting commonplace devices.

For example, there's the already infamous iPhone synchronization problem, which seems to be a combination of 64-bit Windows 7 and certain high-end motherboards that use Intel's P55 Express chipset. Or how about this one, which I find hard to believe but it's true: many HP printers still don't have Windows 7 drivers.

How can this be!? The last time I checked with IDC, HP still had 54% of the U.S. printer market. Amazing. Simply amazing.

5) Applications

Conventional wisdom is that Windows has the software advantage because it has more polished applications than Linux does. And it does. But how many of those do you use? Sure, if nothing but Adobe Photoshop will do, then you're not going to want to run Linux. Of course, my question to you then is why aren't you running Snow Leopard on a Mac - but that's neither here nor there.

But, with the exception of games, I don't see any reason to favor Windows. Ubuntu Linux comes with a free office suite, OpenOffice. If you want an office suite for Windows 7, you're going to be paying extra for it. Want an e-mail program? Outlook Express doesn't come with Windows anymore. Ubuntu has Evolution, the best e-mail and groupware client on the planet as far as I'm concerned. Need to back up your system? Both can do that, but only Ubuntu has its own online back-up service, Ubuntu One, with 2GB of storage.

Want a program that doesn't come with the operating system? Easy. Use the Ubuntu Software Center, Ubuntu's new one stop application "store." I put store in quotes because it's all free. With Windows, you know the drill. Go to your local store, poke around what's available on and Tucows, etc. etc. Just be sure to have your credit card ready since a good deal of Windows software isn't open source or free.

Research Methods:

The goal of the research process is to produce new knowledge. Research is often conducted using the hourglass model Structure of Research. The hourglass model starts with a broad spectrum for research, focusing in on the required information through the methodology of the project (like the neck of the hourglass), then expands the research in the form of discussion and results.

So for Open Source Operating System and its future we have to conduct survey for data gathering from different user who is using different operating systems also I have to use experimental approach to some extent for achievement of required results.

In order to achieve the aim and objectives mentioned earlier there will be two methods used, primary data collection method and secondary data collection method. The primary method has been mentioned earlier as conducting interviews and survey from the different users to meet the requirement of Research objective. The secondary method will be to use a case study based approach and has been mentioned below with support from literature.

Many researchers have supported the use of the case study method and have suggested the steps one should consider in order to complete the literature review successfully. In order to achieve the aim and objectives, the following steps are important.

* Information Gathering (Interviews, Survey etc)

* Find relevant case studies

* Analyze and Compare the features and results

* Evaluate information

* Document findings


Kevin Anderson. (2009). Windows or Linux - battle of the operating systems. Available: Last accessed 13 Jan 2010.

ALPER, JOSEPH. "From Army of Hackers, an Upstart Operating System." Science 282.5396 (1998): 1976. InfoTrac Custom Journals. Web. 10 Jan. 2010.

Ryan Singel. (2009). google-announces pc operating system to compete with windows. Available: Last accessed 22 Dec 2009.

Ahmad Basha. (13 sep 2001). Open-Source Systems versus Closed-Source Systems. Available: Last accessed 15Dec 2009.

McKusick, Marshall Kirk (1999): "Twenty Years of Berkeley Unix. From AT&T-Owned to

Freely Redistributable", in DiBona, Chris et al (eds.) (1999): Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution, O'Reilly, pp. 31-46.

Smith A. (3 Nov 2009). 5 Reasons why Ubuntu 9.10 is better than Windows 7 . Available: Last accessed 15 Jan 2010.

Richard Lowe Jr. (2007). Operating System - Open Source Vs Windows. Available: Last accessed 3 Jan 2010.

Gavin Byrne. (2009/05). The impact of open source . Informa Telecoms & Media. 10 (ITM79743 ), p230-234.

IBM (2003): Linux at IBM, available at, visited Dec 28,2009

IDC (2003): "IDC Says Microsoft Is Moving into Dominant Role in Server Operating Environments, Even as Linux Grows", IDC press release, 8th Jan 2010

(2009). Linux vs Windows 7. Available: Last accessed 12 Jan 2010.