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What is Linux and how is it different from Windows?

  1. #1
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    Default What is Linux and how is it different from Windows?

    The thread title may sound stupid, and I partially know the answer....Linux is an operating system.
    But what I wanted to know is, what it is exactly, I mean Windows is common its generally the first OS we use, and when I hear Linux I think huh??

    How much does it differ from Windows? Is it easier to use than windows or difficult? Is it an operating system that you should move to from Windows?
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  2. #2
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    It is much more easy than it is branded as "Tough for NEW". It is a completely different world in its own. Where you can customise each and every application thatyou use (if you know how to code) and i would suggest trying Suse Studio to get your first Linux OS fully customised to your needs - all by you. And if at some pointyou misssomeof ypur windows applications use WINE and get your windows applications running inside LINUX.

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    So you can say its something much suitable for those who know coding, otherwise Windows would be better.
    Can people who dont know coding use Linux as well or not?

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    Windows was not the first OS I used. I learned and used DOS first. then Windows, 3.1, 3.11, 95, 98, 98SE, ME, 2000, XP, Vista, 7.
    Windows was developed by Microsoft. Microsoft based its MS-DOS on another programmer's Q-DOS operating system. It later tried to incorporate elements of many other GUI based OS like Xerox's OS for the ALTO (Xerox Star OS), and Apple's OS on the Apple Lisa into a program run on top of its DOS os.
    To state logically, Windows (upto windows 98SE or ME) was based on DOS (it is no longer based on DOS). i.e. the computer would boot into DOS and windows was a program which executed within DOS. Afterwards, Windows evolved into a standalone OS.

    Same with Linux. Linux was developed by Linus Torwalds (thus the name), a student, who did not get learning and programming time on the UNIX machines since they were always being used for research. UNIX was developed by SCO, and was the OS of choice for many computers, mainframes, etc. because of its robustness.

    Linus decided to emulate the UNIX environment by developing his own OS (actually OS kernel) which in turn was somewhat based upon another UNIX clone called as MINIX. Linus created this kernel for a text based OS, and called it Linux, and decided to keep it free of cost for every computer enthusiast who cannot afford or get time on UNIX machines. The LINUX kernel and its code is free under the GPL license.
    Linux remains the kernel which provides the basic OS structure. The graphical part of what we see today which not many people know, is called as Xwindows. Linux does not have a GUI since it is basically a kernel, and not a GUI OS. The Xwindows system uses many window managers to manage the UI, such as GNOME or KDE.

    That being said, the previous paras are only the logical differences between the 2 OSs.

    While windows is the first OS most of today's people learn, that is because Microsoft spent quiet a bit of time to make windows extremely user friendly.
    Currently active versions of windows, such as XP, 7 and 8, do not require much command prompt inputs, and thus the user may only follow a series of mouse clicks to achieve even the most complex of tasks / settings changes.

    Linux even today, the best and most user friendly versions of Linux such as Ubuntu sometimes need command line inputs for a number of tasks.

    Windows uses a directory hierarchy for storing files and folders, which begin with the "Computer" (or MyComputer).
    This has drives, such as Local disks (letter C onwards), removable disks, and a number of administration applications such as control panel, etc.
    files appear as being in drives, drives may contain files and folders. Devices attached to the computer may be viewed in the device manager.

    In Linux, every device is a file. even a directory / folder is treated as a file. The monitor is a file, the keyboard is a file, the ports are also files. A file is contained within a directory. A directory is a file which may contain other directories and/or files.
    The storage structure is a bit different. In linux, every storage location begins with a mount point, which by default is "/".
    after "/" there are system directories such as "/bin" (binaries / executables), "/dev" (devices), "/mnt" (mounted devices).
    Every device appears as a file in the "/dev" directory.

    If in a windows computer there is a file named "address.txt" located in the directory "D:\files\workfiles\clients", Linux will use a different logical path to access this file.
    The file is in D drive, which is the second partition on the first hard drive. Thus the path will be "/mnt/hda2/files/workfiles/clients/address.txt".
    Here "hda" hda means first hard drive, hdb means second hard drive, and so on. hda2 in the above example means second partition on hda.

    _________

    Other avenues that Linux differs from windows is, the only versions of windows in the market are released by Microsoft. Linux can be used and distributed by anyone. Even Android is based on the Linux kernel, and so are FirefoxOS, Chrome OS, Nokia's MeeGo, Nokia's Symbian, Samsung's Bada, Tizen, etc.
    Apple's Mac OS, is based upon the BSD(Berkeley System Design) variant of the Linux kernel.

    Linux is largely based on C code, while Windows is based upon Basic(and its variants) code.

    There are many other points, but I am now a bit tired, so please open 2 tabs of wikipedia, and open microsoft windows in one, and Linux in another, and compare the 2. Post some of the finer points that you might find.

    Cheers!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Popcorn View Post
    So you can say its something much suitable for those who know coding, otherwise Windows would be better.
    Can people who dont know coding use Linux as well or not?
    I don't agree completely. Ubuntu Linux is very very user friendly. It allows coding just as much as any version of windows will. You do not need to know coding to use Linux. You do not need to be a geek to use linux, though being computer literate is compulsory.
    Even distributions based upon the Debian flavour of Linux are very user friendly.

    I personally use Ubuntu and Knoppix for a lot of part time work. Linux is just very easy to customize for specialized applications, just a little bit more so than windows.

    Previously you would need to type in 2-3 commands to successfully mount a flash drive / cd-disc / even a logical windows partition drive.
    Now a days, most flavours of linux have this process automated. Ubuntu even has an app store with a plethora of free apps and games for everything.
    anuragyng and Popcorn like this.

  6. #6
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    Lightbulb It depends

    Quote Originally Posted by Popcorn View Post
    So you can say its something much suitable for those who know coding, otherwise Windows would be better.
    Can people who dont know coding use Linux as well or not?
    It depends totally on the chice of OS you are using from Linux community. Linux is used on the servers does not means that you have to type in command for doing a simple task. The main point is how you use and what you want to use in Linux. For a beginner i will be suggesting LUBUNTU or PUPPY Linux. The latter being my favourite to a newbie in linux.


    and

    to netherwinterknights for his info on the difference.
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  7. #7
    Junior Member Damien Lee's Avatar
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    For the average computer user, Linux would not seem that user-friendly. Anyone that has been using computers for a long time should have no problem adopting Linux as their main operating system. Gamers also have a hard time finding games that support Linux. However, that may change with Steam OS as it's based on Linux. But since most popular applications are available on the Windows platform, it's hard to get people to switch their operating system.

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    Bronze Member Mihailo's Avatar
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    Linux is for hackers While Windows is for gamers, it has a lot of programs.
    Mac OS X is good for video editing.
    But regardless you should choose a operating system that you like the most.

  9. #9
    Platinum Member panchabhut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Damien Lee View Post
    For the average computer user, Linux would not seem that user-friendly. Anyone that has been using computers for a long time should have no problem adopting Linux as their main operating system. Gamers also have a hard time finding games that support Linux. However, that may change with Steam OS as it's based on Linux. But since most popular applications are available on the Windows platform, it's hard to get people to switch their operating system.
    We have successfully used Xubuntu and LXLE (a Lubuntu varuiant) at my office and most Windows users adapted within 48 hours. The GUI are almost the same and most softwares act the same. For some fo the softwares, Wine was required but once installed, there was no difference for the end User. The only difference is installation of softwares, where command line knowledge is preferable.

    Certain softwares are only available in Linux. eg. GIMP, a free software as good as photoshop.
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  10. #10
    Junior Member mbuzma's Avatar
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    Linux is probably harder to use for many users, but it does depend on the OS. It's just a matter of adapting to it. It is a much safer OS, since most malware is programmed for Windows ( and Linux doesn't have the same security holes as Windows).

  11. #11
    Junior Member ecarrillo1985's Avatar
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    I use Lubuntu 15.10 and I don't know anything about coding. I love it, it has old I need, it is free and the best part is that it can't be infected by a pc virus.

    Sent from my SM-G900H using Tapatalk

  12. #12
    Junior Member Damien Lee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by panchabhut View Post
    We have successfully used Xubuntu and LXLE (a Lubuntu varuiant) at my office and most Windows users adapted within 48 hours. The GUI are almost the same and most softwares act the same. For some fo the softwares, Wine was required but once installed, there was no difference for the end User. The only difference is installation of softwares, where command line knowledge is preferable.

    Certain softwares are only available in Linux. eg. GIMP, a free software as good as photoshop.
    Actually, GIMP is not exclusive to Linux. There's a Windows version and I've been using it for the past 7-8 years. I agree with you, it's just as good as Photoshop and there's an active community that continuously creates new plug-ins for it.

    Linux is not terribly difficult to pick up. One even needs to undergo a short tutorial whenever a new version of Windows is released. However, Linux is not a consumer-grade operating system. The command line is a deal breaker for the majority of computer users. Wine doesn't give 100% compatibility and there are performance issues with some games. For those that prefer using Linux but want to play Windows games, a duel boot system is the way to go. For the average PC user, Windows is the absolute best option.

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    Junior Member aimayaram's Avatar
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    From 2012 to 2015 my desktop computer was running mostly on Linux. First Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, then openSUSE, then Fedora 20 and 22. I'm back on Windows 10 now because many programs run only on Windows, including Steam games, and software that can provide me with some freelance work. Most fun programs are only built for Windows. Everything is harder on Linux, connecting your printer, connecting a memory card and all tasks. Right now, Linux is best for servers, because it's lightweight and generally contains exactly what is needed. Linux is also completely protected of virus, at least malware is very rare compared to Windows.
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    Junior Member ecarrillo1985's Avatar
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    I agree with you but I still prefer Lubuntu hahaha, it's due to my old computer

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    Silver Member Cashewfruit_wine's Avatar
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    Does Linux have problems similar to the nightmares of Windows like infinite loop and BSOD. I was so upset to find out that some Windows 10 users still encounter those annoying problems.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ecarrillo1985 View Post
    I use Lubuntu 15.10 and I don't know anything about coding. I love it, it has old I need, it is free and the best part is that it can't be infected by a pc virus.

    Sent from my SM-G900H using Tapatalk
    I also use Lubuntu 15.10 xD I am curretnly using it ahah but that's because I'm studying for my college exam about programing in C++, Lubuntu is much better in terms of performance when compared to Windows versions, and that difference is more accentuated when we talk about PC that are less capable like mine! I see a lot of difference from using Windows 8.1 and LUbuntu on my PC!

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    Does anyone here use Linux Mint? I really like that OS - I have a few question regarding Linux and Linux Mint.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mihailo View Post
    Does anyone here use Linux Mint? I really like that OS - I have a few question regarding Linux and Linux Mint.
    Well you can ask anything you want! If we are available and we know how to answer the questions!

    Linux Mint is a really good Operating System, is really pleasing to the eye, it's interface it's easy to use, very user friendly. It's somewhat similar to Mac OS, they tried to make it similar to Mac OS!

    You can install it without any cent! It's a free software!
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  19. #19
    Bronze Member Mihailo's Avatar
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    I am using Mint too. It is great.

    My question is, where I can find a list with similar Windows programs? The main ones.

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    I have never tried Linux. I only have experience with Windows and Mac. I can compare windows and mac but I cannot compare Linux with windows and mac because I don't know how linux works. In fact I even don't know how linux interface looks like. However, I have been told that LInux is user friendly, has great interface and is easy to use.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ecarrillo1985 View Post
    I use Lubuntu 15.10 and I don't know anything about coding. I love it, it has old I need, it is free and the best part is that it can't be infected by a pc virus.

    Sent from my SM-G900H using Tapatalk
    Hi,
    I have a 7 yrs old lenovo ideapad S10 net book which had Win XP originally. I changed over to win7 in 2014.Since it had Intel atom n450 it had become very slow.Only this september I changed the OS to Lubuntu 16.04.Now it works much faster.I have chromium browser as well as Mozillla Firefox as an add on.I spent 3 days learning the basics and now i have no problem. Drag and drop is most used here in place of copy and paste on windows. And it is Libre Office in place of MS office.
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  22. #22
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    from my usage on the linux , it was pretty bad, the user interface is not that good as it is on the windows

    it has all programs that we have "MS OFFICE" in windows but just with a different name... Windows surely is better, easy to use and user friendly.
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    using linux is better say when you have an old machine/laptop that's not being used, but you want to begin using it again for say downloading-purposes, file-sharing, etc. i used debian on two plug PCs/NAS named Seagate GoFlex Home & the Pogoplug Pro. also, i have a 7-8 year old laptop with specs obviously that are not sufficient for windows 10 now. i use it with win 8.1 for downloading & file-sharing purposes. now am going to install a linux distro like solus or linux mint cinnamon on it.
    rishabh25 likes this.

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