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Linux is a Unix-like computer Operating System (or OS) that uses the Linux kernel. Linux
started out as a personal computer system used by individuals, and has since gained the support
of several large corporations, such as Sun Microsystems, HP and IBM. It is now used mostly as a
server operating system, with some large organizations using an enterprise version for desktops.
Linux is a prime example of open-source development, which means that the source code is
available freely for anyone to use.
When Windows was introduced by Microsoft in 1985 it repeated the pattern of many
earlier Microsoft products: it was slow, ugly, and underpowered. Eventually,
however, they got it right. In 1990, Microsoft released Windows 3.0, a version that
did a lot of useful things. By then the machines had finally become fast enough to
support Windows. You could write large applications and multitask (if all the
programs cooperated and you didn't mind Windows ignoring your keyed requests
until the current program allowed a time slot for interrupts). A few useful
applications followed, then a flood of them, as well as even more powerful, cheaper
PCs to run them on. With Windows 3.1 in 1992 the speed, reliability, and functions
of the product improved yet again. Windows for Workgroups added some
networking capabilities for those who needed them.


Linus Torvalds, who was then a student at the University of Helsinki in Finland, developed
Linux in 1991. He released it for free on the Internet. Due to the far reach of the Free Software
Foundation (FSF) and the GNU Project, Linux popularity increased rapidly, with utilities
developed and released for free online. A commercial version of Unix was released by RedHat in
the early 1990s (combining the OS with technical support and documentation) and the
popularity of Linux continued to skyrocket.

A system is termed UNIX only if it complies fully with (and is certified by) the Single Unix
Specification (SUS) standards. Similar systems that do not comply fully or are not certified, such
as Linux, are termed Unix-like operating systems.
Its the 1970s. At work, we rely on typewriters. If we need to copy a document, we likely use a
mimeograph or carbon paper. Few have heard of microcomputers, but two young computer
enthusiasts, Bill Gates and Paul Allen, see that personal computing is a path to the future.
In 1975, Gates and Allen form a partnership called Microsoft. Like most start-ups, Microsoft
begins small, but has a huge visiona computer on every desktop and in every home. During the
next years, Microsoft begins to change the ways we work.
In June 1980, Gates and Allen hire Gates former Harvard classmate Steve Ballmer to help run
the company. The next month, IBM approaches Microsoft about a project code-named "Chess."
In response, Microsoft focuses on a new operating systemthe software that manages, or runs,
the computer hardware and also serves to bridge the gap between the computer hardware and
programs, such as a word processor. Its the foundation on which computer programs can run.
They name their new operating system "MS-DOS."
When the IBM PC running MS-DOS ships in 1981, it introduces a whole new language to the
general public. Typing C: and various cryptic commands gradually becomes part of daily
work. People discover the backslash (\) key.
MS-DOS is effective, but also proves difficult to understand for many people. There has to be a
better way to build an operating system.
Microsoft works on the first version of a new operating system. Interface Manager is the code
name and is considered as the final name, but Windows prevails because it best describes the
boxes or computing windows that are fundamental to the new system. Windows is announced
in 1983, but it takes a while to develop. Skeptics call it vaporware.

On November 20, 1985, two years after the initial announcement, Microsoft ships Windows 1.0.
Now, rather than typing MS-DOS commands, you just move a mouse to point and click your
way through screens, or windows. Bill Gates says, It is unique software designed for the
serious PC user
19871992: Windows 2.02.11More windows, more speed
On December 9, 1987 Microsoft releases Windows 2.0 with desktop icons and expanded
memory. With improved graphics support, you can now overlap windows, control the screen
layout, and use keyboard shortcuts to speed up your work. Some software developers write their
first Windowsbased programs for this release.
19901994: Windows 3.0Windows NTGetting the graphics
On May 22, 1990, Microsoft announces Windows 3.0, followed shortly by Windows 3.1 in 1992.
Taken together, they sell 10 million copies in their first 2 years, making this the most widely used
Windows operating system yet. The scale of this success causes Microsoft to revise earlier plans.
Virtual Memory improves visual graphics. In 1990 Windows starts to look like the versions to
Windows NT
When Windows NT releases on July 27, 1993, Microsoft meets an important milestone: the
completion of a project begun in the late 1980s to build an advanced new operating system from
19952001: Windows 95the PC comes of age
On August 24, 1995, Microsoft releases Windows 95, selling a record-setting 7 million copies in
the first five weeks. Its the most publicized launch Microsoft has ever taken on.
19982000: Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows Me

Released on June 25, 1998, Windows 98 is the first version of Windows designed specifically for
consumers. PCs are common at work and home, and Internet cafes where you can get online are
popping up. Windows 98 is described as an operating system that Works Better, Plays Better.
Designed for home computer use, Windows Me offers numerous music, video, and home
networking enhancements and reliability improvements compared to previous versions.

20012005: Windows XPStable, usable, and fast

On October 25, 2001, Windows XP is released with a redesigned look and feel that's centered on
usability and a unified Help and Support services center. Its available in 25 languages. From the
mid-1970s until the release of Windows XP, about 1 billion PCs have been shipped worldwide.
20062008: Windows VistaSmart on security
Windows Vista is released in 2006 with the strongest security system yet. User Account Control
helps prevent potentially harmful software from making changes to your computer. In
Windows Vista Ultimate, BitLocker Drive Encryption provides better data protection for your
computer, as laptop sales and security needs increase. Windows Vista also features enhancements
to Windows Media Player as more and more people come to see their PCs as central locations for
digital media. Here you can watch television, view and send photographs, and edit videos.
2009Today: Windows 7 and counting...
By the late 2000s, the wireless world has arrived. When Windows 7 is released in October 2009,
laptops are outselling desktop PCs and its common to get online at public wireless hotspots like
coffee shops. Wireless networks can be created at the office or at home.


In Terms

Linux Operating System


The majority of Linux variants are available for free or at a much lower price
than Microsoft Windows.

Reliability The majority of Linux variants and versions are notoriously reliable and can
often run for months and years without needing to be rebooted.


Many of the available software programs, utilities, and games available on Linux


are freeware or open source. Even such complex programs such as Gimp,
OpenOffice, StarOffice, and wine are available for free or at a low cost.


Linux is and has always been a very secure operating system. Although it still
can be attacked when compared to Windows, it much more secure.


Many of the Linux variants and many Linux programs are open source and


enable users to customize or modify the code however they wish to.


Although it may be more difficult to find users familiar with all Linux variants,
there are vast amounts of available online documentation and help, available
books, and support available for Linux.

In Terms of

Windows Operating System


Microsoft has made several advancements and changes that have made it a
much easier to use operating system, and although arguably it may not be the
easiest operating system, it is still Easier than Linux.


Because of the large amount of Microsoft Windows users, there is a much larger
selection of available software programs, utilities, and games for Windows.


Because of the amount of Microsoft Windows users and the broader driver

support, Windows has a much larger support for hardware devices and a good
majority of hardware manufacturers will support their products in Microsoft

Microsoft Windows includes its own help section, has vast amount of available
online documentation and help, as well as books on each of the versions of


In Terms of

Linux Operating System

Although the majority Linux variants have improved dramatically in ease of


use, Windows is still much easier to use for new computer users.
Linux has a large variety of available software programs, utilities, and games.


However, Windows has a much larger selection of available software.

Linux companies and hardware manufacturers have made great advancements
in hardware support for Linux and today Linux will support most hardware
devices. However, many companies still do not offer drivers or support for their
hardware in Linux.


In Terms of

Windows Operating System

Microsoft Windows can run between $50.00 - $150.00 US dollars per each


license copy.
Although Microsoft Windows has made great improvements in reliability over

Software cost

the last few versions of Windows, it still cannot match the reliability of Linux.
Although Windows does have software programs, utilities, and games for free,
the majority of the programs will cost anywhere between $20.00 - $200.00+


US dollars per copy.

Although Microsoft has made great improvements over the years with

security on their operating system, their operating system continues to be the

Open Source

most vulnerable to viruses and other attacks.

Microsoft Windows is not open source and the majority of Windows programs
are not open source.